Menopause may be many things, but it is not a disease, confirms natural health practitioner Janet Zand, a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and board-certified acupuncturist. “The definition of menopause is 12 months without menstruation,” she explains. After that year-long period, you are officially in menopause. With common symptoms ranging from insomnia and fatigue to headaches and depression (and, not to mention, insane crabbiness), it can feel like a disease that needs medical intervention. Though menopause is an inevitable transition all women must go through as they age, feeling horrible does not have to be par for the course.

“If a young woman starts taking care of herself from age 18 [onward], by the time she becomes menopausal, she’s going to have it a lot easier. Everything we do in our lives—how we sleep, how we eat, how we exercise—ultimately influences your menopausal experience,” says Zand. In the video above, Zand shares some insightful advice about menopause and what women at any age can do to diminish its negative effects.