Do you suffer from the dreaded menopausal night sweats, forgetfulness, achy joints and insomnia? Maybe you’re wondering why you’re affected, while other women seemingly breeze through their menopause?
Menopause is a natural transition experienced by every woman – it’s not a disease and you shouldn’t have to live with these uncomfortable symptoms.
In celebration of World Menopause Day on 18th October, here is your short guide to the menopause plus some handy tips to sail through this phase of your life.
The average age of the onset of the menopause is 51, although this varies widely.
The term menopause refers to the time your periods completely stop. For as long as ten years beforehand, you may experience symptoms such as hot flushes, mood swings, headaches and anxiety, your periods may become irregular and premenstrual symptoms worsen. This is known as perimenopause.
Post-menopause on the other hand refers to your life without periods.
All through your reproductive life progesterone and oestrogen, the hormones in charge of reproduction, change daily to prepare your body for pregnancy. These two hormones have wide-ranging roles aside from your fertility.
During perimenopause, these hormones often fluctuate widely, but following menopause, they drop and stabilise at a low level. So, most of the symptoms of the perimenopause are caused by changing hormone levels, while post-menopausal symptoms like dry skin, low libido and vaginal dryness are usually a result of low hormones.
You do still need oestrogen and progesterone after the menopause, but they’re made by your stress glands and fat cells rather than your ovaries.
Nurture healthy gut bacteria by eating plenty of fibre-rich, unprocessed plant foods and avoiding sugar. If you have sugar cravings, munch on a handful of fresh nuts or seeds. Sesame, pumpkin and flax seeds are especially beneficial because they contain natural plant oestrogens, helping to balance out fluctuating hormone levels. Other sources of these natural oestrogens include beans, lentils and unprocessed soya like tofu and tempeh.
Nutrients important for hormone health include B Vitamins, rich in leafy greens, eggs and legumes, and essential fats, especially Omega 3. This fat assists hormone production, improving your cells’ sensitivity to hormones, and is found in nuts, seeds and oily fish.
Garlic and onions contain substances known to support liver function, with good liver health crucial for healthy hormone balance.
If you dream of a good night’s sleep, go to bed at the same time every night and set your alarm for a similar time every morning, even at weekends. This can recalibrate your melatonin – the hormone allowing you to sleep.
Consider taking a supplement of magnesium at bedtime as this mineral is involved in helping muscles and nerves relax, or try a magnesium-rich Epsom salts bath.
Try alternating an alcoholic drink with sparkling water, or dilute wine 50:50 with water for a refreshing spritzer.
Because functional medicine believes in uncovering the root causes of your symptoms, the first step will be to discover the levels of your sex hormones and find out whether stress is having an impact. A simple test can determine this, and nutritional and lifestyle strategies employed to restore healthy hormonal balance. You’ll be treated as an individual – because your experience of the menopause will be unique.
Don’t settle for the troublesome symptoms of the menopause – contact me to have a happy healthy menopause
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