Have you wondered why some women sail through the menopause whilst so many encounter choppy waters?
‘The change’, ‘the time of life’ – call it what you will, it is an unavoidable phase of life that all women go through. However, for many women, this natural process is a time of anxiety and distress due to the huge range of symptoms that can emerge. Some women find that menopause causes them few issues – perhaps a bit warm from time to time, a few aches and pains. Other women suffer multiple debilitating symptoms.
Why is this and what can you do to create a smoother passage?
The menopause refers to that time in every woman’s life when her periods stop and her ovaries lose their reproductive function. Usually, this occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, but in some cases women may become menopausal in their 30s or younger. Menopause is a normal phase of a woman’s life so when problems arise it is often because of imbalances that have developed before and during peri-menopause. The severity of symptoms depends on the level of imbalances.
This is why some women sail through menopause and others continue to suffer decades later!
For some women this loss of reproductive ability may be deeply felt, and for all women the menopause is a personal experience, not just a medical condition. However, declining oestrogen levels from the ovaries as women advance into their 40s is often the cause of symptoms which can be distressing. Symptoms of menopause occur due to the involvement of sex hormones in many body processes, including temperature regulation, blood sugar regulation, body fat deposition, bone health, vaginal health, ability to break down stress hormones and thyroid hormone function. As these hormone levels change so do our body functions.
Hormonal imbalances in the years preceding menopause lead to common symptoms
Irregular periods, hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness or itching, weight gain, headaches, dizziness, palpitations, tingling or itching sensation, dry hair, muscular and joint pain, emotional distress and problems with bladder control, insomnia, tender breasts, increasing facial hair, digestive issues, bloating or nausea.
Mood swings, nervousness, anxiety, irritability, depression, reduced libido, difficulty in sleeping, tiredness, brain-fog, loss of concentration or motivation, aggressiveness and crying for no reason.
FACTORS WHICH INFLUENCE OUR MENOPAUSE
The biggest cause of increased menopausal symptoms is stress. High stress levels affect the way the body responds to sex hormones and as oestrogen from the ovaries declines, the adrenal glands start to take up the slack. Stress impacts their ability to do this, so hormone levels will fall faster.
Liver and Gut Health
The body makes different types of oestrogen which have greater or lesser effects, so the balance can affect menopause symptoms. The liver plays an important role in this balance, as does bowel health and constipation can contribute to hormone imbalance.
Blood Sugar Balance
High levels of insulin (hormone which controls blood sugar levels) can affect the balance of sex hormones. As the amount of insulin the body produces is affected by the food you eat, some diets exacerbate the hormone imbalances in menopause.
Exposure to environmental sources of oestrogen-mimicking compounds (‘xenooestrogens’) can contribute to hormone imbalances. These are found in plastics, pesticides, cosmetics and toiletries.
Genetic factors influence how easily we pass through menopause. Ask you mother what her experience was like!
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
If possible, prepare for menopause during your reproductive years by addressing stress as this helps the transition. Unfortunately, menopause often coincides with increased stressors from children leaving home, aging parents and increased responsibilities at work. As stress has such a major impact on our hormones, it is vital to try and reduce stresses which can also be caused by poor diet, not enough sleep, excessive exercise, injuries or illnesses.
Focusing on the right foods can decrease symptoms and avoid high-fat or high-sugar diet which can do the opposite. A healthy diet, high in whole grains, fruits, veggies and essential nutrients will help smooth your journey through the menopause. There is no “one size fits all” approach as our health and pre-existing conditions in the run up to the menopause has a huge impact. By delving deep into your health history and finding the root cause of issues rather than just treating your symptoms, I can help you understand your potential imbalances and identify which foods will support your needs and which ones will work against you.
You may not want to take HRT or have been told its not suitable for you and are looking for more natural support. Diet and lifestyle recommendations are tailored to suit your specific individual requirements to help get your body back in balance. Your overall health, hormones, gut and energy levels all receive a boost!
If you’d like to find out more about how we could work together, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or use my scheduler on the right-hand side of this page to arrange a complimentary call!