(and what is Menopause anyway)
Menopause is often referred to as “the change” and is a natural and inevitable part of a woman’s life. This often brings mixed feelings for women; some women are excited to enter this next phase of life, while others are scared because of what they have heard from others. Each woman’s journey is unique, not only in terms of symptoms and changes to their body, but also their experience of it.
While we are lucky to live in a time when menopause is becoming an everyday conversation, for a long time the research focus has been on menopause and not perimenopause (the lead up to menopause). Which is why you might find yourself entering perimenopause without even realising what is happening and understanding how the changes may impact you.
Did you know?
Whatever stage you are currently at, there is something in here for you! (Even if it’s just understanding what your poor mum is going through right now and why she feels so hot and angry all the time!) Let’s look at the facts and the science so we can help you on your journey.
- 10% of women leave the workplace due to unmanaged menopause symptoms
- By 2025 1.1 billion women worldwide will be going through menopause – see you are not alone!
- 1 in 100 women will experience menopause by 40
- The average age of menopause is 51
- The current life expectancy of a woman in Australia at birth is 85.4 (and increasing), this means we are spending roughly 40% of our lives postmenopausal.
- In the first 5 years of menopause women lose 30% of their collagen
- In the first 5-10 years of menopause women lose about 10% of their bone density
- A drop in oestrogen can contribute to low mood and also increased risk of heart attack and stroke, due to the cardioprotective properties of oestrogen.
Heading to Menopause?!
What does the transition through Menopause look like? To simplify it down:
- Perimenopause is the natural transition to menopause and often occurs anywhere from 1-10 years before menopause occurs.
- Menopause is the spontaneous, permanent end to your menstrual cycle. It is officially confirmed 12 months after your last menstrual cycle, which is why it is so important to track your cycles!
- You actually become ‘Postmenopausal’ immediately after it is confirmed you have reached menopause, (12 months after your last cycle). How crazy is it that one day we just have our last menstrual cycle and we don’t really know at the time that it will be our last.
Our female sex hormones are what regulate our menstrual cycles and release eggs. When we enter Menopause the production of oestrogen and progesterone decrease. The drop in Oestrogen levels is what contributes to most menopausal symptoms as every organ in the body has a receptor for oestrogen.
Common Concerns Women Face when they are Perimenopausal, Menopausal or Postmenopausal
We have listed some of the most common concerns women face throughout menopause below. To learn more about why these symptoms occur stay tuned for the next blog in our Menopause series.
- Weight gain and difficulty losing weight
- Hot flushes and night sweats
- Bloating and Sluggish Bowels
- Brain fog, loss of words, poor concentration
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Mood swings
- Fatigue and disturbed sleep
- Low libido
- Vaginal dryness and changes to vaginal biome this can lead to regular UTIs
- Skin can become drier and more sensitive.
- Increase in lines and wrinkles
- Puffy eyes and dark circles can be due to fat redistribution of the face and irregular sleep patterns.
- Thinning hair
- Changes to appearance including ageing of the face
- Increase in facial hair happens as our female hormone levels drop causing our male hormone levels to become more dominant.
- Itching and crawling sensations on the skin.
Some Helpful Tips
The good news is, our Naturopath Evie has some tips for you on what you can do to support yourself if you are entering perimenopause or are postmenopausal. These tips will help minimise symptoms and promote overall well being during this time.
Tips on what you can do to support yourself include:
Reduce Alcohol Intake
This is one of the most important tips and can lead to reduction in symptoms such as sleep disturbance, mood swings, weight gain and hot flushes.
Optimise Dietary Fibre
This will help the body to clear toxins and support oestrogen detoxification.
Helps support healthy hormone production, mood and detoxification pathways.
Daily mindful meditations can keep mood swings at bay.
Support your bone health
Oestrogen is what helps to keep our bones strong so when this starts to decline our bones become weaker. Regular strength training and weight training can improve joint stability alongside nutritional treatment for optimising bone health.
Track your symptoms and menstrual cycles
To keep track of your perimenopause.
Book in with a Naturopath for individualised prescriptions
To reduce individual perimenopause symptoms and to organise pathology testing for your hormones.
Increase good sources of Essential Fatty-Acids in your diet.
Increase your consumption of nourishing fats from oily fish, flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, olive oil, chia seeds, macadamia, walnuts and avocado.
Increase protein intake
Adequate water intake
Essential for so many things.
Increase consumption of foods high in isoflavones
Plant based foods that have isoflavones work in the body like a weak form of oestrogen. They can be found in things like flax, soy milk, tofu and soybeans.
Support your gut!
Gut support is important no matter what you are treating. It’s important to have a variety of prebiotics and probiotics, but ensure if you are looking at supplementation you are sticking with practitioner grade supplements and working with a health professional like Evie so you are targeting your treatment (in other words, step away from the supermarket supplement isle!).
Look to the Mediterranean Diet
A great way to incorporate a lot of these suggestions it to look to the Mediterranean Diet. This diet is full of Fruit and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fish, less red meat and avoiding processed foods, an afternoon nap never hurt anyone either 😉
Keep your brain active!
Yes, the grey matter, matters.
Find yourself a good GP
Australian Menopause Society has some excellent resources and a list of Doctors that have a special interest in Menopause.
Do You Have Menopause Symptoms?
If you’d like to support yourself even further during peri and post menopause, then we would recommend booking in with our Naturopath Evie so that she can organise possible hormone testing, alongside specific dietary and lifestyle advice, herbal medicines and supplements that can help to reduce perimenopause symptoms.
If you aren’t a Gold Coast local, not to worry, we offer Telehealth appointments too! Stay tuned for our next Blog on why we experience menopause symptoms and how Menopause affects the skin!
Face Fit x