Hormones from Hell - How to negotiate MENOPAUSE and come out laughing on the other side...
Updated: Jan 28
I vividly remember my Mum going through menopause because she locked herself in the bathroom on my thirteenth birthday and cried all day. Being an amazing, selfless, and loving mother, this was highly unusual behaviour... such is the monster that is menopause, when hormones are swinging wildly. Besides mood swings and irritability, sypmtoms can include:
Hot Flashes - A feeling of heat sweeping over the body at inconvenient times is an extremely common symptom.
Depression, Anxiety, Panic attacks - This can be even more debilitating for women who have struggled with it before menopause. It can feel like you are suddenly going mad!
Fatigue - overwhelming fatigue that is beyond mere tiredness frequently affects menopausal women
Memory Loss - Brain fog and forgetfulness are commonly reported
Incontinence - Bladder leakage and bladder control issues can develop during this season
Reduced Libido and vaginal dryness - Hormonal fluctuations can make you wish you were single;)
Osteoporosis - Reduction of oestrogen can lead to poor bone density.
Insomnia - this may be exacerbated by night sweats as well as the hormonal impact on neurotransmitter levels.
Neuropathic symptoms - including tingling in fingers and toes or general sensations of itching are frequently experienced.
Muscular pain and spasms - soreness all over the body and cramping due to changes in calcium and magnesium levels can occur.
Weight gain - metabolic and hormonal changes can make keeping off those extra kilos quite a challenge!
With a list like that - it's not just the extra wrinkles making you miserable! But it doesn't have to be this way. The transition of menopause can be smooth or rocky, depending on how you manage it. Medical management often involves drugs with side effects or hormone replacement therapy. While these may have their place, it is important to remember that menopause is not a disease, but a normal and natural part of ageing. It is not a matter of 'battling' it, but of supporting it!
Natural treatments for menopause and peri-menopause work with your body to alleviate debilitating symptoms without suppressing the natural process. Here are some tips to avoid the craziness:
1. Optimise nutrition - deficiency of particular nutrients in the diet or due to genetic anomalies can make some women more prone to menopausal symptoms. Key nutrients include: B vitamins, vitamin D, Vitamin E, Omega 3s, Choline, Calcium and Magnesium. See a qualified practitioner to identify the best forms and quantities for you.
2. Support a healthy anti-oxidant status - Inflammation can worsen menopausal symptoms and can be a result of poor dietary choices. Eat plenty of leafy green vegetables, clean foods (avoid processed foods) and avoid food chemicals and additives.
3. Exercise regularly - Studies show a healthy amount of exercise significantly reduces menopausal symptoms
4. Use adaptogens - certain foods have been shown to assist in regulating hormone levels during menopause and can have a significant impact if consumed daily. These include Maca powder, fermented soy such as tofu or miso and flaxseeds.
5. Support methylation - This is an important biochemical pathway in the body that may have an influence on oestrogen levels during menopause. Symptoms of dysfunction can include heavy metal overload, histamine intolerance (allergies), immune compromise, depression and anxiety. Some people have genetic difficulties with methylation which can be compounded by fluctuating oestrogen during menopause. This should be explored with a qualified practitioner with expertise in this area.
So there you have it - menopause doesn't have to make you feel like a monster! Look after yourself, respect and nurture your body's natural aging process, and come out smiling:)