Whether we like it or not, menopause is a natural stage of being a woman. It’s not something that we are made to look forward to, mainly because of all the ‘horror’ stories from friends, family and the media, however being informed, knowing what to expect, and being equipped to handle the changes to your body, will help make the transition a more positive one.
As a naturopath, I’m passionate about helping women manage menopause naturally. Let’s take a closer look at peri-menopause, menopause, what it means, what you can expect, the symptoms and 5 ways to manage them naturally.
What is Peri-Menopause?
This occurs when your body is transitioning to menopause. It’s a time when irregular periods can occur because you may no longer ovulate on a monthly basis. When you do get a period it may be shorter or longer than usual or you may skip a period for several months.
Peri-menopause can begin from mid to late 40s and will usually last anywhere from 2 to 10 years. However every woman is different, and may experience peri-menopause earlier or later.
During peri-menopause you may begin to experience symptoms including:
- Hot flushes or chills
- Heavy perspiration
- Mood swings
- Lowered libido
What is Menopause?
It’s when your period has stopped permanently and your body can no longer conceive. You reach menopause once you have stopped bleeding and/or spotting for a full year.
Once you are menopausal your ovaries make very low levels of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone. Synthetic hormone replacement therapy can be recommended to alleviate symptoms, however it is a band aid approach to menopause and not recommended long term due to serious side effects.
5 Tips to Manage Menopause Naturally
1. Increase Calcium Rich Foods
With the lower oestrogen levels in your body it may be more of a challenge to maintain adequate bone density. To avoid weak and/or brittle bones a balanced diet rich in sardines, nuts, seeds (especially sesame seeds), wholegrains and green leafy’s such as spinach and kale can help keep your bones strong.
2. Take Natural supplements to help support bone health, and minimise uncomfortable symptoms
Vitamin D is also linked to bone health, so a good quality supplement is usually essential as deficiency is common, especially as our skin becomes less efficient at making vitamin D as we age. Wonderful herbs such as Black Cohosh, Red Clover and Sage, just to name a few can help with hot flushes and night sweats. Although need to be prescribed by a qualified herbalist to be most effective.
3. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight, provide you with more energy, as well as improve bone density. Exercise helps increase your metabolism and will help manage any anxiety or stress you may be experiencing. Regular exercise has been proven to help you get a better night’s sleep and weight resistance training, such as using weights or bands, yoga and Pilates, will help with bone and joint health. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least 3-4 times per week.
4. Maintain a Healthy Weight
During menopause it’s common for women to gain weight. Contributing factors include; changing hormones, ageing, lifestyle and also genetics. When you gain excess body fat, particularly around the waist, it increases your risk of developing diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Studies have shown that by maintaining a healthy weight will more than likely help eliminate hot flushes and night sweats. Have a balanced diet filled with fresh fruit, vegetables and lean protein. Limit your intake of refined carbohydrates, sugars, unhealthy saturated fats and alcohol. If you’d like to learn more about boosting your metabolism to help you achieve a healthy weight, read my article 5 Ways to Increase Your Metabolism.
5. Nurture Yourself
You may experience extreme highs and lows, as well as PMS symptoms during peri-menopause. Nurture yourself – you will feel more balanced and the people around you will thank you! Make sure you take time out when needed. Practice mindfulness, take up yoga or tai chi, get a massage, walk, read or write in a journal. Discover what works for you and be kind to yourself. In this article, Naturally Master Your Wellness, I share 6 simple tips on how you can master your own wellness, naturally.
While menopause and its symptoms can be a challenge to deal with, consuming a balanced diet, taking supplements as required, exercising regularly and nurturing yourself, will help you deal with this life changing event. If you feel that you could do with some further support or have concerns about menopause and its symptoms get in touch by emailing me or make an online booking to visit me for natural menopause support.