11 Jun 2019

Menopause - The Do's and Dont's

Menopause

The menopause is not, strictly speaking, a diagnosis; it's a natural event.

It is defined as the day that menstruation stops, and is usually deemed to have occurred when a woman has had no menstrual bleeding for a period of 12 consecutive months. Any bleeding that occurs after this – called post-menopausal bleeding – may be caused by abnormalities in the uterus and should be investigated.

The time leading up to the menopause – called the peri-menopause – is characterised by menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and, in some women, mood swings. These, together with irregularity in the cycle, are due to increasing failure of the ovarian follicles to secrete the hormone oestriol. This has effects in the brain, on blood vessels and on the vagina as well as on bone, which is why post-menopausal women may be at risk of developing osteoporosis

The symptoms associated with the peri-menopause can be modified by a number of therapies – hormone replacement therapy, vaginal oestrogen creams, chemicals called selective oestrogen receptor modulators, and agents that help prevent the development of osteoporosis. As with all therapies, none are free of side effects or contra-indications, and none can prevent the menopause, which is due to the failure of ovarian function. It will occur in all women, usually between the ages of 50-55. It’s a natural event.

Menopause   What you need to know:

Some women sail through the Menopause without batting an eyelid. For others it represents months, and sometimes years, of discomfort and misery. Sometimes women who regard Menopause as an illness are those who suffer most. It is not a disease, it is in fact, the beginning of their golden years, free from the monthly discomfort of difficult periods and contraception. To be sure, there are medical consequences of Menopause but it is here that natural remedies come into their own. They can strengthen the bones, protect against heart disease, and keep your skin glowing and healthy.

When your periods stop, no matter at what age or for what reason, Menopause begins. Anorexia, over-exercising -especially in young, elite athletes like gymnasts and runners - and simply being too thin can all affect your hormone production and cause artificial Menopause. Having both ovaries removed produces the same result.

Reduce alcohol consumption and avoid binge drinking, although it must be noted that small amounts are actually protective to the heart. 1-2 units per day is ok and should ideally be from red wine as it contains protective antioxidant compounds called proanthocyanidins.

Not getting enough exercise is also a factor - You should be doing at least three half-hour periods of exercise a week. You don't need to train for a marathon; anything which gets you mildly out of breath, like a brisk walk, will do. Gardening, energetic housework or a session of your favourite sport, appropriate to your condition, will also be fine.

Reduce exposure to toxic metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury. After the age of 50, do not take extra iron as a supplement, unless you have a medical condition that requires you to do so. Excess iron in the body is pro-oxidant (produces free radicals) and therefore increases the risk of heart disease.

 

Nutritional supplements that could help

Studies have shown that correcting dietary deficiencies is key to hormonal balance. Taking a good hi-potency multi nutrient formula daily is useful at reducing hot flushes, mood swings, headaches and irritability according to research. Other supplements can also help.

Evening Primrose Oil

Starflower Oil

Magnesium 

Soya Isoflavones 

Vitamin B6 

Other supplements which could help include:

Vitamin C

Vitamin E 

 

Herbs which may help:

Dong Quai 

Red Clover 

Sage 

Liquorice 

 

Aromatherapy

The following oils can help and can be used in body lotions or added to the bath.

Fennel

Geranium

Rose

Diet and lifestyle changes that may be beneficial:

A good diet is essential for maintaining healthy hormone balance and is crucial during the Menopause. In addition to the following, dietary information found in Osteoporosis and the Healthy heart program is also relevant.

 

For general hormone health and symptom relief, there’s growing evidence that eating regular amounts of soya-based foods - soya Beans, tofu, soya milk and yoghurt - is a good way to protect yourself from many of the unpleasant effects of the Menopause. In the Far East, where soy is a staple part of the diet, there’s no word for hot flushes and Osteoporosis is a rare condition. Soy extracts, contain plant phyto-oestrogens, isoflavones and are widely available. The herb Red Clover is also rich in these compounds.

Individual symptoms can be helped by other diet and lifestyle changes:

Hot Flushes:

The lower levels of the hormone oestrogen are the main cause. Stress, being very thin, wearing tight fitting clothes, as well as room temperature can all make things worse. Vitamin E can help a lot. The best sources are cold pressed vegetable oils especially Wheatgerm, corn, safflower, sunflower, and olive oil, almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pine nuts. There are modest amounts in wholemeal Bread, dark green leafy vegetables, and Eggs. Make sure that at least three of these are on your daily menu.

Weight Gain:

This is a regular Anxiety of the Menopause but the mood swings and food cravings which are so common can be avoided by taking the recommended supplements. Living on junk food and taking the pills won’t help, what you need is a diet which is roughly one third good Cereals and starches, one third fresh fruit, vegetables and salads, 15 percent Meat, Fish, Eggs and Poultry, 15 percent Dairy foods and 3 percent the naughty but nice treats. Avoid visible fats as much as you can. Make sure you get some exercise each day. Oats, cooked any way you like, are an aid to weight loss, as they help elimination, and are also a satisfying and filling food.

Headaches:

Often related to the hot flushes, and also to the stress and tension that arises at this time. Beetroot is excellent here, but don't forget the leaves and red stems. Use both root and leaf, raw in salads, dressed with sunflower seed oil, lemon juice and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Beetroot improves the oxygen carrying ability of the blood, contains Iron and is a good source of Folic Acid.

Skin Problems:

These are also caused by a drop in the oestrogen levels. Vitamin A and Vitamin E will both help. Eat plenty of the dark green and yellow vegetables and fruits. Apricots and pumpkins are good. Avocado has a special place here, and you ought to eat two a week. A monthly facial scrub using a carton of live yoghurt mixed with a heaped teaspoon of coarse sea salt is an excellent gentle exfoliant which removes dead skin.

Depression:

After the hot flushes, this is the commonest of problems. Calcium, Magnesium , and the amino acid Tryptophan, will all do you good. Get them from Dairy products, spinach, chickpeas, sesame seeds, soya beans, cashew nuts, almonds, wholemeal flour, brown rice, Bananas, dried fruits and seafood. The B vitamins are vital, and you'll find these in liver, oily Fish, wholegrain Cereals, Eggs, spinach and yeast extracts. You must have at least two of these each day. Exercise stimulates the production of adrenalin and endorphins, which makes you feel a lot better, so try to make time for physical exertion every day, no matter how low you feel.

Sexual Difficulties:

The drop in oestrogen affects the secretions of the vagina, and the quality of the tissue in the sexual organs. An active, regular sex life will delay these changes considerably. It is likely that many women will spend their later years alone, since most will survive their husbands. For them, and other single women, it does not matter whether the sexual stimulation is the result of intercourse or masturbation, it's having regular orgasms which counts. The Vitamin A and Vitamin E foods are essential, so make sure of at least two servings daily from oily fish, liver, apricots, spinach, carrots or other green and yellow veg. Vegetable oils, nuts, seeds - especially flax seeds - Eggs and wholegrain Cereals.

Other useful advice

It is important not to smoke for many reasons, not only does it increase the risk of heart disease and Osteoporosis, it also worsens the hot flushes often experienced.

Reflexology and Yoga are useful therapies for helping with the various symptoms of the Menopause.

Today women approaching or going through the Menopause have many choices, so make sure that whatever choice you make, it’s well informed. There are lots of proven and safe alternative ways to cope with this difficult time of life and the sooner you start the better.

The team at Nature’s Bounty are here to offer help and support working through the Menopause.  We have a wide range of quality vitamin supplements, herbs and aromatherapy.  Contact our friendly professional team for your natural health needs.

 

 

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