I used to have lots of energy - if only I could remember where I put it!!

Good nutrition has been shown to improve menopausal symptoms. Women in many other parts of the world show few of the menopausal symptoms compared to around 60% in the UK & US. 

Symptoms of Peri-menopause

Hot Flashes Irritability Mood swings
Irregular periods Loss of libido Anxiety
Memory Lapses Brain Fog Fatigue
Incontinence Itchy, crawly skin Aching, sore joints
Bloating Weight gain Breast tenderness
Hair loss Dizziness Body odor
Tingling Gum problems Burning tongue or mouth
Osteoporosis Tinnitus Soft or breaking fingernails
Night Sweats Insomnia Dry vagina
Confusion Breast tenderness Rapid heart beat
Headaches Depression Feelings of dread

Peri Menopause

Most women think of menopause as the time of life when their menstrual periods end. This is true, but menopause broadly includes hormonal and physical changes that take place in the three to five years during middle age before the last menstrual period. For this reason, menopause sometimes is called the "change of life." Menopause is the permanent end of menstruation and fertility and a natural part of a woman's life cycle. This stage of a woman's life occurs primarily due to decreased functioning of the ovaries. This reduced function results in decreased amounts of estrogen and a cessation of the menstrual period. All women experience menopause, however, it is a unique process for each individual woman. For most women, menopause occurs between the ages of 40-58 years old. However, it may occur as early as 30 or as late as 65 years old.

Many women experience a transition phase prior to menopause. This transition phase is called pre or peri-menopause. This is when a woman may start to notice her body beginning to change. During the period, a woman's body begins to slow its production of the female hormone oestrogen. This change in hormone levels can cause weight gain, irregular periods, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and decreased libido. In fact, recent studies have found for every two pounds of weight gained during menopause, the risk of high blood pressure increases by as much as five percent. Some women also experience aches and pains, mood swings, anxiety and insomnia (difficulty sleeping). These uncomfortable symptoms although not a serious health issue can lead to loss of  quality of life. This reduced quality of life is the primary reason women seek out solutions.

Relief for menopausal symptoms

To relieve these symptoms, many women are advised by their doctors to take hormone replacement therapy (HRT). But HRT may not be right for every woman. Some women feel the dangers and obvious risks that come with HRT are far outweighed by any benefit that they may serve. For example: if a woman takes HRT for more than five years, her risk of developing breast cancer increases. There are also higher risks of developing blood clots. Other women simply do not want to use chemical treatments for what is a natural, normal stage in life. 

You can help relive some of the symptoms of menopause by taking the following measures:

  • Drink 2 litres of water a day - water has been shown to minimise the number and severity of hot flashes.
  • Avoid the following foods - caffeine, carbonated drinks,  non-organic beef, pork and chicken (they often contain xeno-estrogens which act similar to oestrogen but disrupt the natural hormones leading to oestrogen dominance) products that contain refined white flour such as cakes & pastries.
  • Use more of the following foods - Whole grains, oats, flax seeds, tofu, fresh fruit and vegetables, almonds, cashew nuts.
  • Excercise - a study from Lund university showed that women who excercised regularly were less likely to suffer hot flushes.
  • Control blood sugar levels - the hormones that regulate menopausal symptoms (oestrogen & progesterone) are also affected by the level of glucose in blood so avoiding fluctuacting blood sugar levels will lessen menopausal symptoms.
  • Useful supplements - Vitamins C & E, essential fatty acids such as flax seed oil and evening primrose oil, black cohosh, maca, progesterone cream (available from your G.P. but only generally prescribed if your progesterone levels show low on blood tests) DHEA (only on prescription).