Menopause is not a disease; it is a natural part of every woman’s life that usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, when the ovaries cease to function and stop producing estrogen. In the few years prior to your final period, also known as the perimenopausal phase, the production of oestrogen by the ovaries slows down, progesterone levels can also drop too, hormone levels start to fluctuate and you may notice changes such as:
Nature’s Answers to Menopausal Miseries
Making positive changes to your diet can reduce the symptoms of menopause.
• Phytoestrogens (plant oestrogens) replace some natural estrogens lost during menopause, and may reduce menopausal symptoms – good sources of phytoestrogens include organic fermented soy products such as tempeh,plus flaxseeds and legumes.
• Eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables every day.
• Include lean meat, fish or chicken in your diet.
• Drink six to eight glasses of filtered water daily.
• Decrease caffeine intake (coffee, tea, soft-drinks).
• Limit alcohol to one to two standard glasses, or less, per day.
Herbal Medicines to Relieve Emotional and Physical Symptoms of Menopause
A combination of traditional Chinese herbs may help with emotional symptoms of menopause. Bupleurum (Bupleurum falcatum), Chinese peony (Paeonia lactiflora), dong quai (Angelica polymorpha), licorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis) and ginger (Zingiber officinale) are all herbs that may work in synergy to relieve depression, irritability and headaches associated with menopause.
Physical symptoms of menopause, such as hot flushing, night sweats, lower back pain and dry skin may be relieved with herbs such as rehmannia (Rehmannia glutinosa), Chinese yam (Dioscorea opposita), and zizyphyus (Zizyphus spinosa).
Regular Physical Activity
Aim for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week to maintain general health, control weight and help keep your bones strong and healthy. Exercise is so important at this stage of life and if you find it difficult to exercise enough each week, try joining a walking group, an aerobics class, a yoga class or finding an exercise buddy to help you achieve your exercise goals!
Stress, whether it is emotional, dietary or physical stress will increase cortisol production and this can have a negative impact on progesterone levels leading to an imbalance of progesterone and estrogen in the perimenopause period which can cause many of the symptoms listed above. Prolonged stress can lead to low DHEA the precursor to estrogen which can cause menopausal symptoms by lowering estrogen and your body’s ability to produce estrogen in the adrenals which is the primary source of estrogen post menopause.
It is important to do an adrenal test and sex hormone test to determine what your hormone levels are, treatment would be different if you have adrenal issues and if you are low progesterone compared to estrogen or if you have low estrogen. Other things to consider is getting a full thyroid test that includes at least TSH, T3 and T4
If you need help with hormone testing I work with clients throughout Australia and can organize the hormone test kits to be sent directly to you, just email me at email@example.com