Whether this newsletter topic applies to you directly or indirectly (as it could help someone you care about), my goal today is to provide you with a deeper understanding of menopause AND find natural ways to help you or someone you care about ease through this transition.
There are actually three stages of menopause:
Perimenopause – the time period before actual menopause occurs.
During this stage, the two key female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, start to decline. These hormones cause the uterus to thicken to prepare for possible fertilization. When pregnancy doesn’t occur, the uterine wall sheds off in the form of menstruation. So when these hormones decline, you may experience irregular or erratic periods.
This stage is also known as menopausal transition, which may bring symptoms such as hot flashes, sleeping problems, painful sex, mood swings, irritability, and depression. If you are one who experiences this and think that you may be in menopausal transition, then read on for some tips to ease the symptoms.
Menopause – The time when you have gone without a period for 12 months straight.
Postmenopause – After menopause (that 12 month mark of no menses), you’re now considered postmenopausal from that point onward.
Perimenopause symptoms vary from mild to severe. In some cases, women describe the experience as something that makes them go “crazy.” Because estrogen affects the production of serotonin, the mood-regulator, happiness-booster hormone, having a sudden drop in estrogen can absolutely affect mood stability by altering serotonin production.
Because this stage lasts for many years (about 8-10 years before menopause), dealing with symptoms, can really affect a woman’s quality of life.
As a practitioner who is trained in functional lab testing interpretation, I find hormonal tests to be very helpful to customize diet, lifestyle and supplement recommendations to support the individual. No two women are exactly the same so neither will their hormonal transitions! That being said, I’d like to share some tips that can be helpful to ease menopausal symptoms:
Avoid trigger foods – Caffeine, alcohol, as well as sugary and spicy foods are common triggers of symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings. The best way to know which food triggers what symptom is to keep a symptom diary. Knowing so can help you avoid these triggers without having to necessarily remove everything.
Eat foods high in phytoestrogens — Phytoestrogens are natural compounds found in plants that mimic the action of estrogen in the body, thus they can lessen symptoms of menopause transition such as hot flashes. Soy, black cohosh, flaxseed, berries, mung beans, and lentils have phytoestrogens. Since they have similar actions as estrogen, it is best to discuss with your healthcare provider if there are any contraindications for you personally (this is where hormone testing can be very helpful), especially if you are already taking estrogen therapy or at a high risk to develop breast cancer.
Also, continue eating a healthy diet rich in protein, plants, and essential fats to support your overall health.
Stress management – It is expected that your emotional health may be less balanced because of declining estrogen. Using techniques to manage stress can help support mood stability.
Keeping a morning routine that includes exercising, journaling, listening to positive affirmations, meditating, praying and the like – whatever works for you, really – helps you manage your day-to-day stress and may set a positive mood for your day.
Get enough sleep – The right amount of sleep supports stress resilience and reduces memory problems. Who doesn’t want that?! If falling asleep and waking up at the right time comes as a challenge, try these tips.
Exercise – In addition to cholesterol spikes and weight gain, women in menopausal transition are prone to bone loss. So aside from managing these through diet, exercise can help keep your bones strong and your weight in a healthy range. Exercises for bone strength include walking, running, dancing, and weight training.
I hope that these tips are helpful for you. If you need help with testing or implementing lifestyle changes, please don’t hesitate to approach a health and wellness professional who is qualified to support you.
It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.
If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!
Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).
Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!
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