How to reduce menopause symptoms naturally isn't some secret squirrel thing that only people we read about can know. It is achievable by all women reaching this age.
The number one cause of menopause symptoms is stress. But there is more to it. Read on my menopausal friend.
Somewhere just after hitting 50 maybe a bit before is when we start lying about our age in reverse. Instead of telling everyone we are 6 years younger we tell them we are 6 years older. That way we get to hear the "Gee! You look fantastic for your age." This is also when we buy a shopping trolley and start running over peoples feet in the bus for not giving us their seat. And most excitedly it is when our ovaries stop producing estrogens.
We still get a small amount from our adrenal glands and fat tissue but our ovaries produce the bulk and when they stop our estrogen levels decline very quickly.
Many of us (I was definitely not in that number) can get through this time feeling okay, physically and mentally. But some of us have symptoms, which might include hot flushes, night sweats, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, and maybe even depression.
I experienced hot flushes that were severe and frequent which left me feeling exhausted and frustrated.
Not So Natural Hormone Replacement Theory
Who needs HRT when we have chardonnay and cheesecake.
Seriously though there are hormone replacement treatments that can help to reduce menopause symptoms very effectively.
HRT got a bad rap back in 2001 when the Women’s Health Initiative published a damaging report stating that HRT increased the risk of breast cancer. Since then further studies have concluded that for most recently menopausal women the benefits outweigh the risks. However, HRT is not a one size fits all solution.
If that is the road you want to go down it is up to you and your doctor to find one that works well for your particular makeup.
I myself have chosen to use HRT and am on a tablet that works very well at helping me keep on top of my symptoms.
However, I found the biggest impact in reducing the symptoms for me came from improving my diet and lifestyle.
Using hormone replacement therapy is always a hot topic of debate. The HRT I take might cause a slightly higher risk of breast cancer but actually lowers the risk of ovarian cancer so it is considered cancer-risk neutral. I have yearly diagnostic tests for breast cancer so I am keeping on top of that very minimal, higher risk factor.
I have chosen to use what my doctor has prescribed alongside a more natural form of good diet and lifestyle and that works well for me but we are all different and what works for me may not be a good combination for you.
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The Menopause Symptoms You Experience...
Are mainly caused by the drop in estrogen from your ovaries. However, this is not the only change you will experience. Your testosterone which helps with the growth, maintenance and repair of a woman’s reproductive tissues and bone mass also declines as does progesterone which keeps your uterine wall healthy and can help keep some of those menopause symptoms under control.
These changes are natural and in perfect conditions our bodies should adapt fairly easily. However, there are factors that can interfere with this natural transition and it is these that we need to mitigate if we are to make the transition easier.
So how do we keep from letting these changes throw our mind and bodies into disarray causing our hormones to become completely out of balance and menopause symptoms to run amuck?
To me it is about one thing:
Keep our body’s processes working optimally. In fact, boost them as much as you can to peak performance.
One of the major factors in throwing our metabolic processes out of balance is stress.
Chronic stress can cause:
Our adrenal glands become unable to keep up with the demands of being in a perpetual state of fight-or-flight. As a result, they can't produce quite enough of the hormones you need to feel good.
The stress that can cause our adrenals to become overloaded can be:
- Physical - such as an injury or damage to the body of some sort.
- Toxic - such as unnatural skincare, pesticides, harsh cleaning products, an overload of sugar and food additives.
- Mental - caused by worry or demands of our often busy lives.
Conversely (and because they are related) if our adrenals are working overtime we may be experiencing:
Which can cause:
- Increased body temperature
- weight loss/gain
- disrupted digestion
- And mood swings
can also become an issue. Under stress, our bodies are making excess cortisol and as a consequence, it makes less progesterone so making us estrogen dominant.
Some of the possible side effects of estrogen dominance are:
- weight gain
- hot flashes
- mood swings
Other hormones that can become imbalanced due to stress are:
Which is produced in response to stress and can disrupt sleep, cause weight gain and trigger anxiety.
If you are insulin resistant then the body doesn’t use this hormone efficiently. Possible side effects can be cravings, tiredness and difficulty shedding weight.
If our hormones are out of balance, then we are vulnerable to increasing inflammation sending more of our bodies resources rushing to the site of the inflammation which opens up the path for further and therefore worsening menopause symptoms.
We Can Keep Our body's Processes Working Optimally,
through good dietary and lifestyle choices.
Eat high-quality protein mostly derived from plants
By filling up on low-calorie fruits and vegetables, you can help minimize weight gain while getting the nutrients you need to stay healthy.
Cut out processed foods high in sugar and refined carbs,
which are known to disrupt your insulin production putting other hormones out of balance and exacerbating menopause symptoms. Eat foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as Salmon and linseeds. Omega 3 is thought to help with night sweats.
Include soluble fibre in your diet
such as leafy greens, nuts and seeds. This will help with digestion, bloating and gut health.
Less saturated fats
and more fats from healthy sources such as nuts, seeds avocado, olive and coconut. These are essential for keeping or metabolic processes running smoothly.
is essential to protect our bones and help with mood swings as we transition into menopause. We can get this from being out in the sun for just a few minutes each day but many experts recommend taking a supplement to make certain that we are getting enough. Especially in less sunny climates. I take a supplement which I have been taking since entering perimenopause. My mood swings at that time were not good, for me or my family. Vitamin D made a huge difference.
is also important to help with bone loss especially if you are not taking a hormone replacement. We can get good amounts of calcium from leafy greens but for some getting enough from the diet may be difficult. It may be worth considering taking a supplement.
Avoid symptom triggering foods
such as caffeine, alcohol, sugar as we have mentioned and hot spices which can trigger hot flushes.
Don't forget your water
No natural menopause nutrition list would be complete without the mention of water. Water will help combat the vaginal and skin dryness caused by the loss of estrogen.
ARE YOU MAKING THESE MENOPAUSE WEIGHT LOSS MISTAKES?
And what you should be doing instead!
Regular exercise can improve sleep quality, anxiety, low mood and fatigue. It can also protect against weight gain.
Low-intensity cardio exercise
such as swimming, biking or walking is more important than high-intensity workouts that put unnecessary stress on the body while we are transitioning through perimenopause and menopause.
such as spin classes and HIIT puts our bodies under stress. As previously mentioned when cortisol is present over long periods then it interferes with our sleep hormone, melatonin, as well as our blood sugar hormone, insulin. These continual high levels then cause our body to hang on to fat around our middle and we start to struggle to recover from our exercise. Adrenal fatigue will
When your stress levels are low and you are getting 8 hours of sleep a night adding 1 or 2 harder workouts back into your regime could be advantageous.
Other lifestyle changes
Maintain a healthy weight
Evidence suggests that menopause symptoms are worse with weight gain.
can help with the flow of energy through the body improving general wellbeing and sleep. There are also restorative poses that can improve relaxation and muscular aches and pains.
A positive mindset
menopause is just another challenge in life. It is important to stay positive. The lack of positive thoughts is just as damaging as the existence of negative ones. It has been found that women who see menopause from a negative perspective have more frequent and severe symptoms.
Consider boosting the positive aspects of menopause with:
the intentional act of focusing on the present moment. This can be done by noticing the breath and allowing thoughts to come but letting them pass through without judgement or dwelling on them.
A positive mindset
find gratitude in your day to day life. At the beginning and end of every day,h I list 3 things I am grateful for. In the morning it is on my walk in the evening it is in my journal. And don’t forget to be grateful to yourself from time to time.
Do you have someone to talk too? It is important to have other women you can compare notes with and offload too. Deepen your relationships by being fully present with those close to you. Talking with other women about menopause is important as we try to lift the shroud of silence that often surrounds this subject. The more we talk and discuss the less taboo Menopause will be.
It is no coincidence that the single most positive impact we can have on our health is the single most positive impact you can have to:
reduce menopause symptoms naturally.
That is to reduce stress, Stress in your body through diet and exercise and stress in your life through mindfulness and connection.