From about 45 our female reproductive hormone production begins to change, marking a new milestone in our lives.
This period before menopause, peri-menopause, begins somewhere between 45-55 years for most women and is usually the time when menopausal symptoms are heightened.
Whilst this change in life is something all women share, a recent survey by Flordis shows premenopausal women are still reluctant to discuss this milestone with their older (and wiser) role models.
This may be due to the fact that more than half of pre- and post-menopausal women are worried about going through menopause, mainly due to the side effects, as shown in the same survey.
The majority of women surveyed (95%) also wanted natural options to help manage their symptoms.
Menopausal symptoms do cause distress for many women, however the severity and range of symptoms will varying between individuals, and luckily women have many options to help manage the symptoms.
Hot flushes, mild anxiety, night sweats, sleeplessness and even mood swings are all symptoms of menopause and a result of the fluctuating and decreased oestrogen coursing through our body.
Hot flushes and night sweats are common symptoms of menopause with 80% of menopausal women experiencing the associated spontaneous sweating and somewhat disagreeable body heating, 20% of which describe these symptoms as severe.
Women experiencing hot flushes and sleeplessness are also more likely to experience mood imbalances and symptoms of mild anxiety, other common symptoms contributing to an unpleasant transition to menopause.
Interestingly the mood swings in menopausal women differ to those of child-bearing age, with menopausal women being more likely to have increased levels of sleep disturbance, aggression and and fatigue.
Research now confirms the importance of a comprehensive approach for a smooth menopause transition, including a number of natural management approaches.
Try incorporating these good health measures into your daily routine to help you make your menopausal transition easier.
1. Boost your diet with soy and phytoestrogen rich foods
Phytoestrogens mimic the action of our naturally produced estrogen and hence help our body cope with the reduced estrogen production in menopause.
Many plant-based foods contain phytoestrogens with the richest source being soy-based foods, such as tofu, tempeh, and edamame. Flaxseeds, legumes (like chickpeas and lentils), peas, quinoa, barley, alfalfa and clover sprouts, as well as mug bean sprouts are also good sources of phytoestrogens. Try to incorporate a range of these foods into most of your daily meals.
2. Try menopause herb – Actaea racemosa
Regarded as one of the most important herbal medicines in helping support the management menopause transition symptoms, with a long history of its use. You may wish to consider Ze450, a clinically proven extract of Actaea racemose, that has been shown to significantly relieve a range of menopause symptoms. Clinical trials and studies of over 1,000 women have shown menopause symptom improvement as early as one month with increasing relief shown over 3 to 9 months.
3. Avoid common triggers that can make hot flushes worse
Like coffee, alcohol, anxiety, stress and spicy food. Too much coffee can also contribute to feelings of anxiety or stress-like symptoms for some people. Along with a healthy diet, reducing coffee and alcohol can help reduce your hot flushes and help with menopausal symptoms.
4. Have a positive attitude and support the menopausal transition
Having a positive attitude towards menopause has been shown to reduce symptoms. Cognitive therapy, mindfulness meditation and exercise helps support a positive mood and help reduce some menopausal symptoms. Speak to your healthcare professional about the best options to help support your individual needs.
5. Maintain exercise
Regular physical exercise has been shown to be effective in managing hot flushes and help manage stress and mood. Exercise also has a number of other benefits including helping to maintain healthy weight, which can reduce hot flushes, and support cardiovascular health.
It’s also a good idea to discuss your individual needs and health options with a qualified healthcare professional, especially if you are struggling with any of the symptoms of menopause or otherwise. Remember, menopause is a natural process and these small measures can help make a difference.
- Black cohosh can harm the liver in some people. Contains lactose. Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your healthcare professional.
About the author: Dr Min Yeo is an IFM Functional and Integrative Medicine Doctor based in Bondi Junction. Her approach to medicine utilses a combination of conventional medicine and a biomedical model. She graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1987 and has had extensive training in internal medicine including neurology, cardiology and gastroenterology.