Managing the Menopause – Wild Nutrition USA
Managing the Menopause
 
 
 

Managing the Menopause

 
 

Menopause is a natural, transitionary stage moving a woman away from the child-bearing years into a stage that, according to Ayurvedic and traditional chinese medicine perspectives, is characterized by ‘soul development’. Indeed Dr Christiane Northrop beautifully states that “Our fertility stops being about having children and starts being about what we create for ourselves that benefits us and the people around us.”

Yet, during my 12 years in clinic I have worked with many women who’s experience of the menopause has been less than positive, dominated by unwanted symptoms such as hot flushes or anxiety. 

 

What is the menopause?

Full menopause is usually determined by the absence of a menstrual period for more than 1 year and your GP may conduct a blood test to measure changes in determining hormones such as oestrodial, LH and FSH. This usually occurs between the ages 45 and 55, with the average age being 51 years in the UK.

Prior to full menopause is a stage known as the peri-menopause. Women moving into peri-menopause may experience almost PMS type symptoms rather than classic menopause symptoms – so these are not to be confused. Symptoms of peri-menopause may continue for many years before full menopause is reached. It is thought that 80% of women experience vasomotor symptoms during this time. Vasomotor symptoms are more commonly referred to as ‘hot flushes’ or ‘night sweats’ where women may experience, often rapid, changes in body temperature, palpitations and a shift between experiencing heat and chills. It is thought that the hypothalamus (which controls body temperature) is affected by a change in oestrodial and LH.

Women should seek advice as soon as they begin to see changes in their cycle. Peri-menopause can go on for some time, but its not to be confused with PMS symptoms and only a professional will be able to support deciphering the difference. The nutritional therapist may also recommend some hormone testing, either through the client’s GP or privately. Some changes in cycle and symptoms may be better managed naturally if dealt with earlier on. Very often women who are very tired, stressed and overworked will begin to find peri-menopause a challenge and supporting the adrenal glands and energy systems should begin early.

 

What can you do to support your experience?

Whatever a woman’s experience it is vitally important to remember that this is not a disease, it is a natural progression to a different stage of a woman’s life cycle and that it is mind, body and spirit experience. Supporting your nutritional and emotional wellbeing during this process can provide the perfect environment for this ebb and flow to be experienced as a positive transition.  

 

Lifestyle support

  • Imbalances in other systems in the body such as the elimination or detoxification channels can affect your experience of the menopause so consider a well-supported detoxification programme such as our Total Cleanse Programme.
  • Stress can have a significant influence on your experience of the menopause. Set aside regular time to do something that you love and that makes you feel good, or try to find a hobby; and don’t feel guilty for spending time on yourself. Laughter in particular is highly stress-relieving.
  • Be mindful of environmental oestrogens that may act as harmful hormone disruptors. To minimize these don’t cook or heat foods in plastic –use glass or crockery instead. Use pots or frying pans made of steel or non toxic cookware. Minimize use of chemical based cosmetics and household cleaning products. Smoking can lead to earlier onset of the menopause so if you are a smoker, consider giving up.
  • Establish a healthy weight. Women who are overweight may experience a later onset of menopause
  • Genetic polymorphisms or single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP’S) can also affect symptoms experienced in the menopause.

 

Supportive supplements

I have formulated our Botanical Menopause Complex  to nurture and support this process from the initial mild changes of peri-menopause to the changing landscape after menopause'. A  selection of herbs and magnesium to support the journey through menopause, from peri-menopause through to the post-menopause stage of life including:

  • Dong Quai is a gentle yet very effective herb to support oetrogen modulation. Research has shown it to decrease the intensity of hot flushes, sleep disturbances and fatigue.
  • Ashwagandha is an ‘adaptogenic’ herb to assists our ability to adapt to stress via the pituitary and adrenals. Once oestrogen production declines from the ovaries, the adrenals become central in producing a type of oestrogen used for bone density and brain health. Our KSM Ashwagandha has been shown to promote the reduction stress hormones such as cortisol, normalize thyroid hormones and support poor sleep.
  • Turmeric has also been included in the Botanical Menopause to support phase 2 liver detoxification, essential when supporting hormone metabolism.
  • Food-Grown Magnesium during stages of menopause to form heathy bone density & cardiac support. As ‘natures tranquilizer’ magnesium has been shown to support feelings of stress/anxiety