Whilst doing some reading for this post, every other blog I read started with “the menopause usually occurs around late 40’s or early 50’s”, “symptoms include” and “hormone replacement therapy should be considered” and continued with ‘ailments’, ‘problems’, ‘disappointment’ and ‘medicate’. Wow. Just wow!
No one mentioned how it is a natural developmental stage and a very important and empowering time in a woman’s life. A time when women move into their own power, ‘when regeneration of the young transforms into regeneration of wisdom’. A time that should be celebrated, not feared. A time of change and transformation, not disease and medication.
Yes, the menopause can be a challenging time for many women. The body is going through a huge physiological change with hormonal fluctuations and a re-wiring of the nervous system. But the good news is there are many things we can do to help ourselves through the transition:
Increase your fats
Hormones made in the adrenal glands, testes and ovaries are derived from cholesterol. Fats – wild-caught cold water fish, nuts and seeds, olive and coconut oils, and avocado – are essential to healthy hormones.
Eat leafy green veg
As well as being anti-inflammatory, leafy green vegetables support the liver which is essential for hormone health as it metabolises excess hormones.
Add in phytoestrogens
Phytoestrogens are plant based estrogens which bind with estrogen receptors in the body and can help to keep hormonal symptoms in check. They include flaxseeds, chia seeds, fermented soy products, sesame seeds and chick peas.
Avoid inflammatory foods
Inflammatory foods stress the body and create hormone imbalance. Foods you may want to consider avoiding are refined carbohydrates, gluten, dairy, caffeine, alcohol and sugar. Hot flush triggers include caffeine, alcohol, sugary and spicy foods.
Changes in hormone levels have a direct effect on the nervous system and we may find that we are no longer able to cope as well with stressful situations. Exercise is shown to improve mood and help with hormone balancing. It can also help improve sleep and build stronger bones.
Reduce your exposure to toxins
Toxins can disrupt the endocrine system and even mimic estrogen. Try swapping plastic for glass containers for food cooking and storage. Eat organic foods and use organic skin care products.
Did you know hormones work to a schedule? This is known as the circadian rhythm and when you are not going to bed before midnight and not sleeping a regular 7-8 hours you are doing your body a major disservice. Cortisol, the stress hormone, is regulated at midnight when our energy is at its lowest. If this pattern is continually disturbed, hormone balance will be affected as the production of cortisol is prioritised over sex hormones.
My number one top tip
Get a handle on stress
It is really important to manage stress as one of the functions of estrogen is to keep cortisol levels in check. Estrogen declines as we move into peri-menopause, so cortisol naturally rises. This can slow down the digestive process, cause sleep problems and leave us feeling unable to cope. And excess cortisol lays itself down as fat across the middle. Try to increase your down time (i.e. get off screens), walk in nature, spend time with loved ones, do yoga, meditate, do more of whatever it is that makes you happy.
I’ve seen women in my clinic who have been offered antidepressants alongside HRT for menopausal symptoms. Stories like this, which are not just confined to the menopause, but in fact most women’s hormonal conditions, is what inspired me to become a Certified Hormone Specialist. There is so much that can be done naturally to help women without having to resort to medications. Homeopathy alongside the above tips can work wonders.
If this resonates with you, please do get in touch for a free-chat on how we could work together.