Menopause and Hormones

HELP FOR THE MENOPAUSEWHAT EVERY WOMAN OUGHT TO KNOW 

Is The Menopause An Illness?

No, it is definitely not an illness! There is however still a view adopted by some people that it is a disease rather than a natural event. Way back in 1966, Robert O. Wilson, MD published what became a best selling book, Feminine Forever. He wrote “Many physicians simply refuse to recognize menopause for what it is – a serious, painful, and often crippling disease.”

He was an ardent promoter of HRT (hormone replacement therapy now more often known as HT or hormone therapy) and his influential writing reinforced the idea that menopause is a disease that needs to be “cured” by supplying hormones. Women were prescribed HRT in their millions.  In the present time, GP’s are more cautious in recommending HRT due to links that were found with increased risks of breast cancer and cardiovascular problems.  However, for some women it remains the treatment of choice.

What is the Alternative to HRT?

Maybe you have weighed up the risks and decided you want an alternative to HRT.  A useful starting point is to look at the menopause as a natural transition rather than a deficiency disease. The hormonal flux of the menopause is inevitable but symptoms are not. The focus then shifts to strengthening your body both physically and mentally to build up resilience to the changes taking place.

Diet and nutrition play a very important role in creating this resilience. Blood sugar balance, less than optimal levels of specific vitamin and minerals, antioxidant status, gut health and food intolerances, inflammation, sub optimal functioning of the adrenal and thyroid glands and being over or underweight can all disrupt hormone balance and are factors to consider and manage.

What Happens at the Menopause?

Not so long ago “The Change” was a taboo subject. Your Doctor suggested that you put up with it and your family tolerated your erratic moods with a mixture of embarrassment and bewilderment. The menopause and its seemingly inevitable catalogue of unpleasant symptoms wasn’t something that you talked openly about with your friends either. Thankfully, these days there is a lot less secrecy and mystery surrounding the menopause.  But there is still quite a lot of information that you may not be aware of.

Menopause in its literal sense means the last menses or period. It is defined medically as not having had a period for a year. The medical term for what is commonly referred to as the menopause, is in actual fact the peri-menopause, a phase which can last 10 years or more, in which the hormones are fluctuating and symptoms are occurring.

Menopause Symptoms

During the peri-menopause, oestrogen production decreases which produces a corresponding drop in progesterone. Periods can stop suddenly, become heavier or lighter or the cycle can shorten or lengthen. The levels of FSH will keep increasing in order to try and stimulate the ovaries to produce oestrogen.

The main symptoms that can be experienced are hot flushes, insomnia, weight gain, reduced libido, mood swings, loss of bone density, vaginal dryness, loss of skin elasticity and tone, dry eyes, headaches, and fatigue.

The commonly promoted belief is that the above symptoms are only the result of reduced oestrogen levels. If this were true, every woman going through the menopause would experience symptoms but this is not actually the case. All the more reason to try working on your nutrition.

See here for more information  Menopause Help – 4 Ways to Thrive email penny@nutritionistlondon.co.uk to book a one to one nutrition consultation with me and receive a personalised programme to address your specific needs.