What is Menopause? How to spot the signs and how to treat the symptoms. All revealed in today’s blog:

It you ask most older women what they dread the chances are many will say the Menopause!

What is Menopause? 

Menopause is a natural stage of life that all women go through. It can be a frightening time for some women, who don’t understand why their body is changing in such a way.
Most people know that the menopause is a time when a woman’s periods stop and her ovaries no longer release eggs. The average age that this happens is 52
But what most people don’t realise is that this is not something that happens overnight . There is a stage before the menopause called the peri-menopause, which can start years before periods actually stop.
The falling Oestrogen and Progesterone hormones (female sex hormones) in the body can make a women feel different
Signs you may be going through the change can include:
Hot flushes
Night sweats
Mood changes
Poor concentration
Vaginal dryness
Insomnia

The declining Oestrogen can also lead to thinning of the bones, hair thinning, incontinence, memory loss and much more.
Most women, including myself, are good at talking about most things but the menopause seems to be one thing that women aren’t so good at talking about!
Women often feel out if sorts for months or even years before seeking help.

The message today is talk to your partner and friends about the menopause and if you are worried about your symptoms see your Dr.

How will the menopause affect me ?
Some women go though the menopause with barely any symptoms some get it severely and need treatment to help them.
To combat severe symptoms Drs may prescribe hrt , which replaces the Oestrogen and hormones that we are lacking in the menopause
This comes in the form of tablets, patches creams and implants
It is not suitable for everyone. For example a history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer , heart disease, strokes and liver disease are reasons we wouldn’t use it.
Many women are scared of hrt after stories in the press about hrt being linked to health problems like breast cancer .

The good news is that more recent evidence suggests that In most cases the benefits outweigh the risks and even if you aren’t suitable there are other medications that may be helpful.

Does the Menopause make you moody?
Many women find that their mood changes and a recent report suggests that concentrations levels and memory can drop up to 40% when they go through the menopause

How do you treat the Menopause if you can’t take HRT?

Non-HRT alternatives can include antidepressants, tibolone (a man made hormone), clonidine (tablets used to prevent migraines and to treat menopausal flushing), and gabapentin. Complementary therapies include the ladycare magnet (it is not known exactly how this works but medical studies show women feel relief of symptoms), black cohosh, ginseng, red clover, evening primrose oil, kava, which can all ease menopausal symptoms. Furthermore, regular exercise and avoiding caffeine, smoking and alcohol can all hel

For any woman who cannot or does not choose to take HRT, I recommend that women could try acupuncture and some holistic therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy. There is also new research looking into testosterone patches which can help with concentration and low moods.

To combat lack of bone density, women can do weight bearing exercise, take calcium and vitamin D.
Can Diet Help to control Menopausal Symptoms?

During the menopause, our metabolic rate drops, as does our cardiovascular rate, so women must be careful to watch their blood pressure. Increasing levels of magnesium and potassium is important, as is reducing sodium. (Potassium lowers blood pressure whilst sodium heightens blood pressure). Foods such as oranges, bananas, new potatoes, sweet potatoes, white beans, dates, tomatoes, and raisins all help here.

Studies have found that the DASH low salt diet improved women’s moods in the menopause, whilst oily fish have been shown to reduce depressive symptoms in some. Generally healthy diets are linked to better cognition and concentration.

It is also important to eat lots of B vitamins to keep energy up and a positive mentality. Wholegrains, marmite and fortified cereals all contain vitamin B.

We also lose bone density as we age and especially in the menopause, so we should up our level of calcium. Cheese, yoghurts, milk, pak choi and dark leafy greens all contain a lot of calcium.

 

Is there anything to help specifically with hot flushes?

Hot flushes are one of the most common symptoms a woman experiences during the menopause. It is a sudden feeling of heat in the upper body, which may spread between the face, neck, and/or chest. A woman may perspire to cool down her body, in some cases excessively. Some women also experience a rapid heart rate or chills. Hot flushes accompanied with sweating can also occur at night.

As well as following the above guidelines, women should ensure that they sleep in cool room, as well as reduce consumption of spicy foods and refraining from smoking. Women are best doing regular aerobic or low intensity work outs, as high intensity can make flushes worse.

 

They can also use a number of cooling products:

For example the Chillow (cooling pillow)

PCM pillow cover (cooling pillow cover)

Climsom cooling mattress topper (circulates cold water) all of these products are available online and help to give women a cooler nights sleep, so these could be worth a try.

Diet:  I can not stress the benefits of soya enough! Soya has an effect in the body similar to oestrogen so can help with all symptoms but mainly hot flushes. Examples include soya milk, edamame beans, and tofu. A study showed that 90mg of isoflavones a day, found in soy, reduced hot flushes.

The Mediterranean diet is recommended by dieticians as a healthy diet and it is thought that this can improve women’s moods.