If you’re female in your mid 40s to early 50s, chances are you’re experiencing a few changes in your body; both physically and emotionally.…and without stating the obvious, menopause is unavoidable.
These changes can affect your heart, your blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, bones and your mood! Symptoms of menopause generally include hot flushes, irritability and low mood, poor sleep and night sweats, difficulty concentrating, feeling anxious, reduced libido, dryness, aches and pains, headaches and generally a feeling of not coping as well as you used to. However, no one woman will experience menopause in the same way. Your current health and wellbeing, lifestyle, family history and previous mood disorder’s can all impact on the severity of menopausal symptoms.
Some lucky women (about 20%) will fly through menopause without any symptoms. Others may experience symptoms, which significantly interfere with their daily lives. Some clients tell me they can’t live with themselves and feel like ants are crawling all over their skin. The good news is the majority of women will experience mild to moderate symptoms.
In western society we tend to see menopause as the end of a female’s reproductive years and sexual desirability. By contrast African and Aboriginal women view menopause as a new and positive beginning and the start of their role as cultural leaders and elders.
So what can you do to help manage your symptoms? Enjoying your newfound wisdom with respected life experience to share with younger generations is a great start! Reducing stress is always a good thing, with many studies showing stress and anxiety can influence the frequency and intensity of hot flushes. Reducing certain foods responsible for stimulating the endocrine system, think coffee and hot spices… plus it goes without saying…enjoying alcohol in moderation…are simple adjustments that can have a very positive impact.
Menopause is a perfect time in a woman’s life to look inwards and a great time to examine your own health and implement a proactive wellness strategy.
Examining your health could include some basic pathology testing along with getting to know your current bone health. Once you have an understanding of your body’s biochemistry and functionality, it’s easy and often quite motivating to make any necessary dietary and lifestyle changes.
Checking in with your own health during this time of your life will not only help you reduce current hormonal symptoms, but also improve your overall wellbeing and reduce your risk of chronic diseases.
Here’s to enjoying a wise new chapter of your life…with health and vitality!
Angela Emmerton | Practical Nutritionist