If you’re experiencing menopause, you don’t need us to tell you how challenging it can be! Let’s talk through the science.
What is menopause?
You’re said to be experiencing menopause if your periods have ceased for 12 months or longer. This usually – but not always – occurs between 45 and 55 years old. 1https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/menopause/ Menopausal symptoms affect more than 75% of women and one in four report severe symptoms. 2https://thebms.org.uk/2021/08/…womens-health-strateg/
Menopausal symptoms can last for an average of 7 years and may include the following:
- Brain fog
- Hot flushes
- Night sweats
- Mood changes
- Memory problems
- Decreased libido
- Joint aches and pains
- Vaginal dryness
- Changes in body shape and weight gain
- Difficulty sleeping
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
What’s happening inside your body?
Just before and during menopause, hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone gradually (and erratically) decline. Oestrogen influences many systems in your body, including:
- Fat metabolism, including cholesterol production
- Glucose metabolism
- Bone health
- The Cardiovascular system
- Skin health, including the production of collagen
- Cognitive function – memory and concentration
So when your oestrogen levels go down, any of these systems may be affected. Your oestrogen production is regulated by enzymes produced by bacteria inside your gut. This system is called the “Oestrobolome”.
What can you do to help manage symptoms?
To help balance hormones, you must support your gut!
Adopt an anti-inflammatory diet, high in fruits, vegetables, pulses, wholegrains, oily fish, olive oil, nuts and seeds, and low in sugar, ultra-processed foods and red meat. This will also help to balance blood glucose levels and stress hormones. 4https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352289520300448 5https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7468821/
Swap vegetable oils for extra virgin olive oil.8https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7603201/
Exercise helps balance blood glucose, lifts mood, aids sleep and increases the diversity of gut bacteria. 9https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5357536/ 10https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6384011/ 11https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/
Include a mix of aerobic, resistance and balance exercises. Weight-bearing exercise is good for maintaining bone health (bone density can decline as oestrogen levels drop). 12https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6429007/
Remember, the best exercise is the one that you do regularly and enjoy! Always listen to your body – train at an intensity that suits you. Doing a HIIT class when you’re already feeling run down or tired will cause more harm than good!
This is an important one! Stress hormones can interfere with the production and regulation of hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone. Take time for yourself, relax and switch on your ‘rest and digest‘ mode to help the gut bugs thrive!
The quality of our sleep affects all of the above! Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night, ideally between 9 pm and 7 am. 13https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3375033/ Adopt a bedtime routine to suit you – a relaxing bath, reading a book – whatever helps you unwind and switch off!
To help support hormone balance, read about our Organic Shatavari tincture.
Contact one of our Nutritional Therapists via live chat from 8 am to 8 pm on weekdays for bespoke advice on gut wellness.