Menopause is a natural part of every woman’s life.
Yet it is probably the least talked about topic when it comes to women’s health.
Thinking about menopause can be a source of anxiety and stress for some women. But it shouldn’t be.
Here at Think Live Natural, we aim to remove any stigma attached to menopause. We want to give you the straight facts and equip you with the knowledge to live your best, healthiest life at any age. To help you on your way, read our concise guide to menopause which you can get through in five minutes (give or take a few seconds).
To help you on your way, read our concise guide to menopause which you can get through in five minutes (give or take a few seconds).
Via Pexels: Miesha Moriniere
What is it?
Simply put, the term ‘menopause’ (or ‘the change of life’ as it’s sometimes called) refers to the time when a woman’s period stops. During the last years of menstruation,
During the last years of menstruation, fewer eggs are released. Coupled with hormonal changes, this eventually leads to the end of a woman’s menstruation. Typically you can expect to experience it between the ages of 45 to 55, but this may differ as every woman is different.
In some cases, women experience menopause at a very early age. This is called premature menopause and it may come as a result of cancer treatments, premature ovarian failure or surgical removal of the ovaries.
There are 3 stages to menopause:
- Pre-menopause (also known as “pre-menopause”).
- The average menopausal age in the United States is 51
- About 8 in 10 women experience menopausal symptoms
- For 1 in 10 women, these symptoms can last for up to 12 years
- Women can lose up to 20% of their bone density in the first five to seven years of their menopause
- Studies show that 57% of women tend to experience more than one menopausal symptom whereas the other 43% of women only experience irregular periods
- Factors such as poor diet and smoking may cause menopause to come early
How can you recognise it?
During menopause, you can expect your hormone levels to change. As a result you may experience:
- Hot Flushes
This is the most common symptom of menopause, with an average of 75% of menopausal women experiencing this. They can be described as a sudden wave of heat that spreads throughout the body (and appears at random times). This may also include sweating or turning red but again, this depends on the woman.
Hot flushes are typically caused by hormone changes that affect your body temperature. Some things that are said to worsen hot flushes are spicy food, hot drinks such as tea and coffee, stress and alcohol.
Other symptoms include:
- Changes to your periods such as irregular, heavier or lighter periods
- New facial hair growth
- Excessive sweating
- Breast changes
- Hair loss
Some emotional symptoms include: rapid changes in mood, tiredness, depression and anxiety.
Via Unsplash: Jake Thacker
Menopause is said to increase your risk of osteoporosis and heart disease.
Osteoporosis: On average, 1 in 3 women have osteoporosis. Bone health naturally decreases for women after 35. Oestrogen strengthens the bone and as women reach menopause, their oestrogen levels decrease meaning that bones can become weaker and lose density. This thinning of the bones is called osteoporosis.
Heart disease: After reaching menopausal age, women are more likely to be at risk of heart disease. In fact, statistics show that women are more likely to die from heart disease than breast cancer.
HRT and Beyond
During menopause, women may choose to take medication or alternative treatment to help alleviate the symptoms. One of the common forms of medication is hormone replacement therapy (HRT for short). HRT replenishes low levels of oestrogen and relieves some of the common menopausal symptoms.
Although this is the case, there are a number of risks associated with HRT such as increased risk of heart disease, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and blood clots.
A number of women choose to go the natural route, opting for alternative treatments during menopause. Ingredients such as pomegranate fruit extract, evening primrose oil, soybean extract, red clover have been reported to help improve some menopausal symptoms.
Via Unsplash: Bruno Nascimento
Menopause does mark a change to a woman’s body but it’s not something that should be viewed negatively. Rather, it’s an opportunity to get to know your body again. As with any change that happens in the body, equipped with knowledge and practical advice, you can continue living a healthy life. Here are a few tips that can help:
- Healthy eating: Eat foods rich in phytoestrogens to lower your risk of osteoporosis, breast cancer, heart disease as well as reduce your menopausal symptoms. Foods such as soybeans, carrots, apples, oats and flaxseeds are rich in phytoestrogens.
- Reduce stress: For many women, menopause is a time of change that can cause stress. It’s important incorporate a number of techniques such as sleeping well, enjoying time for yourself and maintaining a routine to help reduce the stress in your life.
- Exercise: As with anything, exercise is essential, mostly because it keeps you active but also reduces your risk of osteoporosis. Aim for 30 minutes a day of any physical activity (examples include walking, running and aerobic exercise).