The menopause is an inevitable life stage affecting women in different ways. The menopause is a natural process resulting from changes in hormone levels within the body; it is not a disease, and cannot be prevented. Here we discuss advice for going through the menopause and menopause relief from symptoms with Dr David Mantle.
Menopause and Menopause Relief
What is the average age a woman can expect to experience the menopause?
The menopause typically occurs around the age of 50.
How long can the process take?
The peri-menopause stage precedes the menopause, and is when we're likely to experience the first symptoms. The average duration of peri-menopause is approximately 4 years. A woman is considered to be post-menopausal when she has not had a period for 1 year.
What are the most common symptoms women can expect?
Symptoms typically include lighter or heavier periods, hot flushes, insomnia, irritability, breast tenderness, skin problems, vaginal dryness, reduced sex drive, palpitations and headaches. A recent study has found that two out of three women suffered from hot flushes during perimenopause, with one in eight women experiencing hot flushes while still having regular periods. The study also found that the earlier hot flushes started, the longer the symptoms are likely to persist.
Around 40 percent of women will experience intimate dryness during or after the menopause due to a natural decline in oestrogen levels. As well as dryness, symptoms can include burning, stinging, itching and an increased risk of urinary tract infections. Below are some supplements that may offer menopause relief.
Can a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle make things worse?
Menopause symptoms can vary widely in severity and duration, with some women passing through the menopause relatively trouble free. While genetic factors have a role to play in the severity of symptoms, there are also implications from lifestyle factors such as diet, smoking, alcohol and stress.
A healthy diet provides the many vitamins and minerals required for the body to produce oestrogen and progesterone hormones, in addition, phytoestrogens contained in fruits and vegetables can help to mediate the fall in ovarian oestrogen levels during the menopause. Moderate exercise increases production of oestrogen and progesterone, although excessive exercise reduces production of these hormones. There is a link between this and early menopause. Smoking can be a cause of earlier menopause and more severe menopausal symptoms; women who smoke are twice as likely to have hot flushes. There is also a link between alcohol intake, early menopause and more severe menopausal symptoms.
Nutritionally, what advice would you give to women to ease the symptoms?
Avoid Convenience foods, particularly those with a high sugar content. They can be deficient in key nutrients as well as exacerbating menopause-related weight gain. Certain types of “trigger” foods can also increase the risk of hot flushes such as spicy foods, coffee and chocolate.
A number of nutritional deficiencies which can contribute to menopausal symptoms in menopausal women. This includes deficiencies in magnesium, zinc, calcium and vitamins C and D. The use of a supplement containing calcium, vitamin K and magnesium, can reduce menopausal-related osteoporosis and bone fractures. Supplementation with coenzyme Q10 can help to restore depleted energy levels and reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Two plant derived supplements, Omega 7 sea buckthorn oil and Lady Prelox, have been shown in clinical studies to offer menopause relief from vaginal dryness and decreased libido respectively.
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