The menopause subject is huge and complex, but it is a period of time all women will traverse through – and have done since time began.
I meet so many women who are fearful of this oncoming natural phase of life, primarily due to the media heavily focusing on how terrible it will or can be. While this might be true for some women it certainly isn’t the case for all, and much can be done to support this particular time of life.
The Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care says the following: “Menopause is not an illness. It is normal for hormone levels to fall in middle age.”
The term ‘menopausal’ actually means the period before the menopause – peri-menopause. The true menopause is a year or so after a woman has her final menstrual period.
With this phase may come a sense of one’s youth disappearing with the onset of troublesome physical and emotional challenges. A sadness may arise because a chapter is closing. But another is beginning and the good news is that can be embraced with the right help and understanding.
WHAT’S GOING ON
Popular medical opinion is that when women enter this transition they are facing a disease of ‘oestrogen insufficiency’ resulting in ovarian failure. But oestrogen doesn’t decrease appreciably until after a woman’s last period.
The symptoms mentioned above are due to hormone imbalance. Commonly there is sufficient or too much oestrogen, but insufficient progesterone which can lead to thyroid insufficiency and associated symptoms. Many women go into the menopausal phase oestrogen dominant and so care should be taken when considering oestrogen therapy.
Progesterone deficiency is a complex of stress disorders which include excess iron (only supplement with iron under strict advice, don’t assume tiredness is low iron), high cortisol (stress hormone) and low thyroid.
Many women entering the peri-menopause phase are already exhausted due to pressured lifestyles, nutritional deficiencies, poor sleep patterns and stress and so are running on empty, lacking the raw materials to produce adequate hormones.
START BALANCING HORMONES WITH BREAKFAST
Begin the day with a protein breakfast to nourish the liver so it can do its job properly, detoxifying any excess oestrogen. Eggs are a superfood in their own right and combined with a carbohydrate (sourdough toast) and some good quality fat (butter or coconut oil) will set you up for the day. Choline, an ‘essential’ nutrient found in eggs is critical for a number of functions including metabolism, neurotransmitter synthesis, cell structure, brain function, methylation and maintaining healthy liver function. You can see how it is a perfect food, only lacking vitamin C.
A Mediterranean type breakfast can also be very supportive: easy to digest fruits like melon or mango with cheese, dried figs and perhaps a few walnuts.
If you have sluggish bowels a breakfast of soaked seeds and nuts blended with fruit can be very effective. Flax (Linseed) appears to be particularly effective at reducing hot flushes and protective against breast cancer.
A CARROT A DAY…
Chronic constipation, and stress which decreases blood circulation in the intestine can increase the liver’s exposure to endotoxins (bad bacteria) which in turn cause the oestrogen concentration in the blood to rise.
A daily raw grated carrot drizzled with olive or coconut oil helps to detox the bowel and so lower oestrogen. The raw carrot fibre helps lower the amount of bad bacteria in the gut.
Bad bacteria creates a chronic burden for the liver, keeping it from its regular job of processing and regulating hormones.
A carrot salad improves the ratio of progesterone to oestrogen and cortisol.