What Changes Happen During Menopause?

During the transition to menopause and beyond, the hormones estrogen and progesterone begin to decline, disrupting your normal cyclical patterns of estrogen and progesterone. This article will cover ideas for natural menopause treatments to help make your transition flow more easily with menopausal symptoms.

Symptoms of menopause:

Menopause begins in the late 40s or early 50s for most women. It starts with perimenopause where there can be irregular menstruation, light or heavy periods, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, irritability, tiredness, insomnia, low libido, and sometimes painful sex due to estrogen dropping which affects lubrication. Menstruation eventually stops, often around the 50 year mark.

Menopausal women are at a higher risk of several diseases including osteoporosis, obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Declining hormonal levels negatively impact your metabolism, potentially leading to weight gain. These changes may also affect your cholesterol levels and how your body digests carbs. Often metabolism changes, leading to mid section weight gain.

Diet can help menopause symptoms

There is evidence that certain foods may help relieve some symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, poor sleep and low bone density.

Phytoestrogen-Containing Foods

Phytoestrogens are compounds in foods that act as weak estrogens in your body. They can be beneficial especially for women going through menopause. Foods that naturally contain phytoestrogens include soybeans, tofu, chickpeas, peanuts, flax seeds, barley, grapes, berries, plums, tempeh, oats, barley, spinach, lentils.

Dairy Products

The decline in estrogen levels during menopause can increase women’s risk of fractures. Dairy products, such as milk, yogurt and cheese, contain calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and vitamins D and K — all of which are essential for bone health. Calcium is also in leafy green vegetables, especially broccoli as well as fish with bones like sardines and mackerel.

Healthy Fats

Healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, may benefit women going through menopause. Foods highest in omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish, such as mackerel, salmon and anchovies, and seeds like flax seeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds. Vitamin E found in avocado, hazelnuts, almonds,  sunflower seeds and  wheat germ can lower hot flushes.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits (especially berries)and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals, fibre and antioxidants, to keep bowels regular and immunity strong. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, brussel sprouts may be especially helpful for postmenopausal women and have been linked to decreasing levels of a type of estrogen linked to breast cancer, while increasing levels of an estrogen type that protects against breast cancer. 

Quality Protein

The decline in estrogen from menopause is linked to decreased muscle mass and bone strength. For this reason, women going through menopause should eat more protein. Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. Foods high in protein include eggs, meat, fish, legumes, and dairy products. Additionally, you can add protein powders to smoothies.

Foods to Avoid 

Avoiding certain foods may help reduce some of the symptoms linked to menopause, such as hot flashes, weight gain and poor sleep. Therefore, limiting your intake of added sugar and processed foods, such as white bread, crackers and baked goods, may help reduce hot flashes during menopause. 

Alcohol and Caffeine

Studies have shown that caffeine and alcohol can trigger hot flashes in women going through menopause. Therefore, it may be worth testing whether eliminating caffeine affects your hot flashes. Another factor to consider is that caffeine and alcohol are known sleep disruptors and that many women going through menopause have trouble sleeping. So, if this is the case for you, consider avoiding caffeine or alcohol near bedtime. 

Spicy Foods

Avoiding spicy foods is a common recommendation for women going through menopause. As your reaction to spicy foods may be individual, use your best judgment when it comes to including spicy foods in your diet and avoid them if they seem to worsen your symptoms.

High-Salt Foods

High salt has been linked to lower bone density in postmenopausal women. It’s best to use rock salt or Himalayan salt as that contains all the minerals required for health.

Exercise

Regular exercise is associated with better health and protection against diseases and conditions including cancer, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis. Many of my clients report having less hot flushes when they exercise regularly.

Hydration

During menopause, women often experience skin dryness. This is likely caused by the decrease in estrogen levels. Drinking 8–12 glasses of water can help with these symptoms. Herbal teas are a great way of getting your fluid intake, plus also providing many benefits.

Practitioner Menopause products

Natural menopause treatments with supplements

Herbs like black cohosh, dong quai, rehmannia and soy products can give relief from mood swings, and hot flushes, as well as insomnia. Everyone’s body and requirements are unique, so it’s best to contact your practitioner to find the perfect fit for you!