What is Menopause?
It's about time we shout loud and proud about menopause. No more shying away from the conversation, no more keeping it to ourselves. If all women go through it at some point, it's a normal part a woman's life! Now, with that out of the way, let's dive in.
Menopause is when there has been 12 continuous months without a period – it is a retrospective diagnosis made by the doctor. It is when the ovaries are no longer releasing eggs and the reproductive hormones drop significantly to very low levels. It is both the drop and the fluctuations in these hormones that lead to symptoms. At this point, of course, a woman is no longer able to get pregnant. Post-menopausal is the term given for after the 12 months without periods.
What happens to the body during menopause?
Using the term "symptoms" implies something is wrong. But going through the menopause of course is a part of female life and some changes will occur. A women’s mindset can impact how we this stage of life is experienced. These are some of the changes you may experience:
- Irregular periods
- Hot flushes and night sweats
- Difficulty sleeping, leading to low energy levels in females
- Changes in mood, poor concentration and memory
- Lack of libido
- Joint pains
- Hair and skin changes
- Worsening migraines
Also, due to the hormonal changes and lack of oestrogen, there is an increased risk of bone related diseases such as osteoporosis & osteopenia, increased risk of diabetes, reduced muscle mass and increased risk of heart disease. This is why looking after our health around this period is more important than ever.
6 Things You Can do to Stay Healthy during Menopause
1. Keep cool and calm
Find ways to cope with excess stress and anxiety. If you experience hot flushes, invest in lighter materials to wear like linen.
2. Eat well
Make sure you are eating a healthy and balanced diet. A higher protein intake is actually recommended for menopausal and post-menopausal women to reduce risk of those bone related diseases and low muscle mass, as protein accounts for approximately 50% of bone volume and about a third of its mass
3. Keep active
Exercise helps to reduce risk of bone related diseases by maintaining muscle mass. It has also been shown to reduce hot flushes and is one of the best natural energy boosters.
4. Stop smoking
For the smokers out there, the chemicals in cigarettes affect many of the processes in our body, including hormone production and temperature regulation. Smoking cigarettes can exacerbate the menopause symptoms
5. Reduce excess alcohol consumption
Now we're not saying cut out alcohol. We're not monsters!! But high alcohol intake can exacerbate those menopause symptoms. So try to keep it low-moderate.