Menopause is a natural biological process that marks the end of a woman's reproductive years. As oestrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate during this time, women may experience a range of symptoms.
Menopause is defined as not having a period for over a year and is a time of low oestrogen. Leading up to menopause, when periods can become irregular, heavy and symptoms such as moods swings, poor sleep and hot flushes occur is called peri menopause. At this time, oestrogen levels can fluctuate wildly, giving rise to the roller-coaster ride of high oestrogen symptoms such as breast pain, heavy periods, fluid retention, weight gain, night sweats, in particular premenstrually, and mid sleep waking. To compound this, progesterone, our calming hormone is on the decline and as its not able to counteract oestrogen’s stimulating effects as efficiently, the symptoms of oestrogen surges become more pronounced.
So how can we transition more smoothly though perimenopause?
- Support the adrenals and nervous system. Women in their forties usually have a lot on with work and family. The more supported your stress response is, the better your body is going to adapt to hormonal changes.
- Herbs: For stress try our Adrenal and Stress Tonic or Ashwagandha capsules. These products may support the axis between the brain and adrenals called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. For gentle support you can drink our Resilience Tea and for sleep we have created Deep Sleep Herbal Tea.
- Nutrients: Make sure you are taking a good quality magnesium in an absorbable form. Magnesium calms the brain, regulates the HPA axis and promotes sleep. Taurine is an amino acid that calms the brain and stabilises the HPA axis. Vegetarians are at risk of taurine deficiency as it is only obtained through meat. Talk to one of our in-store naturopaths for personalised advice and to access exclusively available products like MagTaur, containing a blend of magnesium and taurine.
- Self care: Even during a busy day, make some time for yourself to do some exercise, mindfulness techniques or breathing exercises. Check out our article for Daily Self-Care Inspiration.
- To support progesterone, a herb called Chaste tree enhances ovulation and calms the nervous system. You may also want to try one of our two nourishing herbal tea blends - Divine Feminine and Female Spirit.
- Support the liver and gut health: If oestrogen is not metabolised efficiently, it can recirculate contributing to an already relative oestrogen excess state. Our Liver Cleanse Tonic may be a great place to start.
Eating foods and taking herbs that that have phyto oestrogen effects can be beneficial in a time of low oestrogen. Phyto oestrogens are plant like compounds which bind to the same receptors as oestrogen in the body. This has a balancing effect; it can help with oestrogen excess and deficiency symptoms.
Flaxseeds, oats, tofu, alfalfa sprouts and legumes are foods that can be consumed regularly to stimulate oestrogen receptors. A couple of herbal options (each with phyto oestrogenic properties) are Sage or Hops as tea or Wild Yam supplements.Or check out our herbal tea designed specifically for menopause and lovingly called Engine Cooler.
Oestrogen has insulin sensitising effects, so women can be more at risk of weight gain during menopause. Eating a balanced diet of protein, beneficial fats and carbohydrates and reducing high sugar foods is the best way to support insulin sensitivity.
Low oestrogen is also associated with lower bone density. Factors such as
- High alcohol intake
- Stomach Acid medication
- Low intake of bone supporting nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, Vitamin K and D. A multi-mineral formula like AlkaMin Essentials may help support nutrient levels.
- Coeliac disease
As you can see, there is a lot that can be done both dietary and supplementary to support women through peri menopause and menopause. Every woman is different and not one size fits all. It is wise to go to your GP if heavy bleeding or pain, becomes excessive to rule out any underlying conditions.Our naturopaths can work with you to help navigate the many different natural remedies instore, plus through our clinic we can develop a personalised treatment plan to support you at the different stages.