Natural help for the menapause
Women can now live thirty to fifty years past the menopause and they want to live those years in good health and free from symptoms. Natural approaches can help.
The average age for the menopause in the UK is Fifty one; it happens because a women literally runs out of eggs. In the run up to the menopause (the peri-menopause), the number of cycles in which eggs are not released increases. Oestrogen begins to decline and ovulation becomes less likely.
Some women sail through- the only thing they notice is that their periods have stopped. Others can experience such extreme night sweats that they have to get up to change two to three times a night. Other symptoms include hot flushes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, declining libido,osteoporosis,ageing skin, lack of energy, joint pains, weight gain, headaches and changes in hair quality.
Many women are convinced that the risks of taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT), in disease, strokes and thrombosis, do not outweigh the benefits.
A well balanced diet is essential during the menopause as it enables the body to adjust automatically to the hormonal changes. Eating a good amount of fresh fruit and vegetables and also including phytoestrogens in the form of chick peas, lentils, soya, kidney beans and so on is important . Caffeine tea and coffee etc can bring on a hot flush for many women. The same can apply to spicy foods and alcohol.
Up to 85% of western women will experience hot flushes compared to only 14% in some Asian countries. As a result, scientists have been studying the plant hormones known as phytoestrogens which occur naturally in certain foods such as soya, chickpeas and lentils- all much more common in the Asain diet.
These foods contain isoflavones, the most beneficial kind of phytoestrogens. They're not themselves hormones, but bacteria in the gut convert isoflavones into substances that act like oestrogen, which is why fermented soya foods such as miso and tempeh are thought to be especially beneficial.
There are a number of key points which should be emphasised for menopausal women:
- Stabilise blood sugar levels by reducing the amount of sugar and refined foods in the diet and eatng little and often to reduce the toll on the adrenal glands.
- Reduce or eliminate caffinated drinks such as tea coffee which contribute to the blood sugar problem but also act as diuretics depriving the body of vital nutrients and trace elements
- Ensure a good intake of essential fatty acids from oily fish, nuts and seeds whic help lubricate the joints, skin and vagina
- Avoid soft fizzy drinks which contain high levels of phosphorus and increasing urinary calcium excretion
- Include a good intake of phytoestrogens in the diet from many sources and not just soya.
By Dr mariyln Glenvile, Phd