Steps to a smooth menopause

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The menopause is a challenging and potentially overwhelming time for women. And according to research by A.Vogel, three quarters of women feel unprepared for the menopause. Only one in four women know what symptoms to expect while a third consulted their mother to gain insight and nearly half used Google to research the topic.

A.Vogel nutritional therapist, Alison Cullen, explains some of the measures premenopausal women can take to help reduce its impact and make the menopausal transition as smooth an experience as possible.

“This stage of gradually falling and fluctuating hormone levels is called perimenopause, which often begins in the mid 40s. The menopausal transition starts when the ovaries gradually begin to produce less oestrogen,” explains Alison. “Perimenopause lasts up until menopause, the point when the ovaries stop releasing eggs and periods stop. In the last one to two years of perimenopause, as the decline of oestrogen accelerates, many women start experiencing menopausal symptoms.”

Preparing for the transition

It will help if you start considering certain diet and lifestyle changes early to reduce the likelihood of a bad menopause. While hereditary factors can play a role in when you start the menopause, there are things you can do to make the experience less challenging.

  • Smoking – apart from presenting other health risks in your body, nicotine interferes with the production of oestrogen in your ovaries, contributing to early menopause.
  • Diet – a poor diet without adequate supply of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids means that your body is less able to deal with the various challenges it faces, and menopausal symptoms are likely to be worse.
  • Exercise – exercise can relieve stress because it gets your endorphins (happy chemicals) going, which is important because stress can interfere with the normal production of oestrogen.
  • Stress – this is a huge factor because the adrenal glands can help the body to adapt to fluctuating levels of hormones. They cannot, however, do this effectively if they are flat out already, dealing with high stress levels in daily life. Symptoms are therefore likely to become more extreme.

“To assist your body to cope with all the demands of the menopausal transition without frazzling your nerves, reduce or remove caffeine from your diet and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Exercise triggers endorphins in your body, so try a 10-minute walk every day to keep them flowing, and pencil in plenty of relaxation time.”