It’s estimated that at any one time almost half of the UK’s female population are peri-menopausal, menopausal or post-menopausal. That’s approximately 13 million women.
Menopause, also known as ‘The Change’, occurs when oestrogen and other sex hormone levels start to decline, which can leave us feeling like (not so) hot sweaty messes.
Recent data shows 75% of women experience symptoms, with one out of four suffering severe symptoms, which can be debilitating.
Common symptoms – there are 32 of these – include hot flushes, brain fog, night sweats, insomnia, low moods, anxiety and joint stiffness, to mention but a few, and can last from 3 to 7+ years.
Most women begin to experience these symptoms in their late 40s with the average age of menopause being 51, however approximately one in 100 women experience the menopause before 40.
It’s a deeply personal journey, that affects each and every one of us differently but if approached with awareness and understanding, the menopause doesn’t have to take over our lives.
Through education and access (to information, specialists services and support groups), women are able to take control of their journey, lessening their symptoms and the effect they may have on the ability to work, self-confidence and mood.
Lifestyle modifications can make a big difference, and the top recommendation from me and many medical professionals is to start by addressing your diet and nutrition.
Diet and nutrition Diet & nutrition is a very important factor to consider as the food we fuel ourselves with can actually trigger our menopause symptoms. Start by keeping a food diary to help identify your own trigger foods so you can eliminate them from your diet. Most commonly these are alcohol, caffeine and sugary processed foods. Therefore eating a plant based diet will most certainly help. Including protein rich foods such as lean meat, fish, eggs and nuts can help slow down muscle loss and foods such as soy beans, soy products, tofu and flaxseeds are rich in phytoestrogens which mimic the effects of oestrogen in the body and help to balance the hormones.
Regular exercise is also important and improves energy levels, aids sleep and helps to keep your joints and bones healthy all of which are effected by the menopause. Menopause weight gain is common but exercise can minimise this, and is also proven to help reduce stress and improve the mood. Strength training can be particularly helpful in maintaining a healthy weight, slowing the rate of bone loss which lowers the risk of fractures and osteoporosis and preserving the range of motion in your joints and improves your balance and coordination.
Please contact me if you would like advice on your diet or exercise regime.
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