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How do you know if you’re in Menopause?

menopause nutrition Mar 23, 2022

In the West, menopause typically occurs between the ages of 45 & 55 with 51 being the average age & is defined as being the cessation of your menstrual cycle for a period of 12 months. Pretty clear cut, no?

Well no, not really. As most women in their 40s & 50s will know, the medical definition & the absence of a monthly bleed, is a tiny part of the overall picture. Symptoms can be wide ranging & very often are not linked to menopause, even by our medics. 45% of women don’t link their symptoms to menopause & 25% of women who actually visit their GPs don’t have this connection made either!

It’s no wonder that as women we fail to make the link. 1) discussion around menopause has been muted until very recently & 2) the symptoms can manifest in every system of the body, so connections can be far from obvious.

We all know about hot flushes & (perhaps) mood swings, but bloating, insomnia, brain fog, joint pain & fatigue? Or would you associate anxiety with ‘the change’? These are all common symptoms of menopause (or perimenopause) but without an open dialogue, it can be very distressing for your 30-something, happy-go-lucky demeanour to seemingly vanish, apparently without cause, as you progress into your 40s.

I am very passionate about bringing discussion around menopause out into the open. There are so many women struggling with their bodies & mental health & sometimes just not recognising themselves any more. More & more women are coming to me feeling like they’ve hit a wall. They have weight they just can’t shift; aches & pains & itches they can’t explain; sleeplessness, appalling memory, distressing hair loss & hair gain (!), loss of libido, & of course, hot flushes & night sweats.

I am not anti-HRT. It can be a sanity-saving tool & is essential for those in early menopause. But it isn’t for everyone & won’t necessarily address all symptoms. Further, I take a holistic approach, and tackling diet & other lifestyle factors, possibly in conjunction with HRT, is a much sounder approach if long-term good health is what you’re looking for. (I’m prepared to take a punt that long-term, good health is everyone’s aim!)

If you are in menopause, or frankly even if you’re not, you must, must find ways to manage your stress response. Blood sugar balancing is also crucial, as is optimising digestion & supporting detox & bone health. This list is not exhaustive, but safe to say, there’s a lot you can do.

Mindset is another factor that can make the difference between a positive & a negative menopause experience. Menopause is not the end. It is AN end. And it’s also a beginning.

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