Menopause has come a long way in the last few years. There is a LOT of information out there now (thankfully!) to help and support women going through what can be a very turbulent time.
The internet is a great tool, believe me I’m grateful for it to share my message and my business, but it’s also SO full of information that it can be overwhelming and confusing.
So here’s my quick summary of some of the things you need to know to bust some myths and clear some of the confusion.
You can watch the video below or listen to the podcast (episode 50)
1. Menopause starts in your 30’s!
To be more accurate, it’s PERI-menopause that causes many of the common symptoms and that starts typically in your mid 30’s. This is when your eggs start to run out and your hormones start to change. But you might not notice any symptoms until your mid-late 40’s. The earlier you can prepare for PERI-menopause, the better journey you’re likely to have.
2. Menopause affects your mental health
We know about the physical symptoms; hot flushes, night sweats, fatigue, mood swings, PMS etc. But changing hormones can also affect the brain and have a big impact on your mental health. Common symptoms include; depression, anxiety, mood swings, emotions, brain fog, low motivation, lack of focus, and memory loss.
3. HRT is not the only option
I love HRT (I take it myself!). However standard treatments are only ever going to replace 2 or 3 of your hormones (oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone). You have over 100 other hormones that could be out of balance, including 3 of your Feisty 4 (cortisol, insulin, thyroid), so HRT can be a game changer for many women, but it won't do anything to balance those other hormones, so you may still have symptoms. Diet, lifestyle and supplements need to be addressed too.
4. The right type of HRT is safe (and natural)
HRT has come a long way since the shocking study in 2002 highlighting its risks and side effects. Those studies (and subsequent ones) were done on synthetic forms of oestrogen and progesterone. Nowadays we all have access to ‘body identical' HRT on the NHS (in the UK) which is molecularly identical to your own hormones, making it a safe and natural way to replace your hormones. See my blog on this for more details.
5. Your diet matters ( a LOT!)
What you eat during this phase of your life matters more than ever. This is the time to start nourishing yourself with the right foods. Nutrients that support your hormones not disrupt them. No more dieting, calorie counting or limiting fat (the good kind). Your hormones will thank you!
6. Stress matters even more
I used to think it was your diet that was more important (I am a nutritionist!), but now after supporting hundreds of women over the years, I really do believe that stress is the no 1 indicator of how good or bad your menopause journey will be.
7. Self care is a non negotiable
If stress is the no 1 hormone disruptor, then this is the time to make self care a non-negotiable in your life. That means prioritising your needs over and above EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. Take more time for yourself, slow down, listen to your needs and make sure they are being met. You’ve probably never done this before, if you've spent your life looking after others, but this is YOUR time. Make sure you do this part and you’ll have a much better quality of life during and beyond menopause.
8. Testing can provide the missing link
Hormone testing isn't that reliable (or helpful) when you're doing blood tests. But state of the art urine tests for hormones can be a game changer. If you want to dig deeper and find out what your hormones are actually up to, these tests are extremely valuable.
9. There is no one size fits all treatment
Menopause is often seen as a ‘problem' that clearly there must be a ‘fix' for. The problem is that every woman is unique, we have different genes, biochemistries, lifestyles, diets, stresses, histories, beliefs and environments. Every woman deserves to have informed choice to decide what's right for her (no judgement).
10. Menopause can be the best thing to happen to you !
OK, bear with me on this one! Menopause marks a precious time in your life. You're heading into the second phase of your life. And it can actually be liberating! You can experience a kind of freedom, from caring what others think (thank you Helen Mirren!), to being more yourself than you've ever been. It can be the catalyst to a new you and a new life. Something to be embraced?
I hope I've stimulated some discussion next time you're with your girlfriends!
If you need help to make your menopause experience a better one, then get in touch and we can arrange a free call to see if we can help.