As awareness continues to grow around the variety and severity of symptoms that come with the menopause, more and more women continue to speak out about their experiences. Whether you’re experiencing brain fog, hot flushes, exhaustion or all of the above – your menopause journey is unique to you. While no two women’s experience of menopause will be the same, for many women, this is a challenging transition to say the least.
Fortunately, there are some ways in which symptoms and implications of the menopause can be managed naturally. From increasing activity level to focussing on key nutrients – what can you do to manage menopause symptoms naturally?
Managing changes in mood
Mood swings, low mood and anxiety are all common symptoms experienced throughout perimenopause and menopause. This is caused by the change in hormone levels, which can disrupt the production of the ‘happy hormone’ serotonin. Fortunately, there are some things we can do to boost this hormone and improve mood.
Exercise is one of the best ways to increase serotonin and boost mood as it releases tryptophan – the amino acid that your brain uses to produce serotonin. This doesn’t mean you have to fork out for an expensive gym membership or start pounding the pavements. Partaking in more aerobic activity that you enjoy and feel comfortable with is a great place to start – swimming, cycling and even walking will all help you to feel more positive.
Managing changes in temperature
From hot flushes to night sweats – some of the most common (and challenging) symptoms of menopause are due to these rapid and often extreme changes in temperature. As with most menopausal symptoms, it’s the changing hormones that are responsible for disrupting the body’s ability to regulate temperature.
Some of the more obvious ways of managing these symptoms include wearing light clothing, keeping a fan to hand and taking cold showers when possible. In terms of trying to reduce the frequency and severity of these symptoms, there’s a lot of interest in using plant estrogen (also known as phytoestrogens) to naturally alleviate the challenges faced due to the falling levels of estrogen within the body.
Phytoestrogens have a very similar structure to estrogen, meaning that they can act the same way within the body. There is some evidence to suggest that increasing phytoestrogen consumption during menopause can help to reduce symptoms such as hot flushes. Including more foods such as soya, lentils and chickpeas is a good way to boost your intake, and certain natural supplements contain phytoestrogens to make this even easier.
Managing changes in health
As though the challenging symptoms aren’t enough, long term health can also be impacted by the change in hormone levels that occurs during menopause. This includes areas such as heart health, bone health and thyroid health.
Paying more attention to certain nutrients during this time is one of the best ways to manage both the short and long term symptoms of the menopause. B vitamins support hormonal activity, so can help to manage symptoms by ensuring that hormones are kept as ‘normal’ as possible during this time. Other essential nutrients for hormone health include iodine – a nutrient that is vital for normal thyroid function, and despite most women being deficient, it is often overlooked.
Meanwhile, vitamin C can help to manage heart health by strengthening blood vessels and promoting normal blood circulation and pressure, while vitamin D can help to maintain bone health and muscle function. Undeniably, the best way to ensure you're getting all of these nutrients is through a varied and balanced diet. However, a natural supplement such as Doctor Seaweed’s Weed & Wonderful® Menopause+ capsules contain all of these nutrients, plus phytoestrogens, all in one capsule – making it an easy and convenient way to ensure you’ve got the nutrition in place to manage your menopause, naturally.
As with all aspects of health, moving more and paying more attention to nutrition are often the best places to start when hoping to see a change. While these tips aren’t guaranteed to work at reducing symptoms for everyone, they will help to benefit your health throughout menopause, and long after.
This week's blog is co-authored by Menopause Educator, Sharon MacArthur, aka Miss Menopause, who aims to fill the void of educational services needed by women and their organisations as they reach menopause. To find out more about Miss Menopause and the specialist service Sharon offers, click here.