What Is Menopause?
Menopause is a natural part of ageing when a woman stops having menstrual cycles due to the depletion of her egg supply. This leads to a decrease in oestrogen and progesterone production, which normally fluctuate during the menstrual cycle.
Typically occurring between the ages of 45 and 60, menopause is often preceded by symptoms that can start up to a year (or more) in advance. These symptoms commonly include irregular periods before their eventual cessation.
The decline and fluctuation of oestrogen and progesterone levels during menopause can result in uncomfortable and sometimes severe symptoms for many women. However, it is important to note that while menopause marks the end of the egg supply and periods, the associated symptoms are not inevitable. There are numerous natural approaches to hormone balancing that can help alleviate menopause-related symptoms.
Symptoms of Menopause
- Hot flushes
- Insomnia/interrupted sleep
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood swings
- Depression or anxiety
- Feelings of being overwhelmed
- Irregular periods
- Low libido/loss of sex drive
- Dry skin
- Brittle hair
- Night sweats
- Joint pain
- Cognitive decline
- Brain fog
- Lack of focus
- Weight gain or increased body fat
- Inability to lose weight
- Facial hair growth
- Urinary incontinence
- Urinary tract infections
- Thinning hair
- Shrinkage of breast tissue
The Conventional Approach
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is a well-known conventional medicine/pharmaceutical method for managing the symptoms of menopause. This pharmaceutical approach can involve the administration of tablets, skin patches, gels, or implants to replace estrogen levels.
While these treatments can help alleviate some symptoms, they can also introduce unnatural toxins into the body and potentially cause hormonal imbalances. HRT focuses solely on estrogen levels without considering the progesterone ratio, which can lead to further complications.
It's important to note that there are often underlying factors contributing to decreased hormone levels, and addressing these factors should be prioritized before considering HRT.
In the UK, fewer women opt for HRT compared to the USA as doctors are well aware that it increases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer by 40%! Unfortunately, women are often not adequately informed about the potential harmful effects of HRT.
However, there may be certain cases where HRT is necessary, but it is generally not required for the majority of women experiencing menopause. In functional medicine, we prefer a natural approach to managing menopause.
The Functional Medicine Approach
Functional medicine takes a comprehensive approach to menopause, considering various factors such as diet, nutrition, herbs, botanicals, and supplements to naturally rebalance hormone levels. Instead of synthetically adding estrogen to an already disrupted hormone balance, we focus on supporting the body holistically.
Alongside hormone balance, we understand that menopause symptoms are not solely determined by estrogen levels. Other hormones, including stress hormones, blood sugar levels, and immunity, can contribute to the exaggeration of menopausal symptoms. Therefore, we address these aspects and prioritize supporting the adrenal glands and promoting stable blood sugar levels through nutrition.
Furthermore, it is crucial to ensure that nutrient deficiencies do not exacerbate menopausal symptoms. Adequate intake of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals is essential to navigate through this significant hormonal shift.
Although it may seem overwhelming, rest assured that we provide manageable tips to guide you through this phase. Additionally, you have the option of working with a Certified Integrative Health Practitioner, such as myself, who can analyze functional medicine lab tests to identify any underlying imbalances or issues that may aggravate menopausal symptoms. You will receive a personalized, easy-to-follow protocol to minimize symptoms and enhance your quality of life during menopause. Learn more about consultations here.
Tips for Approaching Menopause Naturally
Remember, these tips will help hugely, but alleviating symptoms would need closer inspection of imbalances at a root cause level! This can be done by analysing functional medicine lab test results with a certified integrative health practitioner!
Skipping meals can have a negative impact on maintaining a healthy weight and worsen menopause symptoms. It is recommended to ensure that every meal contains at least 20g of protein. If you struggle to meet this target at breakfast, a game-changing option is a well-balanced smoothie with the Daily Essential Formula. You can download the recipe for my perfect breakfast here.
Furthermore, it's crucial to eliminate ultra-processed, toxic, and trigger foods from your diet. These foods can cause inflammation and exacerbate menopause symptoms.
A highly-nutritious diet plays a vital role in effectively managing menopausal symptoms. Many women have experienced symptom relief through an effective and nutrient-dense diet, complemented by high-quality supplementation. If you need guidance, we're here to help. Need guidance? Check out our nutritious and delicious recipes in our membership platform.
For comprehensive support, the Daily Basic Kit is a must-have. It provides all the essential bio-available vitamins in their most potent and absorbable form, along with a healthy serving of 28g of organic pea protein to boost your protein intake. It's crucial to ensure that your B-vitamin supplements are in their methylated form. Menopause can hinder your body's ability to methylate, which is why active forms of these vitamins are essential for proper utilization. Rest assured, all B vitamins in the DEF are methylated.
Incorporating the following foods into your regular meals is also recommended:
- Grass-fed meats, wild-caught salmon, seeds, and nuts for healthy fats and omega-3s.
- Leafy greens, seafood, seaweed, avocados, and root vegetables for a healthy intake of B vitamins, selenium, and magnesium. Whenever possible, choose organic options to minimize exposure to pesticides and reduce toxic load. If organic shopping is challenging in supermarkets, consider visiting your local farmers market. Alternatively, see the list of foods to AVOID if you can’t buy them organic in this video on our membership platform.
- Consider trying a collagen supplement. You can find
- You can find my favourites are on my resources page on the website.
- Stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of clean water. Opt for a high-quality water filter such as Berkey to ensure purity and avoid tap water.
Maintaining hormonal balance is essential, and incorporating certain foods into your diet, along with daily supplementation of the Daily Essential Formula, can provide valuable support. Consider including the following foods:
Healthy Fats: Avocados, olive oil (for non-cooking purposes), coconut oil, and MCT oil. These fats contribute to hormone balance and overall well-being.
Leafy Greens: Make leafy greens a dietary staple for multiple reasons, including their ability to support hormone balance. They offer a range of essential nutrients.
Superfoods: Explore incorporating superfoods into your diet, such as Maca, cranberries, passionflower, shatavari, and motherwort. These superfoods have been associated with promoting hormonal balance.
Remember to consult with a healthcare professional or nutritionist for personalised advice on incorporating these foods into your diet.
You know I'm all about gut health and the impact it has on various aspects of your body, right? Well, menopause is no exception! An unhealthy gut, with conditions like gut dysbiosis, leaky gut, SIBO, candida overgrowth, or IBS, can trigger or worsen menopause symptoms. That's why it's crucial to prioritize gut health, reduce inflammation, and heal your gut. By doing so, you can rebalance your hormones and alleviate menopause symptoms."
Here are some tips to improve your gut health:
Nurture Your Gut: Focus on a nourishing diet that includes fiber-rich foods, probiotics, and fermented foods to support a healthy gut environment.
Reduce Inflammation: Incorporate anti-inflammatory foods and spices into your meals, such as turmeric, ginger, leafy greens, and omega-3 fatty acids from sources like fatty fish or flaxseeds.
Seek Professional Support: Consult with a healthcare professional or functional medicine practitioner for personalized guidance in addressing your specific gut issues and developing a tailored gut healing plan.
Remember, a healthy gut plays a significant role in your overall well-being, including hormonal balance during menopause. The GI Protocol is the best way to do this.
- Find ways to manage your mood
Managing mood swings and stress during menopause requires incorporating activities that uplift your spirits. Whether it's exercise, engaging in creative projects, journaling, reading, or practicing meditation, make sure to include these in your daily schedule.
If you're unsure where to begin, consider exploring the mindset practices offered by Synergised Nutrition. Additionally, aim to achieve a goal of 10,000 steps daily as movement has been shown to provide significant benefits for women experiencing menopause.
Prioritising activities that bring you joy and contribute to your overall well-being can have a positive impact on your mood and stress levels during this transitional phase.
- Have a good nighttime routine to optimise sleep
Quality sleep is crucial for rest and recovery, but it can be challenging to achieve when experiencing night sweats, hot flushes, and even insomnia. At Synergised, we offer a wealth of information and resources on sleep, available on our website and blog.
To optimise bedtime, consider the following strategies:
- Wear blue light blocking glasses in the evening.
- Avoid consuming caffeine after 12 pm.
- Ensure your bedroom is cool. If you struggle with night sweats, try using a fan, air conditioning unit, cold-packs on your pillow or feet, and lighter fabrics for bedding.
- Eat dinner at least 3 hours before bed.
- Engage in relaxing activities before bed, such as reading (avoid stimulating books).
- Try CBD oil for its potential benefits (game changer!).
- Enjoy herbal tea in the evening, with sage being excellent for hot flushes and night sweats.
- Create a dark environment in your bedroom at night.
- Avoid consuming sugar, carbohydrates, or processed foods before bed.
Remember, you don't have to endure these symptoms or rely solely on hormone replacement therapy (HRT). While menopause can be challenging, there are plenty of natural ways to make this phase more manageable and comfortable for you.
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