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The dreaded change. Dun Dun Dun
I always remember growing up and hearing my older female relatives complaining of some mysterious ailments. It always sounded like a secret code to me.
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A lot has changed in the last few decades. It doesn’t seem to be a taboo subject anymore, but the information passed down from generation to generation is still lacking.
There are actually two stages to menopause.
- Perimenopause : Before Menopause
- Menopause : During Menopause
Menopause can range from roughly ages 35-55 (those ages are nowhere near absolute so don’t get excited that there is an end date. Mother Nature and your body decide when you start and when you are done), but it doesn’t have to be a life sentence. All it means is that our reproductive systems are starting to slow down and eventually stop.
You are not going crazy, your body is not falling apart and it does not mean you are getting old!
This is the first stage of the process that can last anywhere from 3-5 years before actual menopause starts. You may have noticed some of the below symptoms already.
Hot Flashes – The sudden feeling that you are burning up from the inside out. Getting as naked as possible (depending on your location), cold food and drink, or even air conditioning can only do so much. You may end up perspiring, flushed and chilled afterward
Night Sweats – Hot flashes that occur when you are sleeping and leave your pj’s and sheets soaking wet. Check environmental conditions first before jumping to the conclusion that you have night sweats. Temperature of your bedroom, type of bedding and air flow.
Irregular Periods – As our hormones change, it also affects our monthly cycles. This can be very frustrating to those that have always been like clockwork. It is still possible to get pregnant until roughly a full year without a menstrual cycle so be adamant about birth control if you are not planning on having children at this stage in your life.
Mood Swings – Anyone that has ever experienced PMS in their younger years will know exactly what this entails. For those that were fortunate enough to miss out it can be very scary the first time. I always thought it was exaggerated until my first one at 42. My co-workers were lucky to make it home that first day. LOL.
Poor Sleep – Poor sleep can be attributed to the above hot flashes and mood swings as well as the underlying hormonal changes that are THE CHANGE.
Social and family life may also be a contributor as our kids may be getting more independent and moving towards experiences that don’t include us and not everyone in our circle of friends is going to be going through the exact same things and may not understand or be able to relate.
Urinary Problems – The need to run to the bathroom more frequently (and with more urgency), leakage (peeing a little when you laugh or sneeze), dryness and itching in the vaginal area and UTIs. As we lose more estrogen the urinary tract is not as efficient at controlling urination.
Elevated Heart Rate – Damned estrogen again. As the levels drop, our hearts and blood vessels become stiff and less elastic, which can cause blood pressure to rise. This can lead to hypertension and place more strain on the hearts function.
Unfortunately, it is possible to go into menopause earlier.
Things such as a hysterectomy when the uterus is removed, symptoms will appear gradually or an Oophorectomony when the ovaries are removed, the symptoms are immediate. Premature Ovarian Failure (POF) can be caused radiation, chemotherapy or ovarian dysfunction.
Menopause is official when you have gone 12 months naturally without a period. This is the transition time from Perimenopause to Menopause.
I say naturally because some medications or health conditions can lead to irregularity.
I think of THE CHANGE as a natural part of life, and am hesitant to make use of things such as Hormone Replacement Therapy.
There are many options for relief, granted that they may not be as convenient or all-encompassing, but I think I have earned the right to experience and conquer the bitch known as menopause.
Top of the list is what we eat everyday.
Good Things In
Healthy Fats such as avocados, coconut oil, nuts and seeds (nut butters count too), free range eggs* (eat the whole egg as most of the nutrients are in the yolks), full fat dairy (low-fat does not have the same benefits as the real thing), fish high in omega 3’s such as salmon and sardines, dark chocolate (85% and above) and grass-fed organic beef*.
- *free range and organic is preferred as there are no antibiotics or hormones given to the animals that we will then ingest into our systems.
Organic fruits and veggies, cruciferous vegetable such as kale, brocoli and cabbage, foods high in fiber and probiotic foods such as kefir, kombucha, kimchi and yogurt.
Water, water and water. I have a hell of a time with this one. Let’s just say that some days are better than others but I am learning my triggers and listening to my body when it tells me to drink up.
Bad Things Out
Life happens and no one is perfect ever. However the more you can avoid the following the less your symptoms and discomforts may bother you.
Prepackaged/processed foods, farm raised meat (antibiotic & hormones may be present), fried foods, carbonated drinks, processed vegetable oil, added sugars and alcohol.
My Personal Solution
While all of the food and nutrition examples above are excellent ways to manage this journey called menopause, my saving grace is a meal replacement called Isagenix®.
I really don’t like to cook and am not very creative when it comes to putting flavours together. So now I have two meals a day that are complete with vitamins, minerals and are nutrient dense and that I don’t have to think about.
If you feel the same way, click on the Isagenix® link below, leave a message in the comments or shoot me an email and we can see if it is right for you as well.
There are so many more things to manage menopause naturally that I would rather do them justice by dedicating a post to them.
Until next time.