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PREPARING FOR MENOPAUSE

IS THE THOUGHT OF MENOPAUSE FREAKING YOU OUT?

Over 49.58% of the world’s population will experience Menopause. So, the obvious question is why then Menopause has been such a secret. Talked about in corners and hushed tones, using terms such as the change. In generations past it just wasn’t talked about, information wasn’t passed down from generation to generation. Oh, don’t get me wrong we knew there was something. We were told that after our child baring years were done the change came along. This meant we couldn’t have children and there were these things called hot flushes. For many of us this was as far as the education went.

CRAZY RIGHT?

Well thankfully things are changing. Now it seems that everyone is talking Menopause, and some may say it’s not all positive. Suddenly there is a cream, potion, shampoo, pads you name it and certainly there is one for menopause. As someone who is cynical jumping on the band wagon comes to mind. All that aside including the celebrity interest (a lot of which has been positive and brought about the new prominence). It is fantastic that we are now talking Menopause. Which for future generations hopefully means they will have been prepared. They will understand and embrace this inevitable third phase of life.

However, if you are reaching an age where you could be approaching the early stages of menopause. You have been told you may be at risk of early menopause. You may have been told you need a surgery that will bring on menopause then YOU MAY BE FREAKING OUT!!

THERE IS NO NEED! YOU WILL BE FINE, I PROMISE!!Knowledge is key!! Now I am not going to say that it is not a period of challenges it is. So was puberty, pregnancy and motherhood. Let’s be honest hormones have always had an influence on our bodies, emotions and life. The difference with Menopause, is that there has always been a veil of secrecy and a time of endings. It isn’t the case it can be a time of new beginnings. The reality is, we could have another 30 plus years to live. So why not make this the best phase of your life.

SO, WHAT ACTUALLY IS MENOPAUSE?

Simply put the menopause is when a woman stops having periods. It’s a natural part of ageing that usually happens between 45 and 55 years old. It can naturally happen earlier. This is known as early menopause and in some cases, it happens due to surgery such as removing the ovaries (oophorectomy) or a hysterectomy also some cancer treatments and sometimes there can be a genetic reason.  

During Menopause our hormone levels change. The hormones affected are Oestrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone.

Eostrogen affects different parts of the brain anatomy, both directly and indirectly. Eostrogen stimulates the growth of neurons in the brain which are the electrical impulses and chemical signals that carry information throughout the body. They also increase plasticity which is the brains’ ability to adapt and change. 

STAGES OF MENOPAUSE

There are three stages of Menopause

Peri Menopause

This is the period when you are still having periods, but you are starting to have symptoms. It typically starts in your 40’s and lasts between 2 & 6 years. Per – menopause starts because the three main hormones discussed above (Oestrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone) start to lower within the body. Periods can become irregular and heavier. This is when hot flushes and night sweats can start. You can just feel not yourself. Some women say they feel fuzzy and can’t concentrate this is known as brain fog.

You can also start having to get up in the night to go to the toilet. This can lead to a general feeling of fatigue, and you can lose interest in sex.  If you are not sure if you are entering peri – menopause. Then you can ask your GP for a blood test (although this is not 100% reliable). Although after the age of 45 GP’s won’t usually preform the test.

Menopause

Is when your periods completely stop due to hormone levels being low. Menopause usually happens between 45 and 55 years old. Although it can sometimes happen earlier naturally. there are other other reasons for early or immediate menopause. This can be through surgery either to remove the ovaries (oophorectomy) or the uterus (hysterectomy). Cancer treatments such as a chemotherapy, or it could be a generic reason and sometimes the reason is unknown.

During menopause the symptoms you experienced may ease as your body gets use to the different hormone levels. Although in many cases, symptoms can continue, and, in some cases, new symptoms will appear.

Post Menopause

Starts once you have been periods free for over a year. It can b known as life after menopause as that is exactly what it is. As you will be n post menopause for the rest of your life.

Being poet menopause doesn’t mean we can relax and go back to our old ways. We still need to be mindful of our hormone levels (Oestrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone).

As we age our bones start to weaken naturally and as our Oestrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone drop. This puts us at a higher risk of developing osteopenia, the stage before Osteoporosis. This means the bone density has started depleting. Although not enough to be diagnosed as Osteoporosis which is when bones weaken and make them more likely to fracture as the are more fragile.  After menopause our bone density naturally drops by up to 20% which means 50% of us will develop osteoporosis.

But by making sure we life a healthy lifestyle. Through nutrition and exercise. We can protect our health and reduce the risk of not only developing osteoporosis, but heart issues and cancer.

So still freaked out? – Don’t be! Knowledge is power. There is a lot you can do to make sure that when the inevitable happens it will be as smooth a transition as possible.

A COUPLE OF THINGS TO HELP YOU PREPARE

Firstly, knowing when your mum and other women relations started their menopause (peri – menopause). It is likely that if you go not natural menopause, it will be at a similar a age for you. Also start looking at your nutrition. Research has proven that a Mediterranean diet is a good option for all phases of menopause. It is high in protein, low in carbs, heavy on plant-based options and uses healthy oils such as olive oil.

Then you may go into peri menopause download my menopause wheel challenge and check your symptoms. You will be surprised just how many symptoms there are. It may well put your mind at rest remember KNOLEDGE IS POWER!!

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