HRT – it’s not your only option….
For the main symptoms of the menopause, such as hot flushes or vaginal dryness, you will be offered HRT. Unfortunately, if a women around the age of 45 goes to her doctor with any of these symptoms, it will immediately be put down to ‘hormones’, and you can guess what the first line of treatment will be. I have seen more women than I can count who have been put on HRT because of ‘hormone’ problems, only to find that they were not menopausal at all.
There are a variety of other health conditions that throw up symptoms that are similar to those of the menopause, so don’t assume – or, more importantly, let your doctor convince you – that there may not be another cause. What’s important is working out what symptoms are due to the menopause, and what are simply symptoms of ageing.
At Glenville Nutrition we have a natural treatment programme which aims to encourage optimum health, so that your body can manage this natural event with ease.
A well-balanced diet is essential during the peri-menopause/menopause as it enables the body to adjust automatically to the hormone changes, naturally maintaining oestrogen from the adrenal glands and fat deposits.
Eating to balance blood sugar is important for hormone balance. This means eating little and often and making sure there is a portion of protein with each meal (fish, eggs, tofu, natural yogurt, pulses, nuts and seeds, quinoa, meat). By doing this there are less low blood sugar points in the day, therefore less adrenal stimulation and fewer hot flushes, sweats, brain fog and a better mood. Here are my top tips..
- Eat more omega 3 fatty acids
- Increase your intake of fruit and vegetables, particularly leafy greens and brightly colours
- Choose unrefined (brown rice, wholemeal bread) carbohydrates
- Reduce your intake of animal fats
- Make sure you drink enough fluids
- Eat more fibre
- Avoid or reduce your intake of caffeine
- Reduce or eliminate alcohol
- Avoid refined sugar
Plants may help you comfortably navigate the menopause. A study carried out by the Erasmus University Medical Centre and the University of Cambridge reviewed 62 studies including over 6,000 women to look at which natural remedies were effective for the menopause. They looked at red clover, black cohosh and phytoestrogens among others. The review showed that phytoestrogens are useful in reducing hot flushes and vaginal soreness. The scientists responsible for this study are calling for further research but these results are promising.
Good sources of phytoestrogens include chickpeas, miso, tofu, sesame seeds, flaxseeds, apples, carrots, and oats. It is worth including 2 to 3 portions of phytoestrogens in your diet daily if you are struggling with menopause symptoms or you can take them in supplement form.
A good supplement is NHP Meno Herbal Support which contains ‘food’ herbs including sage, alfalfa, hops, flaxseed and fermented soya. For additional support, the NHP Black Cohosh Premium Support can be added. This is a herbal formula containing 6 herbs, including Black Cohosh, Agnus Castus, Dong Quai, Red Sage and Milk Thistle.