Menopause may be defined as the permanent cessation of the menstruation cycle due to ovarian failure. This affects every woman. Common premature menopause symptoms include:
- irregular periods
- hot flushes
- sleep difficulties
- night sweats
- anxiety and low mood
- loss of self-esteem
- poor memory and concentration
- mood swings
Women often experience the last menstruation period between 45 and 55 years of age; however, the process actually starts when the ovaries start running out of eggs. This results in a gradual fall in the levels of female hormones, progesterone and oestrogen. With the passage of time, other symptoms start to develop, such as low sex drive, dry, itchy skin, urinary problem, muscle and joint aches and cystitis.
The fall in the level of oestrogen affects the bones and circulation, which raises the risk of hardening the arteries, raising cholesterol levels, posing a risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and dementia.
Nutrition for Menopause Symptoms
Oestrogen-like plant hormones provide a hormone boost when your natural oestrogen levels are low. You can increase your oestrogen levels through the intake of plant hormones, including:
- Seeds: Pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, linseed and sprouted seeds
- Dark green vegetables: Spinach, broccoli, cabbage, celery and fennel
- Beans: Alfalfa, lentils, chickpeas, soybeans, soy products, mung beans
- Wholegrains: Millet, corn, oats, buckwheat, wheat and rye
- Nuts: Peanuts, walnuts, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts and nut oils
- Dried fruits: Prunes, dates, raisins and figs
- Fruits: Banana, apples, mangoes, avocados, papayas
Supplements for Menopause
Herbal remedies for menopause include natural supplements. Increase the intake of omega 3 fish oil supplements and reduce your consumption of saturated fat and dairy products. Avoid excess sugar, caffeinated drinks, salt and alcohol.
- Soy isoflavones help in reducing hot flushes, reduce raised LDL cholesterol, dilate coronary arteries, improve heart function and reduce blood stickiness to check unwanted clotting.
- Sage leaf extracts can relieve you from night sweats and menopausal hot flushes, besides helping improve memory.
- Calcium or Vitamin D supplements are known for improving bone mineral density and reducing the risk of hip or spine fracture.
- St John's Wort is helpful in overcoming lack of libido and physical exhaustion in women experiencing menopause.
- Folic acid works great in lowering homocysteine levels and helps in maintaining a healthy heart, thus reducing the risk of stroke, dementia and coronary heart disease.
- Cranberry extracts help in preventing bacteria from clinging on to the cells that line the urinary tract wall and thus helping flush them away in order to reduce urinary tract infections after menopause.
Menopause doesn't cause extreme problems; however, it is important to follow a proper dietary and exercise regime to help yourself through menopause. Avoid too much stress, which can even drain adrenal glands, thus making it difficult for them to produce normal sex hormones to help you through menopause.