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Menopause


I have worked with many wonderful clients who have varied from peri-menopause to menopausal, many of which haven’t had the complete understanding of what the menopause is, it has been a taboo subject for many years, I hope this helps provide some understanding and some advice on navigating in a beneficial way.


Average age of menopause is 48-52 but it can be vastly different, females as young as 14 can go through menopause. With the average age of menopause, females spend on average 30% of lives post menopause!


Menopause marks the end of menstruation, resulting in a drop in estrogen with the obvious sign of no period for 12 months. Peri-menopause can last up to 5 years with a vast array of symptoms that are subjective.


Recap on estrogen and its roles within the body;

  1. Supports the brain, controlling body temperature, memory, focus, libido.

  2. Heart, HR & Cholesterol.

  3. Liver, Cholesterol regulation

  4. Bones, bone mineral density

  5. Skin, collagen.

  6. Muscles, joint strength

  7. Bowels, maintains function

  8. Nerves, important in transmission.

  9. Bladder, function & infection risk.

  10. Vagina, lubrication & bacteria growth.


Estrogen has a variety of roles that support our health, so obvious symptoms that can occur from this reduction;

  • Hot flushes / night sweats

  • Lower sleep quality

  • Low libido

  • Vaginal dryness

  • Mood changes

  • Poor concentration

  • Joint pain

  • Muscle loss

  • Redistribution of body fat

  • Increase in body fat (on average 3-4kg gain)

  • Bone mineral density loss


Exercise is so important for overall health but becomes even more important with the Menopause.

Menopause is a very important time to exercise with the reduction in estrogen. Exercise becomes even more important due to the reduction in Estrogen in females, Estrogen is linked to many roles in the body from Liver to Bladder, to Brain but also the muscle stem cell maintenance and function, resistance training can help mitigate some of the side affects associated with reduced Estrogen and help maintain as much muscle mass as possible which will contribute to metabolic health. Its very important for bone health too, 20% of Bone Mineral Density can be lost 5-7 years post menopause.


"Exercising beyond the menopause is the only non controversial & beneficial aspect of lifestyle modification & must be opted by all" (Mishra et al 2011)


Overall we see an increase in;

Strength

Bone Mineral Density

CV Health

Mood


With a general reduction in many symptoms linked to - Hot flushes, sleep disturbances, depressive episodes & fat gain. ANYTHING is better than NOTHING, a simple increase to 120 minutes per week can be super beneficial to your physical & mental wellbeing.


Cool study from Leeim et al, 2009 that found 8,000 steps p/day has a huge benefit in reducing all cause mortality.


I do however, fully appreciate the difficulties that come with menopause and symptoms, a blanket approach likely will not work for you, there are considerations to make;

1. Manage symptoms

2. Ensure the activity is enjoyable & preferable for you

3. Avoid high risk / fall potentials.

4. Shorter sessions over the week to aid recovery


Outside of this, a diet rich in fruit and vegetables has been shown to be the most important with overall health and can support a reduction in symptoms.


& minimising highly processed foods, saturated fats and added sugars as these can increase symptoms. Again, not avoid completely, just limit. The current evidence suggest the best universal diet for health at any stage of life is the mediterranean.


Other considerations to make;

VitaminD & Calcium help with bone mineral density loss

HRT

CBT - Cognitive behaviour therapy

Stress management (journalling, yoga, relaxation)


HRT

HRT is most effective, 2017 showed only 12% of women were taking HRT for the menopause and 77% of women did not realise their symptoms were linked to the menopause.

There is a lot of misinformation around HRT & many suffer unnecessarily because of myths and fear mongering. Chances are you may even need to try a variety of different HRT approaches, but please do speak to your GP around this, if you need help with self advocating please do reach out to me. The benefits of HRT if it works for you are improved symptoms and quality of life, reduced risk of CVD, Type 2 Diabetes, Osteoporosis and all cause mortality, on average 3 years!


But again, please do seek advice from your GP.


Herbal remedies likely work by placebo but are not scientifically proven or backed. However, the placebo effect has been shown to reduce symptoms.


Maclennon et al, 2004, a double blinded placebo study, 2 groups of participants;

1 Group given Estrogen

1 Group given placebo

Testing reduction in night sweats


Placebo group dropped by 50% due to placebo. The thought process that you are getting the treatment can reduce chronic inflammation, psychological stress and manage symptoms.


The menopause can be difficult to navigate for many. If your goal is fat loss with the menopause you can still achieve this, if you want to simply improve your health you can still achieve this, that extra support with coaching will ensure you manage this time most effectively for you, with compassion, empathy and more understanding.


Thanks for reading,

Rebecca x

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