Menopause is the term used to describe the end of a woman's reproductive years when her menstrual periods permanently stop (1). Although it can occur earlier or later, it typically happens between the ages of 45 and 55. Women gradually experience a decline in hormone production and a change in menstrual patterns as part of the menopause process.
If you’re one of the 100% of females who will go through menopause at some point in their lives, you may have some concerns with this natural biological process. Numerous symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, trouble sleeping, mood swings, and vaginal dryness, may be present during this time (1). Despite the fact that menopause is a normal biological process, some women may need medical care to control their symptoms and preserve their general health and wellbeing.
Diet and Nutrition
Nutrition and diet are essential for controlling menopause symptoms. A healthy diet can lower the risk of developing menopause-related chronic diseases and help with common symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, and fatigue (2).
Essential vitamins and minerals that promote general health and wellbeing can be obtained by eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (2). Whole grains, flaxseeds, and soy products all contain phytoestrogens that can help control menopausal hormonal imbalances.
Osteoporosis risk can be decreased by consuming enough calcium and vitamin D through dairy products, leafy greens, and fortified foods (2). Limiting the consumption of alcohol, saturated fats, and added sugars can also improve general health and assist with weight control.
A healthcare professional can help create a custom diet plan that suits each person's needs and health situation. A balanced diet and proper nutrition can significantly contribute to the management of symptoms and improvement of general health during menopause.
As sunlight aids in the body's production of vitamin D, which is crucial for maintaining bone health, it is important to get enough of it to manage menopause symptoms (2, 3). The loss of oestrogen during menopause can increase the risk of osteoporosis, and vitamin D helps control calcium absorption and maintain healthy bones.
As one of the primary factors that affects the release of the hormone melatonin, exposure to sunlight can also assist in regulating the sleep-wake cycle and enhancing mood (3). The symptoms of menopause, such as fatigue, restlessness, and mood swings, can be lessened with regular exposure to sunlight.
It is important to remember that too much sun exposure can increase your risk of developing skin cancer and skin damage, so it is advised to limit your time in the sun between 10am and 4pm and to wear sunscreen and protective clothing as needed (2, 3).
A blood test to check vitamin D levels is also advised, as is speaking with a healthcare professional to figure out the best way to get enough vitamin D through a combination of dietary sources and sun exposure.
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Exercise and Physical Activity
Exercise and physical activity are crucial for managing menopause symptoms because they can reduce risk of chronic diseases, ease common symptoms, and maintain overall health (2, 4). Exercise can enhance sleep quality, lessen hot flashes, and increase mood and energy. As weight gain is a common problem during menopause, regular exercise can also help control weight and maintain bone health, which is important as bone density decreases during menopause.
Weightlifting and yoga are examples of weight-bearing and resistance exercises that can help maintain and enhance bone density. Exercises that increase cardiovascular fitness and lower the risk of heart disease, which is a common worry during menopause, include brisk walking, cycling, and swimming (4).
We recommend engaging in regular physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week. Exercise and physical activity can play a significant role in managing symptoms of menopause and promoting overall health.'
Herbal remedies, which are regarded as a form of complementary and alternative medicine, have been used for centuries to treat menopause symptoms (CAM). Phytoestrogens, which are substances that mimic some of the effects of oestrogen in the body, are present in some herbs, including soy, red clover, and black cohosh (5).
Black Cohosh: For centuries, women have relied on this well-known herb to reduce hot flashes and night sweats. It is thought to function as a mild phytoestrogen, regulating hormones and easing menopausal symptoms. Black cohosh is renowned for having anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can enhance general health and wellbeing throughout the menopause.
Red Clover: Red clover has been shown to be an effective treatment for lowering hot flashes and vaginal dryness because it is a rich source of phytoestrogens. It is also well known for its antioxidant properties, which can aid in defending the body against the harm that free radicals can do to cells.
Soy: Another food high in phytoestrogens that has been proven to help with hot flash and night sweat relief is soy. Soy is a good source of protein as well, which can support bone health and muscle mass during menopause.
Hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings, which are typical menopause symptoms, may be lessened with herbal treatments (5). The effectiveness and safety of herbal treatments for managing menopause have not yet been fully established, so they should be used with caution.
Before using herbal remedies, it is advised to speak with a healthcare professional because they may interact with prescription drugs and cause side effects. This professional can also ensure that specific health needs and concerns are taken care of and help determine the best method for managing menopause symptoms, including the use of herbal remedies. For some women, herbal remedies can be an effective complementary treatment.
Stress can exacerbate common symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, and sleep disturbances, so stress management is crucial for managing menopause symptoms . Stress can also have an impact on general health and raise the risk of chronic illnesses like depression and heart disease.
Deep breathing, mindfulness, and other stress-reduction techniques can help lower stress levels and enhance general wellbeing. Regular physical exercise and activities like yoga can also help to lower stress and elevate mood (2). Finding healthy coping mechanisms for stress is crucial, including getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and relaxing activities. Getting support from friends, family, or a support group during menopause can also help lower stress and enhance general wellbeing.
A specialised stress-reduction strategy that fits each person's needs and health situation can be created with the assistance of a healthcare provider or mental health specialist. Menopause symptoms can be effectively managed, and overall health and wellbeing can be improved by practising effective stress management.
As sleep disturbances like hot flashes and night sweats are frequently experienced during the menopause, good sleep hygiene is crucial for managing the condition's symptoms. Menopause can also result in sleep-related problems like insomnia, which can have an impact on general wellbeing and quality of life (6).
Effective sleep hygiene techniques can enhance sleep quality and lower the likelihood of sleep-related issues. This might entail maintaining a regular sleep schedule, setting up a tranquil sleeping environment, and staying away from screens, alcohol, and caffeine an hour or so before bed (2, 6). Deep breathing, meditation, and yoga are all relaxation techniques that can help calm the mind and lower stress levels, which will make it simpler to fall asleep and stay asleep. Regular physical activity, like exercise, can also help improve the quality of sleep, but it's best to avoid vigorous exercise right before bed because it can disrupt sleep. Effective sleep hygiene techniques can significantly contribute to the management of menopause symptoms and the advancement of general health and wellbeing.
Hormone Therapy (Phytoestrogens)
Phytoestrogen therapy, also referred to as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), is a treatment option for controlling menopause symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings (7). In order to help with symptom relief, HT involves giving the body extra oestrogen, either by itself or in conjunction with progestin. Phytoestrogens are substances derived from plants that resemble some of the physiological effects of oestrogen. They can be found in dietary supplements as well as foods like soy and flaxseed. As an alternative to conventional hormone therapy, some women opt for phytoestrogen therapy.
In general, HRT is advised for short-term use rather than as a long-term treatment for menopause symptoms [7-9]. To choose the most effective method for managing symptoms, women who are thinking about hormone therapy should discuss their personal health status and goals with a healthcare professional.
Giving a patient hormones as medicine that are exactly the same as those that their body naturally produces is known as "bioidentical hormone replacement therapy" (also known as "bioidenticals") (7). For example, replacement testosterone or oestrogen would be given as part of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (bHRT). Contrarily, synthetic hormones used in traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) must first be processed by the body before they can be used for the intended treatment. Some birth control methods make use of traditional synthetic HRT based on oestrogen (8). Both therapies should be viewed as effective menopause treatments, despite the fact that manufacturers claim that bHRT may have fewer side effects than conventional HRT (7, 9).
The use of bHRT has several additional health advantages in addition to reducing menopause symptoms. According to studies, it can help with protecting bones from osteoporosis, improving cognitive function (lowering the risk of dementia), and improving cardiovascular health (preventing heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases like blood clots) (9). For instance, one study found that it can help improve sex-related problems, improve mood, and lessen anxiety and depression symptoms. Even though bHRT is typically regarded as safe, users should be aware of some potential risks and side effects, such as nausea, bloating, and headaches. Evidence points to the possibility of generally minor health risks. The therapy might not be appropriate for them based on their unique needs or other patient factors, so women with a history of conditions like breast cancer, blood clots, or liver disease should speak with a care provider, such as a doctor, before starting bHRT.
Many women prefer to use natural supplements to treat the symptoms of menopause in preference to commonly used hormone replacement therapy (HRT) (9). The most viable natural supplements for menopause have been demonstrated in studies. Several natural products can be taken during menopause without a prescription to provide symptom relief. These include (2, 6):
B-Complex Vitamins: B-Complex Vitamins: B-complex vitamins play a critical role in hormone regulation and mood enhancement during menopause. They are also essential for overall health. It has been demonstrated that vitamin B6, in particular, can help lessen menopause symptoms like mood swings and irritability.
Calcium and vitamin D: These nutrients are crucial for bone health maintenance and can also help to lessen menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. Additionally, calcium is necessary for a healthy cardiovascular system, which is crucial during menopause.
Folic acid: During menopause, folic acid can help lower the risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. Additionally, it can help elevate mood and lessen depressive symptoms.
Magnesium: During menopause, magnesium can help reduce hot flashes' symptoms and enhance sleep quality. Additionally, it can aid in lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
Collagen: Collagen can help with joint pain and stiffness during menopause as well as with the health of the skin, hair, and nails.
Zinc: During menopause, zinc can help to improve immune system performance and lower the risk of osteoporosis. Additionally, it can enhance mental and emotional health.
Omega-3: Omega-3 fatty acids can improve heart health, lessen joint pain and stiffness during menopause, and help with depressive and anxiety symptoms.
Menopause symptoms can be effectively managed by engaging in mind-body techniques like yoga, meditation, and mindfulness, as well as enhancing general health and wellbeing.
These techniques can lessen stress, which can lessen signs like hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings. Additionally, because menopause frequently affects sleep quality, mind-body techniques can aid in enhancing it (2). Additionally, mindfulness and meditation techniques can help women better manage their symptoms and emotions by lowering anxiety and raising self-awareness. Particularly yoga can help with physical symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and joint pain. Regular exercise, like yoga, can also improve mood and lower stress levels.
Above all, please remember that you don’t have to do any of this alone. Science and Humans menopause management program tailors a nutrition-led therapy to suit your individual needs. And we follow up every 6 months to make sure you’re still winning the menopause management battle. Menopause doesn’t have to run your life. Transform your symptoms with our industry-leading program and start feeling like you again - only better.
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1. Mckinlay SM. The normal menopause transition: an overview. Maturitas. 1996 Mar 1;23(2):137-45.