Women have always known to have great intuition, especially when it comes to their body reacting to certain conditions - emotionally, mentally or physically.
These “feelings” tend to get “out of control” during specific phases of our life, the kind that we see in movies but have not explicitly discussed before it happens.
We start to sense a shift in the way our body works; drastic mood swings with frequent tears or outbursts.
The worst part?
The way people start reacting to this outburst, responding likethey think we’re going crazy.
Honestly, we are not going crazy… it's just menopause!
Menopause is a transitional period when our bodies start to wind down on our reproductive abilities.
And it’s no fun ride. All the mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, joint pains, and thenever-ending list of problems. Feels like we have a lot to deal with, by ourselves.
Understanding and accepting these symptoms can help us simplify the process of solving them (as promised, as easy as 1, 2, 3)!
Let us start with understanding the 3 stages of Menopause:
Perimenopause or Premenopause
The 3 Stages of Menopause
Perimenopause or Premenopause can begin several years before menopause. This could last between a few months to about 10 years. However, on average it lasts about 4 years.
Ovaries start to gradually lower estrogen production. This is a natural process of growing older and usually starts around the age of 40. In some cases, it could start as early as when women are in their 30s. This could mean a reduction in our fertility rate, therefore, women looking to start a family should try and utilize every open opportunity with your partner!
Changes in the menstrual/period cycle The horror stories begin with the change in duration of our menstrual cycle- there could be longer gaps between periods or spotting between 2 cycles. Like, the frustration of not knowing when you will get your period next is not enough; the flow would differ too, making it heavier or lighter over time.
Intensified PMS (premenstrual syndrome) Drastic and frequent mood swings are the most common signals, along with increased insomnia or hot flashes. This could increase our irritability level, losing our energy levels; getting tired even after sitting at work the entire day or taking longer weekend naps to recover from our workweek would be common.
The official menopause stage begins 12 months after the last menstrual period (bleeding).
Ovaries stop releasing eggs. This means there would be minimal production of estrogen. At this stage, getting pregnant could be significantly harder. Hence, we notice the use of hormonal therapy or IVF for childbirth. We start feeling “low”, with the constant need to cuddle in bed and watch Netflix instead of going out and getting drinks with our girlfriends.
Intensified hot flashes and night sweats. Waking up in the middle of the night, aggressively throwing our blanket away or turning your fan on max even though the aircon is on full blast. Our body starts to feel warm or hot suddenly, with flushed red skin and increased heart rate; followed by suddenly feeling cold.
Significant physical changes. The concept of “a minute on your lip, a lifetime on your hip” comes to reality. Eating one slice of cake for dinner could increase weight around our waist and abdominal region, with a reduction in our metabolic rate." It is also common to notice our hair and skin becoming drier and thinner; no amount of conditioner and lotion seem to absolutely solve this problem. Say goodbye to unwanted weight gains due to menopause.
Yes, the troubles don’t end right at menopause. It is the stage where most of the severe menopausal symptoms decrease but it comes with additional side effects.
Increase in Follicle Stimulating Hormones (FSH) This increases dramatically as our ovaries shut down and drastically lower the level of estrogen in our body. By this point, we start noticing lowered energy level- sleeping in by 7/8 P.M. after work is a norm.
Higher risk of certain health conditions. Some of the common health problems that occur during postmenopause are diabetes, joint pains, osteoporosis, cholesterol and heart disease. This could be an alarming phase, where every visit to the doctor is like drawing a lottery ticket- we need to maintain a healthy lifestyle to combat such possibilities.
Difficulty concentrating and memory lapses (often temporary) Forgetting your car keys, deadlines seem to increase over time. However, these are temporary symptoms of postmenopause. We face a reduction in brain-derived neurotrophic factors which could also cause depression and anxiety.
Now we have identified the 3 stages of Menopause.
Understanding the 3 most common symptoms amongst women is vital, allowing us to solve or reduce these problems.
Hot Flashes & Night Sweats
Bloating & Weight Gain
Joint Pains & Anxiety/Depression
We might have come across various methods to solve specific menopause symptoms. This includes our doctors recommending hormonal therapies or birth control pills to help our ovaries continue producing estrogen; or medications such as antidepressants to reduce our mood swings and other allopathic medication for joint pains and bloating.
However, instead of concentrating on medication thatalters our hormone levels, there are natural ways to reduce these symptoms with no side effects in the long run.
Here are 3 natural ways to reduce our menopausal symptoms:
Adopting A Healthier Lifestyle
It is easier to reduce menopausal symptoms and potential health conditions by having a healthier lifestyle. This would include:
(i) exercising regularly (ii) avoiding stimulants like smoking*, caffeine*, alcohol* and excess sugar or salt. (iii) emphasizing on a balanced diet* which would involve consuming tons of whole grains, cold-pressed oils, leafy vegetables and nuts while avoiding junk food (especially ones with excess sugar and salt).
*Avoiding caffeine, smoking, alcohol and consuming a balanced diet significantly reduces hot flashes and night sweats. (1, 2, 3, 4)
Including Natural Herbs In Our Diet
There are 3 popular and common herbs such as Turmeric, Moringa and Curry Leaves which help decrease various menopausal symptoms (as discussed below):
(i)Turmeric & Curcumin
Turmeric - a herb and spice commonly used to make our curry yellow. It consists of a miraculous ingredient called ‘Curcumin’ which has various benefits like:
(a) anti-inflammatory benefits (5) which naturally reduce joint pains and osteoporosis in the long run (b) fighting common age-related chronic diseases (6) like diabetes and cholesterol (c) boosting brain-derived neurotrophic factors which help improve conditions like memory loss. (6)
However, Curcumin content in Turmeric is not high (approximately 3% by weight). Additionally, Curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream.
Therefore, to maximize the full effects of curcumin, it helps to consume ‘Black Pepper’ with it to enhance the absorption by 2000%. (6)
Moringa is a plant that has been renowned for its health benefits for thousands of years. It has various properties that could reduce common menopause symptoms like:
(a) It contains multiple micronutrients and calcium which makes the bones stronger (7) (b) Potentially helps with diabetes management in the long run. (8) (c) Combats weight loss, mood swings, anxiety and depression. (9, 10) (d) Reduces joint pain as it has strong anti-inflammatory properties that also may also helps to reduce inflammation-associated arthritis. (11)
(iii) Curry Leaves
Curry leaves are commonly used as herbs or seasonings in Indian cuisine which has amazing health benefits.
(a) It helps with weight management and weight loss. (12) (b) It helps with digestion of food avoiding symptoms like bloating. (13) (c) It regulates cholesterol and diabetes as well. (14)
There are 3 vital types of vitamins that help reduce common menopause and postmenopause symptoms - Vitamin D, A & E; along with Calcium.
(i) Vitamin A & Calcium, as mentioned before reduces joint pains during postmenopause. (15) (ii) Vitamin D supports calcium by making your bones stronger. (16) (iii)Vitamin E helps to ease stress (including oxidative stress), which reduces the risk of depression. (17, 18)
Going through menopause by yourself is hard! Especially because it affects our daily life! Symptoms like reduction in metabolic rates and estrogen levels that cause weight gain and increase the size of our abdomen; night sweats and flashes, joint pains that make us feel 30 years older...are just to name a few.
Therefore, we have broken down understanding and solving menopause in 3 easy steps; which can make this journey a little less frustrating!
We hope you can see that menopause does not have to be difficult and solving it can be as easy as 1, 2, 3!
We at Better Body Co have a mission to help women around the world have an easier menopausal transition...
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