Embarking on the menopausal phase means dedicating a significant portion about one-third to one-half of your life to this transformative journey.
It's a substantial period of a women's life that in the past has not been given the attention and understanding it deserves.
Officially, menopause is declared once you've completed twelve consecutive months without a menstrual period and have reached the appropriate age.
At the thirteenth month, you're miraculously recognized as menopausal. While this milestone signifies the end of your menstrual cycle, the associated symptoms of hormonal change may persist, making it crucial to separate fact from fiction.
Dispelling Myth #1: The belief that nothing can be done about menopause.
The reality is quite the opposite! Transitioning from your reproductive years to menopause is a significant change, and it's essential to acknowledge that what you're experiencing is a natural evolution. It is vital that younger women begin to acknowledge their hormonal health as early as mid 30's.
I recommend that women begin taking stock of symptoms that begin during their cycle in their 30's and 40's and ensure their sleep is good, get on top of weight gain and ensure they have a selfcare plan that they action as soon as possible.
Debunking Myth #2: The misconception that all hormone replacement is detrimental.
Contrary to popular belief, this statement is overly broad and doesn't apply to most women.
Menopausal Hormone Replacement Therapy (MHT) comes in various types and forms based on identical hormones and not the previous synthetic hormones that were used. Depending on where you are in your peri-menopausal journey, you may opt for one or several hormones.
Estradiol, a potent estrogen, often raises concerns, but ongoing research is changing perceptions. Current updated research from the women's health initiative found that E2 (estradiol) did not increase breast cancer risk but progestins (synthetic progesterone) was the likely cause of concern.
Addressing Myth #3: Assuming all menopausal transitions are identical.
While there are commonalities among menopausal women, the array of symptoms is vast.
Anxiety, night sweats, and vaginal dryness may be your experience, while a friend might contend with joint pain, itchy skin, and weight gain around the belly.
Every woman goes through menopause at the same age?
There is no set age that women suddenly hit that make them menopausal. Whilst early 50's used to be common, today it varies widely based on a whole range of lifestyle and health factors.
Your journey is unique; menopause may occur in your early forties or linger until your mid-fifties. I am seeing a lot more younger women going through perimenopause in their mid 40's and that seems to be the current trend today. This is a concern for many women who will be living for many years in a low estrogen state that may increase their risk of CVD, Osteoporosis, Metabolic Syndrome and Mental Health Risks.
What can we do?
We have many lifestyle changes and natural alternatives that women can use to embrace the individuality of their experience.
Herbal remedies such as Black cohosh, Shatavari, Wild yam, Korean Ginseng, Licorice as well as Soy isoflavones (SIF), and new research on pollen extract can be used to modulate symptoms and hormonal balance alongside or as alternative to MHT.
Exercise is essential for women during this period, especially weight training and resistant exercise for strength and bone health. Collagen peptides are one of my favourites along-side SIF for supporting bone mineral density and reducing bone fracture risk. It also enhances skin density and our joints.
Yoga has been shown to bring balance to nervous system and enhance overall sense of calm and connection for women during this stage of life.
Navigating the menopausal transition can be overwhelming, but it's an opportunity to embrace the next chapter of yourself. The secret for all women is to begin the conversation with their health practitioner as early as possible.
It's also a good idea to discuss your family history with the women in your family. Most of the women I ask don't know what their mother or her mothers symptoms were.
A women's hormonal health is rooted to her long-term health, every women needs to tract her journey and get assessment as early as possible