It’s world menopause day, and in aid of this Vytaliving has decided to take a deep dive into menopause – what is it, why is it called ‘the change’, how best to manage these changes and live a healthy post-menopausal life.
The Timeline of Menopause
Menopause is defined as when menstruation ceases. This is rather a simplistic view of what happens when truthly the changes occur to hormones, mood, weight, metabolism, bone structure and much more. Alternatively, menopause is medically defined as 1 whole year without menstrual bleeding.
As women age, they stop producing as much oestrogen. As this decreases, women are unlikely to release an egg from the ovaries every month. In the UK, the average age to begin menopause is 51, according to the NHS. That being said, approximately 1 in 100 women experience the menopause before 40 years of age. Before menopause begins a woman may sit in peri- or pre-menopause for as little as a few months or up to 10 years before menopause. This is a gradual change, but when the ovaries stop releasing an egg, the rapid deceleration in oestrogen production begins. Menopause is when a woman no longer experiences monthly menstruation and the ovaries produce much less oestrogen. Then, a woman is considered post-menopausal when she has not experienced monthly menstruation for 12+ months, and onwards.
Symptoms of Menopause
The typical menopausal symptoms occur when hormonal changes begin and when oestrogen begins to decrease. Therefore, the presence of menopausal symptoms can begin during perimenopause and may continue during post-menopause, for months to years for some.
Common symptoms include:
- Hot flushes
- Night Sweats
- Changes in mucus linings including vaginal dryness
- Changes in sleep
- Changes in mood leading to low mood and anxiety
- Problems with memory and concentration
- Changes in libido
Management of Menopause
Some women experience changes in their sleep patterns due to symptoms such as night sweats and hot flushes. The ideal room temperature for sleep is 15.6 to 19.4 degrees Celsius. According to the sleep foundation the body likes to be cooler in order to drift off. In order to keep yourself cool and promote sleep, menopausal women are recommended to sleep with their windows open. In addition, opt for naturally cool materials for your bedding and sleepwear to disperse the heat and reduce sweating. In addition, you may like to try a supplement such as 5-HTP. 5-HTP is a precursor to the body’s sleep hormone, melatonin.
During the process of the peri-menopausal transition, there is great fluctuation in female sex hormones such as progesterone and oestrogen. Progesterone is related to the mood changes experienced in pre-menstrual syndrome. In addition, mood changes can be caused by a lack of sleep for some people. Mood changes are completely normal during menopause, in order to manage these better, try to prioritise self-care, relaxation and sleep. In addition, you may like to look towards medical or supplemental support such as HRT or a supplement containing Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 contributes to the normal function of the nervous system and psychological function.
As oestrogen decreases so does bone health in women. Therefore, there is a stark increase in bone fragility, falls and fractures in women over menopausal age. Studies demonstrate a greater risk of developing osteoporosis after menopause. This means that prioritising bone health is vitally important for pre-menopause, during menopause and after menopause. This means increasing sources of calcium, vitamin D and magnesium in your diet. You may like to do this by increasing dairy, dark green leafy vegetables, oily fish, tofu, nuts, and fortified plant-based milk/cheese. A study of 120 women over the age of 45 years, gave them a placebo or a calcium and vitamin Supplement over a 30-month period. Then, bone mineral density (BMD) was measured every 15 months. The change in total BMD in the calcium group was significantly different from that in the placebo group. The placebo group lost a total BMD at a rate of about 0.4% per year. These results showed the positive effect of calcium and Vitamin D supplementation in women both peri- and post-menopausal status.
Phytoestrogens are a form of plant oestrogen that mimic human oestrogen. Studies have shown that taking phytoestrogenspyhtooestrogeth symptoms of menopause. Common sources of this include sage and dong quai. One study included 71 patients that had been menopausal for at least 12 months and experienced at least 5 hot flushes a day. For 8 weeks they were given one daily tablet containing sage. Their hot flushes were measured on a menopause rating scale and by the total score and mean number intensity of their hot flushes. Results showed that there was a 50% decrease in intensity and number of hot flushes within 4 weeks. Then, after 8 weeks, this was measured at a 64% decrease in intensity.
Modern science really is remarkable. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was introduced in the UK in 1965. This is a form of regulating the hormones lost during menopause to manage symptoms. This can be done with tablets, gels, patches and implants. Studies demonstrate that HRT can help to minimise typical menopause symptoms discussed above. That being said, HRT has been linked with an increased risk of a number of diseases which means it's unsuitable for women who have experienced breast, ovarian or womb cancer, as well as with a history of blood clots or high blood pressure. Alternatively, HRT has been shown to decrease the risk of osteoporosis.
A Product Feature on Sage Tablets
The high-quality sage extract from the Salvia officinalis plant is renowned for its soothing and effective benefits to women during menopause. The gentle herbal effects of sage are celebrated for improving a women’s quality of life during the big change in life. Salvia officinalis contains a natural form of oestrogen called ‘phytoestrogens’. These mimic the action of oestrogen within a women’s body. The cause of many menopause symptoms is the decline in natural oestrogen production in your body. This can lead to symptoms such as excessive sweating, night sweats, changes in sleep, changes in bone strength, and hot flushes. Experts believe that taking small doses of daily sage herb extract can minimise these symptoms in the long-term making day to day life more manageable.
Our sage tablets contain 60 tablets, for a 1-month serving. Simply take two of the 9mm tablets per day for beneficial effects on menopause symptoms.
- Menopause Support - https://menopausesupport.co.uk/
- Menopause Café - https://www.menopausecafe.net/
- British Menopause Society - https://thebms.org.uk/
- Bupa, Women’s Health Hub- https://www.bupa.co.uk/womens-health
- Menopause and Me - https://www.menopauseandme.co.uk/
- The Menopause Charity- https://www.themenopausecharity.org/