Menopause can be an extremely trying period in the life of a woman. Hot flashes and night sweats have mostly dominated the discussions on the effects of menopause. As many women know these physical discomforts are only one part of it. The physical effects combined with the mental and emotional changes that often accompany this state can create havoc in a woman’s life.
Menopause can cause a variety of symptoms, women have reported feeling depressed, confused, losing concentration, Headaches, dizziness, memory loss, difficulty in learning, reduced cognition, strange dreams, an overactive mind, and other things. Menopause can cause dramatic mood changes, you could wake up and start crying for no apparent reason, or become angry at the slightest provocation. Mood swings, rage, panic, and anxiety, are also common mood fluctuations menopausal women experience.
There are many factors to consider when you are dealing with menopause. As with any bodily condition, there are an infinite amount of variables and things to consider. We don’t know what we don’t know but luckily we now have a pretty good understanding of some of the most important things to be aware of, and do when you are trying to decrease the symptoms of Menopause.
The mental and emotional changes that occur during menopause are the result of changes in the biochemistry of your brain. The hormones progesterone and estrogen are the main culprits for all these discomforting symptoms. During the period when a woman is entering menopause, progesterone levels start dwindling continuously; however, estrogen levels fluctuate up and down. The imbalance in the ratio of these hormones and others are mainly responsible for the changes in the neurotransmitters in your body, and ultimately the drastic fluctuations in your emotions and mood.
With the initial fluctuations during perimenopause, there begins to be an Increased risk of breast cancer due to estrogen dominance (progesterone levels deplete first, so we naturally become estrogen dominant. Estrogen is responsible for storing fat. So balancing our estrogen with progesterone is our first step to hormone balance.) These are natural, normal “changes” that all women go through.
At the Teggatz Clinic, we focus on educating and treating hormone issues with a natural approach, tailored to your specific needs, knowing that no woman is exactly the same. Aging and hormone levels affect everyone differently based on nutrition, activity level, stress, toxicity, and genetics. For this blog, when we say “hormones” we are referring primarily to the estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, and thyroid hormones.
To stop these symptoms, you have to balance the hormones. Fortunately, these symptoms don’t always last long. After menopause, i.e., 12 months after your periods have ceased, many women don’t feel these symptoms anymore. But while you do, how can you balance the ratio of estrogen to progesterone so you can live a normal life?
Here are 7 Ways To Help Balance Your Hormones
#1 – Exercise
Regular exercise can help improve mental and physical health during menopause. Exercise can promote bone and joint health, enhance metabolism and energy, improve sleep, and reduce stress.
According to this study, researchers found that a group of menopausal women who work out for three hours each week for one year experienced improved mental and physical health and general quality of life. Regular exercise can also help prevent several chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and others. Remember to try and breathe through your nose during exercise for enhanced health benefits.
#2 – Increase Consumption of Fruits and Veggies
To reduce the risk of issues after menopause, it’s important to get a minimum of five portions of fruits and veggies each day. Research shows that fruits and veggies are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals which can prevent heart diseases, stroke, and certain cancers. Green tea and dark chocolate have also been found to help reduce the risk of heart disease in postmenopausal women. It’s also important to avoid a high-carb diet after menopause as research has linked high-carb nutrition with an increased risk of heart disease in women after menopause.
#3 – Cut Down on Processed Foods and Refined Sugar
Research shows that postmenopausal women who are on diets high in refined carbs have a higher risk of suffering from depression. This is because sugar and refined carbs can cause drastic fluctuations in blood sugar levels, leading to mood swings and fatigue. You may also be at risk of poor bone health if your diet is high in processed foods.
#4 – Eat More Low Glycemic Foods
Starchy foods such as potatoes are rich in minerals and fiber, especially when cooked without peeling off the skin. It’s important to eat more of wholemeal varieties of starchy foods such as wholemeal bread, oatmeal, brown rice, and whole-wheat pasta. These varieties are richer in nutrients, have more fiber, and take more time to digest that the processed carbs which have been linked to higher oxidative stress, heart disease, cancer, and weight gain in postmenopausal women. Consumption of fiber has been linked to lower levels of oxidative stress.
#5 Eat Functional Foods
Functional foods enhance health and wellbeing by boosting metabolism, promoting digestion, improving nutrient absorption, and assisting in weight loss. Functional Foods are important to include in any diet because they are very nutritious and always have a unique medicinal effect. These foods serve a double purpose and should be prioritized, in order to achieve maximum health.
Try these functional foods out:
- Flaxseeds (Omega-3 Fatty Acids)
- Saurkraut (fermented food for gut health)
- Chia seeds (Omega-3 Fatty Acids)
- Seaweed (Protein)
- Quinoa (Protein)
- Leafy greens (High in magnesium)
- Cacao (Pure Chocolate; High in magnesium)
- Olives (fermented food for gut health)
- Kimchi (fermented food for gut health)
- Garlic, Turmeric, Ginger (anti-inflammatory)
#6 – Check in to BiHRT
BiHRT (bIoidentical hormone replacement therapy) improves the quality of life for many women. This therapy, which seeks to balance estrogen and progesterone is safe and effective. At The Teggatz Clinic, the process is simple. On your first visit, we administer a functional medicine evaluation in order to see if you are a good candidate for BiHRT. Some things included in the assessment are a health history including family history of breast cancer, hormone testing, estrogen metabolite levels and more.
As early as your second visit, if you are a good candidate, and proper screening results all come back good, BiHRT can be administered. On the third and subsequent visits, the results of the BiHRT will be reviewed, and based on your estrogen levels, metabolism, and a few other factors, adjustments to dose might be made.
Research supports the use of BiHRT for the positive effects on the brain, bone and cardiovascular health too! In addition, according to a 2013 study published in the American Journal Of Public Health, and as reported by both Forbes and Time Magazine, anywhere from 18,600 to as many as 91,600 women in medical menopause may have died prematurely over the last decade as a result of avoiding estrogen replacement. This is big news for certain women, who are looking for ways to reduce their risk of mortality.
#7 Get good sleep
As you know it is important to get good sleep. However, it is especially important to get good sleep when you are trying to balance your hormones. If you have issues getting a good nights sleep, then working to correct that is one of the most important things to fix for your health and your hormones.
There are many things to try when you are trying to reduce menopause symptoms. The critical factors on this topic should be explained to all women in menopause. While your hormones may never be at the same level they used to be before menopause, you can still live a comfortable and stress-free life after menopause by following a healthy, balanced diet, living a healthy lifestyle, exercising correctly, and if it is applicable using therapies such as BiHRT.
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