There’s one thing in life that no one teaches you about: Menopause.
We learn about puberty, the changes and hormones involved. We learn about how we can get pregnant and if we get pregnant, what we can expect. But no one talks about “the change”.
All I ever heard about was “vaginal dryness” and “loss of libido” but not the lowered iron levels, the craziness, loss of hair, papery skin, mood swings or the every where dryness!!!
I’ve learned a few interesting things about what happens to women when we age, here’s what you need to know!
The stage of peri-menopause starts in your mid-40’s and will last until your early 50’s. The average age of menopause, (no menses for 1 year) is 51. Your estrogen and testosterone levels will dramatically start to decline which then results in a couple of major physical symptoms, like:
Dryness (everywhere!) eyes, va-j.j., joints, hair, skin and even in your mouth;
Lowered sex drive due to the decrease in testosterone; hot flashes, which peak within two years of your last period; brain fog, sleep issues, depression and anxiousness.
Raise your hand if you experience any of these symptoms now! 🙋🏻♀️
Do they mean to tell you that things are going to get worse?
They may, but they don’t have to!
Estrogen, is responsible for more things than just our period.
Estrogen determines our skin’s collagen stores! 🤯
So while our estrogen levels plummet, so do our collagen stores. Which are responsible for our supple skin, voluminous hair and non-creaky joints. (That’s right!!!)
Estrogen is also responsible for our production of hyaluronic acid!
And hyaluronic acid isn’t just for the moisture on your face…it also helps with the moisture downstairs! This is why vaginal dryness occurs after menopause.
Sounds great, right? Wait. It gets better.
Many women go through emotional disturbances, whether that be mood swings, anxiety or depression. These can be related to a few factors. Loss of parents or children leaving home, the loss of their “womanhood” plus the rollercoaster ride of hormones that is present during menopause can make anyone crazy.
Look at the image, notice the hormone levels and how they change during the phases of menopause. During peri-menopause, your hormones are are definitely taking you on a ride. It's no surprise why some women seem to feel like they are going crazy.
So what can you do?
Phytoestrogens are plant-sourced substances which mimic estrogen at your cells receptor cites. When you are running out of estrogen, these plants fill the spots where your cells are waiting for estrogen. Soy, of course may be the first come to mind. But other high sources of phytoestrogens are flaxseed, lentils, chickpeas, fenugreek and beans.
Just a quick note about soy; it’s not the demon that you may hear about. Ensure the soy you are getting is certified non-GMO and organic. There is no evidence what soy increases the risk of breast or endometrial cancer.
If you are going to be adding soy to your diet, use SOY. No “incredible” meat products. No veggie ground. Just Tofu. You can use Textured soy Protein, which is dehydrated soy. The real deal.
There are two main categories of supplements that will help you go through menopause; each woman is different, so what may work for one may not work for you. The main categories are hot flashes and mood.
Hot Flashes - The exact reason for why they occur is unknown, it is somehow tied to our hypothalamus in our brain, which regulates our body temperature, (the hypothalamus is also connected to our adrenal and thyroid glands, as mentioned previously). As estrogen decreases, slight temperature changes make the hypothalamus overreact to a rise in temperatures, opening up blood vessels to allow the body to cool, inducing sweating and overheating. Triggers can be spicy foods, coffee, smoking, warm environments and stress.
A member of the buttercup family, has been shown to bine to regulate core temperatures by binding to cell receptors. Can have an adverse effect on liver function and maybe breast cancer.
Contains isoflavones that can have an effect on hot flashes. The studies are studies have come out neutral to whether or not red clover is effective. It may help some women, but not all.