Sometime between the ages of 40 and 55, women stop menstruating - strictly speaking, it is only the time of the last menstruation that should be called the menopause. But colloquially, the menopause also refers to a period of about 20 years during which the female body passes from the fertile to the infertile phase. This hormonal restructuring of the body is divided into four phases: Premenopause, Perimenopause, Menopause and Postmenopause.
After the age of 40, periods often become more irregular and PMS symptoms increase. The hormone levels of oestrogen and progesterone decrease. The first menopausal symptoms begin.
About 1 to 2 years before the last menstrual period, menstruation stops now and then. Many women react with hot flushes, weight gain, sleep disturbances and mood swings.
The menstrual period occurs for the last time. On average, women are 50 years old at this time.
One year after the last menstruation, the postmenopause begins. Women often complain of hair loss, back pain and vaginal dryness during this time.
What happens inside the body during the menopause?
A woman is born with about 500,000 ovarian follicles, which mature from puberty onwards. At around 50 years of age, the last follicles mature. Since it is these ovarian follicles that mainly produce the oestrogen and progesterone, oestrogen levels suddenly drop sharply. It is true that the fat cells and the adrenal glands continue to produce oestrogen. However, in much smaller quantities than our body is used to. The body cannot adapt so quickly to this change. Our nervous system reacts to this and all the body functions that are controlled by the nervous system, e.g. metabolism, digestion, breathing, blood pressure, but also the body's heat and water regulation.
No wonder that around 50% of menopausal women suddenly notice an increase in blood pressure. Weight gain, water retention, flatulence and constipation, heavy sweating or hot flushes also come as little surprise. The irritated nervous system also causes depressive phases, general listlessness, sleep disorders or nervousness. In addition, hair loss, pain in the breasts, dry mucous membranes and joint pain can occur. In the worst case, arthrosis or osteoporosis (bone loss) can develop.
Your hormone system needs support
Often during the menopause there is a hormonal imbalance, which throws our body and also our psyche out of balance. Although the ovarian follicles stop producing oestrogen, too high and too low oestrogen levels can alternate during the menopause. Reasons for this can be increased stress, too little sleep, environmental toxins, alcohol, caffeine or constipation.
During sleep, the body breaks down toxins and excess hormones and excretes them. In addition, new hormones are formed and tissues and cells are repaired. If the body has too little time to do this, the hormone system gets out of balance more quickly.
In the case of permanent stress, the adrenal glands and the thyroid gland are also exhausted because they have to produce hormones continuously. Chronic stress also inhibits the production of testosterone, oestrogen and progesterone.
- Allow yourself at least 7 hours of sleep per night
- Schedule breaks and downtime into your daily routine
- Eliminate stress factors
- Use relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation and breathing techniques regularly
- Massage, Ayurveda and acupuncture can help.
Tip 2 - Get moving
It's quite simple
Exercise helps build and maintain the muscles that are slowly lost during menopause. In addition, physical activity boosts metabolism and fat burning. You'll sleep better, be in a better mood and your stress levels will go down if you exercise every day. This does not mean that you have to go to the gym every day. You can also incorporate exercise in other ways.
- Always use the stairs
- Take a walk instead of going out for a meal or coffee
- Walk or cycle to work
- Clean the flat to loud music
- Go dancing
Our diet has a significant influence on our hormonal system. Especially during hormonal fluctuations, it is particularly important to pay attention to the right nutrition. In order to produce hormones, the body needs very specific macro- and micronutrients. We have to make these available through our diet.
- Vegetables, lettuce, herbs, seeds and sprouts should form the basis. They support your liver and intestines in metabolising hormones.
- Although many women gain weight during this phase of life, they should definitely not give up healthy fats. These are needed for the production of hormone precursors. Healthy fats are found in olive oil, avocado, linseed oil, nuts, seeds and deep-sea fish.
- We should avoid too many carbohydrates from processed foods. Nevertheless, we must not give up carbohydrates under any circumstances. High-fibre carbohydrate sources such as starchy vegetables (carrots, beetroot, sweet potatoes), gluten-free cereals (quinoa, buckwheat, rice), nuts, seeds and fruits are ideal.
- Sufficient protein satiates well and prevents excessive muscle breakdown. At least 20 g protein in the main meal. If necessary, supplement with protein powder.
- Eat little or no industrial food and convenience products.
- Avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners.
- Avoid extreme low-carb or no-carb diets.
- Food supplements with vitamin D3, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins and magnesium support your detoxification organs liver, kidneys and intestines in eliminating harmful substances or excess hormones.
- The proven Strath herbal yeast supports the intestines, which produce 95% of our serotonin as well as other hormones.
- Bitters from milk thistle, dandelion and artichoke help your liver.
- Pre- and probiotics promote intestinal activity.
During menopause, we are inevitably confronted with significant changes in our bodies and minds. We get wrinkles, feel less active and energetic, perhaps gain a kilo or two, suddenly become forgetful. Our parents may die and our children may be leaving home. Suddenly we have to reorganise our lives and find a new place for ourselves. But this is also a chance to rediscover and recreate ourselves. If we refuse to change and try to resist with all our might, we only make it unnecessarily difficult for ourselves.
- Accept that everything is constantly changing.
- Surrender to this flow of life.
- Yoga, breathing exercises and meditation can support you in this.
- Positive affirmations and a gratitude diary can strengthen your resolutions and remind you of how much beauty you experience in your life.