Having had a baby at 46 and regular periods forever, I was not expecting to go through menopause before 50. Perhaps as women we are in denial about menopause thinking that others may experience the negative effects but of course “I wont”.
We don’t speak about it enough, we don’t even recognize the irrational years of peri-menopause and we most certainly can never really be sufficiently prepared. Despite the vastness of books about menopause the one thing that I do know is that it is a uniquely subjective experience that we each have to learn to understand and cope with.
Personally I experienced the following symptoms:
Hot flashes are experienced by 80% of women. They can be mild or severe, wet or dry and felt from the neck to the belly and are often followed by feeling chilled. Hot flashes may be triggered by stress, caffeine, sugar and anxiety and always by a reduction in estrogen and an increase in follicle stimulating hormone. Many women see a reduction in the occurrence of hot flashes when they add phytoestrogens like soy isoflavones (150mg is recommended daily) to their diet. Personally I have found that DHEA Pregnenelone and Black Cohosh help tremendously and it is most definitely better when I reduce the level of stress in my life by meditation.
Heart Palpitations were my very first symptom. I woke one morning with my heart pounding in my neck and thought at first that I had a bad dream. Chronic adrenal “fight and flight” reaction due to stress exhaustion was the cause. Again meditation and increasing the levels of antioxidants and Omega Fatty acids helped. I also take Adrenal Aide, (5 drops a day)
Other common symptoms include:
Migraines from hormonal imbalance, often also experienced during PMS, are caused by a fall in progesterone.
Breast tenderness often experienced before your period becomes prevalent during menopause due to an excess of estrogen. It seems that Omega fatty Acids (2000mg) and removing caffeine helps.
Heavy bleeding occurs when progesterone is too low. Most of my friends have seen improvement with better diet and exercise regimens.
Loss of libido is mostly caused by a reduction in testosterone and adrenal exhaustion, which means a lack of DHEA. See the article on adrenal exhaustion for relief.
Vaginal dryness is caused by a lack of estrogen, which affects the lubrication of the entrance to the vagina. I have learned that a suppository of coconut oil, made in an ice cube tray and put in the fridge, inserted daily will lubricate and nourish this fragile tissue. (While a touch messy) it really works!
Feeling of recurrent urinary tract infection even if the lab results say no, is caused by the thinning of the entrance to the urethra, which needs estrogen for lubrication. Regular kegels will help to strengthen this sensitive area.
Skin tends to dry and thin without estrogen which is needed to build collagen. Eating antioxidants will help to prevent the aging and drying of the skin.
Bone loss occurs because estrogen and progesterone are needed to build bone matrix. Be sure to increase your levels of vitamin D as well as Calcium, magnesium and indole 3-carbinol found in cruciferous vegetables
Mood volatility can be hormone related
Insomnia occurs because of night sweating and anxiety. I take AdrenalAide, which helps to calm my adrenal stress and helps me to sleep. I also try to go to bed before 10pm.
Brain fog tends to accompany menopause, which I have found disappear with a Ginko Biloba supplement.
All symptoms of menopause tend to be interrelated so one fix will usually affect them all. The foods that I recommend you try to affect the discomfort include the following:
Soy protein, in the form of milk, tofu, tempeh, edamame or nuts, mimics estrogen in its structure. I recommend that you use non-GMO products only.
Flax seed is the best source of estrogenic compounds called lignans, which prevent cancer, have antiviral, anti fungal and anti microbial properties and lower bad cholesterol. They are also an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fiber for better digestion and omega-3 fatty acids for improved heart and brain function.
Antioxidants found in fruit, vegetables and chocolate to fight the damage caused by free radicals.
Learn more: Adrenal stress and your weight