Managing symptoms of menopause
What is menopause?
It is a period in women’s life where the menstrual cycle ceases. The average age of menopause is 51 years old. However, some women might experience menopause significantly earlier, occasionally even before 40 years old. Some women may also start their menopause in their late 50s.
What are the main symptoms of menopause?
There are 14 symptoms which can be associated with menopause. The most common ones are:
- Sweating at night.
- Hot flushes.
- Mood swings.
- Joint stiffness.
- Reduced muscle mass.
- Weight gain.
- Reduced libido.
- Memory and concentration issues.
- Discomfort during sexual intercourse,
- Vaginal dryness or itching.
- Recurrent urinary tract infections.
- Muscle pain.
Does menopause have an impact on bones?
Menopause can have an indirect impact on bone health. However, it does not happen in every case. Bones can start losing their strength; hence, increasing the risk of fractures. It is due to changes in hormone levels, particularly the estrogen. Reduced amounts of estrogen will increase the number of cells responsible for breaking down an old bone in the body and reduce the amount of cells responsible for regeneration of the bone. Hence, predisposing the development of osteoporosis which makes bones more susceptible to fracture.
Can exercise help to manage the menopause symptoms?
There are many benefits of exercise after menopause. Regular exercises increase the metabolic rate, meaning your daily energy expenditure boosts. This may help to control, or prevent, unwanted weight gain. Also, regular exercises improve cardiovascular health which reduces the risk of developing heart and circulation related problems. During menopause, the amount of estrogen hormone can be reduced significantly which affects the bone density, health and strength. As a result, it predisposes the development of osteoporosis. On the other hand, doing regular resistance training helps to maintain good bone health as well as muscle mass.
What other treatment is available for menopause?
Most common treatment for menopause is hormonal replacement therapy. As mentioned above, during the menopause, women may lose a significant amount of estrogen. This affects bone health and predisposes women to the development of osteoporosis. Hormone replacement therapy is available in patches, implants, tablets or gel to rub on the skin.
Are there side effects of hormone replacement therapy?
There are few side effects which may be present while using hormone replacement therapy. Most common ones are:
- Tummy ache.
- Vaginal bleeding.
- Breast tenderness.
Some medications may also increase the risk of developing breast cancer, endometrial cancer (which is a cancer of lining of the womb) or blood clots. Besides, it is recommended to consult your GP about which type of hormonal replacement therapy is most suitable for you.
Can hormonal replacement therapy cause weight gain?
To date, there is no evidence suggesting that hormonal replacement therapy can result in weight gain. The systematic review by Jensen 2009 observed that women receiving the hormone replacement therapy 5 years after the menopause gained less weight than those who did not receive the treatment.
Can diet help to replenish needed vitamins and minerals during menopause?
Diet is one of the crucial aspects when it comes to managing menopause symptoms and sustaining good health during and after the menopause. It is recommended to have plenty of veg and fruit, starchy carbohydrates and lean protein.
Try to reduce or avoid foods high in saturated fats, sugar and salt because these can increase the risk for experiencing a cardiac event and weight gain. Moreover, it is also recommended to add wholegrain rice, chickpeas, soya and oat products into your diet. These products contain phytoestrogens which helps to increase the estrogen production where needed potentially reducing a possibility of developing osteoporosis.
To further ensure good bone health try to consume plenty of calcium. It can be obtained from foods such as breads, breakfast cereals, fish eaten with bones (canned sardines), green leafy vegetables and dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese. Nuts are also a great source of calcium. It is suggested that almonds contain the highest amount of calcium out of all nuts.
As a final word
We hope this information is useful for you. If you need advice or have any questions about our treatments, please contact us. You can find us 3 mins away from Angel station in Islington. We are always happy to help. If you like this blog, please share!