The menopause literally means “change of life”. It refers to the time in a women’s life when her ovaries stop ripening eggs and the menstrual cycle ends. It is a natural stage of life that every woman will experience.
The menopause usually occurs gradually, taking around 7 years until periods cease completely. This allows the body time to adapt to the hormonal changes taking place.
Most of the symptoms that occur during the menopause are connected to the falling levels of female hormones. This can be a time of uncomfortable physical and emotional changes, but natural therapies such as nutrition provide a gentle yet effective way to support your body’s hormonal system, supporting the transition.
Common menopausal symptoms
- Hot flushes
- Dry skin
- Memory loss
- Night sweats
- Mood swings
- Vaginal dryness
- Weight gain
- Sleep disturbances
- Thinning hair
- Loss of breast fullness
- Loss of libido
- Problems with memory and clear thinking
- Depression, anxiety or irritability
Falling hormone levels mean that the menopause is also accompanied by an increased risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.
Female hormone levels: as we approach the menopause, the body starts to produce less of the female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone, leading to changes in the delicate balance between these hormones.
A DUTCH Complete Female Hormone Test determines hormone levels and can check the balance of oestrogen and progesterone. It also checks that the body is breaking down oestrogen properly, as certain breakdown products from oestrogen have been linked to an increased risk of hormone related cancers. The DUTCH Female Hormone Test also looks at the adrenal hormones cortisol and DHEA. This test can also be used to monitor most forms of HRT.
Nutrient deficiencies: optimal levels of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fatty acids help to support a smooth and healthy menopausal transition. Insufficiencies of nutrients can impair hormonal balance and exacerbate symptoms.
A NutrEval Test helps to determine if a nutrient deficiency is aggravating your menopausal symptoms. It checks your levels of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids as well as checking for toxins, free radical damage and energy production insufficiencies. It gives a comprehensive overview of your health status and can be used to target key problem areas that may be exacerbating any challenges you’re facing as a result of the menopause.
Stress and adrenal health: two small glands, known as the adrenals, help us deal with life’s stresses. However, the adrenals also play an important role in the menopause by supporting oestrogen production as ovarian oestrogen production declines.
During periods of longterm stress the adrenal glands can become exhausted. When this happens, they aren’t able to produce sufficient oestrogen during the menopause and female hormone levels quickly become imbalanced.
A particularly stressful lifestyle or a current period of stress can impact your menopause. An Adrenal Stress Test can help determine the effect your stress has had on your adrenal health and your menopausal symptoms.
Cardiovascular health: the hormonal changes that occur in the menopause can lead to changes in blood fat levels and blood clotting which can increase the risk of heart disease.
Identifying risk early is key to successful prevention. A Cardio Check Profile is designed to do exactly this. It combines traditional indicators of cardiovascular health, such as cholesterol, with metabolic markers like homocysteine, LpA HsCRP and much more to give an thorough assessment of cardiovascular risk. Abnormal levels of these risk factors can often be corrected with nutritional intervention.
Bone health: the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone play an important role in maintaining bone density. During the menopause the levels of these hormones gradually decline, increasing the chance of developing osteoporosis. This risk is increased for people who have a family history of the disease, eat a poor diet, lead a sedentary lifestyle, are underweight or chronically stressed, or have a history of hormonal problems.
Changes in bone density can be identified via a simple urine test which measure the excretion of products produced during the breakdown of bone. Bone loss is often asymptomatic until a large percentage of bone matter has been lost. This means early identification is critical for successful therapy.