Conquering The Menopause Menace
It’s when you realize that you have gained a few pounds. Your body looks different. You are noticing a new, very annoying roundness to your tummy. Your waistline seems to have disappeared. The scale is becoming your enemy… yet you’re not doing anything different than you used to. And you begin pondering as to what is going on! Your friends may say that it was due to normal ageing process. Your metabolic rate drops as you age, which accounts for the weight gain. In addition, older women are more inactive. But, watch out….. It may be because you are going through menopause. It is imperative for a woman to know about menopause as it happens to be an important phase in her life.
What Happens in Menopause?
- The supply of eggs in a woman’s ovaries dwindles.
- Estrogen & progesterone hormone levels fluctuate, then decline.
- Menstrual periods become irregular, then cease.
- Due to hormone fluctuation, the body suffers a variety of side-effects
This generally applies to an average woman in menopause who is in her 50s. But this has been observed in women in their 20s or 30s also, in which case it is called premature menopause Therefore it is not middle age. It’s your hormones – plain and simple. These changes are not life – threatening, but they definitely inflict a dent in your self esteem. We often see these changes in older women in menopause. But, in truth, it’s often worse for women in premature menopause. That is because when you are going through this in your 20s or 30s, the changes in your appearance and other early menopause symptoms are often more apparent than the changes an older woman in menopause goes through.
Why is this Happening?
Lower levels of estrogen may cause a variety of side effects.
First, because estrogen is stored in fat, many researchers believe that, when you enter menopause – whether naturally or through surgery, your body responds by holding on to fat cells in an effort to boost the lagging estrogen levels. It’s tougher to lose fat.
Second, as estrogen levels drop, the level of androgens – the so-called “male” hormones – increases in relation to the estrogen. The androgens produce male characteristics – in this case, the shift in body fat from your hips, thighs and buttocks to your midsection, resulting in the “apple” shape that is more common in men and in postmenopausal women (which, incidentally, also increases your risk of heart disease).
Third, low estrogen levels affect the production of collagen – which results in drier, thinner skin, sagginess of tissue, and lack of muscle tone – all of which contributes to a change in your body shape.
Low progesterone levels (in relation to estrogen – which is popularly called “estrogen dominance”) also cause a number of side effects. Among the more common ones: increased bloating and water retention – which may not be actual fat, but makes you look heavier, and blood sugar fluctuations – which can increase your appetite and slow your metabolism.
It is also documented that declining hormone levels can cause mood swings, depression, and anxiety. This is because the levels of serotonins and endorphins in your brain drop due to fluctuating hormones. Certain foods like chocolate raise serotonin levels in brain. Often, when you go through premature menopause, you notice you have food cravings – same as one feels during pre-menstrual period. But during menopause your hormones don’t bounce back to regular levels, so you may have food cravings longer that in the past… and unfortunately, cave in and eat more of the foods you shouldn’t like fats, salty snacks and sweets.
Hormone replacement therapy is one of the medical interventions to relieve menopausal symptoms. But women are increasingly seeking natural alternatives to hormone replacement therapy. Some of the herbs which have been found to give relief for menopause symptoms are: Black cohosh ( cimicifuga racemosa), Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) , Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus, Panax quinquefolius) , Raspberry (Rubus idaeus) , Red clover ( Tritolium pretense), Wild yam (Dioscarea villosa), etc.
Fortunately all is not lost ! Judicious selection of diet and lifestyle can help overcome negative effects of what may seem to be a never-ending agony. These days, numerous menopause treatments are advocated as the cure-all and relief for menopause. Help for dealing with menopause symptoms is also easily available from many women’s magazines and other sources. From mega vitamin supplements to medicinal creams, you can spend lots of time and money trying to get rid of all those frightening symptoms of menopause.
Ensure that your diet has generous helping of veggies!!!
While many of these treatments do offer relief from menopause symptoms, often there are much simpler ways to deal with the associated discomforts.
“Just following a simple, well-balanced diet can go a long way to reducing menopause symptoms and your chances for developing many of the complications that go along with menopause.”
Healthy Menopause Diet