Updated: Nov 16, 2020
"Not sleeping, memory loss, angriness and frustration, pains all over my body and hot flashes at least 15 times a day. If I was a dog, I’m sure I would be put down.” Unknown
This might sound funny but unfortunately for many women this is the painful reality. The good news is that it does not have to be this way, because we can do plenty of things for prevention during our 20s and 30s and a lot of things to improve and eliminate the symptoms in our 40s and 50s.
What is menopause exactly?
Menopause technically means the ceasing of menstruation. It happens because at the age of 40-50 the level of oestrogen in the body decreases. When the oestrogen level is low enough the ovaries stop making new cells, so fertility comes to an end.
Overall, it is critical to understand that menopause is not a disease, but an integral part of a woman's lifespan. In any case, migraine, osteoporosis, hot flashes, forgetfulness, low sex drive and agonising nervousness cannot be considered normal. One argument to highlight this point is that 20-25% of women have no symptoms whatsoever during their menopause.
Let’s see where these symptoms are coming from. Can this be a modern problem?
It is a fact that women in industrialised countries have higher oestrogen levels throughout their lives than women in hunter-gatherer societies. Because of these high levels, an oestrogen drop during menopause will be much more significant and will cause many unwanted symptoms. Evidence also shows that the risk for many diseases, such as metabolic problems, weight gain, obesity, CV disease, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, insulin resistance, and type two diabetes are much higher after menopause.
The evolutionary perspective suggests that an elevation of circulating oestrogen caused by an unhealthy modern diet during the premenopausal period may have an effect on postmenopausal metabolic conditions and disease risk.
As we saw before, the main problem that will cause symptoms during menopause is too high oestrogen levels preceding menopause.
So, where are these high oestrogen levels coming from?
The most logical answer is Nutrition.
All these symptoms lead back to a sub-optimal nutrition. Grains, sugar, various vegetable oils, seeds, milk and most dairy products, some other plant foods, food chemicals and processed foods cause and maintain inflammatory and autoimmune processes in the body. The increased number of cardiovascular diseases after menopause are mainly caused by the overconsumption of sugar, carbohydrates and other inflammatory foods.
Low oestrogen levels during menopause make women more sensitive to all the negative effects of unhealthy eating habits and with that, more susceptible to different illnesses.
In addition to Nutrition, there are other things we have to do to reduce oestrogen levels in the body. For example, it is critical to use only natural and organic skin care products, avoid plastic dishes, plastic bottles and canned food. The quality of the water we drink is crucial too and paying attention to a high-quality sleep is vital as well.
So, what do I do and what is my advice to you?
I am 47 years old, without any perimenopausal symptoms so far. My waist circumference is 69 cm and my body fat is 18%, with a 45% of lean body mass. My waist-hip ratio is 0.74.
This is just to say that we don’t need to have those extra kilos around our waist, we don’t need to increase our body fat and lose muscle mass just because we are over 40 and have kids!
I eat an ideal diet, exercise frequently and avoid environmental toxins as much as possible. If you do the same, you too can have a very smooth transition to menopause.
When one has severe symptoms, it is possible to use different herbs and plants to make life easier, but we have to remember that these are just band-aids and not real solutions. They can even have serious side effects.
Some of them has been used for a long time and might work for some women but most of them have very weak evidence if any in randomised controlled studies.
These herbs include:
Vitex Chasterberry for hot flashes
America Ginseng for different menopausal symptoms
St. John’s Wort for stabilising mood
Maca root for reducing stress and increasing libido and some adaptogenic herbs to reduce anxiety and depression.
For balancing hormones one can try the following essential oils that might provide relief to a variety of symptoms as well:
The only supplement I found to be shown effective is Pycnogenol®, taken 100 mg a day for minimum 8 weeks. Pycnogeno® has other proven health benefits as well, such as improving astma, allergies, CV problems and eye health.
If you want to prevent suffering or reduce and eliminate symptoms, do not wait! Make the necessary changes today! If you need support, contact me and I will be very happy to help you!
Dr Csaba Toth, Klimax, evolúció és a nök
Andrew W. Froehle, Postmenopausal Health and Disease from the Perspective of Evolutionary Medicine, Department of, Community Health, Boonshoft School of Medicine, Wright State University
Dr Josh Axe, 8 natural Remedies for Menopausal Relief
Nora Gedgaudas, Primal Body, Primal Mind