How Menopause Affects Our Body Physically
Once a taboo subject, menopause is not the dirty word it used to be. Thanks to thousands of brave women speaking out about their experiences, hundreds of thousands more women are accepting this new phase of their lives, fully equipped with the information they need to have the most positive experience possible.
Some of our posts have covered menopause from varying angles, but today we wanted to dig a little deeper into the impact menopause has on our bodies and how you can make the journey more comfortable for yourself.
Once we’ve battled through perimenopause, our bodies move into menopause, as our oestrogen levels continue to drop, and we stop having our monthly period altogether. Most women reach this stage between the ages of 45 and 55. However, approximately one in 100 women reach this stage before 40.
Why does the menopause happen?
Menopause is a process that naturally occurs as we reach the end of our childbearing years. The ovaries age and produce fewer hormones, and oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone decline. At the same time, follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH) and luteinising hormones (LH) increase, which results in menopause.
There are symptoms of menopause that you can keep an eye out for and manage to make the changes going on in our bodies as comfortable as possible. You’ll probably have already experienced some of the symptoms of menopause while going through perimenopause.
Common menopausal symptoms include:
- Hot flushes
- Low mood and anxiety
- Night sweats
- Problems with concentration and memory
- Reduced libido
- Sleep disruption
- Vaginal dryness and discomfort during sexual relations
We’ve discussed how to manage these symptoms in our perimenopause piece.
In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, menopause causes other changes within our bodies. We’ve outlined some of these below and advised on managing them.
Oestrogen has other functions aside from regulating our monthly cycles. For example, it may provide some protection against coronary artery disease, lowering the chances of suffering a heart attack.
Oestrogen also assists in controlling cholesterol levels, which, when left unchecked, can allow fatty plaques to block artery walls.
In addition, as we get older, high blood pressure can lead to our blood vessels becoming stiffer, further increasing the risk of a stroke or heart attack.
Eating a healthy diet can help to keep our arteries flexible and assist with good blood flow, reducing the potential for developing heart conditions. We’d recommend discussing this in more detail with your doctor and creating a diet that’s tailored to your needs.
Taking a good quality collagen supplement can also help as it contains the amino acid arginine, which is associated with strengthening arterial walls. Our Regenerate supplement also supports a healthy cardiovascular system and healthy bones, which we will discuss in the next section.
The natural decline in oestrogen levels may also reduce the density of our bones, as it can affect the calcium levels within them. A significant reduction of calcium will lead to osteoporosis and the potential for bone fractures.
To reduce the impact of lowered oestrogen levels on our bone density, introduce dark leafy greens, dairy products and other foods into your diet to replenish the calcium lost. It’s recommended to reduce alcohol intake and the amount you smoke, too.
Taking a vitamin D supplement will help, too, so will incorporating weight training into your exercise routine to strengthen your bones.
Weight gain during menopause is commonly experienced by lots of women, particularly around the midriff.
Sadly, years of dieting could also assist in this weight gain, particularly if it has caused a reduction in muscle tissue. A loss of muscle tissue results in a decreased ability to burn calories.
If you’re going through a particularly stressful time while also going through menopause, this can result in weight gain, too.
If weight gain is causing you additional stress and discomfort, there are things you can do to combat it.
Firstly, incorporate more protein into your diet, as this can promote strong and healthy muscles and help you feel full for longer, lowering the chances of you craving snacks or junk food that won’t help with menopausal weight gain. At the same time, try to avoid any foods without nutrients. Pair this with weight training to keep your muscles firm.
It’s also important to reduce your stress levels as much as possible. Not only will this be contributing to weight gain, but it will also be negatively affecting your life in a multitude of ways.
You could also try our four-week health and wellbeing Re-set program, which reactivates metabolism and helps build healthy lean muscle.
Generally, menopause lasts for approximately four to 6 years after your final period; however, it can be longer than this. That’s a long time, so it’s important to put a plan in place that supports you and helps you feel as comfortable as possible.
Rejuvenated sells a variety of supplements that can help you manage your symptoms effectively. If you’re not sure which product to try, get in touch; we’re always happy to make recommendations.