Dr. Fiona Barry PhD
Owner of two female wellness clinics in Cork
Member of Meno Active formulation team
Like everything in life, preparation is key and there is no doubt that the more prepared a woman is and the healthier she is coming into this phase of her life, the easier it will be. Our body is designed to cope with menopause but we must support it, ideally commencing before we enter into it, in another words in our 30s.
While the ovaries are the primary site of production of our sex hormones, other sites in the body also produce these hormones, such as our skin, our hair follicles, our fat cells, our muscles, our adrenal glands, and even our brain. If a woman enters perimenopause in good physical, nutritional and psychological health her adrenal glands can increase their production of sex hormones by up to three-fold over time. This adaptation will not occur if she enters menopause completely depleted, which unfortunately is the case for many women nowadays.
A good starting point to help you prepare for this phase of your life is a healthy diet. A Mediterranean style diet, comprising of whole foods and rich in vegetables is the most supportive during menopause. Adequate sleep is also vital to stabilise hormones, as is regular exercise and an appropriate work/life balance. As our oestrogen levels decrease we become more sensitive to cortisol so managing stress levels is really important. Practises that help you relax, such as Yoga, mindfulness, meditation or even a massage, will increase your mood and sense of wellbeing. If a woman is still struggling while on a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and employing stress reduction techniques then she may need additional help, such as supplements or herbal remedies or acupuncture.
Every woman is unique so different treatments work for different people. It’s worth investigating what might work for you. For some women natural remedies don’t give them adequate relief and for these women they may have no choice but to go the medical route.