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What Everyone Needs to Know About Menopause

By BePure

What do you know about menopause?

If your answer was not much (or your main source of information is menopause rhapsody) then you’re not alone. For many people it’s a distant or fear evoking thing in the future we try to ignore, or something we’re in the thick of and are passionately willingly away, experiencing the ‘hot flush club’ in silence as we feel a sense of grief and a lost touch with our fertility and femininity.

But in reality, menopause can be one of the most powerful life transitions a person goes through. The cultural gaslighting on menopause is one that is ripe for rephrasing. With this, everyone can feel encouraged to dip their toe (or jump right into) learning more about menopause. We then create knowledge and with that knowledge comes empowerment. This empowerment then creates a cultural shift where there’s hope we can stride through this transition with more support and confidence - connected, informed, and calm with plenty of tools in our belt to put those night sweats, anxiety and mood swings on ice.

 

The menopausal transition

So, what is the menopausal transition? Breaking it down, menopause, perimenopause and postmenopause are the three stages in a person’s life that occur prior to and after our monthly period finishes. It involves a lot of fluctuating and changing hormones that result in the well known ‘hot flush' symptoms and more as the body adjusts to these changes.

On paper, menopause itself is defined once a period cycle has not arrived for more than 12 months. But what happens around this is the ‘transition’ that we’re going to deep dive into within this blog.

So, let’s start by looking at the three stages of what we call ‘menopause’. Depending on what stage you’re at, you might already know a bit so if you like, click on one of the below headings to jump down to the right section or just read from start to finish to get the whole picture. 

    Hormonal transition in a women's life


    Perimenopause 

    This is the first stage of this process and typically starts 4- 5 years before menopause occurs, while it can occur as early as the mid-30’s for some, this ‘normally’ starts around the mid 40’s. However, it’s important to note that our hormones fluctuate and change throughout our years of having a cycle due to a myriad of reasons so jumping into the ‘I’m perimenopausal pool’ is not something to label yourself with too fast.  

    Perimenopause is the time when ovulation begins to decline. If you are ever going to experience period problems, this is usually when it will happen. Anxiety, breast tenderness, and mood swings are also common in this stage, as ovulation declines we lose our ability to make progesterone - our calming, I'm safe hormone. 

    As the quality of our ovarian follicles decrease, more follicles are stimulated to attempt ovulation. When this happens we produce lots of oestrogen, leading to sharp surges and troughs in oestrogen, heavier periods, shorter cycles, and PMS symptoms. Night sweats, weight gain and hot flushes can also occur during this time frame but are more likely to appear once menopause has occurred and our ovaries have stopped trying to ovulate.  
     

    The typical signs of of perimenopause can include:

        • PMS, irregular periods, heavy and light flow
        • Anxiety and mood swings
        • Breast tenderness

    Perimenopause is sometimes referred to as ‘reverse puberty’ because, like puberty, it’s not a linear process. We will experience swings and roundabouts throughout this stage which can be frustrating but the methods for supporting body and mind are well within reach as you’ll read further down.  

     

    Menopause 

    The female body produces oestrogen and progesterone in order to fulfil the biological need of reproduction. We are born with all the eggs we will ever have and usually around the age of 50, that store of viable eggs is depleted. 

    The body knows this, and adjusts by lowering levels of oestrogen and progesterone in line with no longer needing them for fertility and reproduction. Without adequate levels of these hormones, ovulation cannot occur. Without ovulation, there is no need for the monthly build up of endometrial lining and no monthly bleeding. 

    Menopause is defined as the time when a person has their last period. Because, clinically, there needs to be a year after this time to know it was the last period, menopause can only be defined retrospectively. 

     

    The signs of menopause can include:

        • Hot flushes and night sweats
        • Changes to sleep
        • Brain fog
        • Weight gain
        • Changes to our ability to build muscle
        • Changes to our bone density
        • Elevated stress response
        • Lowered metabolic rate. 

    Postmenopause

    This is the last stage of the menopausal transition. During this stage, menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes, may ease for many. Of course, it all depends on the individual and some continue to experience some menopausal symptoms for a decade or longer after menopause has occurred. 

    As a result of a lower level of oestrogen, postmenopausal people are at increased risk for a number of health conditions, such as osteoporosis and heart disease. This is because oestrogen plays a role in calcium use, cholesterol production and bone formation.

     

    The signs of postmenopause can include:

        • Decreased libido 
        • Fat storage will shift from hips to belly 
        • Vaginal dryness due to lower oestrogen stores 
        • Increased risk of osteoporosis

     

    But, on the flipside, postmenopause can also include 

        • Better ability to handle stress 
        • Increased confidence
        • A body and metabolism more efficient with its fuel
        • Greater emotional stability 
        • Balanced hormones
        • Increased productivity

     

    Now for the upswing! How can we calm and soothe the transition?

    We now know about how our body responds to this three-stage cycle. Based on this we then know how to support our body and hormones to soothe and balance the tougher symptoms of menopause and enjoy those which bring more joy to our lives.

     

    7 Steps to Easing into - and Through - Menopause

     

    1) Boost your essential nutrients

    Ensuring our cells and hormones have the nutrients they need to regenerate and function is key. We know that both vitamin B6 and magnesium can help with the common menopausal symptoms. Increasing calcium, magnesium, and vitamin E also supports declining oestrogen levels. You can find high levels of all these key nutrients in BePure One and BePure Magnesium Restore.

     

    2) Soothe and support with herbs

    Vitex is a lovely herb for hormone regulation and boosting our progesterone, which is especially important within perimenopause as progesterone starts to decline. Combine with adrenal adaptogens withania and rhodiola for a lovely hormone balancing and nourishing formula. 

    For those currently experiencing menopause, MenoCalm is designed to rebalance hormones and soothe symptoms, promoting a good night’s sleep, better energy, and the easing of hot flushes and night sweats. With Sage, Black Cohosh, and Choline, it’s loaded with herbs that support a mellow, calm headspace and body. 

     

    3) Focus on muscle tone over cardio

    When we reach the menopausal stage of life, our ability to manage weight changes. What once worked, likely no longer will. Focusing on building muscle three times a week for 20 minutes at a time is a great way to manage weight. The three best types of exercise for menopausal people are: HIIT, plyometric, and weightlifting. Because we have less oestrogen available for us to create muscle, it’s best to incorporate resistance and weight to compensate for this. 

     

    4) Support the parasympathetic nervous system

    Hot flushes and other symptoms of menopause can be worse when we are stressed, overworked and sleep deprived. While it can be difficult for many to reduce their daily stressors, you can help balance your stress by spending time calming your parasympathetic nervous system. Here are some tips to help you slow down and balance your nervous system.

     

    5) Develop a relaxing sleep routine

    This takes time and will be unique to you, but putting a good sleep routine in place will help you get to sleep better and stay asleep for longer. Insomnia is another symptom of perimenopause and menopause so creating a calm and soothing end to the day can help.

     

    6) Reduce or let go of alcohol and caffeine

    Due to the drop in progesterone that comes with menopause, we are less able to mitigate our stress response as well as our ability to tolerate caffeine or alcohol. This is because these things trigger our nervous system and without the progesterone to counteract that, we tolerate it less. Try these delicious alcohol swaps.

     

    7) Increase your protein intake

    Protein is your friend when in menopause. Menopausal people need more protein than those who are not experiencing it as it helps lift brain fog and helps out with managing weight, one of the core challenges for those experiencing it. As a rule of thumb, eat 40g of protein within thirty minutes of ending a muscle building exercise mentioned above and check out some delicious protein-rich recipes to get inspired.

    So, what are some next steps for everyone at every stage?

        • Take our quiz to get a top-level look at where your hormones are at and suggestions on how to support them
        • Integrate some of the seven suggestions above and take note of any positive changes
        • Try some nourishing adaptogenic herbs to support you through the transition with InnerCalm, MenoCalm, and CycleCalm


    Disclaimer: This blog post is for educational purposes only. It is not designed to diagnose, treat or cure. We are all unique, for your individual health concerns it is important to discuss these with a BePure Holistic Health Consultant or relevant health professional.

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