Without a doubt, the transition to menopause can be an extremely difficult time for many women – the hot flashes and night sweats, the sleeplessness and weight gain, the unpredictable mood swings and irritability can range from mildly unpleasant to debilitating.
In fact, there are 34 documented symptoms that mark the transition to menopause.
Menopause: Causes and effects
Source: Cleveland Clinic
The journey through this stage of a women’s life —which is defined as having gone an entire 12 months without a menstrual cycle—is driven by distinct and dramatic shifts in hormonal balance. And while drops in testosterone and progesterone play important roles in the many changes that occur, such as the role testosterone plays in maintaining a woman’s healthy muscle tone, plummeting estrogen levels is the leading culprit for much of misery that comes with menopause.
But a woman’s biological harmony and balance relies on estrogen for far more than simply regulating menstruation, reproduction and making intimacy comfortable. The dramatic drop in estrogen comes with important impacts that are often overlooked, taking aim at things such as:
- Skin health and hair strength
- Weight control and body shape
- Mental focus and concentration
- Bone density and healthy muscle mass
- Heart and cardiovascular health
And unfortunately, things tend to get worse before they get better. During the final stretch of menopause, when estrogen production slows to a crawl and hormone levels bottom out, symptoms such as hot flashes, moodiness and vaginal dryness quickly skyrocket, skin aging accelerates, and changes in body composition and muscle mass become more apparent.
So what are the signs that menopause is on the horizon?
Menopause is experienced in three progressive phases: Peri-menopause, menopause and post-menopause.
Peri-menopause is the period leading up to menopause. Some of the symptoms that could indicate a woman is entering peri-menopause are similar to those of pre-menstrual syndrome, such as tender breasts and headaches. But others are more distinct, such as irregular periods and worsening of your usual pre-menstrual symptoms.
As the female body produces less and less estrogen and a woman gets closer to transitioning into menopause she may also begin to experience:
- Hot flashes throughout the entire body
- Night sweats and/or cold flashes.
- Vaginal dryness, discomfort during sex and reduced libido
- Changes to sleeping patterns or insomnia
- Extreme irritability, mood swings and mild depression
- Joint and muscle aches and pains
- Difficulty concentrating, memory lapses
- Weight gain and changes to body composition
- Hair thinning and changes in skin texture
Once menopause has been reached and menstruation ceases for at least 12 months consecutively, women go into a stage known as post-menopause, during which time their bodies find a new and revived harmony and balance with their new hormonal normal.
5 Quick Things to Know About Menopause:
1. Symptoms of peri-menopause could last a while
Many women fail to emotionally prepare for the years of peri-menopause. But get comfortable—we may be here a while.
Roughly 80% of American women begin to experience mild symptoms of peri-menopause starting in their mid-forties, and this period can last anywhere from four to ten years. (Yes, unfortunately you read that correctly…four to ten years!) As we’ve noted, the mark of completing menopause is having gone an entire year without a period. It’s unfortunately not uncommon to go eight months with no menstrual cycle then boom. And yes, you then have to start the 12-month count all over again.
2. Hot flashes are unpredictable but you can prepare
It’s no secret that hot flashes are a hallmark of menopause, but what you may not be prepared for is that the hot flashes can come at any time of day, sometimes even waking you from a sound sleep. They can also be triggered by unexpected sources—favorite foods or familiar aromas can send you into an intensely sweaty spell, even if you’ve never had such a problem or trigger before.
A very fortunate 25% of women may never experience
hot flashes. For the rest of us, it helps to avoid the triggers once defined, keep a mini fan and some cold water handy, and dress in layers so that you can take off clothes as needed.
3. Bone Health is at risk too
To combat these physiological changes, be sure to get plenty of exercise, with an emphasis on resistance exercises. Strength training using light or moderately heavy weights or your body weight such as when doing yoga, have been shown to help preserve bone and muscle mass.
Also focus on getting adequate vitamin D from safe sun exposure and consuming lots of calcium from dark leafy greens, such as kale, as well as from other sources like tofu
or soy. For most women, the best way to make sure you are getting enough vitamin D is with a high-quality supplement like my Activated Vitamin D
which includes a research-based dose of both Vitamin D and magnesium to ensure you are getting the full benefits this additional Vitamin D has to offer.
4. Changes in hair, skin and nails will occur
Estrogen is known as the beauty hormone for good reason: It helps skin plump and feel full, so with less estrogen, the signs of aging can catch up, and a woman will likely see changes in her skin—sometimes even dramatic changes.
Women may also notice thinning hair and nails that have grown more brittle. Sometimes these same concerns show up in peri-menopausal women especially those who are on the keto diet. If you are experiencing thinning hair, my Australian Keratin
formula with biotin can really help.
5. The natural approach to menopause symptom relief
Whether you’re on the front edge of the transition like me or at the pinnacle of the discomfort—or perhaps you’re on the descent but uncomfortable symptoms persist, you don’t have to suffer waiting for this life stage to end. There is a natural approach to symptom relief that can alleviate much of the discomfort.
According to researchers
, women who reported fewer hot flashes and other discomforts had something in common: they ate a diet high in phytoestrogens and specifically isoflavones.
Researchers believe that phytoestrogens help mitigate the woes of menopause so effectively because of their “estrogenic activity”—meaning they can mimic the effects of the estrogen in your body as you adjust to the changing levels.
Foods rich in phytoestrogens are soy and foods made with soy, tofu
, tempeh, beans and flaxseed. But one class of phytoestrogen has proven to be especially valuable when it comes to mitigating the miserable effects of menopause: isoflavones.
Isoflavones are a particularly powerful type of phytoestrogen, but the amount you can get through the foods you eat isn’t enough to have a meaningful impact on the symptoms of menopause—especially not in the ways that this powerful plant-based compound is capable of.
Based on extensive scientific research, I developed NAOMI Harmony, a menopause symptom relief formula featuring specific isoflavones that have been clinically shown to significantly reduce hot flashes and night sweats, balance mood and promote more restful sleep.
You can Click Here to learn more about the extraordinary menopause symptom relief that NAOMI Harmony can provide.