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Women’s Health: Everything You Need to Know About Menopause

menopause
ExpertsPost Category - ExpertsExperts

It ain’t sexy, it’s menopause

There’s probably no word less sexy in the English language than ‘menopause.’ The very idea brings to mind crinkly old women bent over a cane with hairs growing out of their chins. And although it’s true that you lose bone mass and sometimes find hairs you’d never thought would possibly grow in some areas (hello, goatee), this change of life has some pretty decent advantages as well.

Perhaps if we learn a little bit more about this natural stage in women’s lives, we will realise that it is something we can overcome gracefully. So what exactly is menopause, and what exactly are the benefits (if any)?  I was curious and decided to ask my trusted naturopath.

Menopause is the time when your menstrual cycle stops permanently. No more periods! Goodbye for good, Aunt Flo! While many people hear negative things about peri-menopause or menopause, there are actually certain things to look forward to. From discussing the benefits of menopause to managing your menopause symptoms to naturopathic remedies – we’ve got it all right here, mamas! But first, here are some wonderful things about menopause wccording to Dr. Ardyce Yik, ND:

No more periods- ever!

No more fussing over tampons, pads, menstrual cups, menstrual panties, or menstrual sponges (How does one choose? That’s no longer your concern!). No more worry of leaking – you can wear white again, every single day! No more PMS. For women who are debilitated during menstruation due to heavy bleeding or severe cramps, menopause is actually liberating for them.

Sex without having to worry about pregnancy.

Goodbye, birth control! Some women enjoy sexual intimacy even more when they reach menopause because they no longer need to worry about getting pregnant.

Good news for those with uterine fibroids.

For women who suffer from uterine fibroids, menopause often brings relief, since uterine fibroids often shrink or stop growing due to the decrease in oestrogen levels.

A greater sense of empowerment.

With 50+ years of life experience under your belt, your children becoming more independent and your career well established, you are now more confident in pursuing your personal ambitions. You may take up a new hobby or even turn a hobby into a business. Now is the time to pursue interests or adventures that you’ve been putting on hold. Let’s get the party started!

Want to learn more pleasures of menopause?

Pick up The Secret Pleasures of Menopause, a book written by obstetrician-gynecologist Christiane Northrup, and get ready to enjoy possibly the best years of your life!

But let’s be honest. Menopause isn’t always a picnic. The most common menopausal symptoms only include hot flashes, insomnia, vaginal dryness, mood swings, depression and headaches and some body aches. The good news is there are many lifestyle changes and home remedies to help treat menopausal symptoms. Dr. Ardyce Yik ND gives us a few tips:

1) If you experience hot flashes, dress in cotton or linen. These are breathable fabrics which release heat and help keep you cooler. Avoid wool, silk and most synthetic fabrics, which trap heat and increase your body temperature.

2) Regular exercise can lift your mood, reduce stress and inflammation, as well as help you lose excess weight. For bone health, engage in weight-bearing exercises such as walking, dancing, calisthenics, resistance training, etc. It’s recently been reported that women over the age of 40 should engage in at least 10 minutes of brisk walking a day to help bone density and heart health.

3) Avoid hot and spicy foods, which can exacerbate hot flashes. Same with alcohol (sorry, ladies).

4) Avoid or cut back on caffeinated beverages. Caffeine is a stimulant which may aggravate hot flashes.

5) Eat a healthful, nutrient-dense diet. Be sure to include:

– omega-3 fats (found in fatty fish, nuts, flax, chia seeds, etc.) which promote smooth healthy skin, counteract inflammation and lower the risk for heart disease, depression and dementia.

– cruciferous vegetables (such as kale, broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, etc.) which support liver detoxification and contain indole-3-carbinol, a compound that naturally helps balance oestrogen levels.

– fibre-rich foods (such as nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, whole grains, avocado, vegetables and fruits) which promote a healthy weight, reduce constipation and help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

6) Try iced drinks instead of hot drinks.

7) For all you essential oil fans, good news! Some women find relief from menopausal symptoms using essential oils such as clary sage, citrus, lavender or peppermint oil. Try adding a few drops onto a tissue or napkin and then inhale. For more direct usage, seek the help of a certified aromatherapist.

Since I was talking to a naturopath, I decided to probe in a bit further and ask for tips on the benefits of using natural medicine for menopause.  She explained, “Natural medicine or products for menopause are safe when prescribed at the appropriate dosage by a trained healthcare practitioner. They can be helpful during the transition phase, decreasing symptom duration and severity.”

The following natural products are commonly prescribed for menopause (as with any health condition, always seek your healthcare practitioner before starting any new supplement or product):

Black Cohosh: can help prevent and reduce hot flashes and night sweats. Research shows it might also improve sleep quality and reduce hormonal imbalances.

Maca: has been used for centuries to lower effects of stress and ageing on the body. It can reduce hot flashes while improving energy and libido.

American Ginseng (not to be confused with Panax or Asian Ginseng): has been used for thousands of years to improve energy, cognitive function and libido. From a traditional Chinese medicine view, this herb possesses cooling properties and can help relieve hot flashes and vaginal dryness.

Evening Primrose Oil: is a rich source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid that influences prostaglandin synthesis and helps reduce menopausal symptoms, including vaginal dryness.

 

Dr. Ardyce Yik ND is a licensed naturopathic doctor who helps countless women in all stages of life reach optimal health using natural medicine and nutrition. Regardless of the health concern (menopause, infertility, gynaecological ailments, etc.), she works together with her patients to support, repair and strengthen body systems, empowering women to lead healthy, vibrant lives. For the latest health news and women’s health tips, follow her health blog at https://drardyceyik.com.

Featured image sourced via Unsplash

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