{ "advice" : [ { "author": { "id" : "606537842994", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Jane-Collins-3-576x636_small.jpg?v=1697658441", "name" : "Jane Collins", "summary" : "", "title" : "Health & Her Editor" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/couplepause_1_1200x.jpg?v=1715089205", "html" : "\u003cp\u003eCouple-pause is a relatively recent (and slightly controversial) concept that refers to when both partners in a relationship (generally in their \u003cspan data-mce-fragment=\"1\"\u003e40s and 50s)\u003c\/span\u003e are experiencing significant hormonal shifts at the same time. It's pretty obvious that same-sex female couples could face challenges as they both hit perimenopause and menopause together, but did you realise it could also affect male-female relationships too? The challenges of going through menopause and andropause (often referred to as the male menopause) concurrently can create a shift in relationship dynamic.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhile the concept of a ‘male menopause’ remains contentious\u003csup\u003e1,2\u003c\/sup\u003e, and it certainly doesn’t manifest itself in the same way as female menopause, increasing research suggests there are hormonal changes going on for men at around the same age that women are going through the perimenopause and menopause. These can equally cause unsettling physical and psychological changes in men as they do for many menopausal women.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eCoined in 2018 by two Italian professors – one in Endocronology and Sexual Medicine and another in Obstetrics \u0026amp; Gynaecology\u003csup\u003e3\u003c\/sup\u003e - couple-pause is defined simply as, ‘a new paradigm that considers the needs of the ageing couple as a whole\u003csup\u003e4\u003c\/sup\u003e.’ In a study published in 2024 the professors point out that the hormonal shifts experienced during mid life generally happen in the context of a relationship and so should involve both parties addressing any issues together. Clearly, any stress, discomfort or frustration that may be felt by one partner due to hormonal changes is clearly going to impact on the other and vice versa. As the professors say, the couple-pause ‘effectively addresses the sexual health needs of ageing couples as a unit, considering physical, psychological, cultural, social and dyadic-related [involving interactions between two people] factors\u003csup\u003e5\u003c\/sup\u003e ‘ Significantly, it also diverts attention from seeing one partner in the relationship as ‘the problem’ and frames any challenges as a dilemma to be faced by both people involved. It can also be a time to pause, reflect, take stock and think about what you both might be going through physically and psychologically at this mid-life point. So what should you be looking out for and how can you manage the couple-pause effectively together?\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eUnderstanding menopause and andropause\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe natural transitions of menopause and andropause are marked by fluctuating and declining oestrogen levels in women (along with a a steady loss of testosterone) and a slow, steady and gradual drop in testosterone levels (falling around one percent per year after the age of 30)\u003csup\u003e6\u003c\/sup\u003e for men. These can potentially lead to a range of physical and psychological changes for both that are likely to impact on your relationship. Of course, hormones are not the only factors to cause physical and\/or psychological problems or worries within a relationship during your 40s and 50s but being informed about them can help you to build up a more rounded picture of what might be happening to either, or both, of you. The point is living with a partner going through the menopause or andropause can affect the general health, psychological well-being and sex life for the two of you, so it can be helpful to know how to read the signs.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"\/blogs\/expert-advice\/what-is-menopause?\" target=\"_blank\"\u003eMenopause\u003c\/a\u003e, as most of us are aware, is a completely natural phase in a woman’s life when her periods stop and signals the end of her reproductive years. It typically happens to women in their late 40s and early 50s (the average age a woman goes through it in the UK is 51)\u003csup\u003e7\u003c\/sup\u003e . This transitional time involves an often rapid decline in oestrogen production which can lead to symptoms such as \u003ca href=\"\/blogs\/expert-advice\/nutrition-for-sleep-en\" target=\"_blank\"\u003einsomnia\u003c\/a\u003e, \u003ca href=\"\/blogs\/expert-advice\/menopause-mood-changes-and-brain-fog-the-surprising-cognitive-and-psychological-symptoms\" target=\"_blank\"\u003ebrain fog\u003c\/a\u003e, anxiety, irritability, low self-esteem, changes in body shape, \u003ca href=\"\/blogs\/expert-advice\/menopause-vaginal-changes-explained\" target=\"_blank\"\u003evaginal dryness\u003c\/a\u003e, low libido, \u003ca href=\"\/blogs\/expert-advice\/hot-flushes-a-gps-overview\" target=\"_blank\"\u003ehot flushes\u003c\/a\u003e and night sweats.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eAndropause, sometimes referred to as the ‘male menopause’, is becoming an area of mounting research and refers to the steady decline in testosterone levels in men from the age of the 30s onwards. As this decline is slow and gradual and tends to happen over several decades symptoms or changes might go completely unnoticed or be attributed to lifestyle factors (like drinking or eating too much, stress, exercising less or lack of sleep). While the andropause doesn't mark the end of fertility like menopause, or have a noticeable physiological ‘end’ like with women when their periods stop, low testosterone levels can potentially lead to symptoms in some men such as low energy, depression, decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, an increase in body fat, loss of muscle mass, mood changes, irritability, lack of focus and dips in confidence and motivation.\u003csup\u003e8\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch2\u003eThe impact on relationships\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eGiven the symptoms outlined above, unsurprisingly, navigating couple-pause can pose a challenge for relationships. Both partners may be dealing with disconcerting changes to their body, (\u003ca href=\"\/blogs\/expert-advice\/what-is-menopause-belly\" target=\"_blank\"\u003emeno-belly\u003c\/a\u003e and \u003ca href=\"\/blogs\/expert-advice\/breast-changes-menopause-perimenopause\" target=\"_blank\"\u003ebreast changes\u003c\/a\u003e for women and a bigger belly and ‘man boobs’ in men, for example), concerning mood swings (irritability and depression are common symptoms for both women and men at this life stage), plus changes in libido – all potentially happening at the same time. You can quite see why this can put a strain on communication, intimacy and make your life together potentially harder. For example, if neither of you are sleeping well, you are both feeling irritable and maybe self-conscious about your ageing body misunderstandings or misinterpretations can quickly build into tension or conflict. On top of this, one or possibly both partners might not even realise these challenges are hormonal.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eManaging couple-pause together\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e1. Talk.\u003c\/strong\u003e As far as possible try to be honest and open with each other about how you are feeling. Consciously or not (and changes in your mood and body shape might also be chalked up to getting older, lack of exercise, drinking more or other factors like financial worries etc) be aware that if you are in your 40s and 50s you are almost certainly experiencing some hormonal changes. Sharing these feelings, concerns, and symptoms should lead to greater understanding and empathy between you and your partner. Relationship experts from Relate have put together useful advice for women on \u003ca href=\"\/blogs\/expert-advice\/how-to-manage-stress-anxiety-and-anger-and-keep-your-relationship-strong\" target=\"_blank\"\u003ehow to manage stress, anxiety and anger and keep your relationship strong during menopause\u003c\/a\u003e but much of the advice can be equally applicable to men going through the andropause. They also explain about loss of libido during perimenopause and menopause and \u003ca href=\"\/blogs\/expert-advice\/have-you-lost-your-libido-learn-how-to-work-through-it-as-a-couple\" target=\"_blank\"\u003eworking through it with your partner\u003c\/a\u003e. Try reading these articles together.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e2. Empathise and be supportive.\u003c\/strong\u003e It might be easier said than done when neither of you are feeling on top form and may be wandering around feeling tired, grumpy and like you don’t quite know who you are any more but try to be empathetic and supportive of each other's struggles. Validate each other's experiences and aim to offer emotional support during difficult moments.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e3. Be curious.\u003c\/strong\u003e Take time to educate yourselves about \u003ca href=\"\/blogs\/expert-advice\/what-is-menopause\" target=\"_blank\"\u003emenopause\u003c\/a\u003e and andropause, and the associated symptoms. Understand what physiological and psychological changes can occur and how to reduce common misconceptions (for example, he\/she doesn’t fancy me anymore when it could be that one, or both, of you is too tired or is self-conscious about your changing body shape to initiate, or want, sex) should lead to greater empathy.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e4. Get professional help.\u003c\/strong\u003e If symptoms are significantly impacting your quality of life or relationship, look to get help from a healthcare professional. Counselling can be effective for many and this can be done in tandem with using \u003ca href=\"\/blogs\/expert-advice\/hormone-replacement-therapy-hrt-guide\" target=\"_blank\"\u003eHormone Replacement Therapy\u003c\/a\u003e or Testosterone Replacement Therapy if this has been prescribed for either of you.\u003csup\u003e9\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e5. Look after yourselves.\u003c\/strong\u003e Often making simple lifestyle changes can offer all the relief you need during these transitional times. So try to encourage each other to do things which should lead to improved physical and emotional well-being as well as helping to balance your hormones. Ideally, do them together. These can include regular exercise (losing weight and exercising can often increase testosterone levels naturally and has also been shown to reduce typical menopause symptoms like hot flushes and mood swings)\u003csup\u003e10,11\u003c\/sup\u003e; \u003ca href=\"\/blogs\/expert-advice\/mediterranean-diet-menopause\" target=\"_blank\"\u003eeating a healthy diet\u003c\/a\u003e, (ultra-processed foods has been shown to negatively impact on testosterone levels\u003csup\u003e12\u003c\/sup\u003e and exacerbate hot flushes, insomnia, memory and concentration during menopause)\u003csup\u003e13\u003c\/sup\u003e ; taking supplements to support hormonal regulation practising relaxation techniques and finding ways to effectively \u003ca href=\"\/blogs\/expert-advice\/stress-and-anxiety\" target=\"_blank\"\u003emanage stress\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eCouple-pause as a shared journey\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhile the couple-pause phase may present challenges for both of you, being aware of its existence can offer an opportunity for you and your partner to support each other through it. It should also help to foster greater empathy, understanding, and communication between the two of you so you can navigate your way more seamlessly through these times of hormonal transition. Best of all, by embracing the couple-pause as a shared journey and supporting each other through its highs and lows, you should emerge stronger together.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eReferences\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003col\u003e\u003cli\u003ehttps:\/\/www.mayoclinic.org\/healthy-lifestyle\/mens-health\/in-depth\/male-menopause\/art-20048056\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ehttps:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC1070997\/\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ehttps:\/\/academic.oup.com\/smr\/article-abstract\/6\/3\/384\/6830833\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ehttps:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/38515320\/\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ehttps:\/\/academic.oup.com\/smr\/advance-article-abstract\/doi\/10.1093\/sxmrev\/qeae016\/7633161\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ehttps:\/\/www.nhs.uk\/conditions\/male-menopause\/#:~:text=Although%20testosterone%20levels%20fall%20as,cause%20any%20problems%20in%20itself.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ehttps:\/\/thebms.org.uk\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/17-BMS-TfC-What-is-the-menopause-AUGUST2023-A.pdf\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ehttps:\/\/www.medicalnewstoday.com\/articles\/322647#naturally-boosting-testosterone\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ehttps:\/\/www.medicalnewstoday.com\/articles\/testosterone-replacement-therapy-trt\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ehttps:\/\/www.urologyhealth.org\/urology-a-z\/l\/low-testosterone\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ehttps:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6722698\/\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ehttps:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC7291266\/\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ehttps:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/35033227\/\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "675884564786", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/couplepause_1_768x.jpg?v=1715089205", "title" : "What is ‘couplepause’, and how can it affect relationships in your 40s and 50s?", "symptoms" : [ ]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606537875762", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/HH-576x576_small.jpg?v=1697658442", "name" : "Health and Her", "summary" : "", "title" : "" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/mental_health_1200x.jpg?v=1714636144", "html" : "\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-perimenopause\/\"\u003ePerimenopause\u003c\/a\u003e, the stage before \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-menopause\/\"\u003emenopause\u003c\/a\u003e, can be a particularly difficult time for women, both physically and psychologically. Mental health issues – such as anxiety, depression, fluctuations in mood, and fatigue – are often some of the first symptoms to present themselves when a woman goes through perimenopause. This can be frustrating, upsetting, and can leave you feeling more than a bit defeated – especially since it can often feel as if you are undergoing it alone.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003ePerimenopause itself is rarely discussed, let alone the mental health symptoms that come with it. But the most important thing to remember is that you aren’t alone. These symptoms are common – Health \u0026amp; Her have conducted research that shows 9 in 10 women will suffer mental health issues as a result of perimenopause, 77% of whom have never struggled with mental health before.\u003ca name=\"_ftnref1\" href=\"#_ftn1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e The most common symptoms women suffering with perimenopause-related mental health demonstrated were low energy, lack of motivation, anxiety, low mood, depression, anger spikes, and feelings of worthlessness – so if you’re experiencing any of these, do not feel alone or isolated in these emotions. Women all around Britain are dealing with the same feelings and sharing the same experiences.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThrough \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/menopause-awareness-month\/\"\u003eMenopause Awareness Month\u003c\/a\u003e \u0026amp; \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/world-perimenopause-day\/\"\u003eWorld Perimenopause Day\u003c\/a\u003e, Health \u0026amp; Her are working to bring attention to how mental health can be affected by perimenopause and menopause, and how best to get women back on their feet and feeling good. We are campaigning to raise awareness of perimenopause and mental health on a larger scale. Our research shows 9 in 10 women aren’t able to recognise the symptoms of perimenopause\u003ca name=\"_ftnref2\" href=\"#_ftn2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e – which is concerning, considering that 86% of women experience mental health changes as a result.\u003ca name=\"_ftnref3\" href=\"#_ftn3\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e What we’re seeing is women not having full information about what is causing their issues, and not feeling able to speak to anyone about it.\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/Mental-Health-Infographic-Update9924-scaled-e1633512178436.jpg\"\u003e \u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eIt’s time to start talking about perimental health, as the best way to get on the road to feeling better is to understand why perimenopause can make you feel this way, how it can affect you, and most importantly, how to access the treatment and coping methods you need to get you better.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eWhat are the symptoms of perimenopause?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003ePerimenopause is a stage that hasn’t received attention in the way menopause has, but it can have an equally important and dramatic – if not more so – effect on your mental health. Mental health changes are the earliest signs of perimenopause.  It is vital to know the warning symptoms of perimenopause to ensure you get the right help if your mental health is affected – especially since our research shows on average the link between symptoms and perimenopause takes 14 months to recognise. As menopause specialist GP Dr. Heidi Kerr explains,\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cblockquote\u003e\u003cp\u003e‘increasing awareness to women about perimenopause is vital as the arrival of many troublesome symptoms unexpectedly in their 40s – not the assumed 50s – can have a dramatic effect on daily life at home, at work and in relationships. By having a greater understanding of the hormonal changes that are taking place and the impact they can have on their bodies, women will be able to make good decisions about their health at an earlier stage to help alleviate symptoms and improve their ongoing health. This will allow them to reap the benefits as they move forward into their next decade and beyond. If you’re having severe symptoms and think you’re experiencing perimenopause, speaking to a GP can help. At the Health \u0026amp; Her Clinic we offer tailored advice and treatment options that can support you with a diagnosis.’\u003c\/p\u003e\u003c\/blockquote\u003e\u003ch2\u003eHow does perimenopause affect mental health?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eThere are a few ways that perimenopause can play havoc with your mental health in ways that are particularly difficult to deal with. This often requires a holistic approach to treat.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eYour perimenopause could be causing;\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAnger and mood swings\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eLittle things that used to go over your head may be starting to bother you incessantly – like your partner’s breathing, your children’s incessant questions, or a particularly difficult task at work. Instead of getting through it, you may feel suddenly and extremely angry – so angry that it can be difficult to contain. These extreme emotions aren’t limited to anger, and can often be characterised by extreme panic or extreme worry. They are unpredictable and can leave you feeling a loss of control.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eFatigued, low-energy, and low-motivation\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThis is the most common reported symptom of menopause-related mental health, with our research finding 58% of women reporting lack of motivation and energy.\u003ca name=\"_ftnref1\" href=\"#_ftn1\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003e If you’re feeling tired, low-energy, unable to get up and go like you used to, your perimenopause or menopause might be to blame.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAnxiety\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eCharacterized by a persistent feeling of worry, nervousness, and dread, anxiety can make it feel impossible to do the smallest and most routine of tasks without fear. You may find yourself overthinking and panicking about events that others don’t seem to think twice about, events that you used to attend with ease. Anxiety can also cause panic attacks and disturb your sleep patterns.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eDepression\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eDepression can often play hand in hand with anxiety and low energy. With a pervasive sense of low mood, fatigue, and unhappiness, depression can leave you feeling irritable, make it difficult for you to concentrate, and unable to take joy or pleasure in the activities you used to enjoy. It can often be accompanied by appetite changes, disturbed sleeping patterns, suicidal thoughts, and even physical pains like cramps and headaches. Studies have indicated that women going through perimenopause are more vulnerable to depression. Our research has indicated 44% of women reported feeling like they did not want to get out of bed in the mornings, while 1 in 10 admitted to having suicidal thoughts.\u003ca name=\"_ftnref2\" href=\"#_ftn2\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e Depression can make you feel defeated, and leave your regular life feeling impossible.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eLow self-esteem\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThat dress you used to love now hangs, hidden, at the back of your wardrobe. You feel unintelligent or silly at work even when you know you’re doing a good job. You don’t want to see or spend time with people as you constantly overthink or feel down about yourself – how you speak, how you look, how you think. 43% of perimenopausal women reported feeling like they didn’t want to see family or friends because they felt too low in themselves. Perimenopause and menopause can alter your self-confidence and leave you feeling worthless.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eBrain fog\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eYou may feel like you’re losing your memory – you can’t remember what was next on your to do list, you may have trouble concentrating on tasks, or may make small mistakes in your everyday routines. Brain fog is characterised by a loss of concentration and difficulty in remembering, and it can make work and life very difficult. 1 in 4 women admit to making mistakes at work, with 1 in 6 calling in sick to avoid work entirely.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eOften these symptoms can appear together in clusters or one can feed into the other – like low-self esteem and depression. Treatment, then, can be a holistic approach that seeks to target all of them together. \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cfigure class=\"wp-caption alignnone\" style=\"width: 1024px;\" aria-describedby=\"caption-attachment-43873\" id=\"attachment_43873\"\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135825\/Website-Graphics-01-scaled.jpg\"\u003e\u003cimg sizes=\"(max-width: 420px) 300px, (min-width: 421px) 768px, (min-width: 769px) 1024px, 100vw\" srcset=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135825\/Website-Graphics-01-1024x296.jpg 1024w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135825\/Website-Graphics-01-scaled-200x58.jpg 200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135825\/Website-Graphics-01-scaled-600x174.jpg 600w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135825\/Website-Graphics-01-300x87.jpg 300w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135825\/Website-Graphics-01-768x222.jpg 768w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135825\/Website-Graphics-01-1536x445.jpg 1536w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135825\/Website-Graphics-01-1600x463.jpg 1600w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135825\/Website-Graphics-01-1200x347.jpg 1200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135825\/Website-Graphics-01-1080x313.jpg 1080w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135825\/Website-Graphics-01-992x287.jpg 992w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135825\/Website-Graphics-01-576x167.jpg 576w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135825\/Website-Graphics-01-400x116.jpg 400w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135825\/Website-Graphics-01-280x81.jpg 280w\" height=\"296\" width=\"1024\" alt=\"Statistics about perimenopausal woman and mental health\" src=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135825\/Website-Graphics-01-1024x296.jpg\" class=\"wp-image-43873 size-large\" decoding=\"async\"\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/figure\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003e1 in 10 have suicidal thoughts, 9 in 10 suffer mental health issues as a direct result of perimenopause, 37% haven’t sought any help, and 80% don’t talk to their partners.\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eWhat causes mental health issues during perimenopause?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003ePerimenopause and menopause cause fluctuations in various hormone levels, especially oestrogen and progesterone, and these hormonal changes can affect the mood, and can also worsen physical symptoms. \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.sciencedirect.com\/science\/article\/pii\/S0165032716308746?casa_token=jqkfV8r1f4UAAAAA:GL2vI9-VET6DEgwkLo0V7APIeDnC95F1Q73kQAFrP9_CT6m63o65Vedum-v0wrm-AlnfPxKOOzkH\"\u003eStudies\u003c\/a\u003e have demonstrated that mental health changes are \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.sciencedirect.com\/science\/article\/pii\/S1521693406001398?casa_token=-6RKJaaycQkAAAAA:xdxYu4Vi6ec3ALNcowkc6w-ImMt3F_lZkHgfVoUU1tmhpy4qqqa0ChSFXd9Bocy8hEX7FgkOFWFL\"\u003eespecially common during perimenopause\u003c\/a\u003e, when hormonal changes are at their most prominent. Beyond the hormonal changes happening within your mind, perimenopausal women are also vulnerable to mental health issues due to the difficulties the physical symptoms of perimenopause and menopause can have on the emotions, such as a lack of proper, good-quality sleep caused by insomnia, self-esteem issues caused by potential weight gain, and the strenuous physical effects of joint aches, hot flushes, and cramps. Combined with what is generally quite a stressful stage in life – looking after both parents and children, gaining more responsibility within career fields, and dealing with mortgages, house upkeep, and relationship stress – this stage in life can often leave you more likely to develop emotional strains. If you have had mental health issues in the past, perimenopause can also exacerbate these.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eAs menopause specialist GP Dr Kate Burns describes,\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e‘as well as mood swings being triggered by your hormone levels fluctuating up and down more than they usually would be during the menopause, as you progress through perimenopause the overall levels of oestrogen and progesterone in your body will also be slowly dropping as your ovaries slow down. Your body has to adjust to lower levels of these hormones which can also cause your mood to decline. There is also some evidence that lowering oestrogen levels may be linked to lowering levels of serotonin, a very important chemical in the brain that is closely linked with our mood and emotions.’\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eHow to protect your mental health during perimenopause\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eThere are a myriad of ways to help you through perimenopause and to treat any mental health changes you may be experiencing. There are a selection of tools and methods that can help aid you through the transition depending on the severity of your symptoms and your personal feelings.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eVisit your GP or a qualified menopause health professional. \u003c\/strong\u003eGPs can give you advice, an ear to listen to, and provide medical intervention if your symptoms are severe enough. If your symptoms are making it hard to go about your day to day life, you should visit a qualified professional to help discuss options like antidepressants or HRT.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSupplements can provide a helpful option for women looking to seek a more holistic and natural approach.\u003c\/strong\u003e Specially formulated by expert nutritionists and using ingredients designed to target the areas that are feeling vulnerable, Health \u0026amp; Her offers a range of supplements that can help with specific symptoms such as brain fog, or wider ranges that focus on buoying up your mental health generally, such as the \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/psychological-function\/health-her-perimenopause-mind\/\"\u003eperimenopause mind+ supplement\u003c\/a\u003e, specially designed to improve low mood, cognition, and improve the nervous system. An ideal option for women seeking a natural way to manage their perimenopause symptoms, it has been expertly formulated with a natural blend of vitamins, minerals and active botanicals to support hormone balancing, optimum psychological and cognitive function, energy levels and normal functioning of the nervous system.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHRT to help with hormone levels\u003c\/strong\u003e. If your symptoms are hormone related, your GP may recommend starting you on Hormone Replacement Therapy to stabilise your hormonal changes and prevent oestrogen depletion. This might seem a bit intimidating at first, but HRT can do wonders in helping stabilise your hormones, improving your mood and also helping to prevent problems such as osteoporosis and heart disease. For more information, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/hormone-replacement-therapy-hrt-guide\/\"\u003ehere’s everything you need to know about HRT\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSleep aids and advice for insomnia\u003c\/strong\u003e. If lack of sleep is making you irritable, anxious, and low-energy, different tools can help you get your sleep routine back in order. Advice such as finding a regular sleep pattern, cutting down on stimulants, and seeking out solutions such as CBT or lavender sleep aids could help normalise your sleeping routine and leave you feeling better mentally. Here is more \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/sleeping-problems\/is-menopause-messing-with-your-sleep-tools-techniques-and-treatment-to-reclaim-your-rest\/\"\u003einformation and advice on how sleep affects your mental health and how to improve sleep during menopause\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eDietary plans to help keep you healthy\u003c\/strong\u003e. Diet can have a huge impact on your energy and emotional well-being. Cutting down on certain foods that exacerbate your symptoms can lessen fatigue, and keeping an overall healthy diet can work wonders in helping you feel better. For more advice on how to improve mood with food, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/low-mood\/mood-changes-during-menopausedoes-what-you-eat-make-a-difference\/\"\u003ehere are diet and emotional changes to help with menopause moods\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eExercise programmes to keep active and encourage endorphin release\u003c\/strong\u003e. Exercise can be a stalwart line of defence in helping improve your mood. By releasing endorphins, exercise can provide a burst of happiness and energy that can help power you through the day, while certain exercises such as \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/yoga-menopause\/\"\u003eyoga during menopause\u003c\/a\u003e have been linked to improvements in mood and relaxation. Here are the \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/best-exercise-menopause\/\"\u003ebest exercises for menopause\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch2\u003eHow do I identify whether what I’m going through is perimenopause?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eHealth \u0026amp; Her has created an easy symptom tool to help you understand whether your combination of mood issues is indicative of the early signs of perimenopause.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg data-mce-fragment=\"1\" sizes=\"(max-width: 420px) 300px, (min-width: 421px) 768px, (min-width: 769px) 1024px, 100vw\" srcset=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135824\/symptom-tool-03-03-1024x375.jpg 1024w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135824\/symptom-tool-03-03-scaled-200x73.jpg 200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135824\/symptom-tool-03-03-scaled-600x220.jpg 600w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135824\/symptom-tool-03-03-300x110.jpg 300w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135824\/symptom-tool-03-03-768x281.jpg 768w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135824\/symptom-tool-03-03-1536x563.jpg 1536w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135824\/symptom-tool-03-03-1600x586.jpg 1600w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135824\/symptom-tool-03-03-1200x440.jpg 1200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135824\/symptom-tool-03-03-1080x396.jpg 1080w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135824\/symptom-tool-03-03-992x363.jpg 992w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135824\/symptom-tool-03-03-576x211.jpg 576w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135824\/symptom-tool-03-03-400x147.jpg 400w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135824\/symptom-tool-03-03-280x103.jpg 280w\" height=\"348\" width=\"950\" alt=\"Health \u0026amp; Her's new symptom tool: Depression, Anxiety, Mood, No Energy\" src=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135824\/symptom-tool-03-03-1024x375.jpg\" class=\"alignnone wp-image-43874\" decoding=\"async\" data-mce-src=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021\/10\/28135824\/symptom-tool-03-03-1024x375.jpg\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eIf you have one or more of these symptoms, alongside changing periods, consider going to consult with a professional to see what your options are for help. The Health \u0026amp; Her App is available to download on the \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/apps.apple.com\/gb\/app\/health-her-menopause-app\/id1519199698\"\u003eiOS App Store\u003c\/a\u003e and the \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/play.google.com\/store\/apps\/details?id=com.healthandher\u0026amp;hl=en_GB\"\u003eAndroid Play store\u003c\/a\u003e. Studies have shown that logging your symptoms has been linked to proven health benefits such as symptom reduction, heightened quality of life, and better health awareness.\u003ca name=\"_ftnref3\" href=\"#_ftn3\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eWhen Should I See a Doctor?\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eIf your mental health is impeding on your everyday life and making it hard to get out of bed, do regular tasks, and causing you to feel like you have little hope, the best thing to do is always to go see a professional GP who can listen carefully to what you’re experiencing and then discuss potential suitable treatments to help you feel better. They can offer a range of other solutions that can have you feeling back at your best. Check in with your local NHS GP to talk through how best to treat your mental health and menopause.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eWhat treatments can the NHS offer?\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe NHS and your GP could provide a variety of options to help treat your mental health. As Dr Kate Burns describes, ‘depending on what combination of symptoms you are experiencing and their severity, a trial of HRT may be recommended. Alternatively, for some women antidepressants may also be appropriate. Regardless, it is always vital to consider additional, non-medical ways to help improve your mental health and wellbeing; such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), mindfulness, yoga, exercise and healthy eating.’\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eMillions of women go through perimenopause and menopause annually, and many of them are struggling with mood issues and mental health changes, with little information or support from those around them. If you are struggling, more than anything, it is important to remember that you are not alone – and there is hope! Perimenopause has been linked to issues with mood and emotion in thousands of women, and up until recently, there hasn’t been a lot of material disseminated on why that is, or how to get better.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHealth \u0026amp; Her want to say enough is enough. You deserve to get the help and treatment you need, and the support you need to get you feeling like your best self – and there’s no shame in that.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eReferences and Sources\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn1\" href=\"#_ftnref1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e As evidenced by a survey of 2,000 UK women aged 46-60 who have experienced perimenopause, carried out by OnePoll on behalf of women’s health website and free app Heath \u0026amp; Her.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn2\" href=\"#_ftnref2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e Ibid\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn3\" href=\"#_ftnref3\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e Andrews, R., Hale, G., Lancastle, D., John, B. (2020). Evaluating the effects of symptom-monitoring interventions on menopausal health outcomes: a systematic review.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn1\" href=\"#_ftnref1\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003e Out of 2,000 women aged 46-60\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn2\" href=\"#_ftnref2\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e As evidenced by research commissioned by Health \u0026amp; Her and carried out by Censuswide. 1,001 women between the ages of 45-60 were surveyed.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn3\" href=\"#_ftnref3\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e Out of 2,000 women aged 46-60\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606538891570", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/mental_health_768x.jpg?v=1714636144", "title" : "Is there a link between Perimenopause and poor mental health & depression?", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=228" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=228" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=228" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/228" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 25, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/low-energy/", "name": "Low energy", "description": "Energy levels can fluctuate in perimenopause and menopause. Browse our range of supplements and products that women have chosen to support their energy levels.", "id": 228, "term_id": 228, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "low-energy" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=234" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=234" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=234" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/234" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 33, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/low-mood/", "name": "Low mood", "description": "Menopause mood swings, depression, emotional instability and rage can affect many parts of your life, including relationships and work. Browse our range of supplements and product that women have chosen to support normal psychological or cognitive function", "id": 234, "term_id": 234, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "low-mood" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606538006834", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Rosie-Letts_small.jpg?v=1697658449", "name" : "Rosie Letts", "summary" : "", "title" : "Nutritional Therapist" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/anna-pelzer-472429-unsplash__1_-1_3fe2a25b-6580-47e5-bf07-1b748cc5cf78_1200x.jpg?v=1701341669", "html" : "\u003ch2\u003eWhat causes menopause mood changes, and can the right nutrition help?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eQualified nutritional therapist Rosie Letts explains what’s going on – and how it’s possible pack your plate with powerful goodness that’s proven to \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/low-mood\/\"\u003ebalance the low moods and mood swings\u003c\/a\u003e many women experience during menopause.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eUnfortunately, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/stress-anxiety\/\"\u003eanxiety, anger and depression\u003c\/a\u003e are common during the menopause transition, particularly if you suffer from \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/hot-flushes\/\"\u003ehot flushes\u003c\/a\u003e or \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/sleeping-problems\/\"\u003edisturbed sleep\u003c\/a\u003e (1).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/stress-anxiety\/perimenopause-mental-health\/\"\u003ePerimenopause can impact your mental health, here is how\u003c\/a\u003e. \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eWhat causes low mood and mood changes at menopause?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhilst there might be many contributing factors to your mood changes, your changing hormones are likely to be part of the problem. Research shows a clear link between the fluctuation of hormones and how you feel (3) so the hormone chaos you’re experiencing is likely to be impacting your mental wellbeing.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThankfully, the food choices you make during this transition will have a dramatic affect on the way you feel. Below I have outlined my top tips for supporting optimal brain function and feeling happy and calm during the menopause.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHere are \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hormone-regulation\/\"\u003eproducts supporting hormone regulation in menopause\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eDon’t skip meals\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhen your blood sugar is low and you need energy, a surge of adrenaline triggers glucose release. This surge can make you feel edgy and anxious. What’s more, just skipping breakfast is associated with higher risk of depression (4) – it’s surprising what a difference you’ll feel making sure you eat regularly.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHere a \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/stress-anxiety\/stress-and-anxiety\/\"\u003emenopause specialist GP explains how to cope with stress and anxiety in menopause\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eFollow a low Glycaemic Load (GL) diet\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eStable moods are built on stable blood sugar levels. Eliminate fast energy releasing, refined carbohydrates such as sugary drinks or snacks, white rice and foods made with white flour. Instead, aim to get most of your carbohydrates from vegetables, and add nutrient dense, fibre-rich wholegrains when necessary.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHave protein with every meal to keep you fuller for longer – chicken, grilled fish, eggs, tofu, lentils are all good choices. This can help with low mood because protein slows the release of sugar into your bloodstream and provides the building blocks of your happy hormones.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eEnjoy healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds with every meal. In contrast to carbohydrates, which provide a quick burst of energy that quickly burns out, healthy fats provide stable, long-lasting energy, and that’s exactly what we want. Be sure to include Omega-3 which promotes notable mood improvement (5) and regulates hormones (6). You’ll find Omega-3 in oily fish such as salmon and mackerel; walnuts, pecans and hazelnuts; and flax, pumpkin or chia seeds.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eSupport your brain\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"font-weight: 600;\" data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eSharpen up\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/brain-fog\/\"\u003eBrain fog\u003c\/a\u003e is often mentioned by menopausal women. To sharpen your memory and to stay focussed, you’ll need acetylcholine, a neurotransmittor that helps your brain send messages (7). It is found in high amounts in breast milk to support the growing brain. Adults can find choline in eggs, oily fish, avocado, almonds and liver.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"font-weight: 600;\" data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eKeep calm\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"font-weight: 600;\" data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003e \u003c\/strong\u003eNaturally lower levels of progesterone during this period are linked to lower GABA, a neurotransmitter that blocks impulses between nerve cells in the brain. Researchers suspect that GABA may boost mood or have a calming, relaxing effect on the nervous system(8). Support GABA’s production with magnesium-rich green vegetables, wholegrains and nuts, as well as B vitamins found in meat, offal, fish, eggs, oats, brown rice and nutritional yeast.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"font-weight: 600;\" data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eFocus on feel-good\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eMost of us know that the higher the levels of ‘feel good’ serotonin – the happiness hormone – the better our mood (9). What you might not be aware of is that optimal levels have been proven to reduce irritability too (10).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eSerotonin is built from a chemical called tryptophan. Milk products have been shown to quickly increase brain tryptophan levels (10), but this essential happiness-fuel is also found in a range of protein-rich foods, including:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003eWholegrains and legumes\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eSeeds and nuts\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eTofu, eggs, meat, poultry, fish and seafood.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp\u003eSupporting serotonin production needn’t mean feasting on only these foods though – just one serving of porridge made with 40g oats and 25g seeds or a 3-egg omelette is adequate (11).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"font-weight: 600;\" data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eBalanced brain food\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eEating a wide range of foods will support your brain’s ability to manufacture its mood-enhancing chemicals. In addition to the foods mentioned above, aim for at least five 80g portions of fibre rich, vitamin C loaded vegetables and fruits each day (12) plus foods containing iron – red meat, dried apricots, spinach and lentils (13).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eGut feeling\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eEmerging research shows a direct link between your gut and your brain. The key is your gut flora, colonies of bacteria that impact your mental wellbeing. Fibre from vegetables, wholegrains and fruit is used by the bacteria as energy, enabling them to produce compounds which positively impact the brain and your moods (14).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eSo make sure you eat at least six or seven portions of fruit and veggies a day – ideally unpeeled – and choose fibre-packed wholegrain options where you can. Fibre is best from fruit and vegetables in these circumstances.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eSupport your system with supplements\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003ch3 style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"font-weight: 600;\" data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eB vitamin complex\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eB vitamin complex supplements are highly recommended for stress, anxiety, or irritability (15). A methylated B complex could actually improve mental wellbeing (16).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3 style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"font-weight: 600;\" data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eVitamin D\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAdequate vitamin D is required to absorb magnesium (17) but our levels of the “sunshine vitamin” may be low from October to May. The UK government recommends that all adults supplement with 10mcg of D3 daily.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3 style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"font-weight: 600;\" data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eProbiotics\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eShown to improve mood and reduce anxiety (18) they can also reduce feelings of stress (19). Try a good quality broad spectrum probiotic.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3 style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"font-weight: 600;\" data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eSt Johns Wort\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eMind, the mental health charity, suggests that this herbal remedy could be useful for low mood because it works in a similar way to standard antidepressants (20). It does, however, interact with numerous medications so talk your GP or practitioner before taking. Find out more by visiting the \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.nice.org.uk\/\"\u003eNICE \u003c\/a\u003ewebsite.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3 style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"font-weight: 600;\" data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003e5-HTP\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ePart of the pathway that produces serotonin, 5-HTP can be used as a supplement to produce feelings of wellbeing. It may be more effective than some anti-depressants when taken alongside amino acid L-tyrosine but the research is not yet conclusive. If you’re interested in this option, it’s best to talk to a nutritional therapist about possible short term use.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHere are \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/your-ultimate-guide-to-supplements-for-menopause\/\"\u003esupplements for menopause many women have chosen\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eConsidered nutrition: the natural way to boost menopause mood\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eManaging mood changes at menopause really is possible with a few careful changes to your diet – the research is there to prove it. You might find it most helpful to talk to a nutritional therapist who can make personalised recommendations, but I hope you’ll notice a difference by making five small changes.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3 style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"font-weight: 600;\" data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003e5 nutritional must-knows to manage menopause mood\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003col style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cli\u003eSkipping meals or eating sugary snacks will create blood sugar fluctuations affecting your mood and ability to think clearly.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eLow GL meals 3 times a day with protein at each one should stabilise your blood sugar levels\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eEat Omega3 rich foods daily to elevate your mood\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eBe sure to eat foods rich in B vitamins every day, such as green leafy vegetables, wholegrains, eggs and poultry. Your body isn’t able to store these important brain-loving, stress-busting vitamins, so it’s vital to consume them daily.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eLook to eat a wide range of foods each day including plenty of vegetables and fruit\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e\u003cp\u003eHere are more \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/low-mood\/coping-with-your-emotions-during-menopause\/\"\u003etips for coping with your emotions during menopause\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eAbout Rosie Letts\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eRosie is a qualified and registered nutritional therapist. She has worked with hundreds of women experiencing menopausal symptoms, helping to combine nutrition and lifestyle changes that have helped to prevent or reduce the severity of symptoms including sleeping problems, mood changes, weight gain, and headaches.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHer qualifications, memberships and awards include: BSc in Nutritional Therapy – University of Westminster; ICHAN outstanding practice 2018 award; Member of the Complementary \u0026amp; Natural Healthcare Council (CHNC); Member of the British Association of Nutritional Therapists (BANT).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/about-us\/menopause-experts\/rosie-letts\/\"\u003eRead Rosie’s full biography here\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eReferences\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003e1 Hickey, M. et al. (2011). Evaluation and management of depressive and anxiety symptoms in midlife. Climacteric, 15(1), pp.3-9.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e2 Gibbs, Z. et al. (2014). The unique symptom profile of perimenopausal depression. Clinical Psychologist, 19(2), pp.76-84.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e3 Ryan, J. et al. (2009). A prospective study of the association between endogenous hormones and depressive symptoms in postmenopausal women. Menopause, 16(3), pp.509-517.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e4 Lee, S. et al. (2017). Breakfast consumption and depressive mood: A focus on socioeconomic status. Appetite, 114, pp.313-319.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e5 Levant, B. (2013). N-3 (Omega-3) Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in the Pathophysiology and Treatment of Depression: Pre-Clinical Evidence. CNS \u0026amp; Neurological Disorders – Drug Targets, 12(4), pp.450-459.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e6 Nadjarzadeh, A. (2019). The effect of omega-3 supplementation on androgen profile and menstrual status in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: A randomized clinical trial. [online] PubMed Central (PMC). Available at: \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC3941370\/\"\u003ehttps:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC39413…\u003c\/a\u003e [Accessed 28 Jan. 2019].\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e7 Newhouse, P. \u0026amp; Dumas, J. (2015). Estrogen–cholinergic interactions: Implications for cognitive aging. Hormones and Behavior, 74, pp.173-185.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e8 Saˇgsöz, N., et al. (2001). Anxiety and depression before and after the menopause. Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 264(4), pp.199-202.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e9 Jenkins, T. et al. (2016). Influence of Tryptophan and Serotonin on Mood and Cognition with a Possible Role of the Gut-Brain Axis. Nutrients, 8(1), p.56.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e10 Young, S. et al. (2007). The effect of tryptophan on quarrelsomeness, agreeableness, and mood in everyday life. International Congress Series, 1304, pp.133-143.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e11 Whitbread, D. (2018). Top 10 Foods Highest in Tryptophan. [online] MyFoodData.com Available at: \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.myfooddata.com\/articles\/high-tryptophan-foods.php\"\u003ehttps:\/\/www.myfooddata.com\/articles\/high-tryptopha…\u003c\/a\u003e [Accessed 28 Jan. 2019].\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e12 Travica, N. et al. (2017). Vitamin C Status and Cognitive Function: A Systematic Review. Nutrients, 9(9), p.960.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e13 Nakamura, K. \u0026amp; Hasegawa, H. (2009). Production and Peripheral Roles of 5-HTP, a Precursor of Serotonin. [online] PubMed Central (PMC). Available at: \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC3195225\/\"\u003ehttps:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC31952…\u003c\/a\u003e [Accessed 28 Jan. 2019].\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e14 Liu, L. \u0026amp; Zhu, G. (2018). Gut–Brain Axis and Mood Disorder. [online] PubMed. Available at: \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC5987167\/\"\u003ehttps:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC59871…\u003c\/a\u003e [Accessed 28 Jan. 2019].\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e15 Glenville, M. (2014). “The Nutritional Health Handbook for Women”. 5th ed. London: Piatkus, pp.415-416.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e16 Lewis, J. et al. (2013). The Effect of Methylated Vitamin B Complex on Depressive and Anxiety Symptoms and Quality of Life in Adults with Depression. ISRN Psychiatry, 2013, pp.1-7.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e17 Gröber, U. et al. (2015). Magnesium in Prevention and Therapy. Nutrients, 7(9), pp.8199-8226.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e18 Rao, A. et al. (2009). A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study of a probiotic in emotional symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. [online] PubMed. Available at: \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC2664325\/\"\u003ehttps:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC26643…\u003c\/a\u003e [Accessed 28 Jan. 2019].\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e19 Messaoudi, M. et al. (2011). Assessment of psychotropic-like properties of a probiotic formulation ( Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175) in rats and human subjects. [online] PubMed. Available at: \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pubmed\/20974015\"\u003ehttps:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pubmed\/20974015\u003c\/a\u003e [Accessed 28 Jan. 2019].\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e20 Mind, (2017). St John’s Wort | Mind, the mental health charity – help for mental health problems. [online] Mind.org.uk. Available at: \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.mind.org.uk\/information-support\/drugs-and-treatments\/st-johns-wort\/#.XE8wZFz7TIV\"\u003ehttps:\/\/www.mind.org.uk\/information-support\/drugs-…\u003c\/a\u003e [Accessed 28 Jan. 2019].\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606720983346", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/anna-pelzer-472429-unsplash__1_-1_3fe2a25b-6580-47e5-bf07-1b748cc5cf78_768x.jpg?v=1701341669", "title" : "Menopause Mood changes & foods to help with mood swings", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=237" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=237" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=237" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/237" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 22, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/brain-fog/", "name": "Brain fog", "description": "Brain fog is a common symptom along with memory loss and other cognitive issues. Browse our range of supplements chosen by women experiencing mental performance issues.", "id": 237, "term_id": 237, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "brain-fog" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=234" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=234" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=234" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/234" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 33, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/low-mood/", "name": "Low mood", "description": "Menopause mood swings, depression, emotional instability and rage can affect many parts of your life, including relationships and work. Browse our range of supplements and product that women have chosen to support normal psychological or cognitive function", "id": 234, "term_id": 234, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "low-mood" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606538072370", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Deb-002-aspect-ratio-1-1_small.jpg?v=1697658451", "name" : "Dr Deborah Lancastle", "summary" : "", "title" : "Health Psychologist" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/rawpixel-1376320-unsplash__1_-1_1200x.jpg?v=1705503046", "html" : "\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.2;margin-top: 0pt;margin-bottom: 0pt\"\u003eNot every woman feels confident talking about her intimate health, but you shouldn’t let shyness or embarrassment put you off getting the help you need. Health Psychologist Dr Deborah Lancastle explains the concept of ‘doorknob problems’ – and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/how-to-talk-to-your-gp-about-menopause\/\"\u003ehow we can get the most out of communication with our GPs\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.2;margin-top: 0pt;margin-bottom: 0pt\"\u003e‘Doorknob problems’ are medical problems that patients don’t talk about until they are leaving the consultation room. The patient’s hand is ‘on the doorknob’ before they say “Oh, by the way…” and then tell the doctor about the real reason for the appointment. Or perhaps the doctor has said “is there anything else?” at the end of the appointment and that is when the patient talks about her main worry.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.2;margin-top: 0pt;margin-bottom: 0pt\"\u003eThis is more likely to happen when the patient is embarrassed or scared, and hasn’t managed to raise her main concern when she first arrived. There may not then be enough time for the GP to fully deal with the problem during that appointment and the patient may need to make another.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eAnd perhaps that second appointment will not be made…\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.2;margin-top: 0pt;margin-bottom: 0pt\"\u003eIf you’re struggling with more intimate menopause symptoms like \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/products\/symptoms\/sensitive-bladder\/\"\u003eurinary changes\u003c\/a\u003e, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/products\/symptoms\/vaginal-dryness\/\"\u003evaginal dryness\u003c\/a\u003e, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/vaginal-dryness\/painful-sex-menopause-and-you-whats-happening-and-how-to-feel-more-comfortable\/\"\u003epainful sex\u003c\/a\u003e, or \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/period-changes\/why-do-periods-get-worse-before-menopause\/\"\u003echanges to your periods\u003c\/a\u003e, you might know this situation all too well. But if you don’t speak out about your symptoms, healthcare professionals can’t help – and that’s what we are here for after all! So what can you do if you’re finding it hard to talk about intimate symptoms?\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e5 tips for getting the most from communication with your GP\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eHere are Dr. Deborah Lancastle’s top five tips for what to do to help you talk about intimate or embarrassing menopause symptoms with your GP.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2 dir=\"ltr\"\u003e1. Prepare in advance\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.2;margin-top: 12pt;margin-bottom: 12pt\"\u003eYou may feel more confident and in control if you have found out about your problem before you see your GP. For example, you could read about your problem and the advantages and disadvantages of different treatments before you go to your appointment.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.2;margin-top: 12pt;margin-bottom: 12pt\"\u003ePerhaps read through some articles on this website such as the ‘how to talk to your GP about menopause symptoms’, explore some decision aids+ and discuss your thoughts about treatment options with your family and friends to get things clear in your head.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2 dir=\"ltr\"\u003e2. Think about how long you might need\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.2;margin-top: 12pt;margin-bottom: 12pt\"\u003eIf you need to discuss a number of issues with your GP, ask the receptionist if it is possible to book a longer appointment. GPs may have a time limit on appointments, but if you’ve booked extra time in advance you won’t feel rushed and will be able to take your time to explain everything that’s going on.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2 dir=\"ltr\"\u003e3. Book an appointment with a GP you are comfortable with\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.2;margin-top: 12pt;margin-bottom: 12pt\"\u003eYou may have more of a rapport with one or two GPs at your practice. If so, find out if it is possible to book an appointment with that GP. You may have to wait to see a named GP, but if your symptoms are not urgent and you would be more comfortable talking to a particular doctor you may prefer not to rush.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2 dir=\"ltr\"\u003e5. Work out your goals for the appointment\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.2;margin-top: 12pt;margin-bottom: 12pt\"\u003eOne strategy that has been found helpful by women (5) dealing with another medical challenge is to write down brief answers to these 2 questions before you see your doctor:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.2;margin-top: 0pt;margin-bottom: 0pt\"\u003eQ1: “What is the main thing I want to achieve in this appointment?”It is best if this is about the issue that is worrying you most and\/or is having the biggest impact on your quality of life (e.g., discuss HRT, find out about counselling to help you deal with other demands in your life, get some advice about urinary incontinence).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.2;margin-top: 0pt;margin-bottom: 0pt\"\u003eQ2. “What are the questions I want to ask?”Write down a few questions that will be particularly helpful to you. Make these relevant to the priority you have decided upon in Question 1. E.g., If your priority is to sort out urinary incontinence you might want to find out if there are any particular exercises you can do and if there is a health professional who can help you to check if you are doing these correctly.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2 dir=\"ltr\"\u003e5. What if you ‘just can’t get the words out’?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.2;margin-top: 0pt;margin-bottom: 0pt\"\u003eSometimes people find that once they get to the doctors they are suddenly unable to talk about the reason for their appointment. If you find this happening to you and you have prepared brief answers to the 2 questions suggested in Tip 4, just slide this piece of paper over the desk to the GP! The GP will then be able to follow up with questions that get to the heart of your worries.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2 dir=\"ltr\"\u003eWhat is a ‘Decision Aid’?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.2;margin-top: 0pt;margin-bottom: 0pt\"\u003eDecision Aids are guides about different types of health concerns that you can work through on your own before discussing with your family and GP. They are good sources of help because they are based on research evidence and are kept up to date. There should be a date on a Decision Aid telling you when it was last reviewed and revised.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.2;margin-top: 0pt;margin-bottom: 0pt\"\u003eFor example, The Decision Aid called “Menopause: Should I Use Hormone Therapy (HT)?” by Healthwise.Net (see link at the bottom of this page) has sections dealing with these common questions about the menopause: What is menopause? What is hormone therapy? What if you don’t take hormone therapy? What are the benefits of taking hormone therapy? What are the risks from taking hormone therapy? Why might your doctor recommend hormone therapy?\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.2;margin-top: 0pt;margin-bottom: 0pt\"\u003eDecision Aids are written to be easily understood and can be a great starting point for you to think of questions you can ask your GP that give you the extra information YOU really need to help you decide on what can be done to help.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3 dir=\"ltr\"\u003eAbout Dr Deborah Lancastle\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.38;margin-top: 0pt;margin-bottom: 0pt\"\u003eDr Deborah Lancastle (PHD) is a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered and British Psychological Society (BPS) Chartered Health Psychologist with special interest in the psychosocial aspects of women’s reproductive health. Her extensive knowledge and experience of the psychological principles explaining how women cope with reproductive health issues means she’s well-placed to advise across a range of women’s reproductive health concerns.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.38;margin-top: 0pt;margin-bottom: 0pt\"\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-profile\/dr-deborah-lancastle\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener noreferrer\"\u003eRead Deborah’s full biography here\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eYou might also be interested in…\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.2;margin-top: 0pt;margin-bottom: 0pt\"\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/is-it-the-menopause-or-is-it-life\/\"\u003eIs it the menopause or is it life?\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.2;margin-top: 0pt;margin-bottom: 0pt\"\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/low-mood\/coping-with-your-emotions-during-menopause\/\"\u003eCoping with your emotions during menopause\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.2;margin-top: 0pt;margin-bottom: 0pt\"\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606958682418", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/rawpixel-1376320-unsplash__1_-1_768x.jpg?v=1705503046", "title" : "How to talk to your doctor about intimate or embarrassing menopause symptoms", "symptoms" : [ ]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606517297458", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Dr-R-Tomlinson-Headshot-576x768_small.jpg?v=1697653989", "name" : "Dr Rebeccah Tomlinson", "summary" : "", "title" : "General Practitioner" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/genetics_1200x.jpg?v=1709218291", "html" : "\u003ch2\u003eAre menopause symptoms hereditary? And are you likely to have a similar menopause to your mum?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eDr Rebeccah Tomlinson, menopause specialist GP, examines the evidence...\u003cbr data-mce-fragment=\"1\"\u003e\u003cbr data-mce-fragment=\"1\"\u003eAs things stand no one can precisely predict when you will go through menopause or how it will affect you. That said, there are studies that have been carried out on mothers and daughters, female twins, sisters and aunts and nieces which show genetics do play a role in predicting the age you are likely to go through this transitional time. Science has yet to get to a point where genetic profiling can forecast menopause age accurately, but mounting research is helping us to slowly understand more about the hereditary aspects and how they can be helpful for understanding your personal menopause journey.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eDoes menopause age run in families?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eBoth \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/blogs\/expert-advice\/what-is-perimenopause\" target=\"_blank\"\u003eperimenopause\u003c\/a\u003e (the lead-up to the menopause which generally happens from the mid 40s onwards but can start as early as your late 30s\u003csup\u003e1\u003c\/sup\u003e ) and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/blogs\/expert-advice\/what-is-menopause\" target=\"_blank\"\u003emenopause\u003c\/a\u003e can occur earlier than the average age (51 in the UK\u003csup\u003e2\u003c\/sup\u003e) as a result of lifestyle factors like smoking. They can also be accelerated by medical treatments like chemotherapy or having a hysterectomy.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eSo, while the age you will experience menopause is generally accepted to be significantly influenced by your family history – and the age your mother or close female relatives went through it - it is also shaped by both environmental and lifestyle factor and there are a wide range of variables that can affect its timing. Studies have found racial\/ethnic differences as to when women start their perimenopause and menopause\u003csup\u003e3\u003c\/sup\u003e and there is even research showing those living in urban areas have a slightly later natural menopause than those in rural ones\u003csup\u003e4\u003c\/sup\u003e. There is some research to suggest being overweight can lead to a later menopause, and that being underweight leads to an earlier one\u003csup\u003e5\u003c\/sup\u003e. Women who have never had children also appear to go through menopause earlier and women who have given birth three times have the highest average age at menopause, according to one study\u003csup\u003e6\u003c\/sup\u003e. (The same study found that having more than three children did not however lead to an even later age of entering it).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eThe timing of your menopause\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhat makes it trickier to predict the timing of your menopause is that using hormonal contraception can mask symptoms of menopause, going through IVF can trigger side effects which are similar to symptoms of perimenopause and menopause and IVF treatments are also linked to having an earlier menopause\u003csup\u003e7\u003c\/sup\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eResearch also shows having Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) can lead to a later menopause (on average two to four years later)\u003csup\u003e8\u003c\/sup\u003e. Having certain medical conditions such as autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid problems have also been linked to earlier menopause\u003csup\u003e9\u003c\/sup\u003e. If your mother or close female relative had an early or late menopause the likelihood is you will too\u003csup\u003e10\u003c\/sup\u003e. Having a sister who went through an \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/blogs\/expert-advice\/early-menopause\" target=\"_blank\"\u003eearly menopause\u003c\/a\u003e (between the ages of 40-45) appears to be the biggest indicator you might also\u003csup\u003e11\u003c\/sup\u003e. This information is significant because of the greater risks to your health posed by an early menopause including an increased risk of \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/blogs\/expert-advice\/menopause-and-cardiovascular-disease\" target=\"_blank\"\u003ecardiovascular disease\u003c\/a\u003e, osteoporosis, cognitive issues and overall life expectancy. Research also shows that women who go through menopause later than average (after 55) have a higher risk of breast and endometrial cancers\u003csup\u003e12\u003c\/sup\u003e but a lower risk of cardiovascular disease\u003csup\u003e13\u003c\/sup\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eAre menopause symptoms hereditary?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe ‘when’ of your menopause is, of course, only one part of the story - the ‘how’ remains the other and the severity of your symptoms can also be coloured by your genes. Recent Health and Her research confirms this - with 69% of women who asked their mum finding that their perimenopause symptoms were similar.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cdiv style=\"text-align: left;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0816\/2164\/7666\/files\/H_H_App_-_Store_Cards_-_IOS_1284X2778Artboard_2_copy_2x_baf66772-cb63-4153-a7fd-e9e00f3b58e8_600x600.png?v=1709217620\" alt=\"69% of women who asked their mum finding that their perimenopause symptoms were similar\" style=\"float: none;\"\u003e\u003c\/div\u003e\u003cp\u003eStudies also show vasomotor symptoms – hot flushes and night sweats – appear to be influenced by genetic factors and can differ across racial and ethnic groups. The Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN)\u003csup\u003e14\u003c\/sup\u003e has shown that Black and Latina women enter menopause earlier and have more severe vasomotor symptoms than white women (in the study, white women were shown to experience them for around 6.5 years, Latina women 8.9 years and 10 years for Black women). A study from UCLA published in the journal Menopause\u003csup\u003e15\u003c\/sup\u003e has also identified gene variants which affect a receptor in the brain (known as the tachykinin receptor 3 or TACR3) which regulates the release of oestrogen. These variants are found across ethnicities, and it has been found that women who have them are more likely to suffer with hot flushes and night sweats. More research in this area is needed but scientists are hopeful that by identifying these gene variants’ effects on oestrogen it could potentially lead to finding treatments for flushes and night sweats.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eWill you have your mother’s menopause?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhilst the science moves slowly forward into the links between genes and menopause getting your mum’s personal take on her experience can also be insightful, informative, and hopefully reassuring.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg alt=\"71% of women saying that asking their mum about it helped them diagnose their own menopause\" src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0816\/2164\/7666\/files\/H_H_App_-_Store_Cards_-_IOS_1284X2778Artboard_2_copy_3_2x_8a1b8af4-fcb7-460e-8b3c-cddb81723b7b_600x600.png?v=1709217727\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eRecent Health and Her research suggests this is very much the case with 71% of women saying that asking their mum about it helped them diagnose their own menopause sooner and 80% reporting that having a mother-daughter chat about the issue helped them to not only diagnose their perimenopause earlier but left them feeling better supported, better educated and more confident about how to manage their symptoms.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0816\/2164\/7666\/files\/H_H_App_-_Store_Cards_-_IOS_1284X2778Artboard_2_copy_5_2x_f0da90f2-b1ee-4eff-942f-9900f48e3b4d_600x600.png?v=1709217795\" alt=\"80% reporting that having a mother-daughter chat left them feeling better supported\" data-mce-fragment=\"1\" data-mce-src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0816\/2164\/7666\/files\/H_H_App_-_Store_Cards_-_IOS_1284X2778Artboard_2_copy_5_2x_f0da90f2-b1ee-4eff-942f-9900f48e3b4d_600x600.png?v=1709217795\"\u003e\u003cbr data-mce-fragment=\"1\"\u003e\u003cbr data-mce-fragment=\"1\"\u003eHowever, while knowing your mother’s menopause history might provide a more rounded picture for some, accessing this information can be hard for others. Not least because many older women felt (or still feel) embarrassed talking about it. Also, many didn’t recognise that what was happening was the menopause (let alone the perimenopause – a relatively new term) and they didn’t have access to research or knowledge about the subject (including sharing information amongst themselves online) that we have now. Nor does everyone have ready access to that part of their family history – if, say, you were adopted or your mother is no longer around. Ideally if you can glean information from other close female relatives, like an aunt, or older sister, this should help but if you don’t know about your blood relatives this shouldn’t leave you feeling at a disadvantage.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg alt=\"The benefits of talking to a female relative\" src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0816\/2164\/7666\/files\/H_H_App_-_Store_Cards_-_IOS_1284X2778Artboard_2_copy_7_2x_552b7c44-8a56-4bc5-9c09-23a0ad3196fd_600x600.png?v=1709217908\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe bottom line is that whilst asking about your mother’s menopause can offer a potential snapshot of what your experience might be it is not genetically set in stone and there is so much you can do to shape how your own plays out.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eTake control of your own menopause\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eUsing the latest research, information and online tools available all women can help to take control of their own symptoms from perimenopause onwards by:\u003cbr data-mce-fragment=\"1\"\u003e\u003cbr data-mce-fragment=\"1\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003ePreparing for it.\u003c\/strong\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/pages\/menopause-perimenopause-app\" target=\"_blank\"\u003eTrack your symptoms using the Health \u0026amp; Her app\u003c\/a\u003e to pinpoint how they manifest themselves and if, and when, they get better or worse. Build up a picture that is specific to you, including \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/blogs\/hot-topics\/worsen-perimenopause-menopause-triggers\" target=\"_blank\"\u003ewhat triggers your symptoms\u003c\/a\u003e, what exacerbates them and what helps.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eGive up, or don’t start, smoking.\u003c\/strong\u003e Regardless of your family history this is by far the most relevant factor for predicting a menopause earlier than the average – going through it around one or two years earlier than on average\u003csup\u003e16\u003c\/sup\u003e. It is theorised that smoking reduces oestrogen and impacts on ovarian ageing.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAdjusting your diet.\u003c\/strong\u003e A \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/blogs\/expert-advice\/mediterranean-diet-menopause?_pos=1\u0026amp;_psq=med\u0026amp;_ss=e\u0026amp;_v=1.0\" target=\"_blank\"\u003eMediterranean diet\u003c\/a\u003e has been shown to minimise many typical menopause symptoms according to a study from 2022\u003csup\u003e17\u003c\/sup\u003e. The high intake of fruit and vegetables and legumes (like kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas) and extra virgin olive oil in the diet led to less severe, or fewer, menopause symptoms including vasomotor ones, like hot flushes and night sweats, plus psychological ones, including depression. Women on a Mediterranean diet also report sleeping better (\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/blogs\/expert-advice\/is-menopause-messing-with-your-sleep-tools-techniques-and-treatment-to-reclaim-your-rest\" target=\"_blank\"\u003esleep problems\u003c\/a\u003e remain one of the most frequent side effects of perimenopause and menopause).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eExercising regularly.\u003c\/strong\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/blogs\/hot-topics\/best-exercise-menopause\" target=\"_blank\"\u003eExercise\u003c\/a\u003e has been shown to ease many menopause symptoms including alleviating stress, anxiety, feelings of depression, sleep problems, lack of energy, loss of muscle mass and bone density. It can also help improve your \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/blogs\/expert-advice\/menopause-and-cardiovascular-disease\" target=\"_blank\"\u003eheart health\u003c\/a\u003e which is at increased risk post menopause.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTry supplements.\u003c\/strong\u003e According to the British Menopause Society, 95% of women in perimenopause want to try supplements first to help them with their menopause symptoms\u003csup\u003e18\u003c\/sup\u003e. Ingredients to look out for which appear to help support them include the \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/blogs\/expert-advice\/phytoestrogens-menopause?_pos=1\u0026amp;_psq=phyto\u0026amp;_ss=e\u0026amp;_v=1.0\" target=\"_blank\"\u003ephyto-oestrogens\u003c\/a\u003e Red Clover and Wild Yam plus vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins and magnesium (find them all and more in Perimenopause Multi-nutrient Support).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHRT.\u003c\/strong\u003e This is first line treatment for menopausal symptoms recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) that replaces declining levels of hormones such as oestrogen. Talk to your GP or menopause specialist about an HRT regimen that would be suitable for you if you feel you need it.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eStress reduction.\u003c\/strong\u003e Stressing about how the menopause is likely to affect you is not going to help when declining levels of oestrogen are already making you less likely to cope with \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/blogs\/expert-advice\/stress-and-anxiety\" target=\"_blank\"\u003estress and anxiety\u003c\/a\u003e because falling oestrogen levels make it harder for you to regulate levels of the primary stress hormone cortisol.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eA positive mind set\u003c\/strong\u003e – even if your mum, your auntie and\/or your gran have all said their menopause was difficult don’t let this become a self-fulfilling prophecy for you. The lifestyle habits above can all positively affect how yours will play out plus menopause can be a hugely positive and liberating experience for many women, for a variety of reasons. These include no longer having to worry about PMS, periods and contraception. It also marks a transitional time for many in terms of re-evaluating life and carving out well-deserved time for themselves.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eReferences\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003col\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/www.nhsinform.scot\/healthy-living\/womens-health\/later-years-around-50-years-and-over\/menopause-and-post-menopause-health\/menopause#:~:text=Perimenopause%20and%20menopause%20are%20a,although%20it%20can%20start%20earlier).\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/www.nhsinform.scot\/healthy-living\/womens-health\/later-years-around-50-years-and-over\/menopause-and-post-menopause-health\/menopause#:~:text=Perimenopause%20and%20menopause%20are%20a,to%20reach%20menopause%20is%2051.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/11323317\/\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/5298639\/\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/www.healio.com\/news\/endocrinology\/20171026\/bmi-may-affect-timing-of-menopause#:~:text=Ten%20percent%20of%20women%20are,%25%20to%2030%25%20lower%20odds.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/academic.oup.com\/humrep\/article\/37\/2\/333\/6427299\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC8473711\/\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/www.medicalnewstoday.com\/articles\/319363#:~:text=In%20a%20person%20with%20PCOS,of%20both%20PCOS%20and%20menopause.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/my.clevelandclinic.org\/health\/diseases\/21138-premature-and-early-menopause#:~:text=Family%20history%20of%20menopause%20at,Crohn's%20disease%20or%20thyroid%20disease.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/9243205\/#:~:text=The%20odds%20of%20a%20woman,mothers%20and%20daughters%20menopausal%20age.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/7672145\/\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/www.cancer.net\/navigating-cancer-care\/prevention-and-healthy-living\/menopause-and-cancer-risk\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/8602000\/#:~:text=The%20risk%20of%20cardiovascular%20mortality,mortality%20risk%20decreased%20by%202%25.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/www.swanstudy.org\/\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/journals.lww.com\/menopausejournal\/abstract\/2017\/03000\/association_of_genetic_variation_in_the_tachykinin.5.aspx\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/www.lancastergeneralhealth.org\/health-hub-home\/2021\/october\/one-more-reason-not-to-smoke-early-menopause#:~:text=The%20effect%20of%20smoking%20on,years%20earlier%20for%20heavy%20smokers.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/www.frontiersin.org\/articles\/10.3389\/fendo.2022.886824\/full\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.womens-health-concern.org\/wp-content\/uploads\/2022\/12\/03-WHC-FACTSHEET-Complementary-And-Alternative-Therapies-NOV2022-B.pdf\"\u003e03-WHC-FACTSHEET-Complementary-And-Alternative-Therapies-NOV2022-B.pdf (womens-health-concern.org)\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e", "id" : "675640115506", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/genetics_768x.jpg?v=1709218291", "title" : "Genes and Menopause: Is the age you start menopause genetic?", "symptoms" : [ ]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606537810226", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Profile-5-576x768_small.jpg?v=1697658439", "name" : "Helen Roach", "summary" : "", "title" : "Nutritionist" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Vegan_Diet_1_1200x.jpg?v=1709123319", "html" : "\u003cp\u003eIncreasing research suggests a wholly plant-based vegan diet might not only improve your overall health but could also be particularly beneficial if you are going through the perimenopause and menopause.\u003cbr data-mce-fragment=\"1\"\u003e\u003cbr data-mce-fragment=\"1\"\u003eVeganism, a way of eating where you don’t consume any animal-derived foods, is becoming increasingly popular and mainstream now but there have been criticisms in the past that it is a diet that is too restrictive and can potentially lead to some nutritional deficiencies. However, if it is well-planned and contains a good balance of vitamin-rich and fibrous vegetables and fruits; hormone-regulating \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/blogs\/expert-advice\/phytoestrogens-menopause\"\u003ephytoestrogens\u003c\/a\u003e, protein-packed pulses and healthy fats like those found in nuts, seeds and vegetable oils it should be a healthy way of eating for everyone. Mounting research also suggests it may have particular benefits for women going through the \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/blogs\/hot-topics\/can-a-vegan-diet-help-perimenopause-and-menopause\" target=\"_blank\"\u003eperimenopause and menopause\u003c\/a\u003e. That said, there are a few things to bear in mind if you are thinking of switching, whether temporarily or permanently, to a vegan diet.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eOur top tips for going vegan\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003ch3\u003eGo easy on the processed vegan foods\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe increasing popularity of vegetarian and veganism has led to a growth in packaged and ultra-processed vegan foods. This might be a positive for those looking to pick up a quick and easy vegan meal or snack, however, as with many non-vegan ultra-processed ready meals and supermarket snacks these can potentially be laden with unhealthy additives and trans fats which are there to extend the shelf life of the product. They may also contain starchy components that can impact negatively on your blood sugar levels. Some faux meat products can also be high in fat and salt and, for that reason, should be used in moderation. In short, something like a vegan ‘hotdog’ is still a hotdog and a vegan cake is still a cake – neither of which is likely to have much in the way of nutritional benefits. Making your vegan meals from scratch means you can control exactly what nutrients you are putting in to your body.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTop tip:\u003c\/strong\u003e If you're looking for a simple way to decipher product labels and analyse the health impact of ingredients incorporated in food products, you could try an app like \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/yuka.io\/en\/\" target=\"_blank\"\u003eYuka\u003c\/a\u003e which provides a simple way to scan products to review their ingredients.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003ePotential nutrient deficiencies\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eA balanced and well thought out vegan diet should provide all the nutrients you need but there are a few potential areas where it can be a little bit trickier.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eFor example:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eVitamin B12\u003c\/strong\u003e – this is a nutrient that is important for a healthy nervous system which most people get from animal sources including meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. A lack of it can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, headaches, mouth ulcers and psychological problems.\u003csup\u003e1\u003c\/sup\u003e These symptoms are also common signs of perimenopause and menopause so you want to ensure you are getting enough vitamin B12 so as not to confuse a deficiency, or low levels, of this nutrient with symptoms triggered by hormone imbalances. Plant foods do not naturally contain vitamin B12 but it is possible to get it from some fortified foods such as breakfast cereals and some nutritional yeasts. Taking a daily supplement of vitamin B12 will help top up your levels.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eIron\u003c\/strong\u003e – this is a mineral that is found in plant-based sources (including pulses, dark leafy greens and nuts) but these are not as well absorbed by the body as animal sources of iron. To help increase your absorption of plant-based iron eat it with vitamin C rich foods like citrus fruits, peppers or drink a glass of orange juice.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eOmega 3 fatty acids\u003c\/strong\u003e – have been shown to help reduce the risk of \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/blogs\/expert-advice\/menopause-and-cardiovascular-disease\" target=\"_blank\"\u003ecardiovascular disease\u003c\/a\u003e and the most potent sources are found in oily fish like salmon and mackerel. Plant based sources include flaxseeds, tofu and soy. Taking a supplement derived from algae, rather than fish, should help top-up your intake.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eA brief word about rice\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eRice can be a very healthy part of a vegan diet plan. Except if you are perimenopausal or menopausal. This is because rice, particularly white rice, is super-starchy and raises glycaemic index (GI) – the food rating system which shows how quickly your blood sugar (glucose) is raised. Research also suggests that regularly eating rice puts you at an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Whilst perimenopause or menopause doesn’t cause type 2 diabetes the hormonal changes during these transitional times can lead to \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/blogs\/hot-topics\/menopause-belly\" target=\"_blank\"\u003egaining more weight around your abdomen\u003c\/a\u003e and cause blood pressure to rise which are both risk factors for type 2 diabetes\u003csup\u003e2\u003c\/sup\u003e. Basmati and brown rice has slightly lower GI but eating too much of it can also cause a spike in GI. Why this is significant is that declining and fluctuating levels of oestrogen during menopause can interfere with the body’s ability to use glucose effectively and so have a big impact on blood glucose management and insulin sensitivity. Ideally, starch should be avoided where possible and you should aim to get your carbohydrates from foods like vegetables and pulses.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eNutritional yeast\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eNutritional yeast is a form of deactivated yeast which comes in the form of either powder or flakes. Described as having a cheesy, nutty, savoury flavour nutritional yeast can be a helpful and highly nutritious addition to a vegan eating plan. A good source of vitamins and minerals, protein and fibre (around 2 tablespoons of it contains roughly 20% of your daily fibre intake) it is commonly used as a vegan cheese flavouring it can also be added to stews, soups and casseroles to add seasoning. Many nutritional yeasts are also fortified with vitamin B12.\u003cbr data-mce-fragment=\"1\"\u003eHow much you use will be largely down to your individual preference and taste but maybe start by using a teaspoon full and try adding more as or when you feel you need it in a dish. Some suggested ways of using it include as an ingredient in making a vegan ‘cream cheese’ (see below), adding it to a risotto in place of Parmesan or a macaroni ‘cheese’-inspired dish, a nut roast or vegan stuffing.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eVegan meal suggestions: 5 days of plant-based dishes\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eMany of us have already actively moved towards eating less meat but if going completely free of animal products (no meat, fish, cheese, milk, eggs, butter, mayonnaise, ice cream etc) feels overwhelming here’s a list of suggested vegan meals and snacks to make the transition easier. You don’t have to commit to a vegan diet for life but it may be worth trying it out for a couple of months, even weeks, to see if it does have a positive effect on your menopausal symptoms and health generally.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eVegan breakfast ideas\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003eSliced apple topped with peanut or other nut butter such as almond or cashew (but choose ones without added salt)\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eGranola made with nuts and seeds with added coconut cream (a thicker version of coconut milk, available from most supermarkets and health food shops) topped with a sprinkling of cinnamon\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eA vegan fry-up made with mushrooms, tomatoes, baked beans and scrambled tofu\u003csup\u003e3\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eA smoothie made from raspberries (frozen or fresh), avocado, coconut milk and chia seeds\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eAvocado and chickpea toast: Mix an avocado with a tablespoon of chickpeas and add lemon juice and salt and pepper. Blend to your preferred consistency and spread over 1 slice of either sourdough, pumpernickel or dark rye toast or bread.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch3\u003eVegan lunch ideas\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003eJapanese style noodles: Edamame (soy) beans (most supermarkets stock frozen ones or you can buy them fresh from Asian supermarkets and\/or farmer’s markets). Defrost the beans, if using frozen ones, and mix with spring onion, beansprouts, cucumber and coriander. Make a dressing from Mirin (a rice wine used in Japanese cooking widely available in most supermarkets), tamari (similar to soy sauce but with a higher concentration of soybeans), lemon juice and fresh chopped red chilli. Serve with soba noodles (Japanese style noodles made from buckwheat).\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eStuffed courgettes: slice the courgettes lengthways and scoop out a channel of flesh from the centre. Season with herbs and spices of your choice (eg. oregano, paprika, coriander) and bake for 10 minutes in the oven. Then add diced tomatoes and spring onions with some torn basil leaves and bake for another five minutes. Garnish with flaxseeds or pumpkin seeds.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eA Chinese-style stirfry: made with chopped onions, cabbage, peppers, bean sprouts and water chestnuts.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eA vegetable bake: Put diced butternut squash, beetroot and green beans drizzled with rapeseed oil in the oven for around 25-35 minutes. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eA salad made with asparagus, orange, mint, almond flakes seasoned with salt and pepper.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch3\u003eVegan dinner ideas\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003eVegan chilli. Sautee chopped onion, celery and sweet potato in olive oil and add ½ a teaspoon each of cumin, paprika, chilli powder and 2 tablespoons of tomato puree. Mix well and add a selection of beans (kidney and black beans work well). Heat through and serve with sliced avocado and lime wedges.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ePesto pasta. Whizz up kale, basil, garlic, pumpkin seeds, olive oil, lemon juice and nutritional yeast in a blender and then lightly fry the blitzed up ingredients. Serve with a veggie pasta made from hearts of palms or courgettes or konjac pasta (made from the starchy roots of the konjac plant).\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eVegan curry. Sauté onion and add grated ginger and garlic. Chop a selection of vegetables such as sweet potato, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and add them to the onion, ginger and garlic. Mix in a tin of rinsed lentils, add Thai red curry paste followed by coconut milk and let it simmer for around 15 minutes until the lentils and vegetables soften. Add spinach around five minutes before serving and allow it to wilt down into the dish. Serve with quinoa and garnish with coriander.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eVegan tagine. Fry courgettes and tomatoes in a little olive oil. Add a tin of rinsed chickpeas followed by a teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, coriander and cumin. Stir well and add a handful of raisins with around 150ml of vegan stock. Cook until the vegetables have softened and a few minutes before serving add peas to the mix. Serve with quinoa.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eChickpea stew. Sauté red onion and add chopped garlic and red chilli. Mix in ½ teaspoon of ground turmeric and garam masala. Mix well. Add a tin of chopped tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of tomato puree and allow the mixture to heat through. Add a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas and a large helping of spinach (frozen or fresh).\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch3\u003eVegan snack and sides ideas\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003eCelery sticks or dried dates stuffed with nut butter\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eSoybeans roasted with garlic powder and\/or cumin\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eWalnuts and dates finely chopped\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eKimchi: you can buy this ready made in some shops or farmer’s markets or you can make your own by shredding cabbage and spring onions and putting them in a mason jar with added ginger, garlic, salt and chilli flakes and refrigerate for between one to five days.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eMake a vegan ‘cream cheese’ by soaking cashews in water overnight. Drain them, add lemon juice and nutritional yeast and blitz in the blender. (Eat with grilled asparagus or carrot and celery sticks).\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eGuacamole: mix avocado, diced tomato and red onion with lime juice, parsley and season with salt and pepper. Some people add garlic but if you are not a fan leave it out.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch3\u003eReferences\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003col\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/www.nhs.uk\/conditions\/vitamin-b12-or-folate-deficiency-anaemia\/\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/www.bmj.com\/content\/344\/bmj.e1454\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ehttps:\/\/www.bbcgoodfood.com\/recipes\/tofu-scramble\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e", "id" : "675636773170", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Vegan_Diet_1_768x.jpg?v=1709123319", "title" : "Going vegan for menopause - Tips and meal inspiration", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=239" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=239" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=239" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/239" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 14, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/bloating/", "name": "Bloating", "description": "Bloating can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Here are some of the best supplements to help with menopause and bloating. Choose from probiotics, collagen and assorted natural supplements for menopause bloating to help relieve the symptoms of menopause bloating. ", "id": 239, "term_id": 239, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "bloating" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=650" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=650" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=650" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/650" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 6, "link": "https://healthandher.com/us/expert-advice/bloating/", "name": "Bloating", "description": "Bloating can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Here are some of the best supplements to help with menopause and bloating. Choose from probiotics, collagen and assorted natural supplements for menopause bloating to help relieve the symptoms of menopause bloating. ", "id": 650, "term_id": 650, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "bloating" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=244" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=244" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=244" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/244" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 12, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/digestive-issues/", "name": "Digestive issues", "description": "Menopause digestive symptoms are varied and complex and can be linked to changes that are triggered by the menopause like low mood or food intolerances. We've found the latest and most innovative products to help with this regularly reported symptom*.\r\n*results may vary person to person", "id": 244, "term_id": 244, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "digestive-issues" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=228" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=228" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=228" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/228" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 25, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/low-energy/", "name": "Low energy", "description": "Energy levels can fluctuate in perimenopause and menopause. Browse our range of supplements and products that women have chosen to support their energy levels.", "id": 228, "term_id": 228, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "low-energy" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=229" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=229" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=229" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/229" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 21, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/weight-gain/", "name": "Weight gain", "description": "Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing menopause weight gain have chosen as part of a healthy lifestyle. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 229, "term_id": 229, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "weight-gain" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606537842994", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Jane-Collins-3-576x636_small.jpg?v=1697658441", "name" : "Jane Collins", "summary" : "", "title" : "Health & Her Editor" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Vegan_Diet_1200x.jpg?v=1707928472", "html" : "\u003cp\u003eMost of us have got the message that eating more vegetables is both beneficial for our health and that of the planet, but could following a vegan diet (completely free of all animal-derived foods) reduce troublesome menopausal symptoms? Mounting evidence suggests it just might.\u003cbr data-mce-fragment=\"1\"\u003e\u003cbr data-mce-fragment=\"1\"\u003eAccording to figures from YouGov around 2-3% of the UK’s population now follow a vegan diet\u003csup\u003e1\u003c\/sup\u003e and where once it was thought of as a slightly eccentric and fringe way of eating it is now growing in popularity and becoming increasingly mainstream. Significantly too, it is a diet that some research suggests a vegan diet can help reduce many menopause symptoms and related health conditions.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eWhat is veganism?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eA diet where you eat only plant-based foods such as vegetables and fruits, grains, pulses, nuts and nut butters, seeds and soy and where animal products (such as fish, meat, dairy produce like cheese, milk, butter) are off the menu whether for ethical, environmental or health reasons.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eEmerging research suggests a well-planned and balanced vegan diet that should be high in fibre, antioxidants, phytochemicals (including \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/blogs\/expert-advice\/phytoestrogens-menopause\" target=\"_blank\"\u003ephytoestrogens\u003c\/a\u003e), prebiotics and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/blogs\/expert-advice\/healthy-gut\" target=\"_blank\"\u003eprobiotics\u003c\/a\u003e:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eIt can help reduce the severity of Hot Flushes and Night Sweats\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eEvidence has been around for some time to show that women who eat more fruits and vegetables suffer less severely with vasomotor symptoms like \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/blogs\/expert-advice\/hot-flushes-a-gps-overview\" target=\"_blank\"\u003ehot flushes and night sweats\u003c\/a\u003e – a side effect that is thought to affect up to 80 %\u003csup\u003e2\u003c\/sup\u003e of women going through the menopause\u003csup\u003e3\u003c\/sup\u003e. In a study from 2018 involving over 750 perimenopausal and postmenopausal women some of which followed an omnivore diet (eating some meat and poultry) and others who followed a vegan one found that the perimenopausal vegans reported less bothersome menopausal symptoms than the omnivores\u003csup\u003e4\u003c\/sup\u003e. In the 2021 Women’s Study for the Alleviation of Vasomotor Symptoms (WAVS)\u003csup\u003e5\u003c\/sup\u003e the research was aimed at assessing how over a 12 week period a low fat vegan diet containing half a cup of soybeans daily could potentially reduce hot flushes and night sweats. The study concluded that the diet reduced the frequency and severity of hot flushes and generally improved quality of life for postmenopausal women. In fact, many of them reported that they stopped having any hot flushes at all by the end of the three months. More recent research published in 2023 appears to confirm these findings – showing that eating a low-fat vegan diet containing soy products could reduce the incidence of moderate to severe hot flushes by as much as 96% in post-menopausal women\u003csup\u003e6\u003c\/sup\u003e. How and why? A well-balanced vegan diet should be high in phytoestrogens (plant compounds that have a similar structure to human oestrogen) such as soy, lentils, chickpeas and flax seeds and these have been found to help minimise some common menopausal symptoms like hot flushes and vaginal dryness.\u003csup\u003e7\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eIt can help you manage your weight\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eWeight gain is one of the most common symptoms of perimenopause and menopause and thought to affect at least half of women\u003csup\u003e8\u003c\/sup\u003e. Declining oestrogen levels and accompanying loss of muscle mass during these transitional times can lead to weight gain and how fat is stored. Women, on average, put on around 5lbs around the time of the menopause\u003csup\u003e9\u003c\/sup\u003e and this weight tends to accumulate and become stored around the abdomen as internal fat -or visceral fat -resulting in the infamous ‘\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/blogs\/hot-topics\/menopause-belly\" target=\"_blank\"\u003emeno-belly\u003c\/a\u003e’. As we go through perimenopause and menopause it can also become harder to regulate insulin and blood sugar levels and over time this can lead to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and visceral fat – the dangerous fat that accumulates around our organs and puts us at a \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/blogs\/expert-advice\/menopause-and-cardiovascular-disease\" target=\"_blank\"\u003egreater risk of cardiovascular disease\u003c\/a\u003e. Research, however, shows that menopausal women who were put on a vegan eating plan, without any other dietary restrictions, lost more weight than those following a low fat, restricted eating plan.\u003csup\u003e10\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eIt may help boost libido\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eIn an intriguing piece of research from Stanford University revealed in the 2024 Netflix documentary series You Are What You Eat\u003csup\u003e11\u003c\/sup\u003e, women who ate a vegan diet for two months (compared to an omnivore diet) were found to experience a significant surge in libido. The study was carried out on two sets of identical twins who had their arousal levels recorded whilst watching pornography of their own choosing. The experiment was conducted before two of the twins switched to a well-planned vegan diet, and again eight weeks after they had been on their healthy eating plans. What happened? Both the women who followed a vegan diet were found to have a serious surge in arousal and libido\u003csup\u003e12\u003c\/sup\u003e. This way of eating can also help you lose weight and feeling slimmer and better about your body is more likely to make you feel more like sex. It is also suggested that the isoflavone phytoestrogens found in soybeans and fermented soy products like miso and tempeh may help to relieve vaginal dryness – a common menopausal symptom that can make sex uncomfortable. Eating foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids like flaxseeds and nuts as part of a vegan diet can also act as natural lubricants.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eIt can support a healthier gut microbiome and could improve your mood\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eA \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/blogs\/expert-advice\/healthy-gut\" target=\"_blank\"\u003ehealthy gut microbiome\u003c\/a\u003e is fast becoming synonymous with good health generally - with benefits attributed to physical, physiological and psychological well-being. A vegan diet that is rich in antioxidants, fibre and phytonutrients such as phytoestrogen isoflavones can change the composition of your gut microbes, helping to feed and increase levels of the good bugs. These then fight inflammation systemically in the gut and also appear to balance oestrogen levels. Research has shown that following a vegan diet for just 16 weeks can significantly boost the health of your gut microbiome and can, over time, lead to improvements in blood sugar management and your weight\u003csup\u003e13\u003c\/sup\u003e. Eating prebiotic foods like onions, garlic, leeks, chicory root and banana as part of a vegan diet can also support the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. Similarly, having fermented foods like sauerkraut or kimchi as part of vegan meals has also been shown to enhance the balance of beneficial bugs in your gut as the fermentation process creates probiotics which helps support a healthy balance of gut bacteria. We also know that up to 90% of serotonin – the so-called happy hormone which helps to stabilise mood – is produced in the gut. Research carried out on vegetarians and vegans shows that eating a high-quality plant-based diet is associated with lower levels of depression and scientists are keen to investigate this further to find out why\u003csup\u003e14\u003c\/sup\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eIt could help boost your heart health\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eA vegetarian and\/or vegan diet has long been associated with improvements in cardiovascular health\u003csup\u003e15\u003c\/sup\u003e. Research published in the European Heart Journal has shown that a vegan diet can reduce levels of unhealthy ‘LDL’ cholesterol and fats in the blood and so reduce the risk of heart disease including heart attacks and stroke\u003csup\u003e16\u003c\/sup\u003e. This is of particular relevance to menopausal women who lose the cardio-protective benefits of oestrogen when levels of it decline during perimenopause and menopause. And whilst the effectiveness of plant-based diets on cardiovascular disease in easing menopause symptoms remains limited at the moment, there is encouraging research to show it could reduce levels of fat in the blood, help balance blood sugar and improve blood pressure in postmenopausal women\u003csup\u003e17\u003c\/sup\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eReferences:\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/yougov.co.uk\/society\/articles\/40517-meet-britains-vegans-and-vegetarians?redirect_from=%2Ftopics%2Fsociety%2Farticles-reports%2F2022%2F01%2F20%2Fmeet-britains-vegans-and-vegetarians\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/30401547\/\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6226273\/#:~:text=Vasomotor%20symptoms%20(VMS)%20occur%20in,women%20with%20an%20earlier%20onset.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/29704911\/\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC8462449\/\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/www.sciencedirect.com\/science\/article\/pii\/S0965229923000894?via%3Dihub\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/27327802\/\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/thebms.org.uk\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19-BMS-TfC-Menopause-Nutrition-and-Weight-Gain-JUNE2023-A.pdf\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/zoe.com\/learn\/menopause-weight-gain\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/www.medicalnewstoday.com\/articles\/can-a-vegan-diet-prevent-hot-flashes-at-menopause#Hot-flashes-and-the-gut-microbiome\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/www.netflix.com\/gb\/title\/81133260\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/nypost.com\/2024\/01\/05\/lifestyle\/horny-vegans-womens-libidos-surge-up-to-380-after-switching-to-plant-based-diet-study-shows\/\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/www.sciencedaily.com\/releases\/2019\/09\/190916185819.htm\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC8718860\/\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC9963093\/#:~:text=Plant%2Dbased%20diets%20can%20lower,medications%20%5B8%2C11%5D.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/academic.oup.com\/eurheartj\/article\/44\/28\/2609\/7177660?login=false\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan\u003ehttps:\/\/www.maturitas.org\/article\/S0378-5122(21)00293-0\/fulltext\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e", "id" : "675575300402", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Vegan_Diet_768x.jpg?v=1707928472", "title" : "Can a vegan diet help perimenopause and menopause?", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=231" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=231" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=231" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/231" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 25, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/hot-flushes/", "name": "Hot flushes", "description": "Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing hot flushes and vasomotor symptoms have chosen. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 231, "term_id": 231, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "hot-flushes" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=228" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=228" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=228" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/228" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 25, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/low-energy/", "name": "Low energy", "description": "Energy levels can fluctuate in perimenopause and menopause. Browse our range of supplements and products that women have chosen to support their energy levels.", "id": 228, "term_id": 228, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "low-energy" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=224" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=224" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=224" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/224" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 10, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/loss-of-sex-drive/", "name": "Low libido", "description": "Low libido during perimenopause and menopause is common. Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing low libido have chosen. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 224, "term_id": 224, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "loss-of-sex-drive" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=227" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=227" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=227" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/227" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 18, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/night-sweats/", "name": "Night sweats", "description": "Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing night sweats and vasomotor symptoms have chosen. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 227, "term_id": 227, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "night-sweats" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606537842994", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Jane-Collins-3-576x636_small.jpg?v=1697658441", "name" : "Jane Collins", "summary" : "", "title" : "Health & Her Editor" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/libido_7_1200x.jpg?v=1707151913", "html" : "\u003cp\u003eWhilst no-one ever initiates or engages in sex with the intention of staving off heart disease there are a number of proven physical and psychological health benefits to regular sex (and let’s not forget it should be a pleasurable activity!). \u003cbr\u003e\u003cbr\u003e\u003cem\u003eIf perimenopause or menopause is leaving you feeling a little lacklustre in that department, take a look at our \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/blogs\/expert-advice\/11-simple-ways-to-boost-your-libido\" target=\"_blank\"\u003etips for boosting libido\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e1. Sex can help you sleep better\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eSex can help relieve insomnia and\/or just help you to sleep more soundly\u003csup\u003e1\u003c\/sup\u003e. This is because once you orgasm, your body’s production of the hormone prolactin spikes, and this hormone is known to promote relaxation. Research also shows you produce more prolactin during sex with a partner than during masturbation\u003csup\u003e2\u003c\/sup\u003e. The hormone oxytocin is also released during love-making and is known to have a relaxing effect on the body which can lead to better sleep.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e2. Sex can help improve immunity\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eOne study has shown that just one session of love-making a week can help promote production of immunoglobulin A, an antibody known to strengthen the immune system and help ward off conditions like colds and flu.\u003csup\u003e3\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e3. Sex produces feel-good hormones\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eDuring sex, your body releases the ‘feel-good’ chemicals serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin. These can, in turn, help to reduce feelings of anxiety and potentially depression.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e4. Sex can improve cardiovascular health\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eIn one research study, for example, women who reported having a satisfying sex life had a reduced risk of hypertension (high blood pressure). Having satisfying sex was found to be more important than how often they did it.\u003csup\u003e4\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e5. Sex can protect your brain\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eOne study reveals that women who remained sexually active into older age had better cognitive function than those who didn’t.\u003csup\u003e5\u003c\/sup\u003e An Italian study has also shown that regular sex (particularly in the early stages of a relationship) encourages new nerve growth in the brain, which can make us more alert and firing on all cylinders.\u003csup\u003e6\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e6. Sex creates feelings of intimacy and connectedness\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eSex is, unsurprisingly, an important part of creating intimacy in relationships. Physical touch and affection, even for couples who have been together a very long time, can help to cement their bond and encourage greater closeness and connectedness.\u003csup\u003e7\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eReferences:\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003e1. https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/36646500\/#:~:text=The%20present%20studies%20confirm%20and,a%20directive%20for%20future%20research.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e2. https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC4901097\/#:~:text=The%20magnitude%20of%20the%20intercourse,than%20masturbation%20does%20%5B6%5D.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e3. https:\/\/www.newscientist.com\/article\/mg16221820-800-can-regular-sex-ward-off-colds-and-flu\/ 4. https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC5052677\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e5. https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC4776624\/#:~:text=Sexual%20activity%20is%20associated%20with%20higher%20scores%20on%20tests%20of,associated%20with%20better%20cognitive%20function. https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/16289361\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e6. https:\/\/www.researchgate.net\/publication\/253775635_Consequences_of_relationship_status_and_quality_for_subjective_well-being_Journal_of_Social_and_Personal_Relationships_22_607-627\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "645459444018", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/libido_7_768x.jpg?v=1707151913", "title" : "6 healthy benefits of having sex", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=224" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=224" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=224" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/224" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 10, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/loss-of-sex-drive/", "name": "Low libido", "description": "Low libido during perimenopause and menopause is common. Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing low libido have chosen. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 224, "term_id": 224, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "loss-of-sex-drive" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606537842994", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Jane-Collins-3-576x636_small.jpg?v=1697658441", "name" : "Jane Collins", "summary" : "", "title" : "Health & Her Editor" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/libido_6_1200x.jpg?v=1707144002", "html" : "\u003cp\u003eFemale sexual desire can be fickle at the best of times. Frustratingly, it can be thrown off course by a range of things including your hormones, stress, tiredness, illness, certain medications (including some SSRI antidepressants, codeine, beta blockers and some blood pressure medications), feeling taken for granted by a partner, depression, feeling fat or even something as simple as eating or drinking too much. It is completely normal for a woman’s libido to wax and wane during the course of her life, and it is unrealistic to expect every sexual encounter to set the world on fire, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want help igniting the spark from time to time. And whilst there is no prescription for what constitutes a ‘normal’ sex drive (you know what is ‘normal’ for you) if a dwindling libido is troubling you there are proven ways to give it a bit of encouragement.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e1. Nibble on these…\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhilst there is no one food that is miraculously going to awaken a low libido not getting a healthy balance of nutrients can certainly contribute to a lack of interest in sex. Eating a nutrient-dense diet like a \u003ca href=\"\/blogs\/expert-advice\/mediterranean-diet-menopause\" target=\"_blank\"\u003eMediterranean inspired one\u003c\/a\u003e should help to keep you generally well whilst helping to maintain a healthy weight (being underweight or overweight can adversely affect sex drive). There are also some foods which are said to have so-called aphrodisiac qualities such as oysters and shellfish which are loaded with zinc, a mineral known to support testosterone levels - a hormone which plays a significant role in female libido, driving desire, arousal and performance (and which is known to decline around the time of the \u003ca href=\"\/blogs\/expert-advice\/what-is-menopause\" target=\"_blank\"\u003emenopause\u003c\/a\u003e). Of course, if you don’t like oysters or shellfish it’s not going to be an aphrodisiac for you so other zinc-rich foods include beef, pork, poultry, pumpkin seeds, cashew nuts and oats. Health \u0026amp; Her Nutritionist Helen Roach explains more about testosterone production and how levels can fall with age, stress, being overweight and lack of sleep and gives more \u003ca href=\"\/blogs\/expert-advice\/foods-boost-testosterone-menopause\" target=\"_blank\"\u003ekey foods that help to boost testosterone in menopausal women\u003c\/a\u003e. Other foods which have traditionally been said to help enhance sex drive include dark chocolate (which contains the chemical phenylethylamine dubbed the ‘love drug’) and fruits like pomegranates, figs and strawberries. Research also suggests watermelon can have a positive effect on libido by increasing blood flow to the genitals\u003csup\u003e1\u003c\/sup\u003e. Why and how? Watermelon contains a phytonutrient called citrulline which the body converts to an amino acid called L-arginine which then helps nitric oxide levels in the body. Nitric oxide widens the blood vessels, enhancing blood flow to the genitals helping to increase vaginal lubrication and arousal\u003csup\u003e2\u003c\/sup\u003e. L-arginine is also found in most protein-rich foods including eggs, fish, meat, poultry, soy, pulses, nuts and seeds and dairy products.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e2. Try an arousing herb\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eMany women are increasingly turning to \u003ca href=\"\/collections\/all\/products\/health-her-intimacy-menopause-libido-supplements\" target=\"_blank\"\u003enatural supplements\u003c\/a\u003e to help support their libido and one new poster herb credited with igniting sexual desire is Tribulus terrestris. A recent study suggests\u003csup\u003e3\u003c\/sup\u003e it improves female sex drive by supporting testosterone levels. Other plant based ingredients to look out for in supplements include Maca root which research suggests can also improve libido with one study concluding it could help reduce antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women\u003csup\u003e4\u003c\/sup\u003e. Another helpful ingredient appears to be Red Clover, a \u003ca href=\"\/blogs\/expert-advice\/phytoestrogens-menopause\" target=\"_blank\"\u003ephytoestrogen\u003c\/a\u003e (plant-based compounds which mimic the action of oestrogen in the body), which has been linked to improved libido and the relief of vaginal dryness\u003csup\u003e5\u003c\/sup\u003e. If sex has become increasingly uncomfortable for you because of a lack of vaginal lubrication, you might also benefit from a supplement containing Omega 7-rich Sea Buckthorn oil which has been shown to ease vaginal dryness in postmenopausal women\u003csup\u003e6\u003c\/sup\u003e. . Taking this in conjunction with using a physical vaginal moisturiser or lubricant (available without a prescription) can support your vaginal lining and should make sex increasingly more comfortable and pleasurable for you.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e3. Please yourself\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eDr Hannah Allen, a GP with a specialist interest in women’s health and menopause says, ’I always suggest to my female patients who are concerned about their loss of libido to concentrate more on themselves and what they want and need. I encourage them to nurture their own wellbeing, really engage with what they enjoy and what makes them feel better – and if this involves exercise and them producing more happy hormones and endorphins in the process, even better. This, I find, helps them to think how they feel about themselves emotionally, physically and sexually. And I also try to encourage them to add something new or different to their relationship, for example, like bringing dating back into the equation.’\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e4. Keep a lid on the wine\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eOne glass or two to loosen your inhibitions and can go down a treat but any more alcohol is likely to impair performance by affecting erectile function in a male partner and\/or inhibit the ability to orgasm in both women and men. This is because alcohol can lower testosterone levels and dampen your nervous system which can make it harder to become aroused. Drinking too much can also make you feel sick, dehydrate you and contribute to vaginal dryness.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e5. Relax\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eResearch suggests whilst men typically use sex as a way to de-stress and unwind, women are more sensitive to its effects (or possibly just have more to stress about) and find it tends to interfere with their ability to switch off and enjoy the moment\u003csup\u003e8\u003c\/sup\u003e. Meditation, breath exercises and yoga can be helpful tools for reducing stress (you can find some of these tools on the \u003ca href=\"\/pages\/menopause-perimenopause-app\" target=\"_blank\"\u003efree Health \u0026amp; Her app\u003c\/a\u003e) but another stress-reduction technique that has been found to help increase desire, arousal and sexual satisfaction in women is mindfulness – the ability to fully focus on the moment whilst being ultra- aware of your thoughts and bodily sensations\u003csup\u003e8\u003c\/sup\u003e. It is said to work by helping women feel more in tune with their bodies during sex.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e6. Less meat – more veg\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eIn a fascinating piece of new research from Stanford University revealed in the 2024 Netflix documentary series You Are What You Eat,\u003csup\u003e9\u003c\/sup\u003e women who ate a vegan diet for two months were found to experience an increased libido. The study was carried out on two sets of identical twins who had their arousal levels recorded whilst watching pornography of their choosing. The experiment was conducted before two of the twins switched to a well-planned vegan diet (no animal-derived products but plenty of healthy plant-based ones like leafy greens, figs, strawberries, pumpkin seeds, nuts and pulses) and then again eight weeks after they had been on the vegan eating plan. How was it for them? The women on the vegan diet were found to have a significant improvement in arousal and libido vs. the twins on the omnivore diet.\u003csup\u003e10\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e7. Practice\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eIt might seem counterintuitive if you are not in the mood for sex to suggest doing it more but the more you think about it and do it, the more you might want it and enjoy it. Some women can find if they masturbate or initiate sex with a partner, even if they can take it or leave it at the beginning, they do get into it and are reminded of why it is a pleasure. If life just tends to get in the way of you finding a moment in the day to do it, it might help to schedule time for sex. This might not seem like the most romantic of things to do but it can be helpful to get over the idea that sex has to always be spontaneous. It can also be useful to bear in mind that not every intimate or romantic encounter has to end in sex. Giving each other a massage or just having a long cuddle might provide all the intimacy you need.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e8. Get to the naked truth\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eNot only can your libido affect your relationship but your relationship can obviously affect your libido. Learning to listen and communicate effectively about sex with your partner should make it easier and more enjoyable and there are \u003ca href=\"\/blogs\/expert-advice\/have-you-lost-your-libido-learn-how-to-work-through-it-as-a-couple\" target=\"_blank\"\u003ehelpful hints from Relate counsellors\u003c\/a\u003e here for ways to approach this. After all, if you are having bad sex, you are going to want it less. Arguably, one of our biggest modern passion killers is the mobile phone – if you or your partner are permanently glued to a screen you are not really engaging with each other in any meaningful or mindful way. So put your phones down, leave them at home and schedule regular trysts where you go out, flirt and remind yourself of what attracted you to your partner in the first place. When you are both relaxed and not angry, try to air any grievances and underlying relationship issues like resentment towards your partner (which tends to result in a kind of ‘well you don’t do anything for me, so I am not doing anything for you’ sexual stand-off). Then hopefully you can ease the conversation into what you want more of in bed. If you feel uncomfortable doing this, find a book or film that shows some of the things you might want to explore, and which can ignite a conversation about it.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e9. Go shopping for intimacy\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eInvesting in a small stash of accessories to help you anticipate and potentially improve sex - underwear that makes you look and feel good, a lubricant to help with arousal and lubrication and a vibrator or other sex toys to help you become more easily aroused and able to orgasm – can all help you to ignite more of a sexual spark.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e10. Shape up for it.\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eIt is difficult to find something that exercise doesn’t improve, and sexual desire and performance is no exception. Not least because physical exercise improves cardiovascular health and blood flow which is essential for sexual pleasure – helping to improve clitoral and vaginal blood flow necessary for arousal and orgasm. More than this exercise should help to keep your weight down and you more toned and in better shape (unsurprisingly, one small study involving heterosexual women has shown a link between poor body image and lack of sexual desire)\u003csup\u003e11\u003c\/sup\u003e. In short, the better you feel about how you look the more you are likely to want sex.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e11. Stimulate your touch points.\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eIt’s not something you automatically think of as rekindling a dormant sex drive but interestingly acupuncture has been shown to help some women do just that. In one small study\u003csup\u003e12\u003c\/sup\u003e women who described themselves as having a low libido went for acupuncture sessions twice a week for five weeks. At the end of the five-week trial they reported an increase in desire, arousal and orgasm.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eIf you need some persuasion as to why a healthy libido might be a good idea, here's\u003ca href=\"\/blogs\/expert-advice\/6-healthy-benefits-of-having-sex\" target=\"_blank\"\u003e 6 healthy benefits of having sex\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eReferences\u003c\/h2\u003e1. https:\/\/today.tamu.edu\/2008\/07\/01\/watermelon-may-have-viagra-like-effect\/\u003cbr\u003e2. https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC2656393\/\u003cbr\u003e3. https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC4045980\/\u003cbr\u003e4. https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC4411442\/\u003cbr\u003e5. https:\/\/www.tandfonline.com\/doi\/abs\/10.3109\/01443615.2015.1049249?tab=permissions\u0026amp;scroll=top\u003cbr\u003e6. https:\/\/www.sciencedirect.com\/science\/article\/pii\/S0378512214002394\u003cbr\u003e7. https:\/\/link.springer.com\/article\/10.1007\/s10508-018-1231-6\u003cbr\u003e8. https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/31570137\/\u003cbr\u003e9. https:\/\/www.netflix.com\/gb\/title\/81133260\u003cbr\u003e10. https:\/\/nypost.com\/2024\/01\/05\/lifestyle\/horny-vegans-womens-libidos-surge-up-to-380-after-switching-to-plant-based-diet-study-shows\/\u003cbr\u003e11. https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC5005305\/\u003cbr\u003e12. https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC5005297\/", "id" : "642354938162", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/libido_6_768x.jpg?v=1707144002", "title" : "11 Ways To Support Your Libido", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=224" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=224" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=224" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/224" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 10, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/loss-of-sex-drive/", "name": "Low libido", "description": "Low libido during perimenopause and menopause is common. Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing low libido have chosen. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 224, "term_id": 224, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "loss-of-sex-drive" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606537842994", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Jane-Collins-3-576x636_small.jpg?v=1697658441", "name" : "Jane Collins", "summary" : "", "title" : "Health & Her Editor" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Cold-Water-Swimming-Article-Header-Images_da4878f1-4884-4b64-98f9-590fc4fedcb6_1200x.jpg?v=1698247232", "html" : "\u003ch4\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eCould now be the time to dip your toe into cold water swimming to help ease your menopause symptoms?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eCold-water swimming, sometimes known as wild water or open water swimming, is done (as its name suggests) outdoors in lakes, lochs, ponds, pools, rivers, lidos or the sea and has become hugely popular in the last few years. It is something that gained even more momentum during the lockdowns when public swimming baths were closed (so much so that in 2020 the UK Outdoor Swimming Society was forced to take down its map of designated swimming hotspots such was the overwhelming demand). What has also emerged out of this fitness and well-being trend are the number of women coming out to say how it has soothed and reduced their \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/symptom-tool\/\"\u003emenopause symptoms\u003c\/a\u003e. With this article, we explore how and why…\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eThe health benefits of cold-water swimming\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eIt is fair to say those who regularly go cold water swimming are quite evangelical about its \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/low-mood\/coping-with-your-emotions-during-menopause\/\"\u003estress-relieving\u003c\/a\u003e, endorphin-creating, immune-boosting benefits, and there is research to show how it can help both mental and physical health.\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn1\" name=\"_ftnref1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/sup\u003e While there is no strict definition of what constitutes ‘cold water’ it is generally taken to mean low temperatures of between 12-16°C\u003ca href=\"#_ftn2\" name=\"_ftnref2\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[2]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e that result in a range of physiological stress responses when we plunge ourselves into it (and as experts from The Outdoor Swimming Society explain wild swimmers in the UK are almost always out in cold or cool temperatures as the temperature rarely warms to above 20°C).\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn3\" name=\"_ftnref3\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eEvidence into precisely how it can reduce menopause symptoms is patchy, but it is becoming an emerging area of research – not least because there is a wealth of overwhelmingly positive anecdotal evidence from women revealing how it has helped them. Here are just some of the benefits that women report:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eReducing stress and anxiety\u003c\/strong\u003e. Wild\/cold water swimming is not only a \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/blogs\/hot-topics\/menopause-exercise-the-top-5-best-exercises\"\u003evaluable form of exercise\u003c\/a\u003e, but it is also often a very sociable activity (as women increasingly form swimming clubs and communities)\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn4\" name=\"_ftnref4\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003c\/sup\u003eand both of these factors have documented benefits on mental health.\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn5\" name=\"_ftnref5\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e,\u003ca href=\"#_ftn6\" name=\"_ftnref6\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/sup\u003e \u003cem\u003eThe British Medical Journal\u003c\/em\u003e has published a study showing how cold-water swimming can reduce depression and done regularly could potentially even help people come off antidepressant medication.\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn7\" name=\"_ftnref7\"\u003e[7]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003c\/sup\u003eThe health benefits of being in nature and the soothing effects of water are also well documented when it comes to improved mental health and many women describe feeling a sense of release and detachment when they are immersed in the waves. When menopause can throw up all manner of stresses, getting away from them all by taking a short open swim can not only make you more chilled but it can also help you to feel positively euphoric (see below). Anecdotally, many women report these mood boosting effects last for a few days after they have been swimming.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eBuoying you up\u003c\/strong\u003e. Becoming part of a community of wild swimmers can help you to form new friendships and feel supported by a like-minded community of women. Many who are part of a swimming group also say that within it they feel less inhibited and self-conscious about what they look like and the whole experience is pretty much just geared toward having fun. During menopause when many women are feeling particularly vulnerable about their appearance and the fact that their body may be changing and not quite feel like their own this can have a hugely positive effect on their safe esteem.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eBoosting immunity\u003c\/strong\u003e. Wild water swimming is also linked to a reduction in inflammation in the body which is known to help \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/immunity\/\"\u003emaintain healthy immunity\u003c\/a\u003e. A study from Finland shows taking a cold shower for 15, 30 or 60 seconds reduced the amount of self-reported illness.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn8\" name=\"_ftnref8\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[8]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e Another study carried out by Czech scientists (on men) shows that regular cold-water swimming (three times a week for an hour over six weeks in the study) appeared to show an improvement in immunity.\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn9\" name=\"_ftnref9\"\u003e[9]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/sup\u003e It is thought it does this because as you plunge yourself into ice cold water your body goes into a state of shock and in response, your immune system produces more white blood cells and chemicals called cytokines, which help boost the body’s ability to fight off harmful bacteria and viruses. White blood cells are also part of the immune system which help your body fight off infection.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eRelieving joint pain and bone ache\u003c\/strong\u003e. These are some of the most commonly cited symptoms from perimenopausal and menopausal women and there is plenty of evidence to show how exercise (including yoga) can improve them. When it comes to cold-water swimming physiologically speaking what happens when you plunge your body into ice cold water is that it produces a ‘cold shock’ or a ‘fight or flight’ response releasing stress hormones including norepinephrine and endorphins which have an analgesic effect, relieving inflammation and muscle and joint pain. Swimming is also a safe weight-bearing exercise so you are not putting any undue impact or stress on your joints and doing it regularly can also stimulate your circulation, reduce muscle stiffness and increase flexibility.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eClarity of thought. \u003c\/strong\u003eMany women say that after the initial stages of ‘cold shock’ they experience increased clarity of mind and a reduction in \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/cognitive-function\/\"\u003ebrain fog\u003c\/a\u003e. Others report feeling ‘more alive’ or more like their old selves after a bracing swim.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eBurns calories.\u003c\/strong\u003e Recent research (carried out on men) suggests swimming outdoors (and in the winter) burns more calories than just regular swimming in your local heated pool. Calories seem to be burned at a faster rate when we are immersed in chilly water as our body then must work much harder to stay warm forcing us to burn more calories as we attempt to warm up. In conjunction with a healthy balanced diet open swimming could help you to lose weight and dealing with weight gain is consistently mentioned as a negative symptom of menopause for many women. According to the British Swimming School, you can expect to burn around 408 calories doing an hour of wild swimming (up to 476 calories if you are doing backstroke)\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn10\" name=\"_ftnref10\"\u003e[10]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003c\/sup\u003e– that is the equivalent of more than half a chocolate orange.\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn11\" name=\"_ftnref11\"\u003e[11]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003c\/sup\u003eFor more information on how to avoid menopausal weight gain read \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/blogs\/hot-topics\/menopause-exercise-the-top-5-best-exercises\"\u003eExercises for menopause weight gain\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eReduces hot flushes and night sweats\u003c\/strong\u003e. Unsurprisingly, going into cold water can have a significant effect on your core body temperature. Even when you are out of the water your body’s temperature can continue to drop for anything up to 20-40 minutes- something known as the ‘afterdrop’. There is not enough evidence as yet to show that cooling your body temperature from the outside during wild swimming can reduce menopausal vasomotor symptoms like \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/blogs\/expert-advice\/hot-flushes-in-menopause\"\u003ehot flushes\u003c\/a\u003e and night sweats but anecdotally many women who are regular open water swimmers report a reduction in \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/hot-flushes\/\"\u003eflushes\u003c\/a\u003e and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/night-sweats\/\"\u003esweats\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eImproves circulation and skin\u003c\/strong\u003e. Extreme cold can boost circulation and blood flow – forcing blood to the surface of the skin and in the process making your complexion look clearer and healthier.\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn12\" name=\"_ftnref12\"\u003e[12]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003c\/sup\u003eBeing immersed in cold water may also help reduce some inflammatory skin conditions like rosacea and the relaxing benefits of swimming can minimise stress-induced flare-ups in conditions like acne, eczema and psoriasis and skin itching – something many menopausal women complain about.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eProduces post-swim euphoria\u003c\/strong\u003e. The heady mix of exercise and exposure to cold water triggers the release of dopamine, the body’s feel-good chemicals and this coupled with the buzz and freedom felt when wild water swimming all contributes to the fabled ‘high’ following a bracing swim. It is this that keeps almost all wild swimmers pushing through the initial cold shock and going back for more and more. When so many women going through menopause report feeling down, lost and struggle with aches and pains you can quite see why open swimming might provide a huge therapeutic boost – both physically and psychologically.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHow to plan your cold-water swim\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eBefore diving in to try wild swimming, read our tips on what to consider when planning your cold-water session:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eUnderstand the risks. \u003c\/strong\u003eWhile immersing yourself in cold water can offer all sorts of therapeutic benefits it also comes with some risks particularly if you are an inexperienced swimmer. Take a look at safety advice and tips by The Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) to understand the risks of cold-water swimming in the UK.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn13\" name=\"_ftnref13\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[13]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e The issue of pollution and sewage in the water is also something to factor into your swim so to check the water quality in your local sea or river download the free app from Surfers Against Sewage.\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn14\" name=\"_ftnref14\"\u003e[14]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003c\/sup\u003eThis gives information on over 390 beaches across England, Scotland and Wales and alerts you when sewage overflows discharge untreated sewage into the water or pollution incidents. It also details tide times, nearby facilities and lifeguard services.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eBeware of red flags\u003c\/strong\u003e. Check the weather conditions before heading out into the coast (go to metoffice.gov.uk) and don’t go in the water if the red flags are up. This means it is not safe to swim.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eJoin a cold-water swimming club\u003c\/strong\u003e. If you prefer to swim with a group the Outdoor Swimming Society has compiled a list of wild swim groups in the UK.\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn15\" name=\"_ftnref15\"\u003e[15]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003c\/sup\u003eThe Bluetits Chill Swimmers – a group that came together through a mutual love of outdoor swimming and now boasts around 100,000 ‘Bluetits’ worldwide – also provide a helpful list of where you can find your nearest group.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn16\" name=\"_ftnref16\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[16]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e There are many Facebook groups that have been set up to encourage more of us to get into wild swimming including Open Water Swimming UK,\u003ca href=\"#_ftn17\" name=\"_ftnref17\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[17]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e Outdoor Swimming Society\u003ca href=\"#_ftn18\" name=\"_ftnref18\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[18]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e and Wild Swimming UK.\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn19\" name=\"_ftnref19\"\u003e[19]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/sup\u003e Alternatively, just look up ‘cold water swimming clubs near me’ online for your nearest one.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTips to help you during and after your swim:\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"font-size: 15px;\"\u003eHow long should you stay safely in the water? \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-size: 15px;\"\u003eIt is generally accepted that a good safe rule of thumb when wild swimming is to stay in the water for one minute for one degree of water temperature – so, for example, if the water is 7°C you should stay in safely for seven minutes. This figure has now come under scrutiny, however, from experts at The Outdoor Swimming Society\u003c\/span\u003e\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn20\" name=\"_ftnref20\"\u003e[20]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-size: 15px;\"\u003e who suggest how long you immerse yourself in the water for is more dependent on your size and weight. They also point out your tolerance can be affected by your health generally – so if you are stressed, tired, hungover this is likely to affect your resilience and how long you feel able to stay in the water. They also suggest some people are just better equipped at dealing with cold temperatures – particularly if they work outdoors, live in cold houses, and regularly exercise outside. They warn that you shouldn’t try to get competitive and\/or bogged down with all the one minute per degree stuff and suggest you just do whatever feels right for you or as they put it ‘go gently, have fun, drop the macho-minute-per-degree nonsense and do it for you’.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAcclimatise yourself.\u003c\/strong\u003e It is important to acclimatise yourself to the bracing – some might say ‘shocking’ – temperatures of the water. Start slowly with maybe a minute or two twice a week and build up to more. Taking short sharp cold showers at home can also help you to build up to cold water dips. Some people suggest splashing cold water from the sea\/river\/pond\/lido (wherever you are swimming) onto your face for around 15 seconds before you step in fully. This can help your body get used to the temperature, so it is not such a severe shock. When you do submerge yourself underwater take a minute to settle your breathing first rather than starting to swim immediately – just float or sit or kneel for 60 seconds. The Royal National Lifeboat Institute also suggest you wear a floatation device to keep you seen and safe.\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn21\" name=\"_ftnref21\"\u003e[21]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHave a swim buddy\u003c\/strong\u003e. Don’t head out into the open water on your own. If you are not part of a swimming group or don’t have anyone to go in the water with you, at least take someone to stay on dry land to remind you to come out and\/or let you know how long you have been in.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eDress for it\u003c\/strong\u003e. You can invest in a neoprene (a type of synthetic rubber that is waterproof and has good insulating properties) swimming costume and\/or wetsuit plus a swimming cap and possibly neoprene gloves and socks. Some wild swimming regulars, however, point out that a wetsuit can be difficult to get in and out of and in the winter, it can be a pain to get off in a hurry, whereas with a costume you can whip it off quickly and begin the process of warming up. Others also say wearing a costume as opposed to a wetsuit also helps them to feel more of the sensation of the water against their skin – making it more of an immersive and relaxing experience. To prepare for coming out of the water, take flip flops and leave them at the water’s edge and have an item of warm clothing like a thick towelling robe or large hoodie ready to throw on asap.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWarm up quickly\u003c\/strong\u003e. When you get out of the water the key is to dress and get warm as soon as you can. Take off your costume or wetsuit, towel yourself dry and wrap yourself in lots of layers. Many women keep their swimming cap on but add either a woolly hat on top or pull the hood of their hoodie up to retain more heat. Drinking warm tea or coffee will also help – so take a flask with you if there is nowhere nearby to buy a hot drink.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ctable style=\"width: 100%; border-collapse: collapse; background-color: #daedf1;\" cellpadding=\"8px\"\u003e\u003ctbody\u003e\u003ctr\u003e\u003ctd style=\"width: 100%; text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eKit list for cold-water swimming:\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003c\/td\u003e\u003c\/tr\u003e\u003ctr\u003e\u003ctd style=\"width: 100%; text-align: center;\"\u003e1. Swimsuit\u003c\/td\u003e\u003c\/tr\u003e\u003ctr\u003e\u003ctd style=\"width: 100%; text-align: center;\"\u003e2. Neoprene gloves\u003c\/td\u003e\u003c\/tr\u003e\u003ctr\u003e\u003ctd style=\"width: 100%; text-align: center;\"\u003e3. Wet shoes\u003c\/td\u003e\u003c\/tr\u003e\u003ctr\u003e\u003ctd style=\"width: 100%; text-align: center;\"\u003e4. Wetsuit (optional)\u003c\/td\u003e\u003c\/tr\u003e\u003ctr\u003e\u003ctd style=\"width: 100%; text-align: center;\"\u003e5. Towel or changing robe\u003c\/td\u003e\u003c\/tr\u003e\u003ctr\u003e\u003ctd style=\"width: 100%; text-align: center;\"\u003e6. Warm clothing layers\u003c\/td\u003e\u003c\/tr\u003e\u003ctr\u003e\u003ctd style=\"width: 100%; text-align: center;\"\u003e7. Woolly hat and gloves\u003c\/td\u003e\u003c\/tr\u003e\u003ctr\u003e\u003ctd style=\"width: 100%; text-align: center;\"\u003e8. Hot drink and snack\u003c\/td\u003e\u003c\/tr\u003e\u003ctr\u003e\u003ctd style=\"width: 100%; text-align: center;\"\u003e9. Trug or bag to keep everything dry while you swim\u003c\/td\u003e\u003c\/tr\u003e\u003c\/tbody\u003e\u003c\/table\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat are the alternatives to cold water swimming?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eIf you don’t live near any open water or can’t swim you can still enjoy some cold-water health benefits. Splashing your face with ice cold water as a final rinse after cleansing or taking an endorphin-boosting cold shower can help. Extreme athlete and motivational speaker Wim Hof who is famous for his ability to withstand very low temperatures regularly extols the benefits of cold showers for their exhilarating and therapeutic effects. He suggests trying a 20 second cold shower at the end of your usual one and then gradually building to a minute or two as your tolerance increases. Even if you are cold swimming on a regular basis, taking a cold shower at home can help keep you in the zone and reaping the health benefits.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eSources \u0026amp; references:\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref1\" name=\"_ftn1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/33276648\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref2\" name=\"_ftn2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com\/cold-water-feels-temperature-guide\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref3\" name=\"_ftn3\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com\/will-i-get-cold\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref4\" name=\"_ftn4\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.bbc.co.uk\/news\/uk-wales-47159652\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref5\" name=\"_ftn5\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.waldenu.edu\/online-bachelors-programs\/bs-in-psychology\/resource\/five-mental-benefits-of-exercise\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref6\" name=\"_ftn6\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.mercycare.org\/bhs\/employee-assistance-program\/eapforemployers\/resources\/health-benefits-of-social-interaction\/#:~:text=Benefits%20of%20Socialization%3A,let%20them%20confide%20in%20you\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref7\" name=\"_ftn7\"\u003e[7]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/casereports.bmj.com\/content\/2018\/bcr-2018-225007.abstract\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref8\" name=\"_ftn8\"\u003e[8]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC5025014\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref9\" name=\"_ftn9\"\u003e[9]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/8925815\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref10\" name=\"_ftn10\"\u003e[10]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/britishswimschool.com\/seattle\/the-burn-how-many-calories-do-you-burn-swimming\/#:~:text=Swimming%20ocean%2C%20river%2C%20lake%20408,Swimming%20backstroke%20476%20calories\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref11\" name=\"_ftn11\"\u003e[11]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.dietsandcalories.com\/2011\/09\/calories-in-popular-chocolate-bars.html\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref12\" name=\"_ftn12\"\u003e[12]\u003c\/a\u003ehttps:\/\/www.scotsman.com\/arts-and-culture\/what-are-health-benefits-open-water-swimming-1455636\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref13\" name=\"_ftn13\"\u003e[13]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/rnli.org\/safety\/choose-your-activity\/open-water-swimming\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref14\" name=\"_ftn14\"\u003e[14]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.sas.org.uk\/safer-seas-service\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref15\" name=\"_ftn15\"\u003e[15]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com\/uk-wild-swimming-groups\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref16\" name=\"_ftn16\"\u003e[16]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/thebluetits.co\/pages\/join-our-social-swim-community\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref17\" name=\"_ftn17\"\u003e[17]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.facebook.com\/groups\/OWSUK\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref18\" name=\"_ftn18\"\u003e[18]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/en-gb.facebook.com\/groups\/outdoorswimmingsociety\/?mibextid=6NoCDW\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref19\" name=\"_ftn19\"\u003e[19]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.facebook.com\/groups\/328578523990527\/?mibextid=6NoCDW\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref20\" name=\"_ftn20\"\u003e[20]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com\/the-1-minute-per-degree-myth\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref21\" name=\"_ftn21\"\u003e[21]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/rnli.org\/safety\/know-the-risks\/cold-water-shock\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606562812210", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Cold-Water-Swimming-Article-Header-Images_da4878f1-4884-4b64-98f9-590fc4fedcb6_768x.jpg?v=1698247232", "title" : "Can cold-water swimming help menopause?", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=231" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=231" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=231" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/231" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 25, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/hot-flushes/", "name": "Hot flushes", "description": "Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing hot flushes and vasomotor symptoms have chosen. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 231, "term_id": 231, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "hot-flushes" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606537842994", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Jane-Collins-3-576x636_small.jpg?v=1697658441", "name" : "Jane Collins", "summary" : "", "title" : "Health & Her Editor" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Article-Header-Images-menobelly2_120ae8fd-8410-4756-9582-a7f4f80b045c_1200x.jpg?v=1705516152", "html" : "\u003cp\u003eIt should come as no momentous surprise to learn most of us pile on a few pounds as we get older. According to research by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality this weight tends to increase progressively – a pound or two every year – as we enter middle age. On top of this, it has been shown that women put on an average of five pounds as they go through the menopause (which usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 53). What also happens around this time is that fat starts to be stored differently around the body. Typically, before menopause women tend to carry more fat around their hips and thighs but as levels of oestrogen begin to decline, one of the side effects of this is that fat then tends to settle disconcertingly around your belly – leading to the infamous ‘menopause belly’, ‘meno-middle’, the ‘meno-pot’ or ‘meno-belly’. The question is, is menopause entirely to blame for this? Increasing research suggests it might not be exclusively but it is linked to changes in your body composition, the health of your gut microbiome and how you metabolise sugar and fat – but your lifestyle and age are also a big part of the equation.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat causes menopause belly?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eThere are a range of factors that affect the size, flatness and firmness of your stomach, including genetics and your diet and lifestyle, but around the time of the menopause these can also include:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003col\u003e\u003cli style=\"list-style-type: none;\"\u003e\u003col\u003e\u003cli style=\"list-style-type: none;\"\u003e\u003col\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eDealing with perimenopause\/ menopause symptoms\u003c\/strong\u003e. Many women head into \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-perimenopause\/\"\u003eperimenopause\u003c\/a\u003e (the lead up to menopause which on average happens for most women around the age of 46) and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-menopause\/\"\u003emenopause\u003c\/a\u003e experiencing symptoms like low mood and tiredness which can make it harder to stick to a healthy diet and exercise regime. Around this time in your life you might also start a family and this can radically alter your priorities and the time you have to yourself. You might also be caring for an elderly parent or other relative whilst also being busy with your career and very likely doing this sitting down in front of a computer all day. Increasingly, many of us then spend our leisure time scrolling through social media or looking at stuff online. The \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/stress-anxiety\/stress-and-anxiety\/\"\u003estress of work and life\u003c\/a\u003e can also lead you to produce more of the stress hormone cortisol (see more below) which in turn increases levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin – so you may be prone to eat more.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn1\" name=\"_ftnref1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e We also tend to drink more alcohol as we get older (statistics from the charity Drinkaware show those aged 55-64 are more likely to drink more than those aged 16-24)\u003ca href=\"#_ftn2\" name=\"_ftnref2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e and alcohol contains a lot of sugar and mainly empty calories – so that regular evening tipple can soon translate into a couple more inches around your waist. . Research has found that women going through the perimenopause and those who have gone through menopause also have higher amounts of potentially dangerous visceral fat.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn3\" name=\"_ftnref3\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eA drop in \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/foods-boost-testosterone-menopause\/\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003etestosterone\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e during menopause can also affect how much fat you carry around your middle. This is the hormone responsible for, among other things, muscle mass\/strength and fat distribution – basically lower testosterone means you are more likely to gain fat around your belly and your body becomes less efficient at burning calories.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn4\" name=\"_ftnref4\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003e There are a range of foods which can help support your body in \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-menopause\/\"\u003eincreasing testosterone\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eMuscle loss.\u003c\/strong\u003e The amount of lean tissue we have starts to decline by up to 8% annually after the age of around 30.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn5\" name=\"_ftnref5\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e You’re also likely to lose muscle if you are less active than you once were and\/or maybe find it harder to exercise because of a health condition (joint pain is one of the most common symptoms of menopause and this can impact on your motivation and ability to exercise) or injury. Why this is significant is because lean muscle burns more calories than fat, even when you are inactive. This means unless you are doing heavy manual work on a daily basis and\/or regularly working out with weights to maintain and build that muscle, you’ll probably need to eat and drink less than you once did in order to avoid piling on the pounds.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eMetabolism\u003c\/strong\u003e. Any decrease in muscle mass is likely to slow your metabolism and reduce the number of calories you burn so if you can’t understand why you are putting on weight when you are not eating any more than you used to and are regularly exercising – this is probably why.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eChanges to your gut microbiome\u003c\/strong\u003e. Research exploring how menopause affects the gut microbiome is largely in its infancy, but studies on animals suggest declining levels of oestrogen appear to alter the delicate balance of beneficial gut bugs in your GI tract and are associated with increased fat, a decreased metabolic rate and insulin resistance (which can result in excessive sugar in your blood, leading to blood sugar peaks and crashes followed by tiredness and hunger) – all of which may contribute to you putting on weight.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn6\" name=\"_ftnref6\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAn increase in cortisol.\u003c\/strong\u003e When you are stressed – physically or mentally – your adrenal glands pump out the stress hormone cortisol to help you handle that stress.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn7\" name=\"_ftnref7\"\u003e[7]\u003c\/a\u003e In the short term this is a helpful physiological response. Long term, however, it can lead to a cortisol imbalance which can lead to food cravings, weight gain, sleep problems and digestive issues as cortisol’s function in the body is to help manage blood sugar, reduce inflammation in the body, regulate blood pressure, your sleep-wake cycle and memory.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn8\" name=\"_ftnref8\"\u003e[8]\u003c\/a\u003e We also know that as oestrogen declines during menopause levels of cortisol rise. Add to this the fact that stress results from the very symptoms of menopause itself (like random hot flushes, the inability to sleep well, changes to your body and brain fog that make it hard to focus) and you can see how managing cortisol can become an increasing concern. There is also research linking chronic or sustained stress to high levels of cortisol which appears to play a role in us craving high calorie ‘comfort’ foods – leading to an increase in belly fat.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn9\" name=\"_ftnref9\"\u003e[9]\u003c\/a\u003e Read more here for ways to \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/stress-anxiety\/stress-and-anxiety\/\"\u003ecope with stress and anxiety during menopause\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eIs the meno-belly a health risk?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhile putting on a few pounds might not necessarily have a hugely detrimental effect on your health, if it is allowed to creep up and is left unchecked you are not only likely to feel more self-conscious and less confident about your body but you also increase your risk of some serious health conditions including type 2 diabetes and osteoarthritis. Fat that accumulates around your belly is known as visceral fat and this is potentially problematic because it gets stored within your abdominal cavity and surrounds your organs. A study from 2021 published in the journal \u003cem\u003eMenopause \u003c\/em\u003econfirms that menopausal weight gain puts you at a greater risk of cardiovascular disease.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn10\" name=\"_ftnref10\"\u003e[10]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHow to get rid of menopause belly\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eIt is not a foregone conclusion that you will develop a meno-belly and there is plenty you can do to reduce the risk of it happening and\/or to help you lose some weight if you need to including;\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eEat smaller but better\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eAs our metabolism slows down so we burn fewer calories.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn11\" name=\"_ftnref11\"\u003e[11]\u003c\/a\u003e It makes sense then to \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/diet-balance-hormones-menopause\/\"\u003ekeep an eye on your portion sizes and cut down on foods\u003c\/a\u003e more likely to make you put on weight. Reducing your intake of refined carbohydrates, like white bread, pasta, cakes, biscuits and pastry, for example, has been linked to a reduced risk of postmenopausal weight gain.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn12\" name=\"_ftnref12\"\u003e[12]\u003c\/a\u003e The key is to eat smaller portions of foods that are more nutritionally dense like protein in the form of oily fish, eggs, lean chicken or beef, nuts, pulses or tofu. Eating a small amount of protein with each meal or snack is known to keep you feeling fuller for longer and you are less likely to snack on unhealthier quick energy fix sugary or fatty foods. Eating whole grains like brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, quinoa and oats also appears to be beneficial: in one study carried out on people between the ages of 40-65, including postmenopausal women, the ones who ate whole grains as opposed to refined ones (like white processed bread, white rice, white pasta) burned more calories and excreted more fat.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn13\" name=\"_ftnref13\"\u003e[13]\u003c\/a\u003e  But rather than thinking in punitive terms about what you \u003cem\u003ecan’t\u003c\/em\u003e eat maybe start thinking of what you \u003cem\u003ecan eat more of\u003c\/em\u003e – like vitamin-packed fruit and veg. Fruit and veg is not only low in calories it is also high in fibre which can help create a thriving gut microbiome which is linked to maintaining a healthier weight. For more information about what foods can help read Nutritionist Helen Roach’s \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/diet-balance-hormones-menopause\/\"\u003eDiet and recipes to help balance hormones during menopause.\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eCreate a thriving gut microbiome\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eGetting a rich and diverse balance of microbes in your gut can help you to become not just healthier but potentially slimmer too. Interestingly, overweight and obese people tend to have less diverse gut bacteria than those who are a healthy weight and they also put on weight more easily. Creating and maintaining a healthy and diverse balance of beneficial gut bacteria should not only help improve your digestion, immunity and mental health but should also improve your energy, metabolism and ability to maintain a healthy weight. Nutritional experts and GI specialists suggest the key to creating a flourishing and diverse balance of gut microorganisms is to eat as diverse a range of foods as you can. Plus eat minimum amounts of processed foods, cut back on sugar, eat more vegetables and fruit and fibre, consume plenty of plant based foods and drinks (not just vegetables and fruits but also seeds, nuts, herbs, spices, even coffee and tea – in short, anything that is derived from a plant source) and include healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil and sources of protein like fish, chicken, pulses and\/or tofu. Use the Mediterranean diet as a template for a menopause-friendly\/meno-belly busting way of eating.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eInclude prebiotics and probiotics\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eIncluding prebiotic and probiotic foods in your diet have also been shown to be particularly beneficial in encouraging a healthy gut microbiome and may even reduce the calories you absorb from food resulting in lower body weight and fat percentage.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn14\" name=\"_ftnref14\"\u003e[14]\u003c\/a\u003e Prebiotics are found in foods like onions, garlic, leeks,  Jerusalem artichokes, oats and berries and are said to act like a kind of ‘fertiliser’ that feed the friendly bacteria in your gut. Probiotics are live bacteria that are found in certain foods (including live unsweetened yogurt, kefir – a fermented yogurt drink, sourdough bread and fermented foods and drinks like sauerkraut and kombucha) and nutritional \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/menopause\/menopause-supplement-biome-live-cultures\/\"\u003esupplements\u003c\/a\u003e. Significantly, several studies suggest probiotics can help you to lose both weight \u003cem\u003eand\u003c\/em\u003e belly fat. In one study obese postmenopausal women were given either a daily low dose probiotic supplement, a high dose probiotic supplement or a placebo for three months. At the end of the 12 weeks those in both the low dose probiotic group and the high one found that their waist size had been reduced and they had less fat, including subcutaneous or visceral fat. Greater benefits were seen in those taking the higher probiotic doses.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn15\" name=\"_ftnref15\"\u003e[15]\u003c\/a\u003e There is increasing focus on the bacteria strain \u003cem\u003eLactobacillus plantarum\u003c\/em\u003e found in some probiotic supplements – preliminary research on animals suggests is could possibly enhance memory and reduce anxiety.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn16\" name=\"_ftnref16\"\u003e[16]\u003c\/a\u003e Others suggest having low levels of this strain of microorganism can make it harder to lose weight. \u003cem\u003eLactobacillus plantarum\u003c\/em\u003e can be found, alongside many other live cultures and nutrients, in \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/menopause\/menopause-supplement-biome-live-cultures\/\"\u003eHealth \u0026amp; Her Menopause Biome – Live Cultures Supplement\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eConsider how you eat\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eIn our 24\/7 culture it can be tempting to eat on the run and wolf down something quickly to save time but there are studies to show that eating fast causes you to feel hungrier and eat more in the long run.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn17\" name=\"_ftnref17\"\u003e[17]\u003c\/a\u003e Similarly, having your meals in front of the telly has been linked to putting on more weight than those who don’t watch tv according to research published in the journal \u003cem\u003eObesity\u003c\/em\u003e.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn18\" name=\"_ftnref18\"\u003e[18]\u003c\/a\u003e Also the temptation when you have put on weight is to eat very little in the hope the weight will fall off. This can be counter-productive however because if your body doesn’t get the calories it needs it goes into survival mode and actually starts to burn less energy by lowering your metabolic rate. In other words, it becomes even \u003cem\u003eharder\u003c\/em\u003e to lose weight and this is liable to make you feel miserable and more inclined to comfort eat and drink.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eDrink less\u003c\/strong\u003e.\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eA glass of wine typically contains between 135 and 200 calories. You can see how that can rack up the calories over time so ideally have at least a few nights off the booze and\/or look for lower calorie tipples like gin or vodka with low calorie tonic (around 115 calories a glass) or no alcohol alternatives. And it is not just the calorie counts of these tipples that is the only concern – and when we have been drinking we tend to make less healthy food choice and possibly eat more.  You can find more on h\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/how-does-alcohol-affect-menopause\/\"\u003eow does drinking affect menopause?\u003c\/a\u003e here.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eKeep moving\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhat is important at this stage of life is to try and preserve your muscle mass and your calorie burning potential \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/best-exercise-menopause\/\"\u003eby doing exercises using free weights, weight machines, resistance bands or your own body weight\u003c\/a\u003e (like squats, lunges, sit-ups or The Plank). This type of exercise should also help to improve your flexibility, mobility, strength and endurance. Do this in conjunction with regular aerobic exercise like walking, jogging, swimming or cycling and you should keep your weight down and your muscles firmer. Just keep moving as much as possible – doing things as simple as standing and pacing when you are on your phone or taking regular walking breaks if you are sat at a computer all day will help. Research shows prolonged sitting is linked to higher levels of abdominal fat.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn19\" name=\"_ftnref19\"\u003e[19]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eFind effective stress relievers\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eStress affects us all differently and whilst some people lose their appetite and shed weight, others find they comfort eat and put it on. Researchers have confirmed that increases in the stress hormone cortisol are linked to weight gain as your adrenal glands release adrenaline and cortisol which triggers glucose to be released into your bloodstream (this is a result of the ‘fight or flight response’ – giving you the energy you need to escape a stressful situation). This physiological response can cause sugar cravings.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn20\" name=\"_ftnref20\"\u003e[20]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eGet enough sleep\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eNot getting enough sleep can seriously sabotage your best efforts to get fit and\/or lose weight and has been linked to making poorer food choices, consuming more calories than you need and reduced fitness levels.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn21\" name=\"_ftnref21\"\u003e[21]\u003c\/a\u003e If you wake up feeling tired you are less likely to feel like exercising and the more exhausted you feel the more likely you are pick sugary and\/or fatty foods to give you a quick blood sugar high (followed by a crashing slump that can leave you feeling drowsy during the day). There is also evidence to show if you eat a diet high in sugar you tend to sleep less deeply and are more restless and wake more at night due to the stimulating effects of the sugar.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn22\" name=\"_ftnref22\"\u003e[22]\u003c\/a\u003e Recent research has also found that not getting enough sleep can lead to blood sugar spikes after breakfast the next morning. As a blood sugar spike is invariably followed by a blood sugar slump this could increase how much you eat during the day.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn23\" name=\"_ftnref23\"\u003e[23]\u003c\/a\u003e There is also evidence to suggest a lack of sleep can reduce the beneficial bugs in your gut.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn24\" name=\"_ftnref24\"\u003e[24]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/sleeping-problems\/is-menopause-messing-with-your-sleep-tools-techniques-and-treatment-to-reclaim-your-rest\/\"\u003eHere is why menopause makes you tired.\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eCamouflage it\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eIf you do feel self-conscious about your belly, stylist and dressmaker Gilly Woo has a range of tips and tricks to help in \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/weight-gain\/how-to-look-and-feel-fabulous-whatever-your-waist-size\/\"\u003eHow to look and feel fabulous whatever your waist size\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eBe realistic\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eUltimately, putting on weight and\/or developing a menopause tummy is not an inevitable side effect of menopause but conversely it is not healthy to fixate on trying to stick to the weight or shape you were at 18 either. You can be in great shape, fit, healthy and not overweight going through the menopause but your dwindling hormones do make it more likely that you might have a very small layer of extra fat sitting around your middle and you will probably find it harder to achieve an ultra-defined six pack. That is not, however, to say it is impossible.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eSources and Resources\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref1\" name=\"_ftn1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/30714236\/#:~:text=Abstract,aimed%20at%20attaining%20homeostatic%20balance\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003ehttps:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/30714236\/#:~:text=Abstract,aimed%20at%20attaining%20homeostatic%20balance\u003c\/a\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref2\" name=\"_ftn2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.drinkaware.co.uk\/research\/alcohol-facts-and-data\/alcohol-consumption-uk#:~:text=In%202019%2C%2057%25%20of%20adults,compared%20to%2015%25%20of%20females\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003e https:\/\/www.drinkaware.co.uk\/research\/alcohol-facts-and-data\/alcohol-consumption-uk#:~:text=In%202019%2C%2057%25%20of%20adults,compared%20to%2015%25%20of%20females\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref3\" name=\"_ftn3\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.drinkaware.co.uk\/research\/alcohol-facts-and-data\/alcohol-consumption-uk#:~:text=In%202019%2C%2057%25%20of%20adults,compared%20to%2015%25%20of%20females.\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003ehttps:\/\/joinzoe.com\/learn\/menopause-weight-gain\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref4\" name=\"_ftn4\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.healthline.com\/nutrition\/testosterone-and-fat-loss#:~:text=Summary%3A%20Low%20testosterone%20levels%20reduce,promote%20weight%20gain%20over%20time.\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003ehttps:\/\/www.healthline.com\/nutrition\/testosterone-and-fat-loss#:~:text=Summary%3A%20Low%20testosterone%20levels%20reduce,promote%20weight%20gain%20over%20time.\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref5\" name=\"_ftn5\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC2804956\/#:~:text=Muscle%20mass%20decreases%20approximately%203,to%20disability%20in%20older%20people\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003ehttps:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC2804956\/#:~:text=Muscle%20mass%20decreases%20approximately%203,to%20disability%20in%20older%20people\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref6\" name=\"_ftn6\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/33235036\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003ehttps:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/33235036\/\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref7\" name=\"_ftn7\"\u003e[7]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.pardigm.com\/articles\/what-is-cortisol\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003ehttps:\/\/www.pardigm.com\/articles\/what-is-cortisol\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref8\" name=\"_ftn8\"\u003e[8]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.pardigm.com\/articles\/what-is-cortisol\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003ehttps:\/\/www.everydayhealth.com\/cortisol\/guide\/\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref9\" name=\"_ftn9\"\u003e[9]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/onlinelibrary.wiley.com\/doi\/full\/10.1002\/oby.21733\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003ehttps:\/\/onlinelibrary.wiley.com\/doi\/full\/10.1002\/oby.21733\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref10\" name=\"_ftn10\"\u003e[10]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/journals.lww.com\/menopausejournal\/Abstract\/2021\/06000\/Abdominal_visceral_adipose_tissue_over_the.6.aspx\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003ehttps:\/\/journals.lww.com\/menopausejournal\/Abstract\/2021\/06000\/Abdominal_visceral_adipose_tissue_over_the.6.aspx\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref11\" name=\"_ftn11\"\u003e[11]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.cambridge.org\/core\/journals\/journal-of-nutritional-science\/article\/lower-resting-and-total-energy-expenditure-in-postmenopausal-compared-with-premenopausal-women-matched-for-abdominal-obesity\/AE8AD0A864F72A9B5D34D482A714E6CA\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003ehttps:\/\/www.cambridge.org\/core\/journals\/journal-of-nutritional-science\/article\/lower-resting-and-total-energy-expenditure-in-postmenopausal-compared-with-premenopausal-women-matched-for-abdominal-obesity\/AE8AD0A864F72A9B5D34D482A714E6CA\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref12\" name=\"_ftn12\"\u003e[12]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC5728369\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC5728369\/\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref13\" name=\"_ftn13\"\u003e[13]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/academic.oup.com\/ajcn\/article\/105\/3\/589\/4637849\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003ehttps:\/\/academic.oup.com\/ajcn\/article\/105\/3\/589\/4637849\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref14\" name=\"_ftn14\"\u003e[14]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/onlinelibrary.wiley.com\/doi\/full\/10.1111\/obr.12626\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003ehttps:\/\/onlinelibrary.wiley.com\/doi\/full\/10.1111\/obr.12626\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref15\" name=\"_ftn15\"\u003e[15]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/29914095\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003ehttps:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/29914095\/\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref16\" name=\"_ftn16\"\u003e[16]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6412773\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003ehttps:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6412773\/\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref17\" name=\"_ftn17\"\u003e[17]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC3253303\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003ehttps:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC3253303\/\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref18\" name=\"_ftn18\"\u003e[18]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/27030406\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003ehttps:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/27030406\/\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref19\" name=\"_ftn19\"\u003e[19]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/onlinelibrary.wiley.com\/doi\/full\/10.1002\/oby.22034\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003ehttps:\/\/onlinelibrary.wiley.com\/doi\/full\/10.1002\/oby.22034\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref20\" name=\"_ftn20\"\u003e[20]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.orlandohealth.com\/content-hub\/how-too-much-stress-can-cause-weight-gain-and-what-to-do-about-it\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003ehttps:\/\/www.orlandohealth.com\/content-hub\/how-too-much-stress-can-cause-weight-gain-and-what-to-do-about-it\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref21\" name=\"_ftn21\"\u003e[21]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.sleepstation.org.uk\/articles\/insomnia\/sleep-and-weight-gain\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003ehttps:\/\/www.sleepstation.org.uk\/articles\/insomnia\/sleep-and-weight-gain\/\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref22\" name=\"_ftn22\"\u003e[22]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/26156950\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003ehttps:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/26156950\/\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref23\" name=\"_ftn23\"\u003e[23]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/joinzoe.com\/learn\/menopause-weight-gain\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003ehttps:\/\/joinzoe.com\/learn\/menopause-weight-gain\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref24\" name=\"_ftn24\"\u003e[24]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.sciencedaily.com\/releases\/2019\/10\/191028164311.htm\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003ehttps:\/\/www.sciencedaily.com\/releases\/2019\/10\/191028164311.htm\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606960058674", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Article-Header-Images-menobelly2_120ae8fd-8410-4756-9582-a7f4f80b045c_768x.jpg?v=1705516152", "title" : "Menopause Belly - What is it and how to get rid of it?", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=229" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=229" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=229" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/229" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 21, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/weight-gain/", "name": "Weight gain", "description": "Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing menopause weight gain have chosen as part of a healthy lifestyle. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 229, "term_id": 229, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "weight-gain" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606562681138", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Janey-Lee-Grace-new-Pic-2-2-aspect-ratio-1-1-576x576_small.jpg?v=1698247226", "name" : "Janey Lee Grace", "summary" : "", "title" : "Presenter & Author" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/janey-lee-grace-photo-option-1_b1a04e94-fb9a-4c64-8c25-244fbf591c94_1200x.jpg?v=1704723873", "html" : "\u003cp\u003eBBC presenter, author, and advocate of natural living Janey Lee Grace shares her journey through menopause and sober living.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eMenopause and alcohol is not a good combination! Alcohol affects the central nervous system, the circulatory system, and virtually every part of your body. While some women recognise the impact of drinking on their menopausal symptoms, I couldn’t see how bad it was all getting, the alcohol was masking a whole heap of problems.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eA few years back I accidentally caught sight of myself in the full-length mirror in my bedroom. I had to look again… who was that bloated, ageing woman with several chins and greying hair? I grabbed a towel and took a layer of dust off the mirror, convinced that once sparkling, the glass would show the real me. But no, that image remained – I looked tired, drained, old. I felt winded at the sight of myself, early fifties, yet in my head twenty-five if I was a day. It didn’t make any sense. How had I put that much weight on? How had I got that awful glassy look around the eyes? I was sleeping really badly; I had a dull ache on one side of my body (I now know it was the liver!) and I felt irritated all the time, and anxious. Oh so anxious.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/symptom-tool\/\"\u003eTry our menopause symptom checker to see if your symptoms could be related to menopause\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eI could see my running shoes, silver, with a Nike tick, bought in a sale in a fit of enthusiasm, still in their box in the bottom of the wardrobe. Who was I kidding? I couldn’t think about running, I felt a sense of desperation just at the thought of washing my hair. I racked my brain for what I could do, Strict diet maybe? I’d tried that many times, the weight went back on. Have Botox? Mmm, didn’t fit with my ‘natural’ approach, and I wanted to be able to smile. Find a bootcamp and start a fitness regime? Joking right? It suddenly hit me, I was terrified of getting old, it was all going south, I didn’t like it and I couldn’t think of a thing to look forward to.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/expertise\/exercise-practitioner\/\"\u003eCheck out fitness and exercise tips for menopause from fitness coaches\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eSomething was off. Since writing my first book fifteen years ago I had been on a mission to inspire everyone to live more holistically and eat well, to eschew chemicals and practice mindfulness, to enjoy therapeutic techniques and focus on self-love. Was I walking my talk? Well, you wouldn’t find me putting anything on my skin that I couldn’t eat and, I bought the right organic food – I juiced regularly, I did my yoga and I had all manner of treatments, from EFT, TFT, NLP (perhaps I needed ABC!). In other words, I thought I was practicing what I preached, that I was doing everything right – but all the while, I was shimmying around the great big grape-smelling elephant in the room – alcohol.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/expertise\/nutritional-therapist\/\"\u003eFind out expert nutritionist advice for coping with menopause\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eYou see, I loved my nightly glass (or two, or three) of wine, and why shouldn’t I? I was fully functioning, never had a DUI, never missed a day off work, I just drank most days…doesn’t everyone? The problem was, I couldn’t just have one – I wasn’t born with an off switch! But to be clear, there was no rock bottom moment – I was what’s known as ‘high functioning, ‘high bottomed’ (sadly not true in the literal sense for a woman my age!).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eOf course, I’d heard that alcohol wasn’t ideal when combined with \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/symptom-tool\/\"\u003emenopausal symptoms\u003c\/a\u003e, and I knew that even one glass could mean increased risk of breast cancer… but I had also read that red wine in moderation is good for you, hadn’t I? The truth is that alcohol acts as a trigger for so many menopausal symptoms – it \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/sleeping-problems\/\"\u003eaffects sleep\u003c\/a\u003e, it can make \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/hot-flushes\/\"\u003ehot flushes\u003c\/a\u003e and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/night-sweats\/\"\u003enight sweats\u003c\/a\u003e worse, and of course it often leads to \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/weight-gain\/\"\u003eweight gain\u003c\/a\u003e, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/bloating\/\"\u003ebloating\u003c\/a\u003e and is most definitely linked to depression, mood swings et al. On top of that laundry list, there is also the worrying fact that alcohol can affect bone health – already a problem exacerbated by menopause – meaning that heavy drinkers can be more prone to osteoporosis.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eNow at 3 years and 8 months sober, I am absolutely staggered that I didn’t make the connection between just how awful I was feeling and the amount I was drinking. I thought I was just ‘normal’, everyone drank – right? I assumed everyone my age had similar issues. I would wake at 3am almost without fail, heart racing, berating myself for yet again drinking too much, I would be sweating profusely (I now know that drinking can increase your heart rate and widen blood vessels in the skin so increases perspiration). I would hear a voice telling me this has to stop. It’s not authentic to who you are. You are meant to care about your health and practice self-care, so stop poisoning your body with alcohol!\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eBy 6pm the next evening a much chirpier voice arrived. The voice of the ‘wine witch’:\u003cbr\u003e “You’ve had an exhausting day, time for a cheeky chilled Sauvignon…you might give up? Don’t be ridiculous! Sober – anagram of Bores! Everyone is drinking! You can just have one!”\u003cbr\u003e Alcohol is so ingrained in our culture. From baby showers, christening, playdates, parties, weddings, fresher’s week, funerals – from celebrations to commiserations, alcohol is the ‘social glue’ that sticks everything together. We have been brainwashed into thinking we are either ‘good drinkers’ or alcoholic losers. Clearly there are rock bottom drunks who have a serious issue, and the rest of us are happy social drinkers – occasional lightweights who just can’t hold their beer.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eI learnt over time that it’s a spectrum. There are many ‘grey area drinkers’ – so many, in fact, that I’d suggest there are at least 50 shades of grey – but sadly not so sexy! Women have been cajoled into keeping up with the lads, and it’s us baby boomers who are the worst. While many millennials are choosing not to drink at all, the biggest rise in drinking is in older women, and yet we are the ones the toxic liquid hits hardest. Alcohol is responsible for 200 different illnesses, including cancer, and it’s notably terrible for exacerbating menopausal symptoms.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eI’ve lost count of clients who have told me they rocked up to a GP or a practitioner complaining of mood swings, anxiety, insomnia, wondering if they were menopausal, only to be sent away minutes later with a prescription for anti-depressants, sometimes \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/hormone-replacement-therapy-hrt-guide\/\"\u003eHRT\u003c\/a\u003e too, but they were never asked about their drinking. It’s a disaster waiting to happen, that so many women are being offered medication, without being asked whether they are in fact already self-medicating.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eTo be honest, I wasn’t sure how to stop drinking. It was such an ingrained habit, and I was worried about what others might say, whether I’d be ridiculed and ‘sober shamed’, rather than congratulated for the sober badass I really was! When you stop smoking everyone says ‘well done!’ But if you stop drinking people tend to look concerned and ask if you ‘have a problem’.\u003cbr\u003e You see ‘alcohol is the only drug you have to justify not taking’, and when I finally decided to quit, just for Dry January 2018, I didn’t tell anyone close to me. I felt a sense of shame and guilt that I couldn’t explain. In reality I found that if I stood my ground and said ‘Thanks I’d love a drink, I’ll have sparkling water’, people accepted that, if I hesitated and looked unsure, then they steamed in with ‘Can’t you just have one?’.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eI’d given up for short periods before, during pregnancies, etc, but I had always counted the days till I could drink again. This time it was different. It was as if a light had come on, and I didn’t ever go back.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eI found that rather than giving something up, I was gaining my life back. I discovered – to quote the most perfect book title by Catherine Gray, ‘the unexpected joy of being sober’!\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eIf only someone had told me before how freaking fantastic life without alcohol is! I’d read about all the benefits that can come when you reduce or give up drinking. Better sleep, regulated weight, better digestion, better sex, better cognitive function, and many people report their anxiety reduces or dissipates. I didn’t lose any weight for a few months and I felt ‘chaotic’, but eventually all the benefits kicked in – and more. All the overheating stopped, no more hot flushes! My eyesight improved (really!) and I got shiny locks, sober hair (who knew!) And I feel younger. Want the best anti-ageing secret ever? Ditch the booze! (You’re welcome!) As for the mirror in the bedroom, I smile at it now, if I remember. There are still some bulges and I’m far from perfect, but it’s not self-loathing anymore. I’m not quite there yet, but I am ‘self-love curious’. I am… dare I say it, happy, healthy and sober.\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606925422898", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/janey-lee-grace-photo-option-1_b1a04e94-fb9a-4c64-8c25-244fbf591c94_768x.jpg?v=1704723873", "title" : "Does drinking alcohol affect menopause?", "symptoms" : [ ]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606538268978", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Gill_3-576x575_small.jpg?v=1697658461", "name" : "Gilly Woo", "summary" : "", "title" : "Stylist" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/concha-rodrigo-472725-unsplash-scaled-1-1600x1200_aa21980f-852a-40a1-a0cf-c4e4cac0b98d_1200x.jpg?v=1704721304", "html" : "\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThere’s no skirting around it. Changes to flow around menopause can bring with them sudden, unexpected periods and heavier flows that can be hard to cope with. Urinary changes – or the so-called ‘sensitive bladder’ – are equally tricky. Thankfully our stylist Gilly Woo is as practical as she is chic, and has lots of helpful advice to to see you through, whether you’re worried about ‘oops moments’ or a surprise visit from Aunt Flo.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eDuring perimenopause your periods can become unpredictable. They may be more frequent, less frequent, heavier, lighter, last longer or become shorter than you’re used to. So just when you thought you had your period routine sorted, Bam! You body throws a curveball and you need to adapt again. To make matters worse another delightful symptom we sometimes have to deal with is urinary incontinence. Joy!\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eOf course, it’s more important than ever to exercise regularly, look after yourself with great food and mindfulness, and to get anything you’re worried about checked out with your GP or gynaecologist, but I’m not an expert on all that.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhat I am an expert on is fabrics, apparel, and practical solutions I’ve tried in real life, so let’s get started on what you can do and wear to make it easier to deal with leaks and flows.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eMenstrual cups – the best thing ever?\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eTraditional period products like tampons and disposable towels are hard on the planet, and hardly gentle on your precious body. Most use harsh chemicals and non biodegradable materials and are individually wrapped in loads of nasty plastic. They are also hella expensive!\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eSo tip number one is to make the switch to a menstrual cup immediately. Not only will these wonderful inventions save you money, (they last for up to ten years), they are better for the planet and much, much more healthy for you. If you experience vaginal dryness you will find a cup more comfortable than a tampon because a tampon absorbs any moisture and a cup just catches the flow. I personally have been using one for about 5 years and I love it. Since I invested in mine, cup technology has moved on considerably and many improvements have been made.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eYou can now buy menstrual cups with built in air valves making removal and correct insertion easier, as well as cups in loads of different shapes and sizes, so you’re bound to find the perfect cup for you. For instance, if you experience painful sex and vaginal tightening then a smaller cup may suit you better.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eBut there are even more benefits to making the switch to a cup… you can wear the exact same menstrual cup regardless of how heavy your flow is making it ideal for unpredictable periods. You can also wear your cup safely for 12 hours, much more convenient that the 4-8 hours you can wear a tampon.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eYou don’t have to worry about packing tampons or pads in you bag, just insert your cup in the morning and everything you need is with you throughout the day. I really can’t recommend them enough – if you haven’t yet joined the revolution yet, buy a cup today.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eMore sustainable sanitary wear\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhile we’re on the subject of better more sustainable sanitary wear, there has been another big revolution in the last two years. Period pants should be a staple in every menstruating women’s wardrobe. They are basically magic pants that wick away your period with no need for pads or liners.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eI was sceptical at first, “What sorcery is this!” and I’m yet to invest in a pair myself but they are definitely on my wish list after reading the brilliant 5 star reviews of some of the products I’ve heard of. An absolutely genius invention, these pants look and feel just like everyday underwear but they have four special layers to keep you fresh and dry; moisture wicking cotton, an odour trapping lining, super absorbent fabric and a leak resistant barrier.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003ePeriod pants are washable, reusable and absolutely perfect for wearing during your period with a cup for extra piece of mind, or alone a few days before or after your period to prevent little leaks or if you’re not entirely sure when Aunt Flow might come a calling. Bear in mind periods and pee are two different things and sometimes require different products. However some brands do make pants especially designed for both kinds of leaks so you’re covered for every eventuality.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003ePads and panty liners\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eIf you prefer to wear a sanitary towel or panty liner for extra protection then it’s well worth looking into organic options. As well as being better for the environment they are kinder to your body.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eAnother idea is to look into reusable ones that can be thrown in the washing machine and used again and again. If you are feeling crafty you could even make your own. Check out YouTube for some easy to follow tutorials or buy from a small business on Etsy.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eDon’t forget, sanitary towels, although sometimes cheaper than products specially designed for urinary incontinence, are not suitable for pee because they stay wet and can cause discomfort. Try a specially designed product instead. It will be worth it to spend a little more money and be comfortable, confident and dry all day.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003e‘Ooops moments’? Don’t accept them.\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eYou do not have to accept urinary incontinence as an unavoidable consequence of getting older. There are so many things you can do to prevent and cure it. From exercise, pelvic floor trainers and supplements and cutting out certain things from your diet, right through to medication. Don’t suffer in silence, talk to your GP and take action. There’s lots of help to get started here on Health \u0026amp; Her – find links at the end of this article.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eWhat if the worst does happen?\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eEven with all these precautions, occasionally accidents do happen, and if one does, don’t freak out! We’ve all been there, so try to laugh it off. Wear dark colours and choose quick drying fabrics for skirts and trousers, tie a coat or sweater around your waist, and carry a bag in front of you to get you to where you need to be to get changed.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003ePlease bear in mind that it is not very likely that anyone around you will even notice. People are busy and self absorbed. Everyone is looking at their phone and no one is looking at your crotch. Believe me, you might feel like it’s the most obvious thing is the world, but the reality is your secret is safe and no one has noticed.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eAbout Gilly Woo\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eGilly Woo – known to her family as Gill Cockwell – began her sewing career at the tender age of six and was sketching designs and fashioning garments by the time she was ten. Since 2000, she has built a brand synonymous with quality, individuality and style – though most of all, she helps women find and express their most confident, fabulous selves. From dresses cut to dazzle for brides who use wheelchairs to red carpet looks featured in magazines and worn to The National TV Awards Gill’s portfolio is as diverse as the people she’s worked with. She’s an experienced stylist on magazine photo shoots and catwalk shows, has taught hundreds of people to sew, and has even stepped back in time on TV…\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/about-us\/menopause-experts\/gilly-woo-designer\/\"\u003eRead Gill’s full biography here\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eProducts mentioned in this post can be found here:\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/periods\/\"\u003eView menstrual cups, organic sanitary products and period pants here\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eYou might also be interested in…\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/how-to-talk-to-your-gp-about-menopause\/\"\u003eDr Shilpa McQuillan and Dr Deborah Lancastle – How to talk to your GP about menopause \u003c\/a\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/period-changes\/why-do-periods-get-worse-before-menopause\/\"\u003eGynaecologist Anne Henderson explains why periods get worse at menopause\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606924734770", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/concha-rodrigo-472725-unsplash-scaled-1-1600x1200_aa21980f-852a-40a1-a0cf-c4e4cac0b98d_768x.jpg?v=1704721304", "title" : "Don’t let periods or leaks dampen your style", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=252" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=252" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=252" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/252" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 11, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/period-changes/", "name": "Period changes", "description": "During perimenopause, periods can be often be heavier and longer than usual. Browse our range of products that can support hormone regulation, energy and mental performance.", "id": 252, "term_id": 252, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "period-changes" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=236" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=236" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=236" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/236" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 5, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/sensitive-bladder/", "name": "Sensitive bladder", "description": "Urinary changes like frequent urination and leaky bladder are really common at menopause due to changes in oestrogen levels. Take action with pelvic floor trainers and avoid embarrassment with practical products to help with incontinence.\r\n", "id": 236, "term_id": 236, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "sensitive-bladder" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=286" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=286" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=286" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/286" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 6, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/pelvic-floor-function/", "name": "Weak pelvic floor", "description": "Take action with to combat weak pelvic floor muscles with pelvic floor trainers. Here are some of the best pelvic floor products that may help to relieve menopause related pelvic floor related symptoms and issues. ", "id": 286, "term_id": 286, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "pelvic-floor-function" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=678" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=678" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=678" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/678" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 2, "link": "https://healthandher.com/us/expert-advice/pelvic-floor-function/", "name": "Weak pelvic floor", "description": "Take action with to combat weak pelvic floor muscles with pelvic floor trainers. Here are some of the best pelvic floor products that may help to relieve menopause related pelvic floor related symptoms and issues. ", "id": 678, "term_id": 678, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "pelvic-floor-function" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606537810226", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Profile-5-576x768_small.jpg?v=1697658439", "name" : "Helen Roach", "summary" : "", "title" : "Nutritionist" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Ramadan_1200x.jpg?v=1709566383", "html" : "\u003cp\u003eThe holy month of Ramadan is almost upon us for 2024, expecting to begin on Monday 11th March 2024, and end on Tuesday 9th April 2024, depending on the sighting of the moon. This is spiritual time of year for all Muslims that involves fasting during the hours of daylight. However, for women going through the perimenopause and menopause, and the common side effects associated with these times of hormonal upheaval, fasting for four weeks can raise some potential challenges which might impact on the Ramadan celebrations. \u003cbr data-mce-fragment=\"1\"\u003e\u003cbr data-mce-fragment=\"1\"\u003eHere GP Dr Hannah Allen and Nutritionist Helen Roach give their tips on how to navigate your way through the month so that you can fully enjoy it.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eMaking adjustments\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eNot eating any food or drinking any liquid in daylight hours as you observe Ramadan is a tradition that is there to celebrate patience and self-control. This can be a challenge for everyone but for women going the perimenopause or menopause who may be experiencing common signs like night sweats, trouble sleeping, headaches, exhaustion and mood swings it can make it a whole lot harder to feel patient and spiritual. Add to this not eating or drinking during the day and a disruption to your usual sleeping routine and this can make you feel potentially worse, so you need to make sure the foods you do eat are as nutritionally dense as possible. Plus, you need to take good care of yourself to stop you feeling like you are dragging yourself through the celebrations because you are tired and hungry. There are also other practical considerations including, for example, if you have been prescribed HRT when, and if, you should you use it and whether dietary supplements constitute nutrition and therefore would break your fast.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eCommon FAQs around Ramadan and Menopause\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eWe’ve compiled a list of the common FAQs women may have when undertaking Ramadan during perimenopause or menopause:\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eQ. Will taking HRT break my fast?\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eA.\u003c\/strong\u003e If your hormone levels are being topped up using HRT skin patches, gels, the Mirena coil or a vaginal pessary or creams they will not break your fast, they are considered to be ingested through the skin so you don’t need to make any changes to your routine. However, if you take oral HRT you’ll need to take it before, or after, daylight hours. So, if you normally take it in the morning, move it back earlier to Suhur. If you usually take it in the evening wait until after sundown and Iftar.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eQ. Can I take dietary supplements during Ramadan?\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eA.\u003c\/strong\u003e Whilst the best source of vitamins and minerals is from food, given that your diet is restricted during the holy month dietary supplements can be a helpful addition to ensure you are getting the nutrients you need. As supplements are ingested via the mouth, during Ramadan, you’ll need to take them before Suhur in the morning and after Iftar at night. Choosing a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement or one that is specially formulated with nutrients to support perimenopause and menopause symptoms can be especially useful at this time\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eQ. What are the best foods to eat at Suhur and Iftar?\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eA.\u003c\/strong\u003e When you have been without food for some time it can be tempting to grab the first tasty looking thing in your field of vision at Iftar - but try to avoid fried, processed, ultra-sugary and\/or salty and starchy foods which can make managing your blood sugar levels harder and may also affect your weight. Instead include plenty of lean protein like fish, meat or pulses with a range of vegetables and fruits (including dried ones like apricots and dates). Try grilled meat or fish with a chickpea salad - loading at least half of your plate with vegetables or salad. You can also find more diet and recipes to help balance hormones in menopause here. And be mindful of how spicy foods can affect you as these are known to trigger perimenopause and menopause symptoms in some women. For Suhur, eggs are a good choice but if you can’t face much at that time of the morning whizz up a smoothie with Greek yogurt, banana, berries and phytoestrogen flax seeds or chia seeds. You can also make this the night before and put it in the fridge so it’s all ready for you at dawn.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eQ. How can I stop myself feeling so tired?\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eA.\u003c\/strong\u003e It might seem counterintuitive to have to get up to eat when you are tired but try to avoid sleeping through Suhur and prepare yourself a protein-rich, vitamin and mineral packed meal (see above) to provide you with the energy you need for the day. And keep yourself well-hydrated. Have water handy everywhere during the evening hours of Ramadan and sip it throughout the allotted time. Also try herbal teas like sage (linked to a reduction in hot flushes and night sweats), digestive-soothing peppermint and\/or relaxing camomile. Plus eating water-rich foods such as tomatoes, celery, cucumber, melon and\/or unsweetened natural yogurt can all contribute to your hydration levels. If you are completely wiped out take a short nap if you can – but no longer than 30 minutes.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e7 simple tips for managing menopause during Ramadan\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003ch3\u003eDevelop a Ramadan routine.\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eIt can be helpful to try and eat your meals at around the same time during Ramadan and then, if you are taking HRT or nutritional supplements, this can help act as a handy reminder that you need to take them too. If necessary, use sticky notes to jog your memory or set alerts on your phone to remind you as a change of routine can cause you to forget.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eDon’t skip Suhur.\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eMany women find that their sleep is already disrupted during the menopause, and they are tired due to night sweats and\/or anxiety. The temptation during Ramadan can be to stay in bed and miss Suhur before dawn, especially as you might not have much of an appetite at that time. But do try to prepare yourself a healthy meal (see suggestions above). Eating before dawn can also help manage your blood sugar and levels of cortisol (the main stress hormone). The quality of your food is vital during Ramadan and you only have a limited ‘window’ each day in which to eat to eat and drink so try to make it count.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eTalk to others.\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eBeing grateful for your community is what Ramadan is about and reaching out and talking to other women going through the menopause (or who have been through it) is a huge source of support and reassurance at any time - but may be of particular benefit if you are struggling during Ramadan.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eBe kind to yourself.\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eIf you are really struggling and break your fast don’t beat yourself up and feel you have failed – make it up at another time.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eKeep your cool.\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eTo help reduce the likelihood of overheating and triggering a hot flush wear loose clothing in breathable fabrics, especially during prayer time. Some women also recommend you avoid positioning yourself in the middle of the prayer line and join it at the end where you are less likely to become overwhelmed and overheated by people around you. Carrying a portable fan can also help.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eTry to stay active.\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eIf you feel tired from fasting it can be hard to motivate yourself to exercise. Whilst nobody is suggesting you do a high intensity work-out, walking before and after Iftar can be a simple way to keep active, reduce stress and help you sleep.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eRest and relax.\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eMenopause is well-documented for its ability to disrupt your sleep and during Ramadan the lack of food and disruption to your usual sleep and eating habits can make you feel particularly tired and possibly stressed. If you feel you need it, take a short nap during the day but no longer than 30 minutes as much more can leave you feeling drowsy and groggy. There are useful tips here on how to reduce stress and anxiety during menopause and there are more helpful tools and tips on the free \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/pages\/menopause-perimenopause-app\" target=\"_blank\"\u003eHealth \u0026amp; Her app\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "675653026098", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Ramadan_768x.jpg?v=1709566383", "title" : "Tips for Surviving Ramadan during perimenopause and menopause", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=228" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=228" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=228" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/228" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 25, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/low-energy/", "name": "Low energy", "description": "Energy levels can fluctuate in perimenopause and menopause. Browse our range of supplements and products that women have chosen to support their energy levels.", "id": 228, "term_id": 228, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "low-energy" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606517297458", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Dr-R-Tomlinson-Headshot-576x768_small.jpg?v=1697653989", "name" : "Dr Rebeccah Tomlinson", "summary" : "", "title" : "General Practitioner" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Pms-pmdd-or-Perimenopause_1200x.jpg?v=1700495103", "html" : "\u003cp\u003eIt is a rare woman who has never experienced some symptoms of PMS (Premenstrual syndrome) and it is estimated that at least 90% of us will be familiar with at least some of the common ones like bloating, abdominal cramps, headache, feeling irritable, angry, emotional, tearful and having cravings for refined carbohydrates and sugar. Whilst these side effects might be inconvenient, and not exactly cause for celebration, most of us learn to live with them. However, an estimated 5-8% of women have a much, much tougher time of it suffering with a particularly severe and disabling form of PMS known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder – or PMDD.\u003ca name=\"_ftnref1\" href=\"#_ftn1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e The good news is that both PMS and PMDD tend to be resolved when you hit the menopause. The bad news is that as you transition into the perimenopause phase they can actually get worse. Plus, to confuse things further symptoms of perimenopause can be strikingly similar to those of PMS. How then, do you unpick one set of symptoms from the other, and what can you do to alleviate them?\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003ePMS, PMDD and perimenopause; what is the difference?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003ePMS\u003c\/strong\u003e – Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is the name given to the physical and emotional symptoms experienced by women weeks before their monthly period. According to the National Association for Premenstrual Syndromes over 150 symptoms of PMS have been identified\u003ca name=\"_ftnref2\" href=\"#_ftn2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e but as Dr Rebeccah Tomlinson, a GP and menopause expert, explains it is generally characterised by a cluster of symptoms that commonly include:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003eBreast tenderness\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eAbdominal cramps\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eBack pain\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eNausea\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eDiarrhoea or constipation\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eBloating\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eHeadaches\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eFatigue\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eIntolerance to alcohol\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eSpots or acne\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eMood swings and tearfulness\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eFeeling out of control\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eSocial withdrawal\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eTrouble thinking and concentrating\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eInsomnia\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eIrritability and anger\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eFeeling of sadness and despair\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp\u003eExperts are unsure what exactly causes PMS but it is generally agreed it is related to changes in levels of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone.\u003ca name=\"_ftnref3\" href=\"#_ftn3\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e Some women will sail through life with no PMS symptoms or very mild ones, for others they may be moderate to severe and for most of us will be somewhere in between. Symptoms of PMS, in particular period pain, are also known to get worse if you are under severe stress.\u003ca name=\"_ftnref4\" href=\"#_ftn4\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003e There is no simple ‘cure’ for PMS but the condition can usually be managed well with lifestyle changes. All symptoms, however, should subside a few days after your period begins.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003ePMDD\u003c\/strong\u003e – (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) Symptoms of PMS and PMDD can be similar but what marks them out as different is the severity and intensity of them. PMDD is a far more severe and debilitating form of PMS that is believed to affect around 5-8% of women and can hugely diminish their quality of life – affecting some for around two weeks of every month. Symptoms can include painful cramps, joint and muscle pain, depression, suicidal thoughts, panic attacks and anxiety, severe mood swings, bouts of crying, lack of motivation and interest in daily activities you normally enjoy, trouble sleeping, difficulty in focusing and binge eating. Nobody knows why some women appear to suffer so severely – it seems some are more hypersensitive to changing levels of hormones, particularly progesterone, but you are at an increased risk if there is a family history of it or severe PMS and\/or a history of depression or other mood disorders. Smoking also appears to make it worse.\u003ca name=\"_ftnref5\" href=\"#_ftn5\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhat can also distinguish PMS from PMDD is that in PMDD psychological symptoms can be more of an issue than physical ones. Many women living with PMDD report feeling deeply depressed and it is suggested this may be linked to compromised levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin – a brain chemical responsible for regulating, and stabilising, mood and sleep.\u003ca name=\"_ftnref6\" href=\"#_ftn6\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e Low serotonin levels are associated with increasing anxiety, sadness, low mood, insomnia, impulsive behaviour and social anxiety and suicidal thoughts.\u003ca name=\"_ftnref7\" href=\"#_ftn7\"\u003e[7]\u003c\/a\u003e Dr Tomlinson adds, ‘PMS and PMDD is more common in non-Caucasian ethnicities and is less prevalent in Asian communities – leading to the view that genetics and lifestyle factors, like diet, could also play a part.’ Both PMS and PMDD symptoms can worsen as you enter perimenopause.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003ePerimenopause\u003c\/strong\u003e – Typical symptoms of \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-perimenopause\/\"\u003eperimenopause\u003c\/a\u003e – the transitional time leading up to the menopause which most women go through in their mid-40s – can be startlingly similar to those of PMS including mood swings, bloating, headache, feelings of anger, brain fog and loss of libido (and these are just \u003cem\u003esome\u003c\/em\u003e of the overlapping symptoms). The reason both PMS and PMDD can get worse during perimenopause is because your periods start to become increasingly erratic as your hormones are fluctuating more – often becoming more frequent and heavier or less frequent and lighter, or a combination of both – making symptoms harder to manage as they become increasingly unpredictable. Both PMS and PMDD tend to be resolved as you reach \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-menopause\/\"\u003emenopause\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHow do you know if YOU have PMS, PMDD or are perimenopausal?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eIf you have always suffered with moderate to severe PMS the idea that you might be perimenopausal might not even be on your radar given the symptoms can be so similar. So how do you differentiate between them? Dr Rebeccah Tomlinson explains, ‘If your symptoms happen in the two weeks before your period and then stop it is probably PMS. If you’ve been experiencing them continuously, at any time of the month, or they have only recently started this is likely to suggest you are in perimenopause.’\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eDo PMS and PMDD get worse as you age? \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eYes. Your usual PMS symptoms can also feel more intense and might also be exacerbated by the onset of perimenopausal symptoms like hot flushes, night sweats, brain fog and vaginal dryness. You may also experience low mood and feel teary more frequently. Once your periods stop your PMS symptoms will stop although it should be pointed out that some menopause symptoms can be similar to those of PMS like breast tenderness, bloating and mood swings. Similarly, symptoms of PMDD can worsen in the run up to perimenopause and become harder to manage as your hormones become increasing erratic.\u003ca name=\"_ftnref8\" href=\"#_ftn8\"\u003e[8]\u003c\/a\u003e However, these should also resolve as you transition into menopause and your hormones ‘level out’.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat can help PMS, PMDD and Perimenopause?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhatever your age there are medical interventions and lifestyle changes that can help considerably with PMS, PMDD and perimenopause:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eMedical treatments – \u003c\/strong\u003eMost women with PMS manage their symptoms with lifestyle changes, as do many women going through perimenopause, but those with PMDD or more severe PMS or perimenopausal symptoms may require medical treatment. Dr Rebeccah Tomlinson outlines what is available:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eBirth control pills\u003c\/strong\u003e. Taking a combined contraceptive pill and one that contains drospirenone (for example, Yasmin or Lucette) can be effective in reducing symptoms of PMS and PMDD.\u003ca name=\"_ftnref9\" href=\"#_ftn9\"\u003e[9]\u003c\/a\u003e The pill can be taken continuously to avoid having a monthly period. The theory is that by doing this you should avoid the hormonal changes that cause the unwanted symptoms.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHRT\u003c\/strong\u003e. \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/hormone-replacement-therapy-hrt-guide\/\"\u003eHormone replacement therapy\u003c\/a\u003e can be helpful for perimenopause-related symptoms as it helps to replace and balance fluctuating and declining hormones.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eProstap\u003c\/strong\u003e. This is a hospital-initiated medication that can be used for a six-month period to try and subdue all female hormones in the body.\u003ca name=\"_ftnref10\" href=\"#_ftn10\"\u003e[10]\u003c\/a\u003e HRT can be used to manage any menopausal symptoms that may occur when using this medication.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAntidepressants – \u003c\/strong\u003eSelective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Sertraline or Fluoxetine can be helpful in all three conditions but they do have some unwanted side effects such as loss libido and mood changes. Many women also report nausea and tiredness as common symptoms.\u003ca name=\"_ftnref11\" href=\"#_ftn11\"\u003e[11]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSurgery\u003c\/strong\u003e. A hysterectomy – the surgical removal of the ovaries and the uterus – can be life-changing for some women with debilitating symptoms.\u003ca name=\"_ftnref12\" href=\"#_ftn12\"\u003e[12]\u003c\/a\u003e HRT can be given to prevent and\/or manage any menopausal symptoms.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eLifestyle changes\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eThere are also a range of things you can incorporate into your life to help manage your symptoms better – all of which can be done in tandem with medication if you have been prescribed any – including:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTracking your symptoms\u003c\/strong\u003e. \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/menopause-perimenopause-app\/\"\u003eDownload the free Health\u003c\/a\u003e \u0026amp; Her symptom tracker and try to establish your premenstrual patterns over two or three menstrual cycles. Log not only the frequency of your periods (marking the days when they start and when they end) but also chart your moods, potential food cravings and pick up on any potential triggers (like caffeine or stress) that exacerbate your symptoms (here are the most common \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/worsen-perimenopause-menopause-triggers\/\"\u003eperimenopause and menopause triggers\u003c\/a\u003e). This will not only give you the information you need to make changes yourself but also will provide a good record of information when, or if, you need to talk to your GP or health specialist about your symptoms.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eDiet\u003c\/strong\u003e. A healthy, balanced diet will help keep you generally healthier but there are certain foods that appear to be particularly helpful in reducing symptoms of PMS and perimenopause. These include ones high in omega 3 like oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), nuts, seeds (like pumpkin and linseed), pulses and extra virgin olive oil which may improve the severity of PMS\u003ca name=\"_ftnref13\" href=\"#_ftn13\"\u003e[13]\u003c\/a\u003e and some menopausal symptoms.\u003ca name=\"_ftnref14\" href=\"#_ftn14\"\u003e[14]\u003c\/a\u003e If you feel you don’t get enough from your diet taking a \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/cognitive-function\/health-her-omega\/\"\u003esupplement\u003c\/a\u003e can help. There is also evidence to show that women who eat a diet rich in calcium (good food sources include dairy foods, canned sardines, soybeans and green leafy vegetables) and vitamin D (found in small amounts in oily fish, egg yolks and liver but mainly produced on the skin on exposure to UV light) are less likely to suffer with PMS.\u003ca name=\"_ftnref15\" href=\"#_ftn15\"\u003e[15]\u003c\/a\u003e Cutting down on salt can help reduce bloating, fluid retention and breast tenderness. Eating \u003cem\u003eregularly\u003c\/em\u003e is also important to maintain healthy blood sugar levels – when it drops you are likely to feel headache-y, light-headed, stressed, irritable and have difficulty concentrating, plus you will probably crave sugary or white refined carbohydrate foods (like white pasta and\/or bread and cake) – symptoms which, of course, are not dissimilar to those of PMS and perimenopause. So try to eat well, including plenty of fruit and vegetable; complex carbohydrates (like brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and pulses), some sources of calcium-rich dairy (like live yogurt, milk and cheese) and lean protein (chicken, eggs, tofu, fish) – and eat regularly. For more healthy food suggestions read Nutritional Therapist Rosie Letts’ advice in \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/diet-balance-hormones-menopause\/\"\u003eDiet and recipes to help balance hormones in menopause\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eEvidence shows that supplements can be another useful tool when managing PMS and perimenopause symptoms. It has been shown, for example, that those experiencing PMS can benefit from taking Vitamin B6 which can help to support hormone regulation, energy and the nervous system. Making sure you are getting adequate amounts of iron can also help contribute to normal cognitive function when you are premenstrual. These nutrients, and more, can be found in \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/cognitive-function\/health-her-premenstrual-multi-nutrient-support\/\"\u003eHealth and Her Pre Menstrual Multi-Nutrient Support Supplement\u003c\/a\u003e The tiredness which is so often a side effect of perimenopause can be helped by getting adequate amounts of vitamins B6 and C and the mineral magnesium. If you are experiencing tired and achy muscles – another one of the common side effects of perimenopause – Vitamin D3 and magnesium have been shown to help to support muscle function. Vitamins B6, B12, C and magnesium are also known to help support normal psychological functioning. These nutrients are included in the best-selling \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/perimenopause\/health-her-perimenopause-food-supplement-60-caps\/\"\u003eHealth and Her Perimenopause Multi-Nutrient Support Supplement\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eStudies have shown that doing regular aerobic exercise can effectively help reduce PMS symptoms. One has shown that doing three one-hour exercise sessions over two months significantly reduced PMS symptoms in women who didn’t normally exercise.\u003ca name=\"_ftnref16\" href=\"#_ftn16\"\u003e[16]\u003c\/a\u003e Yoga can help with menstrual cramps and bloating.\u003ca name=\"_ftnref17\" href=\"#_ftn17\"\u003e[17]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eManage stress. \u003c\/strong\u003eThere is research to link increased stress (particularly early on in your cycle – around two weeks before your period starts) and increasingly severe PMS symptoms. Researchers suggest that the stress hormone cortisol may exacerbate PMS symptoms by stopping ovulation, which can affect when, and if, your period starts.\u003ca name=\"_ftnref18\" href=\"#_ftn18\"\u003e[18]\u003c\/a\u003e Exercise is one of the most well-documented effective ways to manage stress and getting enough sleep will help and Dr Shilpa McQuillan offers other helpful suggestions in \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/stress-anxiety\/stress-and-anxiety\/\"\u003eCoping with stress and anxiety during menopause.\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAvoid caffeine and alcohol\u003c\/strong\u003e. Sorry coffee and tea lovers but the more caffeine you consume, the more likely you are to suffer with PMS and have longer and heavier periods.\u003ca name=\"_ftnref19\" href=\"#_ftn19\"\u003e[19]\u003c\/a\u003e It has been suggested that caffeine can cause sleep problems in those who are sensitive to it and may also interfere with the absorption of some important nutrients including calcium and magnesium.\u003ca name=\"_ftnref20\" href=\"#_ftn20\"\u003e[20]\u003c\/a\u003e And as comforting as drowning your PMS or perimenopause sorrows with alcohol might seem, research analysing 19 studies into the effects of alcohol on PMS found that it was 45 per cent higher in those who drank as opposed to those who didn’t. That risk increased to 79 per cent for women classed as heavy drinkers (taken to mean more than one drink a day).\u003ca name=\"_ftnref21\" href=\"#_ftn21\"\u003e[21]\u003c\/a\u003e The study concludes, however, that more research is needed to establish the exact level of alcohol likely to cause problems but most of us can testify to the fact drinking alcohol can contribute to feelings of anxiety and these can be magnified when you are premenstrual and\/or perimenopausal. In recent research carried out by Health \u0026amp; Her, alcohol is one of the \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/worsen-perimenopause-menopause-triggers\/\"\u003emost common triggers\u003c\/a\u003e for exacerbating perimenopausal symptoms, with four out of 10 women reported becoming increasingly intolerant to its effects when they were going through perimenopause.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eCBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy)\u003c\/strong\u003e. This talking therapy has been found to be equally as effective as the antidepressant fluoxetine (Prozac) in treating symptoms of PMDD.\u003ca name=\"_ftnref22\" href=\"#_ftn22\"\u003e[22]\u003c\/a\u003e Our CBT expert gives her insight into \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/cbt-for-menopause\/\"\u003eCBT for menopause\u003c\/a\u003e There is also a CBT tool on the \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/menopause-perimenopause-app\/\"\u003efree Health and Her app\u003c\/a\u003e (download from the Apple Store or Google Play).\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eStop smoking\u003c\/strong\u003e. A 2020 review of 13 studies has shown that cigarettes and e-cigarettes are linked to worse symptoms of PMS and PMDD.\u003ca name=\"_ftnref23\" href=\"#_ftn23\"\u003e[23]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSpeak to a specialist\u003c\/strong\u003e. Talk to your GP or find a menopause specialist GP or nurse through the \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/clinic\/\"\u003eHealth and Her My Menopause Centre\u003c\/a\u003e to discuss potential treatments and lifestyle changes that can help you as effectively as possible.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eFurther resources\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eNational Association for Premenstrual Symptoms\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eSources and references\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn1\" href=\"#_ftnref1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.med.unc.edu\/psych\/wmd\/resources\/mood-disorders\/menstrually-related\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn2\" href=\"#_ftnref2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.pms.org.uk\/about-pms\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn3\" href=\"#_ftnref3\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/books\/NBK560698\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn4\" href=\"#_ftnref4\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC1740691\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn5\" href=\"#_ftnref5\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC7725748\/#:~:text=Stratified%20by%20diagnosis%2C%20PMDD%20showed,)%2C%20p%20%3C%200.0001%5D.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn6\" href=\"#_ftnref6\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.healthline.com\/health\/mental-health\/serotonin#functions\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn7\" href=\"#_ftnref7\"\u003e[7]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.healthline.com\/health\/serotonin-deficiency#causes\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn8\" href=\"#_ftnref8\"\u003e[8]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.premierhealth.com\/your-health\/articles\/women-wisdom-wellness-\/what-s-worse-than-pms-pmdd#:~:text=Most%20women%20with%20PMDD%20have,over%20time%2C%20lasting%20until%20menopause.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn9\" href=\"#_ftnref9\"\u003e[9]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.rcog.org.uk\/for-the-public\/browse-all-patient-information-leaflets\/managing-premenstrual-syndrome-pms-patient-information-leaflet\/#:~:text=Combined%20oral%20contraceptive%20pill\u0026amp;text=Newer%20types%20of%20contraceptive%20pills,break%2C%20for%20better%20symptom%20control.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn10\" href=\"#_ftnref10\"\u003e[10]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.wwl.nhs.uk\/media\/.leaflets\/60a268a98bbb59.54546399.pdf\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn11\" href=\"#_ftnref11\"\u003e[11]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.nhsinform.scot\/tests-and-treatments\/medicines-and-medical-aids\/types-of-medicine\/selective-serotonin-reuptake-inhibitors-ssris\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn12\" href=\"#_ftnref12\"\u003e[12]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.nhs.uk\/conditions\/hysterectomy\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn13\" href=\"#_ftnref13\"\u003e[13]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/obgyn.onlinelibrary.wiley.com\/doi\/10.1111\/jog.15217?af=R#:~:text=difference%20(SMDs).-,Results,%E2%88%921.471%20to%20%E2%88%920.464).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn14\" href=\"#_ftnref14\"\u003e[14]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.sciencedaily.com\/releases\/2009\/01\/090128104702.htm\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn15\" href=\"#_ftnref15\"\u003e[15]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6422848\/#:~:text=Different%20studies%20suggest%20that%20calcium,to%20other%20women%20%5B22%5D.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn16\" href=\"#_ftnref16\"\u003e[16]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC3748549\/#:~:text=%5B30%5D%20Some%20researches%20showed%20that,the%20psychological%20symptoms%20of%20PMS.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn17\" href=\"#_ftnref17\"\u003e[17]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.health.com\/condition\/stress\/10-yoga-poses-that-help-with-bloating-back-pain-and-more\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn18\" href=\"#_ftnref18\"\u003e[18]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.nih.gov\/news-events\/news-releases\/prior-stress-could-worsen-premenstrual-symptoms-nih-study-finds\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn19\" href=\"#_ftnref19\"\u003e[19]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.sciencedirect.com\/science\/article\/pii\/S1658361214000651\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn20\" href=\"#_ftnref20\"\u003e[20]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.researchgate.net\/publication\/279923885_Effects_of_caffeine_on_health_and_nutrition_A_Review\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn21\" href=\"#_ftnref21\"\u003e[21]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/29661913\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn22\" href=\"#_ftnref22\"\u003e[22]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/12436805\/#:~:text=In%20conclusion%2C%20CBT%20and%20fluoxetine,be%20considered%20in%20treatment%20decisions\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn23\" href=\"#_ftnref23\"\u003e[23]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC7725748\/#:~:text=Smoking%20was%20associated%20with%20an,)%2C%20p%20%3C%200.0001%5D.\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606670913842", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Pms-pmdd-or-Perimenopause_768x.jpg?v=1700495103", "title" : "Is it PMS, PMDD or Perimenopause", "symptoms" : [ ]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606517297458", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Dr-R-Tomlinson-Headshot-576x768_small.jpg?v=1697653989", "name" : "Dr Rebeccah Tomlinson", "summary" : "", "title" : "General Practitioner" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Menopause-and-cardiovascular-disease-1600x1067_1200x.jpg?v=1700495105", "html" : "\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eDr Rebeccah Tomlinson explains why a woman’s risk of cardiovascular disease increases around the time of menopause \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eResearch shows twice as many women die from cardiovascular disease (CVD) than breast cancer in the UK.\u003ca href=\"#_edn1\" name=\"_ednref1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e It is also the leading cause of death in women worldwide.\u003ca href=\"#_edn2\" name=\"_ednref2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e Whilst breast cancer deaths have decreased dramatically since the 1970s,\u003ca href=\"#_edn3\" name=\"_ednref3\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"#_edn4\" name=\"_ednref4\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003eCVD deaths have increased – with a steep rise being seen in women under the age of 65.\u003ca href=\"#_edn5\" name=\"_ednref5\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e Coronary heart disease is a particular concern for women of perimenopause and menopause age (which typically occur from the mid 40s to 55) because prior to the \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-menopause\/\"\u003emenopause\u003c\/a\u003e a woman’s hormones give some protection against CVD. However, following the decline of heart-protective oestrogen (this hormone safeguards the arteries from a build-up of fatty plaque and helps maintain healthy levels of cholesterol, amongst other things) women of menopausal age are at an increased risk – and that risk rises with age.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eThe risk factors of menopausal heart disease\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eAge and oestrogen deficiency at the time of menopause are recognised risk factors but others include (and the more risk factors you have, the higher your risk of CVD) health conditions like:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003eHypertension (raised blood pressure) – the biggest risk for women in terms of CVD\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eEndometriosis\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/early-menopause\/\"\u003eEarly menopause\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eBreast cancer treatments like radiotherapy and chemotherapy\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp\u003eGeneral risk factors include:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003eA family history of heart disease\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eHaving diabetes\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eDyslipidaemia (unhealthy levels of cholesterol)\u003ca href=\"#_edn6\" name=\"_ednref6\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eBeing overweight or obese\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eBeing a smoker\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eInactivity\/not getting regular exercise.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eRisk factors in women under 50 include:\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003ePre-eclampsia\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eGestational diabetes\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ePolycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eEndometriosis\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eTaking the oral contraceptive pill\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eAutoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eStress\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eAnxiety\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eBreast cancer treatments\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp\u003eThere is also research to show that women who start their periods younger (before the age of 10) or after the age of 17 or older\u003ca href=\"#_edn7\" name=\"_ednref7\"\u003e[7]\u003c\/a\u003e, go through an early or premature menopause\u003ca href=\"#_edn8\" name=\"_ednref8\"\u003e[8]\u003c\/a\u003e, have children at a young age, give birth to three or more children or have a miscarriage or stillbirth are linked to an increased risk of heart and circulatory disease.\u003ca href=\"#_edn9\" name=\"_ednref9\"\u003e[9]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhy menopausal women are at particular risk of cardiovascular disease\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eDiscussions and awareness of women and the risk of cardiovascular disease have tended to be hampered by the common misconception that CVD is primarily a male problem. This lack of recognition has put women at a real disadvantage when it comes to education and treatment of heart and circulatory disease – not least because many trials, studies and potential treatments have been carried out on men only and over 8,000 female deaths are said to be attributable to ‘unequal heart attack care’. \u003ca href=\"#_edn10\" name=\"_ednref10\"\u003e[10]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eMen do tend to develop heart disease earlier than women – something generally attributed to the fact oestrogen provides women with heart-protective effects until they enter menopause. And whilst both men and women can share many CVD risk factors there may be subtle differences in how it affects them. Men tend to have more focal stenosis (narrowing of blood vessels in the body due to a build-up of arterial plaque – when cholesterol builds up in the walls of the artery) whilst women have more diffuse narrowing of the arteries and coronary artery spasm– a constriction of the muscles of the walls of the artery that can reduce or block blood flow to the heart.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/stress-anxiety\/stress-and-anxiety\/\"\u003eStress\u003c\/a\u003e, which is a very common side effect of \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-perimenopause\/\"\u003eperimenopause\u003c\/a\u003e and menopause, has also been shown to make women more susceptible to CVD – with one large study finding that women with stressful jobs have a 40% increased risk of cardiovascular disease. It also showed those worried about losing their jobs were more likely to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol. \u003ca href=\"#_edn11\" name=\"_ednref11\"\u003e[11]\u003c\/a\u003e  Stress also triggers the release of the primary stress hormone cortisol which can not only interfere with hormone balance but also contribute to you putting on \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/menopause-belly\/\"\u003eweight around your abdomen\u003c\/a\u003e which can increase your risk of CVD. Studies also suggest that high levels of cortisol can increase cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar and blood pressure.\u003ca href=\"#_edn12\" name=\"_ednref12\"\u003e[12]\u003c\/a\u003e The location and type of pain experienced many also be different in men and women. Plus women can present with slightly different symptoms to men which often means the symptoms can be misdiagnosed.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSigns of CVD in women\u003c\/strong\u003e \u003cstrong\u003einclude:\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003eAngina (chest pain) during exercise and when resting\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eRadiating pain in the jaw, left or right arm and\/or shoulder blades\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eNagging, tightening chest pains, also felt at night time\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eBack pain\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eBreathlessness\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eAccelerating heart rate\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eIndigestion\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eNausea and\/or vomiting\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eExtreme tiredness\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eComplete loss of energy\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eStress-induced symptoms\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eInability to concentrate\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHeart attack symptoms in women\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eChest pain remains the most common symptom of heart attack for both women and men according to research published in the \u003cem\u003eJournal of the American Heart Association\u003c\/em\u003e.\u003ca href=\"#_edn13\" name=\"_ednref13\"\u003e[13]\u003c\/a\u003e A recent study published in \u003cem\u003eThe Lancet Digital Health\u003c\/em\u003e has found that shortness of breath and difficulty breathing were early warning signs of an impending heart attack in women, whilst men were more likely to experience chest pain, difficulty breathing and excessive sweating.\u003ca href=\"#_edn14\" name=\"_ednref14\"\u003e[14]\u003c\/a\u003e However, women are more likely than men to report feelings of nausea and vomiting, indigestion, anxiety, dizziness with pain in the arm, neck, jaw, throat, back and in between the shoulder blades during an attack. The problem is, when these types of symptoms present in women, they tend to be attributed to non-threatening life conditions like stress, anxiety, a panic attack, acid reflux and very often menopause. This can cause a delay in treatment with potential heart-damaging and life-threatening consequences. Crucially, if you are experiencing some of the warning signs mentioned (and they can occur around a month before having an actual heart attack) contact your doctor immediately. Similarly, if you, (or a female relative or friend), are experiencing symptoms of a suspected heart attack ring 999 immediately – you needed be admitted to hospital straight away.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHow does menopause affect your heart?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWeight gain and visceral fat\u003c\/strong\u003e. As oestrogen levels decline and metabolism tends to slow many women find they put on weight (on average around 5lbs)\u003ca href=\"#_edn15\" name=\"_ednref15\"\u003e[15]\u003c\/a\u003e around typical menopause age (51 in the UK). Whilst menopause might not be directly responsible for piling on the pounds\u003ca href=\"#_edn16\" name=\"_ednref16\"\u003e[16]\u003c\/a\u003e the hormonal shifts at this time tend to affect the way the body distributes and stores fat – and it tends to accumulate around the abdomen (the so-called \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/menopause-belly\/\"\u003emenopause belly\u003c\/a\u003e). A study published in the journal \u003cem\u003eMenopause\u003c\/em\u003e found that this accumulation of visceral belly fat – even if you haven’t put on a single pound – increases the risk of atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries, raising the risk of heart attacks and stroke).\u003ca href=\"#_edn17\" name=\"_ednref17\"\u003e[17]\u003c\/a\u003e Carrying more fat around the abdomen can also lead to insulin resistance, making it harder for your body to control blood sugar levels. Having high levels of glucose in your blood can damage the arteries and increase the risk of CVD.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHigh blood pressure. \u003c\/strong\u003eLosing oestrogen can significantly increase the risk of hypertension or high blood pressure – something around 30-50% of women will develop before the age of 60. It is also the biggest risk factor for women in terms of CVD. \u003ca href=\"#_edn18\" name=\"_ednref18\"\u003e[18]\u003c\/a\u003e Symptoms that might indicate hypertension (although often hypertension is asymptomatic, often giving it the term the ‘silent killer) such as palpitations, headaches, hot flushes, pain between the shoulder blades, tiredness and sleep issues are often mistakenly attributed to stress and\/menopause.\u003ca href=\"#_edn19\" name=\"_ednref19\"\u003e[19]\u003c\/a\u003e A woman’s reproductive and hormonal health can provide useful clues to her risk – for example, going through an early menopause and having complications during pregnancy (including pre-eclampsia and high blood pressure) can be significant signposts that she may have an increased risk of hypertension as she enters the menopause. \u003ca href=\"#_edn20\" name=\"_ednref20\"\u003e[20]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHigh cholesterol\u003c\/strong\u003e. Menopause is associated with disturbances in the metabolism of lipids (or fats) as oestrogen is known to regulate cholesterol levels in the body. Lower levels of it during menopause can increase LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol and the build-up of fatty deposits in the walls of the blood vessels and decrease levels of HDL ‘good’ cholesterol – increasing the risk of heart and circulatory disease.\u003ca href=\"#_edn21\" name=\"_ednref21\"\u003e[21]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHeart palpitations\u003c\/strong\u003e. Another of the relatively common side effects of menopause is heart palpitations which often occur during hot flushes and\/or periods of anxiety. These are generally benign – and are thought to affect almost half of menopausal women – but you should consult your GP if these episodes of a racing, pounding or fluttering heart become more frequent, are becoming worse and\/or you have a history (or family history) of heart disease. Stress, lack of sleep and depression can all contribute to an increased risk of palpitations and a large study from 2021 shows that surviving on a low income, being a smoker now (or in the past), not taking much exercise and being of Hispanic descent can also raise the risk.\u003ca href=\"#_edn22\" name=\"_ednref22\"\u003e[22]\u003c\/a\u003e Reassuringly, however, whilst menopausal palpitations are common there is evidence to show they are not associated with future CVD risk.\u003ca href=\"#_edn23\" name=\"_ednref23\"\u003e[23]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eMental health issues.\u003c\/strong\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/stress-anxiety\/stress-and-anxiety\/\"\u003eStress, anxiety\u003c\/a\u003e and depression are also common side effects of menopause and research has shown that mental health issues like depression increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. In one study women with depression were shown to be more likely to develop myocardial infarction (a heart attack) or stroke.\u003ca href=\"#_edn24\" name=\"_ednref24\"\u003e[24]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHRT and heart health. \u003c\/strong\u003eResearch suggests taking \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/hormone-replacement-therapy-hrt-guide\/\"\u003eHRT\u003c\/a\u003e has little, or no, effect on increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease.\u003ca href=\"#_edn25\" name=\"_ednref25\"\u003e[25]\u003c\/a\u003e In fact, a Danish study published in the \u003cem\u003eBMJ\u003c\/em\u003e has shown that women who use it for 10 years following the menopause have a significantly \u003cem\u003ereduced\u003c\/em\u003e risk of heart failure and heart attack with no apparent risk of DVT or stroke.\u003ca href=\"#_edn26\" name=\"_ednref26\"\u003e[26]\u003c\/a\u003e Taking it in tablet form (but not patches, creams, gels or pessaries) can, however, slightly raise the risk of developing a blood clot (DVT) or a stroke. A study published in the journal \u003cem\u003eHypertension\u003c\/em\u003e has  shown that \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/hrt-menopause-symptoms-worse\/\"\u003etaking HRT orally\u003c\/a\u003e has also been shown to raise blood pressure by around 14 % more than when using it in patch form.\u003ca href=\"#_edn27\" name=\"_ednref27\"\u003e[27]\u003c\/a\u003e If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure you can still go on HRT, using other modes of delivery, but will need regular monitoring. A study from 2022 has also shown HRT to be the only available treatment that is an effective solution to menopausal heart palpitations. \u003ca href=\"#_edn28\" name=\"_ednref28\"\u003e[28]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHow to reduce the risk of CVD post menopause\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eEat a good diet. \u003c\/strong\u003eNew research links having a diet high in ultra-processed foods to a significantly increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.\u003ca href=\"#_edn29\" name=\"_ednref29\"\u003e[29]\u003c\/a\u003e  \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/weight-gain\/mediterranean-diet-menopause\/\"\u003eEating a Mediterranean diet\u003c\/a\u003e containing plenty of differently coloured fruit and vegetables, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/hot-flushes\/phytoestrogens-menopause\/\"\u003ephyto-oestrogens\u003c\/a\u003e like flax and sesame seeds, fibre-rich foods like pulses and wholegrains, fish, unsalted nuts, garlic, olive oil, herbs and spices, on the other hand, appears to significantly reduce the risk. Another cardiologist-approved diet is the DASH diet (short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) – a low salt and low sugar plan designed to reduce high blood pressure. \u003ca href=\"#_edn30\" name=\"_ednref30\"\u003e[30]\u003c\/a\u003eResearch shows sodium sensitivity increases during the menopause which not only raises the risk of high blood pressure\u003ca href=\"#_edn31\" name=\"_ednref31\"\u003e[31]\u003c\/a\u003e  but can also lead to fluid retention in the body. \u003ca href=\"#_edn32\" name=\"_ednref32\"\u003e[32]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eIncrease your Omega 3 intake\u003c\/strong\u003e– omega 3 fatty acids (found in fish and fish oils and nuts, seeds and avocados) are a type of unsaturated fat that have been shown to lower triglyceride (a type of fat in the blood) levels and increase HDL ‘good’ cholesterol in the body. Crucially, omega 3 appears beneficial for managing dyslipidaemia in post-menopausal women.\u003ca href=\"#_edn33\" name=\"_ednref33\"\u003e[33]\u003c\/a\u003e  If you don’t like eating oily fish, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/cognitive-function\/health-her-omega\/\"\u003eOmega+ supplements\u003c\/a\u003e can be a convenient way to increase your intake, look for one specifically formulated for women.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eLook after your microbiome with probiotics\u003c\/strong\u003e. A review of studies suggests supplementing with probiotics for 12 weeks may contribute to slight reductions in weight and body fat percentage.\u003ca href=\"#_edn34\" name=\"_ednref34\"\u003e[34]\u003c\/a\u003e Recent research also suggests \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/menopause\/menopause-supplement-biome-live-cultures\/\"\u003eprobiotic\u003c\/a\u003e supplementation in post-menopausal women could be a safe and effective way to manage many menopause-related conditions including high blood pressure and blood glucose and lipid metabolism. \u003ca href=\"#_edn35\" name=\"_ednref35\"\u003e[35]\u003c\/a\u003e Look for a supplement containing an abundant and diverse range – around five billion is a helpful gauge – of live cultures.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eMaintain a healthy weight\u003c\/strong\u003e. Being overweight or obese can lead to fatty substances (such as cholesterol) building up in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eDo some exercise. \u003c\/strong\u003eBeing more \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/best-exercise-menopause\/\"\u003ephysically active\u003c\/a\u003e can reduce the risk of developing heart and circulatory disease by around 35 per cent according to the BHF. It can also help to keep your weight down and reduce stress.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eKeep an eye on your blood pressure\u003c\/strong\u003e. Hypertension or high blood pressure is linked to half of all strokes and heart attacks and the BHF believe four million of us under the age of 65 are living with it untreated. The only way to know if yours is too high is to test it. You can have this done at your local pharmacy or by your GP or practice nurse. Alternatively, you can check it yourself – the BHF provides a list of recommended monitors.\u003ca href=\"#_edn36\" name=\"_ednref36\"\u003e[36]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eQuit smoking\u003c\/strong\u003e.  The British Heart Foundation estimate that at least 15,000 deaths in the UK from heart and circulatory disease are attributed to smoking.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eActively manage stress. \u003c\/strong\u003eNot only does chronic stress increase your risk of CVD there is also a stress-fat connection. Stress increases production of cortisol, dubbed the stress hormone, which stimulates the liver to increase production and release of blood sugar. If cortisol levels remain constantly high over time this can lead to insulin resistance (when your body doesn’t respond properly to the insulin produced in your body causing blood sugar problems). For advice on how to reduce, and manage, stress read \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/stress-anxiety\/stress-and-anxiety\/\"\u003eCoping with stress and anxiety during menopause: expert advice from a GP\u003c\/a\u003e. You can also find helpful relaxing breathing exercises on the free Health and Her \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/menopause-perimenopause-app\/\"\u003eMenopause app\u003c\/a\u003e (download from the Apple App Store or Google Play).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe bottom line is that heart disease does increase with age and the decline in oestrogen for women. But understanding the risks posed by cardiovascular disease during menopause can help you to make the lifestyle changes and possible treatment options you need to reduce that risk.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSources and references\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref1\" name=\"_edn1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.bhf.org.uk\/what-we-do\/news-from-the-bhf\/news-archive\/2019\/september\/heart-attack-gender-gap-is-costing-womens-lives#:~:text=Despite%20public%20misperceptions%2C%20twice%20as,of%20women%20and%20heart%20attacks.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref2\" name=\"_edn2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6479531\/#:~:text=Age%2Dstandardised%20rates%20of%20cardiovascular,%2Dadjusted%20life%2Dyears%20lost.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref3\" name=\"_edn3\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.cancerresearchuk.org\/health-professional\/cancer-statistics\/statistics-by-cancer-type\/breast-cancer#heading-Two\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref4\" name=\"_edn4\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.cancerresearchuk.org\/health-professional\/cancer-statistics\/statistics-by-cancer-type\/breast-cancer\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref5\" name=\"_edn5\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.escardio.org\/The-ESC\/Press-Office\/Press-releases\/Heart-disease-deaths-rising-in-young-women\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref6\" name=\"_edn6\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.diabetes.co.uk\/dyslipidemia.html#:~:text=Dyslipidemia%20is%20the%20term%20for,term%20is%20’lipid%20levels’.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref7\" name=\"_edn7\"\u003e[7]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ceu.ox.ac.uk\/news\/women2019s-age-at-first-menstrual-cycle-linked-to-heart-disease-risk\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref8\" name=\"_edn8\"\u003e[8]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.escardio.org\/The-ESC\/Press-Office\/Press-releases\/Premature-menopause-is-associated-with-increased-risk-of-heart-problems\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref9\" name=\"_edn9\"\u003e[9]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.bhf.org.uk\/what-we-do\/news-from-the-bhf\/news-archive\/2023\/february\/reproductive-factors-in-women-increase-cardiovascular-risk\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref10\" name=\"_edn10\"\u003e[10]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.leeds.ac.uk\/news\/article\/4328\/estimated_8000_women_die_due_to_unequal_heart_attack_care\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref11\" name=\"_edn11\"\u003e[11]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.health.harvard.edu\/healthbeat\/women-work-stress-and-heart-disease-5-ways-to-protect-yourself\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref12\" name=\"_edn12\"\u003e[12]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.urmc.rochester.edu\/encyclopedia\/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1\u0026amp;ContentID=2171\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref13\" name=\"_edn13\"\u003e[13]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ahajournals.org\/doi\/10.1161\/JAHA.119.012307\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref14\" name=\"_edn14\"\u003e[14]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.thelancet.com\/journals\/landig\/article\/PIIS2589-7500(23)00147-4\/fulltext\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref15\" name=\"_edn15\"\u003e[15]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/joinzoe.com\/learn\/menopause-weight-gain\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref16\" name=\"_edn16\"\u003e[16]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6483504\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref17\" name=\"_edn17\"\u003e[17]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/journals.lww.com\/menopausejournal\/Abstract\/2021\/06000\/Abdominal_visceral_adipose_tissue_over_the.6.aspx\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref18\" name=\"_edn18\"\u003e[18]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC2644382\/#:~:text=Hypertension%20is%20by%20far%20the,are%20often%20attributed%20to%20menopause.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref19\" name=\"_edn19\"\u003e[19]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/academic.oup.com\/eurheartj\/article\/42\/10\/967\/6120040?login=false\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref20\" name=\"_edn20\"\u003e[20]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.escardio.org\/The-ESC\/Press-Office\/Press-releases\/Hypertension-symptoms-in-women-often-mistaken-for-menopause\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref21\" name=\"_edn21\"\u003e[21]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.cdc.gov\/cholesterol\/myths_facts.htm\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref22\" name=\"_edn22\"\u003e[22]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC8064942\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref23\" name=\"_edn23\"\u003e[23]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/36256921\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref24\" name=\"_edn24\"\u003e[24]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.tandfonline.com\/doi\/full\/10.3402\/ijch.v72i0.21223\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref25\" name=\"_edn25\"\u003e[25]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.nhs.uk\/medicines\/hormone-replacement-therapy-hrt\/benefits-and-risks-of-hormone-replacement-therapy-hrt\/#:~:text=Research%20into%20HRT%20and%20other,is%20likely%20to%20be%20small.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref26\" name=\"_edn26\"\u003e[26]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/thebms.org.uk\/2012\/10\/hrt-and-cardiovascular-prevention\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref27\" name=\"_edn27\"\u003e[27]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ahajournals.org\/doi\/abs\/10.1161\/HYPERTENSIONAHA.122.19938\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref28\" name=\"_edn28\"\u003e[28]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC9710005\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref29\" name=\"_edn29\"\u003e[29]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.bhf.org.uk\/what-we-do\/news-from-the-bhf\/news-archive\/2023\/august\/ultra-processed-foods-linked-to-cardiovascular-risk#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20larger%20study,risk%20of%20any%20heart%20problems.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref30\" name=\"_edn30\"\u003e[30]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.bloodpressureuk.org\/media\/bpuk\/docs\/PP_Summer2021_AC_18_6_web2.pdf\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref31\" name=\"_edn31\"\u003e[31]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/europepmc.org\/article\/med\/1791608\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref32\" name=\"_edn32\"\u003e[32]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.sciencedirect.com\/topics\/biochemistry-genetics-and-molecular-biology\/water-retention\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref33\" name=\"_edn33\"\u003e[33]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/36641259\/#:~:text=Implications%3A%20In%20postmenopausal%20women%2C%20supplementation,not%20affect%20total%20cholesterol%20values.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref34\" name=\"_edn34\"\u003e[34]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/onlinelibrary.wiley.com\/doi\/full\/10.1111\/obr.12626\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref35\" name=\"_edn35\"\u003e[35]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/36746877\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref36\" name=\"_edn36\"\u003e[36]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.bhf.org.uk\/informationsupport\/heart-matters-magazine\/medical\/ask-the-experts\/best-heart-rate-monitor\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606670946610", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Menopause-and-cardiovascular-disease-1600x1067_768x.jpg?v=1700495105", "title" : "Menopause and cardiovascular disease", "symptoms" : [ ]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606517297458", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Dr-R-Tomlinson-Headshot-576x768_small.jpg?v=1697653989", "name" : "Dr Rebeccah Tomlinson", "summary" : "", "title" : "General Practitioner" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/BreastCheck_1200x.jpg?v=1713445255", "html" : "\u003cp\u003eIt’s completely normal and natural for your breasts to shift in size and shape and\/or become more sensitive as your oestrogen levels drop. Such as changes in breasts during menopause can, however, be disconcerting so it can be helpful to know what you can typically expect, what is potentially cause for concern and why it is so crucial to check yours to pick up on any unusual changes.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eWe know regular breast examination is important at any age, but it does become more significant around the time of menopause – not least because we know that the average age of women going through it is 51 in the UK, and two out of three breast cancers are diagnosed in women over 55\u003ca href=\"#_ftn1\" name=\"_ftnref1\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[1]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eWhy does perimenopause and menopause affect your breast tissue? \u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eBreast tissue is particularly sensitive to oestrogen, due to there being oestrogen receptors within the breast. When oestrogen levels drop, breast tissue then becomes less dense and more fatty, which can lead to your breasts looking and\/or feeling different.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eCommon changes:\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e1. Tenderness, discomfort and pain\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHormone fluctuations are known to affect breast tissue and, unfortunately, one of the side effects of this is that your boobs can start to feel uncomfortable and possibly hurt. This is often a symptom of high levels of oestrogen which is common around the time of perimenopause and can lead to an increase in the size and number of ducts and milk glands (known as lobules) which can cause your breasts to retain water – making them feel increasingly tender and uncomfortable. This can be a more noticeable problem during perimenopause when hormones surge and drop erratically making it happen unpredictably. Many women also report that this discomfort can be different to the kind of breast tenderness they might be used to – like the premenstrual variety generally experienced as a dull ache felt in both breasts. The type of breast pain many women go through during perimenopause or menopause is often described as more of a burning sensation or as a throbbing, stabbing or sharp pain. What also tends to be different is whilst the pain might be felt in both breasts it can equally affect just one of them, or part of one. It might also be felt through the armpit. This can, understandably, make everyday activities painful or uncomfortable, and can get in the way of you sleeping, exercising and\/or enjoying sex.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e2. Sagging\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eOestrogen is known to help keep the connective tissue of the breasts hydrated and elastic and is also instrumental in the production of collagen which helps to keep your skin firm. We start losing around 1% of our collagen stores annually from our mid 20s\u003ca href=\"#_ftn2\" name=\"_ftnref2\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[2]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e but going through the perimenopause speeds up that process. As levels of it diminish during perimenopause and menopause this can result in your breasts beginning to sag, change shape, or even get smaller. They may also sit lower than they once did. For many women, this can leave them feeling self-conscious and have a real impact on their self-esteem and self-image. For more insight on how your changing shape can cause self-esteem issues read \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/whoever-stole-my-body-please-return-it-immediately\/\"\u003eWhoever stole my body, please return it immediately.\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e3. Bigger breasts and swelling\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhile some women find their breasts shrink, others can find they get bigger. Around one in five women report an increase in their cup size after menopause\u003ca href=\"#_ftn3\" name=\"_ftnref3\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[3]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e and it is not uncommon to go up two sizes or more. This is often – but not always – a result of overall weight gain (it has been shown that women put on five pounds on average around the time of menopause)\u003ca href=\"#_ftn4\" name=\"_ftnref4\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[4]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e but it is also linked to the changing distribution of fat cells which can lead to you storing more fat around your bust. Several factors are thought to be responsible for this including a process called involution where the milk producing glands shut down and breast tissue is replaced by fat. Lowering levels of the hormone testosterone at this stage of life are also believed to be implicated in changing fat distribution around the body, and it becomes increasingly stored around your waist and bust. This sudden ballooning can cause you to feel like your body is not quite your own anymore and your boobs can potentially feel uncomfortably heavy. If they are not supported well with the right bra this can also put a strain on your neck, back and shoulder muscles.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e4. Itchy breasts\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhen collagen production dips, the skin around the breasts become thinner, drier, more sensitive and generally prone to itchiness. You might find you become more sensitive to some fabrics or materials, the detergents you normally use, or it could be that as you sweat more during menopause this can lead to irritation between your breasts and your bra. If your bra is not big enough to accommodate your new size this could irritate and chafe the skin, causing itching and\/or an eczema-like rash. Some women also describe feeling a sensation of having insects crawling over their skin (technically known as formication) which can cause them to scratch repeatedly at their skin.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn5\" name=\"_ftnref5\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[5]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e This condition has also been linked to falling oestrogen during perimenopause and menopause.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e5. Lumpy breast tissue\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHormone changes can also potentially cause lumps and swelling of the breast structure. The majority of these are unlikely to be a cause for concern and are due to benign conditions – cysts, fibroadenomas (small lumps that feel like marbles under the skin), and pseudo lumps (dense breast tissue) are all relatively common during menopause and perimenopause. However, it’s important to get to know your breasts and contact your GP straight away if something seems different.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cdiv class=\"hh-callout blue hh-mb-0\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eDid you know?\u003c\/strong\u003e If you are taking HRT, this contains hormones which can have the side effects of stimulating breast tissue, causing tenderness and an increase in breast size. For more information on HRT, Dr Shilpa McQuillan explains \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/hormone-replacement-therapy-hrt-guide\/\"\u003eWhat it is and who it is intended for\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/div\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cdiv class=\"hh-callout blue hh-mb-0\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eQuick tip\u003c\/strong\u003e: If your breasts are feeling swollen and painful wrap a towel or tea towel around a bag of frozen peas and hold it over them for around 10 minutes to help reduce the swelling and ease discomfort.\u003cstrong\u003e \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/div\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat you can do\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003ch4\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eCheck your breasts\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003e“The key importance of self-examination is that it helps you to know how your breasts look and feel. If you’re regularly checking, you’ll know what’s normal for you, and you’ll notice anything strange or unusual,” says Dr Kate Burns a GP, with a special interest in menopause. “All woman’s breasts are different, and it’s incredibly important to know what is normal for you. Self-checking helps you to pick up on any worries early, so you can get them dealt with as quickly as possible.”\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThough rare, changes to your breasts can potentially be among the first signs of breast cancer \u003ca href=\"#_ftn6\" name=\"_ftnref6\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[6]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e so the earlier you can pick up on anything out of the ordinary the better.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eHow to do a breast self-check\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eIdeally give them a thorough once-over every month so you can get to know what is normal for you and pick up quickly on anything potentially abnormal. To reassure you that you are doing it right download the free Health \u0026amp; Her perimenopause and menopause app (available on \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/apps.apple.com\/gb\/app\/health-her-menopause-app\/id1519199698\"\u003eiOS\u003c\/a\u003e and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/play.google.com\/store\/apps\/details?id=com.healthandher\u0026amp;hl=en_GB\"\u003eAndroid\u003c\/a\u003e). Try our breast self-check, a simple step-by-step guide with instructions and clear illustrations to help you. Self-examining your breasts on a regular basis can help towards early detection, so a nice feature of the app is the ability to add this activity to your plan and set notification reminders each month.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eBelow are some simple and initial steps:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e1. Look \u003c\/strong\u003e– Look at your breasts, then look at your armpits, across and beneath your breasts, and up to your collarbone. Do you see any changes in skin texture e.g., puckering\/dimpling, swelling in the armpit or around the collarbone or any sudden change in size or shape? Do they look a slightly different colour – are they red and inflamed or almost bruised looking?\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e2. Feel \u003c\/strong\u003e– Feel each of your breasts from your armpit, across and beneath your breasts, and up to your collarbone. Be alert to any lumps and thickening or constant, unusual pain in your breast or armpit.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e3. Notice your nipples\u003c\/strong\u003e – Look at each of your nipples in turn and check for any changes and differences between the two. Have they changed position and\/or are starting to turn inwards, are there any signs of a rash or crusting around the nipple or surrounding area? A normal nipple discharge is usually thin, cloudy, white-ish and almost clear. An abnormal discharge can present itself as grey, brown or yellow. Bloody discharge is not normal.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e4. Make a date\u003c\/strong\u003e – plan time with yourself to do a monthly check or schedule the Breast Self-Check in the plan section of the Health \u0026amp; Her app.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e7 ways to keep your breasts healthier\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e1. Go for your routine screenings\u003c\/strong\u003e. As well as examining yourself, always take up your invitation for your routine breast screening and mammograms. These are offered free of charge on the NHS every three years to all women aged 50-71, but if you notice any changes in between screenings see your GP as soon as you can. Be reassured, however, that in about 96 out of every 100 women screened the mammogram will show no signs of cancer and no further tests are needed.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn7\" name=\"_ftnref7\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[7]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e2. Get fitted for a bra\u003c\/strong\u003e. There is research to suggest a staggering 80% of us are wearing the wrong size.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn8\" name=\"_ftnref8\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[8]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e If yours is too tight, has an underwire digging into your skin or generally lacks support this can lead to discomfort and\/or also cause skin to become irritated. Many women say wearing a supportive sports bra works best for them and also add that wearing it in bed helps with any pain or discomfort that might be getting in the way of them sleeping. Research published in \u003cem\u003eBreast Journal\u003c\/em\u003e also reveals 72% of women who regularly exercise reported exercise-induced breast pain so a well-fitting sports bra should always be worn if you work out or go running.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn9\" name=\"_ftnref9\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[9]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e3. \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eKeep a lid on caffeine\u003c\/strong\u003e. This is a diuretic, which means it can cause your body to get rid of water and in large quantities will make you pee more. Experts suggest you drink no more than three or four regular sized coffees or teas a day but if you have noticed caffeine (which is also found in energy drinks, cola, and hot chocolate) is exacerbating your breast soreness it might be helpful to try and avoid it and go for decaffeinated alternatives. Research confirms that cutting down on caffeine helps to manage breast pain. \u003ca href=\"#_ftn10\" name=\"_ftnref10\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[10]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e4. \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eEat a menopause-friendly diet\u003c\/strong\u003e. There is some evidence to suggest a high fat diet is linked to worsening breast swelling and tenderness. \u003ca href=\"#_ftn11\" name=\"_ftnref11\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[11]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e A lower fat, largely plant-based one, on the other hand, appears to help reduce symptoms. Aim to limit the amount of salt in your diet (not just by adding it to food but by checking the amounts in shop-bought meals and products) as too much salt can cause fluid retention which has been linked to breast pain. It can be helpful to log down in a \u003cstrong\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/symptom-tool\/\"\u003esymptom tracker\u003c\/a\u003e \u003c\/strong\u003ewhat you eat or drink so you can pinpoint either the onset of pain, or worsening of it, so you can avoid the triggers. Here is more information on menopause nutrition and what to eat for a healthy happy menopause – \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/menopause-nutrition-how-to-eat-for-a-healthier-happier-menopause\/\"\u003eMenopause nutrition: how to eat for a happier, healthier menopause.\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e5. \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eKeep well hydrated\u003c\/strong\u003e. Having hot flushes and night sweats can cause dehydration and potentially leave you with dry, irritated and itchy skin, including around your breast. Even mild dehydration can also cause fluid retention, which can worsen breast tenderness and pain. Try to drink plenty of water throughout the day and include water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables in your diet. And limit, or stop drinking alcohol – it will dehydrate you and is also linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. For more benefits of not drinking read \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/how-does-alcohol-affect-menopause\/\"\u003eHow does alcohol affect menopause?\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e6. \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eStop smoking\u003c\/strong\u003e. Studies\u003ca href=\"#_ftn12\" name=\"_ftnref12\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[12]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e have shown a link between smoking and breast pain – which is yet another reason to cut down, or ideally stop.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e7. \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eMaintain a healthy weight\u003c\/strong\u003e. Being overweight or obese raises your risk of breast cancer. Being overweight also raises the risk of the disease coming back in women who have had it. \u003ca href=\"#_ftn13\" name=\"_ftnref13\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[13]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eSources \u0026amp; references:\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref1\" name=\"_ftn1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e breastcancer.org, 2022\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref2\" name=\"_ftn2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/parjournal.net\/article\/view\/3863\"\u003ehttps:\/\/parjournal.net\/article\/view\/3863\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref3\" name=\"_ftn3\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/15223108\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref4\" name=\"_ftn4\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/joinzoe.com\/learn\/menopause-weight-gain\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref5\" name=\"_ftn5\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.medicalnewstoday.com\/articles\/321896#causes-of-formication\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref6\" name=\"_ftn6\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.cancerresearchuk.org\/about-cancer\/breast-cancer\/symptoms\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref7\" name=\"_ftn7\"\u003e[7]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.gov.uk\/government\/publications\/breast-screening-helping-women-decide\/nhs-breast-screening-helping-you-decide\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref8\" name=\"_ftn8\"\u003e[8]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC2275741\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref9\" name=\"_ftn9\"\u003e[9]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/26661830\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref10\" name=\"_ftn10\"\u003e[10]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/2927749\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref11\" name=\"_ftn11\"\u003e[11]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/2899188\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref12\" name=\"_ftn12\"\u003e[12]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC4960349\/#B2\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref13\" name=\"_ftn13\"\u003e[13]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.breastcancer.org\/risk\/risk-factors\/being-overweight\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606538629426", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/BreastCheck_768x.jpg?v=1713445255", "title" : "Breast changes during perimenopause and menopause (and the reason you need to keep checking yours)", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=241" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=241" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=241" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/241" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 1, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/breast-pain/", "name": "Breast pain", "description": "Health and Her have researched and selected products that may help to relieve menopause related symptoms. ", "id": 241, "term_id": 241, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "breast-pain" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606517297458", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Dr-R-Tomlinson-Headshot-576x768_small.jpg?v=1697653989", "name" : "Dr Rebeccah Tomlinson", "summary" : "", "title" : "General Practitioner" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Menopause_testosterone_denys-nevozhai-z0nVqfrOqWA-unsplash-1600x1067_1200x.jpg?v=1697662789", "html" : "\u003cp\u003eTestosterone tends to be primarily spoken of as a ‘male’ hormone but, along with oestrogen and progesterone, it is also an important one for women. Getting enough of it is important for energy levels, a healthy sex drive, maintaining muscle mass and bone health during menopause\u003ca href=\"#_ftn1\" name=\"_ftnref1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e and some studies suggest it can help with psychological and other physical symptoms.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn2\" name=\"_ftnref2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e Levels of it, however, decline gradually with age and tend to plateau around the time many women enter \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-perimenopause\/\"\u003eperimenopause\u003c\/a\u003e and this can lead to a \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/loss-of-sex-drive\/loss-of-sex-drive-at-menopause-is-it-biological-or-psychological\/\"\u003eloss of sex drive\u003c\/a\u003e, energy, low mood and harm concentration and confidence levels.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn3\" name=\"_ftnref3\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e It also has a part to play in bone, muscle and skin health.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eRecent data analysed by \u003cem\u003eThe Pharmaceutical Journal\u003c\/em\u003e reveals NHS prescriptions for it have risen 10 fold in the last seven years but given that many women may be getting it privately means those figures may be higher [figure t\/c from NHS FOI request as to what percentage of women have been prescribed it on the NHS].\u003ca href=\"#_ftn4\" name=\"_ftnref4\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003e The fact that it is also referred to as the ‘mojo hormone’ and some menopause experts are currently describing it as ‘the missing piece of the menopause jigsaw’ when taken alongside standard HRT – it is perhaps unsurprising that it is fast becoming a focus of menopause treatment and many women are evangelical about its benefits. Many have been posting on social media that after using it they have more energy, stamina, sleep better, think more clearly and their mood improves. Various newspaper coverage reflects many women’s positive experiences of how their brain fog has lifted, they have renewed enthusiasm for life and their ‘sexual spark has been reignited’.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn5\" name=\"_ftnref5\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eBut whilst it could be a game changer for many \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/symptom-tool\/\"\u003emenopausal symptoms\u003c\/a\u003e its role remains slightly controversial and it is not suitable for everyone.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eBenefits of testosterone for women\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eOestrogens are the dominant sex hormones for women but androgens like testosterone (partially produced by the ovaries and also the adrenal glands in women) also play an important role. Although women produce around one tenth of the amount that men do, it is equally important for both and contributes to sexual desire, arousal and orgasm. It is also linked to improved bone health and the maintenance of muscle mass plus increased energy, stamina and concentration.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn6\" name=\"_ftnref6\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e Testosterone is also linked to the neurotransmitter dopamine (this relationship is a bi-directional one so testosterone affects dopamine and dopamine affects testosterone). Dopamine is said to play a role in pleasure, concentration and decision-making.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn7\" name=\"_ftnref7\"\u003e[7]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat happens to levels during menopause?\u003c\/strong\u003e \u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhilst levels of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone decrease significantly around the time of \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-menopause\/\"\u003emenopause\u003c\/a\u003e, testosterone levels do not. These show a very gradual decline with age, where they tend to plateau at around 40 for women. For many, these declining levels are barely perceptible but others will be more sensitive to their effects and find their libido is almost non-existent and their energy and ability to concentrate are equally flagging.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhilst dwindling testosterone is a natural part of ageing (for both women and men) one major cause of testosterone deficiency in women is surgical menopause (when a woman has her ovaries removed as part of a hysterectomy or other procedure) – when levels of it can drop quite dramatically, very quickly.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eA Global Consensus Position Statement on the Use of Testosterone Therapy for Women in 2019\u003ca href=\"#_ftn8\" name=\"_ftnref8\"\u003e[8]\u003c\/a\u003e recommended testosterone only for postmenopausal women who have hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) – that is persistent lack of desire after other factors have been taken into consideration and ruled out (like depression, relationship problems, ill health, medication.) The National Institute for Health \u0026amp; Care Excellence (NICE) and The British Menopause Society (BMS) recommends testosterone as a medication for low libido for some women.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn9\" name=\"_ftnref9\"\u003e[9]\u003c\/a\u003e The BMS say that if a woman has low testosterone levels but is not complaining about low libido or other life-affecting symptoms, there is no need for her to be routinely prescribed testosterone.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn10\" name=\"_ftnref10\"\u003e[10]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSigns and symptoms of low testosterone in women\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003eDecrease in sex drive (including sexual thoughts or fantasies)\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eDifficulty becoming aroused or reaching orgasm\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eExtreme tiredness and fatigue\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eLack of concentration\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eMuscle weakness\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eThinning hair\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eWeight gain\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eMood swings\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eHeadaches\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHow do you know if you need testosterone during menopause?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eA diagnosis of low testosterone is usually made based on your symptoms and medical history alone – there is generally no need for a blood test but it can occasionally be useful in some cases to confirm if your levels are low.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eTestosterone is usually only prescribed by a GP or menopause specialist if a woman’s sex drive does not improve after using standard \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/hormone-replacement-therapy-hrt-guide\/\"\u003eHRT\u003c\/a\u003e. Testosterone must always be used in addition to standard HRT as it works more effectively when used alongside oestrogen. Dosage is important – too much can cause nasty side effects (see below) and too little will be ineffective. It is also important not to think of it as a quick fix – it can take between three and six months to notice an improvement and if there isn’t one after this time I would recommend you stop using it.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTaking testosterone during menopause\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eTestosterone is usually prescribed as a gel or cream and is rubbed into the skin. Products that are commonly prescribed include:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003eTostran® – a gel that comes in a pump dispenser which you use three times a week\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eTestogel® – a gel that comes in a sachet that you use over a week.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp\u003eTestosterone is not, however, officially licensed in the UK to treat low sex drive in menopausal women and, as such, is known as an ‘off-label’ medicine in that the manufacturer of it has not specified that it can be used for women for this purpose. There does, however, seem to be irrefutable evidence that it can boost low libido and so doctors and menopause experts can prescribe it for this reason – but only for this reason. Rigorous research carried out by Professor Susan Davis involving 36 trials and 8,480 women concluded it does increase desire, pleasure and arousal but that no benefits were found to suggest it improved mood, brain health, bone density or muscle strength.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn11\" name=\"_ftnref11\"\u003e[11]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eResearchers are currently in the process of developing the world’s first testosterone patch for post-menopausal women. Clinical trials begin in the UK in the Autumn of 2023.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn12\" name=\"_ftnref12\"\u003e[12]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSide effects of testosterone during menopause\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eThere aren’t usually any side effects from testosterone – the amount you are prescribed is intended to help levels return to pre menopause levels not push them abnormally high. However, if you have used too much over time you could see some of the side effects listed below. It is also not uncommon to find you notice more hair growth in the areas where you apply the gel but this is generally avoided by applying it to areas with few hair follicles like the inner thigh or buttocks.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThere is some evidence to suggest high testosterone levels are related to increased cancer risk\u003ca href=\"#_ftn13\" name=\"_ftnref13\"\u003e[13]\u003c\/a\u003e and women who have hormone-sensitive breast cancer or liver disease should not be prescribed it.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn14\" name=\"_ftnref14\"\u003e[14]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSigns and symptoms of high testosterone in women\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003eIncreased body hair, including facial hair\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eGreasy skin and acne\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eBalding\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eDecrease in breast size\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eIncreased muscle mass\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eDeepening of the voice\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eEnlarged clitoris\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHow to increase testosterone naturally in women\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003eSome studies (on men) have shown that having a \u003cstrong\u003ediet high in ultra-processed foods\u003c\/strong\u003e appears to reduce levels of testosterone but eating healthy natural foods, particularly those which are good sources of the mineral zinc and also vitamin D,\u003ca href=\"#_ftn15\" name=\"_ftnref15\"\u003e[15]\u003c\/a\u003e appear to help maintain normal testosterone levels. Key testosterone-maintaining foods include oysters and shellfish, avocadoes, salmon and mushrooms. Vegan options include tofu, pulses, oats, walnuts, cashew nuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds and spinach. Chickpeas, lentils and beans are also a good source and research suggests sprouting, \u003ca href=\"#_ftn16\" name=\"_ftnref16\"\u003e[16]\u003c\/a\u003esoaking or fermenting them can improve zinc levels further. Nutritional Therapist Helen Roach discusses this more in \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/weight-gain\/foods-boost-testosterone-menopause\/\"\u003eFoods that boost testosterone in menopause\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSleep\u003c\/strong\u003e. This is when your body produces hormones including testosterone and if you are not getting enough (and this is generally taken to mean between seven and nine hours nightly) it could be affecting your production of testosterone.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn17\" name=\"_ftnref17\"\u003e[17]\u003c\/a\u003e Given that in recent Health \u0026amp; Her research women report sleep disruptions and tiredness as one of their most common perimenopause and menopause symptoms, this could potentially be influencing your testosterone levels. If you are struggling to get enough, Nutritional Therapist Rosie Letts suggests a range of \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/sleeping-problems\/nutrition-for-sleep-en\/\"\u003enatural ways to improve your menopause sleep.\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eReducing caffeine.\u003c\/strong\u003e Caffeine has been shown to increase testosterone in men but lower it in women. It is also a recognised trigger known to make perimenopause and menopause symptoms worse for many women. In Health \u0026amp; Her research, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/worsen-perimenopause-menopause-triggers\/\"\u003ecaffiene is the fourth most common trigger\u003c\/a\u003e for exacerbating perimenopausal symptoms so it should help to cut down or switch to decaf varieties of tea, coffee, cola or chocolate. This should also help improve the quality of your sleep.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eExercise\u003c\/strong\u003e. Physical activity increases testosterone because it increases muscle mass. Weight training and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) have been shown to increase testosterone levels in men. \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/weight-gain\/exercises-for-menopause-weight-gain-with-jane-dowling\/\"\u003eRegular exercise\u003c\/a\u003e will also help to keep your weight down and being overweight or obese is linked to lower testosterone.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eFrequently asked questions\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cdiv class=\"hh-callout blue hh-mb-0\"\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eQ. Is testosterone included in HRT?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eA. It is not included in hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and is usually only offered alongside it and only then prescribed if a woman reports a continued and persistent reduction in sex drive despite being on HRT.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003c\/div\u003e\u003cdiv class=\"hh-callout grey hh-mb-0\"\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eQ. Can you get testosterone prescribed on the NHS?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eA. It is not officially licensed for women in the UK but can potentially be prescribed ‘off license’ to post-menopausal women by a GP or menopause specialist if they consider it would help improve low libido. This is generally only recommended after a woman has used HRT and found no improvement in her sex drive.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003c\/div\u003e\u003cdiv class=\"hh-callout blue hh-mb-0\"\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eQ. Where is testosterone produced in women?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eA. It is produced partially by the ovaries but also by the adrenal glands in women. In men, it is mainly produced in the testes.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003c\/div\u003e\u003cdiv class=\"hh-callout grey hh-mb-0\"\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eQ. \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"font-size: 1rem; color: var(--color-body);\"\u003eWill taking testosterone make me bald?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eA. There is no evidence that testosterone or testosterone therapy is a cause of hair loss in women. Plus it is highly unlikely if you are taking it as instructed by your GP or menopause specialist.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003c\/div\u003e\u003cdiv class=\"hh-callout blue hh-mb-0\"\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eQ. \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"font-size: 1rem; color: var(--color-body);\"\u003eWill taking testosterone make me put on weight?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eA. Testosterone medications do list weight gain as a potential side effect but research appears to suggest that taking them could have a role in helping you to lose weight by decreasing body fat and increasing lean muscle mass. It is also suggested that it can indirectly help control your weight by improving mood and increasing energy levels making you more likely to be motivated to exercise.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003c\/div\u003e\u003cdiv class=\"hh-callout grey hh-mb-0\"\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eQ. Will testosterone make me more male?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eA. No, replacing testosterone back to normal levels should not have any negative side effects. Occasionally some women may experience greasier skin and acne and increased hair growth but any unwanted side effects are usually reversible by lowering your testosterone dose. Nor will it make you bulk up or become more aggressive. It is only when testosterone is given in very high doses that there are more serious effects like voice deepening and male pattern hair loss.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003c\/div\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eReferences and sources\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref1\" name=\"_ftn1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC7098532\/#:~:text=Testosterone can be important in,, sexual function, and energy.\u0026amp;text=Adequate levels of testosterone are,possibly vascular and brain function.\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref2\" name=\"_ftn2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC7999217\/\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref3\" name=\"_ftn3\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.panmerseyapc.nhs.uk\/media\/2599\/testosterone_women.pdf\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref4\" name=\"_ftn4\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pharmaceutical-journal.com\/article\/feature\/testosterone-for-menopause-why-women-face-difficulties-accessing-treatment#:~:text=On 17 February 2023, data,about the menopause in 2021\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref5\" name=\"_ftn5\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.dailymail.co.uk\/health\/article-9409805\/How-testosterone-provided-cure-businesswomans-low-libido-menopausal-brain-fog.html\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref6\" name=\"_ftn6\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC7098532\/#:~:text=Testosterone can be important in,, sexual function, and energy.\u0026amp;text=Adequate levels of testosterone are,possibly vascular and brain function. https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC7098532\/#:~:text=Testosterone can be important in,, sexual function, and energy.\u0026amp;text=Adequate levels of testosterone are,possibly vascular and brain function.\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref7\" name=\"_ftn7\"\u003e[7]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.webmd.com\/mental-health\/what-is-dopamine\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref8\" name=\"_ftn8\"\u003e[8]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/academic.oup.com\/jcem\/article\/104\/10\/4660\/5556103\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref9\" name=\"_ftn9\"\u003e[9]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/thebms.org.uk\/2023\/03\/bms-statement-on-testosterone\/#:~:text=healthcare professionals alike.-,British Menopause Society guidance follows NICE NG23 which recommends that,plateaued out and are stable.\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref10\" name=\"_ftn10\"\u003e[10]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/thebms.org.uk\/wp-content\/uploads\/2022\/12\/08-BMS-TfC-Testosterone-replacement-in-menopause-DEC2022-A.pdf\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref11\" name=\"_ftn11\"\u003e[11]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.monash.edu\/medicine\/news\/latest\/2019-articles\/large-study-shows-beneficial-role-of-testosterone-for-postmenopausal-women\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref12\" name=\"_ftn12\"\u003e[12]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/warwick.ac.uk\/newsandevents\/pressreleases\/?newsItem=8a17841a8727a18c018746616f9e0131\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref13\" name=\"_ftn13\"\u003e[13]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/15531122\/#:~:text=However, in postmenopausal women, who,with greater breast cancer risk.\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref14\" name=\"_ftn14\"\u003e[14]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.bupa.co.uk\/newsroom\/ourviews\/menopause-testosterone#:~:text=Some people can’t take,-label’ medicine for menopause.\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref15\" name=\"_ftn15\"\u003e[15]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/blog.insidetracker.com\/can-vitamin-d-restore-low-testosterone-levels#:~:text=Vitamin D and testosterone: Not,concentrations and total testosterone levels.\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref16\" name=\"_ftn16\"\u003e[16]\u003c\/a\u003e Health \u0026amp; Her research conducted Oct 2020 – Sept 2022\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref17\" name=\"_ftn17\"\u003e[17]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC4445839\/#:~:text=The majority of the daily testosterone release in men occurs during sleep.\u0026amp;text=Sleep fragmentation and obstructive sleep apnea are associated with reduced testosterone levels.\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606538531122", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Menopause_testosterone_denys-nevozhai-z0nVqfrOqWA-unsplash-1600x1067_768x.jpg?v=1697662789", "title" : "What happens to testosterone levels during menopause? And how can it affect us?", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=228" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=228" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=228" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/228" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 25, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/low-energy/", "name": "Low energy", "description": "Energy levels can fluctuate in perimenopause and menopause. Browse our range of supplements and products that women have chosen to support their energy levels.", "id": 228, "term_id": 228, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "low-energy" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=224" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=224" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=224" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/224" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 10, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/loss-of-sex-drive/", "name": "Low libido", "description": "Low libido during perimenopause and menopause is common. Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing low libido have chosen. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 224, "term_id": 224, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "loss-of-sex-drive" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=234" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=234" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=234" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/234" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 33, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/low-mood/", "name": "Low mood", "description": "Menopause mood swings, depression, emotional instability and rage can affect many parts of your life, including relationships and work. Browse our range of supplements and product that women have chosen to support normal psychological or cognitive function", "id": 234, "term_id": 234, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "low-mood" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=250" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=250" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=250" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/250" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 8, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/poor-concentration/", "name": "Poor concentration", "description": "Products to help support normal brain function*.\r\n*results may vary person to person", "id": 250, "term_id": 250, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "poor-concentration" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606517297458", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Dr-R-Tomlinson-Headshot-576x768_small.jpg?v=1697653989", "name" : "Dr Rebeccah Tomlinson", "summary" : "", "title" : "General Practitioner" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/iStock-1319103423-smaller-1600x1042_1200x.jpg?v=1697662793", "html" : "\u003cp\u003eEarly menopause is defined as when you go through menopause earlier than is typical.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eIt is something that can happen naturally or as a side effect of medical treatment but going through it earlier than your contemporaries can, potentially, be really difficult both physically and emotionally, and it can seem like the feelings of younger women experiencing it have been largely overlooked.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eUnderstanding why you’ve entered menopause early, what you can do about it and how you can access the support you need should help you to feel more in control and reassured that you are not the only one it is happening to.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat is considered early menopause? \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eIf your menopause starts between the ages of 40-45 it is classified as early menopause.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn1\" name=\"_ftnref1\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[1]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eIf you start yours before the age of 40 this is typically known as Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI) – POI accounts that approximately 3.5% of women will go through menopause under the age of 40.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn2\" name=\"_ftnref2\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[2]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe physiological changes involved in an early menopause can start up to seven years before your periods actually stop so be mindful that these can kick in for women who go through early menopause.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat causes menopause to start early?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eIn up to 90% of cases no known cause can be found\u003ca href=\"#_ftn3\" name=\"_ftnref3\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[3]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e – although it has been shown that hereditary factors can influence menopausal age. That means if your mum experienced a natural early menopause your chances of experiencing the same will be higher. to be hereditary, so runs in families. That means if your mum experienced a natural early menopause your chances of experiencing the same will be higher.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eDr Rebeccah Tomlinson, a GP, with a special interest in menopause, points to other known causes including:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSurgical menopause\u003c\/strong\u003e which happens after having your ovaries or womb or uterus surgically removed. The effects of surgical menopause are similar to those of natural menopause but they can potentially be more acute as they happen abruptly rather than building up gradually over several years.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSome cancer treatments\u003c\/strong\u003e, including chemotherapy and radiotherapy, can affect the way the ovaries work causing an early menopause for some women.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAutoimmune disease\u003c\/strong\u003e. These types of conditions are characterised by your immune system attacking itself. Examples include type 1 diabetes and thyroid conditions.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eEthnicity\u003c\/strong\u003e. Early and premature menopause tend to be more common in non-Caucasian women – up to 8% of women from an Indian background will present with POI.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat are the symptoms of early menopause?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eSymptoms will typically be the same as for any woman going through \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-menopause\/\"\u003emenopause\u003c\/a\u003e including:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSleep problems\u003c\/strong\u003e – these are often linked to night sweats which can make women anxious about falling asleep and can cause you to awaken unexpectedly making it difficult to fall back to sleep. Research suggests that often women wake just before a flush occurs triggered by a rush of adrenaline.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn4\" name=\"_ftnref4\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003e Anecdotally, many women also describe having bad nightmares and ultra-vivid or disturbing dreams as they transition into menopause.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWeight gain\u003c\/strong\u003e – it is estimated that women put on around 5lbs during the time of the menopause.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn5\" name=\"_ftnref5\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e There is no conclusive proof that menopause in itself causes this (and it is often put down to ageing and lifestyle factors). But we do know that the hormonal changes at this time can lead to fat being distributed differently around the body with many women starting to put it on around their belly. \u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eLow energy\u003c\/strong\u003e – often the result of having your sleep disrupted by night sweats which can leave you feeling physically and mentally drained but also compounded by the psychological symptoms of menopause including low mood, anxiety and fearfulness.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHot flushes and night sweats\u003c\/strong\u003e – these sensations of extreme heat spreading throughout the body are often accompanied by sweating that can be so severe you might have to change your clothes or bedding. Hot flushes and night sweats can also be accompanied by palpitations which, although generally harmless, can be frightening.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eJoint aches and pains\u003c\/strong\u003e – the hormone oestrogen is known to help regulate inflammation in the body and also keep your joints lubricated. When levels of it start to diminish during menopause this can commonly lead to joint aches and pains.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn6\" name=\"_ftnref6\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eBrain fog\u003c\/strong\u003e – this is an umbrella term for a range of cognitive symptoms that can occur during menopause including forgetfulness, feeling mentally confused. the inability to concentrate and a feeling like your brain is like ‘cotton wool’. Disrupted sleep only exacerbates these symptoms.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eStress and anxiety\u003c\/strong\u003e – feelings of anxiety, tension, fearfulness and possibly depression are common during menopause triggered by fluctuations in the hormones oestrogen and progesterone.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn7\" name=\"_ftnref7\"\u003e[7]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eLow mood\u003c\/strong\u003e – levels of the ‘feel-good’ hormone serotonin can be affected by declining levels of oestrogen during menopause. Add to this, regularly having your sleep disrupted, and this can lead to feelings of ‘flatness’ and an inability to enjoy things you used to.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eLoss of libido\u003c\/strong\u003e – decreased hormone levels can cause vaginal dryness, making sex painful. Experiencing symptoms like weight gain, fatigue, stress and hot flushes can also, and understandably, reduce your interest in sex.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eIrregular periods that then stop – \u003c\/strong\u003ethese are characteristic symptoms of perimenopause when your periods can become increasingly heavier and more frequent, lighter and more far apart or a combination of these.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch2\u003eIs there a test for early menopause?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eIf you are under 45 and seem to be experiencing menopausal symptoms, your GP is likely to suggest a \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/period-changes\/hormone-blood-test-menopause\/\"\u003eblood test to measure the level of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) in the blood\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThis hormone generally increases as you approach menopause and by measuring your blood levels of it your doctor can ascertain whether your symptoms are most likely menopause-related or not. This test is generally repeated four to six weeks later. Dr Tomlinson adds, ‘There may also be other tests needed such as genetic testing, routine blood tests and scans to determine the actual underlying cause for the change in your menstrual cycles.’\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eCan you treat early menopause?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003e‘You cannot “delay” or reverse an early menopause’, explains Dr Tomlinson, ‘you can just manage the symptoms that come along with it. The only caveat would be if you are still wishing to add to your family and if that is the case you would need to be referred to a specialist to help aid conception.’\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eTreatment is usually straightforward she says: “prescribing the combined contraceptive pill for younger women or \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/hormone-replacement-therapy-hrt-guide\/\"\u003eHRT\u003c\/a\u003e to ensure there is enough oestrogen to replace what is being lost physiologically during menopause.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHRT may also be set at much higher levels for women going through early menopause and testosterone is often also recommended if HRT or combination contraception does not alleviate all their symptoms. It is then recommended that you stay on your prescribed treatment until the age of 55, although many more women stay on HRT for much longer.”\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eThe health risks of early menopause\u003c\/strong\u003e.\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eEarly and premature menopause increases your risk of:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eOsteoporosis\u003c\/strong\u003e (brittle and thinning bones): This is because oestrogen helps protect your bones and stops bone density from falling – putting you at an increased risk of the condition. For this reason, your GP might refer you for a DEXA scan, which measures bone density (basically, the strength of your bones).\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHeart disease\u003c\/strong\u003e: Oestrogen has been shown to play a supportive role in blood pressure, cholesterol levels and reducing build-up of cholesterol plaques which form when cholesterol lodges in the coronary arteries.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eFertility problems\u003c\/strong\u003e: Permanent or fluctuating ovary cessation can have a real impact on fertility, and this can be devastating if you want a baby or wish to add to your family. In these cases, you may be referred to a specialist who can provide treatment options. It might still be possible for you to conceive using IVF and donated eggs (or your own if you have had them stored).\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eBreast cancer\u003c\/strong\u003e: Many women are concerned that going through menopause early, and taking HRT to alleviate symptoms, can lead to an increased risk of breast cancer. However, research appears to show the risk is actually\u003cem\u003e reduced\u003c\/em\u003e for women going through an earlier menopause. Those risks appear to be slashed even more if you maintain a healthy weight.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn8\" name=\"_ftnref8\"\u003e[8]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHow to cope with early menopause\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe emotional fallout after being diagnosed with early menopause can be traumatic and devastating for some, especially if you haven’t started a family or completed it. It can leave you with feelings of loss, grief, and overwhelming sadness.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eResearch shows women who go through menopause before the age of 40 report higher levels of depression and stress and lower levels of self-esteem and life satisfaction than women who go through menopause in their early 50s.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn9\" name=\"_ftnref9\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[9]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003csup\u003e,\u003ca href=\"#_ftn10\" name=\"_ftnref10\"\u003e[10]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003ePlus, when typical symptoms of menopause include mood swings, anxiety, increased stress and issues with self-esteem this can lead to a double whammy of despair.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThis is why it is so important to get the care and support you need and ideally create a network of friends, family and health professionals to help you through it.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003ePsychologist Dr Deborah Lancastle provides general advice on \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/low-mood\/coping-with-your-emotions-during-menopause\/\"\u003ecoping with your emotions during menopause\u003c\/a\u003e but it can also help to get in touch with a specialist organisations like the charity The Daisy Network\u003ca href=\"#_ftn11\" name=\"_ftnref11\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[11]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e which provides specific help for women going through early menopause.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/menopause-and-perimenopause-stories\/\"\u003eReading about other women’s experiences \u003c\/a\u003eof it can be a comfort. It is also hugely important to make time to generally look after yourself by eating well, getting enough \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/sleeping-problems\/nutrition-for-sleep-en\/\"\u003esleep,\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/best-exercise-menopause\/\"\u003eexercising regularly\u003c\/a\u003e and finding ways to \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/stress-anxiety\/how-to-manage-stress-anxiety-and-anger-and-keep-your-relationship-strong\/\"\u003emanage stress and anxiety\u003c\/a\u003e as this will help you manage your mood and symptoms generally.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eLifestyle habits to help with symptoms\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eGet enough vitamin D – \u003c\/strong\u003eAs early menopause puts you at an increased risk of osteoporosis it is important to get enough of this vitamin to support calcium absorption and healthy bone density.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn12\" name=\"_ftnref12\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[12]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e There is also research linking low levels of vitamin D with an increased risk of depression and low mood making it a crucial nutrient on many levels. Vitamin D is produced naturally on exposure to UV light but us sun-starved Brits are probably not making enough of it for around six months of the year (which is why the government guidance is that we should all be taking a 10mg supplement from October to March).\u003ca href=\"#_ftn13\" name=\"_ftnref13\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[13]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e There are some food sources including oily fish like salmon and mackerel, egg yolks, liver and fortified foods but you might not be able to get enough from food alone, so taking a supplement can help with any shortfall and when sunshine is in short supply.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eExercise – \u003c\/strong\u003eRegular weight-bearing exercise like walking, weight training, dancing, aerobics and swimming will not only help to keep your weight in check it will also help to strengthen your muscles and bones, relieve joint pain and reduce your risk of bone fractures. Regular exercise is also a well-documented way to help reduce stress, anxiety and depression\u003ca href=\"#_ftn14\" name=\"_ftnref14\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[14]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e and should go some way towards reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease. (You can find more advice on the \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/best-exercise-menopause\/\"\u003ebest exercise for menopause\u003c\/a\u003e here).\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eA menopause-friendly diet and lifestyle – \u003c\/strong\u003eTo generally help improve your health and minimise your risk of heart disease and bone and joint problems eat a healthy balanced diet (for practical advice on how read \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/menopause-nutrition-how-to-eat-for-a-healthier-happier-menopause\/\"\u003eHow to eat for a happier, healthier menopause\u003c\/a\u003e), keep physically active, limit how much alcohol you drink, if you smoke cut down or ideally stop and get your blood pressure checked regularly. Doing all this should help to mitigate against some of the potential risk factors posed by going through an early menopause.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch3\u003eSources \u0026amp; resources\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref1\" name=\"_ftn1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.nhs.uk\/conditions\/early-menopause\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref2\" name=\"_ftn2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.nhs.uk\/conditions\/early-menopause\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref3\" name=\"_ftn3\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.nhsinform.scot\/healthy-living\/womens-health\/later-years-around-50-years-and-over\/menopause-and-post-menopause-health\/early-and-premature-menopause\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref4\" name=\"_ftn4\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au\/pdfs\/Menopause.pdf\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref5\" name=\"_ftn5\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/joinzoe.com\/learn\/menopause-weight-gain\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref6\" name=\"_ftn6\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/patient.info\/news-and-features\/how-to-ease-joint-pain-during-the-menopause\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref7\" name=\"_ftn7\"\u003e[7]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/health.clevelandclinic.org\/is-menopause-causing-your-mood-swings-depression-or-anxiety\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref8\" name=\"_ftn8\"\u003e[8]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/10517172\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref9\" name=\"_ftn9\"\u003e[9]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/11076338\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref10\" name=\"_ftn10\"\u003e[10]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.kjfp.or.kr\/journal\/view.html?uid=689\u0026amp;vmd=Full\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref11\" name=\"_ftn11\"\u003e[11]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.daisynetwork.org\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref12\" name=\"_ftn12\"\u003e[12]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/theros.org.uk\/information-and-support\/bone-health\/vitamin-d-for-bones\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref13\" name=\"_ftn13\"\u003e[13]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.gov.uk\/government\/publications\/vitamin-d-for-vulnerable-groups\/vitamin-d-and-clinically-extremely-vulnerable-cev-guidance\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref14\" name=\"_ftn14\"\u003e[14]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/adaa.org\/living-with-anxiety\/managing-anxiety\/exercise-stress-and-anxiety\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eFurther resources\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.daisynetwork.org\/\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eThe Daisy Network\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e (daisynetwork.org) is a charity that offers support to women facing an early menopause.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthtalk.org\/\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHealthtalk.org\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e is an organisation which provides health information including about early menopause and features women talking about how it has affected them and experts talking about the condition.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.fertilityfriends.co.uk\/\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eFertility friends\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e is a support network for women with fertility problems.\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606538596658", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/iStock-1319103423-smaller-1600x1042_768x.jpg?v=1697662793", "title" : "What is early menopause", "symptoms" : [ ]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606537810226", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Profile-5-576x768_small.jpg?v=1697658439", "name" : "Helen Roach", "summary" : "", "title" : "Nutritionist" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Intermittent-Fasting-Article-Image_211754fb-79a1-408f-b4d0-35c51bff52d5_1200x.jpg?v=1697662788", "html" : "\u003cp\u003eThe current buzz around intermittent fasting for women has linked it to everything from improved gut and heart health to a better menopause and even a longer life. So is it simply a new fad or could intermittent fasting during menopause be a very real and effective solution to menopausal weight gain and other symptoms like brain fog? Find out how it works and what it could do for you…\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat is intermittent fasting?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eIntermittent fasting (or IF) is quite simply fasting – or not eating – for a specific amount of time. You are basically switching between periods of fasting and eating as usual. Read on the learn about the best types of intermittent fasting for menopause which vary in length of fasting and calorie intake giving you some options to choose from.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eIntermittent fasting for women\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe health benefits for women of intermittent fasting still need to be studied more extensively but research has shown it not only has a beneficial effect on managing your weight but it could also lower the risk of many chronic diseases like heart disease.\u003ca href=\"#_edn1\" name=\"_ednref1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e How does it do this? The theory is that fasting mildly traumatises cells in your body making them stronger and better able to protect you from ill health. This protective mechanism is known as autophagy.\u003ca href=\"#_edn2\" name=\"_ednref2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThese physiological changes caused by intermittent fasting could help reduce and\/or improve many of the common symptoms and medical concerns experienced by women around the time of the perimenopause and menopause (typically around the ages of 45-55). A study published in the \u003cem\u003eJournal of Mid-Life Health\u003c\/em\u003e exploring \u003cem\u003ethe Role of Therapeutic Fasting in Women’s Health\u003c\/em\u003e suggests it can help women to both lose and manage their weight; lead to better bone health and increased muscle mass; improve mental health and it has a positive effect on metabolic health (leading to more balanced levels of blood sugar, triglycerides, HDL ‘good’ cholesterol, blood pressure and abdominal fat) and it may even play a role in preventing some cancers.\u003ca href=\"#_edn3\" name=\"_ednref3\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e These are all common considerations and health issues for women at this transitional time of life and intermittent fasting is generally acknowledged to be a safe and effective.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat does fasting do for menopausal women?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe range of physiological reactions triggered by fasting also appear to impact positively on gut bacteria and the hormones that are responsible for insulin and glucose management in the body. Optimising insulin function should help keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy and normal range – protecting you from unhealthy high sugar spikes and lows (which can leave you tired and exacerbate \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/brain-fog\/menopause-mood-changes-and-brain-fog-the-surprising-cognitive-and-psychological-symptoms\/\"\u003ebrain fog\u003c\/a\u003e) and potentially from developing type 2 diabetes. \u003ca href=\"#_edn4\" name=\"_ednref4\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003e Why this is important during \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-perimenopause\/\"\u003eperimenopause\u003c\/a\u003e and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-menopause\/\"\u003emenopause\u003c\/a\u003e is that the hormonal fluctuations at this time can cause changes to your metabolism including potentially insulin resistance meaning you may have trouble processing sugar and refined carbohydrates. This can contribute to unwanted weight gain and the so-called \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/menopause-belly\/\"\u003eMenopause belly\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eThe best types of fasting for women in menopause:\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eThere are currently several popular variations of intermittent fasting (IF) including:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eOvernight fasting\u003c\/strong\u003e – this is probably the simplest method and involves a 12-hour period of fasting every day. For example, if you eat your final meal by 7pm and then resume eating again at 7am you have ‘fasted’ for 12 hours (although it probably doesn’t feel like it because you have probably been asleep for much of that time).\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTime-restricted eating – the 16:8 or 18.6 method\u003c\/strong\u003e – this is a form of daily fasting where you can only eat at certain times of the day. On the 16:8 you don’t eat for 16 hours but then eat your normal meals and snacks within an eight-hour period. Using the 18.6 plan you fast for 18 hours and then limit all the food you eat in the remaining six hours of the day.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eThe 5:2 method\u003c\/strong\u003e – this involves having two days of the week where you consume only 500 calories (there are a range of 200 calorie and 300 calorie meal recipes online to give you inspiration but these are meals that need to be nutritionally dense and packed with protein and fibre to help keep you not just healthy but fuller and more satisfied for longer). For the other five days you eat a normal healthy balanced diet (for example, like a Mediterranean-inspired one. \u003cu\u003eLink to Meno and Med Diet page\u003c\/u\u003e).\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAlternate day fasting\u003c\/strong\u003e – is as its name suggests this involves fasting every other day. The most common version of this diet involves a “altered” fasting, where you can eat around 500 calories on fasting days.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHow does Intermittent fasting work in practice? \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eBasically, by allowing you to pick a time window and setting the rules for when you eat. So, for example, many people find it easiest to confine their meals to eight hours of the day – say, from 9-5 – and then fast for the remainder.  This works well for people who prefer an early dinner and then most of the time you spend ‘fasting’ you are probably in bed so it is unlikely to feel too much like you are being deprived of food. Outside of your designated eating window you drink just water or other non-calorific drinks like tea, coffee or herbal or fruit infusions\/teas. Intermittent fasting is not about starving or deprivation – it’s about improving blood sugar balance and overall metabolic health. It should also give your GI tract a welcome rest from digestion and allow time for the beneficial bugs in your gut to flourish.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eFans of intermittent fasting are often evangelical about its benefits on their health and weight and say that they quickly get used to their new patterns of eating.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHow can intermittent fasting help with menopause?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhat we know, so far, about how IF can help menopausal women includes:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHormone changes. \u003c\/strong\u003eConcerns have been raised in the past as to whether intermittent fasting could negatively impact on female sex hormones (including potentially affecting a woman’s fertility).\u003ca href=\"#_edn5\" name=\"_ednref5\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e A recent study, however, published at the end of 2022 followed a group of pre and post-menopausal obese women over eight weeks on an intermittent fasting plan that involved eating during a four or six hour window. The women in the study lost between 3-4% cent of their baseline weight and experienced a drop in insulin resistance (when your body cannot use your insulin levels effectively and blood sugar levels can increase) but the researchers found that intermittent fasting did not change levels of female reproductive hormones.\u003ca href=\"#_edn6\" name=\"_ednref6\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e The study did reveal, however, that all the intermittent fasters showed a drop in the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone – or DHEA – and it has been suggested that since high DHEA has been linked to an increased breast cancer risk this could potentially reduce the risk for both pre-menopausal and post-menopausal women. (Figures from the NHS show that eight out of 10 cases of breast cancer happen in women over 50 and the average age of menopause in the UK is 51). The researchers are keen to point out these are preliminary findings and more research is needed, however.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eLosing weight and reducing belly fat\u003c\/strong\u003e – it probably won’t come as a huge surprise to learn that most people are trying intermittent fasting (IF) in order to lose weight – or that if you go without food for significant amounts of time you are likely to do exactly that. What is different with IF is that it improves hormone functions that appear to not only facilitate weight loss but also, significantly, keep it off – a seeming side effect of insulin levels dropping and human growth hormone (HGH) increasing. Reduced levels of insulin have been shown to help to improve fat burning: One study involving people doing alternate day fasting for eight weeks were found to have lost both weight and visceral belly fat and interestingly reported that they didn’t feel any hungrier than usual.\u003ca href=\"#_edn7\" name=\"_ednref7\"\u003e[7]\u003c\/a\u003e Higher levels of HGH help to facilitate fat burning and build muscle. Short term fasting has also been shown to increase metabolic rate helping you to burn calories faster.\u003ca href=\"#_edn8\" name=\"_ednref8\"\u003e[8]\u003c\/a\u003e According to a review of the scientific literature If can lead to weight loss of between 3-8% over 3-24 weeks.\u003ca href=\"#_edn9\" name=\"_ednref9\"\u003e[9]\u003c\/a\u003e This is a significant amount to lose in a short space of time and has led experts to suggest IF could be a useful preventative tool in reducing the risk of not just becoming overweight or obese but also developing type 2 diabetes (something many women entering menopause are more at risk of due to their age, them putting on weight and potentially having higher blood pressure).\u003ca href=\"#_edn10\" name=\"_ednref10\"\u003e[10]\u003c\/a\u003e The weight loss potential of IF is particularly pertinent for women going through the menopause as we know women put on an average of 5lbs at this time in their life and this can have a huge effect on their self-confidence as well as putting them at greater risk of certain health conditions.\u003ca href=\"#_edn11\" name=\"_ednref11\"\u003e[11]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eImproved gut health\u003c\/strong\u003e – we know that declining levels of oestrogen during perimenopause and menopause can impact on gut health. Recent data shows that women have a different microbiome to men\u003ca href=\"#_edn12\" name=\"_ednref12\"\u003e[12]\u003c\/a\u003e and during \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-perimenopause\/\"\u003eperimenopause\u003c\/a\u003e and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-menopause\/\"\u003emenopause\u003c\/a\u003e this delicate ecosystem of micro-organisms becomes less diverse\u003ca href=\"#_ftn1\" name=\"_ftnref1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e which can impact negatively on your body and psychological health – including interfering with the production of some neurotransmitters like serotonin (the so-called feel-good hormone).\u003ca href=\"#_edn13\" name=\"_ednref13\"\u003e[13]\u003c\/a\u003e The brain has a direct effect on the gut (often dubbed the second brain) and this is a bi-directional relationship (known as the gut-brain axis) – meaning an unhealthy or upset gut can lead to an upset and anxious mind. Increasing research suggests that literally giving your gut a bit of a break by fasting (ie. not eating to allow it a bit of space to recover from incessantly having to digest food can help to create a better balance of beneficial bugs) can improve the health of your gut microbiome. This, in turn, is linked to improvements in your mood and psychological health. \u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHelps reduce inflammation in your body\u003c\/strong\u003e – studies show IF can reduce inflammation in the body, a key driver of many chronic diseases including heart disease. This is significant when we know that oestrogen acts as an anti-inflammatory, and diminishing levels of it during perimenopause and menopause are thought to trigger inflammation, potentially leading to symptoms like joint pain and possibly even neurodegenerative conditions in later life.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eMay improve your heart health\u003c\/strong\u003e – Oestrogen has known heart-protective effects and perimenopausal and menopausal women experiencing declining levels of this hormone are at an increased risk of heart disease. It has been shown that regular fasting results in acute changes in biomarkers (molecules found in blood or other tissues that can detect or confirm a disease or condition) of metabolic and cardiovascular health. The long term implications of this are largely unknown and more research is needed to evaluate its role in potentially reducing the risk of metabolic disease (the medical term for high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes which put you at higher risk of heart disease and stroke) \u003ca href=\"#_edn14\" name=\"_ednref14\"\u003e[14]\u003c\/a\u003e but studies on animals show IF appears to improve numerous risk factors for heart disease including high blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides (a type of fat found in the blood) and markers of inflammation.\u003ca href=\"#_edn15\" name=\"_ednref15\"\u003e[15]\u003c\/a\u003e Intermittent fasting is also likely to help you lose and\/or manage your weight and this should also lower your risk of heart disease. \u003ca href=\"#_edn16\" name=\"_ednref16\"\u003e[16]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eMay improve your cognitive and mental health\u003c\/strong\u003e – the research into IF and brain health is largely in its infancy, but we do know fasting increases levels of a hormone called brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF). A deficiency of this has been linked to depression and a number of brain problems including issues with memory.\u003ca href=\"#_edn17\" name=\"_ednref17\"\u003e[17]\u003c\/a\u003e There is also some evidence that intermittent fasting could improve cognitive health as we get older as well as reduce problems like anxiety and depression (these are symptoms which are reported by many women going through menopause).\u003ca href=\"#_edn18\" name=\"_ednref18\"\u003e[18]\u003c\/a\u003e There is also some research to suggest that restricting calories can increase your ability to produce new brain cells, or neurons, and these could help improve some aspects of memory.\u003ca href=\"#_edn19\" name=\"_ednref19\"\u003e[19]\u003c\/a\u003e This could be potentially beneficial for oestrogen-deficient women going through menopause who are having memory lapses or other cognitive problems.\u003cstrong style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAre there any downsides?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eOverall, the evidence suggests intermittent fasting is not harmful to your physical or mental health. There are, however, some potential drawbacks including the fact that much of the evidence is based on animal studies and not human ones so we need to have more robust clinical studies – especially involving perimenopausal and menopausal women.\u003ca href=\"#_edn20\" name=\"_ednref20\"\u003e[20]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eSome critics also point out it could lead to:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eDisordered patterns of eating\u003c\/strong\u003e – by setting up a cycle of binge and restrictive eating. This is particularly pertinent if you have, or have had, an eating disorder, including anorexia or bulimia.\u003ca href=\"#_edn21\" name=\"_ednref21\"\u003e[21]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eNutritional deficiencies\u003c\/strong\u003e \u003cstrong\u003eand dehydration\u003c\/strong\u003e – if you are eating healthily during your ‘eating window’ it is unlikely you will be lacking any nutrients but if you don’t plan your meals well or your bouts of fasting become too extreme this could potentially lead to you not getting the range of nutrients you need. The key when you do eat during your designated window is not to count calories but to make what you do eat count nutritionally. Avoid processed and sugary foods and refined carbohydrates (like white bread, white rice and pasta) and go for nutrient dense foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, pulses and healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil and those found naturally in oily fish, avocados, nuts and seeds. (You can find more advice and healthy recipe and snack ideas in \u003cu\u003eMenopause and the Mediterranean diet\u003c\/u\u003e). Also, try to keep yourself well hydrated with plenty of water or herbal teas. During the initial days of fasting your body releases large amounts of water and salt and if these are not replaced you can be at risk of dehydration so drink enough fluids.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eLeaving you hungry and ‘hangry’\u003c\/strong\u003e – going without food for significant amounts of time can unsurprisingly leave you hungry and cranky. When we are hungry and our blood sugar drops we can become irritable, tired, potentially light-headed and find it difficult to concentrate (in short, symptoms of \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/brain-fog\/menopause-mood-changes-and-brain-fog-the-surprising-cognitive-and-psychological-symptoms\/\"\u003ebrain fog\u003c\/a\u003e). When you feel like this you are also more likely to crave ‘quick fix’ sugary or processed foods which are likely to send your blood sugar levels rocketing. Also if your stomach is growling the temptation is to ‘fill up’ on coffee and diet cola to take away those hunger pangs but unless you go for decaffeinated varieties this could exacerbate perimenopause and menopause symptoms. As our Health \u0026amp; Her research reveals \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/worsen-perimenopause-menopause-triggers\/\"\u003e44% of women report becoming more sensitive to the effects of caffeine\u003c\/a\u003e as they headed towards menopause.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eIt is not suitable for everyone\u003c\/strong\u003e. For example, if you have medication you are advised to take with food and\/or if you work different shifts or irregular hours it can be difficult to make intermittent fasting work around this. Also it is not recommended if you are pregnant or you have known blood sugar problems.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHow to intermittent fast during menopause\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eSo how do you make it work in practice? Nutritionist Helen Roach says,’ My advice is to follow the 16.8 version of fasting as 1. it’s fairly easy to stick to and won’t interrupt your schedule and daily eating patterns too much 2. It’s less likely to make you feel extreme hunger and lead to cravings and 3. it’s more realistic as a long-term lifestyle habit (than, say, attempting to stick to a 5:2 one. I would also suggest that 12-hour overnight fasting might not be effective enough for women who are over 40.’\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHere Helen Roach has prepared a sample day’s IF meal plan:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e7 am – Peppermint tea\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e8 am – Black coffee\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e9 am – 2 egg spinach omelette\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e11:30 am – Natural unsweetened yoghurt, blueberries, chia seeds \u0026amp; walnuts\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e2pm – Salmon \u0026amp; roast chunky veg\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e4:30pm – Baked avocado with hummus and red onion\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eFast – 5 pm-9 am\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp\u003eNB: It is better to eat as early in the day as possible as insulin is more efficient before 3 pm. Eating closer to bedtime is not advised regardless of which intermittent fasting plan you choose to follow.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eThe IF takeaway\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eIntermittent fasting appears to offer a hopeful solution to menopausal weight gain and may reduce a range of other symptoms or conditions linked to the hormonal changes that can occur at this stage of life.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eIf you have any existing health conditions or are taking medication do check with your doctor before starting an intermittent fasting plan.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eSources and references\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref1\" name=\"_ftn1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC9379122\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref1\" name=\"_edn1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.annualreviews.org\/doi\/full\/10.1146\/annurev-nutr-071816-064634\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref2\" name=\"_edn2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.sciencedirect.com\/science\/article\/pii\/S1568163718301478\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref3\" name=\"_edn3\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC4960941\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref4\" name=\"_edn4\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.sciencedirect.com\/science\/article\/abs\/pii\/S193152441400200X\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref5\" name=\"_edn5\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC3558496\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref6\" name=\"_edn6\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/onlinelibrary.wiley.com\/doi\/10.1002\/oby.23562\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref7\" name=\"_edn7\"\u003e[7]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/27062219\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref8\" name=\"_edn8\"\u003e[8]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.annualreviews.org\/doi\/full\/10.1146\/annurev-nutr-071816-064634\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref9\" name=\"_edn9\"\u003e[9]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.sciencedirect.com\/science\/article\/abs\/pii\/S193152441400200X\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref10\" name=\"_edn10\"\u003e[10]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.diabetes.org.uk\/guide-to-diabetes\/life-with-diabetes\/menopause#:~:text=The%20perimenopause%20and%20the%20menopause%20don’t%20cause%20diabetes.,also%20include%20age%20and%20ethnicity.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref11\" name=\"_edn11\"\u003e[11]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.racgp.org.au\/afp\/2017\/june\/obesity-and-weight-management-at-menopause\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref12\" name=\"_edn12\"\u003e[12]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/thegutstuff.com\/the-microgenderdome-why-the-gut-differs-between-males-and-females\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref13\" name=\"_edn13\"\u003e[13]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/joinzoe.com\/learn\/gut-brain-connection\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref14\" name=\"_edn14\"\u003e[14]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/23220077\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref15\" name=\"_edn15\"\u003e[15]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC7415631\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref16\" name=\"_edn16\"\u003e[16]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.bhf.org.uk\/informationsupport\/heart-matters-magazine\/medical\/women\/menopause-and-your-heart\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref17\" name=\"_edn17\"\u003e[17]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC4697050\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref18\" name=\"_edn18\"\u003e[18]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.mdpi.com\/2072-6643\/13\/11\/3947\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref19\" name=\"_edn19\"\u003e[19]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC7146388\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref20\" name=\"_edn20\"\u003e[20]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.sciencedaily.com\/releases\/2022\/10\/221025150257.htm\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref21\" name=\"_edn21\"\u003e[21]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.medicalnewstoday.com\/articles\/intermittent-fasting-may-lead-to-disordered-eating-study-finds\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606538498354", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Intermittent-Fasting-Article-Image_211754fb-79a1-408f-b4d0-35c51bff52d5_768x.jpg?v=1697662788", "title" : "Can Intermittent fasting help women during menopause", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=239" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=239" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=239" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/239" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 14, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/bloating/", "name": "Bloating", "description": "Bloating can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Here are some of the best supplements to help with menopause and bloating. Choose from probiotics, collagen and assorted natural supplements for menopause bloating to help relieve the symptoms of menopause bloating. ", "id": 239, "term_id": 239, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "bloating" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=650" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=650" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=650" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/650" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 6, "link": "https://healthandher.com/us/expert-advice/bloating/", "name": "Bloating", "description": "Bloating can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Here are some of the best supplements to help with menopause and bloating. Choose from probiotics, collagen and assorted natural supplements for menopause bloating to help relieve the symptoms of menopause bloating. ", "id": 650, "term_id": 650, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "bloating" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=244" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=244" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=244" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/244" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 12, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/digestive-issues/", "name": "Digestive issues", "description": "Menopause digestive symptoms are varied and complex and can be linked to changes that are triggered by the menopause like low mood or food intolerances. We've found the latest and most innovative products to help with this regularly reported symptom*.\r\n*results may vary person to person", "id": 244, "term_id": 244, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "digestive-issues" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=228" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=228" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=228" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/228" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 25, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/low-energy/", "name": "Low energy", "description": "Energy levels can fluctuate in perimenopause and menopause. Browse our range of supplements and products that women have chosen to support their energy levels.", "id": 228, "term_id": 228, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "low-energy" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=234" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=234" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=234" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/234" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 33, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/low-mood/", "name": "Low mood", "description": "Menopause mood swings, depression, emotional instability and rage can affect many parts of your life, including relationships and work. Browse our range of supplements and product that women have chosen to support normal psychological or cognitive function", "id": 234, "term_id": 234, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "low-mood" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=229" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=229" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=229" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/229" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 21, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/weight-gain/", "name": "Weight gain", "description": "Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing menopause weight gain have chosen as part of a healthy lifestyle. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 229, "term_id": 229, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "weight-gain" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606517297458", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Dr-R-Tomlinson-Headshot-576x768_small.jpg?v=1697653989", "name" : "Dr Rebeccah Tomlinson", "summary" : "", "title" : "General Practitioner" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Article-Header-Images-menobelly_783d81e9-d7fc-45ad-86db-2c612f49546b_1200x.jpg?v=1697662783", "html" : "\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAnd why it is important during perimenopause and menopause…\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eResearch is emerging almost daily showing that having a healthy balance of gut bacteria doesn’t just improve your digestive health but can lead to better mental well-being and reduce the risk of many chronic diseases.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn1\" name=\"_ftnref1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e Gut function is also known to play a big role in regulating hormones\u003ca href=\"#_ftn2\" name=\"_ftnref2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e and we are beginning to understand more about how exactly the hormone changes during the perimenopause and menopause can affect the delicate balance of our gut-residing microbes.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn3\" name=\"_ftnref3\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThere is certainly no shortage of bacteria in our gut: It has been reported that the average woman has around 10-100 trillion of microorganisms.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn4\" name=\"_ftnref4\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003e When our gut flora is in balance, they work to support a normal gut function. They help to perform a number of crucial roles in the body like digesting food, synthesizing some vitamins (including B vitamins and vitamin K), protecting immunity and maintaining urogenital health. Every one of us has an entirely unique microbiome, originally shaped by genetics – and by how you were birthed i.e. a vaginal birth vs caesarean. This Influences the types of microorganism that colonise your gut.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn5\" name=\"_ftnref5\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e but over time primarily determined by lifestyle (including taking medicines like antibiotics) also affect the balance of microorganisms in the gut.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn6\" name=\"_ftnref6\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eDoes perimenopause\/menopause affect your gut health?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eYes. Recent data suggests that women have a different microbiome to men\u003ca href=\"#_ftn7\" name=\"_ftnref7\"\u003e[7]\u003c\/a\u003e and during \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-perimenopause\/\"\u003eperimenopause\u003c\/a\u003e and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-menopause\/\"\u003emenopause\u003c\/a\u003e this delicate ecosystem of micro-organisms becomes less diverse\u003ca href=\"#_ftn8\" name=\"_ftnref8\"\u003e[8]\u003c\/a\u003e which can impact on your body and mind and is linked to:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eOestrogen levels – \u003c\/strong\u003eThe estrobolome is the name given to a subset of bacteria in the gut that helps metabolise and regulate the hormone oestrogen in the body.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn9\" name=\"_ftnref9\"\u003e[9]\u003c\/a\u003e Going through the menopause has been linked to an altered estrobolome plus generally lower gut diversity. Creating a thriving gut bacteria can influence how well you cope with symptoms of the menopause.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn10\" name=\"_ftnref10\"\u003e[10]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAppetite\u003c\/strong\u003e \u003cstrong\u003e\u0026amp; metabolism\u003c\/strong\u003e – Your gut bacteria can affect how effectively you digest different foods and even produce chemicals that make you feel fuller for longer after eating.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn11\" name=\"_ftnref11\"\u003e[11]\u003c\/a\u003e When oestrogen levels decrease, levels of fat tissue in menopause increase and the potential to gain weight increases.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn12\" name=\"_ftnref12\"\u003e[12]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eMental wellbeing: \u003c\/strong\u003eThe link between the brain, gut and microbiome (generally referred to as the gut-brain axis) has been at the forefront of news and medical research for the last decade or so.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn13\" name=\"_ftnref13\"\u003e[13]\u003c\/a\u003e One recent study showed the importance of a healthy microbiome in minimizing \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/stress-anxiety\/stress-and-anxiety\/\"\u003eanxiety\u003c\/a\u003e and depression (both are known to affect or be common symptoms women experience when going through perimenopause and menopause).\u003ca href=\"#_ftn14\" name=\"_ftnref14\"\u003e[14]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSleep –\u003c\/strong\u003e Recent studies also suggest that diversity of the gut microbiome promotes healthier sleep.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn15\" name=\"_ftnref15\"\u003e[15]\u003c\/a\u003e This is especially significant given new research from Health \u0026amp; Her\u003ca href=\"#_ftn16\" name=\"_ftnref16\"\u003e[16]\u003c\/a\u003e reveals sleeping problems to be the one of the most common symptoms for \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-menopause\/\"\u003emenopausal women\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eVaginal health –\u003c\/strong\u003e Just like the gut the vagina is home to billions of diverse bacteria – primarily from the \u003cem\u003eLactobacillus\u003c\/em\u003e family – and this vaginal microbiome plays an important role in maintaining \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/vaginal-dryness\/menopause-vaginal-changes-explained\/\"\u003evaginal health\u003c\/a\u003e. This is of special concern during perimenopause and menopause when levels of hormones, particularly oestrogen, decline, and can cause vaginal dryness and\/or atrophy potentially making sex uncomfortable and putting you at increased risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) like cystitis. Antibiotics are often prescribed to treat UTIs, and these are known to kill off the good, as well as bad, bacteria in the gut. This is why taking a probiotic supplement is often recommended to help recolonise the good bacteria in the gut after a course of antibiotics.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn17\" name=\"_ftnref17\"\u003e[17]\u003c\/a\u003e You can consider taking live cultures from the \u003cem\u003eLactobacillus\u003c\/em\u003e family either as yoghurt or in capsule form.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e10 tips to support your gut (what to include and avoid) \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eIn short, a healthy gut is defined as having a good balance of microbes, with more good bacteria than bad, and maintaining this delicate balance, so the harmful ones don’t crowd out the good.  There are many factors that can throw it out of balance – and whilst some of these are unavoidable features of daily life like stress, coming down with a stomach virus, lack of sleep, ageing and having to take medication (like antibiotics) – there are many things you can do to influence and improve its health including:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cimg decoding=\"async\" class=\"alignnone wp-image-147615\" src=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/13101236\/Med-Diet-Article-Slim-Banner4-300x75.jpg\" alt=\"Mediterranean snack ideas\" width=\"1020\" height=\"255\" srcset=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/13101236\/Med-Diet-Article-Slim-Banner4-300x75.jpg 300w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/13101236\/Med-Diet-Article-Slim-Banner4-768x192.jpg 768w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/13101236\/Med-Diet-Article-Slim-Banner4-576x144.jpg 576w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/13101236\/Med-Diet-Article-Slim-Banner4-400x100.jpg 400w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/13101236\/Med-Diet-Article-Slim-Banner4-200x50.jpg 200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/13101236\/Med-Diet-Article-Slim-Banner4-600x150.jpg 600w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/13101236\/Med-Diet-Article-Slim-Banner4.jpg 800w\" sizes=\"(max-width: 420px) 300px, (min-width: 421px) 768px, (min-width: 769px) 1024px, 100vw\"\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e1. Feed it well. \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eYour diet is, unsurprisingly, significant in shaping your microbiome. Research suggests that what allows different microbes to thrive is:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eEat a diverse range of fresh produce – \u003c\/strong\u003eEvidence suggests you should aim to consume 30 different plant-based foods per week, including some fruit, plenty of veg, pulses and grains.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn18\" name=\"_ftnref18\"\u003e[18]\u003c\/a\u003e A diverse and varied diet is best.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eFoods that should be included regularly in your meals\u003c\/strong\u003e, as they have been shown to be particularly beneficial for good gut health, include foods high in prebiotics. Specific types of fibres that are used as a food source by the same groups of live bacteria in the gut are often found in food supplements. Food such as bananas and oats as well as garlic, onions, leeks, Jerusalem artichokes and pulses contain plenty of this fibre. Probiotics can be found in natural live yoghurt, kefir (a fermented milk drink), miso, sourdough bread and fermented foods like sauerkraut. Most of these foods are vegan-friendly and you can get vegan yogurts and yoghurt drinks derived from plant-based sources like nuts, soy, peas or oats and most do include gut-friendly active live cultures like their dairy-based counterparts. However, some do come loaded with added sugars so choose ones with minimal or no added sugar as high levels of sugar can irritate the gut and reduce your beneficial bacteria.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn19\" name=\"_ftnref19\"\u003e[19]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eEat more vitamin-packed plant-based foods\u003c\/strong\u003e– it can be helpful to avoid thinking in terms of what you \u003cem\u003ecan’t\u003c\/em\u003e eat and instead concentrate of what you \u003cem\u003ecan\u003c\/em\u003e have more of – like micronutrient, water and fibre packed vegetables and some fruits. The water and fibre content help support a healthy GI tract including increasing transit time (keeping us regular), reducing the opportunity for bloating and feeling bunged up.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn20\" name=\"_ftnref20\"\u003e[20]\u003c\/a\u003e Nutritional therapist Rosie Letts has more helpful diet hints in \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/menopause-nutrition-how-to-eat-for-a-healthier-happier-menopause\/\"\u003ehow to eat for a healthier menopause\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eGet more fibre – \u003c\/strong\u003eAccording to government guidelines, we should be eating around 30g of fibre per day\u003ca href=\"#_ftn21\" name=\"_ftnref21\"\u003e[21]\u003c\/a\u003e and yet the average adult currently only gets around 20g per day.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn22\" name=\"_ftnref22\"\u003e[22]\u003c\/a\u003e Eating enough is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn23\" name=\"_ftnref23\"\u003e[23]\u003c\/a\u003e It can also help improve your digestion and reduce constipation. High fibre foods like fruit and vegetables, pulses, seeds and nuts also play a role in feeding your live cultures in the gut and helping them to increase in number.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp\u003eTo increase the amount of fibre in your diet:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003eChoose wholemeal, granary or sourdough bread over processed white bread.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eStart the day with a high fibre breakfast – whole grain cereals, porridge or overnight soaked oats with fruit, nuts and seeds are all good sources of fibre.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eEat more pulses such as lentils, beans or chickpeas.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eFruits – ideally choose ones that are lower in sugar like berries, kiwis and plums as opposed to higher sugar options like pineapple and mango.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eVegetables – aim for a range of leafy greens like broccoli and kale and different coloured veg including tomatoes, red and yellow peppers and sweet potato.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg decoding=\"async\" class=\"alignnone wp-image-158392\" src=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14122049\/Stay-hydrated-300x75.jpg\" alt=\"Stay hydrated menopause\" width=\"1020\" height=\"255\" srcset=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14122049\/Stay-hydrated-300x75.jpg 300w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14122049\/Stay-hydrated-1024x256.jpg 1024w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14122049\/Stay-hydrated-768x192.jpg 768w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14122049\/Stay-hydrated-1536x384.jpg 1536w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14122049\/Stay-hydrated-1600x400.jpg 1600w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14122049\/Stay-hydrated-1200x300.jpg 1200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14122049\/Stay-hydrated-992x248.jpg 992w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14122049\/Stay-hydrated-576x144.jpg 576w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14122049\/Stay-hydrated-400x100.jpg 400w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14122049\/Stay-hydrated-200x50.jpg 200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14122049\/Stay-hydrated-600x150.jpg 600w\" sizes=\"(max-width: 420px) 300px, (min-width: 421px) 768px, (min-width: 769px) 1024px, 100vw\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e2. Stay hydrated\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eMild dehydration is also one of the most common causes of slower bowel movement.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn24\" name=\"_ftnref24\"\u003e[24]\u003c\/a\u003e It is suggested that, on average, a woman should be getting around 1.5-2 litres of water a day, but that can depend on your size, the climate, how much exercise you do and what you are eating.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn25\" name=\"_ftnref25\"\u003e[25]\u003c\/a\u003e Eating plenty of water-rich foods like watermelon, tomatoes, cucumber, courgettes, celery, yogurt, eggs and poached fish can all contribute to your daily fluid intake. It is often the case that signs that you are thirsty can be confused with hunger, make sure you stay hydrated and watch out if you are someone who can misread these signals. Being even mildly dehydrated can cause poor concentration and forgetfulness\u003ca href=\"#_ftn26\" name=\"_ftnref26\"\u003e[26]\u003c\/a\u003e too. Many women experience this during \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/brain-fog\/menopause-mood-changes-and-brain-fog-the-surprising-cognitive-and-psychological-symptoms\/\"\u003emenopause\u003c\/a\u003e – and so it is important to make sure you drink plenty of water.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg decoding=\"async\" class=\"alignnone wp-image-158397\" src=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14122713\/Probiotics-300x75.png\" alt=\"Probiotics for menopause\" width=\"1020\" height=\"255\" srcset=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14122713\/Probiotics-300x75.png 300w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14122713\/Probiotics-768x192.png 768w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14122713\/Probiotics-576x144.png 576w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14122713\/Probiotics-400x100.png 400w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14122713\/Probiotics-200x50.png 200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14122713\/Probiotics-600x150.png 600w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14122713\/Probiotics.png 884w\" sizes=\"(max-width: 420px) 300px, (min-width: 421px) 768px, (min-width: 769px) 1024px, 100vw\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e3. Increase your intake of probiotics \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eProbiotics include a variety of microorganisms including bacteria \u0026amp; yeast. They are available in various quantities via supplements and food. Probiotic foods include live unsweetened yoghurt, kefir (a fermented milk drink) and fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi but if you don’t get many probiotic foods in your diet a supplement can help.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eLive cultures can be found in a range of vitamins and minerals. As a general rule, the higher the strain count of bacteria in a supplement, the better for creating a healthy colony of gut bugs, as long as the strains are guaranteed to be as listed on the supplement and shown to reach the gut. And remember to take your supplement with a cold drink, as a hot one can actually kill off the live bacteria in it.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg decoding=\"async\" class=\"alignnone wp-image-158423\" src=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14125831\/cold-water-swimming-300x75.jpg\" alt=\"cold water swimming\" width=\"1020\" height=\"255\" srcset=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14125831\/cold-water-swimming-300x75.jpg 300w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14125831\/cold-water-swimming-576x144.jpg 576w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14125831\/cold-water-swimming-400x100.jpg 400w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14125831\/cold-water-swimming-200x50.jpg 200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14125831\/cold-water-swimming-600x150.jpg 600w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14125831\/cold-water-swimming.jpg 662w\" sizes=\"(max-width: 420px) 300px, (min-width: 421px) 768px, (min-width: 769px) 1024px, 100vw\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e4. Exercise\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eExercise helps to stimulate the gut and increase intestinal activity encouraging food to move along the digestive tract, so you are less likely to become constipated.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn27\" name=\"_ftnref27\"\u003e[27]\u003c\/a\u003e It can increase your microbial diversity, and studies have shown that working out has a positive effect on the strains of beneficial bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn28\" name=\"_ftnref28\"\u003e[28]\u003c\/a\u003e A study carried out on women has shown doing as little as three hours a week of light exercise led to beneficial microbiome changes compared to those who were sedentary.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn29\" name=\"_ftnref29\"\u003e[29]\u003c\/a\u003e Furthermore, exercise outdoors is correlated to increased microbial diversity. Exercise outside in nature, as often as you can. There are plenty of \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/best-exercise-menopause\/\"\u003eexercise ideas that are beneficial for menopause\u003c\/a\u003e and perimenopause from lighter exercise like walking, swimming, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/cold-water-swimming-menopause\/\"\u003ecold-water swimming\u003c\/a\u003e and yoga to strength training, dancing and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg decoding=\"async\" class=\"alignnone wp-image-158415\" src=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14124954\/stress-and-anxiety-300x75.png\" alt=\"stress and anxiety menopause\" width=\"1016\" height=\"254\" srcset=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14124954\/stress-and-anxiety-300x75.png 300w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14124954\/stress-and-anxiety-768x192.png 768w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14124954\/stress-and-anxiety-576x144.png 576w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14124954\/stress-and-anxiety-400x100.png 400w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14124954\/stress-and-anxiety-200x50.png 200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14124954\/stress-and-anxiety-600x150.png 600w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14124954\/stress-and-anxiety.png 884w\" sizes=\"(max-width: 420px) 300px, (min-width: 421px) 768px, (min-width: 769px) 1024px, 100vw\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e5. Manage stress \u0026amp; anxiety\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eWe all get stressed but when it is sustained or chronic it can put a huge toll on your gut health and mood. We know, for example, that 95% of serotonin (the so-called happy hormone) is found in the lining of the stomach and intestines and this hormone acts as both a mood stabiliser and influences healthy sleep patterns.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn30\" name=\"_ftnref30\"\u003e[30]\u003c\/a\u003e Exercise can help to reduce stress and anxiety by increasing production of feel-good endorphins, helping you to sleep better and generally boost your energy and well-being. \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/sleeping-problems\/menopause-yoga-nidra-for-disturbed-sleep-and-low-mood\/\"\u003eYoga\u003c\/a\u003e, meditation and breathing exercises are also useful de-stressing tools. Other things that can help include limiting your sugar and caffeine as well as alcohol intake, getting enough sleep and possibly limiting how much social media or distressing news bulletins you are looking at.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg decoding=\"async\" class=\"alignnone wp-image-158429\" src=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14130633\/listen-to-body-300x75.jpg\" alt=\"listen to body menopause\" width=\"1020\" height=\"255\" srcset=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14130633\/listen-to-body-300x75.jpg 300w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14130633\/listen-to-body-576x144.jpg 576w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14130633\/listen-to-body-400x100.jpg 400w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14130633\/listen-to-body-200x50.jpg 200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14130633\/listen-to-body-600x150.jpg 600w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14130633\/listen-to-body.jpg 662w\" sizes=\"(max-width: 420px) 300px, (min-width: 421px) 768px, (min-width: 769px) 1024px, 100vw\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e6. Listen to your body\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eWe talk about our ‘gut feelings’ and ‘gut reactions’ – emotional responses felt in the gut but yours might also be trying to communicate with you in other ways. For example, if you are commonly plagued by physical symptoms like bloating, constipation and\/or diarrhoea, flatulence, indigestion, nausea and\/or abdominal cramps this can be a cry for help from your gut. Each person is unique, what matters is that it’s normal for them, so when your gut microbiome is balanced you should have little difficulty digesting your food or eliminating waste. If you are regularly experiencing these problems these should be your warning signs to consult with your GP or healthcare professional.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg decoding=\"async\" class=\"alignnone wp-image-158402\" src=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14123319\/Alcohol-300x75.jpg\" alt=\"Alcohol trigger in menopause\" width=\"1020\" height=\"255\" srcset=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14123319\/Alcohol-300x75.jpg 300w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14123319\/Alcohol-1024x255.jpg 1024w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14123319\/Alcohol-768x191.jpg 768w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14123319\/Alcohol-1536x383.jpg 1536w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14123319\/Alcohol-1600x399.jpg 1600w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14123319\/Alcohol-1200x299.jpg 1200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14123319\/Alcohol-992x247.jpg 992w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14123319\/Alcohol-576x144.jpg 576w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14123319\/Alcohol-400x100.jpg 400w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14123319\/Alcohol-200x50.jpg 200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14123319\/Alcohol-600x150.jpg 600w\" sizes=\"(max-width: 420px) 300px, (min-width: 421px) 768px, (min-width: 769px) 1024px, 100vw\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e7. Cut down on alcohol\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe good news is that moderate amounts of alcohol are unlikely to upset your gut microbiome too much. The bad news is that drinking excessive amounts and doing so regularly can weaken the gut lining by causing inflammation and reducing the variety and number of different species of bugs in your gut.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn31\" name=\"_ftnref31\"\u003e[31]\u003c\/a\u003e This can lead to acid reflux and bloating (something that many women struggle with during menopause already).\u003ca href=\"#_ftn32\" name=\"_ftnref32\"\u003e[32]\u003c\/a\u003e Drinking regularly also racks up your sugar intake which can lead to increased insulin resistance, enabling fat to be stored more easily. Given that your declining oestrogen levels during menopause can cause your fat to be distributed around your middle – knocking back the wine is only likely to exacerbate the problem.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn33\" name=\"_ftnref33\"\u003e[33]\u003c\/a\u003e Plus, as our Health \u0026amp; Her research confirms many women report being increasingly intolerant to the effects of alcohol during the menopause. Read more about how alcohol can affect you in \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/how-does-alcohol-affect-menopause\/\"\u003eHow does alcohol affect menopause?\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg decoding=\"async\" class=\"alignnone wp-image-158412\" src=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14124611\/Sugary-foods-300x75.jpg\" alt=\"Sugary foods trigger menopause\" width=\"1020\" height=\"255\" srcset=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14124611\/Sugary-foods-300x75.jpg 300w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14124611\/Sugary-foods-576x144.jpg 576w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14124611\/Sugary-foods-400x100.jpg 400w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14124611\/Sugary-foods-200x50.jpg 200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14124611\/Sugary-foods-600x150.jpg 600w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14124611\/Sugary-foods.jpg 662w\" sizes=\"(max-width: 420px) 300px, (min-width: 421px) 768px, (min-width: 769px) 1024px, 100vw\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e8. Reduce your sugar intake\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eConsuming too many added or ‘free’ sugars (these include white table sugar, honey, maple syrup, treacle and golden syrup)\u003ca href=\"#_ftn34\" name=\"_ftnref34\"\u003e[34]\u003c\/a\u003e can lead to inflammation in the body and changes to gut bacteria – including reducing the good kind.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn35\" name=\"_ftnref35\"\u003e[35]\u003c\/a\u003e Aim to cut down on any added sugar and avoid obviously sugary foods like cakes, biscuits, chocolate and sugary breakfast cereals and try to get a sweet hit from healthier sources like fruit, dried fruit, dark chocolate and even vegetables (roasting vegetables like corn, carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, parsnips and beetroots causes them to caramelise and taste deliciously sweet) or spices like cinnamon (adding this to cereal, stewed or baked fruit and\/or porridge adds a calorie-free sweetness). And whilst they may not contain any actual sugar switching to artificial sweeteners does not appear to be the answer to improving the health of your gut either. Research findings are conflicting, but some suggest sweeteners negatively affect intestinal bacteria, gut motility (the ability of food to pass through it) and worsen the effects of existing gut conditions like IBS in some people.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn36\" name=\"_ftnref36\"\u003e[36]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg decoding=\"async\" class=\"alignnone wp-image-158409\" src=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14124441\/Slow-eating-down-300x75.jpg\" alt=\"\" width=\"1020\" height=\"255\" srcset=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14124441\/Slow-eating-down-300x75.jpg 300w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14124441\/Slow-eating-down-1024x256.jpg 1024w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14124441\/Slow-eating-down-768x192.jpg 768w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14124441\/Slow-eating-down-1536x384.jpg 1536w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14124441\/Slow-eating-down-1600x400.jpg 1600w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14124441\/Slow-eating-down-1200x300.jpg 1200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14124441\/Slow-eating-down-992x248.jpg 992w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14124441\/Slow-eating-down-576x144.jpg 576w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14124441\/Slow-eating-down-400x100.jpg 400w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14124441\/Slow-eating-down-200x50.jpg 200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14124441\/Slow-eating-down-600x150.jpg 600w\" sizes=\"(max-width: 420px) 300px, (min-width: 421px) 768px, (min-width: 769px) 1024px, 100vw\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e9. Eat more mindfully\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cem\u003eWhen\u003c\/em\u003e and \u003cem\u003ehow\u003c\/em\u003e we eat can have just as much of an effect on our gut health as \u003cem\u003ewhat\u003c\/em\u003e we eat. For example, eating too fast and on the go can lead to indigestion, bloating and acid reflux and over time can lead to poorer digestion. Speed eating like this can also make it harder to recognise you are full – it is said it takes 20 minutes for the stomach to recognise it is full and suppress the hunger hormone ghrelin. Interestingly, research also shows that chewing your food for longer is less likely to make you want snacks later in the day.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn37\" name=\"_ftnref37\"\u003e[37]\u003c\/a\u003e Evidence also shows that fast eaters are twice as likely to be obese than those who take time to savour their food.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn38\" name=\"_ftnref38\"\u003e[38]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg decoding=\"async\" class=\"alignnone wp-image-158406\" src=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14123642\/Fatty-foods-300x75.jpg\" alt=\"Fatty foods healthy gut\" width=\"1020\" height=\"255\" srcset=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14123642\/Fatty-foods-300x75.jpg 300w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14123642\/Fatty-foods-1024x256.jpg 1024w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14123642\/Fatty-foods-768x192.jpg 768w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14123642\/Fatty-foods-1536x384.jpg 1536w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14123642\/Fatty-foods-1600x400.jpg 1600w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14123642\/Fatty-foods-1200x300.jpg 1200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14123642\/Fatty-foods-992x248.jpg 992w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14123642\/Fatty-foods-576x144.jpg 576w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14123642\/Fatty-foods-400x100.jpg 400w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14123642\/Fatty-foods-200x50.jpg 200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/08\/14123642\/Fatty-foods-600x150.jpg 600w\" sizes=\"(max-width: 420px) 300px, (min-width: 421px) 768px, (min-width: 769px) 1024px, 100vw\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e10. Avoiding processed foods\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eProcessed foods that contain trans fats,\u003ca href=\"#_ftn39\" name=\"_ftnref39\"\u003e[39]\u003c\/a\u003e some sweeteners\u003ca href=\"#_ftn40\" name=\"_ftnref40\"\u003e[40]\u003c\/a\u003e and additives\u003ca href=\"#_ftn41\" name=\"_ftnref41\"\u003e[41]\u003c\/a\u003e can threaten the health and stability of our intestinal inhabitants causing inflammation in the body and increasing levels of destructive bacteria. For this reason, try to cook from scratch as much as you can so you know exactly what you are putting in your body.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eFinally, give your gut a break – quite literally. Avoid eating too much before getting into bed to give your gut bugs a bit of a well-earned rest from all the hard work of digesting your food. Similarly, if you have had a day or two of overindulgence on the food and drink front give your gut a day or two off and eat smaller amounts or maybe even fast for a short time. Increasing research suggests fasting increases microbial health and fitness (this is basically what you are doing at night when you are asleep) and the trend for intermittent fasting may help to improve the health of your gut microbiome.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn42\" name=\"_ftnref42\"\u003e[42]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHow do you tell if your gut \u003cu\u003eis\u003c\/u\u003e healthy?\u003c\/strong\u003e \u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eYour gut health is not static and can change according to a range of factors but there are a few signs to look out for which indicate whether yours is generally healthy or not including:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e1. Your bowel habits. \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eThese are generally a pretty good barometer of your digestive health. While experts still appear to be arguing over a precise definition of what constitutes a normal and healthy amount of bowel movements there is a general agreement that somewhere in the region of between three times a day and three times a week are considered healthy. Others suggest it is less a numerical definition and more to do with whether you are straining, are in pain and\/or the hardness of your stools that are more potent indicators. A piece of research called The Bristol stool chart outlines the types of stool people may pass and what is considered a healthy stool and when to seek help.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn43\" name=\"_ftnref43\"\u003e[43]\u003c\/a\u003e Bottom line: you know what is normal for you so if the frequency and consistency of your bowel movements suddenly changes and doesn’t change back after a couple of days or weeks this could indicate a problem, and we would suggest contacting your local GP or healthcare professional. Also, the time of day you move your bowels can also be a consideration – if you are frequently having to get up in the night to go (especially with diarrhoea) this could suggest a potentially serious problem including diabetes, a food intolerance or infection.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn44\" name=\"_ftnref44\"\u003e[44]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e2. The look and texture of your poo. \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eAccording to The Bristol Stool Chart a healthy gut produces predominantly medium to dark brown poo.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn45\" name=\"_ftnref45\"\u003e[45]\u003c\/a\u003e If it is orangey, green, black, red or yellow (although this can sometimes be the result of what you have eaten or if you have taken iron supplements) this could suggest a gut that needs help. Similarly, it should be relatively smooth in texture, roughly sausage-shaped and sink in the toilet bowl. If it floats, you frequently have diarrhoea or you are passing hard, rabbit-bean sized pellets. Research shows these can be signs of a gut that could be in trouble.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e3. How often your stomach is ‘upset’. \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eIt is quite normal and natural to feel uncomfortable and bloated after a big meal. It is also perfectly natural to fart – indeed it is a natural by-product of the trillions of gut bacteria happily nibbling away on the food you eat. But…if you are frequently feeling bloated and full of gas along with feelings of discomfort like trapped wind, constipation, indigestion and nausea, this can be a sign your digestive system is not functioning well and we would suggest contacting your local GP or healthcare professional.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn46\" name=\"_ftnref46\"\u003e[46]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eReferences \u0026amp; sources\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref1\" name=\"_ftn1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC8477631\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref2\" name=\"_ftn2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC8110851\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref3\" name=\"_ftn3\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/joinzoe.com\/learn\/gut-microbiome-menopause-changes\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref4\" name=\"_ftn4\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC3426293\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref5\" name=\"_ftn5\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.nature.com\/articles\/s41467-019-13014-7\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref6\" name=\"_ftn6\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC8756738\/#:~:text=Antibiotic%E2%80%90induced%20changes%20in%20microbial,infection%20with%20pathogens%20such%20as\"\u003ehttps:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC8756738\/#:~:text=Antibiotic%E2%80%90induced%20changes%20in%20microbial,infection%20with%20pathogens%20such%20as\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref7\" name=\"_ftn7\"\u003e[7]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/thegutstuff.com\/the-microgenderdome-why-the-gut-differs-between-males-and-females\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref8\" name=\"_ftn8\"\u003e[8]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC9379122\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref9\" name=\"_ftn9\"\u003e[9]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC5017946\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref10\" name=\"_ftn10\"\u003e[10]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC9379122\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref11\" name=\"_ftn11\"\u003e[11]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/27616451\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref12\" name=\"_ftn12\"\u003e[12]\u003c\/a\u003e Crandall DL, Busler DE, Novak TJ, Weber RV, Kral JG. Identification of estrogen receptor beta RNA in human breast and abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1998;248(3):523–526.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref13\" name=\"_ftn13\"\u003e[13]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.nature.com\/articles\/s41579-020-00460-0\"\u003ehttps:\/\/www.nature.com\/articles\/s41579-020-00460-0\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref14\" name=\"_ftn14\"\u003e[14]\u003c\/a\u003ehttps:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC5641835\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref15\" name=\"_ftn15\"\u003e[15]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6779243\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref16\" name=\"_ftn16\"\u003e[16]\u003c\/a\u003e Health \u0026amp; Her research conducted Oct 2020 – Sept 202\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref17\" name=\"_ftn17\"\u003e[17]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.nhs.uk\/conditions\/probiotics\/\"\u003ehttps:\/\/www.nhs.uk\/conditions\/probiotics\/\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref18\" name=\"_ftn18\"\u003e[18]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/joinzoe.com\/learn\/30-plants-per-week\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref19\" name=\"_ftn19\"\u003e[19]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.science.org\/doi\/10.1126\/scitranslmed.aay6218\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref20\" name=\"_ftn20\"\u003e[20]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/newsinhealth.nih.gov\/2017\/05\/keeping-your-gut-check\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref21\" name=\"_ftn21\"\u003e[21]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.nhs.uk\/live-well\/eat-well\/digestive-health\/how-to-get-more-fibre-into-your-diet\/#:~:text=Government%20guidelines%20say%20our%20dietary,ways%20of%20increasing%20our%20intake.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref22\" name=\"_ftn22\"\u003e[22]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.nhs.uk\/live-well\/eat-well\/digestive-health\/how-to-get-more-fibre-into-your-diet\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref23\" name=\"_ftn23\"\u003e[23]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.nhs.uk\/live-well\/eat-well\/digestive-health\/how-to-get-more-fibre-into-your-diet\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref24\" name=\"_ftn24\"\u003e[24]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/14681719\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref25\" name=\"_ftn25\"\u003e[25]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.healthline.com\/nutrition\/8-glasses-of-water-per-day#TOC_TITLE_HDR_5\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref26\" name=\"_ftn26\"\u003e[26]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC4207053\/#:~:text=Problems%20with%20cognitive%20performance%20that,anxiety%20(4%2C21).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref27\" name=\"_ftn27\"\u003e[27]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/30843436\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref28\" name=\"_ftn28\"\u003e[28]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC5357536\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref29\" name=\"_ftn29\"\u003e[29]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/28187199\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref30\" name=\"_ftn30\"\u003e[30]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6469458\/#:~:text=The%20gut%20provides%20approximately%2095,to%20the%20central%20nerve%20system.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref31\" name=\"_ftn31\"\u003e[31]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/26695747\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref32\" name=\"_ftn32\"\u003e[32]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/18460167\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref33\" name=\"_ftn33\"\u003e[33]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC9258798\/#:~:text=Thus%2C%20the%20change%20in%20body,hypertension%2C%20hyperlipidemia%2C%20and%20diabetes.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref34\" name=\"_ftn34\"\u003e[34]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.nhs.uk\/live-well\/eat-well\/food-types\/how-does-sugar-in-our-diet-affect-our-health\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref35\" name=\"_ftn35\"\u003e[35]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC7284805\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref36\" name=\"_ftn36\"\u003e[36]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/joinzoe.com\/learn\/artificial-sweeteners-gut-bacteria\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref37\" name=\"_ftn37\"\u003e[37]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.sciencedirect.com\/science\/article\/abs\/pii\/S0195666312004710?via%3Dihub\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref38\" name=\"_ftn38\"\u003e[38]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/26100137\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref39\" name=\"_ftn39\"\u003e[39]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC8117213\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref40\" name=\"_ftn40\"\u003e[40]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6363527\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref41\" name=\"_ftn41\"\u003e[41]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.gastrojournal.org\/article\/S0016-5085(21)03728-8\/pdf\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref42\" name=\"_ftn42\"\u003e[42]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/insight.microba.com\/blog\/what-science-says-about-intermittent-fasting-and-the-gut-microbiome\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref43\" name=\"_ftn43\"\u003e[43]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/plr.cht.nhs.uk\/download\/1111\/Healthy%20Bowel%20A4#:~:text=Bristol%20stool%20chart,for%20you%2C%20and%20your%20bowel.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref44\" name=\"_ftn44\"\u003e[44]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.medicalnewstoday.com\/articles\/321936#causes\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref45\" name=\"_ftn45\"\u003e[45]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.health.com\/condition\/digestive-health\/bristol-stool-chart\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref46\" name=\"_ftn46\"\u003e[46]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.nhsinform.scot\/illnesses-and-conditions\/stomach-liver-and-gastrointestinal-tract\/stomach-ache-and-abdominal-pain#:~:text=See%20your%20GP%20if%20you,you%20go%20to%20the%20toilet\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606538432818", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Article-Header-Images-menobelly_783d81e9-d7fc-45ad-86db-2c612f49546b_768x.jpg?v=1697662783", "title" : "Top 10 tips for a healthy gut during perimenopause and menopause", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=239" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=239" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=239" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/239" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 14, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/bloating/", "name": "Bloating", "description": "Bloating can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Here are some of the best supplements to help with menopause and bloating. Choose from probiotics, collagen and assorted natural supplements for menopause bloating to help relieve the symptoms of menopause bloating. ", "id": 239, "term_id": 239, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "bloating" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=650" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=650" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=650" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/650" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 6, "link": "https://healthandher.com/us/expert-advice/bloating/", "name": "Bloating", "description": "Bloating can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Here are some of the best supplements to help with menopause and bloating. Choose from probiotics, collagen and assorted natural supplements for menopause bloating to help relieve the symptoms of menopause bloating. ", "id": 650, "term_id": 650, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "bloating" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=244" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=244" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=244" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/244" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 12, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/digestive-issues/", "name": "Digestive issues", "description": "Menopause digestive symptoms are varied and complex and can be linked to changes that are triggered by the menopause like low mood or food intolerances. We've found the latest and most innovative products to help with this regularly reported symptom*.\r\n*results may vary person to person", "id": 244, "term_id": 244, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "digestive-issues" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=339" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=339" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=339" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/339" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 8, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/immunity/", "name": "Immunity concerns", "description": "Looking after your immunity is always a good idea. Explore our range of natural solutions to help support your natural defences through natural remedies and supplement solutions.", "id": 339, "term_id": 339, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "immunity" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=229" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=229" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=229" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/229" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 21, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/weight-gain/", "name": "Weight gain", "description": "Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing menopause weight gain have chosen as part of a healthy lifestyle. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 229, "term_id": 229, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "weight-gain" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606537810226", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Profile-5-576x768_small.jpg?v=1697658439", "name" : "Helen Roach", "summary" : "", "title" : "Nutritionist" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/The-Mediterranean-diet_1bce3f13-7464-4cc5-8d66-33859fd40f4e_1200x.jpg?v=1697662785", "html" : "\u003cp\u003eA Mediterranean-inspired diet could help balance your hormones, minimise your perimenopause and menopause symptoms, keep your weight down, reduce your belly fat (or so-called meno-belly) and protect your heart and cognitive and bone health.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eSo much so, in fact, that some experts have even suggested it should be prescribed for overweight menopausal women.\u003ca name=\"_ednref1\" href=\"#_edn1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e So what exactly does it entail, why is it so beneficial and how can you work this way of eating easily into your everyday life?\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat exactly is a Mediterranean diet?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eThink of the markets around the Med with their abundant selection of fresh colourful produce and foods with proven antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, olives, herbs, spices and locally caught fish – and this is essentially the basis of a Mediterranean style of eating.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat can you eat on a Mediterranean diet?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eThis is a largely unrestricted diet that is high in vegetables, fruit, legumes (like chickpeas, lentils and beans) and healthy fats like omega 3 fatty acids from fish, avocadoes, nuts and seeds. Nothing is actively off limits but processed foods or ones that are high in sugar are rarely part of the plan and meat and alcohol tend to be kept to a minimum.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhy the Mediterranean diet is good for your body, mind and soul\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eIn essence, a typical Mediterranean diet includes mostly nutrient-dense, vitamin and mineral packed seasonal produce that is primarily locally-sourced. Mediterranean style meals are also more likely to keep you fuller for longer due to their protein and fibre content. \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/menopause-nutrition-how-to-eat-for-a-healthier-happier-menopause\/\"\u003eHere is why nutrition is important during menopause\u003c\/a\u003e. The absence of trans fats (usually found in processed foods and known to raise levels of LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol and lower levels of HDL ‘good’ cholesterol) is what sets the Mediterranean diet apart from many others across the globe.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eMediterranean meals are almost always cooked from scratch – so there are no hidden preservatives, sugar or salt - and they are often blissfully simple with remarkably few key ingredients – think a Greek salad, a Spanish omelette or a classic Italian Margarita pizza or basil pesto– ideally all made using the best and freshest ingredients. Besides making time to cook healthy food, folk in the Mediterranean also usually make time to eat and savour it – meals are generally sociable occasions that involve sitting down to eat with family and\/or friends. New research suggests the typical Mediterranean lifestyle – remaining physically active and active in the community - may be just as important as the diet itself. \u003ca name=\"_ednref2\" href=\"#_edn2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHow is a Mediterranean diet helpful during menopause?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eStudies have shown that a Mediterranean style diet can positively impact menopause symptoms. Here are 7 ways switching to a Mediterranean diet could help:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003col\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eIt minimises many typical menopause symptoms \u003c\/strong\u003eaccording to a study from 2022 involving overweight postmenopausal women. \u003ca name=\"_ednref3\" href=\"#_edn3\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e In fact, it has been shown that the high intake of legumes (like kidney beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas) and extra virgin olive oil on the diet led to less severe, or fewer, menopause symptoms including vasomotor ones like hot flushes and night sweats plus psychological ones, including depression. The women who stuck to the Med diet also reported sleeping better (\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/sleeping-problems\/is-menopause-messing-with-your-sleep-tools-techniques-and-treatment-to-reclaim-your-rest\/\"\u003esleep problems\u003c\/a\u003e remain one of the most cited side effects of \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-perimenopause\/\"\u003eperimenopause\u003c\/a\u003e and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-menopause\/\"\u003emenopause\u003c\/a\u003e). Legumes are a potent source of vitamins, antioxidants, fibre, protein and also \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/hot-flushes\/phytoestrogens-menopause\/\"\u003ephyto-oestrogens (plant based substances that mimic the role of oestrogen in the body\u003c\/a\u003e). Extra virgin oil is known to reduce inflammation in the body and there is evidence to show that eating an olive-oil enriched diet for at least three months results in more weight loss than a low fat diet.\u003ca name=\"_ednref4\" href=\"#_edn4\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eIt is an anti-inflammatory diet. \u003c\/strong\u003eAn anti-inflammatory diet is particularly important during perimenopause and menopause because oestrogen acts as an anti-inflammatory and diminishing levels of it can trigger inflammation in the body, potentially leading to symptoms like joint pain and possibly even neurodegenerative conditions in later life.\u003ca name=\"_ednref5\" href=\"#_edn5\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e Certain foods like ultra-processed ones, refined white carbohydrates, deep-fried foods, processed and cured meats, sugary and very salty ones are known to drive inflammation whereas food staples on a typical Mediterranean diet like fruit and vegetables, fresh fish, nuts, pulses (including chickpeas and lentils), garlic, herbs (like turmeric and rosemary), unsalted nuts and seeds protect against it.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eIt can help reduce weight and belly fat\u003c\/strong\u003e. The Mediterranean diet isn’t a weight loss, calorie-counting or restrictive affair but is has been shown to be significant in helping to maintain a healthy weight and given that putting on weight is an issue for many women during perimenopause and menopause there is evidence to show it can help. One study review on overweight and obese people, for example, found that those who ate the Mediterranean way for a year lost more weight than those following a traditional low-fat plan.\u003ca name=\"_ednref6\" href=\"#_edn6\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e It may also reduce potentially harmful belly fat – which raises your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Another study found that those who followed a Mediterranean diet over five years reported less weight gain and abdominal fat than those not following this pattern of eating.\u003ca name=\"_ednref7\" href=\"#_edn7\"\u003e[7]\u003c\/a\u003e Of course, the Med diet is not magic – you still have to watch your portion sizes and the amount of sugar and simple carbohydrates you are eating but it remains one of the healthiest ways to keep your weight under control.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eIt increases bone health\u003c\/strong\u003e. Declining levels of oestrogen as you go through perimenopause and menopause put you at an increased risk of reduced bone density and osteoporosis (weakened, fragile bones) \u003ca name=\"_ednref8\" href=\"#_edn8\"\u003e[8]\u003c\/a\u003e. There is evidence to show having a good intake of calcium-rich foods (like natural yogurt, almonds, leafy greens like spinach, oily fish) with vitamin D (synthesised in the body on exposure to sunshine and found in foods like oily fish, eggs, cheese and mushrooms) as part of a Mediterranean pattern of eating can help you to maintain good bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.\u003ca name=\"_ednref9\" href=\"#_edn9\"\u003e[9]\u003c\/a\u003e Vitamin D helps you to better absorb calcium and research also suggests low levels of vitamin D may lead to lower levels of oestrogen.\u003ca name=\"_ednref10\" href=\"#_edn10\"\u003e[10]\u003c\/a\u003e Research shows it may prevent osteoporosis and the risk of fractures by increasing bone density and muscle mass in post-menopausal women.\u003ca name=\"_ednref11\" href=\"#_edn11\"\u003e[11]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eIt contributes to a healthy heart\u003c\/strong\u003e. This is a diet renowned for its heart-healthy benefits after it was noticed heart disease was not as prevalent in Mediterranean countries as in other Western ones like the US and UK. We also know that the drop in oestrogen during perimenopause and menopause puts women at an increased risk of higher blood pressure, cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease.\u003ca name=\"_ednref12\" href=\"#_edn12\"\u003e[12]\u003c\/a\u003e One of the key factors in helping keep your heart healthy on a Mediterranean diet is the use of olive oil as the primary source of added fat. Olive oil is a source of monounsaturated fat which helps lower LDL (’bad’) cholesterol levels. Nuts and seeds also contain a complex of essential fats such as omega 3 (particularly walnuts, flax and chia seeds) and omega 6 (pine nuts and sunflower seeds) as well as monosaturated (macadamia and hazelnut) fats. Avocadoes are also known to contain heart-healthy fats and fibre and eating them regularly has also been linked to lower levels of LDL cholesterol and less visceral fat.\u003ca name=\"_ednref13\" href=\"#_edn13\"\u003e[13]\u003c\/a\u003e Omega 3 fatty acids found in oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines also help to fight inflammation in the body and are known to help reduce triglycerides (a type of fat found in the blood), the risk of blood clots and lower your risk of stroke and heart failure.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eBetter cognitive health\u003c\/strong\u003e. Research published in the journal \u003cem\u003eAlzheimer’s and Dementia\u003c\/em\u003e suggests eating the Mediterranean way is associated with \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/brain-fog\/menopause-mood-changes-and-brain-fog-the-surprising-cognitive-and-psychological-symptoms\/\"\u003ebetter cognitive function\u003c\/a\u003e and may lower the risk of cognitive decline and neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s dementia.\u003ca name=\"_ednref14\" href=\"#_edn14\"\u003e[14]\u003c\/a\u003e In particular, regularly eating omega 3-rich oily fish as part of this diet is linked to a reduced risk of cognitive impairment. \u003ca name=\"_ednref15\" href=\"#_edn15\"\u003e[15]\u003c\/a\u003e We know that \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/hrt-dementia\/\"\u003eAlzheimer’s dementia disproportionately affects women\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca name=\"_ednref16\" href=\"#_edn16\"\u003e[16]\u003c\/a\u003e - and is linked to declining levels of oestrogen during menopause  - so anything that can potentially help reduce, prevent or delay that risk should be beneficial.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eImproved mood\u003c\/strong\u003e. The impact of Mediterranean eating on mental health is still being fully investigated but research has shown that people who eat more fruit and vegetables have a lower incidence of depression, better mood and more positive mental health. \u003ca name=\"_ednref17\" href=\"#_edn17\"\u003e[17]\u003c\/a\u003e This is particularly significant during perimenopause and menopause when low mood is cited as one of the most common symptoms of both. More recent research suggests eating in a Mediterranean way helps to generally support mental health generally and may play a role in reducing depression.\u003ca name=\"_ednref18\" href=\"#_edn18\"\u003e[18]\u003c\/a\u003e Here is how \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/low-mood\/mood-changes-during-menopausedoes-what-you-eat-make-a-difference\/\"\u003edietary changes can help with mood during menopause\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003ca id=\"mealplan\"\u003e\u003c\/a\u003eMeal plan for a better menopause\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eNutritionist Helen Roach suggests a range of delicious breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks and (occasional) sweet recipes inspired from around the Med. Also note that lunch and dinner portions can be adjusted and served interchangeably.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eBreakfast\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eMediterranean granola – \u003c\/strong\u003ewith added olive oil, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.themediterraneandish.com\/homemade-granola-recipe\/\" target=\"_blank\"\u003ethis Mediterranean breakfast\u003c\/a\u003e packs a healthy punch\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSpanish omelette\u003cem\u003e – \u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003ea hearty dish made with eggs, potatoes and onions. I like these traditional versions of the recipe; \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.healthylittlefoodies.com\/spanish-omelette\/\" target=\"_blank\"\u003eRecipe 1\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.healthylittlefoodies.com\/spanish-omelette\/\" target=\"_blank\"\u003eRecipe 2\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eGreek yoghurt, berries \u0026amp; nuts\u003cem\u003e – \u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003euse 3 tbsps of full fat Greek yoghurt (for higher protein content) and top with a handful of nuts and berries\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eOats, apple \u0026amp; chia \u003cem\u003e– \u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003ehalf a cup of oats with one chopped (medium) apple and a sprinkling of chia seeds. \u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTomato \u0026amp; spring onion toast\u003cem\u003e – \u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003eone slice of seeded sourdough toast with half a large sliced vine-ripened tomato and one spring onion drizzled in olive oil with a little salt to season.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eBlueberry millet bowl \u003cem\u003e– \u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003ean alternative to oats, millet is a good source of protein and minerals that should keep you feeling satisfied throughout the morning. I love this \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/mealplanner.plantstrong.com\/recipe\/59487bb2f83f55a2e4f57e0f\" target=\"_blank\"\u003erecipe.\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eFeta \u0026amp; watermelon\u003cem\u003e – \u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003eserve 30g of feta with 100g of watermelon (roughly a 1 inch thick wedge)\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eLunches\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSalmon and eggs\u003c\/strong\u003e: Scramble 2 medium sized eggs with olive oil and seasoning and add to a bowl of smoked salmon strips (60g). Add half a chopped avocado to serve.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSpanish Chicken with Bravas sauce\u003c\/strong\u003e: this is a simple one-pot dish with a rich flavour. Chicken thighs are rubbed with a pinch or two of salt and paprika and browned in the oven. The sauce is made using half a cup of water, 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar, a can of tinned tomatoes, a dash of olive oil, 1 diced onion, 3 crushed garlic cloves, 1 can of butter beans and a handful of mixed olives. Add these to the browned chicken and cook for a further 30 minutes at 180˚C. Serve one chicken thigh per person and sauce with a light salad for lunch or with rice as a dinner option.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eGazpacho\u003c\/strong\u003e: Put tomatoes, green pepper, onion, garlic, olive oil, sherry or red wine vinegar, salt and black pepper into a blender, whizz into a smooth liquid and place in the fridge to cool. Gazpacho often traditionally contains breadcrumbs but I’ve left the bread out of this recipe to reduce the simple carb content.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eLemon broccoli salad with pine nuts\u003c\/strong\u003e: Mix a handful of broccoli, 2 spring onions, a handful of cranberries, a handful of pine nuts into a salad bowl and add a tahini dressing (made with 4 tablespoons of tahini, 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, the juice of 1 medium lemon, a pinch of salt)\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eLentil soup\u003c\/strong\u003e: Sauté ½ an onion, 1 clove of garlic and 1 carrot extra virgin olive oil until tender. Add a teaspoon each of oregano, cumin and rosemary, 1 bay leaf and a pinch of red chili pepper. For the broth use 2 cups of low-sodium vegan broth as the liquid base here (you can use chicken broth if you prefer). Add 1 cup of lentils to the broth in the last 20 minutes of cooking. Add vegetables, herbs and lentils together with the broth. Season with lemon zest and juice to finish and top with parsley to garnish.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eChickpea salad with avocado\u003c\/strong\u003e: Slice or dice tomatoes, olives, avocado and add chickpeas (drained), cucumber (diced) \u0026amp; onion (diced) to a bowl. Make a dressing using extra virgin olive oil, fresh chopped parsley, salt and pepper and lemon juice.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSpinach pie\u003c\/strong\u003e: Use ready rolled filo pastry (270g) – you can find this in most supermarkets and it is also available in gluten free options. For the filling you will need 1 small red onion diced, one clove of garlic, crushed, 250g of chopped spinach, grated nutmeg (pinch) 100g of feta cheese, 1 beaten egg, 1 tbsp of fresh dill and salt and pepper. Brush butter or olive oil onto the filo pastry sheets. Heat oven to 200C and sauté the onions \u0026amp; garlic. Add the spinach and bring off heat when cooked. Cool then add nutmeg, eggs, feta and season into a bowl and mix. Place 4\/5 filo sheets to create the base of the pie then add the filling mix and cover with 4\/5 filo sheets. Drizzle with olive oil or butter before placing in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and serve.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eDinners\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSpanish Tapas:\u003c\/strong\u003e A great way to pack in the nutrients with a variety of vegetables, seafood, fish and meat (optional) served in small plates. I recommend the following:\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003eOlives – stuffed with garlic and peppers\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eSquid\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eGarlic \u0026amp; chili prawns\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eGrilled lemon artichokes\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eFeta \u0026amp; orange\/quince\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eGrilled aubergine with garlic oil and onion\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ePatatas bravas\/alioli (potatoes cooked in a tomato and paprika sauce served with garlic mayonnaise)\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eGoats cheese stuffed tomatoes with paprika \u0026amp; capers\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eMelon \u0026amp; ham\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eTomato \u0026amp; chorizo\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eItalian-style veggie pizza: \u003c\/strong\u003eTraditional Italian pizzas contain very few ingredients and toppings. Tomato sauce, pecorino cheese, fresh basil leaves, black pepper, olive oil and mushrooms are really all you need to create an authentic Italian pizza experience. Many supermarkets sell fresh pizza dough in the refrigerator section or you can buy ready-made pizza bases. Dough could be sourdough, gluten free or standard wheat but aim for a thin crust, Italian-style to minimise having too many simple carbohydrates. Pizza can be shared or frozen and even keeps well in the fridge for a day if you have made too much. To maximise the nutrient density and overall macronutrient balance of this dish, aim for a thin crust and pile high with veggies and herbs. Aim for a small to medium portion as your main meal and use wholegrain \u0026amp; sourdough varieties of flour or dough.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eVegetable rice-pasta bake: \u003c\/strong\u003eYou will need: Onion, garlic, courgettes, tomatoes, passata, aubergine, olive oil, rice pasta (a gluten free alternative to wheat pasta), pesto and mozzarella. Chop \u0026amp; bake vegetables in the oven at 200C for 20-30 minutes. Boil the pasta and drain. Mix both together in the baking dish and top with pesto and mozzarella then return to the oven for 5-10 minutes.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eCrab \u0026amp; bacon stuffed mushrooms: \u003c\/strong\u003eYou will need: Gruyere cheese, bacon, lump crab meat, portobello mushroom, sweet red pepper. Pre-cook the pepper – flash fry or bake beforehand. Mix everything together (except the mushrooms) and then fill a large mushroom with the mix. Pop in the oven for 15 minutes to bake the mushroom and allow then to meld together.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003ePortuguese Bacalhau a bras:\u003c\/strong\u003e Cod pieces, chipped potatoes, tomatoes, eggs, onions, olives, olive oil, parsley, garlic, salt \u0026amp; pepper to taste. Cover the bottom of a wide saucepan with sliced tomatoes, garlic and onions. Cook until golden and then add cut up pieces of cod fish and drizzle with good quality extra virgin olive oil. Let everything cook for about 20 minutes on a medium heat. Once everything has cooked, add in already cooked chipped potatoes and stir for a few minutes. Add in lightly beaten eggs with salt and pepper to taste. Stir everything together keeping the eggs soft and creamy. Add a few olives, grated cheese (optional) and garnish with parsley. Drizzle a little more olive oil before serving (optional). Transfer to a plate and serve hot. For step by step instructions we like this traditional recipe: \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/portugueserecipes.ca\/recipe\/82\/1\/Portuguese-Bacalhau-%C3%A0-Bras\"\u003ehttps:\/\/portugueserecipes.ca\/recipe\/82\/1\/Portuguese-Bacalhau-à-Bras\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eMediterranean Roast Beef Dinner - \u003c\/strong\u003eLamb is the typical Mediterranean roast but has the highest CO2 emissions. So we would suggest beef is a better option in this respect. Pork is better still but nutritionally not quite as good as beef. Rub 1.5 kg silverside beef with olive oil, salt \u0026amp; pepper and bake in in the oven until browned. Add onions (chopped) and return to oven to bake for a further 20 minutes. Remove and add courgettes (sliced or diced), tomatoes, aubergine (sliced), yellow peppers (halved or quartered) to the dish and bake for a further 40 minutes. Remove and drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, tarragon \u0026amp; basil leaves top serve (you can also add capers for an authentic finish).\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eFrench Leek Tart (Flamiche Aux Poireaux) \u003c\/strong\u003eThis traditional dish is filled with leeks, onions, cheese and eggs to provide good sources of protein, vitamins A, C \u0026amp; K as well as minerals such as potassium iron and manganese. Typically made with short crust pastry, you could use the gluten free options readily available in many grocery stores. The French typically tend to add bacon to this recipe but I have kept it vegetarian. Chop 1 leek and 2 onions into small pieces and stir fry for 10 mins. Place pastry in a baking pan. Mix 2 eggs, 100ml cream (or alternative), 200ml nut or soy milk, 80mg of butter in mixing bowl and 15 ml of olive oil. Add seasoning: salt, cayenne and nutmeg are typically used. Place pastry in the bottom of baking tray\/dish to produce a crust-free tart. Bake for 40 minutes at 220 C.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSnacks\/Desserts\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eFigs \u0026amp; feta – \u003c\/strong\u003e1 medium fig with 20 mg feta\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTomato \u0026amp; cucumber with olive oil –\u003c\/strong\u003e sliced medium tomato with sliced cucumber drizzled in olive oil \u0026amp; salt to taste\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eCinnamon banana\u003c\/strong\u003e – one medium banana sprinkled in cinnamon\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHummus dip – \u003c\/strong\u003edip with cucumber\/carrot\/radish\/sweet peppers\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eBaked courgette chips – \u003c\/strong\u003e1 baked courgette (cut into thin slices) with yoghurt dip\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eCoconut and Pomegranate – \u003c\/strong\u003e2 tbsps. diced coconut with handful of pomegranate seeds\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHoney herb walnuts – \u003c\/strong\u003e5 walnuts roasted in honey \u0026amp; rosemary\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eA note about portion sizes and calories\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eAs a general rule, aim for small portion sizes for breakfast and lunch with medium portion sizes for dinner. This can be switched up if you eat more at lunch than dinner. Read more about portion sizes for women from the \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.bda.uk.com\/resource\/food-facts-portion-sizes.html\" target=\"_blank\"\u003eAssociation of UK Dietitians\u003c\/a\u003e and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.bupa.co.uk\/health-information\/nutrition-diet\/portion-size\" target=\"_blank\"\u003eBUPA.\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe Mediterranean diet is not about calorie counting or having ‘treat’ or ‘cheat’ days – it is a balanced way of eating that is low in sugar and high in nutrients. Ideally it should be a template for life and evidence shows it is especially beneficial as you head into perimenopause and menopause as it helps minimise many symptoms, manage your weight, reduce inflammation in the body and your risk of many chronic diseases. If you get the basics right by eating plenty of vitamin-packed and water-rich fruit and veg and some protein sources with legumes and pulses, for example, you will find it difficult to overeat as these foods are filling.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eIt is also important to remember that not all calories behave equally once in our body. Calories from sugar or simple carbohydrates like white processed bread, white rice or shop-bought pastries will have a very different physiological and biochemical impact on our health than the same amount of calories from fat or protein. The calories from simple carbohydrates or sugar, for example, will encourage your body to enter and remain in ‘fat storage mode’ (particularly around your middle) [link to \u003cu\u003eIs menopause weight gain inevitable: how to minimise your meno belly\u003c\/u\u003e] as they cause insulin spikes. This can not only lead to weight gain but also potentially hormone imbalance. Eating healthier fats and protein like those typically consumed on a Mediterranean diet, say salmon and avocado or Greek yogurt with berries and nuts, are foods that can help balance blood sugar. Research shows eating more healthy fats, proteins, fibre and fruit and veg can help menopausal women stave off weight gain, improve their gut microbiome [link to \u003cu\u003e10 Top Tips for Good Gut Health\u003c\/u\u003e], reduce inflammation in the body and cut the risk of heart disease and diabetes.\u003ca name=\"_ednref19\" href=\"#_edn19\"\u003e[19]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSuggested 7 Day Meal Plan to help tackle menobelly\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eThis offers two vegetarian days, two oily fish days, one seafood day, one red meat day \u0026amp; one poultry day.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cdiv\u003e\u003ch4\u003eMonday\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cb\u003eBreakfast\u003c\/b\u003e Spanish omlette\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cb\u003eLunch\u003c\/b\u003e Chickpea salad with avocado\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cb\u003eDinner\u003c\/b\u003e Italian-style veggie pizza\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cb\u003eSnack\u003c\/b\u003e Figs \u0026amp; feta\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch4\u003eTuesday\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cb\u003eBreakfast\u003c\/b\u003e Greek yoghurt, berries \u0026amp; nuts\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cb\u003eLunch\u003c\/b\u003e Salmon \u0026amp; eggs\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cb\u003eDinner\u003c\/b\u003e Vegetable rice-pasta bake\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cb\u003eSnack\u003c\/b\u003e Tomato \u0026amp; cucumber with oil dressing\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch4\u003eWednesday\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cb\u003eBreakfast\u003c\/b\u003e Oats, apple and chia\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cb\u003eLunch\u003c\/b\u003e Lemon broccoli salad with pine nuts\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cb\u003eDinner\u003c\/b\u003e Crab \u0026amp; bacon stuffed mushrooms\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cb\u003eSnack\u003c\/b\u003e Cinnamon banana\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch4\u003eThursday\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cb\u003eBreakfast\u003c\/b\u003e Tomato \u0026amp; spring onion toast\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cb\u003eLunch\u003c\/b\u003e Spanish chicken with bravos sauce\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cb\u003eDinner\u003c\/b\u003e French leek tart\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cb\u003eSnack\u003c\/b\u003e Hummus dip\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch4\u003eFriday\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cb\u003eBreakfast\u003c\/b\u003e Blueberry millet bowl\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cb\u003eLunch\u003c\/b\u003e Gazpacho\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cb\u003eDinner\u003c\/b\u003e Portuguese bacalhau a bras\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cb\u003eSnack\u003c\/b\u003e Baked courgette chips\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch4\u003eSaturday\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cb\u003eBreakfast\u003c\/b\u003e Feta and watermelon\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cb\u003eLunch\u003c\/b\u003e Lentil soup\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cb\u003eDinner\u003c\/b\u003e Spanish tapas (Optional veg)\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cb\u003eSnack\u003c\/b\u003e Coconut \u0026amp; pomegranate\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch4\u003eSunday\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cb\u003eBreakfast\u003c\/b\u003e Mediterranean granola\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cb\u003eLunch\u003c\/b\u003e Spinach pie\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cb\u003eDinner\u003c\/b\u003e Mediterranean beef roast\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cb\u003eSnack\u003c\/b\u003e Honey herb walnuts\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003c\/div\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eSources and references\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_edn1\" href=\"#_ednref1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/32329636\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_edn2\" href=\"#_ednref2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.abstractsonline.com\/pp8\/?_ga=2.113113345.481834018.1677504287-1357375536.1667480843#!\/10825\/presentation\/200\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_edn3\" href=\"#_ednref3\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.frontiersin.org\/articles\/10.3389\/fendo.2022.886824\/full\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_edn4\" href=\"#_ednref4\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/20545561\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_edn5\" href=\"#_ednref5\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/jneuroinflammation.biomedcentral.com\/articles\/10.1186\/s12974-020-01998-9#:~:text=Conclusion,drives a systemic inflammatory state.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_edn6\" href=\"#_ednref6\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.amjmed.com\/article\/S0002-9343(15)30027-9\/fulltext\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_edn7\" href=\"#_ednref7\"\u003e[7]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC5916888\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_edn8\" href=\"#_ednref8\"\u003e[8]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.nhs.uk\/conditions\/osteoporosis\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_edn9\" href=\"#_ednref9\"\u003e[9]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC7915719\/#:~:text=In this context, the MD,and maintaining good bone health.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_edn10\" href=\"#_ednref10\"\u003e[10]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.medicalnewstoday.com\/articles\/325465#:~:text=Study results,have higher levels of estradiol.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_edn11\" href=\"#_ednref11\"\u003e[11]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.endocrine.org\/news-and-advocacy\/news-room\/2018\/mediterranean-diet-is-linked-to-higher-muscle-mass-bone-density-after-menopause\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_edn12\" href=\"#_ednref12\"\u003e[12]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.bhf.org.uk\/informationsupport\/support\/women-with-a-heart-condition\/menopause-and-heart-disease\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_edn13\" href=\"#_ednref13\"\u003e[13]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ahajournals.org\/doi\/10.1161\/JAHA.122.025657#d24987067e1\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_edn14\" href=\"#_ednref14\"\u003e[14]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/alz-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com\/doi\/10.1002\/alz.12077\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_edn15\" href=\"#_ednref15\"\u003e[15]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.mdpi.com\/2072-6643\/14\/12\/2408\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_edn16\" href=\"#_ednref16\"\u003e[16]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.alzheimers.org.uk\/blog\/why-dementia-different-women\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_edn17\" href=\"#_ednref17\"\u003e[17]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC7019743\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_edn18\" href=\"#_ednref18\"\u003e[18]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC7536728\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_edn19\" href=\"#_ednref19\"\u003e[19]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/joinzoe.com\/learn\/menopause-metabolism-study\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606538465586", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/The-Mediterranean-diet_1bce3f13-7464-4cc5-8d66-33859fd40f4e_768x.jpg?v=1697662785", "title" : "Does a Mediterranean diet help Menopause?", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=239" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=239" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=239" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/239" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 14, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/bloating/", "name": "Bloating", "description": "Bloating can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Here are some of the best supplements to help with menopause and bloating. Choose from probiotics, collagen and assorted natural supplements for menopause bloating to help relieve the symptoms of menopause bloating. ", "id": 239, "term_id": 239, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "bloating" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=650" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=650" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=650" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/650" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 6, "link": "https://healthandher.com/us/expert-advice/bloating/", "name": "Bloating", "description": "Bloating can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Here are some of the best supplements to help with menopause and bloating. Choose from probiotics, collagen and assorted natural supplements for menopause bloating to help relieve the symptoms of menopause bloating. ", "id": 650, "term_id": 650, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "bloating" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=244" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=244" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=244" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/244" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 12, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/digestive-issues/", "name": "Digestive issues", "description": "Menopause digestive symptoms are varied and complex and can be linked to changes that are triggered by the menopause like low mood or food intolerances. We've found the latest and most innovative products to help with this regularly reported symptom*.\r\n*results may vary person to person", "id": 244, "term_id": 244, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "digestive-issues" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=229" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=229" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=229" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/229" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 21, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/weight-gain/", "name": "Weight gain", "description": "Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing menopause weight gain have chosen as part of a healthy lifestyle. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 229, "term_id": 229, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "weight-gain" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606537810226", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Profile-5-576x768_small.jpg?v=1697658439", "name" : "Helen Roach", "summary" : "", "title" : "Nutritionist" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/yoav-aziz-40zgaNEWEG8-unsplash-1-1600x1200_1200x.jpg?v=1697662801", "html" : "\u003cp\u003eWhen you’re going through \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-perimenopause\/\"\u003eperimenopause\u003c\/a\u003e and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-menopause\/\"\u003emenopause\u003c\/a\u003e, you’re probably used to hearing the words oestrogen and progesterone bandied about. Not least because replenishing and stabilising these hormones can help to manage your symptoms, and many menopause treatments, like \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/hormone-replacement-therapy-hrt-guide\/\"\u003ehormone replacement therapy (HRT),\u003c\/a\u003e focus on doing exactly that.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThere is a third hormone, however, that is not talked about quite as much, but which also falls during menopause and that is testosterone – a sex hormone that is produced in small amounts by the ovaries, adrenal glands and peripheral tissues in women.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eOften referred to as ‘the male hormone’, testosterone can be just as important for women in keeping you feeling good and helping to manage your symptoms as oestrogen and progesterone. Whilst women might not need as high levels as men getting the right amount is important for a healthy sex drive and leaner body composition. The thing is, it isn’t licensed by the NHS in the UK for treating menopause so getting it prescribed can be tricky.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eMany women look for foods that boost testosterone during menopause because they know about the impact on hormone levels that perimenopause and menopause can have. While specific foods can’t boost testosterone levels by themselves, there are certain foods that can help to support your body in testosterone production and keep your testosterone levels normal through menopause. \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eWhy is testosterone important during menopause?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eLevels of testosterone fall naturally with age and as you transition into perimenopause and menopause but other factors including lack of sleep, sustained stress and high body fat levels can also cause a decline in production.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/loss-of-sex-drive\/testosterone-menopause\/\"\u003eHere is how menopause can affect testosterone levels\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhen levels are low it can lead to unexplained tiredness, reduced sex drive, and it can become harder for you to build muscle and lose weight. Research into how low levels of testosterone specifically affect perimenopausal and menopausal women is in its infancy (as things stand there are more studies showing how it affects men rather than women) but there is some evidence to show when women are given more testosterone their energy levels, stamina, mood and libido all improve.\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn1\" name=\"_ftnref1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eOf course, getting more testosterone doesn’t automatically translate into women wanting sex and enjoying it more – alas, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/loss-of-sex-drive\/loss-of-sex-drive-at-menopause-is-it-biological-or-psychological\/\"\u003efemale desire and enjoyment can be frustratingly more complicated\u003c\/a\u003e. We do know, however, that this hormone contributes to your libido, sexual arousal and orgasm by increasing dopamine levels in the central nervous system and when your body produces enough healthy levels of it, theoretically, you are more likely to want, and enjoy sex. It is also known to improve blood flow to your vaginal area and reduce some of menopause’s urogenital symptoms (such as lack of vaginal sensitivity and difficulty becoming aroused).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eSo how do you help maintain optimal testosterone levels? Some studies have shown that having a diet high in ultra-processed foods appears to reduce it\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn2\" name=\"_ftnref2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003c\/sup\u003ebut, conversely, eating healthy nutrient-dense ones (like the ones listed below) can help increase it.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref1\" name=\"_ftn1\"\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e5 foods that help boost testosterone production\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eNutritionist Helen Roach suggests five key foods that can help increase testosterone in women including:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg decoding=\"async\" class=\"alignnone wp-image-148737\" src=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155355\/Oysters-300x75.jpg\" alt=\"Oysters testosterone menopause\" width=\"1000\" height=\"250\" srcset=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155355\/Oysters-300x75.jpg 300w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155355\/Oysters-768x192.jpg 768w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155355\/Oysters-576x144.jpg 576w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155355\/Oysters-400x100.jpg 400w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155355\/Oysters-200x50.jpg 200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155355\/Oysters-600x150.jpg 600w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155355\/Oysters.jpg 884w\" sizes=\"(max-width: 420px) 300px, (min-width: 421px) 768px, (min-width: 769px) 1024px, 100vw\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch6\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eOysters \u0026amp; shellfish \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h6\u003e\u003cp\u003e“These contain zinc, which contributes to the maintenance of normal testosterone levels in the blood,” Helen explains. “Oysters are also a very good source of D-aspartic acid, an amino acid which can trigger testosterone production.” There has been encouraging evidence to show that supplementing with zinc can help testosterone levels and sexual function in postmenopausal women\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn3\" name=\"_ftnref1\"\u003e[3\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn3\" name=\"_ftnref1\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e but although there have been studies to show how D-aspartic acid can increase testosterone in men, as yet there is no similar research to show it has the same effect in women.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg decoding=\"async\" class=\"alignnone wp-image-148728\" src=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155342\/Avocado-300x75.jpg\" alt=\"Avocado testosterone menopause\" width=\"1000\" height=\"250\" srcset=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155342\/Avocado-300x75.jpg 300w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155342\/Avocado-1024x256.jpg 1024w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155342\/Avocado-768x192.jpg 768w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155342\/Avocado-1536x384.jpg 1536w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155342\/Avocado-1600x400.jpg 1600w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155342\/Avocado-1200x300.jpg 1200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155342\/Avocado-992x248.jpg 992w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155342\/Avocado-576x144.jpg 576w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155342\/Avocado-400x100.jpg 400w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155342\/Avocado-200x50.jpg 200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155342\/Avocado-600x150.jpg 600w\" sizes=\"(max-width: 420px) 300px, (min-width: 421px) 768px, (min-width: 769px) 1024px, 100vw\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAvocados\u003c\/strong\u003eHelen explains that avocados are rich in pregnenolone, a steroid hormone which acts as a precursor to testosterone production. Taking pregnenolone in supplement form has been shown to improve mood, brain function and memory, all factors that can be negatively affected during perimenopause and menopause.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn4\" name=\"_ftnref1\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[4]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg decoding=\"async\" class=\"alignnone wp-image-148725\" src=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155336\/Salmon-300x75.jpg\" alt=\"Salmon testosterone menopause\" width=\"1000\" height=\"250\" srcset=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155336\/Salmon-300x75.jpg 300w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155336\/Salmon-768x192.jpg 768w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155336\/Salmon-576x144.jpg 576w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155336\/Salmon-400x100.jpg 400w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155336\/Salmon-200x50.jpg 200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155336\/Salmon-600x150.jpg 600w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155336\/Salmon.jpg 884w\" sizes=\"(max-width: 420px) 300px, (min-width: 421px) 768px, (min-width: 769px) 1024px, 100vw\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSalmon\u003c\/strong\u003e“Salmon is high in a number of vitamins, as well as zinc, which helps to maintain the normal production of testosterone in the blood,” says Helen, suggesting it makes a  menopause-friendly evening meal when accompanied by green leafy vegetables like spinach or kale. Alternatively, try smoked salmon with scrambled eggs for breakfast or with salad for lunch. Salmon is also packed with protein and omega 3 fatty acids, which can help both your energy and brain function.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg decoding=\"async\" class=\"alignnone wp-image-148734\" src=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155352\/mushrooms-300x75.jpg\" alt=\"Mushrooms testosterone menopause\" width=\"1000\" height=\"250\" srcset=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155352\/mushrooms-300x75.jpg 300w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155352\/mushrooms-768x192.jpg 768w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155352\/mushrooms-576x144.jpg 576w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155352\/mushrooms-400x100.jpg 400w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155352\/mushrooms-200x50.jpg 200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155352\/mushrooms-600x150.jpg 600w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155352\/mushrooms.jpg 884w\" sizes=\"(max-width: 420px) 300px, (min-width: 421px) 768px, (min-width: 769px) 1024px, 100vw\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eMushrooms\u003c\/strong\u003eHelen recommends leaving your mushrooms out for a little sunbathe before you cook them, to make the most of their testosterone-boosting properties. Shitake mushrooms are best for this. Why? “Mushrooms become high in vitamin D and vitamin B5 when left in sunlight for an hour or so. These vitamins contribute to the normal synthesis and metabolism of steroid hormones, and can help the production of regular testosterone,” she explains.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg decoding=\"async\" class=\"alignnone wp-image-148731\" src=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155349\/Broccoli-300x75.jpg\" alt=\"Broccoli testosterone menopause\" width=\"1000\" height=\"250\" srcset=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155349\/Broccoli-300x75.jpg 300w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155349\/Broccoli-1024x256.jpg 1024w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155349\/Broccoli-768x192.jpg 768w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155349\/Broccoli-1536x384.jpg 1536w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155349\/Broccoli-1600x400.jpg 1600w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155349\/Broccoli-1200x300.jpg 1200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155349\/Broccoli-992x248.jpg 992w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155349\/Broccoli-576x144.jpg 576w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155349\/Broccoli-400x100.jpg 400w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155349\/Broccoli-200x50.jpg 200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/06\/19155349\/Broccoli-600x150.jpg 600w\" sizes=\"(max-width: 420px) 300px, (min-width: 421px) 768px, (min-width: 769px) 1024px, 100vw\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eBroccoli, Cauliflower and Squash\u003c\/strong\u003eHelen explains that these are all rich sources of Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid). This vitamin is responsible for the production of steroid hormones such as testosterone \u0026amp; oestrogen.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eFoods that support testosterone production in menopause for vegetarians and vegans\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eWe all need a steady intake of foods containing testosterone-boosting zinc because this mineral is not stored in the body so needs to be topped up regularly. Given that many of the best sources tend to be animal-based proteins like red meat (particularly beef and lamb), fish and seafood it has been suggested in the past that vegetarians or vegans might be at a slight disadvantage when it comes to getting enough.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eRecent research, however, has shown there is little difference in the testosterone levels of meat eaters and vegans\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn5\" name=\"_ftnref1\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/sup\u003e and there are plenty of healthy alternative plant-based sources including pulses, oats, walnuts, cashew nuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds and spinach so try to include as many of these in your daily diet as you can.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eFor vegan foods that boost testosterone, Helen suggests, “chickpeas, lentils and beans are a good source and research suggests sprouting, soaking or fermenting them can help increase zinc levels even further.”\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn2\" name=\"_ftnref2\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref5\" name=\"_ftn1\"\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eWhat else you can do to provide a testosterone boost?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003col\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eManaging stress\u003c\/strong\u003e. In the short-term stress shouldn’t affect your testosterone levels too much but if it is sustained and left unchecked this means your levels of the stress hormone cortisol are almost always elevated and this can play a big part in fluctuating testosterone levels. “The higher your level of cortisol the lower your testosterone level, and vice versa,” Helen explains. “In other words, anything that lowers cortisol increases the balance of testosterone in your body.” Exercise and some relaxing activities such as yoga or meditation can help to balance your hormones and keep you more calm, cool and centred. Find more advice from Dr Shilpa McQuillan here on \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/stress-anxiety\/stress-and-anxiety\/\"\u003ecoping with stress and anxiety during menopause.\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSleep\u003c\/strong\u003e. This is the time when your body produces hormones like testosterone. If you are not getting enough sleep (and enough equates to around seven-nine hours nightly) it is likely you are not making enough testosterone. Researchers recording the sleeping patterns of healthy men have found that their testosterone levels increased the longer they slept. As women going through perimenopause and menopause are more likely to have their sleep disrupted by night sweats and sleep disturbances this can potentially disrupt production of hormones like testosterone.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eLaying off the caffeine \u003c\/strong\u003eAs Helen explains, although caffeine has been seen to increase testosterone levels in men, it has been shown to lower them in women\u003ca href=\"#_ftn7\" name=\"_ftnref1\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[7]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e – so perhaps cut down on your daily latte or switch to decaf.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eExercise\u003c\/strong\u003e. Exercise increases testosterone because it increases muscle mass. Doing weight training and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) have been shown to increase testosterone levels (in men)\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn8\" name=\"_ftnref2\"\u003e[8]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003c\/sup\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/best-exercise-menopause\/\"\u003eRegular physical activity\u003c\/a\u003e will also help to keep your weight down and being overweight or obese is linked to lower testosterone.\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn9\" name=\"_ftnref3\"\u003e[9]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eManaging blood sugar levels\u003c\/strong\u003e (and insulin production) can support DHEA (a steroid hormone: dehydroepiandrosterone) in the adrenals – this is a precursor to testosterone. High sugar or refined carbohydrate consumption in the form of sweets, baked goods, breads, pastries, pasta and juices can increase insulin levels. This can cause vitamin and mineral imbalances as well as reduce DHEA production. Helen’s key advice here is “to limit these and add protein and\/or fibre to each meal for balanced blood sugar.” She also noted that “\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/how-does-alcohol-affect-menopause\/\"\u003eAlcohol consumption is interconnected with varying levels of blood sugar\u003c\/a\u003e. Initially blood sugar can increase but may lead to big dips in blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) if more than one drink is consumed. Following the UK guidelines of no more than 14 units per week, with food is the safest way to drink without impacting your blood sugar levels.” \u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAshwagandha\u003c\/strong\u003e has been shown to support women’s physical and psychological condition. As we know, testosterone levels in women decreases with age. Studies have shown that \u003cspan class=\"ui-provider btv btw c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t btx bty w x y z ab ac ae af ag ah ai aj ak\" dir=\"ltr\"\u003eAshwagandha can increase testosterone in women to help support their diminished sexual desire\u003c\/span\u003e.\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn10\" name=\"_ftnref3\"\u003e[10]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref5\" name=\"_ftn1\"\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eSources \u0026amp; references\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref7\" name=\"_ftn1\"\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref1\" name=\"_ftn1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003ehttps:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/31353194\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref2\" name=\"_ftn2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6266690\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref3\" name=\"_ftn1\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/34311679\/#:~:text=The results of this study,having zinc insufficiency is recommended.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref4\" name=\"_ftn1\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.verywellmind.com\/the-lowdown-on-pregnenolone-89502\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref5\" name=\"_ftn1\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.veganfoodandliving.com\/news\/study-finds-vegan-men-dont-have-lower-testosterone-levels-than-meat-eaters\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref6\" name=\"_ftn2\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/onlinelibrary.wiley.com\/doi\/full\/10.1111\/nbu.12549\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref7\" name=\"_ftn1\"\u003e[7]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC3502342\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref5\" name=\"_ftn1\"\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref8\" name=\"_ftn2\"\u003e[8]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.piedmont.org\/living-better\/the-best-exercises-to-increase-testosterone\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref5\" name=\"_ftn1\"\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref9\" name=\"_ftn3\"\u003e[9]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC3955331\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref10\" name=\"_ftn3\"\u003e[10]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.hindawi.com\/journals\/bmri\/2015\/284154\/\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606538727730", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/yoav-aziz-40zgaNEWEG8-unsplash-1-1600x1200_768x.jpg?v=1697662801", "title" : "Foods that increase testosterone in females during menopause", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=228" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=228" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=228" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/228" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 25, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/low-energy/", "name": "Low energy", "description": "Energy levels can fluctuate in perimenopause and menopause. Browse our range of supplements and products that women have chosen to support their energy levels.", "id": 228, "term_id": 228, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "low-energy" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=224" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=224" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=224" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/224" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 10, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/loss-of-sex-drive/", "name": "Low libido", "description": "Low libido during perimenopause and menopause is common. Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing low libido have chosen. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 224, "term_id": 224, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "loss-of-sex-drive" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=234" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=234" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=234" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/234" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 33, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/low-mood/", "name": "Low mood", "description": "Menopause mood swings, depression, emotional instability and rage can affect many parts of your life, including relationships and work. Browse our range of supplements and product that women have chosen to support normal psychological or cognitive function", "id": 234, "term_id": 234, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "low-mood" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=229" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=229" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=229" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/229" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 21, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/weight-gain/", "name": "Weight gain", "description": "Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing menopause weight gain have chosen as part of a healthy lifestyle. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 229, "term_id": 229, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "weight-gain" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606537842994", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Jane-Collins-3-576x636_small.jpg?v=1697658441", "name" : "Jane Collins", "summary" : "", "title" : "Health & Her Editor" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/What-is-Menopause_-1600x1067_732d3623-5ce4-4b63-b359-d9d1090fa227_1200x.jpg?v=1700495118", "html" : "\u003cp\u003eThe term menopause – derived from the Greek ‘men’ which means month or monthly and ‘pausis’ which means end or stop – translates literally as the ending of your monthly menstrual cycle. It is a completely natural and normal stage of life that all women will go through and leading up to this point, you will probably have (knowingly or not) gone through \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-perimenopause\/\"\u003eperimenopause\u003c\/a\u003e, the time \u003cem\u003ebefore\u003c\/em\u003e your periods stop (and when your ovaries are beginning to slow down and your sex hormone levels begin to fall) before transitioning fully into menopause.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eIf this all sounds straightforward enough, unfortunately, menopause isn’t something that can be neatly boxed up and put away the day after your periods stop. This marks just one day in your menopause journey – a transitional time that usually builds over months and years which is generally accompanied by a range of physical and psychological symptoms that can last for years after you stop menstruating.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eMenopause is not an illness or disease but that doesn’t mean it is necessarily easy to live with. It can be so life-affecting, in fact there are currently 13 million women estimated to be going through perimenopause and menopause in the UK at the same time as you.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn1\" name=\"_ftnref1\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[1]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e  Menopause can have a huge impact on your life so it is important to take action and try to manage it, 10% of women leave their job because of their symptoms and one in four consider quitting according to our research.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn2\" name=\"_ftnref2\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[2]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e Ultimately, your experience will not be the same as other women who are the same age as you or who are experiencing menopause at the same time, and for this reason there is no one size fits all solution as to how to manage it. That said, arming yourself with all the latest research and information can help you to understand what is happening, what you can do about it and what practical help is available.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eWhat age does menopause begin?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eFor most women, menopause starts between the ages of 45 and 55, with the average age (in the UK) being 51. Five per cent of women experience it after the age of 55 – sometimes referred to as late onset menopause – and around 1 in 100 women experience it under 40 which is defined as premature menopause.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn3\" name=\"_ftnref3\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[3]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/early-menopause\/\"\u003eEarly menopause\u003c\/a\u003e is when your periods stop before the age of 45. This can be caused by cancer treatments, if you’ve had a hysterectomy, the result of some autoimmune diseases and infections, or sometimes it just occurs naturally.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eNo one can precisely predict when you will go through menopause but research shows there are a range of factors which can affect its onset. These include:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eThe age your mother went through it\u003c\/strong\u003e (both early and late menopause appear to run in families)\u003ca href=\"#_ftn4\" name=\"_ftnref4\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[4]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eThe age you started your periods\u003c\/strong\u003e (starting them young has been linked to early menopause)\u003ca href=\"#_ftn5\" name=\"_ftnref5\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[5]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHow many children you have had\u003c\/strong\u003e (giving birth to three children is associated with a later onset menopause; having no children or never getting pregnant is linked to going through it earlier)\u003ca href=\"#_ftn6\" name=\"_ftnref6\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[6]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eYour weight\u003c\/strong\u003e (research suggests overweight and obese women have a 50 per cent higher risk of having a late menopause and underweight women are more likely to have an early one)\u003ca href=\"#_ftn7\" name=\"_ftnref7\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[7]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhether you smoke\u003c\/strong\u003e (many studies have shown that women who smoke enter menopause earlier than those who don’t).\u003ca href=\"#_ftn8\" name=\"_ftnref8\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[8]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eAccording to research \u003cstrong\u003eAfrican, Asian and Latino decent women\u003c\/strong\u003e are also, on average, more likely to begin menopause earlier than white women and may have a longer transition time into menopause and experience worse symptoms.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn9\" name=\"_ftnref9\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[9]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch2\u003eHow do you know menopause is happening?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe simple answer is you are experiencing the effects of menopause and it has been 12 months since your last period.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eWhat happens to your hormones in menopause?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eAs you approach menopause, your ovaries begin to slow down and with it your production of the sex hormones oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Oestrogen levels affect your reproductive (period) cycle, but also your sleep, weight, energy levels, temperature regulation, skin, soft tissues, and mood. \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/loss-of-sex-drive\/testosterone-menopause\/\"\u003eChanging levels of testosterone\u003c\/a\u003e can affect your \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/loss-of-sex-drive\/loss-of-sex-drive-at-menopause-is-it-biological-or-psychological\/\"\u003esex drive\u003c\/a\u003e. In short, it’s a time of extreme hormonal fluctuations – leading some experts to suggest menopause should be renamed ‘Female Hormone Deficiency’.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn10\" name=\"_ftnref10\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[10]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eIf you want to get a more informed picture of what is going on with your erratic hormones at this time there is a test that measures your Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), one of the most important hormones involved in regulating your reproductive system and menstrual cycle. A single FSH test might not conclusively confirm if you are in menopause – as levels of it can rise and fall – but it can help to give you a bit more information about your hormone status, if you feel it would be helpful. If you haven’t had a period for 12 months and your FSH levels are consistently elevated to 30 lU\/L you are almost certainly in menopause. Dr Kate Burns, explains more in \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/period-changes\/hormone-blood-test-menopause\/\"\u003eBlood tests for hormone levels in menopause\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eMenopause symptoms\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eLower levels of oestrogen are thought to drive almost all menopause-related symptoms (there are oestrogen receptors all over the body, including within the brain). This is the case for psychological symptoms as well as the physical ones. However, often symptoms are inter-linked. For example, regularly not sleeping (and this is the number one complaint from women going through menopause according to recent Health \u0026amp; Her research) is likely to lead to feelings of low energy\/lethargy, which can lead to reduced motivation to do things and enjoying them less, as well as perhaps a lowering of mood generally. Similarly, worrying about experiencing brain fog or hot flushes whilst at work can contribute to increased anxiety, stress and\/or loss of confidence.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThere is evidence to show that around 75% of all women will experience menopausal symptoms, and for around a quarter of these they will be severe.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn11\" name=\"_ftnref11\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[11]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e Given that for many women these will last for around seven years, and up to 15 years in 20 per cent of cases, you can see why it becomes so important to; 1. be able to recognise them 2. understand why and how they might impact on your body and brain and 3. learn what can alleviate them. Again, every woman’s experience will be slightly different – including length, severity, and symptoms experienced.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eThe top 9 symptoms of menopause\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eNew research from Health \u0026amp; Her\u003ca href=\"#_ftn12\" name=\"_ftnref12\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[12]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e reveals women are having to contend with an average of 9 symptoms during their menopause with the most common ones cited (in order of prevalence) as:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003col\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/sleeping-problems\/is-menopause-messing-with-your-sleep-tools-techniques-and-treatment-to-reclaim-your-rest\/\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSleeping problems\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e – \u003c\/strong\u003estress, low mood, anxiety and depression can all potentially lead to problems with getting to sleep as your brain finds it difficult to switch off. This is very likely to be accompanied by night sweats which not only wake you up but also make it difficult for you to get back to sleep.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/weight-gain\/exercises-for-menopause-weight-gain-with-jane-dowling\/\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWeight gain\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e – \u003c\/strong\u003ewe tend to gain weight as we age as our metabolism slows down and we might find it harder to find time to exercise. On average menopausal women gain around 5lb\u003ca href=\"#_ftn13\" name=\"_ftnref13\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[13]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e. The hormonal changes during menopause can also affect the way you store fat so that it becomes distributed differently around your body. You are more likely to gain weight around your middle – often dubbed the meno-belly, the meno-pot or meno-middle.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/low-energy\/low-energy-levels-at-menopause-how-to-get-more-out-of-your-day\/\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eLow energy\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e – decreasing hormone levels can cause tiredness and fatigue during menopause and this can be exacerbated by sleep issues, stress, mood swings and low mood – all of which can lead to you feeling generally ‘flat’ and unmotivated.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/joint-aches\/\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eJoint aches and pains\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e – \u003c\/strong\u003eoestrogen plays a key role in helping to decrease inflammation in the body and keep joints naturally lubricated. Losing oestrogen as you head into menopause will not only reduce natural bone density but can also affect your joints and cartilage (the connective tissue which cushions your joints) – often resulting in stiffness, pain and muscle aches.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/night-sweats\/\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eNight sweats\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e – These often accompany hot flushes and are similarly caused by an inability to control your temperature at night. Night sweats should always be discussed with your GP as there are other, non-menopausal causes of these, and in rare cases these can be serious.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/brain-fog\/menopause-mood-changes-and-brain-fog-the-surprising-cognitive-and-psychological-symptoms\/\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eBrain fog\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e – this is the term used to describe the forgetfulness, confusion and inability to remember words and retain information during perimenopause and menopause. Many women describe it as their brain feeling like cotton wool or bubble wrap and whilst it might be the butt of many a joke it can be seriously disconcerting for many women. Dr Anne Henderson discusses the subject more in \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/brain-fog\/menopause-mood-changes-and-brain-fog-the-surprising-cognitive-and-psychological-symptoms\/\"\u003eMenopause mood changes and brain fog.\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/stress-anxiety\/stress-and-anxiety\/\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eStress and anxiety\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e – Mood swings, anxiety and depressive symptoms are common during menopause. You might also feel angry, less confident, more forgetful and have difficulty concentrating or finding words that you know (typical symptoms of brain fog). These feelings can be quite pronounced and may appear to come out of the blue making them particularly hard to deal with. Menopause experts point out that it is these psychological symptoms which tend to floor women more than the physical ones like hot flushes – with many women worrying that they might be experiencing early signs of \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/brain-fog\/hrt-dementia\/\"\u003edementia\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/low-mood\/\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eLow mood\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e – oestrogen is hugely significant for brain function and mood and diminishing levels of it can potentially result in you feeling a pretty constant flat, low feeling and a general loss of interest in things that normally bring you pleasure. This low mood is often accompanied by debilitating tiredness.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTrouble concentrating – \u003c\/strong\u003ewhen hormone levels are lowered brain function can be affected in subtle ways including your ability to concentrate. Whether at work or at home this can be hugely frustrating, and is likely to be compounded by the fact you are not sleeping well so making it even harder to focus.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe top 9 symptoms vary for women in perimenopause and menopause – the perimenopause stage is explained more in \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-perimenopause\/\"\u003eWhat is Perimenopause.\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eSymptoms associated with the vaginal area are typically reported as having the biggest impact on quality of life. These symptoms include:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003eVaginal dryness and discomfort during sex – Lower levels of oestrogen can affect your urogenital tissues – the areas around the vagina, the vulva, the bladder and urethra (the tube that takes wee from the bladder to the outside of the body). The oestrogen deficiency that occurs during the perimenopause and menopause can cause urogenital atrophy, where the tissues become thinner and drier. This can lead to vulval (the vulva is the area outside the vagina) or \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/vaginal-dryness\/menopause-vaginal-changes-explained\/\"\u003evaginal dryness\u003c\/a\u003e, soreness, and\/or irritation\/itch. These symptoms can, understandably, make sex painful. Bladder-wise this can cause abnormally high urinary frequency, waking frequently overnight to have a wee, an unusual urgency to pee, and a propensity to urinary tract infections like cystitis. It should be pointed out that while other menopause symptoms tend to subside, these ones might not. As Dr Rebeccah Tomlinson, a GP with a special interest in menopause, explains,’ Whilst we learn to manage and adapt the other menopause symptoms that all tend to lessen over time, the vaginal atrophy is persistent and will not resolve or improve without ongoing treatment.’\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eLow libido – Lower levels of oestrogen can dampen your \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/loss-of-sex-drive\/loss-of-sex-drive-at-menopause-is-it-biological-or-psychological\/\"\u003edesire for intimacy and sex\u003c\/a\u003e plus the fact it may be uncomfortable (see above) can make it a double turn off.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp\u003eTo discover more symptom specific advice and expert content, visit our easy-to-use \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/symptom-tool\/\"\u003esymptom checker\u003c\/a\u003e which is based on the British Menopause Society’s most common symptoms.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eHow can you manage your menopause symptoms\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eThere are a whole range of treatments, remedies and lifestyle habits that can help relieve your symptoms – although it should be said what works for one woman might not for another so it can be a matter of trial and error working out the right plan of action for you. Practical strategies that can help include:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eTracking symptoms\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/apps.apple.com\/gb\/app\/health-her-menopause-app\/id1519199698\"\u003eHealth \u0026amp; Her Menopause App\u003c\/a\u003e, for example, can help you make note of your triggers, log down the severity and regularity of symptoms, and help provide some exercises to manage them. Documenting and monitoring symptoms can improve knowledge and it can be helpful if they are getting in the way of your quality of life. 78% of women who used the Health \u0026amp; Her app every week for 2 months reported improvements in symptoms.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn14\" name=\"_ftnref14\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[14]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e Having this information can also be useful to take to a GP appointment so you get the most out of the time you have them.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eRecognise your particular triggers: The top 10 menopause triggers\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhat appears to make symptoms worse? The Health \u0026amp; Her findings show the \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/worsen-perimenopause-menopause-triggers\/\"\u003etop 10 triggers\u003c\/a\u003e likely to inflame and exacerbate menopause symptoms for thousands of women are:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003col\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/how-to-talk-to-your-manager-about-menopause\/\"\u003eStress at work\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/stress-anxiety\/how-to-manage-stress-anxiety-and-anger-and-keep-your-relationship-strong\/\"\u003eA stressful event\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/how-does-alcohol-affect-menopause\/\"\u003eAlcohol\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eSugar\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eCaffeine\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eFatty food\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eHot weather\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eSpicy food\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eCold weather\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/menopause-nutrition-how-to-eat-for-a-healthier-happier-menopause\/\"\u003eChanges to your diet\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e\u003cp\u003eThere are a variety of treatment routes to consider depending on how the menopause affects you. Knowing what is available can help you make more informed choices and give you the practical tools to make your menopause easier.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eMedical treatments for menopause\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe most common medical treatment for menopause is \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/hormone-replacement-therapy-hrt-guide\/\"\u003ehormone replacement therapy\u003c\/a\u003e (HRT) which according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is statistically the most successful one for relieving symptoms in otherwise healthy women. HRT works by replacing the oestrogen and progesterone hormones that deplete during menopause. It is prescribed by your GP (although you can now buy vaginal oestrogen from your pharmacist to help relieve vaginal dryness) and it comes in several forms, including tablets, skin patches, gels, implants, creams or pessaries. To determine if it is the right option for you, speak to your GP to discuss the risks and benefits. For example, they can help if you’re looking for a menopause diagnosis, need help in considering if HRT is right for you, if you’re struggling with your existing HRT treatment or want to know how long it is safe to stay on HRT.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eExercise\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/weight-gain\/exercises-for-menopause-weight-gain-with-jane-dowling\/\"\u003eRegular exercise can be key to helping you through menopause symptoms.\u003c\/a\u003e It can boost your ‘feel-good’ endorphin levels and help manage anxiety and depression whilst keeping you physically fitter and more likely to maintain a healthy weight. It can help you build muscle mass and protect your bones,\u003ca href=\"#_ftn15\" name=\"_ftnref15\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[15]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e generally help you to stay more flexible and reduce your risk of heart disease (keeping your weight down and improving cholesterol levels).\u003ca href=\"#_ftn16\" name=\"_ftnref16\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[16]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e It can also lead to better sleep.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn17\" name=\"_ftnref17\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[17]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e On top of all this, there is also evidence to show that women who exercise regularly have less severe hot flushes than women who don’t.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn18\" name=\"_ftnref18\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[18]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e Exercising also increases blood flow to the brain and can help reduce brain fog. Significantly, it has also been shown to improve self-worth and quality of life in post-menopausal women.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn19\" name=\"_ftnref19\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[19]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eDiet and lifestyle\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eEnsuring you have a diet that helps you have a \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/menopause-nutrition-how-to-eat-for-a-healthier-happier-menopause\/\"\u003ehealthier, happier menopause\u003c\/a\u003e. This should be a diet rich in \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/weight-gain\/diet-balance-hormones-menopause\/\"\u003enutrients, vitamins and minerals\u003c\/a\u003e can have a huge impact in helping to provide you with the energy you need and improving your mental health. Cutting down on certain foods that may make you feel lethargic or tired, and incorporating more protein and foods rich in fibre into your diet can make a real difference. \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eSupplements for menopause\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/your-ultimate-guide-to-supplements-for-menopause\/\"\u003eSupplements during menopause\u003c\/a\u003e can help support your body as it goes through this life stage. Those containing natural phytoestrogens – including plants like Red Clover that help mimic the action of oestrogen in the body – can help balance your hormones. \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hormone-regulation\/health-her-menopause-food-supplement-60-caps\/\"\u003eHealth \u0026amp; Her’s menopause supplement\u003c\/a\u003e range is a natural and medical support for your unique menopause journey.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eBuilding positive lifestyle habits\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eThere are lots of small daily changes you can do that can lead to long-lasting results:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003eCognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) exercises for hot flushes, night sweats and low mood \u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eGuided imagery meditation can help towards a better night’s sleep\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ePelvic training is good for sensitive bladders\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eDeep breathing exercises to help with your stress \u0026amp; anxiety\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/apps.apple.com\/gb\/app\/health-her-menopause-app\/id1519199698\"\u003eHealth \u0026amp; Her Menopause App\u003c\/a\u003e’s symptom toolkit includes all of the above, it is the first personal trainer for your menopause with a selection of evidence-based exercises, tools and reminders to support your symptoms.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eTalk about it\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eThankfully, the days when the subject of the menopause was brushed under the carpet and\/or talked about in hushed tones as ‘women’s troubles’ are over, but that said many of us can still feel uncomfortable talking about it even with people we love and trust. No-one should feel pressured into talking about it, but it can help the people around you to empathise and understand why you might be behaving slightly out of character. Broaching it with your close family or colleagues can be a bit of a minefield but there are ways and means as Menopause Coach Ruth Devlin explains in \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/how-to-talk-to-your-teenagers-about-perimenopause-and-menopause\/\"\u003eHow to Talk to Your Teenagers\u003c\/a\u003e and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/menopause-symptoms-explained-for-men\/\"\u003eHow to explain menopause to a man\u003c\/a\u003e and if you are struggling at work you can find information on how to talk to your boss about it in \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/how-to-talk-to-your-manager-about-menopause\/\"\u003eHow to talk to your manager about menopause\u003c\/a\u003e. Similarly, if you’re struggling to find the right words to speak to your GP about your symptoms, there is helpful information in \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/how-to-talk-to-your-gp-about-menopause\/\"\u003eHere is how best to broach intimate topics with your health professional.\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cu\u003e  \u003c\/u\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eThink about the positives\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eAs always there is no one size fits all or ‘right’ response to discovering you are going through the menopause. You will probably feel a mixture of emotions but it’s worth thinking about what the potential benefits can be including:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eNo more periods\u003c\/strong\u003e. No more worries about your period suddenly starting when you are on holiday or flooding during a meeting or an important event. Added to this, no more shelling out for sanitary products and no more PMS, period pain or menstrual headaches. Plus, you can confidently wear white trousers again.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eNo more contraception\u003c\/strong\u003e. Once you are postmenopausal (generally meaning two full years after your last period) and\/or over 55 you should be able to safely stop whatever form of contraception you have been using and not have to worry about getting pregnant. Dr Kate Burns, a GP with a special interest in menopause, discusses this more in Menopause contraception.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eA time to re-appraise your life. \u003c\/strong\u003eThe time around menopause can be a time for taking stock of your life generally, focusing more on what \u003cem\u003eyou\u003c\/em\u003e want and need and how to make the most of your fifties and beyond. One of the more surprising things about menopause is that it’s linked to a reduction in the hormone oxytocin.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn20\" name=\"_ftnref20\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[20]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e Commonly dubbed the ‘love\/cuddle hormone’, oxytocin is associated with caring\/mothering and is the main reason why women look after everyone else’s needs before their own. It has been suggested that a decrease in this hormone can allow you to take more time for yourself and this is described by some women as truly liberating. and it has been suggested that a decrease in it can make you slightly more detached and want to take more time for yourself.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eFocus on healthcare and habits.\u003c\/strong\u003e The typical age of menopause is also a time when many women start to reassess their habits and healthcare generally – many are likely to take up some form of exercise (it has been noted that there has been a big rise in fifty-something runners attempting marathons)\u003ca href=\"#_ftn21\" name=\"_ftnref21\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[21]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e and often re-appraise their diet or lifestyle habits – aiming to cut down on sugar or unhealthy fats or stop drinking, for example. Given that menopause can put you at increased risk of conditions like osteoporosis\u003ca href=\"#_ftn22\" name=\"_ftnref22\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[22]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e and heart disease,\u003ca href=\"#_ftn23\" name=\"_ftnref23\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[23]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e regular exercise and improving your diet can help reduce your risk.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eIncreased self-assurance and optimism\u003c\/strong\u003e. After 40 or 50 years of life experience, you are generally more likely to have greater self-assurance and the confidence to go after what you want and ask for your needs to be met. As you get your menopause symptoms under control you should also feel calmer and more even tempered. Research also suggests your levels of optimism peak in your mid-fifties.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn24\" name=\"_ftnref24\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[24]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch3\u003eSources and references:\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref1\" name=\"_ftn1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.engage.england.nhs.uk\/safety-and-innovation\/menopause-in-the-workplace\/#:~:text=It%20is%20estimated%20that%20there,can%20last%20for%20several%20years.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref2\" name=\"_ftn2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.hrreview.co.uk\/hr-news\/10-of-women-leave-the-workforce-due-to-menopause\/142016\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref3\" name=\"_ftn3\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.nhs.uk\/conditions\/menopause\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref4\" name=\"_ftn4\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.reuters.com\/article\/idINIndia-57288820110526\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref5\" name=\"_ftn5\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.npr.org\/sections\/health-shots\/2017\/01\/25\/511588083\/an-early-first-menstrual-period-may-lead-to-premature-menopause#:~:text=An%20Early%20First%20Menstrual%20Period%20May%20Lead%20To%20Premature%20Menopause\u0026amp;text=Getty%20Images-,Data%20from%20four%20countries%20suggests%20a%20link%20between%20starting,age%2011%20and%20earlier%20menopause.\u0026amp;text=Women%20who%20get%20their%20first,of%2040%2C%20a%20study%20finds.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref6\" name=\"_ftn6\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/academic.oup.com\/humrep\/article\/37\/2\/333\/6427299\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref7\" name=\"_ftn7\"\u003e[7]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/public-health.uq.edu.au\/article\/2018\/03\/weight-plays-role-menopause-age#:~:text=%E2%80%9COverweight%20and%20obese%20women%20had,to%20the%20onset%20of%20menopause.%E2%80%9D\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref8\" name=\"_ftn8\"\u003e[8]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/23788671\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref9\" name=\"_ftn9\"\u003e[9]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.swanstudy.org\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref10\" name=\"_ftn10\"\u003e[10]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.themenopausecharity.org\/2021\/05\/05\/rebranding-the-menopause-as-a-female-hormone-deficiency\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref11\" name=\"_ftn11\"\u003e[11]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/thebms.org.uk\/2021\/08\/the-british-menopause-society-response-to-the-department-of-health-and-social-cares-call-for-evidence-to-help-inform-the-development-of-the-governments-womens-health-strateg\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref12\" name=\"_ftn12\"\u003e[12]\u003c\/a\u003e Health \u0026amp; Her research conducted Oct 2020 – Sept 2020\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref13\" name=\"_ftn13\"\u003e[13]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6483504\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref14\" name=\"_ftn14\"\u003e[14]\u003c\/a\u003e Data based on 289 women using Health and Her app users for2 months any time between October 2020 and September 2022\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref15\" name=\"_ftn15\"\u003e[15]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6429007\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref16\" name=\"_ftn16\"\u003e[16]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.frontiersin.org\/articles\/10.3389\/fragi.2021.667519\/full\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref17\" name=\"_ftn17\"\u003e[17]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/sleepeducation.org\/increasing-physical-activity-improve-sleep-menopausal-women\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref18\" name=\"_ftn18\"\u003e[18]\u003c\/a\u003e http:\/\/edition.cnn.com\/2016\/01\/27\/health\/menopause-hot-flashes-exercise\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref19\" name=\"_ftn19\"\u003e[19]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC2728615\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref20\" name=\"_ftn20\"\u003e[20]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6257199\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref21\" name=\"_ftn21\"\u003e[21]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.theguardian.com\/sport\/2022\/sep\/30\/a-sea-of-positivity-older-women-boost-london-marathon-numbers\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref22\" name=\"_ftn22\"\u003e[22]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.healthline.com\/health\/menopause\/osteoporosis\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref23\" name=\"_ftn23\"\u003e[23]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.bhf.org.uk\/informationsupport\/support\/women-with-a-heart-condition\/menopause-and-heart-disease#:~:text=Before%20the%20menopause%2C%20women%20in,the%20menopause%2C%20your%20risk%20increases.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref24\" name=\"_ftn24\"\u003e[24]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/spsp.org\/news-center\/character-context-blog\/look-sunny-side-optimism-increases-people-get-older\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606671208754", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/What-is-Menopause_-1600x1067_732d3623-5ce4-4b63-b359-d9d1090fa227_768x.jpg?v=1700495118", "title" : "What is menopause?", "symptoms" : [ ]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606517297458", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Dr-R-Tomlinson-Headshot-576x768_small.jpg?v=1697653989", "name" : "Dr Rebeccah Tomlinson", "summary" : "", "title" : "General Practitioner" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Does-HRT-make-meno-worse-smaller-1600x1042_1200x.jpg?v=1697662791", "html" : "\u003cp\u003eby \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/about-us\/menopause-experts\/dr-rebeccah-tomlinson\/\"\u003eDr Rebecca Tomlinson\u003c\/a\u003e,  ⊕ medically reviewed by \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/about-us\/menopause-experts\/dr-rebeccah-tomlinson\/\"\u003eDr Rebecca Tomlinson\u003c\/a\u003e on 27th April, 2023\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eFor many women \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/hormone-replacement-therapy-hrt-guide\/\"\u003eHRT\u003c\/a\u003e is the answer they have been searching for when it comes to minimising, or stopping, their often soul-sapping perimenopausal or menopausal symptoms. HRT is generally agreed to be the gold-standard treatment because it addresses the very root cause of these symptoms – namely replacing declining hormone levels – the end result of which should help women to get back to feeling ‘like themselves’ again.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eUnsurprisingly, many women are pretty evangelical about its benefits. Unfortunately, however, this is not true for everyone and there are some unlucky women who find HRT makes them feel worse than the very symptoms that caused them to seek it out in the first place.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat is HRT?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eLike any medicine, the hormones used in HRT (oestrogen, progesterone and in some cases testosterone \u003ca href=\"#_ftn1\" name=\"_ftnref1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e) can potentially cause side effects.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eIt is also helpful to remember hormone therapy isn’t one standardised homogenous medication but one that comes in a range of strengths and modes of delivery (gels, pills, transdermal patches, pessaries, sprays and implants) and it can be a process of trial and error to get it right for you.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe type of HRT you need will also depend on a range of factors including whether you have had a hysterectomy (in which case you will be prescribed oestrogen-only HRT) and the specific menopausal symptoms you are experiencing which will determine the most appropriate hormones and dosage. (Dr Shilpa McQuillan explains more in \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/hormone-replacement-therapy-hrt-guide\/\"\u003eWhat is HRT and who is it intended for?\u003c\/a\u003e)\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eIf you have recently been prescribed HRT it can help to keep an open mind initially and not immediately write it off if it doesn’t seem to be agreeing with you from the outset. Most health professionals and manufacturers of HRT suggest you allow around three months for your body to adjust to it. Often, any issues are temporary and\/or fixable with a few minor adjustments but it helps to have accurate information about risks and potential side effects.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSigns HRT is Not Working: How to tell if HRT is not working for you\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eSo what are the signs hormone therapy is not helping? Why are some women more likely to encounter problems than others? What is the best course of action if it is making you feel worse than before?\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe whole point of HRT is to replace the hormones that your body no longer produces around the time of the menopause and, in turn, minimise, or put a stop to any debilitating symptoms triggered by them decreasing. If it doesn’t – or appears to be exacerbating them – this is indicates your prescription may need rethinking and\/or tweaking. Symptoms to look out for can be both physical and\/or psychological. Some of the signs HRT is not working may include:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003eProblems sleeping\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eYou are still having hot flushes and night sweats\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eUnexplained weight gain\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eFeeling sick\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eLack of libido\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eDepression or low mood\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eBloating and fluid retention\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eFatigue\/tiredness\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eIrritability\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eMuscle and joint pain\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eChanges in your bowel habits\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eMigraines and headaches\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ePoor concentration and forgetfulness\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eFeeling unusually angry\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eAnxiety\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ePanic attacks\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eBreast tenderness\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eAcne and oily skin\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eHirsutism (excess hair growth)\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eDizziness\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eHigh blood pressure\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eRaised cholesterol levels\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eInsulin resistance\/pre-diabetes\u003cul\u003e\u003cli style=\"list-style-type: none;\"\u003e \u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSome women are more prone to problems with HRT than others\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHormone intolerance to progesterone –\u003c\/strong\u003e Typically, too, symptoms of an hormonal intolerance to HRT (generally to progesterone) can be very similar to those of PMS or PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, a particularly severe form of PMS) and if you have a history of suffering with PMS or PMDD symptoms in the past, or you have struggled to tolerate hormonal contraception in the past, you may be at an increased risk of hypersensitivy to the progesterone in HRT so it can help to be alert to any warning signs (including cramps, joint and muscle pain, insomnia, binge eating and food cravings. anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts). \u003ca href=\"#_ftn2\" name=\"_ftnref2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eEndometriosis – \u003c\/strong\u003eResearch shows those who have had a history of endometriosis (a painful condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus)\u003ca href=\"#_ftn3\" name=\"_ftnref3\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e can find the oestrogen part of HRT can sometimes reactivate tissue growth and restart symptoms related to endometriosis.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn4\" name=\"_ftnref4\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eH\u003cspan class=\"ui-provider biz bja c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t bjb bjc w x y z ab ac ae af ag ah ai aj ak\" dir=\"ltr\"\u003eypothyroidism\u003c\/span\u003e –\u003c\/strong\u003e Also, women living with hypothyroidism (when the thyroid gland does not produce enough of the hormone thyroid) can experience issues with oestrogen in HRT which can interfere with thyroid medication and reduce the amount of available thyroid hormone in the blood. If you are being treated with thyroid hormone and start taking HRT then you will need to work out a carefully individualised plan with your doctor or healthcare provider as your thyroxine dosage may need to be adjusted.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn5\" name=\"_ftnref5\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eGenital herpes –\u003c\/strong\u003e For women who have the genital herpes simplex virus there is also some evidence to suggest that certain types of progesterone, most specifically the progesterone found in the Depo-Provera contraceptive injection could increase susceptibility to infection. Research on the progesterone elements contained within HRT have not shown such links.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn6\" name=\"_ftnref6\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eCan you be intolerant to HRT?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eIf you are struggling with more symptoms than before you started it, this can be a sign of a hypersensitivity. As Dr Rebeccah Tomlinson, a GP with a special interest in menopause explains what commonly causes it: ‘Most often, it is the progesterone component of hormonal treatments that women are sensitive to and this can lead to a lot of symptoms that could possibly be mistaken for other things like depression, PMT or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).’ It is thought that around 20 per cent of women taking HRT can’t tolerate progesterone and around half of those affected will stop taking their HRT because of the side effects it produces.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn7\" name=\"_ftnref7\"\u003e[7]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhy is progesterone problematic?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eDr Tomlinson says, ‘Most of the progesterones that are prescribed to us throughout our lives as contraceptives or HRT will be progestogens – synthetically created hormones that can be different in structure and compound make-up to the natural progesterones produced by your ovaries. The alternative to these are the newer “body identical” ones and micronised varieties which are being developed. These are more naturally sourced (currently from yam) and have more similarities to your body’s natural progesterones. Women tend to have fewer side effects with these and research has shown them to be safer in terms of risks of breast cancer, blood clot and heart disease. The most common body identical progesterone currently being used in HRT is called Utrogestan.’\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eOestrogen tends to cause fewer problems but commonly can make you feel sick and headachy when you first start taking it. It can also trigger other gastrointestinal problems including abdominal cramps, vomiting, bloating, flatulence, diarrhea and heartburn. Dry eyes and leg cramps are other recognised side effects.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn8\" name=\"_ftnref8\"\u003e[8]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003csup\u003e,\u003ca href=\"#_ftn9\" name=\"_ftnref9\"\u003e[9]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/sup\u003e If you have been prescribed testosterone (although it is not actually licensed to treat menopause symptoms in the UK some specialists might prescribe it if they think you would benefit from it and it can be used to treat low libido) side effects are rare but can potentially include increasingly oily skin and acne, excess hair and weight gain.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn10\" name=\"_ftnref10\"\u003e[10]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/loss-of-sex-drive\/testosterone-menopause\/\"\u003eHere is how testosterone levels can be affected by menopause\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat to do if your HRT is making you feel ill\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003col\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/symptom-tool\/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwnP-ZBhDiARIsAH3FSReGukRG8eR2oenxWTJ62dwyP0zFlLqwrZjwiLoAj-Hv2q5xK-5zOYoaAu9VEALw_wcB\"\u003eTrack your symptoms\u003c\/a\u003e using our tracker to pinpoint how they manifest themselves and if, and when, they get better or worse. Don’t automatically think you can’t tolerate any hormone treatments ever. As it is frequently pointed out just as there is no one size fits all solution for perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms, equally there is no one HRT solution for every woman.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eExperiment\u003c\/strong\u003e. As Dr Tomlinson says, ‘Having side effects with one HRT regimen should not stop you from trying an alternative type. Changing your HRT to a formulation more tailored to your hormone sensitivities may reduce or stop some, or all, of the issues you are experiencing.’ It might be something as simple as changing to a different delivery method: side effects tend to be milder when using patches or pessaries than taking pills.\u003cem\u003e When\u003c\/em\u003e you take your HRT is also significant – for example, if your tablet makes you feel nauseous many women say that taking it with food and at night can stop you feeling sick. It is also worth pointing out that some women have noticed when using patches or gels that the amount of hormone they absorb through their skin can vary according the brand of HRT they are using– so if yours appears to be too low or high it can be worth experimenting to find a brand that works best for you. \u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e\u003cp\u003eIn short, tweaking the dosage and altering the type of progesterone used and\/or when you take your HRT can all help. As Dr Tomlinson explains, ‘Progestogens and progesterones are either given sequentially (12-14 days in a 28 day cycle) or continuously (daily). Those on sequential HRT may find a complete change in their symptoms on the days where they are taking both the oestrogen and progesterone together, compared to the days when they just on the oestrogen alone. If this is the case, then changing the progesterone being used or the timing of it would be advised.’\u003c\/p\u003e\u003col start=\"3\"\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTry a different form of progesterone\u003c\/strong\u003e. Micronised progesterone, made from yams, is also generally better tolerated and metabolised than the synthetic versions – with the added benefit that it has been shown to help improve sleep quality, something that is often a key concern during menopause.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn11\" name=\"_ftnref11\"\u003e[11]\u003c\/a\u003e For this reason, it is generally recommended that you take yours at night.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWork with an experienced and knowledgeable health professional. \u003c\/strong\u003eDr Tomlinson is keen to point out that you need to discuss any changes with your GP or health provider. She adds that although as it might seem that taking less progesterone might ease any adverse side effects, reducing your dose could leave you with insufficient endometrial (lining of the womb) protection leaving you at an increased risk of endometrial hyperplasia and endometrial cancer. Speak to your GP if you are having issues to discuss it further so you get the maximum benefits from your HRT.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAlternative treatments to HRT\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eIf ultimately you can’t find an\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/hormone-replacement-therapy-hrt-guide\/\"\u003e HRT\u003c\/a\u003e treatment that you get on with or you simply don’t want to take it anymore there are other prescribed medicines that can potentially help including Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) – antidepressants which are effective at reducing night sweats. \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/cbt-for-menopause\/\"\u003eCognitive Behavioural Therapy\u003c\/a\u003e (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you deal with some of the more problematic psychological symptoms of menopause including stress, anxiety and mood swings. Vaginal lubricants are easily available online or at the pharmacist can help reduce uncomfortable vaginal dryness.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThere are also a range of diet and lifestyle changes that can help minimise perimenopause and menopause symptoms including \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/best-exercise-menopause\/\"\u003etaking regular exercise\u003c\/a\u003e; eating a \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/menopause-nutrition-how-to-eat-for-a-healthier-happier-menopause\/\"\u003ehealthy menopause-friendly diet\u003c\/a\u003e, taking vitamin and mineral supplements containing \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/hot-flushes\/phytoestrogens-menopause\/\"\u003ephytoestrogens (like yam),\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/how-does-alcohol-affect-menopause\/\"\u003elimiting alcohol\u003c\/a\u003e, stopping smoking and finding effective ways to \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/stress-anxiety\/stress-and-anxiety\/\"\u003emanage stress and anxiety\u003c\/a\u003e. Many women find they can successfully manage their symptoms this way.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eSources \u0026amp; resources\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref1\" name=\"_ftn1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.nhs.uk\/conditions\/menopause\/treatment\/#:~:text=Testosterone is produced by the,the same time as HRT.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref2\" name=\"_ftn2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.psycom.net\/premenstrual-dysphoric-disorder-pmdd\/pmdd-or-pms\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref3\" name=\"_ftn3\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.nhs.uk\/conditions\/endometriosis\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref4\" name=\"_ftn4\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/academic.oup.com\/humupd\/article\/23\/4\/481\/3814217\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref5\" name=\"_ftn5\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/30296186\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref6\" name=\"_ftn6\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.researchgate.net\/publication\/344099994_The_Impact_of_Hormonal_Replacement_Therapy_on_Herpes_Simplex_Infection_and_Gingival_Health_in_Post-Menopausal_Women\"\u003ehttps:\/\/journals.asm.org\/doi\/full\/10.1128\/JVI.77.8.4558-4565.2003#:~:text=Progesterone Increases Susceptibility and Decreases Immune Responses to Genital Herpes Infection,-Authors: Charu Kaushic\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref7\" name=\"_ftn7\"\u003e[7]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/academic.oup.com\/humupd\/article\/3\/2\/159\/840053\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref8\" name=\"_ftn8\"\u003e[8]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/patient.info\/medicine\/oestrogen-hrt-estradiol-conjugated-oestrogens\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref9\" name=\"_ftn9\"\u003e[9]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.sciencedirect.com\/science\/article\/abs\/pii\/S0378512203003815\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref10\" name=\"_ftn10\"\u003e[10]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/thebms.org.uk\/wp-content\/uploads\/2022\/12\/08-BMS-TfC-Testosterone-replacement-in-menopause-DEC2022-A.pdf\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref11\" name=\"_ftn11\"\u003e[11]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/29962247\/\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606538563890", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Does-HRT-make-meno-worse-smaller-1600x1042_768x.jpg?v=1697662791", "title" : "Signs HRT is Not Working: Can HRT make your symptoms worse?", "symptoms" : [ ]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606517297458", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Dr-R-Tomlinson-Headshot-576x768_small.jpg?v=1697653989", "name" : "Dr Rebeccah Tomlinson", "summary" : "", "title" : "General Practitioner" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Dementia_1200x.jpg?v=1713446252", "html" : "\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAlzheimer’s dementia is one of the greatest health fears for most of us – and a condition that disproportionately affects women. Now headline-grabbing new research\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn1\" name=\"_ftnref1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003c\/sup\u003esuggests taking HRT could reduce that risk for some women. Here GP and menopause specialist, Dr Rebeccah Tomlinson, discusses what the latest findings mean…\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eFigures show that over 600,000 women are currently living with dementia in this country, and it is the leading cause of death for women in the UK.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn2\" name=\"_ftnref2\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[2]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e These figures are expected to rise as the age of the population increases. It is perhaps unsurprising then that this new study, carried out by researchers at the University of East Anglia and the University of Edinburgh, has generated a huge amount of coverage in the media as it shines a spotlight on the ‘potential importance’ of HRT in reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s dementia for some women.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn3\" name=\"_ftnref3\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[3]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e Why it is particularly significant is because previously research has shown no conclusive benefits between HRT and any potential dementia health benefits. It has even been shown to have detrimental effects – including \u003cem\u003eincreasing\u003c\/em\u003e the risk in post-menopausal women over the age of 65.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn4\" name=\"_ftnref4\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[4]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhat is not in any doubt, though, is that the risk of dementia is higher in women – with two thirds of those with Alzheimer’s being female (this has traditionally been attributed to the fact women live longer than men but now we are beginning to get a clearer picture about how declining oestrogen could also be a potent risk factor). Around a quarter of women in the UK also carry a gene called APOE4 which poses a significant genetic risk factor for the condition. I need to stress, however, that carrying this gene does not mean you are guaranteed to develop Alzheimer’s and this isn’t always clear in the media coverage.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat does the HRT study tell us?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eDue to the ‘observational’ nature of this study (observational studies are where researchers observe or measure certain findings but don’t affect the outcomes so, for example, no treatment is given) the findings can only be used to call for more detailed and robust studies in the future.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhat is needed now is more research into how the timing of HRT could be key in potentially reducing the risk of dementia for\u003cem\u003e some\u003c\/em\u003e women and starting it during the perimenopausal stage (the average age of women going through it is mid 40s\u003ca href=\"#_ftn5\" name=\"_ftnref5\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[5]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e) could begin to replace hormones as they start to fall and brain changes begin. Suddenly giving HRT to women in later life, years after their oestrogen receptors have closed down may be too late. Similarly, we need to know what type of HRT and mode of delivery is more likely to yield more positive outcomes.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eFor example, research from 2021 has shown that women aged over 45 using transdermal HRT (patches) containing body-identical (i.e. hormones that are indistinguishable from ones produced naturally in the body) oestrogen were 73% less likely to get dementia and other brain degenerative conditions and the longer they stayed on HRT the better the results.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn6\" name=\"_ftnref6\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[6]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eGenetic testing\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eGenetic testing for the APOE4 gene is not readily available on the NHS as it is considered to have poor predictive value. Currently only those patients with a strong history of early onset dementia will be offered genetic testing. Also being a carrier does not automatically mean you will develop the condition and knowing that you have the gene can lead to undue stress and worry.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe Alzheimer’s Society also point out that, ‘Genetic testing can be difficult emotionally, not provide conclusive results and cause practical difficulties. Before considering genetic tests, it is vital that proper genetic counselling is provided to ensure it is the correct decision for the individual. It is also vital that, if someone does have testing, they receive full counselling about what the results mean.’ Dementia is a complex medical condition with many underlying causes and no one can predict your risk definitively.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat if I can’t take HRT?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eThere is no suggestion from the authors of this study that all women of perimenopausal and menopausal age should suddenly start taking HRT in a bid to stave off dementia. And significantly there are a range of reasons why a sizeable amount should not, and cannot, take it – including those who may be hypersensitive to the hormones in it, have an inherited genetic condition or a specific medical complaint including:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003eThose with \u003cstrong\u003ehypertension (high blood pressure)\u003c\/strong\u003e – said to affect around 26 per cent of women in this country.\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_edn1\" name=\"_ednref1\"\u003e[i]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eThose with \u003cstrong\u003ecardiovascular (heart and circulatory) disease\u003c\/strong\u003e – known to currently affect 3.6 million in the UK.\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_edn2\" name=\"_ednref2\"\u003e[ii]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eWomen with \u003cstrong\u003eovarian or uterine cancer\u003c\/strong\u003e.\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_edn3\" name=\"_ednref3\"\u003e[iii]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003c\/sup\u003eThere are currently 41,000 women living with ovarian cancer according to figures from the charity Target Ovarian Cancer\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_edn4\" name=\"_ednref4\"\u003e[iv]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003c\/sup\u003eand uterine cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women in the UK – with one in 36 women being diagnosed with it in their lifetime.\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_edn5\" name=\"_ednref5\"\u003e[v]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eThose who carry the \u003cstrong\u003ebreast cancer gene (BRCA1 or BRCA2)\u003c\/strong\u003e. Research estimates that around 1% of the UK population has the BRCA mutation – an estimated one in 400.\u003csup\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_edn6\" name=\"_ednref6\"\u003e[vi]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp\u003eIf, via genetic testing, you find that you do carry the APOE4 and\/or the BRCA genes then there may be many questions you want answering regarding your risks surrounding both breast cancer and Alzheimer’s Dementia. You can ask your GP to refer you for genetic counselling where you will be given a clearer picture as to your risks of developing these conditions. The choice to take HRT given the current risks and benefits is then a decision that only you can make. If you do not feel that you are getting all your questions answered then please seek advice from a Specialist in this area.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHow to reduce your risk of dementia\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eIn the meantime, whilst we wait for further research, there are a number of things you can be doing to reduce your risk of dementia:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eMake sure your blood pressure and cholesterol levels are healthy and well- managed. \u003c\/strong\u003eHigh blood pressure can damage the blood vessels in the areas of your brain responsible for cognition and memory and increase your risk of Alzheimer’s.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn7\" name=\"_ftnref7\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[7]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e It can also limit blood flow to your brain leading to vascular dementia (caused by reduced blood flow to the brain). Having higher levels of LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol and lower levels of HDL ‘good’ cholesterol are linked to having more amyloid plaques (the build-up and accumulation of protein fragments between neurons) in the brain, something associated with those with Alzheimer’s dementia.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn8\" name=\"_ftnref8\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[8]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e These amyloid plaques initially develop, and impact on, the areas of the brain associated with memory and other cognitive functions.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eConsider taking specific supplements shown to protect cognitive health\u003c\/strong\u003e. For example, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/cognitive-function\/health-her-omega\/\"\u003eomega 3\u003c\/a\u003e – this essential fatty acid (found naturally in oily fish and nuts and seeds) appears to support blood flow to the brain and healthy blood flow helps with memory. \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/hot-flushes\/phytoestrogens-menopause\/\"\u003ePhytoestrogens\u003c\/a\u003e (plant-based compounds that can mimic oestrogen in the body) found in foods like soy, seeds, nuts, vegetables and fruits, pulses and herbs like red clover can also help by acting as a kind of hormone replacement. Supplements may have higher levels of phytoestrogens than food.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eThink about \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/hormone-replacement-therapy-hrt-guide\/\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHRT\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e as a treatment option\u003c\/strong\u003e – particularly if you are perimenopausal. Research has shown that oestrogen may help protect the brain from Alzheimer’s by blocking some of the harmful effects of amyloid proteins.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn9\" name=\"_ftnref9\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[9]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e HRT is not a one size fits all solution and if you have not tolerated it in the past but would like to give it another go see your GP or \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/clinic\/\"\u003emenopause specialist\u003c\/a\u003e to discuss a different HRT regime. But as mentioned for some women, HRT isn’t an option – although there may be other prescribed medications available to help with specific perimenopausal or menopausal symptoms (you can discuss these with your GP or menopause specialist). But whether you can’t, or don’t want to take HRT many women find they manage their symptoms with lifestyle changes including regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, taking \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/perimenopause\/health-her-perimenopause-food-supplement-60-caps\/\"\u003evitamin and\/or herbal supplements\u003c\/a\u003e, eating a \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/hot-flushes\/expertise-nutritional-therapist-perimenopause-diet\/\"\u003ehealthy diet,\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/symptom-tool\/\"\u003etracking\u003c\/a\u003e, recognising and reducing \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/worsen-perimenopause-menopause-triggers\/\"\u003etypical triggers\u003c\/a\u003e like caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods and stopping smoking.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTry to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle\u003c\/strong\u003e. Evidence is beginning to shape our understanding more and more of just how food is linked to brain health including memory. Research reveals those who ate a Mediterranean-inspired diet, with its high intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, pulses, herbs, extra virgin olive oil and fresh fish, in combination with regular exercise could cut their risk of Alzheimer’s by up to 40 per cent.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn10\" name=\"_ftnref10\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[10]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/best-exercise-menopause\/\"\u003eRegular exercise\u003c\/a\u003e is also important and helps to encourage the growth of new blood vessels in the brain and protect new brain cells from damage. Being active also increases your heart rate which pumps more oxygen to the brain.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSleep well\u003c\/strong\u003e. Research is ongoing but it seems if you have had a history of not sleeping well your risk of dementia increases with one study suggesting it could rise by as much as 20 per cent.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn11\" name=\"_ftnref11\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[11]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e We also know that the brain and body undergo many biological functions that only occur during sleep, including clearance of waste products that build up in the brain. Most of the removal of beta-amyloid plaque, for example, occurs during the deepest stages of sleep and evidence suggests if you get less than seven hours a night your brain has less time to flush it out – leading to it accumulating and potentially putting you at an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn12\" name=\"_ftnref12\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[12]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eKeep your brain agile\u003c\/strong\u003e. There is evidence to show continued learning over the course of your life not only helps to keep you mentally stimulated but when you are not exposed to anything new cognitive decline becomes more likely.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn13\" name=\"_ftnref13\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[13]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e Never stop learning, be open to trying new things, ‘train’ your brain with puzzles, quizzes, crosswords, Wordle, reading, keeping abreast of the news, discuss things with others, be active in your community etc. Don’t forget the ‘use it or lose it’ mantra.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp\u003eIf you have any worries about the risks of dementia and\/or whether it is safe for you to take HRT do talk to a medical professional and\/or a knowledgeable menopause specialist to get all the available information you need.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAdditional resources\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eIf you do have any worries because there is a history of dementia in your family and\/or you do carry the APOE4 gene there are a range of organisations that offer support you and information (see below).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.alzheimers.org.uk\/\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAlzheimer’s Society\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e – provides information and support for anyone affected by dementia and runs a Dementia Connect support line (0333 150 3456)\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.dementiauk.org\/\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eDementia UK\u003c\/strong\u003e \u003c\/a\u003e– offers support for families affected by dementia\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eSources and references:\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref1\" name=\"_ftn1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC9830747\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref2\" name=\"_ftn2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.scie.org.uk\/dementia\/about\/#:~:text=worldwide%2C%20around%2050%20million%20people,in%20women%20in%20the%20UK.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref3\" name=\"_ftn3\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC9830747\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref4\" name=\"_ftn4\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/12771112\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref5\" name=\"_ftn5\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.nhs.uk\/conditions\/menopause\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref6\" name=\"_ftn6\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/alz-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com\/doi\/full\/10.1002\/trc2.12174\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref7\" name=\"_ftn7\"\u003e[7]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.helpguide.org\/articles\/healthy-living\/blood-pressure-and-your-brain.htm\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref8\" name=\"_ftn8\"\u003e[8]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/health.ucdavis.edu\/alzheimers\/insidernews\/healthy_brain.html\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref9\" name=\"_ftn9\"\u003e[9]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.alzheimers.org.uk\/about-dementia\/risk-factors-and-prevention\/hormones-and-dementia#:~:text=Oestrogen’s%20protective%20effects\u0026amp;text=Research%20has%20shown%20that%20oestrogen,of%20the%20amyloid%2D%CE%B2%20protein.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref10\" name=\"_ftn10\"\u003e[10]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.cuimc.columbia.edu\/news\/exercise-and-mediterranean-type-diet-combined-associated-lower-risk-alzheimers-disease\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref11\" name=\"_ftn11\"\u003e[11]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/28890168\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref12\" name=\"_ftn12\"\u003e[12]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.nih.gov\/news-events\/nih-research-matters\/sleep-deprivation-increases-alzheimers-protein\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref13\" name=\"_ftn13\"\u003e[13]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/bmjopen.bmj.com\/content\/9\/7\/e027719\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref1\" name=\"_edn1\"\u003e[i]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.bloodpressureuk.org\/news\/media-centre\/blood-pressure-facts-and-figures\/#:~:text=Around%20one%20in%20three%20adults,high%20blood%20pressure%5B4%5D.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref2\" name=\"_edn2\"\u003e[ii]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.hriuk.org\/health\/learn\/cardiovascular-disease\/women-and-heart-disease#:~:text=Heart%20disease%20is%20the%20number,UK%20living%20with%20heart%20disease.\u0026amp;text=Coronary%20heart%20disease%20kills%20more,due%20to%20a%20heart%20attack.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref3\" name=\"_edn3\"\u003e[iii]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.cancer.net\/cancer-types\/hereditary-breast-and-ovarian-cancer#:~:text=A%20diagnosis%20of%20Hereditary%20Breast,at%20age%2045%20or%20younger\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref4\" name=\"_edn4\"\u003e[iv]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/targetovariancancer.org.uk\/about-us\/media-centre\/key-facts-and-figures\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref5\" name=\"_edn5\"\u003e[v]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.cancerresearchuk.org\/health-professional\/cancer-statistics\/statistics-by-cancer-type\/uterine-cancer\/incidence\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref6\" name=\"_edn6\"\u003e[vi]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.cancer.net\/cancer-types\/hereditary-breast-and-ovarian-cancer#:~:text=A%20diagnosis%20of%20Hereditary%20Breast,at%20age%2045%20or%20younger\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606673207602", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Dementia_768x.jpg?v=1713446252", "title" : "Does HRT help prevent dementia?", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=237" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=237" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=237" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/237" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 22, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/brain-fog/", "name": "Brain fog", "description": "Brain fog is a common symptom along with memory loss and other cognitive issues. Browse our range of supplements chosen by women experiencing mental performance issues.", "id": 237, "term_id": 237, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "brain-fog" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=248" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=248" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=248" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/248" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 8, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/memory-loss/", "name": "Memory loss", "description": "Oestrogen has a surprising effect on our cognitive function and memory which can be difficult to manage with everyday life. We've pulled together a range of products to help you to maintain brain and cognitive function*.\r\n*results may vary person to person", "id": 248, "term_id": 248, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "memory-loss" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=250" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=250" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=250" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/250" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 8, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/poor-concentration/", "name": "Poor concentration", "description": "Products to help support normal brain function*.\r\n*results may vary person to person", "id": 250, "term_id": 250, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "poor-concentration" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606537842994", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Jane-Collins-3-576x636_small.jpg?v=1697658441", "name" : "Jane Collins", "summary" : "", "title" : "Health & Her Editor" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Trigger-for-menopause-and-periemnopause-1-1600x545_1200x.jpg?v=1698247231", "html" : "\u003cp\u003eAn estimated six million UK women are currently going through the \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-perimenopause\/\"\u003eperimenopause\u003c\/a\u003e and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-menopause\/\"\u003emenopause\u003c\/a\u003e – a stage when the sex hormones including oestrogen start to go into freefall triggering a range of physical and emotional changes. Whilst there is not much anyone can do to control this natural hormonal upheaval, new research from Health \u0026amp; Her has pinpointed how lifestyle habits can potentially ignite and exacerbate perimenopausal symptoms.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhy this is an important piece of research is that by understanding what these triggers are, and the reasons why they can set off symptoms, it becomes easier to identify how they might impact on you. In short, the better informed you are, the more in control of your symptoms you should feel.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe Health \u0026amp; Her research was conducted over the course of a year and involved 69,277 UK women. Its findings help us to understand the real-life concerns of those going through this transitional time. Not least the fact that more than 80 per cent of the women identified at least one lifestyle trigger which made their perimenopause\/menopause symptoms worse. So, what are the top 10 triggers? What exactly are they doing to your body and what can you do to help minimise their effects?\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTrigger #1: Stress at work\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhether working to tight deadlines, having to do a presentation, taking part in a Zoom event, dealing with tricky colleagues, the threat of job cuts and\/or a lack of job satisfaction your workplace can be a pretty relentless source of stress and anxiety. Unsurprisingly, perhaps over half the women (53%) in the Health \u0026amp; Her study identified stress at work as a trigger of their perimenopausal or menopausal symptoms.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhy?\u003c\/strong\u003e Dr Rebeccah Tomlinson, a GP with a special interest in menopause explains, “Stress is a natural physical and psychological reaction to life. In small doses it is fine but when it revs up especially during work, the body goes into flight or fight mode. Your brain signals the release of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which prepares your body for action.” Why these symptoms can be aggravated during perimenopause and menopause is because oestrogen helps to balance cortisol levels, so when levels of oestrogen drop, this can make it harder for you to deal effectively with stress.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat can help?\u003c\/strong\u003e Practical things you can do to help include taking regular exercise (read our \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/best-exercise-menopause\/\"\u003etop 5 exercises for perimenopause\u003c\/a\u003e) and getting enough sleep (our experts explain \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/sleeping-problems\/\"\u003ewhat can help\u003c\/a\u003e) and whether you are in the office or WFH don’t suffer in silence – be open and honest and ask for support if you feel you have an excessive workload and\/or unrealistic targets or deadlines. \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/managing-menopause-at-work\/\"\u003eJulie Dennis, \u003c\/a\u003e menopause work coach also suggests you prioritise your most important tasks of the day first; don’t feel you have to strive for absolute perfection and if you feel like your \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/brain-fog\/menopause-mood-changes-and-brain-fog-the-surprising-cognitive-and-psychological-symptoms\/\"\u003ebrain is fogging up\u003c\/a\u003e quite literally give yourself a break. As she says, ‘Seriously, five minutes away from your desk can dramatically improve your concentration.’\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHere is \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/managing-menopause-at-work\/\"\u003ehow to manage menopause in the workplace\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTrigger #2: A stressful event\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eThese are an unavoidable part of life and the research confirms an association between stressful events and  menopause symptoms\u003ca name=\"_ftnref1\"\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/worsen-perimenopause-menopause-triggers\/#_ftn1\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003csup\u003e[1]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e. The study showed that 47% of women said that stressful events triggered symptoms for their symptoms.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhy?\u003c\/strong\u003e It is not necessarily the event in itself that is the primary trigger here but more how you respond to it. Many of us can spend a huge chunk of time over thinking and catastrophising, either before and after an event, and these negative thought patterns can raise levels of stress and anxiety leading to tension headaches, sweating, palpitations, digestive issues, problems sleeping and the temptation to anaesthetise negative feelings with alcohol or overeating.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat can help?\u003c\/strong\u003e Almost any form of exercise (including a brisk walk) helps to reduce stress hormones and stimulate production of feel-good endorphins. Practicing relaxation techniques like \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/expertise\/yoga-therapist\/\"\u003eyoga \u0026amp; meditation\u003c\/a\u003e or mindfulness and breathing exercises can also help you to both better manage stress and remain more positive. Many women have also benefitted from \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/night-sweats\/cognitive-behaviour-therapy-for-hot-flushes\/\"\u003ecognitive behavioural therapy\u003c\/a\u003e (CBT) a type of talking therapy which teaches coping strategies including how to change negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours into more positive ones. There is evidence\u003ca href=\"#_ftn2\" name=\"_ftnref2\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[2]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e to show that CBT can also help with perimenopause and menopausal anxiety, low mood and sleep problems. Plus, it has been shown to help reduce the impact of hot flushes and night sweats. Ultimately, we all deal with stress differently however and what helps one woman might not work for another, so it can be a matter of trial and error – and a combination of factors including eating better, getting more sleep and limiting alcohol – that can create a more effective buffer against stressful events and perimenopausal symptoms generally.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/stress-anxiety\/stress-and-anxiety\/\"\u003eHere is a GP’s overview of stress and anxiety in menopause\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cimg decoding=\"async\" class=\"alignnone wp-image-148647\" src=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092117\/Article-Slim-Banner4-300x75.jpg\" alt=\"Sugar trigger menopause\" width=\"1000\" height=\"250\" srcset=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092117\/Article-Slim-Banner4-300x75.jpg 300w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092117\/Article-Slim-Banner4-1024x256.jpg 1024w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092117\/Article-Slim-Banner4-768x192.jpg 768w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092117\/Article-Slim-Banner4-1536x384.jpg 1536w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092117\/Article-Slim-Banner4-1600x400.jpg 1600w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092117\/Article-Slim-Banner4-1200x300.jpg 1200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092117\/Article-Slim-Banner4-992x248.jpg 992w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092117\/Article-Slim-Banner4-576x144.jpg 576w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092117\/Article-Slim-Banner4-400x100.jpg 400w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092117\/Article-Slim-Banner4-200x50.jpg 200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092117\/Article-Slim-Banner4-600x150.jpg 600w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092117\/Article-Slim-Banner4.jpg 1667w\" sizes=\"(max-width: 420px) 300px, (min-width: 421px) 768px, (min-width: 769px) 1024px, 100vw\"\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTrigger #3: Sugar \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eIt is near impossible to have a diet that is completely sugar free, and there are natural sugars (like fructose in fruit and lactose in milk and dairy products) which are important as part of a balanced diet but as a nation we almost all exceed the recommended amount of added or ‘free’ sugars we should be having daily.\u003ca name=\"_ftnref3\"\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/worsen-perimenopause-menopause-triggers\/#_ftn3\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003csup\u003e[3]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e Given that 45% of women in the study logged sugar as a trigger of symptoms, it makes sense to cut down.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhy?\u003c\/strong\u003e It is well-documented that sugary snacks and drinks cause high spikes in blood sugar followed by crashing lows which impact on your energy levels and mood. Blood sugar fluctuations can also affect your concentration and can magnify the effects of brain fog, which are already a symptom of perimenopause and menopause for many. The temptation when you ‘crash’ is to then get another quick energy and mood fix from yet more sugar causing blood sugar levels to zigzag out of control. Evidence also shows that those who eat a diet high in sugar tend to sleep less deeply and are more restless at night due to the stimulating effects of sugar.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn4\" name=\"_ftnref4\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[4]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat can help? \u003c\/strong\u003eReduce your intake of obviously sugary foods like cakes, biscuits and chocolate but also be mindful that there are hidden added sugars in savoury products like shop-bought pasta sauces, salad dressings and ketchup and chutney. Aim to satisfy sweet cravings with more natural and healthy sugars like those in fruit, dried fruits and try substituting cinnamon for table sugar in hot drinks and sprinkled on cereals and porridge (it provides a natural sweetness, is said to help stabilise blood sugar and is virtually calorie-free).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cimg decoding=\"async\" class=\"alignnone wp-image-148641\" src=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092107\/Article-Slim-Banner2-300x75.jpg\" alt=\"Caffeine trigger alcohol\" width=\"1000\" height=\"250\" srcset=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092107\/Article-Slim-Banner2-300x75.jpg 300w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092107\/Article-Slim-Banner2-1024x256.jpg 1024w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092107\/Article-Slim-Banner2-768x192.jpg 768w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092107\/Article-Slim-Banner2-1536x384.jpg 1536w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092107\/Article-Slim-Banner2-1600x400.jpg 1600w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092107\/Article-Slim-Banner2-1200x300.jpg 1200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092107\/Article-Slim-Banner2-992x248.jpg 992w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092107\/Article-Slim-Banner2-576x144.jpg 576w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092107\/Article-Slim-Banner2-400x100.jpg 400w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092107\/Article-Slim-Banner2-200x50.jpg 200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092107\/Article-Slim-Banner2-600x150.jpg 600w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092107\/Article-Slim-Banner2.jpg 1667w\" sizes=\"(max-width: 420px) 300px, (min-width: 421px) 768px, (min-width: 769px) 1024px, 100vw\"\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTrigger #4: Caffeine\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eHaving a morning latte, a diet cola as an afternoon pick-me-up or an espresso after a meal might seem innocuous enough but caffeine can crank up symptoms.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhy?\u003c\/strong\u003e Perimenopausal, menopausal or not, sensitivity to caffeine will differ from person to person but the Health \u0026amp; Her study shows us that 44% of women logged caffeine as a trigger for their symptoms. . Dr Tomlinson explains that “caffeine accelerates your nervous system, increases alertness and interferes with the absorption of vitamins and minerals. Whilst it might seem like a good pick me up after a bad night’s sleep, caffeine can also have a detrimental effect on sleep, causing insomnia, one of the most common symptoms of perimenopause and menopause.”\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat can help?\u003c\/strong\u003e Try to keep a lid on the amount of caffeine you drink (most nutritionists and dietary experts suggest a cut-off point of three to four regular cups a day, but you know your own limits) and\/or switch to decaffeinated varieties or drinks that are lower in caffeine (like antioxidant-rich green tea which has many health benefits including helping to improve bone density\u003ca href=\"#_ftn5\" name=\"_ftnref5\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[5]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e something affected by falling oestrogen levels). If you really can’t live without your caffeine fix, try not to drink anything containing it (including coffee, tea, cola, energy drinks or chocolate) after around 3pm as it is likely to disrupt your sleep. Taking a daily \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/perimenopause\/health-her-perimenopause-food-supplement-60-caps\/\"\u003emultivitamin and mineral supplement\u003c\/a\u003e should help with any potential nutrient shortfall linked to your caffeine intake.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cimg decoding=\"async\" class=\"alignnone wp-image-148650\" src=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092122\/Article-Slim-Banner-300x75.jpg\" alt=\"Alcohol trigger menopause\" width=\"1000\" height=\"250\" srcset=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092122\/Article-Slim-Banner-300x75.jpg 300w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092122\/Article-Slim-Banner-1024x256.jpg 1024w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092122\/Article-Slim-Banner-768x192.jpg 768w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092122\/Article-Slim-Banner-1536x384.jpg 1536w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092122\/Article-Slim-Banner-1600x400.jpg 1600w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092122\/Article-Slim-Banner-1200x300.jpg 1200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092122\/Article-Slim-Banner-992x248.jpg 992w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092122\/Article-Slim-Banner-576x144.jpg 576w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092122\/Article-Slim-Banner-400x100.jpg 400w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092122\/Article-Slim-Banner-200x50.jpg 200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092122\/Article-Slim-Banner-600x150.jpg 600w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092122\/Article-Slim-Banner.jpg 1667w\" sizes=\"(max-width: 420px) 300px, (min-width: 421px) 768px, (min-width: 769px) 1024px, 100vw\"\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"color: #3ea1a3; font-size: 1.625rem;\"\u003eTrigger #5: Alcohol\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eIt can be hard to turn down a drink with friends or not to reach for a tipple at wine o’clock, but alcohol has few (if any) health benefits and 4 in 10 women in the Health \u0026amp; Her research identified alcohol as a trigger for their symptoms.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhy? \u003c\/strong\u003eUnfortunately, us women are already at a disadvantage when it comes to drinking as we generally have a harder time metabolising it than men. \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/how-does-alcohol-affect-menopause\/\"\u003eAlcohol also causes your blood vessels to dilate and raises your body temperature\u003c\/a\u003e. When your fluctuating hormones are already disrupting your body’s internal thermostat and causing hot flushes and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/night-sweats\/\"\u003enight sweats\u003c\/a\u003e, you can see how having alcohol in your body is unlikely to improve things. Alcohol has also been shown to raise levels of the stress hormone cortisol, disrupt your sleep, worsen depression, cause mood swings and increase dehydration (and this comes on top of the dehydrating effects caused by hot flushes and night sweats). If you drink regularly you also more likely to \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/weight-gain\/\"\u003eput on weight\u003c\/a\u003e (and again perimenopause and menopause already makes you more susceptible to weight gain).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat can help?\u003c\/strong\u003e Aim to have at least two or three nights a week when you don’t drink and consider switching to lower or non-alcohol alternatives. Be inspired by events like sober October or ‘sober curious’ sites which can offer helpful advice on how to reduce, or stop, drinking. Think of all the positives of not indulging – no hangovers, saving money, better sleep, better skin, better mood and better perimenopause\/menopause – rather than seeing abstaining as something punitive.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cimg decoding=\"async\" class=\"alignnone wp-image-148644\" src=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092112\/Article-Slim-Banner3-300x75.jpg\" alt=\"fatty foods trigger menopause\" width=\"1000\" height=\"250\" srcset=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092112\/Article-Slim-Banner3-300x75.jpg 300w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092112\/Article-Slim-Banner3-1024x256.jpg 1024w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092112\/Article-Slim-Banner3-768x192.jpg 768w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092112\/Article-Slim-Banner3-1536x384.jpg 1536w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092112\/Article-Slim-Banner3-1600x400.jpg 1600w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092112\/Article-Slim-Banner3-1200x300.jpg 1200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092112\/Article-Slim-Banner3-992x248.jpg 992w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092112\/Article-Slim-Banner3-576x144.jpg 576w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092112\/Article-Slim-Banner3-400x100.jpg 400w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092112\/Article-Slim-Banner3-200x50.jpg 200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092112\/Article-Slim-Banner3-600x150.jpg 600w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2023\/02\/19092112\/Article-Slim-Banner3.jpg 1667w\" sizes=\"(max-width: 420px) 300px, (min-width: 421px) 768px, (min-width: 769px) 1024px, 100vw\"\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTrigger #6: Fatty food \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003e39% of women in the study logged eating fatty foods as a trigger for their symptoms.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhy? \u003c\/strong\u003eResearch has shown women who have a diet high in unhealthy fats prior to the menopause have higher oestrogen levels than women who don’t but when those oestrogen levels begin to drop, and their menopause symptoms kick in, they are more pronounced and problematic. Foods high in trans fats (which raise the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease) are also thought to reduce serotonin (the so-called ‘happy hormone’ responsible for stabilising mood) in the brain, leading to low mood, depression and memory problems.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn6\" name=\"_ftnref6\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[6]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e Added to this, eating more fatty or deep fried foods like chips, crisps, doughnuts and pizza can put you at an increased risk of heart disease, and that risk is already amplified by simply being in the perimenopausal or menopausal phase.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat can help? \u003c\/strong\u003eCut down on unhealthy fats (like the ones found in processed meals, cakes, pastries and biscuits) and eat more healthy ones (like olive oil and those found naturally in avocadoes, nuts and seeds and oily fish like salmon). Try to include more \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/weight-gain\/diet-balance-hormones-menopause\/\"\u003efruit and vegetables in your diet\u003c\/a\u003e – research shows menopausal women who ate more fruit and veg had fewer menopausal symptoms than those who ate more fatty foods and sweets.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn7\" name=\"_ftnref7\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[7]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e For more expert nutritional advice read \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/hot-flushes\/expertise-nutritional-therapist-perimenopause-diet\/\"\u003eEverything you need to know about diet for menopause.\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHere’s \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/menopause-nutrition-how-to-eat-for-a-healthier-happier-menopause\/\"\u003ehow to eat for a happier, healthier menopause\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTrigger #7: Hot weather \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhilst hot weather and sunshine can offer a variety of health benefits, unfortunately, 32% of women reported hot weather as a trigger for them.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhy? \u003c\/strong\u003eFluctuating hormone levels make many women more sensitive to hot weather. This is thought to be due to the action of the hypothalamus – a gland in the brain which helps to regulate our internal temperature – becoming adversely affected by falling oestrogen levels. Plus, the heat can make it harder to sleep and if you are already dealing with night sweats this can just compound the problem and make you increasingly dehydrated. Lack of sleep coupled with dehydration can then leave you with brain fog and feeling tired, moody and stressed. This can then set in motion a whole negative cycle of triggers and symptoms.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat can help? \u003c\/strong\u003eFor instant relief from the heat (and hot flushes) it can be helpful to carry a cooling spray around with you or invest in a portable neck fan to help regulate your body temperature. Keep well hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day and eating water-rich foods like fruit and vegetables and natural unsweetened yogurt. \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/hot-flushes\/how-to-dress-for-hot-flushes\/\"\u003eInvesting in clothing and nightwear specially formulated to reduce menopausal sweats can also help keep you cooler\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTrigger #8: Cold weather \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe research showed that just under a third of women logged cold weather as a trigger for their symptoms like aching joints, skin changes, dizziness and digestive issues.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhy? \u003c\/strong\u003eCold wintery weather – and the accompanying shorter days and longer hours of darkness – tend to make us less active as we go into hibernation mode. The less we move the more likely we are to experience joint stiffness and pain plus it can also make our digestion more sluggish (moderate exercise improves gut motility – the flow of food through the gut – which, in turn, reduces constipation). The darker days of winter can also exacerbate low mood and the lack of sunlight means we don’t get the vitamin D we need. Vitamin D is produced naturally in the skin on exposure to UV light (hence it often being called the ‘sunshine vitamin’) and low levels of it have been linked to low mood and depression\u003ca href=\"#_ftn8\" name=\"_ftnref8\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[8]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e, joint pain in the over 50s\u003ca href=\"#_ftn9\" name=\"_ftnref9\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[9]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e and an increased risk of coming down with respiratory conditions like cold and ‘flu.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn10\" name=\"_ftnref10\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[10]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat can help?\u003c\/strong\u003e Regular exercise. The health benefits of exercise are well-documented and for perimenopausal and menopausal women include not only a reduction in physical symptoms like hot flushes but also improvements in psychological ones like being better able to manage stress. Even better, do it outdoors in the morning when the light is brighter as this will help to better regulate your circadian rhythm or sleep\/wake cycle keeping you more alert during the day and better able to sleep at night. The government also recommends we should all take a daily 10mg supplement of vitamin D between October and March to maintain healthy levels.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTrigger #9: Dietary changes\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eJust over a quarter of women in the study reported that dietary changes as a trigger of symptoms including digestive issues, bloating and skin-related symptoms.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhy? \u003c\/strong\u003ePerimenopausal and menopausal symptoms can impact greatly on our mood and this can impact on our food choices. When you are tired you are less likely to have the energy to make healthier food from scratch and you are also more likely to crave quick-release sugary, carbohydrate and\/or fatty ones to give you an instant energy burst. This is not only likely to result in chaotic blood sugar levels but also to you putting on weight and possibly a cycle of yo-yo dieting. Poor food and lifestyle choices can also stand in the way of developing good gut health – something that is fast becoming synonymous with good health generally – by adversely affecting the balance of beneficial gut bugs or microbiome. Achieving a diverse and thriving gut microbiome (dehydration, lack of sleep, alcohol stress can also disrupt it) is something that can benefit not just your digestive health but also how you feel psychologically. \u003ca href=\"#_ftn11\" name=\"_ftnref11\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[11]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat can help?\u003c\/strong\u003e Eat as diverse a diet as you can with plenty of plant-based foods like fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds and pulses and healthy protein like oily fish, eggs and natural yogurt to encourage the beneficial bugs in your gut to thrive. Research shows that those who eat a diverse range of foods are more likely to have higher levels of ‘good’ gut microbes.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn12\" name=\"_ftnref12\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[12]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e Taking a live culture supplement can also help to feed these good bugs. Familiarise yourself with which foods are more likely to aggravate symptoms and which ones are likely to improve them by reading \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/menopause-nutrition-how-to-eat-for-a-healthier-happier-menopause\/\"\u003eDiet tips for a healthy perimenopause\u003c\/a\u003e and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/weight-gain\/diet-balance-hormones-menopause\/\"\u003ediets and recipes to help balance hormones during menopause.\u003c\/a\u003e Keeping a symptom diary can also help to pinpoint anything you have eaten that is more likely to provoke your perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTrigger #10: Spicy food \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eIf you are partial to a curry or a zingy chilli it might be time to dial down the spice as a quarter of women surveyed reported that spicy foods triggered symptoms such as stomach problems, palpitations and bladder sensitivity.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhy? \u003c\/strong\u003eIt is widely acknowledged that spicy food trigger hot flushes in perimenopausal and menopausal women and we know the active ingredients in things like chilli (capsaicin) and black pepper (piperine) dilate your blood vessels and overly dilated vessels tend to amplify vasomotor symptoms (like severe sweating, hot flushes and night sweats). Chillies and pepper are also known to contain acids that can cause a burning sensation in the wall of the stomach triggering indigestion, bloating and diarrhoea.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat can help? \u003c\/strong\u003eKeeping a symptom diary can initially alert you to what specific spices are triggers for you. When you have identified the likely culprits, you don’t have to resign yourself to a life of bland, beige food – instead add a bit of kick and extra colour with spices and flavours that don’t provide as much heat like cumin, turmeric and mild curry powder and see how you respond to those. As a short-term remedy for soothing an upset stomach sip a peppermint or ginger tea. In the longer term, and if you are prone to tummy troubles generally, try and improve your gut health by nurturing, nourishing and balancing your ‘good bugs’ and building a thriving microbiome. Taking a daily live culture supplement should help.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eSources \u0026amp; references:\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref1\" name=\"_ftn1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/33503073\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref2\" name=\"_ftn2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.tandfonline.com\/doi\/abs\/10.1080\/13697137.2020.1777965\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref3\" name=\"_ftn3\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.nhs.uk\/live-well\/eat-well\/food-types\/how-does-sugar-in-our-diet-affect-our-health\/#:~:text=Adults%20should%20have%20no%20more,day%20(5%20sugar%20cubes).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref4\" name=\"_ftn4\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC8848117\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref5\" name=\"_ftn5\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.sciencedirect.com\/science\/article\/abs\/pii\/S0271531709001110?via%3Dihub\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref6\" name=\"_ftn6\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.psychologytoday.com\/gb\/blog\/the-resilient-brain\/201506\/trans-fats-bad-your-brain\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref7\" name=\"_ftn7\"\u003e[7]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.researchgate.net\/publication\/339305156_Higher_intakes_of_fruits_and_vegetables_are_related_to_fewer_menopausal_symptoms_a_cross-sectional_study\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref8\" name=\"_ftn8\"\u003e[8]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.verywellmind.com\/the-link-between-vitamin-d-and-depression-5089428\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref9\" name=\"_ftn9\"\u003e[9]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/23595144\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref10\" name=\"_ftn10\"\u003e[10]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.bmj.com\/content\/356\/bmj.i6583\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref11\" name=\"_ftn11\"\u003e[11]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/joinzoe.com\/learn\/gut-brain-connection\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref12\" name=\"_ftn12\"\u003e[12]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/joinzoe.com\/post\/gut-bacteria-diversity\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606562779442", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Trigger-for-menopause-and-periemnopause-1-1600x545_768x.jpg?v=1698247231", "title" : "What top 10 triggers make perimenopause and menopause worse (and what you can do about them)", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=237" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=237" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=237" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/237" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 22, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/brain-fog/", "name": "Brain fog", "description": "Brain fog is a common symptom along with memory loss and other cognitive issues. 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Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 231, "term_id": 231, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "hot-flushes" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=228" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=228" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=228" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/228" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 25, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/low-energy/", "name": "Low energy", "description": "Energy levels can fluctuate in perimenopause and menopause. Browse our range of supplements and products that women have chosen to support their energy levels.", "id": 228, "term_id": 228, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "low-energy" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=234" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=234" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=234" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/234" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 33, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/low-mood/", "name": "Low mood", "description": "Menopause mood swings, depression, emotional instability and rage can affect many parts of your life, including relationships and work. Browse our range of supplements and product that women have chosen to support normal psychological or cognitive function", "id": 234, "term_id": 234, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "low-mood" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=227" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=227" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=227" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/227" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 18, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/night-sweats/", "name": "Night sweats", "description": "Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing night sweats and vasomotor symptoms have chosen. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 227, "term_id": 227, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "night-sweats" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=221" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=221" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=221" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/221" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 23, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/sleeping-problems/", "name": "Sleeping problems", "description": "Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing sleeping problems have chosen. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 221, "term_id": 221, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "sleeping-problems" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=229" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=229" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=229" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/229" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 21, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/weight-gain/", "name": "Weight gain", "description": "Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing menopause weight gain have chosen as part of a healthy lifestyle. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 229, "term_id": 229, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "weight-gain" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606537810226", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Profile-5-576x768_small.jpg?v=1697658439", "name" : "Helen Roach", "summary" : "", "title" : "Nutritionist" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Hormone-Healthy-foods-for-menopause-1600x1067_1200x.jpg?v=1697662803", "html" : "\u003cp\u003eEating a healthy balanced diet is important at any age but at the time of perimenopause and menopause it becomes even more significant. Certain foods can help to balance and regulate your hormones which can help to minimise unwanted symptoms like hot flushes and brain fog. Just as importantly, choosing the right nutrients can also help reduce your risk of developing conditions like osteoporosis (fragile, brittle bones) and heart disease. So, what are the foods you should be going for and what are the best hormone balancing diets for menopause?\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhich foods are important for hormone balance in menopause?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #333333\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e1. Protein \u003c\/strong\u003e– including eggs, lean meat, fish, nuts and pulses or protein powder which can be added to smoothies and juices. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003eWhy? \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003eThe drop in oestrogen during menopause is linked to a decrease in muscle mass and bone strength and it is recognised that eating more protein can help compensate for this. In one study on postmenopausal women, for example, those given five grams of collagen peptides (a protein powder) daily had significantly better bone mineral density compared to those taking a placebo.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn1\" name=\"_ftnref1\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[1]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e Significantly, protein is also filling and has also been shown to help keep you feeling fuller for longer (in part because it reduces levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin) so you are less likely to over-eat and put on weight (and on average women gain five pounds around the time of the menopause).\u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn2\" name=\"_ftnref2\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[2]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e Eating a little protein with every meal or snack can also help to stabilise blood sugar levels and mood – helping to reduce energy dips and \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/brain-fog\/menopause-mood-changes-and-brain-fog-the-surprising-cognitive-and-psychological-symptoms\/\"\u003emood changes and brain fog.\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"color: #333333\"\u003e2. Dairy foods\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #333333\"\u003e – like milk, cheese and yoghurt. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003eWhy?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e They contain a range of nutrients including calcium, magnesium and vitamins D and K, all of which are essential for bone health. Whilst it is generally accepted that eating more dairy foods help to increase bone strength – and there is some evidence to suggest postmenopausal women who ate more cheese and yogurt are at a lower risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn3\" name=\"_ftnref3\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[3]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e –  a 2020 study published in the journal \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cem style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003eMenopause\u003c\/em\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e found no conclusive link between eating more dairy and increased bone density.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn4\" name=\"_ftnref4\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[4]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e There is, however, research to show that foods high in the amino acid glycine – found in milk and cheese – can lead to better sleep in women going through perimenopause and menopause.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn5\" name=\"_ftnref5\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[5]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e Plus there is evidence to show consuming adequate levels of dairy foods is linked to a lower risk of early menopause \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn6\" name=\"_ftnref6\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[6]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #333333\"\u003e3. Fruit and vegetables \u003c\/span\u003e–\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e including apples, grapes, berries, cherries, pomegranates and green leafy vegetables like broccoli and kale. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003eWhy?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e They are packed with vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants plus they are generally low in calories so can help you to maintain a healthy weight. There is extensive evidence exists to show women who eat more fruit and veg are less likely to experience unpleasant menopausal side effects. One study, for example, involving over 17,000 menopausal women found those who ate more fruit, veg, fibre (and soy) has a 19% reduction in hot flushes compared to a control group.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn7\" name=\"_ftnref7\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[7]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e Vitamin C-rich dark berries are also thought to be beneficial – one study on middle aged women given grape seed extract daily had fewer hot flushes, slept better and reported lower incidences of depression compared to a control group.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn8\" name=\"_ftnref8\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[8]. \u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003eDiscover more about \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/products\/\"\u003evitamins and supplements for menopause\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e4. Healthy fats\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e – including omega 3 fatty acids found in olive oil, avocados and oily fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovies), walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds or flaxseed. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003eWhy?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e Research shows that increasing consumption of omega 3 fatty acids decreases menopausal symptoms including the frequency of hot flushes, may help reduce vaginal dryness, joint pain and improve \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/low-mood\/\"\u003elow mood\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn9\" name=\"_ftnref9\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[9]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e They are also known to help support your brain health and a higher intake of omega 3 fatty acids is linked to a reduction in depressive symptoms.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn10\" name=\"_ftnref10\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[10]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e  Omega 3 fatty acids appears to support blood flow to the brain and good blood flow helps with memory – which can help reduce perimenopausal and \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/brain-fog\/menopause-mood-changes-and-brain-fog-the-surprising-cognitive-and-psychological-symptoms\/\"\u003emenopausal brain fog\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e5. Whole grains\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e – like brown rice, whole-wheat bread, oats, bulgur wheat, and quinoa. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003eWhy?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e Including more of these in your daily diet will increase your fibre intake, which in turn helps to lower your risk of heart disease. Oestrogen is known to have heart protective effects and diminishing levels of it during and after menopause put you at an increased risk of higher blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels. Research has shown eating wholegrains at least three times a week lowers this risk in older adults and women.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn11\" name=\"_ftnref11\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[11]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca href=\"#_ftn12\" name=\"_ftnref12\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[12]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e Whole grains are also important sources of fibre which can contribute to a healthy gut microbiome.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn13\" name=\"_ftnref13\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[13]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e6. Prebiotics and probiotics\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e – including onions, garlic and leeks and yoghurt, sourdough bread, kimchi and sauerkraut. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003eWhy? \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003eThere is increasing research to show that having a healthy gut microbiome plays a big part in oestrogen regulation.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn14\" name=\"_ftnref14\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[14]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e Your gut health can be impacted by stress, lack of sleep, \u003c\/span\u003etoo much alcohol \u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003eand other lifestyle factors but what you eat plays a pivotal role in nurturing it: Prebiotic foods like leeks, onions, Jerusalem artichokes, oats, apples (and ideally keep the skin on), asparagus and bananas and pulses contain a kind of fibre which act as a food source for healthy bacteria, enabling them to flourish and multiply. Probiotics like live unsweetened yoghurt, sourdough bread and fermented foods including sauerkraut and kimchi can potentially improve and restore gut health and research\u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn15\" name=\"_ftnref15\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[15]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e shows they may have a role to play in controlling your appetite and keeping your weight down. If you are not regularly eating many probiotic foods, taking a quality live culture supplement regularly can also be beneficial. We also know that good gut health leads to improved brain health and may help to mitigate against \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/brain-fog\/menopause-mood-changes-and-brain-fog-the-surprising-cognitive-and-psychological-symptoms\/\"\u003emenopausal brain fog\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn16\" name=\"_ftnref16\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[16] \u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003eDiscover more about \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/products\/type\/supplements\/\"\u003elive culture supplements for menopause\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e7. Phytoestrogens –\u003c\/strong\u003e including wholegrains like oats, fruits and vegetables, seeds, soybeans and soy products.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003eWhy? \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003ePhytoestrogens are plant-derived oestrogens that can mimic the effects of endogenous oestrogen – the oestrogen that you produce naturally. Eating three to four portions of these plant-based phytoestrogens each day can help to support hormone regulation and reduce unwanted menopause symptoms. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftn17\" name=\"_ftnref17\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[17]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e Good sources include soybeans and soy products, rice, oats, barley, quinoa, rice bran, rye, and wheat bran. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts and kale are among the richest vegetable sources. Seeds like sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, flax and chia are also potent sources of phytoestrogens (see below). The best option in terms of dietary phytoestrogens is fermented soy, it is a fantastic way to introduce live bacteria into your gut whilst pleasing your palette, with dishes such as Natto, Kimchi, Cheonggukjang, Miso, Gochujang. Whilst some of these might not instantly appeal, they are a tasty and healthy way to support gut health – an important factor at any life stage. The element of soya in these dishes means that they will feature plant components that help to balance female hormones, managing the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. Read more here for \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/hot-flushes\/phytoestrogens-menopause\/\"\u003eeverything you need to know about phytoestrogens and menopause\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eFoods to avoid in menopause\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003col\u003e\u003cli\u003eAlcohol – \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/how-does-alcohol-affect-menopause\/\"\u003ebecause alcohol can increase hot flushes and night sweats\u003c\/a\u003e, lead to poor sleep, and disrupt beneficial gut bugs and create blood sugar imbalances. In a recent Health \u0026amp; Her study 4 in 10 women said they became increasingly intolerant to the effects of alcohol during their perimenopause.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn18\" name=\"_ftnref18\"\u003e[18]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eCaffeine – this can potentially cause anxiety, fatigue and insomnia as a result of increased cortisol (stress hormone) levels. In Health \u0026amp; Her research 2 in 5 women said caffeine noticeably triggered their perimenopause symptoms.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn19\" name=\"_ftnref19\"\u003e[19]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eFatty foods – Foods high in trans fats (which raise the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease) are thought to reduce serotonin (the so-called ‘happy hormone’ responsible for stabilising mood) in the brain, leading to low mood, depression and memory problems.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn20\" name=\"_ftnref20\"\u003e[20]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eSugary foods – It is well-documented that sugary snacks and drinks cause high spikes in blood sugar followed by crashing lows which impact on your energy levels and mood. Evidence also shows that those who eat a diet high in sugar tend to sleep less deeply and are more restless at night due to the stimulating effects of sugar.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn21\" name=\"_ftnref21\"\u003e[21]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cem style=\"color: var(--color-body)\"\u003e \u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHow healthy seeds could help your hormones\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eAn emerging food trend that is said to help balance your hormones and ease menopause symptoms is seed rotation or seed cycling. It is claimed that by consuming particular seeds you can help regulate oestrogen in the first half of your menstrual cycle and progesterone in the second half. It should be pointed out, however, that as yet there is little evidence to support the theory. That said, many women say it has helped them and there is little doubt that seeds are little nutrient powerhouses – providing a rich source of vitamins, minerals, phytoestrogens and heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHow does seed cycling work?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003eIn the first part of your cycle – the follicular phase – your oestrogen levels can be boosted by having a tablespoon of pumpkin and flax seeds each day.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eIn the second part – from the point of ovulation at around day 12-14, called the luteal phase – your progesterone levels may be supported through consumption of one tablespoon of sesame and sunflower seeds each day.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp\u003eTrack your cycle using a \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/menopause-perimenopause-app\/\"\u003emenopause app such as the Health \u0026amp; Her app\u003c\/a\u003e (available for free on \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/apps.apple.com\/gb\/app\/health-her-menopause-app\/id1519199698\"\u003eiOS\u003c\/a\u003e and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/play.google.com\/store\/apps\/details?id=com.healthandher\u0026amp;hl=en_GB\"\u003eAndroid\u003c\/a\u003e), and try to add the recommended seeds to your meals daily for added hormone support.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhile we wait for more evidence to support the claims of seed rotation, adding a tablespoon of the seeds mentioned to smoothies and\/or sprinkled over Greek yoghurt, porridge or salads can only help to boost your intake of beneficial nutrients. For example, chia seeds have been linked to a reduction in high cholesterol and blood pressure levels \u003ca href=\"#_ftn22\" name=\"_ftnref22\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[22]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e and there is some evidence that flax seeds may protect against breast cancer. \u003ca href=\"#_ftn23\" name=\"_ftnref23\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[23]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHormone balancing recipes for menopause\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eHowever much time you have to spare there are quick and easy meal ideas which include the food groups most likely to help manage your menopause symptoms. Nutritionist Helen Roach suggests: \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e5-minute hormone healthy menopause recipe ideas:\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cdiv class=\"hh-callout blue\"\u003e\u003ch5 style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eShake of your choice:\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h5\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eVegan friendly. Allergens: Contains nuts \u0026amp; seeds.\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003eYou will need a blender.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003col\u003e\u003cli\u003eAdd one scoop of your chosen protein powder: hemp\/soy\/collagen\/rice\/pea\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eAdd a handful of berries or citrus fruits, and a handful of leafy greens\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eAdd some fluid: coconut water\/milk, soya\/oat milk, or mineral water\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eFinish with chia or flax seeds (milled) or nuts\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTip!\u003c\/strong\u003e Try adding a tablespoon of ‘superfood’ powder such as maca root, goji berry or turmeric for a power punch.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eExample shake:\u003c\/strong\u003e Hemp protein powder, blueberries, kale, coconut milk and chia seeds.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch5 style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSalad guide with toppers \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e Vegan \u0026amp; vegetarian options:\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h5\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAllergens: Contains nuts \u0026amp; seeds and\/or milk\/lactose in cheese option\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003col\u003e\u003cli\u003eSelect two handfuls of salad leaves: rocket, spinach or watercress are good options\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eChoose a palm-sized protein portion of fish, seafood, cheese, beans or poultry\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eAdd a phytoestrogen ingredient or two, such as pomegranate, rhubarb, strawberries or cranberries\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eDress with a healthy oil, such as olive oil, and top with seeds or nuts like flaxseed or walnuts\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eExample salad\u003c\/strong\u003e: spinach, asparagus, apple and cucumber dressed in olive oil and topped with pumpkin seeds.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch5 style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eDips:\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h5\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHomemade hummus- \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eVegan friendly. Allergens: Contains sesame seeds (Tahini)\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003eBlend a small tin of chickpeas with 1tsp tahini, 1 clove of garlic, a squeeze of lemon juice, a pinch of ground cumin a tablespoon of olive oil in a blender until smooth. Add around two tablespoons of red peppers or onions for a punchier flavour.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSunshine squash dip – Vegan friendly\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003eBlend half a cooked butternut squash, a pinch of cumin, a tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of paprika.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eOnion and chive dip –Vegetarian friendly. Allergens: milk\/lactose\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003eBlend full-fat Greek yoghurt with garlic and chives\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003eEat with carrots, radishes, cucumbers, asparagus, or sweet potato wedges.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch5 style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWrap guide – Vegan \u0026amp; vegetarian options:\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h5\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAllergens: Gluten in some wrap flours, contains nuts \u0026amp; seeds.\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003col\u003e\u003cli\u003eChoose your leaves: romaine or round lettuce, rocket, kale or red chard\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eAdd a phytoestrogen ingredient or two, such as edamame, pear, peach or avocado\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eChoose your protein: tofu, chicken breast, halloumi, crab, or beans\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eAdd a drizzle of healthy fat, such as virgin rapeseed oil\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eTop with a sprinkle of nuts or seeds, such as sunflower seeds and almonds. Finish with a herb such as basil or mint.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eExample wrap\u003c\/strong\u003e: romaine lettuce, celery, white beans, pear, chives and crushed walnuts\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTip!\u003c\/strong\u003e Try an alternative wrap, such as a sweet potato variety.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003c\/div\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e10-minute hormone healthy menopause recipe ideas\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cdiv class=\"hh-callout blue\"\u003e\u003ch5 style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eOmelette guide – Vegetarian friendly. \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h5\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAllergens: mushrooms, milk\/lactose, sesame if chosen.\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003col\u003e\u003cli\u003eWhisk two large eggs\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eChop one or two vegetables, such as broccoli, cucumber, chestnut mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes or courgettes, into small cubes or slices\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eIf you want, add some goat’s cheese, halloumi, cheddar or ricotta\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eTop with a herb or seeds such as pumpkin seeds or broccoli sprouts\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eExample omelette:\u003c\/strong\u003e two eggs, mushrooms and sesame seeds\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch5 style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eFlash-fry guide – Vegan and vegetarian options\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h5\u003e\u003col\u003e\u003cli\u003eChoose your protein, such as eggs or halloumi, tofu or tempeh\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eChoose a phytoestrogen rich food, such as asparagus or avocado\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eDrizzle with a healthy fat, such as rapeseed\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eGarnish with a herb, for example, parsley\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eFlash-fry example:\u003c\/strong\u003e Two fried eggs with asparagus and tomatoes, topped with chopped avocado\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003c\/div\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e15-minute hormone healthy menopause recipe ideas\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cdiv class=\"hh-callout blue\"\u003e\u003ch5 style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eStir-fry guide – Vegan \u0026amp; vegetarian options\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h5\u003e\u003col\u003e\u003cli\u003eSelect three to four quick cooking vegetables, such as leaves, carrots, beetroot, corn, spring onions, mushrooms or cabbage\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eChoose a protein source, such as chicken, seafood, tofu, beef or pork\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eAdd a hormone-healthy fat, such as olive oil\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eTop with fresh herbs, such as basil or parsley\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eStir-fry example\u003c\/strong\u003e: beansprouts, kale, beetroot, prawns, sesame oil and seasoning (soy sauce and tahini optional)\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003c\/div\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e20–30-minute menopause friendly recipes\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cdiv class=\"hh-callout blue\"\u003e\u003ch5 style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eVeggie burgers – Vegan \u0026amp; vegetarian friendly. \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h5\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAllergens: nuts, mushrooms, gluten if chosen\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003col\u003e\u003cli\u003eAdd one cup of warmed, ready cooked, sticky short-grain rice to two tablespoons of milled flax and breadcrumbs (optional) with a dash of Worcester sauce\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eTurn in a handful of chopped nuts for crunch and phytoestrogen properties – walnuts work well\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eAdd a handful of flash-fried chestnut, shitake or Forestiere mushrooms, a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, and a teaspoon of tamari, tabasco or soy sauce\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eMeld into burger shape and place under the grill at 180 degrees centigrade or gas mark 4 for 15 minutes.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch5 style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eBroccoli and asparagus soup – Vegetarian friendly. \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h5\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAllergens: milk\/lactose\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003col\u003e\u003cli\u003eBoil 100g of purple sprouting broccoli until slightly crunchy while flash-frying 100g of asparagus\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eUse the broccoli and around 50ml of its water to add to a blender along with the asparagus\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eAdd 100ml of sour cream and seasoning\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTip!\u003c\/strong\u003e Mixing a phytoestrogen-rich vegetable with two of your favourites should help increase its beneficial effects!\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch5 style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eVegetable oven bake – Vegetarian friendly. \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h5\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAllergens: Milk\/lactose\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003col\u003e\u003cli\u003eAdd three chopped vegetables of your choice to a baking tray – try sweet potato, butternut squash, green beans, onions, sweet peppers, tomatoes or beetroot\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eAdd sunflower oil, paprika or hormone-healthy oregano and bake for 15 minutes\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eAdd diced halloumi or goat’s cheese to the tray and bake for a further five minutes, then season\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eOven bake example\u003c\/strong\u003e: butternut squash, green beans, halloumi and beetroot\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTip!\u003c\/strong\u003e This can be used as a main or side dish.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003c\/div\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eSourdough super breads – Vegan \u0026amp; Vegetarian friendly. Allergens: gluten\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eBread has been a long-standing staple at many a table for centuries – but the content of many prepared breads in supermarkets fails to offer a lot in the way of nourishment these days, and can instead exacerbate symptoms of gastric discomfort for many. The inclusion of standard white, sliced, shop-bought breads into your diet, can contribute to blood sugar spikes, which is particularly ill-advised for women of perimenopausal age and beyond.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eIf, like me, you are a bread lover, opt for alternative breads that offer gut support or hormone health benefits, such as sourdough and seeded varieties.     \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHere’s \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/hot-flushes\/expertise-nutritional-therapist-perimenopause-diet\/\"\u003eeverything you need to know about diet for perimenopause\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cdiv class=\"hh-callout blue\"\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eIngredients\u003c\/strong\u003e in sourdough bread\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003esourdough starter (either homemade sourdough starter, or shop-bought sourdough starter)\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ebread flour\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ewater\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003esalt\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eOptional extras: rice\/rye flour (50\/50 with bread flour), fennel seeds, caraway\/sunflower\/flax\/pumpkin\/chia seeds (handful)\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eMethod:\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003eMix the ‘wet’ ingredients in one bowl and the ‘dry’ in another.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eBlend the two together gradually and stir with a wooden spoon until sticky \u0026amp; heavy. Incorporate all ingredients to form one uniform loaf with hands through kneading if necessary.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 40px\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTotal sourdough prep and baking can be a long process…\u003c\/strong\u003eRising time of dough is affected by weather and seasons. In winter, cold kitchens will lengthen the rising time. In summer, or warm weather, hot kitchens will shorten the rising time. This is an estimated schedule, based on 20C\/70F weather:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003col\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e8 to 10 am:  Feed the sourdough starter.\u003c\/strong\u003e  8-12 hours before you plan to mix up the dough, feed your starter. (Or use an unfed starter for a more “sour taste”, straight from the fridge at 8 pm)\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e8 pm:\u003c\/strong\u003e  \u003cstrong\u003eMix the dough.\u003c\/strong\u003e Stretch \u0026amp; fold x 2, 15 mins apart\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e8:30\u003c\/strong\u003e \u003cstrong\u003epm: Proof Overnight. \u003c\/strong\u003e Cover, and proof overnight at room temperature\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e 6-8 am:  Shape. \u003c\/strong\u003eWhen dough has doubled in size, stretch, fold, and shape. Place in a parchment-lined bowl seam side down. Place this in the fridge for 1 hour \u003cem\u003ewhile you preheat the oven to 220C.\u003c\/em\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e 8-9 am:  Place \u0026amp; Score. \u003c\/strong\u003e Lift your shaped dough, lifting out by the parchment, and carefully place into the hot oven. \u003cstrong\u003eScore the bread\u003c\/strong\u003e using a sharp knife, cut a single slash, one inch deep, or smaller tiny cuts.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e9:00 am Bake\u003c\/strong\u003e for 20-25 minutes. Lower heat to 200C and bake 15 more minutes, until a deep golden shade – you will want it darker than you might think so that it is baked thoroughly throughout. Let it cool on a rack before cutting. If you like a softer crust bake covered for 25 minutes, uncovered 10 minutes.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e9:45\u003c\/strong\u003e Remove from oven and let cool before slicing to serve.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e\u003c\/div\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eReferences \u0026amp; sources:\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref1\" name=\"_ftn1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/29337906\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref2\" name=\"_ftn2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/15466943\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref3\" name=\"_ftn3\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC7442363\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref4\" name=\"_ftn4\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/journals.lww.com\/menopausejournal\/Fulltext\/2020\/08000\/Dairy_intake_is_not_associated_with_improvements.8.aspx\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref5\" name=\"_ftn5\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/25660429\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref6\" name=\"_ftn6\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.netdoctor.co.uk\/healthy-living\/wellbeing\/news\/a28173\/milk-early-menopause-link-calcium-vitamin-d\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref7\" name=\"_ftn7\"\u003e[7]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC3428489\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref8\" name=\"_ftn8\"\u003e[8]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/24518152\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref9\" name=\"_ftn9\"\u003e[9]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.menopausenaturalsolutions.com\/blog\/omega-3\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref10\" name=\"_ftn10\"\u003e[10]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC8313386\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref11\" name=\"_ftn11\"\u003e[11]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.nhlbi.nih.gov\/news\/2021\/study-provides-new-evidence-eating-whole-grains-may-reduce-heart-disease-risk-older\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref12\" name=\"_ftn12\"\u003e[12]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/academic.oup.com\/ajcn\/article\/70\/3\/412\/4714879\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref13\" name=\"_ftn13\"\u003e[13]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.sciencedaily.com\/releases\/2017\/02\/170208151337.htm\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref14\" name=\"_ftn14\"\u003e[14]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/kresserinstitute.com\/gut-hormone-connection-gut-microbes-influence-estrogen-levels\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref15\" name=\"_ftn15\"\u003e[15]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/29047207\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref16\" name=\"_ftn16\"\u003e[16]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/ruscioinstitute.com\/brain-fog\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref17\" name=\"_ftn17\"\u003e[17]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.uspharmacist.com\/article\/focus-on-phytoestrogens\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref18\" name=\"_ftn18\"\u003e[18]\u003c\/a\u003e Health \u0026amp; Her research with 55,047 women experiencing perimenopause symptoms, conducted Oct 2020 – Sept 2022\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref19\" name=\"_ftn19\"\u003e[19]\u003c\/a\u003e Health \u0026amp; Her research with 55,047 women experiencing perimenopause symptoms, conducted Oct 2020 – Sept 2022\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref20\" name=\"_ftn20\"\u003e[20]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.psychologytoday.com\/gb\/blog\/the-resilient-brain\/201506\/trans-fats-bad-your-brain\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref21\" name=\"_ftn21\"\u003e[21]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC8848117\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref22\" name=\"_ftn22\"\u003e[22]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.hsph.harvard.edu\/nutritionsource\/food-features\/chia-seeds\/#:~:text=The%20fiber%20in%20chia%20seeds,promote%20a%20feeling%20of%20fullness.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref23\" name=\"_ftn23\"\u003e[23]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC5808339\/\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606538760498", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Hormone-Healthy-foods-for-menopause-1600x1067_768x.jpg?v=1697662803", "title" : "Diet and recipes ideas to help balance hormones in menopause", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=239" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=239" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=239" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/239" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 14, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/bloating/", "name": "Bloating", "description": "Bloating can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Here are some of the best supplements to help with menopause and bloating. Choose from probiotics, collagen and assorted natural supplements for menopause bloating to help relieve the symptoms of menopause bloating. ", "id": 239, "term_id": 239, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "bloating" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=650" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=650" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=650" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/650" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 6, "link": "https://healthandher.com/us/expert-advice/bloating/", "name": "Bloating", "description": "Bloating can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Here are some of the best supplements to help with menopause and bloating. Choose from probiotics, collagen and assorted natural supplements for menopause bloating to help relieve the symptoms of menopause bloating. ", "id": 650, "term_id": 650, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "bloating" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=237" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=237" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=237" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/237" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 22, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/brain-fog/", "name": "Brain fog", "description": "Brain fog is a common symptom along with memory loss and other cognitive issues. Browse our range of supplements chosen by women experiencing mental performance issues.", "id": 237, "term_id": 237, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "brain-fog" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=244" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=244" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=244" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/244" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 12, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/digestive-issues/", "name": "Digestive issues", "description": "Menopause digestive symptoms are varied and complex and can be linked to changes that are triggered by the menopause like low mood or food intolerances. We've found the latest and most innovative products to help with this regularly reported symptom*.\r\n*results may vary person to person", "id": 244, "term_id": 244, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "digestive-issues" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=231" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=231" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=231" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/231" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 25, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/hot-flushes/", "name": "Hot flushes", "description": "Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing hot flushes and vasomotor symptoms have chosen. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 231, "term_id": 231, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "hot-flushes" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=229" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=229" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=229" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/229" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 21, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/weight-gain/", "name": "Weight gain", "description": "Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing menopause weight gain have chosen as part of a healthy lifestyle. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 229, "term_id": 229, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "weight-gain" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606537842994", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Jane-Collins-3-576x636_small.jpg?v=1697658441", "name" : "Jane Collins", "summary" : "", "title" : "Health & Her Editor" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/What-is-Perimenopause_1200x.jpg?v=1697662804", "html" : "\u003cp\u003ePerimenopause translates literally as ‘around the time of the menopause’. Put simply, it is the stage of life when you’re still having periods but your hormones begin fluctuating, and diminishing, potentially triggering a number of physical and emotional changes.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhen does perimenopause begin?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eOn average, women start experiencing perimenopause aged 46 and it typically lasts around four years before their periods stop and the transition into menopause takes place. For others this stage can last anything up to 10 years.\u003csup\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftnref1\" href=\"#_ftn1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat does it involve?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003ePerimenopausal symptoms commonly include \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/hot-flushes\/\"\u003ehot flushes\u003c\/a\u003e, tiredness, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/brain-fog\/\"\u003ebrain fog\u003c\/a\u003e, mood swings, headaches, feeling increasingly emotionally fragile and overwhelmed, forgetfulness, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/night-sweats\/\"\u003enight sweats\u003c\/a\u003e, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/joint-aches\/\"\u003ejoint pain\u003c\/a\u003e, weight gain, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/vaginal-dryness\/\"\u003evaginal dryness\u003c\/a\u003e and itching and increasingly \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/period-changes\/\"\u003eanarchic and erratic periods\u003c\/a\u003e. \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/period-changes\/why-do-periods-get-worse-before-menopause\/\"\u003eYour periods might become heavier and more frequent; lighter and spaced further apart or a combination of these\u003c\/a\u003e. A number of women’s health studies \u003csup\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftnref1\" href=\"#_ftn2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003ca name=\"_ftnref1\" href=\"#_ftn3\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e \u003c\/sup\u003e have shown the changes to your menstrual cycle typically follow three distinct phases:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003e1. Early perimenopause\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eThis is when you are still having regular periods but are experiencing some perimenopausal symptoms.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003e2. Mid perimenopause\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eThis stage is indicated by increasingly irregular periods, but you are not skipping any. So more than seven days (could be longer or shorter) difference from the beginning of your given cycle to the next.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003e3. Late perimenopause\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eThis is characterised by you missing periods and having more than 60 days between them.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eWhat do the experts say about perimenopause?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eDr Kate Burns, a GP with a special interest in menopause, describes what is happening to you physiologically to create this unpredictable cycle during perimenopause: “Instead of having a regular periodical swing of oestrogen and progesterone, which most women have if they have a 28-day cycle, the release of hormones can become very irregular. This causes random shedding of the lining without any sort of pattern.”\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe diagram below illustrates how oestrogen fluctuates in the perimenopause stage:\u003cimg sizes=\"(max-width: 420px) 300px, (min-width: 421px) 768px, (min-width: 769px) 1024px, 100vw\" srcset=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2022\/10\/12151856\/Stages-of-Perimenopause-and-Menopause-300x169.jpg 300w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2022\/10\/12151856\/Stages-of-Perimenopause-and-Menopause-1024x576.jpg 1024w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2022\/10\/12151856\/Stages-of-Perimenopause-and-Menopause-768x432.jpg 768w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2022\/10\/12151856\/Stages-of-Perimenopause-and-Menopause-1200x675.jpg 1200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2022\/10\/12151856\/Stages-of-Perimenopause-and-Menopause-992x558.jpg 992w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2022\/10\/12151856\/Stages-of-Perimenopause-and-Menopause-576x324.jpg 576w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2022\/10\/12151856\/Stages-of-Perimenopause-and-Menopause-400x225.jpg 400w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2022\/10\/12151856\/Stages-of-Perimenopause-and-Menopause-200x113.jpg 200w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2022\/10\/12151856\/Stages-of-Perimenopause-and-Menopause-600x338.jpg 600w, https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2022\/10\/12151856\/Stages-of-Perimenopause-and-Menopause.jpg 1280w\" height=\"706\" width=\"1254\" alt=\"Hormone changes graphed during menopause\" src=\"https:\/\/media.healthandher.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2022\/10\/12151856\/Stages-of-Perimenopause-and-Menopause-300x169.jpg\" class=\"alignnone wp-image-102173\" decoding=\"async\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body);\"\u003eWhilst your hormones might be in freefall and your periods are all over the place it is important to remember that you can still get pregnant around perimenopause and menopause. As Dr Burns explains, “even though we may think pregnancy is one of the only things we don’t have to think about, it is possible for women to conceive and carry a child up to the age of 55, so effective contraception is important for the duration of menopause.”\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn1\" href=\"#_ftnref1\"\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHere is everything you need to know about contraception through menopause.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHow do you know when perimenopause is happening?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003ePinning down exactly when your perimenopause starts is tricky – complicated by the fact that no two women experience it in the same way – and many, completely understandably, don’t recognise that they are experiencing often classic signs of perimenopause because these are also normal responses to other things going on in their life. In fact, in a study of 1,000 UK women carried out by Health \u0026amp; Her in 2019, a whopping 90% failed to recognise their symptoms could be due to their fluctuating hormones and chalked them up to ageing, stress, anxiety and depression.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn4\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[4]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e It took an average of 14 months for women to make the link according to the study.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eInterestingly too, while period changes were reported as a common symptom of perimenopause – and this is often widely regarded as the onset marker of menopause – findings showed this was not the case for 4 in 10 women.\u003ca href=\"#_ftn5\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[5]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat is the difference between perimenopause and menopause?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eHealthcare professionals define menopause as the 12 months after your last period. After those 12 consecutive months have passed without a period you are officially into menopause but whilst you might have stopped menstruating you are still likely to go on experiencing mental and physical symptoms associated with menopause. On average these can last for around four years, most commonly between the ages of 51 to 54\u003ca href=\"#_ftn6\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[6] \u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003eas your body adjusts to diminishing levels of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Unfortunately, even though most mental and physical symptoms will improve after this time, often those like \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/loss-of-sex-drive\/\"\u003elow libido\u003c\/a\u003e, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/sensitive-bladder\/\"\u003esensitive bladder\u003c\/a\u003e and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/painful-sex\/\"\u003epainful sex\u003c\/a\u003e can continue into later life.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/loss-of-sex-drive\/testosterone-menopause\/\"\u003eHere is how perimenopause and menopause can affect testosterone\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eYour journey through perimenopause will be unique and how it affects you may be nothing like the way it affects your friends or relatives (if you even \u003cem\u003eknow\u003c\/em\u003e how it has impacted them).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eTo give you more of an idea of what you might expect Health \u0026amp; Her recently conducted research involving 62,117 women going through perimenopause\u003ca href=\"#_ftn7\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[7]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e. They were asked to reveal their most common symptoms and these are listed below in order of prevalence:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/low-energy\/\"\u003eLow energy\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/stress-anxiety\/stress-and-anxiety\/\"\u003eStress \u0026amp; anxiety\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/low-mood\/coping-with-your-emotions-during-menopause\/\"\u003eLow mood\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/sleeping-problems\/is-menopause-messing-with-your-sleep-tools-techniques-and-treatment-to-reclaim-your-rest\/\"\u003eSleeping problems\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/brain-fog\/menopause-mood-changes-and-brain-fog-the-surprising-cognitive-and-psychological-symptoms\/\"\u003eBrain fog, memory loss \u0026amp; poor concentration\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/joint-aches\/\"\u003eJoint aches\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/bloating\/\"\u003eBloating\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/weight-gain\/\"\u003eWeight gain\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/loss-of-sex-drive\/loss-of-sex-drive-at-menopause-is-it-biological-or-psychological\/\"\u003eLow libido\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/headaches\/\"\u003eHeadaches\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eNight sweats\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/hot-flushes\/hot-flushes-a-gps-overview\/\"\u003eHot flushes\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/digestive-issues\/\"\u003eDigestive issues\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/sensitive-bladder\/incontinence-at-menopause-urinary-changes-and-why-they-happen\/\"\u003eSensitive bladder\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/skin-changes\/\"\u003eSkin changes\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ePalpitations\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eDizziness\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/vaginal-dryness\/menopause-vaginal-changes-explained\/\"\u003eVaginal dryness\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThis might seem like a pretty daunting array of symptoms and you can see how you might not make an immediate connection between feeling tired, stressed and having aching joints with fluctuations in your hormones. But as consultant gynaecologist and menopause specialist, Dr Anne Henderson, points out, “There is barely a part of the body oestrogen doesn’t affect. It impacts the central nervous system, the skeleton, the cardiac system, the bladder, skin, nails, hair, teeth – everything is affected.”\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eInterestingly, the same Health \u0026amp; Her study also highlights that mood and psychological symptoms typically present in the earlier stages of perimenopause, whilst physical ones like hot flushes or joint pain become more common later on. Symptoms can then become progressively, albeit temporarily, worse, as your hormone levels fluctuate and gradually decline\u003ca href=\"#_ftn8\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[8]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eTry our \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/symptom-tool\/\"\u003eperimenopause symptom checker\u003c\/a\u003e to help identify what stage of perimenopause you are at.  \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat can you do about perimenopause?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eIf information about perimenopause can feel overwhelming – or sometimes infuriatingly vague – it can be reassuring to remember that you’re not alone. Perimenopause is a normal and natural stage of life, and millions of other women are currently going through it too. Equipping yourself with the basic facts and reading up on the latest research and evidence can help you to cut through what can be a potentially confusing time – making you better able to recognise the signs and be more able to cope with them. There are also a range of ground-breaking new options out there to help you get more of a handle on what is going on including symptom trackers and free personal online consultations to help support you through it.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSelf-care \u0026amp; positive habits for perimenopause\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eMost menopause experts point out that women suffer less with perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms if they look after themselves – eating well, taking regular exercise, getting enough sleep and finding effective ways to manage stress. The perimenopausal phase is also a good time to discuss HRT with a healthcare expert to see if that is the right option for you.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eA survey by the British Menopause Society, however, found that 95% of women would prefer to take natural remedies rather than HRT, plus not everyone can take it even if they want to. A healthy balanced diet and dietary supplements specifically tailored to help support your perimenopause can be hugely beneficial at this time as can relaxation techniques to help manage stress. Figuring out what is right for you, what your dominant symptoms are and finding things to help you navigate your way through this transitional time more seamlessly include:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSupplements – \u003c\/strong\u003eCertain supplements can provide a much-needed source of natural phytoestrogens (oestrogen-like compounds derived from plants) and specific vitamins and minerals to help support you through your perimenopause. Health \u0026amp; Her’s \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/perimenopause\/health-her-perimenopause-food-supplement-60-caps\/\"\u003ePerimenopause supplement\u003c\/a\u003eis specially formulated by experts and includes the phytoestrogens Red Clover and Wild Yam and vitamins and minerals including vitamin B6 which can help with hormone regulation, energy and normal psychological function. Health \u0026amp; Her’s \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/psychological-function\/health-her-perimenopause-mind\/\"\u003ePerimenopause Mind+\u003c\/a\u003e supplement is also designed for perimenopause to particularly support mind and wellbeing and contains phytoestrogens and hormone-balancing nutrients.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTracking your symptoms – \u003c\/strong\u003eTo get a better sense of where you’re at on your menopause journey, it can be helpful to log your symptoms and cycle changes. The free Health \u0026amp; Her app offers perimenopause period tracking, symptom tracking and access to expert advice. Health \u0026amp; Her have also funded helpful research which evaluates the effects of \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.frontiersin.org\/articles\/10.3389\/fgwh.2021.757706\/full\"\u003esymptom monitoring\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eRegular exercise – \u003c\/strong\u003ePerimenopause can put your body through a lot, both physically and mentally. Exercise can be key to helping you cope with this, so read our \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/best-exercise-menopause\/\"\u003etop 5 exercises for perimenopause\u003c\/a\u003e \u0026amp; menopause. Regular exercise can also help to keep your weight down and studies show that women who exercise are less likely to suffer with symptoms like hot flushes than those who are more sedentary.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eRelaxation techniques – \u003c\/strong\u003ePracticing relaxation techniques like \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/yoga-menopause\/\"\u003eyoga \u0026amp; meditation\u003c\/a\u003e or mindfulness and breathing exercises through your perimenopause and menopause can help you to manage stress, keep you fit and remain more positive. They can also help you to better manage hot flushes.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eDiet and lifestyle – \u003c\/strong\u003eA healthy, balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help you to fight fatigue, stabilise your moods and potentially help reduce bloating and weight gain. \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/menopause-nutrition-how-to-eat-for-a-healthier-happier-menopause\/\"\u003eDiet tips for a healthy perimenopause\u003c\/a\u003e can include cutting down on certain foods (like ultra- processed or high fat and sugar ones) and drinks (including alcohol and too much caffeine) that make you feel lethargic or tired. Incorporating more lean protein and foods rich in fibre can help to stabilise blood sugar levels and your mood. There is also evidence to suggest you’ll experience fewer perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms the more fruit and vegetables you eat – so try to get your recommended quota of five (or ideally more) portions a day.\u003cu\u003e \u003c\/u\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTalking therapies\u003c\/strong\u003e – \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/night-sweats\/cognitive-behaviour-therapy-for-hot-flushes\/\"\u003eCognitive behavioural therapy\u003c\/a\u003e (CBT) is a type of talking therapy which teaches coping strategies including how to change negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours into more positive ones. There is evidence\u003ca href=\"#_ftn9\"\u003e\u003csup\u003e[9]\u003c\/sup\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e to show that CBT can help with perimenopause and menopausal anxiety, low mood and sleep problems. It has also been shown to reduce the impact of hot flushes and night sweats.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhen to see a GP about perimenopause\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eIf your symptoms are impacting on your quality of life, consider seeking help from your GP or a menopause specialist GP.  \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/how-to-talk-to-your-gp-about-menopause\/\"\u003eGetting support from an experienced specialist can help you get back to feeling like yourself again.\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHow is perimenopause treated?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eBy carefully considering your age, your symptoms, and ideally, your menstrual changes, a GP can help you determine if you are in perimenopause. If appropriate for you and your medical history, they may discuss \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/hormone-replacement-therapy-hrt-guide\/\"\u003ehormone replacement therapy (HRT)\u003c\/a\u003e with you.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eReferences and Sources\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftnref1\" href=\"#_ftnref1\"\u003e[1]\u003c\/a\u003e Research commissioned by Health \u0026amp; Her and carried out by Censuswide. 1,001 women between the ages of 45-60 were surveyed.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftnref1\" href=\"#_ftnref2\"\u003e[2]\u003c\/a\u003e Ref: Avis, N. E., Brockwell, S., Randolph Jr, J. F., Shen, S., Cain, V. S., Ory, M., \u0026amp; Greendale, G. A. (2009). Longitudinal changes in sexual functioning as women transition through menopause: Results from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN). Menopause (New York, NY), 16(3), 442.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftnref1\" href=\"#_ftnref3\"\u003e[3]\u003c\/a\u003e  Harlow, S. D., Gass, M., Hall, J. E., Lobo, R., Maki, P., Rebar, R. W., \u0026amp; STRAW+ 10 Collaborative Group. (2012). Executive summary of the Stages of Reproductive Aging Workshop+ 10: addressing the unfinished agenda of staging reproductive aging. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology \u0026amp; Metabolism, 97(4), 1159-1168.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftnref1\" href=\"#_ftnref4\"\u003e[4]\u003c\/a\u003e  What Women Want At Menopause Survey, 2019\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftnref1\" href=\"#_ftnref5\"\u003e[5]\u003c\/a\u003e  What Women Want At Menopause Survey, 2019\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref6\"\u003e[6]\u003c\/a\u003e Research commissioned by Health \u0026amp; Her and carried out by Censuswide. 1,001 women between the ages of 45-60 were surveyed.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref7\"\u003e[7]\u003c\/a\u003e Health \u0026amp; Her research conducted Oct 2020 – Sept 2022\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref8\"\u003e[8]\u003c\/a\u003e Health \u0026amp; Her research conducted Oct 2020 – Sept 2022\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ftnref9\"\u003e[9]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.tandfonline.com\/doi\/abs\/10.1080\/13697137.2020.1777965\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca name=\"_ftn2\" href=\"#_ftnref2\"\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606538793266", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/What-is-Perimenopause_768x.jpg?v=1697662804", "title" : "What is Perimenopause?", "symptoms" : [ ]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606537908530", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Dr-Kate-aspect-ratio-1-1-576x576_small.jpg?v=1697658444", "name" : "Dr Kate Burns", "summary" : "", "title" : "General Practitioner" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Image-from-iOS-1_ded62067-0917-4fca-8eee-312aa3bd18bb_1200x.jpg?v=1701311085", "html" : "\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eIf you think that going through the menopause means you don’t have to worry about contraception any longer, think again. Here Dr Kate Burns, a GP with an interest\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e in menopause, explains why…\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eAmongst the many challenges faced by women going through the perimenopause or menopause, having to worry about contraception and not getting pregnant is not normally high on the agenda. However, it remains possible to fall pregnant during perimenopause (the phase leading up to the menopause) and for some women, contraception may be needed up until the age of 55 years. What complicates things slightly is that if you are using hormonal contraception or Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) (see below) it can be tricky to clearly determine where you are on your menopause journey and when it is safe for you to stop contraception. So, before you bin your birth control here’s what is useful to know.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eWhat is hormonal contraception?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eIn short, any contraception that relies on the use of hormones to stop you getting pregnant. The two main groups are progesterone only contraception (POC) which, as its name suggests, contains progestogen alone and combined hormonal contraception (CHC) which contains both progestogen and estrogen. Examples of progestogen only contraception include progestogen- only pills (POPs, sometimes known as the mini pill), the contraceptive injections Depo Provera® and Sayana Press®, the contraceptive implant Nexplanon® and various hormone-releasing coils including the Mirena coil®. Forms of combined hormonal contraception include combined oral contraceptive pills, the contraceptive patch (Evra®) and the contraceptive ring (NuvaRing®) – a small plastic ring placed inside the vagina which releases .\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eHow does use of hormonal contraception affect menopause?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eTaking or using any form of hormonal contraception will not affect when your menopause occurs –  it won’t delay it, make it start earlier or influence how long it will last.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003c!--StartFragment --\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2 class=\"pf0\"\u003e\u003cspan class=\"cf0\"\u003eHow do you know if you’re in menopause when on the pill?\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003c!--EndFragment --\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHowever, recognizing the perimenopause or menopause can be more challenging when using hormonal contraception, for a number of different reasons. This is mainly because all forms of hormonal contraception can – and commonly do – change or even stop your usual menstrual (period) cycle. Why this is relevant is that  one of the key symptoms\/signs clinicians look for to indicate \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/us\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-perimenopause\/\"\u003eperimenopause\u003c\/a\u003e or \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/us\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-menopause\/\"\u003emenopause\u003c\/a\u003e is changes to your usual periods (i.e. changes in the length of time between them or how \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/us\/expert-advice\/period-changes\/why-do-periods-get-worse-before-menopause\/\"\u003eheavy or light your bleeds are plus missing periods and\/or periods stopping\u003c\/a\u003e). Therefore, if your hormonal contraception is altering or stopping your natural period cycle and bleeding pattern, we can no longer rely on this symptom\/sign. Another consideration here is that using CHC will cause a hormone withdrawal or ‘false’ monthly bleed when used in certain ways (with breaks). Such bleeds may therefore continue to happen even if your natural period cycle is changing or stopping in the background. However, none of this means you should stop or change your contraception in order to work out whether you are perimenopausal or menopausal, as clinicians are very used to carefully considering all of your symptoms, without relying on your bleeding pattern, to recognize whether you are in \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/us\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-perimenopause\/\"\u003eperimenopause\u003c\/a\u003e or \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/us\/expert-advice\/\"\u003emenopause\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eAs well as changes to bleeding patterns, there are also some other factors related to use of hormonal contraception that may impact on recognizing perimenopause\/menopause. For example:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eIf you are taking combined hormonal contraception (CHC)\u003c\/strong\u003e – this can potentially help manage or prevent various menopause-related symptoms like hot flushes and night sweats.\u003ca href=\"#_edn1\" name=\"_ednref1\"\u003e[i]\u003c\/a\u003e This is because such symptoms are thought to be largely due to declining estrogen levels that begin during perimenopause\/menopause (when the ovaries begin to slow down and release less of this). CHC contains estrogen so will help boost and improve estrogen levels. In addition, some possible side effects related to use of CHC are very similar to typical perimenopause and menopause symptoms. For example, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/us\/expert-advice\/low-mood\/\"\u003emood swings\u003c\/a\u003e, and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/us\/expert-advice\/vaginal-dryness\/lost-libido-menopause\/\"\u003elack of libido\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eIf you are using progestogen only contraception\u003c\/strong\u003e– Similarly to CHC, some possible side effects related to use of POC are similar to typical perimenopause and menopause symptoms, e.g. mood swings or mood changes). However, as POC does not contain estrogen (and it is the drop in estrogen levels that seems to cause most menopausal symptoms; although progestogen levels do also drop at this time), its use does not generally notably help with (or “mask” ) menopausal symptoms.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch2\u003eCan I take a blood test to diagnose if I am in menopause?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eGenerally, use of any hormonal blood tests to diagnose menopause or perimenopause is neither necessary nor helpful for women 45 years or older (although the advice may be different for women younger than this). Therefore, this is not recommended; and this approach is supported by both the British Menopause Society (BMS) and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in their guidelines on menopause.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe reason for this is because firstly we can generally recognize the perimenopause\/menopause after carefully considering symptoms and if possible period changes  in the context of age; plus hormone levels are very changeable in the perimenopause and normal levels do NOT therefore exclude or rule it out. Hormone levels will generally be in the menopausal range after periods have stopped for 12 months or more. However, this may not tell us anything more than we already know and also does NOT affect either whether or not we advise HRT or what type or \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/us\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/hormone-therapy-ht-guide\/\"\u003edose of HRT we use\u003c\/a\u003e (instead we have a standard approach to this).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eIn contrast, sometimes non-hormonal blood tests may be used to help safely exclude any other non menopausal causes of symptoms.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eCan I take a blood test to work out whether or not I still need contraception?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003ePotentially yes, but this depends on your age and your recent bleeding pattern! We sometimes use a blood test called FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) to help us here.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eFSH is a hormone produced by the brain that controls the ovaries. When the ovaries begin to slow down as you go into perimenopause and eventually transition to the menopause FSH levels begin to rise in an attempt to keep the ovaries going. It is generally accepted that if FSH is elevated  to \u0026gt;30 IU\/L or above, this indicates a degree of “ovarian insufficiency” i.e. your ovaries have notably slowed down, although it does NOT necessarily mean that you definitely can no longer become pregnant. However, generally accepted advice is that if you are over 50 years and your FSH level is \u0026gt;30 IU\/L, this should be enough to confirm you can safely stop contraception 12 full months after this blood test was taken. If your FSH level is below \u0026gt;30IU\/L however, you will generally be advised to continue with contraception and can, if you want to, take another FSH test a year later to check again on this.\u003ca href=\"#_edn2\" name=\"_ednref2\"\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eCan hormonal contraception affect FSH levels?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eYes. If you are using combined hormonal contraception (and\/or estrogen-based HRT) the results of the FSH test will not be reliable. FSH levels may also be affected if you use the contraceptive injection, although checking levels when on the contraceptive injection may still be helpful (whereas this would not be recommended if using combined hormonal contraception or estrogen-based HRT).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eCan hormonal contraception improve my menopause symptoms?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003ePotentially, yes. As explained above, any form of CHC (which contains estrogen and progestogen) will likely help to control perimenopausal symptoms because these are largely thought to be triggered by declining estrogen levels. In fact, using combined hormonal contraception is an accepted alternative to HRT (which also works by providing estrogen) for some women under the age of 50, as continued use of this type of contraception can keep potentially troublesome perimenopausal or menopausal side effects at bay. However, use of CHC for women aged 50y or older is generally not recommended, and CHC may also not be suitable for a number women under the age of 50y as their medical history, weight, or smoking history may mean that its use is too risky. This is because use of all CHC is associated with a slightly increased risk of DVT and stroke (and the likelihood of DVT and stroke increases with age). In contrast, use of transdermal (through the skin) estrogen as part of a HRT regimen is not associated with any increased risk of DVT or stroke.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eDoes HRT provide contraception?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/us\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/hormone-therapy-ht-guide\/\"\u003eHormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)\u003c\/a\u003e does not protect against unwanted pregnancy (unless a Mirena hormonal coil forms part of the HRT regimen). This is because HRT uses different forms of estrogen in different doses to those used in hormonal contraception and these are not enough to reliably prevent ovulation (egg release) and therefore pregnancy. It is, however, generally seen as the gold-standard treatment for often debilitating menopausal symptoms like hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, joint problems, insomnia and more. However, many methods of hormonal contraception can be safely used alongside \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/us\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/hormone-replacement-therapy-hrt-guide\/\"\u003eHRT\u003c\/a\u003e (the main exception is the combined hormonal contraceptive – as both HRT and CHC contain estrogen and doubling up on it is deemed unsafe). The Mirena coil might be particularly helpful here in that it provides not just birth control but also the womb lining protection part of HRT (which is always needed alongside estrogen use unless a woman has had a hysterectomy); plus it can also reduce and improve problematic periods.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eWhat if I am not using hormonal contraception?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe generally accepted advice is If your periods stop when you are under 50, contraception can safely be stopped two years after your final period. For women aged 50 and over (ie. if your periods stop when you are 50 or above) it is advised that you can safely stop contraception one year after the date of your final period.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003c!--StartFragment --\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2 class=\"pf0\"\u003e\u003cspan class=\"cf0\"\u003eWill the pill make my menopause worse?\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp class=\"xmsonormal\" style=\"background: white;\"\u003e\u003cspan class=\"contentpasted0\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #242424;\"\u003eIn a short answer – no. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #242424;\"\u003eHowever, there are potential short and long-term side effects associated with both the progestogen-only and combined pill, such as headaches, breast tenderness, weight gain, alongside more serious risks such as deep vein thrombosis and blood clots. These risks are more significant with use of the combined pill.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp class=\"xmsonormal\" style=\"background: white;\"\u003e\u003cspan class=\"contentpasted0\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #242424;\"\u003eIt is important to be aware of these side effects before taking hormonal contraceptives, however, it is also pertinent to note that for women experiencing menopause the pill provides no additional or increased risk, nor is there any evidence to suggest it exacerbates symptoms. In fact, hormonal contraception can be prescribed as an effective alternative to HRT in helping to manage difficult menopausal symptoms in women under fifty.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003c!--EndFragment --\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eM\u003cspan class=\"cf0\"\u003eenopause contraception key facts\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003eThe average age for a woman to go through menopause in the UK is 51 years and it is considered typical to experience menopause between 45 and 55. \u003ca href=\"#_edn3\" name=\"_ednref3\"\u003e[iii]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eIf you use hormonal contraception your vaginal bleeding pattern is not necessarily a clear signifier of what is happening with your natural menstrual cycle and will not reliably indicate how your ovaries are functioning and whether you are entering perimenopause or menopause. Bleeds caused by taking the combined contraceptive pill are false withdrawal bleeds and shouldn’t be confused with natural spontaneous periods and many women using progestogen-based contraception (mini pill, Mirena coil, injection or implant) may bleed only very infrequently or not at all. However, this is due to hormone use and should not be confused as a sign of perimenopause\/menopause.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eIf you are aged 50 or over and using hormonal contraception it may be possible to check your Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) levels via a blood test in order to help you decide whether you can safely stop contraception before 55.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eMany forms of hormonal contraception can be safely used until 55 including the progestogen only pill (POP, or mini pill), the contraceptive implant (Nexplanon®) and hormonal coils (including Mirena).\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eIt is generally not advisable however to use any form of combined hormonal contraception (which contains progestogen and estrogen) like the combined oral contraceptive pill, the contraceptive ring (Nuvaring®) or patch (Evra®) from the age of 50 onwards, as it can put you at an increased risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)\u003ca href=\"#_edn4\" name=\"_ednref4\"\u003e[iv]\u003c\/a\u003e and stroke. \u003ca href=\"#_edn5\" name=\"_ednref5\"\u003e[v]\u003c\/a\u003e Plus, it is not usually advisable to go on using Depo Provera over 50 – as it may affect your bone density\u003ca href=\"#_edn6\" name=\"_ednref6\"\u003e[vi]\u003c\/a\u003e (something that becomes particularly important around the time of the menopause as estrogen, which helps to maintain bone density, decreases.) \u003ca href=\"#_edn7\" name=\"_ednref7\"\u003e[vii]\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eAll forms of progestogen-only contraception can generally safely be used alongside HRT, although Depo Provera is not generally recommended as it contains a higher dose of progestogen than other forms of progestogen-only contraception.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eAll women should safely be able to stop contraception at the age of 55, (without needing any blood test to confirm they are menopausal), as it is extremely rare to get pregnant at this age (even if periods continue).\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhilst is safe to stop using contraception after 55 without the worry of getting pregnant, using a barrier method such as condoms is still recommended to protect \/ guard against sexually transmitted disease. \u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eIf you are worried or confused about using contraception during your perimenopause and menopause, please do talk to your GP or a knowledgeable menopause expert.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eResources and sources\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref1\" name=\"_edn1\"\u003e[i]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.nhs.uk\/conditions\/contraception\/menopause-contraceptive-pill\/#:~:text=The%20combined%20pill%20may%20also,and%20therefore%20no%20longer%20fertile.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref2\" name=\"_edn2\"\u003e[ii]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.fsrh.org\/standards-and-guidance\/documents\/combined-hormonal-contraception\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref3\" name=\"_edn3\"\u003e[iii]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.nhs.uk\/conditions\/menopause\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref4\" name=\"_edn4\"\u003e[iv]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.nhs.uk\/conditions\/deep-vein-thrombosis-dvt\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref5\" name=\"_edn5\"\u003e[v]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.nhs.uk\/conditions\/stroke\/\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref6\" name=\"_edn6\"\u003e[vi]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.nhs.uk\/conditions\/contraception\/contraceptive-injection\/#:~:text=Using%20Depo%2DProvera%20affects%20your,cause%20any%20long%2Dterm%20problems.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"#_ednref7\" name=\"_edn7\"\u003e[vii]\u003c\/a\u003e https:\/\/www.themenopausecharity.org\/2021\/05\/26\/lets-talk-about-bone-health\/\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606718951730", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Image-from-iOS-1_ded62067-0917-4fca-8eee-312aa3bd18bb_768x.jpg?v=1701311085", "title" : "Everything you need to know about menopause and contraception", "symptoms" : [ ]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606538301746", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/AnitaNEW_jpeg_small.jpg?v=1697658463", "name" : "Anita Ralph", "summary" : "“Herbal medicine has so much to offer women in managing their health, and is particularly good at helping with functional conditions such as menopause and perimenopause.”", "title" : "Qualified Medical Herbalist" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/analise-benevides-1394701-unsplash__1__ilbw-3k-1_1200x.jpg?v=1697662870", "html" : "\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eQualified Medical Herbalist Anita Ralph discusses natural and herbal remedies for night sweats alongside other herbal based methods to try to control night sweats. Well-tolerated, safe and highly effective, can medicinal herbs and food plants provide a natural route to a calmer, cooler night’s sleep?\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/night-sweats\/\"\u003eNight sweats are a common symptom for women\u003c\/a\u003e and can start several years before menopause itself. They may come and go, sometimes around a period, or in phases and can disappear just as quickly for months at a time. Although they are primarily associated with a reduction in oestrogen levels, they can also be related to excessive stress coping hormones. Once you have eliminated other causes such as infections or inflammation, then the focus should be on addressing the stress factors in your life.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eCheck out these \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hormone-regulation\/\"\u003eproducts for hormone regulation that can assist with night sweats\u003c\/a\u003e for find out more tips and advice for relief from night sweats from our expert medical herbalist. Try also, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/sleep-relaxation\/\"\u003eproducts for sleep and relaxation\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003ePerhaps you have never slept well?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: var(--color-body);\"\u003eEven if you slept well before, night sweats can really disrupt your sleep. Taking herbs that relax you and are traditionally used to help sleep can help fight this. There are so many herbs to choose from, and none of them are addictive or habit forming, so it is likely to be a case of finding out which herbs your body responds to the best.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eEven nightwear can affect how well you sleep and can impact whether you experience night sweats. Here is some of \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/night-sweats\/want-the-best-nightwear-for-menopause-night-sweats-ask-a-stylist\/\"\u003ethe best nightwear for night sweats\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eHerbs that help\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eLemon balm, Lavender, and Lime blossom. These herbs have all become more well known in recent years as relaxing, soothing and pleasant herbs to take either as a tea or in a capsule before bed. All three herbs can be taken alongside conventional medication, and pose no risk if used over long periods of time.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eLemon balm\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eAlso known as melissa or bee balm, lemon balm is a common garden herb in the same family as mint. It has a gorgeous lemony scent, and tastes ‘green’ and not unlike a lemon tea. It has demonstrated benefits for people with IBS symptoms, as well as aiding relaxation.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eLavender\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eAnother mint family herb, lavender and has a long history as a relaxing sleep aid. It also has digestive benefits and can relieve indigestion for some people.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eLime blossom\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eThis medicine comes from the sweet scented flowers of the European lime or linden tree – not the citrus fruit as you might expect. It’s a popular herbal tea or infusion to help with night sweats and used in many European countries where is it still an official remedy for sleeplessness in children or adults. It’s really useful, as it is also a remedy for sweating due to its soothing effect on the blood vessels.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eCan stress have an impact?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eIt is worth thinking about how stressed you feel during the daytime, if you are experiencing night sweats. High stress hormone levels in the day can lead to it just being too difficult to relax sufficiently at night to switch of the stress hormones at night, which can mean stress increases the frequency of night sweats.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eCheck you are not eating too late, that you are drinking enough water, and that you take regular breaks from sitting down, or work, or running around generally.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eBreathe! It can also be helpful to focus on creating a calming bedtime routine, and perhaps exploring a relaxation practice such as \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/sleeping-problems\/menopause-yoga-nidra-for-disturbed-sleep-and-low-mood\/\"\u003eyoga nidra\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eCan a change in diet help?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eTry switching over to herbal teas during the daytime.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eGreat cooling herbs include mint tea, fennel, chamomile tea and nettle teas – many are readily available in teabags in most supermarkets today.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eYou can drink herb teas hot, or even cold with ice and a slice! If herb tea is really not for you – then help yourself drink enough cool water during the day – add a slice of cucumber, a sliced strawberry or citrus fruit to give your tap water a fresh cool taste.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThere are many products sold aimed at treating hot flushes and night sweats, but the causes for each symptom are often unique to us.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eSo, if over-the-counter remedies have not worked for you, a consultation with a qualified medical herbalist may help show you why, and how to stop them.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eWhat to expect if you consult a medical herbalist\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eThey will make a personal assessment of your unique situation, and prescribe stronger herbal medicines in carefully prepared mixtures that are more likely to suit your personal circumstances. A medical herbalist can keep track of your blood pressure or other health factors that may be impacting on the severity of your symptoms.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eNext steps and handy resources\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eHerbs and natural medicines – though generally very safe and well tolerated – can be incredibly powerful, so it’s really important to research and choose your practitioner carefully. Look for:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003ca href=\"http:\/\/www.nimh.org.uk\/\"\u003eMembership of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eMembership of the College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eA Masters degree in herbal medicine\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"font-weight: 600;\" data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eDid you know? A fully qualified medical herbalist trains for 4 years – and studies the same medical sciences as a medical doctor.\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eAbout Anita Ralph\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eAnita harnesses the powerful medicine of plants and foods to provide a natural alternative – or complement – to pharmaceutical medicines. She runs her own busy herbal consultancy, inspires the next generation as a teacher of herbal medicine, and works alongside our lead gynaecologist to offer a holistic approach to women’s healthcare through the Gynae Expert practice. A practicing medical herbalist since 1990, Anita is a member of the \u003ca href=\"http:\/\/www.nimh.org.uk\/\"\u003eNational Institute of Medical Herbalist\u003c\/a\u003es and the College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy and has a masters degree in herbal medicine. \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/about-us\/menopause-experts\/anita-ralph\/\"\u003eRead Anita’s full biography here\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eProducts and ingredients mentioned in this article\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/sleep-relaxation\/\"\u003eProducts for sleep and relaxation\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hormone-regulation\/\"\u003eProducts for hormone regulation\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eYou might also be interested in\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/night-sweats\/want-the-best-nightwear-for-menopause-night-sweats-ask-a-stylist\/\"\u003eWant the best nightwear for menopause night sweats? by stylist Gilly Woo\u003c\/a\u003e or take a look at \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/hot-flushes\/hot-flushes-a-herbal-perspective\/\"\u003eherbal remedies and tips for hot flushes\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606540005682", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/analise-benevides-1394701-unsplash__1__ilbw-3k-1_768x.jpg?v=1697662870", "title" : "Herbal remedies for night sweats", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=231" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=231" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=231" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/231" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 25, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/hot-flushes/", "name": "Hot flushes", "description": "Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing hot flushes and vasomotor symptoms have chosen. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 231, "term_id": 231, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "hot-flushes" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=227" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=227" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=227" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/227" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 18, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/night-sweats/", "name": "Night sweats", "description": "Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing night sweats and vasomotor symptoms have chosen. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 227, "term_id": 227, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "night-sweats" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=221" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=221" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=221" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/221" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 23, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/sleeping-problems/", "name": "Sleeping problems", "description": "Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing sleeping problems have chosen. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 221, "term_id": 221, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "sleeping-problems" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606562713906", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Shona_Wilkinson3-aspect-ratio-1x1-1-576x575_small.jpg?v=1698247227", "name" : "Shona Wilkinson", "summary" : "", "title" : "Nutritionist" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/rawpixel-561412-unsplash-1-1600x1170_63e5c53f-d386-4b47-a63a-eabce809aee9_1200x.jpg?v=1701311088", "html" : "\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eSome of the most challenging menopause related symptoms are the ones you can’t see. Dr Shilpa McQuillan discusses the psychological side of menopause, and the symptoms many women visit her for help with: stress and anxiety, low mood and feeling tearful, irritability and mood swings.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eMany people think of hot flashes and night sweats as the main symptoms women experience as they approach their menopause. But in fact there are also many psychological symptoms that occur. These are the symptoms that people don’t physically see – so can be more difficult to deal with.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eDuring menopause, psychological symptoms can be overbearing, impacting on your physical health as well as affecting relationships at home and in the workplace. Some of the symptoms many women describe include:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli style=\"list-style-type: none;\"\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003elow mood\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003eanxiety\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003eirritability\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003epanic attacks\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003efeeling tearful\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003elow self- esteem\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003emood swings\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch2 dir=\"ltr\"\u003eWhy do we get more stressed and anxious at menopause?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eThere are many reasons that you can experience mood changes around the menopause. Changes in the balance of your hormones is one of them.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eNormally, your body produces a hormone called cortisol. One of the roles of cortisol is to deal with stress. It is important that you have the right balance of cortisol in your body, otherwise we can become quite unwell.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eThe hormone estrogen helps maintain the level of cortisol in the body.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eAs you go through menopause, the levels of estrogen begin to drop. This means you can’t regulate your cortisol levels as effectively as before, causing you to experience mood changes and stress more readily.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eTestosterone also plays an important role on our mood and concentration (as well as libido and energy). Many people think of testosterone as the ‘male hormone’, but it is actually produced by the ovaries in high quantities. Like estrogen, these levels drop around menopause and result in low mood and brain fog.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3 dir=\"ltr\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eStress – and the vicious circle it can trigger\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eStress can be a challenging symptom to manage. The more you are stressed, the more you can experience symptoms such as sleep problems; headaches; difficulty concentrating (‘brain fog’); sweating; and palpitations. Furthermore, the more menopause symptoms you experience i.e. sleep problems, flashes, sweating and headaches can in turn cause you to experience more stress and have low mood and anxiety. This can feel like a ‘vicious circle’, but thankfully there are ways to break free.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2 dir=\"ltr\"\u003eHow can you help manage stress and anxiety?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eTwo people can go through the same stressful experience but cope in very different ways.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eThere are many factors that determine this such as your own personal health, and what kind of relationships and support you have. There are also many lifestyle factors that can help you cope with stress. These factors are a good place to start if you’re struggling with mood changes, anger, stress and anxiety – and there’s lots of help on this website to support you in making positive changes.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ePositive steps to make today are…\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3 dir=\"ltr\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHealthy diet\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eIt is important to have a balanced diet and maintain a healthy weight. This means eating a diet that includes plenty of fruit and vegetables. Try and opt for foods low in fat, sugar, and salt (no more than 6 grams per day). This in turn can help boost your energy, improve your sleep, as well as prevent conditions including diabetes and heart disease, which themselves are associated with depression and anxiety. There’s lots of help here on Health \u0026amp; Her, including: \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/us\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/menopause-nutrition-how-to-eat-for-a-healthier-happier-menopause\/\"\u003eMenopause nutrition advice\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3 dir=\"ltr\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eRegular aerobic exercise\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eWhen you exercise your body releases endorphins. These are known as the ‘happy hormones’. These help keep your mood stable, and give you more energy to do the things you enjoy. In turn it can help improve sleep quality. If you’re not yet including exercise in your routine, there are some videos on Health \u0026amp; Her that may help including \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/us\/expert-advice\/expertise\/exercise-practitioner\/\"\u003emenopause routines for you to try at home\u003c\/a\u003e created by personal trainer and some of \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/us\/hot-topics\/best-exercises-for-menopause\/\"\u003ethe best exercises to try in menopause\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3 dir=\"ltr\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eLimiting alcohol intake\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eOur brains rely on a careful balance of chemical and hormones that control our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Alcohol disrupts this balance. Initially, you may have a feeling of being relaxed and confident. This is because the part of the brain causing ‘inhibition’ is affected. As more of the brain is affected, there is more hormonal imbalance resulting in feelings of anger, aggression, and anxiety. Therefore alcohol is known as a natural ‘depressant’. It is important to keep health risks from drinking alcohol to a low level. This is best achieved by drinking no more than the recommended 14 units per week.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eIt is ok to have the odd glass of wine, but may be tempting to drink more if you are feeling low, and this is likely to make you feel worse. It may be helpful to try some social activities that can help boost your mood, like meeting a friend for a walk, indulging in a relaxing massage, or just taking time out for a yoga class. There are some free classes – designed for menopause – \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/us\/expert-advice\/expertise\/yoga-therapist\/\"\u003eyou can try here\u003c\/a\u003e on Health \u0026amp; Her.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3 dir=\"ltr\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003ePharmacy medications\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eYou can get some calming tablets from your pharmacy. It is important you check with your doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to take these.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3 dir=\"ltr\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eCognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eCBT is a well-recognized treatment for stress and anxiety. Generally, the techniques used include improving mental health, relaxation techniques, mindfulness, and sleep hygiene.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eYou can find more information in our \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/us\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/cbt-for-menopause\/\"\u003e‘CBT for menopause’ advice by Professor Myra Hunter\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3 dir=\"ltr\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eHormone Therapy (HT)\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eTaking HT replaces the low levels of estrogen. By restoring the balance, many women find their mood more ‘stable’ and uplifted, with improved energy levels and motivation.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eSome women may also need to replace testosterone levels to improve their energy and stress levels.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3 dir=\"ltr\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eAntidepressants\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eSome antidepressant medications such as Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and Selective Noradrenaline Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSNRIs) are known for their treatment in depression and anxiety. Women who already suffer from these mood disorders, and who develop worsening symptoms around menopause, may benefit from starting these medications.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eHowever, it’s really important to get the right treatment for you. If you think your symptoms are related to menopause then it’s actually very unlikely antidepressants will work – and you should talk through your options with your doctor.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eIf you would like to know more about how menopause can affect you psychologically, Clinical Psychologist Deborah Lancastle has written an overview of \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/us\/expert-advice\/stress-worry\/coping-with-emotions-menopause\/\"\u003ecoping with emotions during menopause\u003c\/a\u003e. There is also help from Relate to explore \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/us\/expert-advice\/stress-worry\/how-to-manage-stress-anxiety\/\"\u003ehow to manage menopause stress and anxiety in relationships\u003c\/a\u003e. You might also be interested in using exercise and complementary therapies – there’s advice from different practitioners in the \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/us\/expert-advice\/stress-worry\/\"\u003eExpert Advice section\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4 dir=\"ltr\"\u003eAbout Dr Shilpa McQuillan MRCGP MRCOG DFSRH\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eDr Shilpa McQuillan is a doctor with a difference; she brings a wealth of specialist knowledge when it comes to women’s health. Previously a Hospital Registrar in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Shilpa now works in general practice, providing patients with resident expertise and knowledge on women’s health concerns.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/us\/about-us\/menopause-experts\/shilpa-mcquillan\/\"\u003eRead Shilpa’s full biography here\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606719017266", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/rawpixel-561412-unsplash-1-1600x1170_63e5c53f-d386-4b47-a63a-eabce809aee9_768x.jpg?v=1701311088", "title" : "Stress and anxiety; a doctor's overview", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=665" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=665" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=665" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/665" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 21, "link": "https://healthandher.com/us/expert-advice/low-mood/", "name": "Low Mood", "description": "Menopause mood swings, depression, emotional instability and rage can affect many parts of your life, including relationships and work. Here are products that can assist with regulating your moods and help you to maintain a positive mindset. Choose from naturally formulated products and supplements to help you cope with menopause mood changes.", "id": 665, "term_id": 665, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "low-mood" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606538334514", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Jane-Dowling-3-scaled-aspect-ratio-1x1-1-576x576_small.jpg?v=1697658464", "name" : "Jane Dowling", "summary" : "", "title" : "Clinical Exercise Practitioner" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/natalie-grainger-177063-unsplash__1_-1-1600x1068_7a3e0ac2-5710-4e78-bd4a-614d44ad20d7_1200x.jpg?v=1700495119", "html" : "\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eHere is a simple routine you can do every day to ease aching joints – a menopause symptom that is common but still surprises many of us!\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThese easy exercises really help with everyday stiffness and pain, and aid ease of movement.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cblockquote\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e“Motion is lotion, ladies!”. - Jane Dowling. \u003c\/p\u003e\u003c\/blockquote\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ciframe loading=\"lazy\" src=\"\/\/www.youtube.com\/embed\/N-FA1_hS3Eo\" width=\"500\" height=\"281\" frameborder=\"0\" allowfullscreen=\"allowfullscreen\" data-rocket-lazyload=\"fitvidscompatible\" data-lazy-src=\"\/\/www.youtube.com\/embed\/N-FA1_hS3Eo\" data-ll-status=\"loaded\" class=\"entered lazyloaded\"\u003e\u0026lt;br \/\u0026gt;\u003c\/iframe\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/joint-aches\/easy-stretches-for-aching-joints\/\"\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eFive must-knows about joint pain from Jane\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003col\u003e\u003cli\u003eIf you do have a recurring joint problem or pain that will not go away, please see your GP or a specialist such as a physiotherapist or osteopath. Some GP surgeries can refer you onto a specialist.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eRemember that while some GPs might suggest that you treat the symptoms with pain killers, a specialist will look and treat the actual cause of the problem.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eI advise clients who have joint or muscle problems that don’t go away to ask to see a specialist sooner rather than later – this can really help long term, and stops one problem leading to others.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ePlease don’t be frightened “try before you buy!” if you seek treatment from a specialist outside the NHS. Ask them how long they have been treating patients and if they understand the menopausal body.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e\u003ch4\u003eAbout Jane Dowling\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eJane Dowling is a clinical exercise practitioner, health professional and menopause advocate. She combines her experience of menopause and experience as a coach to help women navigate through menopause and to come out the other side using her award-winning blog, Meno\u0026amp;Me. Her qualifications include: PT award YMCA; BACR Phase iv Cardiac; Postural Stability – falls prevention for the elderly; Dr Dawn Skelton Later Life Training; GP referral scheme for Later Life Training. \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eYou might also be interested in...\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/joint-aches\/yoga-for-menopause-joint-pain\/\"\u003eYoga for menopause joint pain by Uma Dinsmore-Tuli\u003c\/a\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/best-exercise-menopause\/\"\u003eThe best exercises for you to try during menopause\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606671241522", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/natalie-grainger-177063-unsplash__1_-1-1600x1068_7a3e0ac2-5710-4e78-bd4a-614d44ad20d7_768x.jpg?v=1700495119", "title" : "Easy stretches for aching joints", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=230" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=230" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=230" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/230" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 15, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/joint-aches/", "name": "Joint pain", "description": "Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing joint aches and pains have chosen. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 230, "term_id": 230, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "joint-aches" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606538072370", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Deb-002-aspect-ratio-1-1_small.jpg?v=1697658451", "name" : "Dr Deborah Lancastle", "summary" : "", "title" : "Health Psychologist" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/sara-rolin-774587-unsplash__1_-1_1200x.jpg?v=1697662842", "html" : "\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eby \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/about-us\/menopause-experts\/dr-deborah-lancastle\/\"\u003eDr Deborah Lancastle\u003c\/a\u003e, ⊕ medically reviewed by \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/about-us\/menopause-experts\/dr-rebeccah-tomlinson\/\"\u003eDr Rebecca Tomlinson\u003c\/a\u003e on 10th October, 2022\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eMany women experience low mood, anxiety and sudden flashes of irritability during menopause – but what can we do to cope when extremes of emotion hit? Health Psychologist Dr Deborah Lancastle explains…\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eStress, emotions and menopause\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eStress can make your body react by causing physical symptoms such as a racing heart, sweating, and tiredness. Reducing negative emotions and increasing positive emotions can help to rebalance negativity and give you a “breather” which helps you to cope (3,9) Trying different strategies to try and increase your positive emotions may help to improve the emotional effects of the menopause, make your experience a bit easier to bear, and help to overcome some of the effects that stress has on your body. Emotion-focused and cognitive strategies are particularly likely to help because they help to relieve negative emotions, increase positive emotions, and give you a little break from the stress of dealing with the challenges of life during the menopause. Problem-focused strategies that involve changing or improving a problem can be helpful too, because reducing or removing a problem will make you feel relieved and happy!\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eSome strategies you can think about using to help with emotional concerns in the menopause are below:***\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003ch4\u003e1. Seek social support\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eTry talking about the way you feel with people you trust. As well as helping you to feel better this will let those people know that you are struggling at the moment and that you need some empathy, care, and support. Try not to worry that people will think you are moaning. If you don’t tell people how you are feeling they might not guess and won’t be able to help! Also, the chances are that people who know you well have noticed that you are ‘not yourself’. They may be a little worried about you, and will be genuinely interested, concerned, and willing to help. You could also talk to women of a similar age to you. The chances are they will empathise with you because they are feeling much the same!\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003e2. Distract yourself\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eEven if you are trying various different solutions to issues with your menopause, you may still find that unwelcome worries are unexpectedly popping into your head and bothering you. One solution that has been shown to help deal with such thoughts during a medical challenge is distraction (7). Try some strategies to distract yourself, such as treats and pleasant activities, or activities that keep your mind busy such as puzzles or learning a new skill or language. Distracting yourself can give you some relief from negative thoughts for the period of time you are busy with other things. Don’t forget though that it won’t be helpful to distract yourself so much that you don’t try to do something to solve the problem! One tip is to allow yourself a set period of time each day where you think whether there is anything you need to do or change and use distraction at other times to control those worries popping back when you don’t want them(7).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003e3. Focus on the positive\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eEven in the most stressful and demanding of situations, studies show that focusing on anything positive that can be found, or on everyday events that cheer people up can help increase positive psychological wellbeing (3,8). This is not easy when life is challenging! It’s also certainly not right to tell anybody what they ‘should’ feel positive about. Every life is different, and people have different ideas about what might or might not be good in their lives. Some possibilities, however, include:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003eGood support from a friend or loved one\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eHelpful medical treatment\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eImprovements in symptoms\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eA particularly pleasant event\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eHaving a treat to look forward to\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp\u003eThere will be other highlights, although it might involve some ‘mental gymnastics’ to discover what your personal positives might be. Thinking more about positive parts of your life and less about the parts that stress and distress you should help you to feel more positive and help you to carry on and keep going with your efforts to cope.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003e4. Get moving\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe physical health benefits of exercise are well known, but did you know that exercise can also help you feel better emotionally during the menopause? In a study of 2600 menopausal women in Finland (10), women who completed the recommended amount of physical exercise said they were less anxious and depressed, and their physical symptoms, memory, and concentration were better than women who were less active. They also believed their health and quality of life was better than other women their age! Finland (like the UK) recommends being physically active on several days each week. There’s a good overview of the benefits of exercise for menopause here.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003e5 Take time to relax\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eYou might find it helpful to set aside some time where you can practice some relaxation techniques, such as muscle relaxation, deep breathing, and meditation. Although studies of relaxation in the menopause tend to be small and don’t give very strong evidence that these techniques always help women with stress and mood during the menopause, relaxation techniques seem to have some benefit when they are used with prescribed medication (e.g., blood pressure medication). You might find it helpful to set aside some time where you can practice some relaxation techniques, such as muscle relaxation, deep breathing, and meditation. A large study of Dutch and French women who used relaxation techniques, regular physical activity, acupuncture, and avoiding stress during the menopause reported that they were as happy with this approach as they were with HRT! (12)\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eThe importance of positive emotions\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003ePositive emotions have an important role to play when life is challenging. Although it may feel very difficult to even think of feeling happy, content, or optimistic when times are hard, studies show that positive emotions can help people to carry on and keep going with efforts to make things better, help to boost psychological resources, and help to undo the effects that feeling sad and angry can have on the body.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eAbout Dr Dr Deborah Lancastle\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/about-us\/menopause-experts\/dr-deborah-lancastle\/\"\u003eDr Deborah Lancastle (PHD)\u003c\/a\u003e is a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered and British Psychological Society (BPS) Chartered Health Psychologist with special interest in the psychosocial aspects of women’s reproductive health. Her extensive knowledge and experience of the psychological principles explaining how women cope with reproductive health issues means she’s well-placed to advise across a range of women’s reproductive health concerns.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eYou might also be interested in…\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/low-mood\/mood-changes-during-menopausedoes-what-you-eat-make-a-difference\/\"\u003eMood changes during menopause – does what you eat make a difference?\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eWhat is a ‘decision aid’?\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eDecision aids are guides about different types of health concerns that you can work through on your own before discussing with your family and GP. They are good sources of help because they are based on research evidence and are kept up to date. There should be a date on a Decision Aid telling you when it was last reviewed and revised. For example, The Decision Aid called “Menopause: Should I Use Hormone Therapy (HT)?” by Healthwise.Net (see resources box) has sections dealing with these common questions about the menopause: What is menopause? What is hormone therapy? What if you don’t take hormone therapy? What are the benefits of taking hormone therapy? What are the risks from taking hormone therapy? Why might your doctor recommend hormone therapy? Decision Aids are written to be easily understood and can be a great starting point for you to think of questions you can ask your GP that give you the extra information YOU really need to help you decide on what can be done to help. *Health warning: The advice given here is not meant to take the place of formal mental health care. If you are feeling upset, anxious, or depressed, and self-help and TLC don’t help, please contact your GP for advice. ** It is very important that you seek medical advice for any new, changed, or persistent physical symptoms from your GP. *** Although these coping strategies can help people cope with their emotions they are not meant to take the place of medical or psychological care. Please seek help from your GP if you are concerned about the stress or distress you are experiencing. **** Check with your GP that it is okay for you to start or increase the amount of exercise you do.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eReferences\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003col\u003e\u003cli\u003eLazarus and Folkman (1984)\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eSkinner (2003)\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eFolkman (1997)\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eKowalski (2017)\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eBenyamini (2008)\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eVethanayagam (2017)\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ePhelps (2006)\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eLancastle (2008)\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eFredrickson \u0026amp; Joiner, 2002\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eDepypere et al. (2016)\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eSanter et al. (2008)\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e", "id" : "606539481394", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/sara-rolin-774587-unsplash__1_-1_768x.jpg?v=1697662842", "title" : "How to cope with with your emotions during menopause", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=234" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=234" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=234" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/234" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 33, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/low-mood/", "name": "Low mood", "description": "Menopause mood swings, depression, emotional instability and rage can affect many parts of your life, including relationships and work. Browse our range of supplements and product that women have chosen to support normal psychological or cognitive function", "id": 234, "term_id": 234, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "low-mood" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606538105138", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Caroline-Barnes2-576x576_small.jpg?v=1697658453", "name" : "Caroline Barnes", "summary" : "", "title" : "Make-up Artist" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/manu-camargo-60128-unsplash__1_-1_1200x.jpg?v=1697662853", "html" : "\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400\"\u003eHow do you modify your makeup bag for menopause? Hot flushes might well be your biggest worry. Watch as celeb make up artist Caroline Barnes shares her Speed Beauty Menopause Makeup Tutorial that focuses on products that will stay put… this is the ultimate makeup for hot flushes tutorial!\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e“Going through the menopause is a real struggle physically and mentally. When oestrogen drops, you can feel very low, and your confidence can drop. You can feel very vulnerable, and not feel like yourself. That doesn’t last forever, and does change, but a few little products that you can change in your makeup bag to boost your skin and reframe your eyes can make a really big difference to your confidence, so give it a go!”\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHere is Caroline’s \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/skin-changes\/makeup-for-menopause-tutorial-by-caroline-barnes\/\"\u003e2 minute instructions on make up for menopause \u003c\/a\u003e. Please note not all products in the video are still available, but read on to see the alternative we would suggest.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/skin-hair-nails\/\"\u003eShop supplements for skin hair and nails\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eCan’t watch the video right now?\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eRead on as we highlight Caroline’s recommendations for makeup for hot flushes:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"font-weight: 600\" data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eIt’s all about the base…\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eStart with a glowy primer around the edges of your face – if you tend toward oil, avoid the centre panel. Is it worth putting on foundation when you get a hot flush? Caroline says: “Why not! You just have to get the right one…”\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWe recommend:\u003c\/strong\u003e Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation. It will keep your makeup intact no matter what sweat-inducing situation you find yourself in. \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eInstructions:\u003c\/strong\u003e Apply using your fingertips, then use a brush to blend it in and make sure it’s really seamless. Caroline uses the Look Good Feel Better foundation brush, which looks good whilst doing a good job!\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eCaroline recommends:\u003c\/strong\u003e Pro longwear concealer by MAC. “A little goes a long way – you only need a tiny bit!” Apply your concealer to darker areas with a brush – this lifts without sitting in fine lines. As long as you don’t touch your face, it stays on. Caroline likes to use this specific product for outdoor shoots and weddings.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhat about powder?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eUse a translucent one, with no colour. If you use a coloured one and perspire, the pigment gathers and collects on the skin and can look a little grubby. A good alternative if you prefer not to use power is blotting paper. These can be carried with you and used to touch up whenever you need them.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTime for blush\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eCaroline likes a liquid blush\u003c\/strong\u003e that sits on your skin like a watercolour. Keep in mind:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003eWarm pinky tones are great if you feel a little sallow or grey – they really give you a lift\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eNudey or peachy blush is better if your skin is inflamed or if you have rosacea\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch4\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"font-weight: 600\" data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eNext up: eyebrows!\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eCaroline recommends:\u003c\/strong\u003e Wunderbrow – it lasts for 3 days! Fill in any gaps with a kohl pencil then use the Wunderbrow. It’s lovely and natural looking, but it keeps your brows beautifully in place. You have to scrub to get it off! \u003cstrong style=\"font-weight: 600\" data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eFocus on structure:\u003c\/strong\u003e As we get older, we need more structure and definition around eyes, lips and lashes. But keep it simple and soft – no hard lines.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"font-weight: 600\" data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eMake your eyes pop\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eA simple way to do this is with a \u003cstrong\u003ecream shadow\u003c\/strong\u003e. Pop a chunky line along your lashline, then migrate up into the socket with a brush. By applying it on the lashline, you get intense colour without a hard line of eyeliner. Caroline says: “it’s an easy, pretty look that gives really nice structure without being overpowering like a solid eyeliner”. She uses Kiko cream shadow and blends with a MAC brush.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTop tip:\u003c\/strong\u003e If you’re feeling tired, you can also add a dab of highlighter on the inside corner of your eyes.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003e\u003cspan data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eLashes\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eTry Max Factor 2000 calorie waterproof mascara for a soft natural mascara that stays put.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"font-weight: 600\" data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eNow, what about lips?\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eCaroline recommends:\u003c\/strong\u003e Rimmel lipliner – 011 spice. Use this to redefine your lip line gently, then fill in. Pop some lippy over the top. Caroline likes the lip colours by Fresh – they’re tinted and soft with an SPF of 15.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"font-weight: 600\" data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eAnd to finish…\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eUse a touch of bronzer to warm up around the hairline. Caroline uses Laguna by Nars.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eThe last word?\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003e“If you feel like your skin is a little bit sallow – or you’re feeling a bit tired – add colour to your skin. The darker the skin, the richer the colour. Colour has a wonderful impact on how we feel, and how we look.”\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eAbout Caroline Barnes\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eCaroline Barnes is one of the UK’s most established and celebrated make-up artists. Her reputation for approachable beauty has helped her establish an enviable roster of clients from Diane Kruger, Rebecca Ferguson, Emma Watson and Olga Kurylenko to Kylie Minogue and Kelly Rowland. Caroline has a YouTube channel – Speed Beauty – where she offers expert beauty advice. Caroline knows exactly what women want and how to deliver it at speed. She also gives her time to the beauty industry charity, Look Good Feel Better, using her ‘midas touch’ to help restore confidence and wellbeing in women cancer sufferers. \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/about-us\/menopause-experts\/caroline-barnes\/\"\u003eRead Caroline’s full biography here\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eYou might also be interested in…\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/hot-flushes\/how-to-dress-for-hot-flushes\/\"\u003eHow to dress for hot flushes by Giilly Woo, stylist and designer\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/night-sweats\/cognitive-behaviour-therapy-for-hot-flushes\/\"\u003eCBT for hot flushes\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606539710770", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/manu-camargo-60128-unsplash__1_-1_768x.jpg?v=1697662853", "title" : "Makeup tips for hot flushes by Caroline Barnes", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=231" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=231" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=231" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/231" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 25, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/hot-flushes/", "name": "Hot flushes", "description": "Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing hot flushes and vasomotor symptoms have chosen. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 231, "term_id": 231, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "hot-flushes" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=235" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=235" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=235" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/235" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 10, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/skin-changes/", "name": "Skin changes", "description": "Changing hormones at menopause can have a big impact on your skin, including increased dryness, itching, acne, a rash and even facial hair. Browse our range of products chosen by women experiencing skin changes.", "id": 235, "term_id": 235, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "skin-changes" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606538236210", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/AnneH-576x576_small.jpg?v=1697658459", "name" : "Anne Henderson", "summary" : "", "title" : "Consultant Gynaecologist" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/kendal-james-1201065-unsplash__1_-1_1200x.jpg?v=1697662837", "html" : "\u003cp\u003eby \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/about-us\/menopause-experts\/anne-henderson\/\"\u003eAnne Henderson\u003c\/a\u003e, ⊕ medically reviewed by \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/about-us\/menopause-experts\/dr-rebeccah-tomlinson\/\"\u003eDr Rebecca Tomlinson\u003c\/a\u003e on 5th September, 2022\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eMany women are surprised by the changes to cognitive function that can occur around the menopause; brain fog might sound funny, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way. Psychological problems and low mood can be very common too – anxiety, phobias and panic attacks can occur for the first time.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAnne Henderson, our consultant gynaecologist, explains what’s happening and how you can manage these issues by working out the root cause, which can actually be dropping oestrogen levels.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003ca id=\"video\"\u003e\u003c\/a\u003eShe explains how \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/hormone-replacement-therapy-hrt-guide\/\"\u003eHormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)\u003c\/a\u003e can be helpful if this is the cause, and why’s important to consider a holistic approach too.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ciframe loading=\"lazy\" src=\"\/\/www.youtube.com\/embed\/vZsRcMwSQyw\" width=\"500\" height=\"281\" frameborder=\"0\" allowfullscreen=\"allowfullscreen\" data-rocket-lazyload=\"fitvidscompatible\" data-lazy-src=\"\/\/www.youtube.com\/embed\/vZsRcMwSQyw\" data-ll-status=\"loaded\" class=\"entered lazyloaded\"\u003e\u0026lt;br \/\u0026gt;\u003c\/iframe\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/brain-fog\/menopause-mood-changes-and-brain-fog-the-surprising-cognitive-and-psychological-symptoms\/\"\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003ePrefer to read? Here's the text version of Anne's video\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003ch2\u003eMood changes, anxiety, brain – what are these symptoms?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eThis is one of the most common groups of symptoms that women seek help about. It’s also a group that many women do not recognise as being associated with the menopause.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eMany say they are surprised that consulting a gynaecologist is helpful when they’ve effectively got psychological problems. But the key to the issue is declining oestrogen levels associated with the menopause, which can have a huge impact on brain function at all levels.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eWomen commonly experience symptoms which fall into two groups:\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong data-redactor-tag=\"strong\" style=\"font-weight: 600;\"\u003eCognitive function\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eWomen may present worries about their memory and recall. Day to day function, their ability to multitask, their ability to concentrate – it can be hard to remember simple things like names for example.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong data-redactor-tag=\"strong\" style=\"font-weight: 600;\"\u003ePsychological\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThese include a sense of anxiety, which can come on in the menopause for the very first time. Women may even present with panic attacks and phobias when they’ve previously had very stable backgrounds. Low mood is another issue; many women experience depression for the very first time with no previous history.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eWhat’s the connection between mood changes, anxiety, brain fog and menopause?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eThere is a direct link between the oestrogen changes at the time of perimenopause and menopause, and the psychological and central nervous system symptoms which women suffer.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThis is due to the fact that certain areas of the brain – particularly those associated with mood control, with anxiety and with cognitive function, such as the limbic system and the hippocampus – have a very high number of receptors that are responsive to oestrogen. When the levels of the hormones start to decline, the receptors are no longer ‘fed’, they don’t function properly and symptoms and side effects can arise.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eHow can brain fog and mood changes be treated or managed?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eTreatment options depend very much on whether a woman is experiencing additional menopausal symptoms. If hot flushes and sweats, poor sleep, tiredness and other physical symptoms are troubling you, there is no doubt that HRT can be a huge benefit across the board.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eBut even in women who have isolated psychological symptoms, there is a lot of scientific evidence that oestrogen replacement should be the first line treatment for mood problems. It certainly performs better than SSRI (Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and other forms of antidepressants, and has fewer side effects.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eHow can I get help and help myself?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eI recommend patients seek help in any way that they think may be beneficial, looking holistically at the situation. I don’t think that HRT should be used in isolation. Women should try to keep fit so exercise particularly weight bearing exercise can be very helpful.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eSome women also look at other forms of complementary therapy; herbal therapies, meditation and so on. I'm highly supportive of all those forms of treatment because there is evidence that it can be beneficial.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eWhat questions do other women ask about brain fog?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eSome of the commonest questions I get asked are “am I going mad?” And “is it just me?” This is probably because very few women associate the profound psychological changes that happen at the menopause with the menopause itself.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eWomen often associate flushes and sweats and tiredness and joint pains and vaginal dryness with a lack of hormones, but they rarely link the psychological and cognitive changes which are very real and actually in many cases can impact on the quality of life even more than the physical symptoms.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eAbout Anne Henderson\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eOur fantastic Consultant Gynaecologist Anne Henderson has worked within the NHS and private sectors for 15 years. From running large-scale menopause clinics where she helped hundreds of women access then-pioneering body identical hormones through to working with complementary practitioners to provide truly holistic care, Anne leads the way when it comes to caring, innovative, whole-woman focused practice.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/about-us\/menopause-experts\/anne-henderson\/\"\u003eRead Anne’s full biography here.\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eProducts that can help\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/psychological-function\/\"\u003eProducts for psychological function\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/cognitive-function\/\"\u003eProducts for brain fog and cognitive function\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eYou might also be interested in...\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/low-mood\/mood-changes-during-menopausedoes-what-you-eat-make-a-difference\/\"\u003eMood changes at menopause - does what you eat make a difference\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/low-mood\/coping-with-your-emotions-during-menopause\/\"\u003eCoping with your emotions during menopause\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606539383090", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/kendal-james-1201065-unsplash__1_-1_768x.jpg?v=1697662837", "title" : "Menopause mood changes and brain fog – the surprising cognitive and psychological symptoms", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=237" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=237" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=237" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/237" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 22, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/brain-fog/", "name": "Brain fog", "description": "Brain fog is a common symptom along with memory loss and other cognitive issues. Browse our range of supplements chosen by women experiencing mental performance issues.", "id": 237, "term_id": 237, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "brain-fog" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=234" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=234" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=234" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/234" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 33, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/low-mood/", "name": "Low mood", "description": "Menopause mood swings, depression, emotional instability and rage can affect many parts of your life, including relationships and work. Browse our range of supplements and product that women have chosen to support normal psychological or cognitive function", "id": 234, "term_id": 234, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "low-mood" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606538137906", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Ruth-aspect-ratio-1x1-1_small.jpg?v=1697658454", "name" : "Ruth Devlin", "summary" : "", "title" : "Menopause coach" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Signs_of_menopause_1_1200x.jpg?v=1707833776", "html" : "\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003eRuth Devlin of the fantastic coaching consultancy Let’s Talk Menopause has been helping us to demystify this time of life for the lucky ones who don’t have to go through the experience first hand!\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003eAs well as her brilliant Menopause for Men Guide, she’s created a straight-talking, down-to-earth menopause symptom overview that will help cover how to explain menopause to a man so they understand exactly what’s going on…\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eExplaining menopause is simpler when you break down what you may experience into the following components;\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2 dir=\"ltr\"\u003ePhysical symptoms of menopause\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.38;\"\u003eThese symptoms are classed as short term symptoms, but for many women certain ones can feel as though they are lasting a lifetime. As with any symptom. Each woman will experience these symptoms in completely different ways, with differing intensities and will respond to different treatments.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003eHot flushes – they affect 75% of women, each woman experiencing them in very different ways with differing intensities. That means she’s either going to look like she’s having “a wee glow” or like she’s just come off a squash court – get the picture? Try \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/hot-flushes\/\"\u003eexpert advice to help cope with Hot Flushes\u003c\/a\u003e and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hormone-regulation\/\"\u003ebuy products and supplements for hormone regulation\u003c\/a\u003e. \u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003eNight sweats – those two words speak for themselves. Make sure rooms are well ventilated – you might have to get used to arctic temperatures for a while! Encourage the wearing of natural fibres like cotton or bamboo and hydrate well throughout the day. Find out \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/night-sweats\/\"\u003eexpert advice to help with night sweats\u003c\/a\u003e and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hormone-regulation\/\"\u003ebuy hormone regulation products for sleep\u003c\/a\u003e. \u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003ePalpitations – these can often accompany hot flushes and can be alarming. If your loved one is experiencing palpitations, encourage them to always get checked out by their GP if they’re worried. Rarely at this time of life is it the effect of you walking into the room, believe me…well past that now!\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003eProblems with bleeding – irregular, heavy periods: all woman should get any change to their regular cycles checked out. Oestrogen deficiency can cause all sorts of problems. Make sure if experiencing heavy bleeding that she is not anaemic as well. There are various medications that can be prescribed which can help or having a Mirena coil inserted can really help. Here is \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/period-changes\/why-do-periods-get-worse-before-menopause\/\"\u003ewhy periods get worse before menopause,\u003c\/a\u003e read \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/period-changes\/\"\u003eexpert advice for period changes in menopause\u003c\/a\u003e and find \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/periods\/\"\u003esupplements for period changes in menopause\u003c\/a\u003e. \u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003eJoint aches: Not often associated with the menopause but oestrogen plays an important role in the maintenance of joint and bone health. Here is some \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/joint-aches\/\"\u003eexpert guidance that could help you cope with sore and aching joints\u003c\/a\u003e and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/joints\/\"\u003eproducts for joint health\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003eFine motor skills can be affected: has she been dropping things much lately?\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003eInsomnia and disturbed sleep: if she has been experiencing even half of the above symptoms more than likely sleep patterns will be disturbed.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003eWeight gain: women’s metabolic rate slow downs at this time of life, and accompanied by hormone fluctuations it can take a bit of tweaking and nudging to diet and exercise levels to get back on track. Here’s \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/weight-gain\/\"\u003ehow to help keep to a healthy weight during menopause\u003c\/a\u003e and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/shape-management\/\"\u003esupplements for shape management\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003eBloating: some women start reacting differently to certain foods – keep a food diary to find out which foods may be triggering this.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch2 dir=\"ltr\"\u003ePsychological symptoms of menopause\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003eCommon phrases associated with the psychological symptoms are ‘Brain fog” and “Red Mist”, which both aptly describe how sometimes your brain can feel during the perimenopause; like it’s wading through treacle!\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003eWhen I get onto these symptoms during a menopause workshop, I see the sheer relief pass over women’s faces when they realise that they are not the only ones suffering from these symptoms and that – hurrah – they are not going completely bonkers after all!\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003eDon’t forget there will be other contributing factors causing these symptoms not just hormonal imbalance. We are often referred to as “the sandwich generation” within a family, squidged in between those equally hormonal teenage children (who come with their own set of challenges, the little darlings!) and our ageing parents, who can become increasingly challenging too, but in different ways.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003eSo it’s no wonder that, with all this to cope with, and the added stress of those flipping, fluctuating hormones getting thrown into the mix that women often feels a tad under pressure. They may, as a result, get angry and irritable, display irrational, out-of-character behaviour and have heightened emotional sensitivity.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003eThis is ALL completely normal and understandable. DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR?!\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003ePsychological symptoms can include…\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003eAnxiety – here’s \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/stress-anxiety\/\"\u003eexpert advice that could help you cope with anxiety\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003ePoor concentration\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003eAnger\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003ePoor memory\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003eLow mood swings – very different from clinical depression – \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/low-mood\/\"\u003ehere are guides and tips from the experts on steps to help cope with low moods in menopause\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003eIrritability\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003ePanic attacks\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/psychological-function\/\"\u003ePsychological function supplements are available\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eGenitourinary – reproductive and urinary symptoms of menopause\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003eI would like to tell every woman I meet to LOVE YOUR VAGINA! Women should pay as much attention to their vaginas as they do their faces – seriously – think how much money is spent on facial products! Vaginal symptoms can be some of the easiest to treat yet usually go unreported with so many women putting up and shutting up… fear not, help is at hand!\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003eThere is a huge range of vaginal moisturisers and lubricants on the market which can help to hydrate and moisturise (internally and externally), if those don’t hit the mark then vaginal oestrogen can be prescribed by your GP – this is a tiny dose compared to systemic oestrogen and can have really good results.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003eOne other very important area to address is the pelvic floor… this goes for you too (oh yes you have a pelvic floor too, what do you think is holding up your bits and bobs?!)\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003eEvery woman should do regular pelvic floor exercises this not only helps with vaginal issues it can help with all the urinary ones too and by doing them you and she could experience better orgasms – no brainer really!\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003eReproductive and urinary symptoms can include…\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003eVaginal irritation, dryness, soreness – here’s \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/vaginal-dryness\/\"\u003eexpert advice on vaginal dryness in menopause\u003c\/a\u003e. Buy \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/vagina\/\"\u003evaginal dryness and change supplements for menopause\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003eVaginal atrophy (thinning of tissues)\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003eVaginal infections – oestrogen deficiency alters the acidity of the vagina making some women more susceptible to infections.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003eUrinary problems – frequency, urgency, leakage, recurrent UTI\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003eOveractive bladder – here are \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/sensitive-bladder\/\"\u003eexpert guides on bladder control issues\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003eReduced sex drive\/loss of libido – here are \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/loss-of-sex-drive\/\"\u003esome expert tips on sex and relationships during menopause\u003c\/a\u003e and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/sexual-desire\/\"\u003esexual desire products\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003eIntercourse can be uncomfortable\/painful – here’s \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/painful-sex\/\"\u003eexpert advice on how to cope with painful sex\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003eThere you have it – menopause symptoms in a nutshell. If a woman you’re close to is experiencing any of these and needs help, our Symptom Tracker could be a good place to start. It’s a handy shortcut to expert advice from experts including top gynaecologists, friendly GPs, been-there personal trainers, Relate counsellors, even celeb make-up artists! It even recommends helpful products too, all in one handy place…\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/symptom-tool\/\"\u003eTry the Menopause Symptom Checker\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eAbout Ruth Devlin\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eAfter experiencing an array of perimenopausal symptoms herself and realising the lack of consistent information available at the time, Registered Nurse Ruth Devlin decided things had to change. Teaming up with like-minded women from healthcare backgrounds, she co-founded Let’s Talk Menopause to raise awareness about the menopause, demystifying it and most importantly, providing easy access to information and support. She is a member of the British Menopause Society and has liaised with menopause specialists to establish what women really want, and need, to know about the menopause. It’s no surprise, then, that she has appeared on everything from Radio 4s Woman’s Hour to the BBC Insider’s Guide to the Menopause documentary with Kirsty Wark.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;\"\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/about-us\/menopause-experts\/ruth-devlin\/\"\u003eRead Ruth’s full biography here.\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eYou might also be interested in…\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/menopause-and-relationships\/\"\u003eMenopause and relationships\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/stress-anxiety\/how-to-manage-stress-anxiety-and-anger-and-keep-your-relationship-strong\/\"\u003eHow to manage stress, anxiety and anger and keep your relationship strong\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/loss-of-sex-drive\/have-you-lost-your-libido-learn-how-to-work-through-it-as-a-couple\/\"\u003eHave you lost your libido? Learn how to work through it as a couple\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.2;\"\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/painful-sex\/painful-sex-and-relationships-how-to-talk-about-it-and-improve-things-together-en\/\"\u003ePainful sex and relationships – how to talk about it and improve things together\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003e \u003c\/h4\u003e", "id" : "606539219250", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Signs_of_menopause_1_768x.jpg?v=1707833776", "title" : "A quick tour of menopause symptoms", "symptoms" : [ ]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606537974066", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Uma-Dinsmore-Tuli-aspect-ratio-1x1-1-576x576_small.jpg?v=1697658447", "name" : "Uma Dinsmore-Tuli", "summary" : "", "title" : "Yoga Therapist" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/tracey-hocking-728714-unsplash-1600x1069_1200x.jpg?v=1697662817", "html" : "\u003cp\u003eYoga Nidra is a special kind of yoga that helps you rest and restore through what’s called ‘yogic sleep’. It’s a kind of guided meditation that helps your brain shift from its busy waking conscious state into a calmer more relaxed state. It helps you ‘power down’, releasing serotonin (the happiness hormone), and guiding you into a restorative meditative state, or a deep, peaceful asleep. \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cdiv\u003e\u003ch2 dir=\"ltr\"\u003eWhat to expect\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eThe practice is really easy – you simply lie still and follow the guided meditation, letting the stress of the day go, welcoming peace and sleep. After the practice you can either stay asleep or reawaken feeling happier, calmer and more rested.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eThere are two versions of this practice – one will wake you at the end, the other lets you drift into sleep. The second version is really helpful if you wake in the middle of the night: pop your headphones on and play it on your phone in bed. You needn’t watch the video once you have learned how to set up your space; just listen to the meditation and drift back to sleep.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2 dir=\"ltr\"\u003eWhat will you need?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eYou can do Yoga Nidra wearing anything you like, as long as it’s comfortable. You will need to make a peaceful space to do the practice: in bed with your legs propped up as Uma explains; on the floor on top of a duvet with your legs on the couch; or on a yoga mat, well supported by bolsters. Plenty of blankets to keep you warm are a good idea, and if it’s day time, something to cover your eyes can help you rest and relax into the practice.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2 dir=\"ltr\"\u003eYoga Nidra: a supercharged catnap\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eAmazingly, even if you don’t sleep, Yoga Nidra will leave you feeling like you have really rested. Many women who practice the technique regularly say that they come back from their practice feeling fully restored – and according to Yoga Journal, 45 minutes of yogic sleep feels like 3 hours of regular sleep. So if you have had a bad night’s sleep, this 30 minute practice will help to recharge your batteries.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2 dir=\"ltr\"\u003e\u003ca id=\"daytime\"\u003e\u003c\/a\u003eDaytime – with wakening cue\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ciframe src=\"https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/embed\/jCGcoDg6dus\" width=\"500\" height=\"281\" frameborder=\"0\" allowfullscreen=\"allowfullscreen\"\u003e\u003c\/iframe\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cscript type=\"application\/ld+json\"\u003e{ \"@context\": \"https:\/\/schema.org\", \"@type\": \"VideoObject\", \"name\": \"Menopause Yoga Nidra for disturbed sleep and low mood – daytime supercharged catnap version\", \"description\": \"Yoga Nidra is a special kind of yoga that helps you rest and restore through what’s called ‘yogic sleep’. It’s a kind of guided meditation that helps your brain shift from its busy waking conscious state into a calmer more relaxed state. It helps you ‘power down’, releasing serotonin (the happiness hormone), and guiding you into a restorative meditative state, or a deep, peaceful asleep.\", \"thumbnailUrl\": \"https:\/\/img.youtube.com\/vi\/jCGcoDg6dus\/hqdefault.jpg\", \"uploadDate\": \"2019-03-04\", \"duration\": \"PT38M17S\", \"contentUrl\": \"https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?v=jCGcoDg6dus\", \"embedUrl\": \"https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/embed\/jCGcoDg6dus\", \"interactionStatistic\": { \"@type\": \"InteractionCounter\", \"interactionType\": { \"@type\": \"WatchAction\" }, \"userInteractionCount\": 2742 }, \"regionsAllowed\": \"GB,US\" }}\u003c\/script\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2 dir=\"ltr\"\u003e\u003ca id=\"nighttime\"\u003e\u003c\/a\u003eNighttime – (without wakening cue) helps you drift into sleep and stay there\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ciframe src=\"https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/embed\/ryf2pmUhKSE\" width=\"500\" height=\"281\" frameborder=\"0\" allowfullscreen=\"allowfullscreen\"\u003e\u003c\/iframe\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cscript type=\"application\/ld+json\"\u003e{ \"@context\": \"https:\/\/schema.org\", \"@type\": \"VideoObject\", \"name\": \"Menopause Yoga Nidra for disturbed sleep and low mood – STAY ASLEEP (no wake-up call at the end)\", \"description\": \"Yoga Nidra is a special kind of yoga that helps you rest and restore through what’s called ‘yogic sleep’. It’s a kind of guided meditation that helps your brain shift from its busy waking conscious state into a calmer more relaxed state. It helps you ‘power down’, releasing serotonin (the happiness hormone), and guiding you into a restorative meditative state, or a deep, peaceful asleep.\", \"thumbnailUrl\": \"https:\/\/img.youtube.com\/vi\/ryf2pmUhKSE\/hqdefault.jpg\", \"uploadDate\": \"2019-03-04\", \"duration\": \"PT33M29S\", \"contentUrl\": \"https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?v=ryf2pmUhKSE\", \"embedUrl\": \"https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/embed\/ryf2pmUhKSE\", \"interactionStatistic\": { \"@type\": \"InteractionCounter\", \"interactionType\": { \"@type\": \"WatchAction\" }, \"userInteractionCount\": 6764 }, \"regionsAllowed\": \"GB,US\" }}\u003c\/script\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4 dir=\"ltr\"\u003eAbout Uma Dinsmore-Tuli\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eUma has 20 years experience of sharing yoga therapy for women’s health, though she started her yoga career aged four, joining her mum watching Yoga for Health on Thames TV. Her career since has been just as intellectually curious and enquiring, spanning different schools of yoga and yoga therapy including Structural Yoga Therapy, Satyananda Yoga and Iyengar Yoga.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eUma gained her Yoga Biomedical Trust Diploma in Yoga Therapy in 1999, and subsequently trained in Structural Yoga Therapy and Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy, and worked as a yoga therapist with special expertise in women’s health. She is a recognised teacher of the British Wheel of Yoga, and is an International Association of Yoga Therapists’ Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4 dir=\"ltr\"\u003eYou might also be interested in…\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/sleeping-problems\/nutrition-for-sleep-en\/\"\u003eNutrition for sleep – natural ways to improve your menopause sleep by nutritionist Rosie Letts\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003c\/div\u003e", "id" : "606539055410", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/tracey-hocking-728714-unsplash-1600x1069_768x.jpg?v=1697662817", "title" : "Menopause yoga nidra for disturbed sleep and low mood", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=221" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=221" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=221" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/221" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 23, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/sleeping-problems/", "name": "Sleeping problems", "description": "Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing sleeping problems have chosen. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 221, "term_id": 221, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "sleeping-problems" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606538170674", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Julie-Dennis2_small.jpg?v=1697658456", "name" : "Julie Dennis", "summary" : "", "title" : "Career Coach" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/managing-01-1_8d5304ec-510e-4416-987c-f3a853e1584d_1200x.jpg?v=1701311099", "html" : "\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/business\/#menopause-cost\"\u003eMany woman hours are being lost to menopause here in the UK every year\u003c\/a\u003e. However, the personal and professional cost of menopause for women remains uncounted.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAnd what – as women, colleagues, and businesses – can we do about it? Julie Dennis, menopause coach and trainer, explores how we can all take steps to manage menopause at work…\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eWhy do we need to work harder to manage menopause at work?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWomen currently make up almost half the UK workforce. Alongside increasing life expectancy and the rising retirement age these numbers are expected to continue to rise. Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that the number of economically active women has jumped three times faster than their male counterparts over the past couple of years, and that women aged 50 to 64 are the fastest growing economically active group.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eHowever, many organisations are yet to catch up with this changing demographic and lack the support, policies and culture to support the specific needs of women in the workplace. This is particularly true for women working through menopause. The risk for businesses in terms of loss of talent, knowledge and experience is real, with 1 in 4 women considering leaving work because of the severity of her symptoms.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe average cost of replacing an employee was estimated to be £30,000 in 2014. The figure includes recruitment, HR and management time plus loss of productivity whilst bringing the new employee up to speed.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThere is a significant legal risk too with a handful of high-profile cases coming to light in recent years. Notably:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cli\u003eMs Merchant v BT in 2012 – Ms Merchant was suffering from menopause-related stress and poor concentration levels and provided evidence from her GP to support this. Despite being required to consider health reasons in matters of underperformance, her manager chose not to and she was dismissed. The tribunal found she had been subject to gender discrimination on the basis that the manager would not have handled a non-female related condition in the same way.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eMs Davies v Scottish Courts and Tribunal Services 2018 – Ms Davies had been prescribed medication for menopause-related cystitis which was taken by dissolving in water. One day she was worried the water containing the medication had been drunk by two men and voiced her concerns. They hadn’t drunk the water but she was put through a health and safety investigation, disciplinary action and finally dismissed on the grounds of gross misconduct. The tribunal found she was unfairly dismissed and subjected to disability discrimination.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eSo the business case for supporting women working through menopause is compelling – finding ways of better managing the menopause at work is the right thing to do, and it’s commercial common sense too\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eFor women themselves it hardly seems fair that at a time when you may well be at the top of your game suddenly your body and mind seem to turn against you. Add children and – or – aging parents into the mix and the stress and lack of specific support can knock your career off track.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eAdvice for women managing menopause symptoms at work\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe physical and psychological symptoms of menopause women experience are far reaching in the workplace and typical examples include:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cli\u003ePoor memory and concentration resulting in a drop in performance and productivity.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eSleep disturbance which has been proven to affect memory, the ability to think strategically and manage moods.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eMood swings which can have impact on the wider team.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eHot flushes which aren’t just uncomfortable – they are also embarrassing and can result in a reluctance to attend internal or client-facing meetings for fear of visibly breaking into a sweat.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eFor many women the symptoms can lead them to doubt their ability to lead and manage both client and colleague relationships.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eDon’t just take my word for it…\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eHere are a collection of powerful quotes collected during my Menopause at Work Survey in 2018 demonstrating how symptoms can directly affect job performance, interactions with colleagues and career confidence:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e“Brain fog and debilitating fatigue, nausea and aching body have seriously affected my memory, my ability to think and problem solve and I’ve struggled to get through the day on many occasions.”\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e“I have forgotten to attend meetings and I’ve had emotional outbursts and tears which impact on my ability to manage others.”\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e“Very poor short term memory made it hard to remember facts and figures. Hot flushes in meetings made it hard to concentrate and were embarrassing. Sleep disturbance meant I was permanently exhausted.”\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e“I can see lips moving but really struggle to focus and take in what’s being said or understand it.”\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e“Brain fog and poor concentration means I find it takes much longer to do tasks than it used to and I find it hard to remain focused on the task in hand.”\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e“I find it difficult some days to recall protocols and guidelines off the top of my head like I used to. I doubt myself more over decisions I make, even when I know they are right.”\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e“Mood swings mean I snap at people who don’t deserve my overreaction.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003e8 simple, actionable ways to manage menopause symptoms at work\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe good news is it doesn’t have to be that way and there are some simple practical steps you can take to keep you on track professionally.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"font-weight: 600;\" data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eEat your frogs early and the biggest one first\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThis is a metaphor for tackling the most challenging task of your day – the one you would typically put off. Deal with it early and relax into your day.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"font-weight: 600;\" data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eDevise a strategy for managing email\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIf the first thing you do each morning is check your email you’re immediately letting the needs of others hijack your day rather than focusing on your own work priorities. Set specific times to read and respond to email.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"font-weight: 600;\" data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eAvoid perfectionism\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e80% is usually enough. So relax your expectations and accept that striving for perfection isn’t a good use of your time, and is often not a realistic outcome.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"font-weight: 600;\" data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eDevelop a meetings strategy\u003c\/strong\u003eThere simply aren’t enough hours in the day to complete your priority work tasks and sit through lengthy meetings. Avoid non-essential meetings and when appropriate send a team member in your stead.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"font-weight: 600;\" data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eReview your regular tasks\u003c\/strong\u003eFree up time by ditching tasks that are no longer relevant. Is there a report you complete on a weekly or monthly basis that lacks value or would be better completed by a colleague?\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"font-weight: 600;\" data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eManage expectations\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIf you don’t think a project is going to be completed to the agreed schedule alert the project lead sooner rather than later.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"font-weight: 600;\" data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eWhen the going gets tough, the tough get going\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eSeriously, take a break – five minutes away from your desk can dramatically improve your concentration during the periods you work.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cstrong style=\"font-weight: 600;\" data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eAsk for help\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eFinally, if you feel you need to speak to your \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/how-to-talk-to-your-manager-about-menopause\/\"\u003eLine Manager, HR or Occupational Health\u003c\/a\u003e about how menopause is affecting your work use this confident conversation framework to manage the dialogue:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cli\u003eBook a time as you would for any other important work discussion.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ePrepare what you’re going to say ahead of the meeting.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eTalk specifically about how symptoms are affecting your work, e.g. poor concentration levels means certain tasks are taking you longer to complete.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eOffer a solution – for example, flexible start \/ finish times or home working to help manage poor sleep patterns.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch2\u003eAdvice for colleagues\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eTypically colleagues want to help and be supportive but are unsure how to do so or are worried about saying or doing the wrong thing.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIf that’s you, here are five small things that could make a big difference to team members working through menopause:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003col style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cli\u003eWhilst women may use humour amongst themselves as a coping mechanism this is very different from treating the whole issue as a joke.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eA cup of tea isn’t the answer – caffeine can make symptoms worse!\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eWhilst your organisation may promote a menopause friendly environment remember not everyone is comfortable talking about it.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eBe open to listening just as you would if a colleague was sharing concerns about an issue like dyslexia, anxiety or diabetes – you’re not expected to have a solution or be an expert.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eDon’t assume it’s the menopause – your colleague may be going through a divorce, bereavement or simply having a bad day.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e\u003ch2\u003eAdvice for employers\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eUltimately what we want is to normalise menopause at work and employers can do that by focusing on three key areas:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cli\u003eAwareness – raise awareness for all employees by introducing menopause as an inclusive topic.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eEducation – educate managers so they understand the issues in the context of work.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eSupport – provide specific support for female employees so they can make an informed choice as to how to manage symptoms.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eTo create a menopause-friendly workplace develop a menopause toolkit using the most effective means of communication within your organisation to support each of these three pillars.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eBest practice examples other organisations have implemented comprise:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cli\u003eIntroducing menopause as an inclusive topic by leveraging what’s already in place rather than making sweeping changes e.g. promoting the employee assistance programme for anxiety related symptoms.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eUtilising the power of conversation. A consistent theme that runs through Kirklees Council’s approach to menopause at work is the importance of talking about menopause and how this can make such a difference. There’s a link to the case study at the end of this article.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eDeveloping a menopause policy or guidance document to inform leaders, managers and employees alike of your company’s approach to menopause related issues. One of the first organisations to introduce a menopause guide to support women in the workplace was Action for Children – find a link to this in the resources box at the end of this piece.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eRunning expert-led workshops for female employees on how to deal with menopause symptoms at work and at home. These sessions can result in rapid improvements in symptoms like flushes, sleep and energy levels leading to a positive impact on mood, the ability to think clearer and achieve much more during the working day.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eMenopause ambassadors or champions can lead the change, take action and set up regular menopause socials. Creating an open forum for women to talk and share experiences can quickly make a difference to confidence levels.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eTry the \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/symptom-tool\/\"\u003ePerimenopause Symptom Checker\u003c\/a\u003e to help improve your workday.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eAbout Julie Dennis\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eJulie Dennis is a Menopause Coach and Trainer who works with organisations across the UK to introduce menopause as an inclusive topic, and improve the experience of women working through menopause. Personally speaking, she has experienced menopause managed with and without HRT, so can really empathise with women’s experiences, and provide practical advice that’s tried and tested.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/about-us\/menopause-experts\/julie-dennis\/\"\u003eRead Julie’s full biography here\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eUseful resources:\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eRead the Kirklees council case study: \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/pulse\/menopause-work-case-study-kirklees-council-julie-dennis\/\"\u003ehttps:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/pulse\/menopause-work-case…\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.gov.uk\/government\/publications\/menopause-transition-effects-on-womens-economic-participation\"\u003ehttps:\/\/www.gov.uk\/government\/publications\/menopau…\u003c\/a\u003e ‘Economic transition: effects on women’s economic participation’\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.tuc.org.uk\/sites\/default\/files\/Menopause%20survey%20report%20FINAL_0.pdf\"\u003ehttps:\/\/www.tuc.org.uk\/sites\/default\/files\/Menopau…\u003c\/a\u003e ‘The menopause: a workplace issue’ Wales TUC report\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e‘Eat that Frog’ – Brian Tracy\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606719246642", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/managing-01-1_8d5304ec-510e-4416-987c-f3a853e1584d_768x.jpg?v=1701311099", "title" : "How to deal with menopause at work", "symptoms" : [ ]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606538334514", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Jane-Dowling-3-scaled-aspect-ratio-1x1-1-576x576_small.jpg?v=1697658464", "name" : "Jane Dowling", "summary" : "", "title" : "Clinical Exercise Practitioner" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/cyril-saulnier-250098-unsplash__1_-1-1600x1071_1200x.jpg?v=1697662865", "html" : "\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400\"\u003eWe all know that getting moving and being mindful about diet are the best way to fight \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/weight-gain\/\"\u003emenopause weight gain\u003c\/a\u003e. But what if you’ve let your exercise regime slide, or really can’t face the idea of going to the gym?\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"font-weight: 400\"\u003eJane Dowling, Clinical Exercise Practitioner offers a simple, short chair-based routine to get your fitness regime started again.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e“Moving more will help you feel better mentally and physically – and will help burn that menopausal belly fat!”\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eDiet is also important for keeping menopause belly fat at bay, here are \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/menopause-nutrition-how-to-eat-for-a-healthier-happier-menopause\/\"\u003emenopause nutrition tips from an expert nutritionist\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eTop tips for fighting menopause weight gain \u003c\/h2\u003e\u003col\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan data-verified=\"redactor\" data-redactor-tag=\"span\"\u003eTry to do this video three times per week, but not on consecutive days.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan data-verified=\"redactor\" data-redactor-tag=\"span\"\u003eIn between sessions, look at ways to become breathless in your everyday life: give yourself 10 minutes to getting off the bus, train or tube a stop earlier and clock up more steps.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan data-verified=\"redactor\" data-redactor-tag=\"span\"\u003eDitch the lift and take the stairs at every opportunity.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan data-verified=\"redactor\" data-redactor-tag=\"span\"\u003eUse housework as an opportunity to exercise – put on some music and do it with more vigour!\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cspan data-verified=\"redactor\" data-redactor-tag=\"span\"\u003eTo monitor your steps how about downloading a step counter on your phone? There are lots of other gadgets on the markets that you can wear on your wrist to have a look at the amount of steps you take and how many calories you are burning.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e\u003cp\u003eHere are \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/best-exercise-menopause\/\"\u003ethe best exercises for you to try in menopause\u003c\/a\u003e that are fun, intense and can help you control your weight and stay healthy through menopause.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e { “@context”: “https:\/\/schema.org”, “@type”: “VideoObject”, “name”: “Exercises for menopause weight gain with Jane Dowling of Meno \u0026amp; Me”, “description”: “We all know that getting moving and being mindful about diet are the best way to fight menopause weight gain. But what if you’ve let your exercise regime slide, or really can’t face the idea of going to the gym? Jane Dowling, Clinical Exercise Practitioner – and menopause advocate at Meno \u0026amp; Me (www.menoandme.com) – has put together a simple, short chair-based routine to get your fitness regime started again… “, “thumbnailUrl”: [ “https:\/\/img.youtube.com\/vi\/h2iKrsURaIg\/sddefault.jpg” ], “uploadDate”: “2019-03-04T08:00:00+08:00”, “duration”: “PT28M53S”, “contentUrl”: “https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?v=h2iKrsURaIg”, “embedUrl”: “https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/embed\/h2iKrsURaIg”, “interactionStatistic”: { “@type”: “InteractionCounter”, “interactionType”: { “@type”: “WatchAction” }, “userInteractionCount”: 7012 }, “regionsAllowed”: “GB,US” } \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eGreat ways to fight menopausal weight gain\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eAs well as putting together this fantastic video for you, Jane has some great suggestions to help you build on fitter foundations and get into great shape.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eGet a GP referral for more affordable gym access\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003e“Ask your local doctors’ surgery if they are part of the GP referral scheme – lots of GP’s are linked to local leisure centres to allow you to access the gym at a fraction of the cost when the gym will be less busy. If you have a specific problem such as weight management, high blood pressure, cholesterol, anxiety or depression your GP can write a covering letter to the specialist instructor who will be running these sessions.”\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eTry some over 50’s sessions – make friends while keeping fit\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003e“50’s sessions run at local leisure centres and you will be surrounded by like minded women. These can be a studio class or session in the gym lead by an instructor who understand your needs. It’s a great way to become used to a gym or class environment to build up your confidence to take part in other activities.”\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eAqua sessions are ideal if you have joint problems\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003e“I love teaching these sessions! These are great if you have any joint problems. The classes are such fun and you will be surrounded by other menopausal women! You will burn more calories in this water-based class vs a land-based class as the water increases your workload without impact or stress on your joints. You can work harder without sweating!”\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eWalking netball\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003e“If you enjoyed netball at school but feel that your body might not be happy jumping or running, then these are for you! It is great fun; low impact and you will burn lots of calories! Check out the England Netball site for local classes.”\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHere are \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/shape-management\/\"\u003eproducts supporting weight management through perimenopause and menopause\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHere’s \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/weight-gain\/how-to-look-and-feel-fabulous-whatever-your-waist-size\/\"\u003ehow to dress with menopause belly whatever your waist size\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eYou might also be interested in…\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/weight-gain\/how-to-look-and-feel-fabulous-whatever-your-waist-size\/\"\u003eHow to look and feel fabulous, whatever your waist size\u003c\/a\u003e by Gilly Woo, Stylist\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606539907378", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/cyril-saulnier-250098-unsplash__1_-1-1600x1071_768x.jpg?v=1697662865", "title" : "Best exercises for menopausal weight gain", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=230" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=230" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=230" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/230" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 15, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/joint-aches/", "name": "Joint pain", "description": "Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing joint aches and pains have chosen. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 230, "term_id": 230, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "joint-aches" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=229" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=229" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=229" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/229" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 21, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/weight-gain/", "name": "Weight gain", "description": "Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing menopause weight gain have chosen as part of a healthy lifestyle. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 229, "term_id": 229, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "weight-gain" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606538006834", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Rosie-Letts_small.jpg?v=1697658449", "name" : "Rosie Letts", "summary" : "", "title" : "Nutritional Therapist" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/new2-sara-dubler-710148-unsplash-scaled-1_1200x.jpg?v=1697662829", "html" : "\u003cp\u003eTucking into tasty food to relieve menopause symptoms? It can’t be that simple… can it? Rosie Letts is a qualified nutritional therapist, and explains the vital role good nutrition can play in a more positive menopause experience. From how plants can stand in for dropping oestrogen through to why a little belly fat is no bad thing, discover how a little self care and a mindful menopause diet can help you feel strong and even banish symptoms…\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eAre you feeling unsure about what to expect from your transition into menopause? The menopause actually pinpoints the stage when you haven’t had a period in 12 months, which is distinctly different to the time when you may experience symptoms like your body thermometer going off the scale, disturbed sleep, increased belly fat and migraines.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4 dir=\"ltr\"\u003eWhat happens to hormones at menopause?\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eIn the years leading up to the menopause there is a distinct reduction in both the quality and quantity of viable eggs in your ovaries, and a chaotic fluctuation in the hormones responsible for reproduction.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eAn increase in oestrogen can cause a change in the length of your menstrual cycle, heavy periods with surprise flooding, breast tenderness, and irritability. The rapid decline in oestrogen is associated with night sweats, hot flushes, low mood and problems with memory.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/weight-gain\/diet-balance-hormones-menopause\/\"\u003eHere are diet suggestions and recipe ideas for hormone balancing in menopause\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4 dir=\"ltr\"\u003eIs HRT my only option?\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eHormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), as its name suggests, is used to replace or ‘top up’ the body’s natural supply of hormones in order to relieve your menopause symptoms. Not every women chooses to take, or is able to take HRT. This could be due to your family’s medical history, e.g. breast cancer or deep vein thrombosis. You may have concerns about the safety and side effects of HRT, or you may simply prefer to avoid medication and opt for a natural approach to alleviate your menopause symptoms where possible. Only you and your GP can decide if hormone therapy is right for you.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe good news is that there are alternatives to HRT and that nutrition can play a leading role in not only reducing your symptoms but future proofing your health.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThis article explores the connection between your diet and your menopause experience. You will be relieved to hear that where menopause nutrition is concerned, small changes make a big difference, so now is the perfect time to learn how to nourish your body effectively.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4 dir=\"ltr\"\u003eWhat can affect the type and severity of symptoms?\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eNot all women experience menopause symptoms equally, and the severity of your symptoms could be partly genetic.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eWe also know that your weight can affect your symptoms. Women with a higher \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.nhs.uk\/live-well\/healthy-weight\/bmi-calculator\/\"\u003eBMI\u003c\/a\u003e end to have fewer symptoms, particularly night sweats and hot flushes, than those whose weight is within the ideal range(1). The reason for this is fascinating…\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4 dir=\"ltr\"\u003eA little belly fat is a good thing?\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eYour body is always trying to find the ideal balance. In response to lower ovarian oestrogen, your body will lay down fat cells (particularly around your belly) capable of oestrogen production. It’s your body’s way of topping up hormones levels and whilst high oestrogen can cause an array of unpleasant symptoms, oestrogen docking stations are found all over your body helping to support bone and heart health, memory and concentration as well as your genitourinary system. So a little belly fat is, in fact, helpful. An excess is associated with heart disease though, so balance is key.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eAdditionally, the more weight you carry the less physically active you may be, and we know that the duration of some symptoms is shorter in women who have higher physical activity(2).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4 dir=\"ltr\"\u003eHow do I reduce my symptoms?\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eSmoking(6), caffeine and alcohol are adversely associated with menopausal symptoms so avoid these where you can. They place stress on the body and whilst they may give you a short term fix, they deplete your body of vital nutrients that it needs. You can relieve associated anxiety and stress with magnesium-rich green vegetables, wholegrains and nuts, as well as B vitamins found in meat, offal, fish, eggs, oats, brown rice and nutritional yeast. Supplements can also be really helpful if you want to be sure you’re supporting your body as well as possible.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThere’s evidence that you’ll experience fewer menopausal symptoms the more vegetables and fruit you eat(7), so aim for 7 portions per day and focus on eating regular meals packed full of nutrition. Include whole foods (beans and legumes, fish particularly oily ones such as salmon, mackerel and sardines, poultry, nuts, seeds, olive oil, some wholegrains including brown rice, oats and quinoa, and a little red meat) to nourish your body, keep your blood sugars stable and balance your hormones.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eFollowing a low glycaemic load or Mediterranean(8) diet could help keep your weight down. You’ll also find that as your fibre intake increases, you’ll feel fuller for longer, excrete troublesome excess hormones and feed your gut bacteria. The bacteria in your gut are fundamental to feeling healthier. They help you to obtain key nutrients from your food; support your immune system to keep you healthy; provide an environment where your feel good brain chemical, serotonin, is made; influence weight and even make vitamins.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eYou’ll find links to detailed articles about specific symptoms by myself and other specialists at the end of this article, plus links to useful resources.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4 dir=\"ltr\"\u003eOestrogen from plants – is it possible?\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003ePhytoestrogens are compounds that naturally occur in some plants, which mimic your body’s own oestrogen. To a limited extent, phytoestrogens could serve as a type of natural HRT. This is particularly the case for phytoestrogen supplements.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eYou may find that increasing the amount of phytoestrogens in your daily diet relieves symptoms. These plant compounds have mild oestrogenic effects, displacing your own oestrogen if there’s too much or increasing activity if your levels are low(9). Soya is a good source of phytoestrogens with tofu, tempeh and edamame beans all being versatile ingredients, plus ground flaxseed and wholegrains.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4 dir=\"ltr\"\u003eRemember to rest\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eRemember that sleep gives your body a chance to repair and rebuild itself. Additionally, poor sleep can create a heightened perception of your menopausal symptoms(10) so wind down with soothing lemon balm or chamomile teas and top up levels of nature’s tranquiliser, magnesium, by adding a cupful of magnesium salts to warm bath water and soaking for 20 minutes twice a week. If you can’t switch off, a supplement that contains L-theanine with lemon balm, which can help with anxiety and insomnia(11).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eAnother good way to relax is to try restorative Yoga Nidra – \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/sleeping-problems\/menopause-yoga-nidra-for-disturbed-sleep-and-low-mood\/\"\u003ethere’s a free video to try here\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4 dir=\"ltr\"\u003eTreat menopause as a marathon, not sprint\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eAbove all, remember that this journey towards menopause can start in your forties and on average will last 4-5 years, but in some cases can last more than 10 years. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and whilst addressing your nutrition may not produce overnight results, the evidence points towards real improvements.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4 dir=\"ltr\"\u003eTreating yourself with care\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eTo summarise, many women transitioning through menopause experience unpleasant symptoms, such as hot flushes, poor sleep, migraines and weight gain. A whole-foods diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, high-quality protein and dairy products is likely to reduce menopause symptoms.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003ePhytoestrogens and healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids from fish, may also help. Certain foods and drinks are known to make symptoms worse, so you may want to limit added sugars, processed carbs, alcohol, caffeine and high-sodium or spicy foods as well. These simple changes to your diet may make this important transition in your life easier. They will also stand you in good stead for better overall health in later years.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4 dir=\"ltr\"\u003eAbout Rosie Letts\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eRosie is a qualified and registered nutritional therapist. She has worked with hundreds of women experiencing menopausal symptoms, helping to combine nutrition and lifestyle changes that have helped to prevent or reduce the severity of symptoms including sleeping problems, mood changes, weight gain, and headaches.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHer qualifications, memberships and awards include: BSc in Nutritional Therapy – University of Westminster; ICHAN outstanding practice 2018 award; Member of the Complementary \u0026amp; Natural Healthcare Council (CHNC); Member of the British Association of Nutritional Therapists (BANT).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.38;\"\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/about-us\/menopause-experts\/rosie-letts\/\"\u003eRead Rosie’s full biography here\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003chr\u003e\u003ch4\u003eProducts mentioned in this post\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.38;\"\u003ePhytoestrogen supplement\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; line-height: 1.38;\"\u003eVitamin B Complex\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eTry \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/psychological-function\/\"\u003eproducts for psychological function\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003chr\u003e\u003ch4 dir=\"ltr\"\u003eYou might also be interested in…\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 8pt; line-height: 1.295; background-color: #ffffff;\"\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/sleeping-problems\/nutrition-for-sleep-en\/\"\u003eNutrition for sleep\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 8pt; line-height: 1.295; background-color: #ffffff;\"\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/headaches\/headaches-during-menopause-does-diet-make-a-difference\/\"\u003eNutrition for headaches\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/low-mood\/mood-changes-during-menopausedoes-what-you-eat-make-a-difference\/\"\u003eNutrition for low mood\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4 dir=\"ltr\"\u003eUseful resources:\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.295; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 8pt;\"\u003eLearn about the \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.patrickholford.com\/topic\/low-gl\" rel=\"nofollow\"\u003elow glycaemic load approach.\u003c\/a\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.nhs.uk\/live-well\/eat-well\/what-is-a-mediterranean-diet\/\" rel=\"nofollow\"\u003eDiscover the Mediterranean diet.\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4 dir=\"ltr\"\u003eReferences\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.295; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 8pt;\"\u003e1 Tan, M., et al. (2014). The effect of physical activity and body mass index on menopausal symptoms in Turkish women: a cross-sectional study in primary care. BMC Women’s Health, 14(1).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.295; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 8pt;\"\u003e2 Guthrie, N., et al. (2009). Duration of vasomotor symptoms in middle aged women, a longitudinal study. Menopause, 2009; 16(3), pp. 453-7.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.295; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 8pt;\"\u003e3 Wardle, J., (2016).’ Menopause’ in Clinical Naturopathy – an evidence-based guide to practice (2nd ed.), Chatswood:Elsevier Australia, p. 474.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.295; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 8pt;\"\u003e4 Norton, S., et al. (2014). Cognitive-behavior therapy for menopausal symptoms (hot flushes and night sweats). Menopause, 21(6), pp.574-578.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.295; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 8pt;\"\u003e5 Elavsky, S. (2009). Physical activity, menopause, and quality of life. Menopause, 16(2), pp.265-271.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.295; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 8pt;\"\u003e6 Whiteman, M., et al. (2003). Smoking, body mass, and hot flashes in midlife women. Obstetrics \u0026amp; Gynecology, 2003;101(2), pp.264–272.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.295; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 8pt;\"\u003e7 Soleymani, M., et al. (2018). Dietary patterns and their association with menopausal symptoms. Menopause, e-pub ahead of print [online] Available at: \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pubmed\/30363011\" rel=\"nofollow\"\u003ehttps:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pubmed\/30363011\u003c\/a\u003e (Accessed 4 February 2019).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.295; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 8pt;\"\u003e8 Sayón-Orea, C., et al. (2015). Adherence to Mediterranean dietary pattern and menopausal symptoms in relation to overweight\/obesity in Spanish perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. Menopause, 22(7), pp.750-757.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.295; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 8pt;\"\u003e9 Rietjens, I., et al. (2016). The potential health effects of dietary phytoestrogens. British Journal of Pharmacology, 174(11), pp.1263-1280.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 9pt;\"\u003e10 Larson, R. \u0026amp; Carter, J. (2016). Total sleep deprivation and pain perception during cold noxious stimuli in humans. Scandinavian Journal of Pain, 13(1), pp.12-16.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.295; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 8pt;\"\u003e11 Türközü, D. \u0026amp; Şanlier, N. (2015). L-theanine, unique amino acid of tea, and its metabolism, health effects, and safety. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 57(8), pp.1681-1687.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\" style=\"line-height: 1.295; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 8pt; text-align: center; border: solid #000000 0.5pt;\"\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606539252018", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/new2-sara-dubler-710148-unsplash-scaled-1_768x.jpg?v=1697662829", "title" : "What to eat for a healthier, happier menopause", "symptoms" : [ ]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606538268978", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Gill_3-576x575_small.jpg?v=1697658461", "name" : "Gilly Woo", "summary" : "", "title" : "Stylist" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/danny-g-1053970-unsplash__1_-1-1600x1067_1200x.jpg?v=1697662872", "html" : "\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eDo you regularly wake up drenched in sweat, night clothes soaked through, stuck to your sheets? Menopause night sweats are a really unfortunate side effect, affecting 70% of women – but the good news is that there’s much you can do to alleviate night sweats by choosing the right bedding and nightwear. Stylist and dressmaker Gilly Woo explains….\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eDidn’t imagine a stylist writing about night sweats? Well, we know a thing two about fabric and homewares too, and here is how the bedlinen and pyjamas you choose can help keep you cool and dry throughout the night so you can wake feeling refreshed and ready to face the day.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ePlus, there are recommendations on some of the best nightwear for menopause is for you to wear that can help manage \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/night-sweats\/\"\u003esymptoms of night sweats\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2 dir=\"ltr\"\u003eBrilliant bamboo\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eFor night clothes choose lightweight, comfortable, sweat-wicking fabrics that dry quickly such as bamboo jersey. Alternatively you might like to try a cooling vest specially designed for hot flushes – after all, that’s what menopause night sweats actually are!\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2 dir=\"ltr\"\u003eAfter the menopause night sweats come the chills…\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eNatural fibres can feel nice against the skin but fabrics made of silk and cotton can hold moisture and make you feel wetter longer so they may be best avoided. The same applies with sheets and pillow cases, a poly cotton blend will dry quicker but some people find they prefer the feel of 100% cotton so it’s worth experimenting to see what you feel most comfortable in. Bamboo is the exception to the rule – it’s natural, breathable and dries quickly.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eWhatever fabric you choose for your bed sheets make sure it’s lightweight and doesn’t have too tight a weave. If possible hold it up to the light, the more light that passes through the fabric the more breathable it is.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2 dir=\"ltr\"\u003eComfy support for women with curves\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eIf you are blessed with an ample bosom you will probably find that under boob and cleavage sweat is a problem at night and might feel more comfortable with a little support.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eHere is advice on \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/hot-flushes\/how-to-dress-for-hot-flushes\/\"\u003ehow to dress for hot flushes\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3 dir=\"ltr\"\u003e\u003cstrong data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eWear a top with secret support\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eA lot of shops make nightwear with a hidden elastic bandeau panel to offer light support while you sleep and help wick sweat away from your skin.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3 dir=\"ltr\"\u003e\u003cstrong data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eTry a Tata towel\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eAlternatively try a sleep bra or a Tata Towel. A Tata Towel is a towelling garment you wear around your neck which cups both boobs in soft, moisture absorbing fabric without the restriction of a proper vest top or bra.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3 dir=\"ltr\"\u003e\u003cstrong data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eSleep wear is such a personal thing…\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eYou may be happiest sleeping naked as the day you were born (which is great for letting your skin breathe!) or in full on pyjamas.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eIf you do wear clothes to bed then try putting them in a zip-lock bag and laying them in the freezer for an hour or so before bed, you could also do this with a top sheet, pillow case, or even just some light cotton socks to lower your body temperature a little when you first get into bed.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2 dir=\"ltr\"\u003eLifestyle tips for chilled out nights\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003ch3 dir=\"ltr\"\u003e\u003cstrong data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003ePut it on ice\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eWhile you’re there at the freezer make some ice. Take a glass of water to bed with you with lots of ice in it. When you wake in the night the water will still be cool and refreshing if you’re experiencing a hot flush – if you have an insulated ‘keep cool’ water bottle or cup, better yet\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3 dir=\"ltr\"\u003e\u003cstrong data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eBe your own #1 fan\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eKeep a cooling sleep fan or an air conditioning unit by your bed, a paper or fabric fan may be best if you share your bed with a partner as it’s silent, but little electric ones are greats too. It’s actually more effective to try to avoid wiping away the sweat and to gently waft cool air over your body instead, sweat is your bodies natural cooling system and wiping it away will only lead to more being produced.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3 dir=\"ltr\"\u003e\u003cstrong data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eLose the duvet!\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eTry sleeping under a top sheet, with a light blanket on top if you are initially cold. If you wake if the night, wafting the layers will trap cool air and help dry the sweat. If you share your bed with a partner who prefers a duvet you could keep a sarong by your bed.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eIf you wake in the night sweating under your half of the duvet kick it off and grab your sarong, by wafting it around a little you can also use it in place of a fan to help air get to your body and cool you down. Sarongs are usually made from quick drying lightweight, breathable materials too so it’s a perfect thing to drape over you whilst still letting cool air get to your skin. Another option is to opt for two separate duvets of different tog weights, so your partner can snuggle under a winter weight if you need to keep the windows open!\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3 dir=\"ltr\"\u003e\u003cstrong data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eChilly pillows\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eKeep a cool pack under your pillow or use a cooling mattress topper so you can turn it in the night and get that dreamy ‘cool side’ feeling on steroids! I’ve also heard great things about these Huggee cooling pillows from friends who find night sweats a problem, though haven’t tried one personally. These are much nicer than the gel packs that you can put on your pillow, which quickly feel clammy and unpleasant, and are very bad for your skin. Imagine damp, clammy plastic on your face all night… not recommended!\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3 dir=\"ltr\"\u003e\u003cstrong data-redactor-tag=\"strong\"\u003eTry a cooling mattress topper\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003eThere are lots on the market, so do some research and read some reviews to see which one is best for you. When choosing a mattress or pillows avoid memory foam which can trap body heat, and opt for latex instead which is natural and breathable and will do a better job of distributing heat and helping you stay cool. \u003c\/p\u003e\u003chr\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eAbout Gilly Woo\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/about-us\/menopause-experts\/gilly-woo-designer\/\"\u003eGilly Woo\u003c\/a\u003e – known to her family as Gill Cockwell – began her sewing career at the tender age of six and was sketching designs and fashioning garments by the time she was ten. Since 2000, she has built a brand synonymous with quality, individuality and style – though most of all, she helps women find and express their most confident, fabulous selves. From dresses cut to dazzle for brides who use wheelchairs to red carpet looks featured in magazines and worn to The National TV Awards Gill’s portfolio is as diverse as the people she’s worked with. She’s an experienced stylist on magazine photo shoots and catwalk shows, has taught hundreds of people to sew, and has even stepped back in time on TV…\u003c\/p\u003e\u003chr\u003e\u003ch4\u003eYou might also be interested in…\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/night-sweats\/night-sweats-the-herbal-approach-to-a-more-chilled-nights-sleep\/\"\u003eNight Sweats – the herbal approach to a more chilled night’s sleep by Anita Ralph\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/hot-flushes\/yoga-for-hot-flushes\/\"\u003eYoga for hot flushes by Uma Dinsmore-Tuli\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606540038450", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/danny-g-1053970-unsplash__1_-1-1600x1067_768x.jpg?v=1697662872", "title" : "What is the best nightwear for menopause night sweats?", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=231" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=231" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=231" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/231" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 25, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/hot-flushes/", "name": "Hot flushes", "description": "Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing hot flushes and vasomotor symptoms have chosen. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 231, "term_id": 231, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "hot-flushes" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=227" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=227" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=227" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/227" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 18, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/night-sweats/", "name": "Night sweats", "description": "Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing night sweats and vasomotor symptoms have chosen. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 227, "term_id": 227, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "night-sweats" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=221" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=221" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=221" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/221" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 23, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/sleeping-problems/", "name": "Sleeping problems", "description": "Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing sleeping problems have chosen. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 221, "term_id": 221, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "sleeping-problems" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606537875762", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/HH-576x576_small.jpg?v=1697658442", "name" : "Health and Her", "summary" : "", "title" : "" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/surgical-menopause-image_1200x.jpg?v=1697662806", "html" : "\u003cp\u003eSurgical menopause, or a hysterectomy, can be a difficult decision to make and a challenging journey to undergo. Dr Victoria Hobbs answers some of your most pressing questions around surgical menopause, and gives you the rundown on what you can expect from a surgical menopause.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eWhat is a hysterectomy?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eMenopause, medically defined as when it has been twelve consecutive months since your last period, and the ending of your menstrual cycle, on average occurs at the age of 51 years in the UK. However, it can be induced early through medical and surgical treatments.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eA hysterectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the uterus, and often the ovaries, fallopian tubes and cervix as well. (The cervix is often removed to remove the risk of cervical cancer and to stop the need for smear tests.)\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eIf your doctor recommends a hysterectomy, then depending on the reason for the hysterectomy you may be advised to have your ovaries removed as part of the procedure. The reasons for removal can include a family history of conditions such as ovarian cancer, or if you are post-menopausal and your ovaries no longer function.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eThe surgical menopause – what is it, and how is it different from a natural menopause?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eDuring the time leading up to menopause, known as perimenopause, many women notice their periods beginning to change – often becoming erratic and irregular. Although these symptoms can be normal, they can also be caused by specific medical conditions, and so if your periods are severely impacting your quality of life, you should seek help from your GP. Depending on the cause, your GP may offer a range of medical treatment options to help you with heavy periods, but for some women, these options are not a good fit for their bodies and don’t ease their symptoms. If your periods aren’t getting easier, a specialist gynaecologist may suggest surgical intervention to remove the uterus and sometimes the ovaries.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHysterectomy and ovary removal, known as oophorectomy, is often seen as drastic, but it is a safe procedure that helps many women – by stopping painful periods or preventing the possibility of pregnancy (if pregnancy is not right for them). It is true, however, that women who have undergone a surgical menopause can often experience a sudden onset of severe menopausal symptoms. And as such, it is essential to consider what effect removing the ovaries will have on your body, both to consider other beneficial treatment options like HRT, and to prepare yourself for surgery.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eIf a woman chooses to remove her ovaries, this removal, as well as the natural physical effects of surgery, will trigger a surgical menopause. Unfortunately, a surgical menopause can still be accompanied by menopause symptoms – including, but not limited to, sweats, hot flushes, joint pain, mood and sleep disturbances. Due to this, it is really important to discuss with both your gynaecologist and GP prior to surgery if you should be started on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) after the operation. Many women find a surgical menopause much more severe than a natural menopause due to the sudden nature of oestrogen levels falling and the body having no time to gradually adjust as it does with a natural menopause. HRT can help ease the symptoms that accompany this sudden drop in oestrogen. The severity of menopause symptoms that can accompany a hysterectomy means that it is important to plan for these symptoms prior to surgery.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eSymptoms after surgical menopause may include;\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003edepression\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ebleeding\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ehot sweats\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ehot flushes\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003epanic attacks\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003emuscle pain\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ememory loss\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003emigraines\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ebrain fog\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003elibido\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003edizziness\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eeyesight issues\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003earthritis\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ebloating\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eweight gain\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003earthritis\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch2\u003eThe benefits of HRT after surgical menopause\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eA common belief is that HRT is only used to help women going through a ‘natural’ or non-surgical menopause, when in fact there are reasons to take HRT post-surgical menopause. Receiving HRT after a hysterectomy is both safe and effective, especially for those under the age of 50. HRT can improve quality of life by reducing the difficult symptoms that can be triggered by a surgical menopause. HRT can also have the added benefit of preventing osteoporosis (bone disease) and heart disease by protecting the bones and the chest. HRT may not be a suitable option for all women, especially if the woman has a history of endometrial, ovarian or breast cancer, and again this should be discussed prior to surgery to plan what alternatives would be offered to alleviate menopausal symptoms.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eMost women who are offered HRT after a hysterectomy will only require oestrogen. HRT provides a source of oestrogen to counteract the body’s loss of the hormone through either natural or surgical menopause. This will help alleviate the symptoms brought on by low or depleted oestrogen, such as hot flushes, night sweats, palpitations, headaches, insomnia, fatigue, bone loss and vaginal dryness. Women who still have a uterus or cervix will also require progesterone to protect the lining of the uterus from the build-up effects that oestrogen has on the endometrium. The main exception to this is if a woman has severe endometriosis. This condition can lead to deposits of endometrial lining outside of the uterus. As such, this should be discussed with a gynaecologist after the operation to determine if the woman also needs progesterone within the HRT to protect any deposits in the pelvis, and if so, for how long.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHRT can usually be started immediately after surgery. This is why it is so important to discuss your HRT before you undergo surgery and have it ready to start after the operation. Here’s more information about types of HRT and benefits of transdermal HRT article.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eWhat should you do to prepare for a hysterectomy?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eIt is important to understand that any type of hysterectomy is a major operation. Undergoing such an operation can seem frightening, but there are steps you can take to prepare and make it easier on both you and your body. You could consider building up your fitness levels by doing regular exercise – such as walking, yoga, pilates, or other gym work. 150 minutes of cardio activity that results in getting out of breath spread over the week can help do a world of good in your recovery. Working on your pelvic floor can help build muscle, reducing your risk of vaginal prolapse and aiding bladder function.If overweight (high BMI), trying to achieve a healthy weight before surgery will also be hugely beneficial. It will make both the surgery and the post-operative recovery easier. Weight loss can be very difficult, particularly around the time of the perimenopause, but can be achieved by avoiding processed foods which tend to be high in fats and processed sugars, looking at portion control and aiming for a diet rich in vegetables and fruit,\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eRecovering from a Hysterectomy\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003eIt can take up to 12 weeks to recover from the physical effects of a hysterectomy.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eYou are likely to stay in hospital for between 1-3 days after the procedure.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eIt is possible you will have had a catheter (tube into the bladder) during the procedure to monitor how much urine you are producing; this needs to be removed and you will need to make sure you can pass urine.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eYou will also have internal stitches which usually dissolve by 6-12 weeks post-surgery, so it is important you gradually build up activity levels so as not to damage this healing process. You must avoid heavy lifting and ensure you have enough fibre in your diet, so you do not get constipated.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eBy 6 weeks you will be able to drive again.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThis may seem overwhelming, and frightening – as all surgeries do. There are many facets to consider before getting a hysterectomy. It is a big operation, and as a result, does require recovery and preparation, and an awareness of the difficulties that go alongside it. It is important to remember, however, that for many women a surgical menopause has dramatically improved their quality of life; has brought them joy in their body again. What works for one woman will not necessarily work for another, and as such, while a hysterectomy isn’t right for one person, it could be right for someone else. Your quality of life, and your body, are of paramount importance, and if you think that a surgical menopause could be what you need, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor and a specialist gynaecologist about it to learn more. It is important to remember that while it is a big choice to make, a hysterectomy is a safe surgical procedure, and though it isn’t a decision to be taken lightly or without awareness of the side effects, it isn’t something to fear.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eSurgical Menopause Need-to-Knows\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003eSome women may need slightly higher doses of oestrogen to control their symptoms if going through a surgical menopause at a younger age as the body will have been used to having naturally higher levels prior to surgery.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eIf your symptoms do not seem to be under control with the initial dose of HRT, please discuss this with your doctor in more detail because the dose maybe increased or changed.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eIf you are going through a surgical menopause before the age of 50 years, the benefits of taking HRT are very likely to outweigh the small risks. HRT can help seriously improve menopausal symptoms, protecting your bones from osteoporosis and protecting your heart from heart disease\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eEven with combined HRT (both oestrogen and progesterone) there is no increased risk of breast cancer when taken under the age of 50.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eAlthough there is no time limit to how long you can stay on HRT, this should be discussed on an annual basis with your doctor.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eSome women may also benefit from the addition of testosterone as part of their HRT plan if oestrogen alone is not fully resolving symptoms.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003ePlease do not suffer in silence and talk to your GP if you are having problems.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp style=\"padding-left: 120px\"\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606538826034", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/surgical-menopause-image_768x.jpg?v=1697662806", "title" : "Everything You Need to Know about Surgical Menopause - Side Effects, Symptoms, Management and Recovery Time", "symptoms" : [ ]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606537810226", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Profile-5-576x768_small.jpg?v=1697658439", "name" : "Helen Roach", "summary" : "", "title" : "Nutritionist" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/perimenopause-and-diet-photo_e59dc543-2aab-4aaf-aad6-9effa59a7916_1200x.jpg?v=1701096598", "html" : "\u003cp\u003eIt’s old news now that the way you eat can have a massive impact on how you feel. With fad diets popping up every other week, suggesting you need to slash sugar, forget fat, cut carbs, it can feel more than a bit frustrating to try to begin any journey towards healthy eating.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eMaking adjustments to your diet can be tough at the best of the times, but going through \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-perimenopause\/\"\u003eperimenopause\u003c\/a\u003e inevitably makes it ten times harder.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eFood can be one of the greatest joys in life, and any attempt to totally remove any of the treats you enjoy, or begin any extreme crash-course diet can leave you feeling worse than before you started it. Maybe you stuck it out for a few days or weeks until your body was so desperate it caved in and you gained all the weight back, or maybe you felt so lethargic and peaky that you had to throw in the towel.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003ePerimenopause can often cause \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/weight-gain\/\"\u003eweight gain\u003c\/a\u003e, confidence issues, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/stress-anxiety\/\"\u003eanxiety\u003c\/a\u003e and self-esteem problems, alongside the physical symptoms of constipation, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/bloating\/\"\u003ebloating\u003c\/a\u003e, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/sleeping-problems\/\"\u003epoor sleep\u003c\/a\u003e and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/low-energy\/\"\u003elowered energy\u003c\/a\u003e. You may be looking for any solution to help, and fad diets are often some of the first you may be able to find – but they might be doing more harm than good! Yo-yoing weight can just make you feel worse, and cutting out food groups is neither sustainable nor good for your body and your mind.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eYou may just give up all together! However, eating and drinking like you used to might not be the best option either. The best course of action to help your perimenopause experience might be to change your diet – but in a healthy way. Adequate nutrition and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/best-exercise-menopause\/\"\u003eregular exercise\u003c\/a\u003e could do a world of good to help alleviate some of your toughest symptoms and make you feel stronger, brighter, and back to your old self – without giving up delicious and filling food. Don’t worry – answers are out there! Here’s our handy guide to help you understand what the best diet for perimenopause might look like so starting your journey towards healthier eating and a better perimenopause can be easy and fuss free.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHere are the \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/best-exercise-menopause\/\"\u003ebest exercises to help keep you fit and healthy through perimenopause and menopause\u003c\/a\u003e. \u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eHow does perimenopause affect your metabolism?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhen perimenopause starts, our hormones start to fluctuate with the aim of bringing our \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/period-changes\/why-do-periods-get-worse-before-menopause\/\"\u003emenstrual cycle and fertility to an end through menopause\u003c\/a\u003e. Progesterone and oestrogen, the main hormones affected by perimenopause, can cause a host of mental and physical changes, some of which specifically affect your body and fitness levels, and as a result can worsen your symptoms. Another culprit is the \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/stress-anxiety\/stress-and-anxiety\/\"\u003estress hormone, cortisol\u003c\/a\u003e, which often increases due to hormonal changes alongside the daily stressors of life such as children, parents, and employment. Reduced oestrogen and increased cortisol can be a troublesome pairing, and have been linked to problems with the stomach and gut, alongside weight gain. Changes in progesterone and oestrogen alone are also linked to poor sleep, low energy and mood, fatigue, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/joint-aches\/\"\u003ejoint issues\u003c\/a\u003e, and struggles with anxiety and confidence. These symptoms might lead you to snack more to give yourself a sugar rush to bump up your energy levels,  or to comfort yourself through the psychological stressors. This is normal and not something to feel ashamed about – your body and your mind are going through a lot, and reaching for food is a natural reaction, especially if you’re struggling to spike up the energy to do your everyday tasks.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHowever, with the gut problems already present and lurking at the door of perimenopause, reaching for food might sometimes make it worse, making your digestive issues worse and perhaps contributing to increased weight gain. As such, perimenopause can lead to a frustrating cycle – you’re struggling with confidence and weight, as well as low energy and a bad stomach, so you turn to food to get you through it, but the food you’re eating might make those confidence, weight, energy and stomach issues, starting the vicious circle all over again!\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHere’s more information on \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/stress-anxiety\/menopause-perimenopause-and-post-menopause-a-gps-overview\/\"\u003ehow perimenopause and menopause can affect your body\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eHow can perimenopause impact your daily life?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eYou might feel like you’re struggling more with your mental perception of yourself and your self-esteem, while if your food intake is upsetting your energy levels and disturbing your sleep cycle through pain and discomfort, physical symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, and irritability. Alongside the perimenopause-specific problems of the body and digestive systems, as a result of general ageing the digestive enzymes and stomach acid which help us to digest food properly are produced in lower amounts. This lowering can cause problems for the gut bacteria. Gut bacteria is vital for producing key vitamins we need to stay healthy and function properly, and when it’s damaged or not as diverse it can cause heartburn, indigestion, bloating, gas, and constipation. Alongside general age problems related to the digestive tract, as our muscle mass decreases naturally with time, our likelihood for insulin resistance, which makes it more difficult for us to break down sugar, weight gain and fat retention can become more likely.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eWhat can you do to help relieve the impact of perimenopause on your diet?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eMost importantly, remember that you do have options – and hope! The above may read a bit like a depressing laundry list of problems, but there are easy steps you can make with your diet and lifestyle to alleviate these symptoms. \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/yoga-menopause\/\"\u003eExercise, like yoga\u003c\/a\u003e for instance, has been linked to improved stomach issues, alongside increased muscle mass, weight loss, better mood, energy and cognition. For more information and what exercises are best to help you through perimenopause and menopause, check out our comprehensive menopause exercise guide for information on what exercises are best for menopause symptoms. Alongside exercise and resistance training, diets that are low in sugar, high in fibre, and have moderate protein with good fats included can do you a world of good and boost you back up to feeling the top of your game.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eProbiotic supplements, like \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/perimenopause\/perimenopause-supplement-biome-live-cultures\/\"\u003ebiome which contains live cultures\u003c\/a\u003e, can sometimes help with gut problems and discomfort from digestion.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHere is \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/how-to-boost-and-protect-your-immune-system\/\"\u003ehow to boost your immune system during menopause\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eWhat foods help with perimenopause?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eThere are definitely a few food groups you should try and hit to make sure that your body is getting adequate nutrition and help keep your weight stable. These are:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eProtein\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eAs your muscle mass starts to decrease during perimenopause, it can mean that your body is more prone to fat retention, which might not only hurt your self-esteem but can also affect your health. So, we want to aim to eat food that will help us retain that muscle mass. Making sure you get an adequate amount of protein is crucial – and it can also help to regulate your appetite and blood sugar, helping sort out that low energy.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eFoods to focus on: lean protein like salmon and chicken, sugar-free natural peanut butter, beans, nuts, pulses, lentils, eggs, yogurt and spinach.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eCalcium\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eOne of the biggest worries during perimenopause and menopause is the threat of osteoporosis and heart disease. During perimenopause and menopause, our bone density begins to decrease, leading to brittle bones, arthritis, and osteoporosis. The heart also suffers from not receiving the critical nutrients it requires. Making sure that your diet includes calcium can be a great way to help prevent this. Seeking out some calcium and vitamin D supplements can also be a good way to ensure you’re getting enough for your bone health.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eFoods to focus on: broccoli, milk, fish and legumes.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003ePhytoestrogens\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003ePhytoestrogens are naturally-occurring compounds found in plants that belong to a group of substances called polyphenolic compounds. They have a similar chemical structure to oestrogen and often behave in a similar way when ingested into the body. Like \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/hormone-replacement-therapy-hrt-guide\/\"\u003eHRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy)\u003c\/a\u003e, some nutritionists believe that increasing your phytoestrogen intake during perimenopause and menopause can help relieve symptoms caused by fluctuating oestrogen. Making sure that your diet includes some of these can be tied to alleviating some of the difficult symptoms of menopause, or if you’re not fussed on soy products (where phytoestrogens are most commonly found), a good option may be to consult a supplement that contains them, such as \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/perimenopause\/health-her-perimenopause-food-supplement-60-caps\/\"\u003eHealth \u0026amp; Her’s Perimenopause supplement.\u003c\/a\u003e For more information, check out how \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/hot-flushes\/phytoestrogens-menopause\/\"\u003ephytoestrogens play an important part in keeping you healthy through menopause\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eFoods to focus on: peas, beans, soy products such as tofu and tempeh, alfalfa and Brussel sprouts\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eFibre\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eEnsuring that you have enough fibre in your diet is crucial to help your perimenopause journey. Not only can fibre keep you fuller for longer, it can help with constipation and stomach pain, and has also been tied to preventing heart disease and cancer. Fibre can help with digestion and gut bacteria, but is also great for helping to manage your weight and boost your energy.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eFoods to focus on: fruits, vegetables, grains from sprouted breads or vegetable pastas\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eWater\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eThis is the crucial one! Though you might be tired of hearing all of the benefits of water, keeping well hydrated can be incredibly beneficial for your general health and mood. Making sure you get the recommended 6-8 glasses a day can go toward making you feel a lot better, and also can improve your skin and hair.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eSpecialty ingredients beneficial for perimenopause\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eSome ingredients might be a little bit more off the beaten path, but can provide a great boost for your mood and physical health. Some good specialist food items to try and incorporate into your daily routine can be:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eFermented soya products\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eTypically eaten in countries such as Japan, China and Korea, fermented soya products are a fantastic way to introduce live bacteria into your gut whilst pleasing your palette, with dishes such as Natto, Kimchi,  Cheonggukjang, Miso, Gochujang. Whilst some of these might not instantly appeal, they are a tasty and healthy way to support gut health – an important factor at any life stage. The element of soya in these dishes means that they will feature plant components that help to balance female hormones, managing the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eBeneficial bacteria\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eMost easily found in supplements, beneficial bacteria is a great way to improve overall health. Did you know that gut bacteria produce 90% of your body’s serotonin? Serotonin is a hormone that helps to improve mood and leads to the creation of melatonin- the hormone that enables us to sleep. Taking a bacteria supplement daily is advised for general wellbeing.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHere is \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/your-ultimate-guide-to-supplements-for-menopause\/\"\u003eyour ultimate guide to supplements for menopause\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eWhat foods make perimenopause worse?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eThere are unfortunately some food and drink products that might be making your experience a bit worse and could slow weight loss. You don’t have to cut them out completely, but reducing your intake of them might help you feel a lot better.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eSaturated fats\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eFound in animal products such as red meat, cheese, milk and butter, alongside oils such as coconut and palm oil, saturated fats can raise your cholesterol and contribute to weight gain.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eRefined sugar\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eRefined sugar like fructose and processed carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta and pizza can wreak havoc on your hormones and leave you feeling sluggish and low energy. They can also contribute to weight gain and low mood.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eAlcohol\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhile a sip of wine can help you relax, overconsuming alcohol can often be one of the key reasons your perimenopause symptoms seem to be worse after a night out. Alcohol consumption can interfere with internal body temperature, sleep schedules, and leave you feeling tired and fatigued.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHere is \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/how-does-alcohol-affect-menopause\/\"\u003ehow alcohol affects menopause\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eCaffeine\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eCaffeine is a nightmare for inducing anxiety and making worrying worse, as well as throwing your sleep schedule way out of line, which can lead to an increase in troubling symptoms such as fatigue. Caffeine can also have an impact on issues with bladder control.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eWhat are the best swaps you can make?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eThough this may all seem a bit daunting, the move from a diet that can exacerbate perimenopause symptoms to one that alleviates them is actually relatively easy to do. There are plenty of tasty and easy swaps for products you enjoy to ones that taste just as good but that won’t hurt your symptoms.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eFruit flavoured yoghurts\u003c\/strong\u003e – swap for full fat Greek yoghurt (this has less sugar and more protein than low fat versions, and also contains good bacteria for wellbeing)\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTrifles\/Mousse \u003c\/strong\u003e– Coconut \u0026amp; Chia seed puddings (soak chia seeds in coconut milk overnight)\/ coconut yoghurt\/avocado and dark chocolate mousse (hand blended together) with a pinch of salt\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eCoffee\u003c\/strong\u003e – swap for decaffeinated or barley\/chicory drinks e.g. A.Vogel Bambu\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eTea\u003c\/strong\u003e – swap for decaffeinated or caffeine free herbal teas – not all are – opt for ones that state caffeine free on the packaging like those found from Pukka.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003ePasta\u003c\/strong\u003e – swap for vegetable pasta (courgette, cucumber, pepper etc)\/quinoa\/buckwheat\/wild rice\/beans\/lentils\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eRice\u003c\/strong\u003e– swap for cauliflower rice\/konjac rice\/cabbage rice\/mushroom rice\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eNoodles\u003c\/strong\u003e– swap for konjac noodles\/shirataki noodles\/aubergine noodles\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhite or wheat-based bread\u003c\/strong\u003e– swap for sprouted breads\/protein such as pumpernickel\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhen baking with wheat flour \u003c\/strong\u003e– swap for coconut or almond flour\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSoft drinks\u003c\/strong\u003e – swap for fresh fruit spiced water – mineral water with herbs\/fruit: ginger\/lime\/lemon\/crushed watermelon \u0026amp; mint\/cinnamon\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eJuices \u003c\/strong\u003e– swap for smoothies that contain the peel and rind of fruits along with a protein and fat component such as Planet Paleo Protein drink or Innocent protein drink (limit your intake to 250 ml)\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eBurger \u0026amp; fries\u003c\/strong\u003e – swap for bun-less burger and salad\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSweets \u0026amp; confectionary\u003c\/strong\u003e – swap for dark chocolate (90% cocoa solids)\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSugar\u003c\/strong\u003e – swap for agave nectar, cinnamon, palmera jaggery (coconut sugar),\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eMashed potato\u003c\/strong\u003e – swap for mashed cauliflower\/sweet potato\/root veg\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eCocktails\u003c\/strong\u003e – swap for red wine or soda water \u0026amp; spirits\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eBarbeque sauce\u003c\/strong\u003e – swap for soy sauce\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eTomato sauce – swap for mayonnaise\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch2\u003ePerimenopause diet plan\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eA typical day of the very best diet for perimenopause should ensure that you have all the nutrition you need to keep you feeling on top of your game – but it should be tasty too! An example of a beneficial perimenopause diet could be eating foods like this:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eBREAKFAST\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eMexican baked eggs – 2 eggs, black beans (handful) \u0026amp; tomatoes (1 plum) in a pan with black pepper, paprika, chives, garlic \u0026amp; turmeric.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eLUNCH\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eCooked broccoli with a base of chili, garlic, anchovies and spring onion, made with rice pasta (spaghetti).\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eDINNER\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eCourgetti spaghetti with sardines and tomato sauce, parsley to serve.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eSNACKS\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eOlives and gorgonzola, coconut yoghurt.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eEating for your symptoms does not need to be tasteless or depressing, and neither does it mean you have to throw your all into a very restrictive diet. There is no magic answer or miracle food that you need to eat to take away your symptoms or act as a complete treatment, but making a concerted effort to swap out some of the more dangerous or unhealthy parts of your diet for some that are equally tasty, but beneficial for your symptoms, could really raise your quality of life. Try it – you deserve to feel good from the inside out!\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/headaches\/headaches-during-menopause-does-diet-make-a-difference\/\"\u003eHow diet can help relieve headaches and migraines\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHere’s \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/weight-gain\/diet-balance-hormones-menopause\/\"\u003ehow to eat healthy to help balance hormones in menopause with meal ideas and recipes\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606677401906", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/perimenopause-and-diet-photo_e59dc543-2aab-4aaf-aad6-9effa59a7916_768x.jpg?v=1701096598", "title" : "Everything you need to know about diet for perimenopause", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=239" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=239" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=239" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/239" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 14, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/bloating/", "name": "Bloating", "description": "Bloating can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Here are some of the best supplements to help with menopause and bloating. Choose from probiotics, collagen and assorted natural supplements for menopause bloating to help relieve the symptoms of menopause bloating. ", "id": 239, "term_id": 239, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "bloating" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=650" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=650" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=650" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/650" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 6, "link": "https://healthandher.com/us/expert-advice/bloating/", "name": "Bloating", "description": "Bloating can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Here are some of the best supplements to help with menopause and bloating. Choose from probiotics, collagen and assorted natural supplements for menopause bloating to help relieve the symptoms of menopause bloating. 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If you're searching for help with less-common symptoms like digestive issues, brittle nails or hair loss, you'll find products to support you through the menopause here. Menopause can be complex, with women experiencing an average of 8 symptoms. 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Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 221, "term_id": 221, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "sleeping-problems" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=229" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=229" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=229" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/229" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 21, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/weight-gain/", "name": "Weight gain", "description": "Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing menopause weight gain have chosen as part of a healthy lifestyle. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 229, "term_id": 229, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "weight-gain" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606562648370", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/bio-image-aspect-ratio-1-1-1-576x576_small.jpg?v=1698247224", "name" : "Caitlin Whiteley", "summary" : "", "title" : "Author" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Blog-Images-1_1200x.jpg?v=1698247239", "html" : "\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-menopause\/\"\u003eMenopause\u003c\/a\u003e can put your body through the ringer, both physically and mentally. With joint aches, hot flushes, migraines and fatigue, alongside a host of mood related symptoms such as anxiety or feeling down, exercise in menopause can be the least appealing notion in the world. Who wants to go out running when your knees are hurting? Who wants to head to Zumba when you feel like crying?\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThis can be especially frustrating when we consider that exercise has a series of benefits generally, but in particular can really help aid and alleviate \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/symptom-tool\/\"\u003emenopause symptoms\u003c\/a\u003e. If you’re not a fitness fanatic, getting into a new sport can be daunting – especially when you already may feel a bit rubbish.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eThere’s also the additional dilemma of the sheer amount of choice out there – it can feel like there are classes for every single exercise in the world, from Pilates to crossfit to spin to hip hop dancing. There can be too much choice! By the time you get up the effort to lace up your trainers, you can be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of options out there.\u003cbr\u003eHere is a helpful guide to some exercise choices that have been linked to an improvement in menopause symptoms and could help you combat menopause weight gain and improve your fitness in menopause by easing you into exercise.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHere are some of the best exercises that can bring immediate benefits and help you feel better and brighter through menopause.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eThe best exercises for menopause weight gain\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eIf you’re in a hurry or lead a busy lifestyle, it can feel as if you might not have time to fit in a serious regime change or new exercise routine. However, even five minutes of stretching and moving your body can help you feel better. Jane Dowling, an exercise expert, demonstrates a set of movements that can help to improve your menopause symptoms.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eBoxing\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eBoxing has been gaining in popularity recently as a high-impact cardio-focused exercise that helps with muscle toning, fat burning and general strength – especially among women.\u003cbr\u003eTraditionally considered a ‘man’s sport’, boxing has received a host of new female fans, leading to many gyms offering women-focused boxing programmes – and we can see why. Boxing is a great cardio activity and can help keep up heart health, strengthening your heart muscles and lowering the risk of heart disease.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eMenopause can often increase your risk of heart disease, so this intensive cardio can do great things for your body. The high impact nature can also help reduce menopause weight gain, raising your metabolic rate and helping to replace fat with muscle.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eStudies have indicated that boxing has been linked to increased bone density in menopausal women (fighting off osteoporosis, also common in menopausal women) alongside improving physical function. More than this, boxing can help you feel confident and strong – and allow you to vent out some of your anger and frustration!\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eTai-Chi\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eTai-Chi combines the strength benefits of boxing with a smoother, less energy-intensive rhythm, so if high-intensity training is not for you or a bit too intimidating to start off with, turning to tai-chi is another great option for menopausal exercise.\u003cbr\u003eIn fact, tai-chi seems to have no end of benefits – studies have indicated that tai-chi improves both bone density and neurological function, helping to cut through brain fog and target joint aches, can shore up immune systems in menopausal women, and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.\u003cbr\u003eOne study suggests that tai-chi could be one of the most helpful exercises to target and alleviate menopausal symptoms, ‘reducing insulin resistance and related physiological risk factors for cardiovascular disease; improving mood, well-being, and sleep; decrease sympathetic activation; and enhance cardiovagal function.’ The physical benefits are accompanied by a whole host of meditative mood boosters – helping you in more ways than one either during or post-menopause.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eDancing\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eSpeaking about mood boosters, dancing is one of the best exercises for menopause mental health out there. Maybe when you were younger you went to a ballet or tap class – why not take it up again? This time without the pressure of perfecting your plies and rather just in pursuit of joy.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eWith the advent of Zumba and other popular, dance-based classes, there’s a range of dance options for whatever music and style fits your preferences. Square dancing, for instance, has been linked to improved mood and a reduced likelihood of depression in perimenopausal women, while other studies suggest that flamenco improves physical health and neurological function.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eEven if you aren’t into cowboy boots and flamenco gowns, dance as a general practice has been linked to improved self-esteem, increased metabolic rate, bone density and immunity. So, whether you’re in menopause or post-menopausal, pick whatever shoes fit you best, and get dancing!\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eSwimming\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eSwimming is quickly gaining ground as a helpful, stimulating activity great for menopausal women – not only for the mental benefits of having space and time in cool clear water, but also for its physical rewards.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eWith cold water swimming and wild swimmers popping up around the country, such as the Bluetits cold water women swimmers, maybe it’s time to check it out.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/cold-water-swimming-menopause\/\"\u003eCold water swimming benefits menopause\u003c\/a\u003e, with studies linking it to improved energy levels and a reduction in hot flushes, but even if you don’t have access to the freezing British sea, your local leisure centre can provide just as many benefits to improve your symptoms.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eSwimming has been linked to reductions in arterial stiffness and improvements in cardiac health and muscle strength in menopausal women, alongside a significant decrease of body fat in areas associated with menopausal weight gain.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eMore than that, swimming has also been linked to a reduction in depression and anxiety in menopausal women. With that host of benefits it is not difficult to see why swimming can be so good for you in menopause, who could resist pulling out the swimming costume?\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eYoga\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eThough you may have already been approached by the disciples of yoga – whether it’s your friends, or your children, or even your mum – you might already be rolling your eyes when you see that yoga has been included on the list. How can it have that many benefits? It must be exaggerated! But don’t be too quick to write off yoga.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eAn exercise that seems relatively low-impact, and easy to start doing for people with all levels of exercise experience, yoga has a disproportionately brilliant effect on your body, mind, and menopause symptoms.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eYoga has been tied to a whole host of benefits – from helping to prevent memory loss and aid brain function, boost your metabolic rate, protect against osteoporosis and bone density loss alongside mediating anxiety and depression. Maybe the disciples had the right idea all along.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eYoga in menopause can help cut through brain fog, protect valuable processes inside your body, and lift your mood – it also comes with the benefit that you can incorporate it into your daily life relatively easily. Is it time to start shopping for a yoga mat?\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eTry \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hot-topics\/yoga-menopause\/\"\u003eYoga for Menopause with our guided sessions\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eWhy exercise can help with menopause\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhen you are struggling with menopause symptoms, exercise may feel like the last thing that you want to do, even when you know which exercises can help you best. However, the benefits are really too good to miss out on.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eExercising during menopause can:\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli\u003eBoost your mood and lower anxiety rates by raising endorphins. Those who are physically active have lower rates of depression, and often suffer less with cognitive decline. This can be a real boon when you’re combatting brain fog!\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eReduce weight gain. Regular exercise can help increase muscle mass and lower fat, which can sometimes increase around the menopause\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eProtect your bones! As your oestrogen levels drop, your bone density can suffer. Regular exercise can maintain and strengthen your bones, which can help prevent osteoporosis, and also help alleviate some of those joint aches\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eReduce the risk of comorbid symptoms like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003cp\u003eWhen you’re aching, in pain, or struggling with low mood, the last thing in the world that you may want to do is lace up your running shoes. But in the world we live in now, with an array of choices to suit anyone and everyone’s exercise tastes, moving your body can be a joyful, energising experience, and can make a difference to your menopause experience. Exercising during menopause has been associated with a reduced rate of cancer, dementia, cognitive decline, low mood, and hot flushes. When the list of benefits is that long, why not give it a try?\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606562943282", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Blog-Images-1_768x.jpg?v=1698247239", "title" : "The top 5 best exercises for Menopause", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=239" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=239" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=239" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/239" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 14, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/bloating/", "name": "Bloating", "description": "Bloating can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. 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", "id": 239, "term_id": 239, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "bloating" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=650" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=650" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=650" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/650" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 6, "link": "https://healthandher.com/us/expert-advice/bloating/", "name": "Bloating", "description": "Bloating can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Here are some of the best supplements to help with menopause and bloating. Choose from probiotics, collagen and assorted natural supplements for menopause bloating to help relieve the symptoms of menopause bloating. ", "id": 650, "term_id": 650, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "bloating" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=237" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=237" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=237" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/237" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 22, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/brain-fog/", "name": "Brain fog", "description": "Brain fog is a common symptom along with memory loss and other cognitive issues. Browse our range of supplements chosen by women experiencing mental performance issues.", "id": 237, "term_id": 237, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "brain-fog" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=244" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=244" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=244" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/244" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 12, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/digestive-issues/", "name": "Digestive issues", "description": "Menopause digestive symptoms are varied and complex and can be linked to changes that are triggered by the menopause like low mood or food intolerances. We've found the latest and most innovative products to help with this regularly reported symptom*.\r\n*results may vary person to person", "id": 244, "term_id": 244, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "digestive-issues" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=232" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=232" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=232" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/232" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 10, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/headaches/", "name": "Headaches", "description": "Headaches and migraines may be a common issue during menopause and perimenopause, and they can spike with annoying regularity because of changing hormones. 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We've pulled together a range of products to help you to maintain brain and cognitive function*.\r\n*results may vary person to person", "id": 248, "term_id": 248, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "memory-loss" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=223" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=223" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=223" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/223" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 4, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/other-symptoms/", "name": "Other symptoms", "description": "Menopause can be complex, with women experiencing an average of 8 symptoms - though there are over 30 recognised symptoms, and more that women themselves connect. If you're searching for help with less-common symptoms like digestive issues, brittle nails or hair loss, you'll find products to support you through the menopause here. Menopause can be complex, with women experiencing an average of 8 symptoms. Thankfully, Health & Her has handpicked a selection of products to support you through the menopause.", "id": 223, "term_id": 223, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "other-symptoms" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=250" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=250" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=250" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/250" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 8, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/poor-concentration/", "name": "Poor concentration", "description": "Products to help support normal brain function*.\r\n*results may vary person to person", "id": 250, "term_id": 250, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "poor-concentration" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=236" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=236" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=236" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/236" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 5, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/sensitive-bladder/", "name": "Sensitive bladder", "description": "Urinary changes like frequent urination and leaky bladder are really common at menopause due to changes in oestrogen levels. Take action with pelvic floor trainers and avoid embarrassment with practical products to help with incontinence.\r\n", "id": 236, "term_id": 236, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "sensitive-bladder" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=221" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=221" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=221" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/221" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 23, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/sleeping-problems/", "name": "Sleeping problems", "description": "Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing sleeping problems have chosen. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 221, "term_id": 221, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "sleeping-problems" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=286" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=286" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=286" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/286" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 6, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/pelvic-floor-function/", "name": "Weak pelvic floor", "description": "Take action with to combat weak pelvic floor muscles with pelvic floor trainers. Here are some of the best pelvic floor products that may help to relieve menopause related pelvic floor related symptoms and issues. ", "id": 286, "term_id": 286, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "pelvic-floor-function" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=678" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=678" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=678" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/678" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 2, "link": "https://healthandher.com/us/expert-advice/pelvic-floor-function/", "name": "Weak pelvic floor", "description": "Take action with to combat weak pelvic floor muscles with pelvic floor trainers. Here are some of the best pelvic floor products that may help to relieve menopause related pelvic floor related symptoms and issues. ", "id": 678, "term_id": 678, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "pelvic-floor-function" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=229" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=229" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=229" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/229" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 21, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/weight-gain/", "name": "Weight gain", "description": "Browse our range of supplements and products that women experiencing menopause weight gain have chosen as part of a healthy lifestyle. Curated with care, and tried by women who've been there too.", "id": 229, "term_id": 229, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "weight-gain" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606537908530", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Dr-Kate-aspect-ratio-1-1-576x576_small.jpg?v=1697658444", "name" : "Dr Kate Burns", "summary" : "", "title" : "General Practitioner" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/hormonal-blood-test-photo-2_1200x.jpg?v=1697662811", "html" : "\u003cp\u003eby \u003ca title=\"Dr Kate Burns\" href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/about-us\/menopause-experts\/dr-kate-burns\/\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eDr Kate Burns\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e, ⊕ medically reviewed by \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/about-us\/menopause-experts\/dr-rebeccah-tomlinson\/\"\u003eDr Rebecca Tomlinson\u003c\/a\u003e on 10th October, 2022\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eFor many women, working out whether or not you’re in \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-perimenopause\/\"\u003eperimenopause\u003c\/a\u003e or \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-menopause\/\"\u003emenopause\u003c\/a\u003e can feel like a bit of a guessing game, especially if you are taking hormonal contraception, which can mask or cause one of the key signs of perimenopause and menopause –\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/period-changes\/why-do-periods-get-worse-before-menopause\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003e your periods becoming irregular or absent\u003c\/a\u003e. One option for women looking to understand where they are in their menopause journey is the use of a hormonal blood test, which can take a measure of your hormone levels to determine if you are in menopause. Hormonal blood tests work by measuring your hormone levels to work out whether or not you are menopausal. \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/about-us\/menopause-experts\/dr-kate-burns\/\"\u003eMenopause specialist GP, Dr Kate Burns\u003c\/a\u003e, explains everything you need to know about blood tests, including how they work, when you should use them, how to read menopause blood test results, and how they can help.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eCan a blood test help to diagnose menopause?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eYes, in certain circumstances – but their reliability depends on your age and several other factors. More on this will be explained below, but first, it’s important to understand that hormonal blood tests work by measuring the hormone levels in your blood. When you are in menopause or post-menopause, the hormonal changes expected to be found in your blood are low levels of the sex hormone estradiol (oestrogen) and raised levels of the gonadotrophin hormones FSH (\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400\"\u003eFollicle Stimulating Hormone) \u003c\/span\u003eand LH \u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400\"\u003e(Luteinizing Hormone)\u003c\/span\u003e, which control the functioning of the ovaries. When the ovaries start to fail, FSH and LH levels increase in an attempt to keep the ovaries going. If a blood test confirms raised menopause-range FSH levels, it can be a good indication that you are undergoing menopause. However, it is not clear cut! A test indicating raised, menopausal-range FSH levels should be repeated in 6 weeks to confirm that you are in menopause. In contrast, a normal, non-menopausal range FSH level does not rule out menopause.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eHow to understand menopause blood test results\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eAs explained above, test results can be confusing to interpret, but the cut off points for FSH levels are relatively straightforward. A general guide is that a blood FSH level of \u0026gt;30 IU\/L (some laboratories suggest above 26IU\/L) suggests that the ovaries are slowing down, and can be taken as a potential indicator of menopause.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch4\u003eCan a blood test check what stage of menopause you have reached?\u003c\/h4\u003e\u003cp\u003eThe simple answer is, not necessarily. However, a general rule is that FSH levels may be either normal or raised in perimenopause; but will be raised at the postmenopausal stage.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eWhen are menopause hormone blood tests recommended?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eGenerally, checking blood hormone levels is neither necessary nor helpful for women aged 45 or older. This is because:\u003c\/p\u003e\u003col\u003e\u003cli\u003eAt or beyond 45, we can advise based on your age and typical menopausal symptoms (and\/or typical period changes) that your symptoms are related to menopause.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eA blood test that records normal hormone levels does not mean that you are not experiencing perimenopause. This is because when some ovary function remains, as is common in perimenopause, hormone levels will vary at different times and may well remain within the normal range (GPN).\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eHormonal levels within the menopausal range do not mean that pregnancy is no longer possible, as ovulation (egg release from the ovaries) may still occur.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eIf you are using hormonal contraception (or \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/hormone-replacement-therapy-hrt-guide\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003eHRT, Hormone Replacement Therapy\u003c\/a\u003e), this may make hormonal levels unreliable.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eBloods tests for premature menopause: under the age of 45\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e\u003cp\u003eUnder the age of 45, though the same problems of hormone levels potentially being normal during perimenopause still apply, blood hormone levels are worth checking as experiencing menopause at this age is classed as early and is managed slightly differently. Hormonal checks must be carried out if you are under 40 and experiencing period changes or symptoms suggestive of menopause. This is because medical professionals need them to detect a condition called premature ovarian insufficiency (POI), or “premature” menopause, and thus be able to provide you with the correct care.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eCan you use hormonal blood tests to work out whether or not you can safely stop contraception?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003ePotentially, yes. This depends on both your age and the contraception you are using, and whether or not you’re using HRT. If your GP thinks hormonal blood tests are helpful and relevant, it is important to remember that the use of either HRT or certain hormonal contraception may well impact the reliability of the blood test results. \u003cstrong\u003eIf you’re using HRT or combined hormonal contraception (CHC), i.e. the combined pill, vaginal ring, or patch, then hormonal blood tests will not give you a reliable result\u003c\/strong\u003e. These hormones suppress your body’s levels of FSH and LH. Blood tests work by measuring these exact hormones, so if you are taking medication that affects them, testing cannot tell you accurately where you are in terms of your menopause, or whether or not you can stop contraception. \u003cstrong\u003eIf you’re using progestogen-only contraception (progestogen-only pill, implant, depo injection, and hormonal coils) blood testing can be reliable.\u003c\/strong\u003e Your FSH levels are not affected by these methods of contraception. As such, if you are not experiencing a period and you are over fifty, and if you are using progestogen-only contraception, blood testing can determine whether or not you need to use contraception. However, if you are under fifty, blood testing this way cannot tell you whether you can stop using contraception. Here is everything you need to know about menopause contraception.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eMenopause blood test – key facts\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003col\u003e\u003cli\u003eHormonal blood tests are used to work out the presence and level of menopausal hormones in your blood. However, their use and efficacy both depend on your age and your use of contraception and\/or HRT.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eFor women aged 45 or above with typical menopausal symptoms and\/or typical period changes, hormonal blood tests are not recommended nor needed. We can make an accurate guess due to your age and symptoms that you are most likely perimenopausal or menopausal. Blood tests at this age may be misleading and not give you an accurate representation of where you are in your menopausal journey.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eHormonal blood tests are generally recommended for women under 45 with potential menopausal symptoms and\/or relevant period changes. However, the results may still not give you a clear answer.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eFor women aged 50 or above who are not experiencing periods, blood hormone (FSH) levels may be useful when deciding whether or not contraception can be safely stopped. However, it is important to remember that if you are using either HRT or combined hormonal contraception, the tests will not reflect accurate results.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eFor women not using any hormones, contraception can be safely stopped two years after your last menstrual period if you are under 50. If you are over 50, you are safe to stop contraception one year after your last menstrual period.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eAll women over 55 years can safely stop contraception, no blood tests are needed, as pregnancy is extremely rare at and after this age.\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e\u003cdiv class=\"mceTemp\"\u003e \u003c\/div\u003e", "id" : "606538924338", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/hormonal-blood-test-photo-2_768x.jpg?v=1697662811", "title" : "Blood tests for hormone levels in menopause", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=223" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=223" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=223" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/223" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 4, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/other-symptoms/", "name": "Other symptoms", "description": "Menopause can be complex, with women experiencing an average of 8 symptoms - though there are over 30 recognised symptoms, and more that women themselves connect. If you're searching for help with less-common symptoms like digestive issues, brittle nails or hair loss, you'll find products to support you through the menopause here. Menopause can be complex, with women experiencing an average of 8 symptoms. Thankfully, Health & Her has handpicked a selection of products to support you through the menopause.", "id": 223, "term_id": 223, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "other-symptoms" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=252" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=252" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=252" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/252" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 11, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/period-changes/", "name": "Period changes", "description": "During perimenopause, periods can be often be heavier and longer than usual. Browse our range of products that can support hormone regulation, energy and mental performance.", "id": 252, "term_id": 252, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "period-changes" }]} ,{ "author": { "id" : "606537810226", "image_url" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/Profile-5-576x768_small.jpg?v=1697658439", "name" : "Helen Roach", "summary" : "", "title" : "Nutritionist" }, "featuredImage" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/phytoestrogens-photo-2_1200x.jpg?v=1697662812", "html" : "\u003cp\u003eFor many women, the symptoms of \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-perimenopause\/\"\u003eperimenopause\u003c\/a\u003e and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/what-is-menopause\/\"\u003emenopause\u003c\/a\u003e can be frustrating and can affect everyday life. Though there are options available to medically treat menopause, for women who are looking for an alternative, many symptoms can be helped by using natural compounds to help target and support the hormones that are changing during menopause. A group of these natural compounds, called phytoestrogens, are currently attracting attention for the potential of their oestrogen-mimicking properties as a way to treat menopause.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eIt can be hard trying to find clear guidance on how phytoestrogens work, and what they can do for your body. Read on for advice and answers from Health \u0026amp; Her’s expert nutritionist, Helen Roach, on what phytoestrogens are, how they work, and why they could be an option for you.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eWhat is phytoestrogen?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003ePhytoestrogens are naturally-occurring compounds found in plants that belong to a group of substances called polyphenolic compounds. They have a similar chemical structure to oestrogen and often behave in a similar way when ingested into the body. Like \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/all-symptoms\/hormone-replacement-therapy-hrt-guide\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003eHRT\u003c\/a\u003e (Hormone Replacement Therapy), some nutritionists believe that increasing your phytoestrogen intake during perimenopause and menopause can help relieve symptoms caused by fluctuating oestrogen.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eHow do phytoestrogens work?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003ePhytoestrogens attach to oestrogen receptors, potentially creating a change in hormone and enzyme levels. They can mimic oestrogen in the body, and when phytoestrogens enter the body, the body’s oestrogen receptors attach to them as they would normal oestrogen, albeit less firmly, helping make up a deficit of oestrogen common during perimenopause and menopause. Additionally, it is thought that phytoestrogens can block oestrogen and xenoestrogens (man-made oestrogens found in skincare, industrial products and plastics, food, insecticides and building supplies) when they reach excessive levels.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003ePhytoestrogens and menopause symptoms\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003ePhytoestrogens are doubly beneficial as they help maintain the right balance of oestrogen – low oestrogen is behind some of the most difficult symptoms of perimenopause and menopause, such as \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/hot-flushes\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003ehot flushes\u003c\/a\u003e, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/night-sweats\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003enight sweats\u003c\/a\u003e, palpitations, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/headaches\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003eheadaches\u003c\/a\u003e, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/sleeping-problems\/\"\u003einsomnia and sleep problems\u003c\/a\u003e, \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/low-energy\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003efatigue\u003c\/a\u003e, bone loss and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/vaginal-dryness\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003evaginal dryness\u003c\/a\u003e, plus more. And excess or high levels of oestrogen has been said to pose health risks including breast or uterine cancer. In addition, if high levels of oestrogen are present during perimenopause or menopause, it can cause bloating, breast tenderness, and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/period-changes\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003eheavy bleeding\u003c\/a\u003e. Consuming phytoestrogens such as those found in fermented soy and red clover isoflavones may work to help women achieve a healthy balance to both raise and regulate their oestrogen levels.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHere are more tips to help you enjoy a \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/weight-gain\/diet-balance-hormones-menopause\/\"\u003ehealthy hormone balancing diet in menopause\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003eWhat are the benefits of phytoestrogens for menopause?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eA question commonly asked is ‘do phytoestrogens help with menopause?’. Well, current research indicates that phytoestrogens affect women in perimenopause and the early stages of menopause. In countries where women tend to have a diet rich in phytoestrogens – such as Japan – research suggests a lower incidence of difficult menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes, and a lower risk of breast and uterine cancer and osteoporosis. A \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.tandfonline.com\/doi\/full\/10.3109\/13697137.2014.966241\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"nofollow noopener\"\u003e2014\u003c\/a\u003e study indicated that phytoestrogens reduced the frequency and severity of hot flushes in menopausal women, alongside a \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC3276006\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003e2011\u003c\/a\u003e study that found that phytoestrogens helped in preventing osteoporosis in menopausal and post-menopausal women. Other studies have indicated that phytoestrogens may play a part in aiding heart health and preventing the growth of breast cancer cells, though more research is needed for both of these claims.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eFor some women, starting HRT can come with a set of challenges, or be inaccessible altogether – either the side effects are difficult, or it can’t be used due to a family history of breast cancer. In these cases, phytoestrogens can provide an alternate route to explore. However, it is important to remember that phytoestrogens bind less firmly to the body’s oestrogen receptors than traditional synthetic and body-identical oestrogen, and as a result, can be weaker in their effect. You should always visit a healthcare professional if you are struggling with severe perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms to discuss what treatment options are right for you.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003ePhytoestrogens can also help with postmenopausal hirsutism (the abnormal growth of hair on the face and body). Androgen hormones are responsible for male pattern hair growth and come about as the result of testosterone dominance. When hormones fluctuate during perimenopause and menopause, and as oestrogen levels are depleted after menopause, testosterone can dominate, leading to increased androgen production, facial hair growth, and thinning of hair on the head. Phytoestrogens can help to balance overall hormone levels, and when used alongside Vitamin B6 and specific herbs like Saw Palmetto, can reduce androgen production.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch3\u003eAre there any disadvantages to taking phytoestrogens?\u003c\/h3\u003e\u003cp\u003eWe naturally consume phytoestrogens every day, in a lot of the foods we eat, and indeed, people who have a diet rich in phytoestrogens tend to be eating whole, natural foods, and thus demonstrate improved levels of health. However, though phytoestrogens may be an option to explore for women looking for alternatives for Hormone Replacement Therapy, phytoestrogens have similar properties and benefits to synthetic oestrogens, and as a result, may have similar side effects, albeit at a reduced rate. This may include an increased risk of obesity or problems with ovary function. Despite this, it is very difficult to consume phytoestrogens to a harmful level through diet and supplements, and it is not clear from any medical research that consuming them have any negative side effects.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003ePhytoestrogen-rich foods for menopause\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eYou are likely consuming phytoestrogens already and simply don’t know it – especially if you are vegan or vegetarian. A plant-based diet often contains phytoestrogen-rich foods to help with menopause, as phytoestrogens are often present in food used as meat substitutes, especially those derived from soy, such as tempeh and tofu. \u003cstrong\u003eThese compounds tend to fall into three distinct categories, and as such, are found in different groups of food:\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003col\u003e\u003cli\u003eIsoflavones – found in soybeans, soy nuts, tempeh and red clover\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eCoumestans – found in peas, beans (including soya), brussel sprouts, alfalfa and clover sprouts\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli\u003eLignans – mainly found in seeds such as flaxseed and pumpkin\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ol\u003e\u003cp\u003eThere are 5 main isoflavones found in soy or soy products. These include genistein, daidzein and glycitein, formononentin, and biochanin A. It is thought that the forms of isoflavone found in fermented soy products are the most effective form. The best option in terms of dietary phytoestrogens is fermented soy, as the phytoestrogens within it are thought to be more bioavailable due to the fermentation process it undergoes. Fermentation is particularly beneficial for digestion as the lactic acid bacteria flourish in your gut. Increased gut bacteria leads to better digestion by lessening the incidence of bloating\/indigestion, as well as increasing the production of serotonin (the feel good hormone which is also instrumental in the production of melatonin, which helps you sleep) and most interestingly, could help to heighten the impact of phytoestrogen activity through specific enzyme production. However, fermented soy doesn’t always taste great! Don’t worry, though – you don’t have to switch to a diet solely comprised of fermented soy. Phytoestrogens are quite common in our diet and are derived from whole grains, seeds, beans, root vegetables and soy.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e Foods high in phytoestrogen include;\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cul\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003eSeeds – such as linseeds or flax, pumpkin, sunflower, poppy, and sesame\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003eWhole grains – such as rye, oats, and barley\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003eBran – such as wheat, oat, and rye\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003eBeans and lentils – such as chickpeas, kidney beans, lima beans, mung beans, pinto beans, and split peas\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003eFruits – especially apples and berries\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003eSoybeans and soy products – tempeh, soybeans, and tofu\u003c\/li\u003e\u003cli dir=\"ltr\"\u003eVegetables – especially cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts\u003c\/li\u003e\u003c\/ul\u003e\u003ch2\u003eHow much phytoestrogen food should you eat?\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003eA portion of fermented soy foods every day would offer a good level of phytoestrogen support. If fermented soy is not something suited to your palette or tastes, a phytoestrogen supplement made up of soy or red clover will provide an effectual equivalent volume.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eHere’s \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/expert-advice\/hot-flushes\/expertise-nutritional-therapist-perimenopause-diet\/\"\u003eeverything you need to know about diet for perimenopause\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/p\u003e\u003ch2\u003ePhytoestrogen supplements for menopause\u003c\/h2\u003e\u003cp\u003ePhytoestrogens can also be found in supplement form, such as the presence of Red Clover in the \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/perimenopause\/health-her-perimenopause-food-supplement-60-caps\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003eHealth \u0026amp; Her Perimenopause Supplement\u003c\/a\u003e and \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/healthandher.com\/hormone-regulation\/health-her-menopause-food-supplement-60-caps\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"\u003eHealth \u0026amp; Her Menopause Supplement\u003c\/a\u003e. Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) is a flowering plant belonging to the legume family. It has been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of symptoms including coughs and colds, and as a blood purifying tonic most recently revered for its phytoestrogen content. These menopause phytoestrogen supplements work to complement the existing phytoestrogens you eat and ensure you are receiving an adequate\u003c\/p\u003e\u003cp\u003eIt is important to remember that making lifestyle changes such as eating healthily, with a diet rich in phytoestrogens, can improve your quality of life and may make a difference if you are experiencing difficult menopause symptoms. However, if you are struggling severely with menopausal symptoms, you should visit a qualified medical professional to discuss and outline all your potential treatment options. Despite this, phytoestrogens indicate some real benefits in helping treat the difficult side of perimenopause and menopause and aiming for a diet that includes them could potentially do some real good.\u003c\/p\u003e", "id" : "606538957106", "thumb" : "https://healthandher.com/cdn/shop/articles/phytoestrogens-photo-2_768x.jpg?v=1697662812", "title" : "Phytoestrogens - what are they and how can they help in menopause?", "symptoms" : [ { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=239" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=239" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=239" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/239" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 14, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/bloating/", "name": "Bloating", "description": "Bloating can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Here are some of the best supplements to help with menopause and bloating. Choose from probiotics, collagen and assorted natural supplements for menopause bloating to help relieve the symptoms of menopause bloating. ", "id": 239, "term_id": 239, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "bloating" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=650" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=650" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=650" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/650" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/us/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 6, "link": "https://healthandher.com/us/expert-advice/bloating/", "name": "Bloating", "description": "Bloating can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Here are some of the best supplements to help with menopause and bloating. 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", "id": 650, "term_id": 650, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "bloating" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=237" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=237" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=237" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/237" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 22, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/brain-fog/", "name": "Brain fog", "description": "Brain fog is a common symptom along with memory loss and other cognitive issues. 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", "id": 291, "term_id": 291, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "dry-eyes" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=245" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=245" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=245" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/245" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 2, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/hair-loss/", "name": "Hair loss", "description": "An unexpected symptom of the menopause, hair loss or hair thinning can be difficult to come to terms with. That's why we have stocked some of the best brands to help with this symptom. ", "id": 245, "term_id": 245, "taxonomy": "symptom", "slug": "hair-loss" }, { "parent": 0, "acf": [], "_links": { "wp:post_type": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/product?symptom=232" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts?symptom=232" }, { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/advice?symptom=232" } ], "curies": [ { "templated": true, "name": "wp", "href": "https://api.w.org/{rel}" } ], "about": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/taxonomies/symptom" } ], "self": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom/232" } ], "collection": [ { "href": "https://healthandher.com/wp-json/wp/v2/symptom" } ] }, "meta": [], "count": 10, "link": "https://healthandher.com/expert-advice/headaches/", "name": "Headaches", "description": "Headaches and migraines may be a common issue during menopause and perimenopause, and they can spike with annoying regularity because of changing hormones. 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