How do you know if you are beginning your menopause transition?
How severe are your symptoms?
I know when I first noticed my hot flushes I had no idea that I was going into the next phase of my reproductive life, called menopause. This is a natural time of our lives, when we no longer have the ability to reproduce (without medical intervention). Your ovaries begin to lose oestrogen receptor cells and also lose the ability to manage progesterone production (the opposite hormone to oestrogen). Then because all of the hormonal signals in the body are connected, you can begin to experience a number of different symptoms.
The most common symptoms are:
- Sleepless nights
- Hot flushes/ flashes
- Night sweats
- Unresolved fatigue
- Irritability and/ or mood swings
- Skin and vaginal dryness
But there can also be heart palpitations, bloating, diaphragmatic weight gain, burning joints and sore muscles as well as symptoms that you can’t see – I call these the ‘invisible symptoms’ that appear in your blood work and these include:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- High blood fats (high triglycerides)
- High low-density cholesterol (LDL-C)
- High Inflammatory Markers (C-Reactive Protein)
- Low Ferritin (stored iron)
- Low Vitamin-D
- Altered Thyroid and Adrenal hormones.
Women experience their symptoms in different ways. And the interesting thing to me, is that when symptoms are becoming worse, then this is a sign that other hormones are getting out of balance too. In other words, because our body chemistry is really sensitive to any hormones that are changing, when we go into peri-menopause and menopause, then other hormones kick-in to help us survive. Unfortunately is we don’t change our lifestyle to accommodate our changing hormonal environment, then we can experience all the ‘hallmark’ symptoms of menopause and many more symptoms to boot! But as I discovered myself, when we do specific things to change our lifestyle and put our past ways of eating and exercising and living day by day, behind us and work with our changing mid-life hormones, not against them’ then our symptoms go away and our health improves for the better. It’s such a wonderful feeling to be on top of our health at this time of life and feel energized and invigorated again.
So, please remember, if you don’t feel like yourself any more, it’s not you, it’s your changing hormones. However, you are the SOLUTION, not the problem, which is why I would love you to take the MENOPAUSE SYMPTOMS TEST.
When your reproductive hormones change, so do other hormones too. This includes your thyroid, adrenal and pituitary (brain) hormones. These hormones are all influenced by your reproductive hormones and because your hormones operate on a negative feedback loop (they all balance each other out to maintain harmony in the body). This can then cause a bit of chaos for women. This is the secret I have un-raveled in menopause as part of looking into women’s healthy ageing as part of my doctoral studies.
How we are feeling during peri-menopause is influenced by our current state of health, weight, our stress levels, our exercise patterns, our diet, our gut and thyroid health as well as natural physiological changes that occur with our increasing age. If these aren’t all addressed during peri-menopause and post-menopause, my concern is that women may not have the ENERGY, HEALTH and VITALITY to enjoy life after menopause, i.e. in their post-menopause years.
Whether you have worsening symptoms or you aren’t sure if you are there yet, then I invite you to take the MyMT Symptoms Test:
To complete the test, ensure that you rate the severity of your symptoms for each question (0 = No symptoms to 5 = Very Severe)
From: Perez-Lopez et al. (2013). Assessment of menopause-related symptoms in mid-aged women with the 10-item Cervantes Scale. Maturitas, 76, pp. 151-154