Menopause – let’s talk about it
You won’t find many women making a fuss about menopause. Even women who experience debilitating symptoms are likely to be suffering in silence. It’s interesting that something that will happen to 50 per cent of the world’s population is deemed to be not suitable for mention or good material for a joke.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT WHEN I HIT MENOPAUSE?
Approximately 25 percent of women sail thorough menopause with absolutely no ill effects at all. They are barely conscious that they are going through it and they experience no discomfort at all. At the other end of the scale 25 per cent of women experience terrible symptoms – debilitating hot flushes, frustrating mood swings, fatigue, loss of libido, discomfort during sex, anxiety, early waking or insomnia. These symptoms can wreak havoc with a woman’s home life and work life. The remaining 50 percent of women experience some changes which can be unpleasant or uncomfortable but not devastating.
WHAT ABOUT HRT? BUT ISN’T IT RISKY?
There are a lot of preconceptions about menopause perhaps because it is not something that everyone talks freely about. I had always assumed that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was not an option as it would increase my risk of breast cancer. This assumption was based on my vague memories of news reports in the early 2000s. Luckily for me, one of the women in the Dellafit group is a highly qualified endocrinologist and an expert in menopause. She soon set me right.
The accepted position these days from a medical standpoint is that there ARE certain risks associated with some types of HRT. However the risks for many women are extremely small and may be outweighed by the benefits for that woman. It’s a good idea is to have a chat to your GP about your own circumstances when considering HRT. Have an open mind and do your research. It may be that you decide it is not for you or you might just change your mind.
A fantastic source of information is the Australian Menopause Society – https://www.menopause.org.au/
Something else worth considering are the natural remedies or treatments offered by naturopaths or practitioners in Chinese medicine who specialise in this area. Lily Liu who helps women with fertility problems told me recently that all the women she helped become pregnant years ago are now coming to see her about menopause!
This is not a medical advice column so after giving you that general message – talk to your GP (or your naturopath) – I will stick to what I know best. Training and good nutrition are extremely important for women as they grow older. Doctor and physios often prescribe weight bearing or resistance exercise for women in their 40s and 50s and beyond. It has been shown to be extremely effective in boosting bone density. Resistance training and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is also the way to go if you want to build and maintain muscle.
Training outdoors is also very good for your overall sense of well being and mood which may fluctuate when you reach menopause. Exercise can make you just feel better.
As for nutrition, it becomes even more important as you become older to eat enough protein. It helps you to maintain and build muscle mass. For women every meal should include a palm sized portion of protein. Spreading protein out throughout the day and having a good quality source of protein also assists in making sure your body gets what it needs to build and maintain strong muscles and bones.
Too many women go through menopause alone without any assistance or moral support. It doesn’t have to be like that.