There is a wonderful wave happening around the ‘peri-menopausal/
menopausal’ years right now. Women are pushing to rebrand and better understand this stage of life that every woman goes through. Menopause is coming out of the shadows and many women are looking for real answers.
Yet too often this is the advice they get:
“When you start experiencing symptoms of peri-menopause it might be a good idea to talk about these symptoms with your gynecologist or health provider,” suggest the experts. But here’s the problem with that advice: Many of us don’t have “our gynecologist” buddy. And “our health provider” has only 15 minutes to address our concerns. Among the women who turned to their family doctor for help…many have reported feeling trivialized.
CATCHING THE WAVE
Diet For Living School has always offered a women centered Food As Medicine education. 80% of clients that seek out the services of a health coach are women. We know it is all important to recognize women’s most pressing concerns. We feel this opening in the Menopausal Movement presents a huge window of opportunity where we can step forward as educators and create a support system for this prime stage of life. Now, and through 2024, our training will continue to focus on Food As Medicine specific to women’s health, adding a deeper understanding of the peri-menopausal/
But first we have to educate ourselves so that we can grow our businesses with knowledge and expertise.
Having a grasp of all the intricacies of the peri-menopausal/menopausal years begins with having a deep understanding of estrogen and progesterone and the many roles it plays in the body. It’s not just about hot flashes, but also digestion, fertility, brain health, heart health, mood, and so much more….so lets get started.
One of the weirdest and most wonderful facts surrounding fertility is, that unlike men, who continue to produce sperm throughout their lives, women are born with all the eggs they’ll ever have….like 1 to 2 million of them at birth, sitting around in a ‘waiting pool’ until puberty.
PUBERTY AND BEYOND….THE NEXT 45 YEARS OF YOUR LIFE
Do you remember when you were young, your time sense felt like everything took forever? But really, when you consider a lifetime, it’s a short trip from birth to around 12-13 years old when we have our first bleed. And then bam! The hormones estrogen and progesterone ramp up and the reproductive system rules a good part of our lives for roughly the next 45 years. Whether we choose motherhood or not, the body preps for fertilization every month up till we’re about 40 years old, when the hormones estrogen and progesterone fall off and a rapid decline in eggs begins.
This stage of life is called peri-menopause.
WHAT IS ACCELERATED OVARIAN AGING?
Peri-menopausal is when we experience accelerated ovarian aging. There is no ‘one size fits all’, but around this time in life there is rapid egg decline. The production of the hormones that stimulate the menstrual cycle, estrogen and progesterone, begin to fall off for about the next 10 years. There is no foolproof way to know but it is estimated that egg reserves whittle down to about 18,000.
Although there is no ‘fits all’ scenario, from about 40 to 50 can be bumpy years hormonally. Low estrogen levels can produce symptoms such as:
> Brain fog
> Trouble concentrating
> Gas and bloating
> Vaginal dryness
> Hot flashes/night sweats
> Irregular periods/no periods
> Thinning hair and nails
> Recurrent urinary tract infections
> Heart palpitations
But, by 50, the reproductive system is wrapping up making the hormones estrogen and progesterone. The average woman is now running at maybe a few hundred eggs.
Post Menopause: By this point it’s the goal. The menstrual cycle has stopped for a full year. The body stops producing estrogen and progesterone. The ovaries shrink as do the uterus and fallopian tubes. The journey has reached completion.
In many cultures and countries where aging is more revered the menopausal transition is considered a new start…the chance for greater freedom and a time to embrace your life experiences. I believe that is the ultimate goal for women in the U.S.
ESTROGEN’S ROLE IN HEART HEALTH
You may be surprised to learn that we have estrogen receptors throughout our entire bodies: Brain, digestive system, skin, lungs, bones and heart…..
Estrogen’s role in cardiovascular health is one piece in a very complex system of factors that researchers are still just beginning to understand. What they do know so far suggests that the estrogen produced by the ovaries appears to be heart protective in a number of ways.
This year’s ‘World Menopause Awareness’ theme is ‘Menopause and Heart Health’. Specifically, hormonal changes during peri-menopause/menopause and the wide-ranging impact on cardiovascular health.
Prior to the menopausal years, a women’s hormones give some protection against Coronary Heart Disease. However, following a sharp decline in heart-protecting estrogen, during this stage in life cardiovascular risk factors increase. A reduction in estrogen can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis, the hardening and narrowing of arteries due to the accumulation of plaque. Changes in hormone levels can contribute to an increase in blood pressure. This can increase the risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
The leading cause of death for women in America is heart attack. That this info has failed to reach us is due to the fact that the recurring image of a heart attack in dramas remains that of a man loosening his tie, clutching at his chest, and collapsing; not a 45 year old women lying in bed suffering from night sweats.
It’s hard to think of a single representation in popular culture of a women ever having a heart attack, or talking about her unpredictably dicky heart….so we are left assuming that it’s something that largely troubles men. Except it isn’t.
It should also be pointed out that women tend to present with different symptoms to men…like pain in the left arm, shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, nausea, sweaty, anxious, panicky and dizziness. It’s time to high-tail it to the Emergency Room….to be extra safe….
EDUCATION IS NEEDED
Something we know as Nutrition Coaches is that there is so much we can do to improve the menopausal years. Such as join our New Year’s 2024 training. Dive deep with us into:
> Why Certain Plant-Based Foods Help Ease Peri-Menopausal/Menopausal Symptoms?
> What Is The Up to Date Info On HRT?
> What Is The Up To Date Info On Bio-Identical Hormones?
> What Foods Can We Eat To Create A Hormonal Balancing Effect in the Body?
> What Are Phytoestrogens?
> What Is The Connection Between Digestive Upset (gas and bloating) And Declining Estrogen
> Is Soy Safe For Menopausal Women?
> How Can An Anti-Inflammatory Diet Help With Peri-menopausal/Menopausal Symptoms?
And So Much More to set you on the path to helping your women clients with their most pressing concerns.
Diet For Living School: Where You Can Live Your Best Life While Creating An Amazing Coaching Practice
Much Love And Support
#menopause #menopausalmovement #peri-menopause #estrogen #hearthealth #phytoestrogens