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Picture this. You’re casually sitting at home. Watching the latest episode of your favouirte TV program and your husbeast, partner, child (who should have moved out of home already, shouldn’t they?), asks you if you want to go for a walk. To which you reply, with a vehemence
and rage only akin to the devil himself, that he/she is the most inconsiderate moron you’ve ever met. And you can’t believe they would be so stupid as to ask you such a thing. Followed by the feeling as if you’re sitting on the surface of the sun, and wondering whether you’ll actually explode on the spot, or dissolve into floods of tears.
Your inner monologue tells you, you’re being unreasonable, but you just can’t help it.
And you REALLY can’t help it.
Am I going crazy? You ask yourself.
NO, you are not!
So, what the hell is happening to me?
It’s an unfortunate consequence of being of the female species, that we spend a life time being ruled by our hormones. There are a lot of lucky women who sail through their hormonal life with ease. Never really noticing a period. Never experiencing the pain and suffering of PMT. Having the odd sweaty moment in the bread aisle of their local supermarket, or the odd night where they were a little warmer than usual, and that’s it.
But for many many women, when the menopause starts to rear its ugly head, an unbearable mix of moodiness, sweating, anxiety, and pain starts and continues for far longer than any human should be subjected to.
Men buy a Porsche and try to recapture some youth, women feel like they’re losing their minds.
So, what is going on?
There are a few things at play here. First of all serotonin, that happy hormone which gets the nerve cells communicating and is found mostly in the digestive system, gets completely messed up. Serotonin helps control your bowel movements, your mood, your sleep, blood clotting, bone health and sexual function. So you can see it’s pretty important.
During menopause, levels of serotonin fluctuate with a low giving you that snappish and irritable behaviour.
And what do I do about it?
You can always go down the chemical route and get some happy pills from your doctor, but I’m hoping you’re as horrified by that thought as I am. If you are, then read on.
A great strategy for increasing serotonin naturally is exercise. There are several studies which show exercise is at least as good as serotonin-enhancing medications at increasing available serotonin.
Consistent daily activity is key. So join that gym, take that brisk walk, break out those weights. Anything that gets you up and moving. (If you have not exercised in a while, make sure to get checked out by your doctor before embarking on an exercise regime)
Next is keeping your gut in check. Most of the serotonin produced in your body is made in the gut. Make sure your diet is in tip top form, you’re properly hydrated and taking a quality pro-biotic.
Now don’t get angry with me, but unfortunately carbohydrates are a great way to boost
serotonin. They increase insulin levels and allow more tryptophan (the amino acid which is the building block for serotonin) to enter the brain.
That’s why that fluffy white baguette tastes so good and a big bowl of creamy pasta, really hits the spot.
HOWEVER, simple carbs are just not the right way to go as we become the elders of our communities. Go for complex carbs: sweet potatoes, apples, blueberries, carrots, chickpeas, etc as a healthier way to boost serotonin.
Also eat foods rich in L-tryptophan. If you’re a meat eater: chicken, eggs, cheese, turkey, beef, salmon, and tuna. Although I would recommend avoiding tuna due to the high levels of toxic heavy metals which accumulate in larger fish and would advise limiting meat and dairy consumption to one or two times a week, due to its detrimental effects on the heart, and dairy’s direct effect on your hormonal health.
If you’re plant based: tempeh, beans, lentils, spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables, pumpkin, chia seeds and nuts, are your go to’s.
Magnesium, zinc, folic acid, vitamin C and B6 can also help to metabolize and utilize serotonin more effectively.
These three strategies can go a long way to helping balance the serotonin and therefore your moods.
And what about Oestrogen?
Ah yes. The dreaded Oestrogen. Oestrogens are basically a group of sex hormones (sounds way more fun than they actually are), which promote the development and maintenance of female characteristics in the human body. They are the little beasties responsible for breasts, pubic and armpit hair and regulation of the menstrual cycle and reproductive system. They live up there in the ovaries (mostly).
Throughout our menstrual life as estrogen levels rise half way through our cycles, an egg is released, and levels then quickly fall again after ovulation. It has a whole range of functions in our female bodies, which I won’t go into right now, but you can read all about HERE.
But all that medical stuff aside, oestrogen plays a MASSIVE part in our moods. Reduced levels of oestrogen means increased levels of anxiety. Depending how you manage your anxiety, can determine how moody you become because of it.
This is the point where many women reach for HRT. Now don’t get me wrong, HRT has been a ‘life saver’ for many women to help manage their symptoms, but there are documented risks.
Why do women take HRT?
When you haven’t had a decent nights sleep for months, and you are sick of sweating at the drop of a hat, HRT will manage that for you. You would need to take it for at least until your menopause has passed (which could be up to 10 years). And there are increased risks of cancer, heart disease and stroke.
What alternatives are there?
One of the most effective therapies for Hot Flashes is actually Homeopathy. In a study conducted in 2008 by 99 physicians in 8 countries, 90% of the women studied, reported a significant reduction in their hot flashes. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18194760)
This is of no surprise to me or my colleagues, but it may surprise you!
Combine that with nutritional strategies and exercise an you’re on to a winner.
I have seen women go from raging, anxious, (not to put too finer point on it) maniacs, to return to loving, reasonable and happy women. Whose lives have improved to levels better than they were before their symptoms began.
I have 8 top tips to managing your hormones available here: https://www.pbhomeopathy.com/managing-your-hormones
But can’t I just ride it out?
Let me tell you little personal story. I asked my dear mum recently what she had to say about the menopause. She’s nearly 70 at the writing of this blog and is fit, healthy and happy. She’s generally always been pretty happy and when I asked her, she said apart from the hot flushes, she didn’t really notice the menopause.
I must say, that I beg to differ. I was around 19-20 years old when her symptoms began and my dad and I used to often discuss how unreasonable, moody, and almost foreign she had become. Mum improved her diet a lot through those years, took evening primrose oil, which she swears did nothing, and she did ride it out. And she did come out the other side.
That was unfortunately before I did my homeopathic training. She did ride it out, but so did we. And it wasn’t that much fun for us at all. The mood swings were almost unbearable.
Mum didn’t suffer with anxiety or depression, but riding those kinds of feelings out, for most people is not a healthy option.
Anger can and will, if left unchecked, make you sick! It puts tremendous pressure on your nervous system and organ systems, and really does need to be dealt with.
So here are my basic top tips for Mastering Your Menopause:
Homeopathy – try it, and I can with confidence say that, you will not regret it
Improve your nutrition – ensure you get a healthy balanced diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, complex carbs and good quality protein. The more natural something is, the better it is for you
Exercise regularly – at least 5 times per week. You should always leave one day per week to allow your body to rest
Meditate – Really! Study upon study shows that meditation is beneficial for absolutely everything. Start off small, a couple of minutes per day, and work up to 15 to 20 minutes. You don’t have to clear your mind, but just focus on your breath or a consistent sound and just refocus every time your mind wonders
Drink enough water - most of us only need around 2 to 2.5 litres per day. A bit more if you’re exercising. I can’t stress enough how important adequate hydration is for everything.
And last but not least…
Communicate. - your partner might not have a clue what’s really going on with you. Communicating your struggle may help them to understand that your mood swing isn’t about them. So much conflict and sadness can be avoided with proper communication.
If some of all of that resonates with you, why not book yourself in for a free 15 minute call with me and we can discuss how I can help you.
You’ve got this! You can do it, and there is light a the end of the tunnel.
Who am I?
My name is Philippa and I’m a Homeopathy & Nutritional Therapist.
I specialize in helping women like you to Master Their Menopause.
Join me and others like you on my Facebook page
Or join my Facebook Group: Homeopathic Menopause. Just click through HERE
I look forward to meeting you.