How to Survive Perimenopause – Diet, Supplements, HRT, and Skin Care
Since Davina McCall’s documentary Sex, Myths And The Menopause aired on Channel 4 in May, menopause has been a hot topic.
The show received praise for detailing the stigma associated with menopause and breaking down the taboos surrounding it.
Davina was just 44 when she began to experience hot flashes, depression and mental fog and the TV presenter (now 53) is using hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to manage her symptoms. But Davina is not alone.
According to the Nuffield Health charity, some 13 million women in the UK experience perimenopause and menopause.
And yet, although they reported common symptoms associated with it, nearly half of the women surveyed did not recognize that this was what it could be.
Due to a lack of knowledge, women are misdiagnosed as depressed and given antidepressants.
Menopause is a natural part of aging, and that’s when a woman stops having her period. The average age of a woman in the UK to reach menopause is 51. However, periods usually start to become less frequent and symptoms can start to appear months and even years before this as estrogen levels drop.
This is classified as perimenopause and according to two authors of the new book, The Perimenopause Solution, there is a real lack of understanding when it comes to this stage.
In fact, millions of women in their 30s and 40s go through it without even realizing they are perimenopause. Imagine how much easier it would be if you knew what to expect and were armed with solutions to deal with it.
The co-authors, Dr Shahzadi Harper, a physician specializing in women’s well-being, and Emma Bardwell, a nutritionist and member of the British Menopause Society, claim that more than a billion women worldwide will be post-menopausal from here 2025. There is a real need for advice.
“Because perimenopause is always shrouded in secrecy and shame, there are an unprecedented number of myths being peddled,” says Emma.
“Most people use menopause as an umbrella term for the period in a woman’s life that encompasses perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. But perimenopause is the most important step to master because that is when most symptoms appear.
There are over 34 officially recognized symptoms of menopause. The most common and openly discussed are hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, mood swings, and weight gain. Other symptoms include brittle nails, disturbed sleep, hair loss, gum pain, headaches, and joint pain.
There is no one size fits all when it comes to symptoms, and since we all have a bad night’s sleep or a fluctuating period, how do we know when it’s really perimenopause?
“If you’re a female over 45, have symptoms and don’t feel yourself, we would say you’re in perimenopause,” says Dr. Shahzadi.
“If you’re under 45 and feeling that way, it’s probably perimenopause and now is the time to ask your doctor for blood work. A lot of women, and frankly some doctors, think that because they are still having their period, they can’t be perimenopause. But they could be.
“The average age of menopause (when you actually have your last period) is 51, but three in four women have symptoms four to ten years before that, and 75% of women will have perimenopause symptoms that decrease their period. quality of life. . ‘
Perimenopause can be difficult, the authors say, but if you have the tools to deal with it, the symptoms are manageable.
“We’re both supporters of HRT,” says Emma. “It is the gold standard treatment for many symptoms of perimenopause. However, the starting point for us is to take a holistic view. In the early stages, symptoms can be managed through lifestyle-oriented approaches. That’s why the British Heart Foundation advocates paying attention to your diet to reduce the risk of heart disease, the leading killer of women over 50.
“One of the most important things you can do for anxiety and mood is to balance blood sugar. Try to get protein with every meal and cut back on highly processed foods.
“Up to seven in ten women in the UK could be magnesium deficient. This can impact sleep and a whole range of perimenopausal symptoms. High stress states can deplete magnesium, so watch where you get your intake. This is why women who work in busy cities have more symptoms than women who do not work and live in the countryside.
If you aren’t already, exercise regularly.
“For many women, exercise is the first thing to do when they are tired or feeling weak,” says Dr Shahzadi. “But regular movement helps relieve stiffness, fatigue, trouble concentrating, sleep deprivation, and irritability. Studies have shown that strength training can also reduce the likelihood of having hot flashes.
It can be difficult to talk about it, but perimenopause can be an opportunity to make lifestyle changes. “Coming to the end of your reproductive life can feel like grieving,” adds Dr Shahzadi.
“But now that we are living to the age of 90, now is the time to make sure that the second half of our life is ready for health and happiness. Women should not be stigmatized for this.
What to eat and what to avoid …
“There’s plenty of evidence that eating certain foods during perimenopause can help support your mind and body,” says Lola Biggs, dietitian at natural supplements brand Together Health. “Here are some suggestions to get you started …”
Hot flashes: “Avoid alcohol, spicy foods, coffee and chocolate, which are believed to trigger hot flashes due to the impact they have on blood vessels – the increased dilation leads to an influx of blood and with it. heat.
“Instead, include soy milk, tofu, and edamame beans, which mimic the effect of estrogen in the body and can help reduce the number and severity of hot flashes.”
Weight gain: “It’s pretty common during menopause. This may be due to the natural slowing down of metabolism and an increase in sedentary lifestyle. Watch the amount of refined sugar and saturated fat in your diet and cut back on processed foods (white bread, pasta, cookies) as they are not nutritionally balanced.
“Eating complex carbohydrates such as wholegrain pasta, rice and whole grains helps the body to balance blood sugar levels and stay full for longer. “
Anxiety and irritability: “Protein foods that contain the amino acid tryptophan are essential because they help make the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin helps improve mood, and getting enough of it can help control appetite and sleep.
“Eat foods like oats, legumes (chickpeas, beans, lentils rich in vitamin B6, magnesium and antioxidants), turkey and cottage cheese. Try an antioxidant green tea, which contains L-theanine and has been linked to a feeling of calm.
“Brain fog is often reported by women and ashwagandha root can positively impact our brains’ ability to process things.”
Tired: “It’s tempting to look for sugary treats to boost energy, but the big rise in blood sugar can be followed by a big drop, making you feel overwhelmed.
“Instead, eat three balanced meals that are high in whole foods and healthy fats, and a handful of energizing nuts or beet juice to boost natural energy levels. Avoid caffeine after 2 p.m. and alcohol as they can cause sleep problems.
Products to relieve symptoms of menopause
Suvi Labs Botanicals + Collagen
Combines seven natural ingredients to manage the emotional and physical challenges of perimenopause.
Buy it for £ 39 (60 capsules) at Suvi Labs
Menopause Multi Health Set
Contains high levels of vitamin B1, B6, B12, biotin and vitamin D3, as well as ashwagandha and sage.
Buy it for £ 18.99 (60 capsules) from Together Health
RAI x M&S Hot Flush Cool Fix Serum
Hot and disturbed? This serum comes in the form of a roller and instantly refreshes hot, reddened skin. It also stimulates collagen and hydration.
Buy it for £ 28 (60ml) at M&S
Health and his perimenopausal spirit +
Created to support mood and spirit during the early stages of perimenopause.
Buy it for £ 17.99 from Health & Her
Menopause Face Mask
Packed with collagen boosting, moisturizing and anti-inflammatory ingredients like rose water and more.
Buy it for £ 29 (100ml) from Faace
Perimenopause Solution Now Available, £ 14.99, at Waterstones
This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on purchases made through any of these links, but it never influences the opinions of our experts. Products are tested and reviewed independently of commercial initiatives.
Do you have a story to share?
Contact us by sending an email to [email protected]
MORE: Solved: the genetic age when women start menopause
MORE: Delayed and Desperate: People are running into debt to pay for private health care as NHS waiting lists soar
MORE: Study of 9,000 children links fruit and vegetable diet to better mental health
How to get your Metro newspaper fix
Metro newspaper is always available for you to recover every morning of the week or you can download our app for all your favorite news, features, puzzles … and the exclusive evening edition!
Download the Metro newspaper app for free on the App Store and Google Play