Put simply, the menopause is the time in a woman's life when her menstrual cycles have completely stopped for at least 12 months. To be extra sure, she can do a blood test known as an FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) test to see if it is elevated into the menopausal range. Some women are absolutely delighted that their periods have finished however with menopause comes hormonal shifts that can result in unpleasant symptoms such as weight gain, dry skin, hot flushes, insomnia, night sweats and joint pain to name a few.
The time PRIOR to menopause is known as 'perimenopause.' Typically somewhere in her 40's, a woman's menstrual cycle becomes irregular (skipped periods, short periods, long periods), and some of those annoying menopausal symptoms can begin. Unfortunately, hormonal fluctuations during perimenopause can last for months to years and the symptoms may come and go.
While there are A LOT of hormones in the female body, the balance between oestrogen and progesterone are the most discussed. They are both made primarily in the ovaries to help with reproduction as well as cardiovascular, bone, adrenal, brain and musculoskeletal health and are therefore important for overall health and well-being.
Female hormones can respond to Nutritional Therapy, supplementation, lifestyle modifications and adrenal support and this can be the preferred route for some women. However, others may need to take additional hormones (body-identical) in order to address deficiencies as an addition to nutrition and lifestyle interventions. Symptoms, although common, don't have to be the norm and you don't need to just put up with them or suffer in silence. Speaking to a menopause specialist to find out ALL of the options available to you is key so that you can make an informed choice for your own individual circumstances.