Hormonal health can be hard to pin down but with some hormone-healthy choices, the right information and support, you can gain greater health and happiness by being able to better cope with hormone highs and lows.
This week marks Women’s Health Week (September 3rd–7th). Women’s Health Week is the annual campaign that encourages women to put themselves first for a week and think about their health and wellbeing.
Hormonal change is a hot topic for women’s health and unfortunately is often neglected as our lovely ladies in the community are often so preoccupied with caring about the health of their loved ones that they put their own health needs last.
The change — Menopause
The term “menopause” refers to the final menstrual period. The average age of menopause in Australia is 52 and lasts several years.
During this time, at least two-thirds of women experience symptoms of menopause.
These include hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, irritability and tiredness.
In addition, menopausal women are at a higher risk of several diseases including osteoporosis, obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
How to keep hormones happier by managing symptoms:
See your GP
If symptoms of menopause are disrupting your quality of life, it is important to see your GP. They are here to support and guide you during this time.
There are treatments available that can provide some relief:
Cyclic or continuous hormone therapy — this involves taking oral pills of oestrogen daily and progestogen for 10–14 days of the month. Alternatively, oestrogen and progesterone are delivered daily via a pill or skin patches.
The contraceptive pill — this is an option for women who don’t smoke and have a healthy weight and blood pressure. But a low-dose pill may not be enough to alleviate issues such as hot flushes in some women.
Making healthy food choices
Hormonal changes during menopause can cause bones to weaken, increasing the risk of osteoporosis. Calcium and vitamin D are linked to good bone health, so it’s important to get enough of these nutrients in your diet.
Eating a balanced diet can help to alleviate hormone imbalance symptoms. It is also recommended to eat more whole grains like brown rice and include calcium-rich foods like yoghurt and cheese
Include healthy fats from fish, olive oil, seeds and nuts, such as linseeds and macadamias and remember to always eat breakfast!
Active women usually experience fewer and less distressing symptoms, so ensure that regular exercise is part of your routine. Move and stand more and sit less and on days when you’re feeling a bit tired, try a gentle walk. Buddy up, it’s always more fun exercising with a friend. Get active outdoors, sunlight is your main source of vitamin D and is most beneficial for your body.
Drink plenty of water
During menopause, women often experience dryness. This is likely caused by the decrease in estrogen levels.
Drinking 8–12 glasses of water a day can help with these symptoms and can also reduce the bloating that can occur with hormonal changes.
In addition, water can help prevent weight gain and aid in weight loss by helping you feel full and increasing metabolism. So, keep your water bottle close by and drink up!
Certain foods may trigger hot flushes, night sweats and mood swings. They may be even more likely to trigger you when you eat them at night. Common triggers include caffeine, alcohol and foods that are sugary or spicy. Keep a symptom diary. If you feel that particular foods trigger your menopause symptoms, try to reduce your consumption or avoid them completely.
Don’t let changing hormones get you down!
Menopause is not an illness, but a natural part of life.
Though symptoms can be difficult to deal with, eating the right diet and exercising regularly may help alleviate and prevent them. Experiment with the tips above to make your time during menopause and beyond easier and more enjoyable.
Your GP is here to help, please reach out to them and talk to them about any concerns or queries they may have. Make your health top priority this week and enjoy Women’s Health Week, you deserve it.
Multiple convenient locations offering a fresh approach to your health care:
Providence Medical Anna Bay and Shoal Bay
Ph: 02 4981 2600
Australian Menopause Society
Women’s Health Week
Jean Hailes for Women’s Health