7 Astonishing Myths About the Menopause
Updated: Feb 19
Nobody really wants to talk about the menopause. It’s almost like it’s a dirty word.
This often means that the correct information doesn’t reach the women who need it.
Even though there is a lot more information available today about the menopause, there are so many misconceptions. I have clarified a few of them here.
7 Top Menopause Myths:
1. Menopause happens in your 50s
Your hormones start to decline around the age of 35. This stage is called the peri-menopause. But since this happens ever so slowly, you won’t notice it at first. You may only notice it in your late 40s when all hell can break loose! This is why it’s so important to start looking after your hormones as early as possible. This way you may have an easier time later.
2. The way to lose weight is to diet
In your 40s your metabolism change and it becomes harder to lose weight. You decide to go on a diet. The thing is that the old fashion way of dieting, i.e. cutting out fat and sizing down portions, doesn’t work once you hit 40.
Your hormones dictate things now. This means that you need to nourish your hormones and look after them. This includes eating fat, but the right kind. It also means looking after yourself through self-care and de-stress.
3. I’m taking HRT so I’m covered
HRT can be a great help during these years provided they are body-identical and not synthetic. BUT it’s important to remember that HRT is only covering oestrogen and progesterone. What about your insulin, cortisol and thyroid hormone? These 3 hormones play an enormous role in how you feel and they need to be in balance.
Your thyroid naturally produces fewer hormones as you age and this will affect your metabolism.
Insulin is your fat-storing hormone and an excess means that you will put on weight.
Cortisol influences all of the above hormones. It’s a balancing act that can easily become disrupted.
HRT may minimise some symptoms as well as looking after your bones and heart health. But there are other hormones that still need looking after and only YOU can do that.
"If you have been struggling for a long time, this test is the perfect tool to identifying imbalances."
4. There is no point in having your hormones tested
If you ask your GP about testing to see if you are menopausal, they are often reluctant. This is because the only test available to GPs is a blood test. They say that a blood test is not going to be very accurate because the sex hormones fluctuate a lot.
This is true since blood tests are a ‘snapshot in time’.
The GP might agree to test your FSH and LH to see if you are peri-menopausal. But, symptoms alone can do this. If you are +40 and you are experiencing e.g. mood changes, anxiety, irritability, missing periods, heavy periods, then you are likely to be peri-menopausal.
However, there is an amazing lab test that can test for hormone imbalances. It’s a spot urine test - you take a sample at 4 points over 24 hours. It provides a comprehensive look at adrenal and sex hormones. Not only does it show your levels of these hormones, it also shows how your body uses them and breaks them down.
If your body is not breaking down and eliminating your hormones properly, they will re-enter your circulation. This is likely to result in oestrogen dominance which is often the case in conditions such as fibroids.
If you have been struggling for a long time, this test is the perfect tool to identifying imbalances. The information saves so much time and makes it easier to identify what your body needs.
5. Periods will become lighter
This is a very common myth. In fact, the opposite is more likely to happen. The fluctuating hormones often mean that your periods will become slightly heavier. They may also become closer together. The reason for this is the sharp decline in progesterone which means that you will become oestrogen dominant.
6. Menopause Supplements will help
It’s true that good quality supplements will help your hormones, and hopefully your symptoms. Unfortunately, the most common ones you find in the supermarkets or on the High Street are not the best ones. Either the dose is too low, or the ingredient is not easily absorbed by the body. Also, it’s important to remember that supplements can be harmful.
There are many very good quality supplements that a qualified health practitioner can recommend. They will be safe and tailored to YOUR needs.
7. You just have to get through it – there is nothing you can do
It’s hard to know where to start with this one. It's simply not true.
What you eat and the way you live your life has a HUGE impact on how you feel. Anything from eating to nourish your hormones, to minimising your exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals, getting the right exercise, managing your stress levels and adding some good quality supplements. There are so many small changes you can make. And together they will make an enormous impact on your experience and health.
The good thing is that there are many things you can do to influence your health and menopausal experience. Start with small changes. They all add up and you WILL feel better.
I hope this helps. Keep well!
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Consult your doctor or health care practitioner for any health problems, before embarking on any new health regimes, using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications or food programmes.