There is no one way to go through the menopause. Each woman’s experience is unique. When we reach midlife, it can be difficult to separate the effects of ageing from the effects of menopause.
And while this life stage may bring changes and challenges, there are positive steps that women can take to improve their health and wellbeing during this time.
There are a range of physical, mental, and emotional symptoms that are commonly associated with the menopause, but they can vary greatly in terms of how mild or severe they are. I believe that menopause is an important and opportune time to look closely at the lifestyle factors that impact both managing the transitions at this stage of life and embracing healthy ageing.
Menopause symptoms typically occur because of changes in hormone levels, in particular, the dramatic drop in the female hormone oestrogen.
Hormone shifts can affect moods. It can be disturbing to find yourself feeling uncharacteristically nervous or depressed or having memory lapses. It helps to know that the psychological effects of menopause are temporary. In all likelihood, you’ll soon get back on an even keel.
Is HRT an option?
One way to relieve the troublesome symptoms of the menopause is by using hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
You can learn more about how effective HRT is at treating symptoms of the menopause in the discussion I had with Jane Pangbourne of Menopausal Not Mad here.
HRT can be very effective for those women who suffer from menopausal symptoms that impact on their quality of life. It can give them back a sense of control in what can be a challenging time.
The menopause, for many women, can be a time when they press pause on always meeting the needs of others, and start to put their own lives and their health first. The question is – just how do you face the transitions and age gracefully? With so many lotions and potions promising to remove all your ‘flaws’ and images of ‘perfection’ all over social media, not to mention all the celebs who have gone under the knife in an attempt to slow the hands of time, it’s little wonder we’re left feeling bewildered.
Healthy ageing starts in the gut
What I would say to anyone contemplating a cosmetic procedure is to first of all, take a good look inside. Growing older affects nearly every part of your body, including your hair, skin, heart, muscles, digestive system, gut and more, but it’s my view that ageing well may be as simple as adopting a few easy everyday habits.
The food we eat and how we treat ourselves can prevent or even reverse ageing. Your body needs the right nutrients to fight off free-radical damage, and your skin is no different.
The hormonal changes that occur during menopause can change the skin’s physiology. As oestrogen decreases, testosterone is no longer ‘masked’ in a woman’s body and can mean oilier skin, facial hair (especially around the chin area), sagging skin, age spots, lower levels of collagen and elastin, plus skin that’s more prone to sun damage.
My skincare tips
A good skin exfoliating – cleansing – moisturising regime is very important. Do you have one? I exfoliate once a week; I cleanse my skin every day, in the evening, and moisturise morning and night. I may even dab some extra moisturiser on in the afternoon if my skin feels dry. I have a professional facial at least once a month and I love them! It’s important to feed your face just like you feed your body.
There are supplements that can help plump out your skin naturally, collagen for one. Drink bone broth regularly or take a collagen supplement like this one: https://planetpaleo.co/ to improve skin, hair, and nails. Sun, like alcohol is ruinous to your skin, so limit exposure. I always use an SPF 50 on my face when I go out in the sun. And let’s not forget the importance of a good night’s sleep – the best beauty boost. I know you might think doing all of this is a lot of faffing about, but if you want good skin, you have to invest in it and make time for it.
You are what you absorb
While healthy foods provide the foundation for optimal health and vitality, even the healthiest foods are of little use if they are not properly digested, absorbed and assimilated. As we age, normal digestion slows down, inhibiting our ability to process vital nutrients for use throughout the body. If the body cannot extract all the nutrients in our food, our overall health will begin to suffer, and can result in a wide range of unwelcome diseases. These problems are often caused by decreasing levels of stomach acid and digestive enzymes that facilitate the crucial breakdown of food in our digestive tract.
Constipation is another sign that your digestive system is not in tip-top condition. If your body cannot get rid of toxins via the bowel, these toxins may break out via your skin instead. Retained bowel wastes stress the liver and if the liver cannot break down all toxins, they may spill into the bloodstream increasing the risk of skin problems. The skin looks sallow, greasy, or spotty with dry, red flaky patches – and this may stem from internal gut/liver issues. If you suffer with regular constipation, consider having colon hydrotherapy treatment. You can read more about this therapy here.
Make Digestive Enzymes part of your anti-ageing strategy
Digestive Enzymes enable the more efficient breakdown of the food we consume, especially if we are over the age of 45, peri-menopausal, menopausal, or post-menopausal, and not producing sufficient amounts of stomach acid, pancreatic enzymes and bile. As we age, the production of stomach acid and enzymes can begin to slow down, affecting the digestive capacity of the stomach and gut. If you are recovering from a period of illness, or perhaps an operation, digestive enzymes can help you get back to full strength, by helping absorption of key nutrients. Not only do these important chemicals help to properly digest food, but they are also instrumental in ensuring nutrients are properly absorbed and assimilated through the small intestine, where they are taken to the liver, and the liver decides which part(s) of the body they need to be transported to.
If there are insufficient acids/enzymes, the digestive system and gut have to work even harder, causing extra stress on other body organs, including our skin. This can show up in wrinkles (I don’t mean lines on the skin; they are normal signs of ageing, wrinkles are not) – a sign that there is a lack of something, such as fluid, oils and nutrients in the skin and in the connective tissue that binds everything together. Healthy skin is silky smooth, dense and tightly elastic, firmly covering the face and body like a perfectly fitted, unwrinkled pair of tights, covering our skeleton and muscles without wrinkles and without blemishes.