Updated: May 1
I'm thrilled that at the moment there is a real buzz about talking about the Menopause. Too long its been a background conversation, almost to the point of embarassment, which is crazy when 51% of the population is going to transition with these hormonal changes.
The rough statistics are that 30% of women will sail through the menopause and wonder what all the fuss is about, and to them I say 'Please don't judge others when you didn't have symptoms'. I've met a few women like this, and they just don't know how bad it can get as they've not walked a mile in your shoes, or even years!
30% of women will get some symptoms and it will be easily alleviated, maybe because they've headed it off with doing some healthy lifestyle changes or maybe their physiology is on their side.
I'm here, as are all the emerging therapists, advisors and ambassadors of Peri/menopause for the 30% that are going to really go through it... to hell and back.
I don't blame this group reaching for the first pack of HRT that they're offered and feeling the relief as it kicks in, it really is your choice, all I like to do is to give you some details so that you make an informed choice.
However there is a right time for HRT, and a very wrong time too. You need to know when is the time to take it and why.
WHAT DOES HRT DO?
Over the last couple of years I've spoken to so many women between the ages of 35 and 75 and heard so many stories that there are now patterns starting to emerge that I can build on when passing knowledge on about all things M to you. More and more the women I meet are having an early menopause, under the age of 45, and at this age you need the hormones so take them.
Let's just clarify what an early menopause is, it is the loss of oestrogen, therefore periods are very erractic, scant or stopped. If you are experiencing a lot of health symptoms and still regular and/ or heavy periods this is not an early menopause, this is the perimenopause. This is a state of a high amount of oestrogen but low progesterone, and this isn't a stage that necessarily sits well with taking HRT.
This due to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) putting hormones oestrogen and progesterone back into your body, this is fine if both are very low. Simply put oestrogen gives you great hair, skin and bone density, and also deeply affects your collagen levels and your cardio vascular health, Progesterone keeps you calm and sane, and counteracts the fertility side of oestrogen. That's as indepth as I get on what the hormones are doing within you, and of course it's way more complex and so you may like to do further reading.
HRT puts yourbody back into being in your 30s again, you'll have more energy and hopefully feel fantastic, which is a wonderful reason to have it! The serious reason to take HRT is your physical health, in your 30s you should have these hormones, this is natural, and you need them for so many functions within your body, and we know that Osteoporosis and Heart health are 2 major reasons to keep oestrogen topped up for as long as possible.
As we age through our 40s, both of these hormones are starting to decline, and this is natural too, our reproductive system is dwindling and so these hormones aren't required in the way that they were. In our 50s, they've hit an all time low and this is the menopause, with night sweats, broken sleep, hot flushes and mood swings. However if you take hold of your health as you experience symptoms and start taking the supplements that are recommended you can divert all of these symptoms from happening. Taking HRT will to a degree resolve these symptoms, but it is also paramount to understand that they are a health imbalance and that these can be reversed with the right knowledge; read more about Understanding Your Menopause, with my book here.
WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME FOR THE MENOPAUSE?
A friend who is teetering on the brink of taking HRT said to me the other week, in a slightly exasperated tone 'So when IS the right time for the Menopause?' And my answer was 'Now, when nature intended it!'
Not sure it went down well, and I can appreciate if you have symptoms you just want it to be over.
Another statistic - the average age of the Menopause in the UK is 51. This is technically when you stop having periods for 12 months (and you only know this in hindsight).
My friend is 47, so is this the right time for the Menopause?
You're in the time frame for being very Perimenopausal, this can start producing symptoms up to 10 years prior to the main M, so we have to make a sweeping statement and say you can be perimenopausal from around 41. If you still have periods, you are perimenopausal.
Tiredness, leading to anxiety, overwhelm and low moods are the killer symptoms of the PeriM, they're the one's that get you going to the GP with 'I'm not sure what's wrong with me', and as you haven't got a sweat in sight a lot of GPs will point you in the direction of depression rather than the menopause. And, to be fair to them they don't have many tools in their kit box to help a woman who is tearing her hair out and crying her eyes out if they don't offer HRT and/or Anti-depressants. The underlying cause of these symptoms at this stage is nutritional depletion, you don't require HRT or ADs, you require multivitamins, magnesium and some other very specific supplements. You can check out the starter guide here.
What you really need right now is knowledge, with an understanding of the nutrients that a perimenopausal women needs - supplements like Magnesium, Zinc and Vitamin B complex. They help sleep, calm your nerves, create good blood and about 3,000 other vital functions in your body to avoid you going into hormonal melt down.
MY FACTS ABOUT HRT
One of the points that is being made at the moment in all avenues of the media is that HRT can be taken indefinitely. However I don't think they know enough about the long term effects of doing this. I've met some women now 65-75 who have menopausal symptoms coming through even though on HRT and also in coming off it, can't get over the sweats and flushes. This is my main fear that in 20 years time this will be the current generation of 50 year olds, and it is far more difficult to resolve health imbalances at 70+ than late 40s/50s.
Another point is, when you do come off HRT, you WILL have a Menopause. I had this conversation the other day, a client is part way through hers now, the HRT will reverse this state, then when you come off you may have the symptoms in just the same way in the future as you have now. My thoughts are, deal with them now when you have the energy too. I know some women will laugh and say 'what energy?' but if you're like this in your 40s/50s, how will you handle it in your 60s/70s? I'm passionate about helping you deal with the underlying health issues that are causing your symptoms, resolve these and the menopause becomes a far more pleasant transition.
In coming off HRT, speak to your healthcare professional and they should be advising you to come off it very slowly, just like nature. Expect this to be up to 18 months or so depending on the strength you are on, coming off HRT cold turkey will throw your system into shock, just like having a Hysterectomy.
My advice is this: to think about coming off HRT in your early 50s, you've got over the national average age of the menopause, you've had a really good run with thicker hair and lovely skin and now it's time to deal with your body. The Menopause will never go away , and it can't be avoided, nature will take its course so I suggest you have yourself in the right state of mind to have your menopause, and utilise any of my products to help you resolve your symptoms now, rebalance your health and have a far happier menopause experience right now.
I'm an advocate of having a natural menopause, and this means one with adding in HRT. I personally see this as putting chemicals into your body that shouldn't be there in nature. HRT is processed, however natural you're told it is, a lot comes from yams, but it's been processed and you're taking something that may or may not agree with your body in the long term. Having an early or surgical menopause though, there is a strong case to take HRT, my mum went on it at 42 for 10 years; I'm 50 this year and I don't require it as I still have healthy periods and supplements have resolved all the symptoms that I experienced during my 40s. I saw my symptoms as my body crying out that something was wrong, I researched and addressed these and now I have no symptoms, and this is what I want for you.
It is your personal choice about HRT , and please discuss with as many people as possible if you're of an age or situation that means you are seriously considering it. Along with this please also address the symptoms you have, it is your body's way of telling you that there is something out of balance, and this is what I help women like you address everyday.
THE RIGHT STATE OF MIND
How do you know if you have this?
It's a point in your life where you look after you, I've always had the term 'Project Me', which I run from time to time for myself. This is where you respect that your body is changing, you can't compete with your 30 something self, and that this is fine. This is you passing into a new age of your life. Eating will change, exercise will change, you will get more sleep, you will say no to somethings you would have done previously. You'll diarise time to do things for yourself that nourish you in mind, body and soul.
The Menopause takes time, at the very least its a year of counting 'not having periods'. To take this time to 'Pause' means rethinking how you live your life, as you could be here for 10 years, to accept that it is going to happen, to allow the changes, seek help to understand those changes, and start putting some nutrients and TLC in to your body. Stop neglecting yourself and putting others first; this is your time!
So, the right time for the Menopause? It's now if you're 45 or over, this is the natural progression of your life. Trying to dam it or reverse it, and you'll be back here again at another time in the future, and possibly less physically able to cope.
WOULD YOU LIKE FURTHER SUPPORT?
If you haven't already downloaded my free guide to get you started on easing the major symptoms of the peri/menopause, you can do so now here.
Understanding Your Menopause
This explains hormones in a bit more depth and gets stuck into symtoms, supplements and solutions. This is the perfect starting place for anyone that wants to know exactly what is going on, and what to do about it. Make your symptoms a thing of the past, read more here.
I also offer consultations if you feeling particularly stuck, from looking at one specific issue like ' are you on the right supplments', through to a complete health analysis and action plan to alleviate your symptoms. If you'd prefer group work then sign up for the waitlist on '28 Days to a Happier and Healther Menopause', or if you can't wait, I have the video series, see all my solutions to help you here.
I can also recommend Essential Oils - they're great for dealing with mood swings and hot flushes. Read my blog on them here: https://www.thenaturalmenopause.co.uk/post/essential-oils-for-women-s-health so much so that I created Blossom cream to help ease heat symptoms.