How mandatory is healthy lifestyle care in menopause?

Caviarlieri | Published September 20, 2022

A women’s lifecycle is like a hormonal roller coaster ride. The key female hormone, estrogen, governs
a woman’s entire reproductive journey. With time estrogen levels fluctuate and bring, associated
unfavourable and unbearable mental and physical complications. Slowly comes a phase in women’s
life when this life-defining hormone just starts vanishing from the body, this usher an unavoidable life
event known as “Menopause”. Though life does not stop here estrogen production stops and this
causes a lot of intolerable symptoms and increases the risk of long-term chronic diseases.


Food and nutrition play significant roles in the health and quality of life of menopausal women. The
irony is that majority of the women population have poor knowledge regarding nutrition, nutrient
deficiencies and menopause. Therefore, there is a need to educate women, especially in the
reproductive age group and beyond regarding menopause and dietary patterns to maintain their
nutritional health and best quality of life.


What is menopause?
It is a puzzle to many women and rarely is anyone prepared for it. Menopause is a process and not a
disease, mostly characterised by the drop in estrogen and progesterone level and permanent
stoppage of menstruation, confirmed only after 12 consecutive months of amenorrhoea (WHO). It is
the physiological end of the reproductive life of a woman.


When does it start?
This generally occurs between 45-55 years of age. Sometimes due to disease or genetic defect,
menopause occurs before 40 years of age, known as premature menopause. In some cases, cancer
treatment or removal of both ovaries drops the level of estrogen and progesterone, which stops the
period permanently, known as artificial menopause.


Smoking, obesity, ethnic origin and some chronic health conditions can be factors that trigger earlier
menopause. Some women start earlier menopause, especially if close female relatives also started
early.


How long does menopause last?
it varies from one individual to another. It can last anywhere from 3 to 7 years


What are the phases of menopause?
In practice, the term ‘menopause’ covers all the phases. There are three main parts to menopause.
Peri-menopause– This is the first phase during which hormonal balance begins to change. It usually
starts a few years before periods stop. Many women begin to experience menopausal symptoms at
some point during the peri-menopausal phase.


Menopause- The moment when periods have stopped. However, one won’t know that they have had
their last period until they have gone for some time without one. A woman is said to have reached
menopause if she has not had a period for 1 year. During this stage, the female hormones continue to
fall.

Post menopause– After 2 years without a period is considered to be in the post-menopausal phase.
By this point, the hormones will have settled into a new balance and most women will find that the
symptoms experienced will have tailed off. However, a few may experience continuing symptoms
during this phase of life, sometimes for quite a few years after menopause.


Symptoms of Menopause
It varies among women and results from changes in estrogen and testosterone hormones levels
1. Hot flashes and night sweats
2. Acidity, indigestion and bloating
3. Weight gain especially abdominal
4. Loss of muscle mass and joint pain
5. Anger, stress and panic attacks
6. Anxiety, tension, depression, frustration and mood swings
7. Dry skin and eyes & loss of hair
8. Irregular menstrual bleeding
9. Lack of concentration, confidence and enhanced forgetfulness
10. Reduced libido
11. Urinary bladder complications
12. Breathlessness, headache, sleep disturbances, dizziness and unexplained tiredness


Menopause and risk of chronic diseases
During menopause, women undergo a series of endocrinal and biological changes that are associated
with an increased prevalence of chronic conditions like
• High blood pressure and high pulse rate
• Breast cancer
• Diabetes
• Brittle bones and osteoporosis
• Increased LDL cholesterol level and cardiovascular diseases
• Abrupt weight gain or weight loss
• Thyroid diseases
• Cancer


How to prepare for menopause?
Nutrition and menopausal symptoms
A well-balanced diet and an active lifestyle can ease menopausal symptoms.
The hormonal changes stress the body tremendously and nutritional needs increase. So having a good,
varied diet will help to provide the body with what it needs and boost its ability to withstand symptoms
during this stressful time.

Common nutrient deficiencies
Women at risk of not meeting daily nutrient needs due to chronic illness or eating unhealthy diets are
at a higher risk for nutrient insufficiencies.
• Vitamin B12
• Folic acid
• Vitamin D
• Vitamin E
• Calcium
• Potassium
• Magnesium and zinc
• Omega 3 fatty acid
• Fibre
• Water


Dietary guidelines
For women, menopause is a reality check that their bodies are changing. Eating well will make this
mid-life transition easier.


What to eat?
• Opt for vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean protein
• Maintain a healthy weight and avoid eating oversized portions
• Choose to eat home-made food instead of outside processed foods
• Follow a heart-healthy diet by replacing saturated fat with healthy mono and polyunsaturated
fats
• Meet calcium and vitamin D needs by eating rich sources of the same
• Read food labels and use the package label information to help make the best choices for a
healthy lifestyle
• Drink plenty of water and healthy fluids throughout the day
• Keep a food diary and include a variety of foods from each food group


What to avoid?
• Eating high sugar, salt and fat-containing foods
• Overconsumption of coffee and caffeinated beverages
• Indulging in excess alcohol intake and smoking


Which dietary supplement can be added to daily routine under the expert’s guidance?
Caviarlieari a dietary supplement can be incorporated into the dietary regimen of
menopausal women.


Caviar cellular DNA extract and marine peptides-
Caviar extract is a rich source of Vitamin B12, which may help• Improve vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms like tiredness, fatigue and irritability


Coenzyme Q10 may
• Improve cognitive decline in the post-menopause phase
• Modulate mitochondrial functions and oxidative stress


Selenium may
• Reduce selenium deficiency-associated high cholesterol and triglyceride levels
• Offer protection against vascular diseases


What about exercise
• Be physically active every day to maintain a healthy weight, and high energy levels and
decrease the risk of heart disease and other age-related complications


How to rest and relax
• Practice yoga, listen to music, read books and write down complicated thoughts
• Restrict addiction and overuse of gadgets and social media


Common menopausal myths
Menopause starts at the age of 50.
• Reality- it can start before or after this age


There is no difference between natural and surgical menopause.
• Reality- There is a lot of difference between the two. Surgical menopause causes sudden
estrogen drop but in natural menopause, it is a gradual loss


A hot flush is the 1st sign of menopause.
• It varies from individual to individual


After menopause estrogen production stops
• It continues to be produced, just in smaller amounts


Conclusion
Menopausal health requires utmost priority in women’s life. Continuous efforts are needed to educate
and make women aware of menopausal symptoms and long-term consequences and enable them to
seek appropriate medical care if necessary. Awareness should be guided towards the necessity of
nutrition, a balanced diet, appropriate dietary supplements and a healthy lifestyle during the pre-and
post-menopausal periods.


It is foremost to break the ignorance and forbiddingness towards menopause. Women should talk and
express their feelings and discomforts to their family, friends, doctors and well-wishers. Menopauseis an unavoidable truth in a woman’s lifecycle, it is better to face all menopausal complications with
prepared fullness rather than suffering and struggling alone in silence.


To ensure that this natural phase of life passes smoothly with positive physical and mental health, a
woman wants the right health knowledge from the start, appropriate medical advice and
unconditioned support and understanding at work and home.


References
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5. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/menopause/Pages/Menopauseselfhelp.asp
6. Vitamin B12 and Menopause (menopausenaturalsolutions.com)
7. Neurochem Int, 2014;74:16-23
8. Menopause Int,2009;15(4):144-9
9. Nutr Sci Vitaminol,2015;61(4):322-5