Just a couple of generations ago, talking about the menopause was something that happened behind closed doors. These days, more and more women are opening up about the issues that they’re facing when it comes to the peri-menopause and the menopause.
What is the menopause?
Technically, this is when a woman stops having a monthly period. After 12 months this is called the menopause. This can tend to happen any time from around 45 onwards, though many women experience this sooner due to other health conditions. The average age is 51. This sounds all relatively straight forward, but in reality, it can be anything but!
The peri-menopause is the time that leads up to the last period. Most women will start to see changes in their early 40s. There can be a dizzying array of symptoms, which you’d never think would be related to the balance of your hormones!
Oestrogen and the menopause
Oestrogen is the main reason that women experience the many symptoms of the menopause. When we’re younger, we release oestrogen regularly as part of our monthly cycle. At the middle of our cycle (when we ovulate), the levels are at their highest. Towards our period, the levels drop.
As we get nearer to the menopause there is also a general decline in the production of oestrogen. This is what gives us some of the more interesting symptoms we experience in the peri-menopause.
The peri-menopause is the time when we get some particularly odd symptoms! Some of the more common ones are mood swings, hot flushes (hot flashes) and trouble concentrating. It’s entirely possible to also get more headaches, including migraines.
Some of the more interesting symptoms are things like a feeling of itching or crawling skin. This is because our friend Oestrogen is part of the collagen forming process. Once the levels of our hormones change, the production of collagen changes. So we start getting really dry and itchy skin. That lizard skin on your legs could be a sign that your hormone levels are starting to change! Not only that, but it’s also common to experience tingling hands and feet, digestive issues and many more. We told you they were odd!
The other symptoms can be more on the mental health side of things. This can include things like depression symptoms, crying more or being quick to anger. Some women find these symptoms much harder to cope with as they are often symptoms which can be misunderstood.
For example, women who have anxiety already may notice that their symptoms become worse at this time. If you’re consulting a health professional, then it really helps to make a list of ALL your symptoms. This will enable your GP to make a more accurate diagnosis.
Treatments for menopause.
It’s not all bad news!
There are various things that you can do to try and make things easier when you start to experience the symptoms above.
The first thing that most women start with is a supplement. These are generally seen as gentler on the body and can contain a balance of vitamins and minerals which are suitable for women at this time of life. They can also contain herbs such as Sage and black cohosh. Other remedies can include things like Evening Primrose oil or Starflower oil.
The next stage up from these is usually hormone replacement therapy (HRT). This can be anything from gels to tablets, or a combination of both. These days women can also be offered bio-identical hormones which mean that they’re less likely to have side effects. However, there has been a lot of talk about the negatives associated with HRT. The biggest being an increase in your risk of breast cancer. We’d always encourage you to talk to your doctor before you embark on any type of treatment, even the herbal ones.
There are other therapies which are available such as CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and also nutritional changes which can help. Interestingly there has been some research that suggests the more weight you carry going into the menopause, the worse your symptoms can be. But, one of the symptoms of the menopause is, you’ve guessed it, weight gain…
CBD as a treatment for menopause symptoms
There are studies which show that CBD can help with the many symptoms of the menopause. CBD works on the endocannabinoid system, which can help to regulate things such as sleep, appetite, mood and hormones. This makes the tincture and capsules something which many women try out. The cream, oil and balms can be rubbed into the skin to help with muscle soreness and aching joints, but also offer some moisture too.
As CBD is classed as a food supplement, we are not able to make any sweeping claims about what it can do for you. If you wanted to learn more about CBD and the menopause take a look at our information sheet here
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