The word Menopause creates a feeling of dread in many women, mainly because of the negative perception it is given by society. The many symptoms that come in the perimenopause (the years leading up to when periods stop) can leave a women feeling that her better years are behind her. Suddenly, she is no longer the person she once was. Her memory is shot, her thinking confused and somehow her body has taken on a whole new shape, even though she is still eating the same. However, I am here to tell you that with the use of reflexology and a focus on diet and lifestyle, this needn’t be the case.
Why do I get hot flushes?
At the time of the menopause, the body is dealing with an imbalance in the female hormones.
The liver, as the main organ responsible for detoxing, is having to breakdown oestrogen into a form that can be removed by the body. It also regulates the amount of oestrogen circulating at any given time. Therefore we do not want to overburden it.
In order to reduce hot flushes and anxiety issues, we need to think about what can cause them and take steps to reduce them. There are different triggers for different people but there are a few common ones such as hot drinks before bed, caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods. These stimulants have to a two fold affect on the body.They cause our blood sugar to fluctuate, causing our stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol to rise. This puts us into ‘ flight or flight’ mode. This can cause us to feel stressed and anxious. At menopause these symptoms will be heightened.
Also, when we constantly live in that stressed state, cortisol remains high and causes us to store food as fat. Hence that middle tyre, or barrel that can appear in some women of a ‘certain age’. Unless you regulate the blood sugar, and reduce cortisol, you can diet till the cows come home but your body will still hold on to fat.
Oestrogen affects cortisol levels with can drive anxiety, so we need to keep them balanced.
So at this time of life you have to embrace a new lifestyle. Be kind to yourselves, your liver and put your needs first for a change.
How do I reduce hot flushes?
Reduce the burden on the liver by reducing the stimulants.
- Alcohol. I know that this is hard to do but it’s not forever. An occasion glass of wine is fine but not everyday. It may feel like it reduces stress but it doesn’t in the long run. Alcohol also blocks certain vitamins such as B vitamins, zinc calcium and magnesium. All of which are important at this time for sustaining energy. It also blocks omega 3’s which are an important anti inflammatory. If you suffer with heavy periods and clotting, then supplementing with these will definitely help.
- Reduce Caffeine. This causes blood sugar to rise and fall and needs more water to break down in the body.
- Reduce/remove sugar. Eating high sugar foods causes a temporary high but drops your blood sugar low again after. If we keep blood sugar even, this will reduce moods swings and unnecessary weight gain.
- Try sage tea ( for hot flushes)and decaf coffee. If you do things gradually, it will not feel such an effort, or a feeling of being deprived.
What foods are good to eat at this time?
- Onions, leeks, artichokes, soya, lentils and flaxseeds in particular, help the liver control and remove excess hormones. Bitter type foods help the liver create bile to breakdown fats and remove waste from the body.
- Green leafy vegetables give good levels of calcium and magnesium needed at this time.
- Good fats such as avocado and oily fish help to lower inflammation and help absorb vitamins ADEK. these are particularly helpful if you suffer with heavy periods .
- Milk thistle is a herb that also helps support it and can be supplemented at this time.There are other herbs such as black Cohosh that can help. A herbalist can best advice the correct herb for your exact symptoms.
- It is a good idea to supplement with a good multivitamin/mineral with good levels of magnesium.
Try to Exercise regularly.
- Exercise increases your endorphins, the feel good hormones. It can help to reduce anxiety and depression. It also increases growth hormone that helps to keep you younger. Time to get the running trainers on !!
Reflexology and Menopause
- Reflexology works on the premise that there are different reflex points on the foot that correspond with organs in the body. By massaging certain points and bring them back into balance, then relaxation and a sense of well-being is achieved.
- Reflexology can help reduce the stress and get the body to turn off the flight or fight response. As such it may help with a reduction in feelings of anxiety.
- By balancing the stress hormones it may also help to reduce hot flushes in certain individuals. This will vary from person to person and would need to be a regular protocol and not a one off session.
- Menopause is a time to be kind to yourself and reflexology is perfect to help you relax and reboot.
As you can see there are measure that can help women at menopause. Ultimately it is a mind game. By looking at it as doorway through to an even better time, where as a woman you come into your own and can truly flourish, then when the bad days do appear, you can accept them as a necessary bridge to a better time.
As a Nutritional therapist & Reflexologist I have a foot in both camps. If you would like to talk confidentially about what would best help you or to try some reflexology pls feel free to contact me.