At a certain point of their life, every woman will come to a phase called menopause. Menopause isn’t an overnight process; the production of eggs will gradually decrease over a period of several years before it completely stops. Many women are concern regarding how the change in hormone would change their body, mind, and health. This week we will share some tips on how you can maintain your health throughout the menopause journey.
1. Perimenopause (begin several years before menopause)
2. Menopause (body stop producing oestrogen, menstrual cycle permanently cease, may experience menopause symptoms)
3. Post menopause (most of symptoms of menopause will start to disappear, depletion of oestrogen increases risk of several health condition, e.g. osteoporosis)
Symptoms of menopause
• Irregular menstrual cycle
• Moodiness, irritability
• Hot flushes throughout whole body (mild to severe)
• Daytime tiredness due to disturbed sleep at night
• Decrease in libido (sex drive)- lost interest
• Vaginal dryness and bladder problem
Health concern after menopause
• Oestrogen depletion increase risk of low bone density, osteopenia, and osteoporosis
• More susceptible to cardiovascular disease
• Reduction in oestrogen reduce water holding capacity and elasticity of skin
• Lack of oestrogen can cause lining of urethra to become drier, thinner and less elastic, which lead to increase the need to urinate often; thus, increase risk of urinary tract infection (UTI) and incontinence.
In continuation from the Menopause topic, we would also like to some nutritional concern that women need to address during menopause.
The decline in the hormone oestrogen during menopause causes women to lose bone density more rapidly and increases the risk of osteoporosis. Thus, increasing the intake of calcium in moderation can help to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Calcium rich food include daily product (milk, yogurt and cheese), dark green leafy vegetables and soybeans.
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps the intestine better absorb calcium. Vitamin D rich food include oily fish, eggs and daily products fortified with Vitamin D such as cereal and fats spreads. It might be difficult to get sufficient Vitamin D from food alone, so exposing your skin to sunlight without any protection for 10 ~15 minutes a day. The human skin can produce large amounts of Vitamin D3 when exposure to the hot sun in short period.
3. Vitamin B
During menopause, most women will experience hot flashes, fatigue, mood changes and vaginal dryness which can be relieved by B vitamins. Vitamin B provides energy and aids in maintaining a healthy mucous membrane, which includes vagina. Vitamin B12 aids in lifting depression, reduces anxiety and helps decrease mood swing, while Vitamin B6 helps in promoting calmness and restful sleep. Niacin (vitamin B3) helps with the body’s production of oestrogen and other sex hormones. Good sources of B vitamins are whole cereal, bean seaweed, fruits and vegetables.
Menopause women may face the risk of anaemia due to prolong or heavy flow of period. Iron is an essential element for red blood cells production. The examples of iron rich food are red meat, eggs and leafy green vegetables. It is advisable to not simply take any iron supplement unless under doctor prescription, as over-intake of iron will cause toxicity.
5. Healthy fats and oil
In post menopause women, the reduction in oestrogen level cause detrimental changes in cholesterol and blood fat, thus increase the risk of heart disease. Healthy fat and oil can help to reduce inflammation, protect heart and blood vessel, boost metabolism and promote satiety which aids in weight management. Examples of healthy fat and oil are omega-3, omega -6, olive oil, coconut oil.