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5 ways to Manage Peri-Menopause and Menopause Symptoms

By Jean Jarrett

Many women in their 40s and 50s struggle with low energy, weight gain, poor sleep and brain fog. Not to mention irregular or heavy periods and emotional ups and downs. These symptoms are often grouped as peri-menopause or menopause and considered a normal part of the menopause transition.

It is not surprising that many women feel confused and unsupported during perimenopause and menopause.

I assure my clients these symptoms are not normal, and can be addressed with dietary and life-style changes.

In fact, I created the Menopause Reset Program for this exact reason, empowering them with the knowledge they need to manage their health and regain their vitality.

My top 5 tips for managing menopause symptoms are:

  1. Look after your liver

Our liver plays an important role in hormone metabolism and detoxification. For women with liver disease or impaired liver function, hormone metabolism and detoxification can be affected, leading to hormonal imbalances and a build-up of toxins. This results in hot flushes, night sweats, mood changes, weight gain, and sleep disturbances.

Women with liver disease or impaired liver function have an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. The liver produces a protein called osteocalcin, which is involved in bone metabolism. Impaired liver function can lead to a decrease in osteocalcin production, which can contribute to decreased bone density.

My tips for liver health:

  • Eat 1-2 cups of green leafy vegetables every day, including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, silver beet, kale and bok choy. Ideally organic and yes, every day!
  • Include bitter foods in your diet. Bitter foods include cos lettuce, radicchio, rocket, endive, witlof, watercress and dandelion leaves.
  • Swap your coffee for herbal tea or filtered water with fresh lemon
  1. Look after your gut health

The gut microbiota is a collection of microorganisms that live in your digestive tract and play a crucial role in every aspect of your health and wellbeing. A diet low in whole foods, high in processed foods, sugar and alcohol impact the microbiota. When combined with hormonal changes, this contributes to weight gain, joint pain, and mood changes.

Changing estrogen levels also impact gut permeability, resulting in abdominal pain, bloating and changes to your bowel health. Gut permeability and a microbiota diversity also impact our ability to absorb nutrients, including important nutrients such as calcium and magnesium for bone health.

My top tips for gut health:

  • Eat a wide variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds to ensure you get the fibre necessary to feed the good bacteria in your gut.
  • Add some fermented foods to your diet, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, or beetroot kvass.
  • Gardening has been shown to support a healthy gut microbiota.
  1. Be mindful

Stress has a negative impact on every aspect of our health and well-being.  While we can’t eliminate all stress from our lives, we can learn mindfulness techniques to support our nervous system, which has a positive impact on our health.

Build some simple mindful activities into your daily routine, for example.

  • Breathing – tune in to your breathing and slow it down. Try some breathing exercises and build them into your daily routine. I get my clients to do specific exercises before bed, before eating, and when walking or in the car, so it becomes routine.
  • Be mindful when eating – slow down when eating, chew and taste your food, and sit down when eating. This helps improve your digestion and gut health.
  • Get out into nature – While taking a bush walk or a beach stroll is ideal it is not practical for many of us on a day-to-day basis but you can do a few simple things like walking barefoot on grass, having a plant on your desk and taking off your sunglasses in the morning.
  1. Movement

Regular exercise has so many benefits in menopause, including supporting liver function, cardiovascular health, gut health, and strong bones. It also reduces stress, improved mood and promotes a good night’s sleep.

The type of exercise depends on you, your body, and your current level of fitness.  Find exercise you enjoy.

Your exercise routine should include:

  • Cardio – walking, swimming or a group fitness class
  • Weight-bearing exercise – weights, Pilates or resistance band exercise
  • Something to tone your muscles and calm your nervous system like yoga, tai chi or chi gong.
  1. Get lots of sleep

Getting good quality sleep is essential for your energy levels and cognitive function, but also your mood, hormones, weight, liver and gut health. Many women struggle to fall asleep, wake in the night and can’t get back to sleep, or they may sleep ok but don’t wake up feeling refreshed.

The sleep hormone melatonin is only made in the presence of darkness or muted red light–the colours of sunset. It is essential for sleep; it is also anti-ageing! Melatonin promotes sleep by opposing cortisol, resetting our nervous system and improving our stress response.

My tips for getting a good night’s sleep:

  • Eat tryptophan-rich foods. Tryptophan is the precursor to melatonin. These foods include turkey, fish, cashew nuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, oats and prunes.
  • Switch off your screens at least 1 hour before bed or turn them to night mode
  • Buteyko Breathing exercises before bed. Deep breathing exercises promote relaxation and a deep, rejuvenating sleep.

While there is no one size fits all solution to menopause symptoms, I help my clients regain their vitality through a combination of dietary and lifestyle changes, Buteyko breathing, and supplements and herbal medicine where needed.

If you are struggling with hormonal changes and the symptoms associated with perimenopause and menopause, contact Jean Jarrett at Elemental Health to discuss the right approach for you.

More about the author

Jean Jattett
Jean Jarrett

Jean has always been drawn to natural therapies but it wasn’t until she was struggling with her daughter’s health that she fully realised their potential.

When her eldest daughter was 5 she was not thriving, she had digestive issues, sleep issues, chronic ear infections and delayed speech.  She was a happy child but started showing signs of anxiety and there were whispers of ADHD.

None of the GPs or specialists they saw could resolve her mounting health issues.  While wait-listed to see a behavioural paediatrician Jean decided to see a naturopath.

It sounds cliché but it was life changing. With dietary changes and nutritional supplements her daughter’s health improved in no time. By the time they went to see the paediatrician he found it comical that teachers and the GP suspected ADHD.

This experience changed the way Jean viewed food and nutrition and started her on a journey that lead to studying nutrition and naturopathy.

Jean now uses her experience to help women and their families to improve their health and wellbeing through naturopathy and nutrition. Jean is also an experienced Buteyko practitioner to provide you with a holistic range of therapies to empower you to take control of your health naturally.