When you talk about the menopause, it is often ageing women and hot flushes that spring into mind. But nutritional coach Helen James reveals there are more than 30 symptoms - many which women ignore. NATALIE WALKER reports
Nutritional coach Helen James, 48, is hosting an educatory event at Preston Marriott Hotel on Saturday November 10, from 9.30am, which include seven other speakers, focusing on nutrition, support, wellbeing and building confidence for those women who are – or about to – go through the menopause.
Helen says: “There isn’t enough information out there to support women
going through the menopause. It is still classed as a taboo subject and is not spoken about.
“Menopause is defined as the stage one year after no menstruation. The perimenopause is the time before this when changes to hormones occur and can start as early as 35 years old.
“People generally think it is about old women who experience hot flushes. But most women are not aware there are more than 30 symptoms related to hormonal changes that occur leading up to the menopause. They can affect your physical, mental and emotional health.
“For example, brain fog, temporary decrease in cognitive function and anxiety are just some of the signs. Aches and pains are also a symptom. People think it is just part of getting old but it can be due to a hormonal imbalance.
“Other symptoms include hair loss, acne, bloating and digestive problems, changes to menstrual cycle, dry or thinning skin, fatigue and lethargy and loss of libido.
“Many women find this period in their lives very challenging with work and life pressures exacerbating their symptoms and vice versa.
“I will be discussing nutrition, which is of underlying importance. We can support the body with good food and nutrients needed for optimal health. If we have pains in our joints and muscles, for example, we need to make sure we are eating enough of the nutrients needed to enable repair and recovery, such as proteins, healthy fats, and minerals such as magnesium.
“Getting off the sugar rollercoaster is key to overall health, especially as it influences hormones.
Sugar and stress are the top disruptors of hormone balance that I see with my female clients, therefore balancing blood sugar is the first step.
“Eating a low sugar diet, one which is low in refined carbohydrate and containing whole grain complex carbohydrates, can help. Ensuring a balanced diet containing adequate protein, fibre and healthy fats is also key to combatting peri-menopausal weight gain, brain and heart health.
“The Mediterranean diet has been quoted the best diet for many health aspects, including depression and anxiety, which are also common symptoms of the perimenopause.
“This workshop also features other speakers who have expertise in different areas, from stress management to approaching your line manager to discuss your menopause.
“Stress management techniques such as mindfulness, walking outdoors, meditation and yoga can also help with the mental and emotional aspects of the transition.
“Confidence in your abilities to perform at work is often lost, so we look at how to restore confidence and improve mental cognition and memory. And we discuss the burning question should you use HRT (hormone replacement therapy) or not?”
Read more: Should women use HRT for the menopause?
The other speakers include yoga and meditation teacher Marguerita Colley, who will discuss the merits of the two forms; Sandra Hart, from Tonic Acupuncture, who looks at the body, mind, and spirit as one.
Jane Hallam, founder of Esteem – No Pause, will talk through suitable clothing to keep cool during hot flushes, after she experienced night sweats.
Clare Jackson will demonstrate the effectiveness of healing massage and reiki; Sharon MacArthur, international leadership coach, trainer, facilitator menopause educator, aims to
inspire women in business.
Penny Elger, a House of Colour consultant, will encourage women to have their own personal stylist and to learn how to dress for confidence and success with minimal effort every day.
Sally Leech will discuss how she founded The Menopause Club, an online platform for women providing advice, information and friendship. A part of this, she has launched Menopause Club for Business, working with organisations to support women through this transition, providing toolkits including menopause policies, training for managers and support for women in the workplace.
Helen adds: “What we mustn’t forget is that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Once through the transition, many women gain a new zest for life and do wondrous things such as studying degrees and running marathons.”
Tickets to the three-and-a-half hour event are £32, plus booking fee, and available from http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/your-menopause-healthy-ageing-seminar-what-every-woman-should-know-tickets-50162756154