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The role of diet and lifestyle in the menopause

June 15, 2023
Role of diet and lifestyle on menopause

We had the opportunity to speak to Suzie Sawyer, our Clinical Nutritionist, to discuss the menopause and the importance of healthy eating. Suzie is a renowned expert in female health and has extensive knowledge in the food supplement industry. At Jorja Healthcare she is our women’s health resident nutritionist, where she specialises in supporting women through their menopausal journey.

What’s the role of diet and lifestyle in the menopause?

It is absolutely essential! One of the challenges women face as they enter mid-life is the depletion of essential nutrients, which has been supported by research and National Diet and Nutrition Surveys. Nutrient deficiencies can have a significant impact on the severity of symptoms experienced during the menopause. Moreover, there are physiological changes that occur as we approach the age of 50, affecting the body’s energy production capacity.

A crucial aspect to address is the decline in a woman’s ability to manage insulin response during menopause, which can disrupt blood sugar balance and, importantly, hinder weight management efforts. To address these issues effectively, it is vital to provide support through a well-balanced diet, appropriate supplements, and lifestyle recommendations. By addressing these factors, we can better support women’s overall health and wellbeing during this transitional phase.

What does a lifestyle and diet menopause consultation look like?

The process is designed to be simple, personalised, confidential, empathetic, positive, and hopefully motivating. Once ladies have booked their appointment, they can complete a questionnaire on the Jorja Healthcare website. During the consultation, we delve into the details and discuss the questionnaire in depth.

In nutritional therapy, the focus is always on identifying the underlying causes of health issues. While we understand that hormones fluctuate and decrease during this life stage, it is crucial to uncover the root causes driving the symptoms. We explore potential nutrient deficiencies, evaluate gut health, assess any pre-existing health conditions, and identify which hormones may be imbalanced. Importantly, whether ladies are already taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT), have reservations about HRT, or are uncertain about it, I can provide guidance and discuss the options.

Nutrition serves as the foundation for health and wellness. Therefore, it is essential to tailor it specifically to each individual’s needs. By doing so, we can significantly enhance health and quality of life.

If I determine that additional tests, such as blood, hormone, or stool tests, are necessary, these options are readily available.

What is Perimenopause vs menopause, and is your treatment approach different?

Perimenopause refers to the transitional phase leading up to menopause, characterised by hormonal changes, fluctuating symptoms, and the onset and cessation of symptoms during this period.

Typically, perimenopause can last for approximately 10 years. The average age of menopause is around 51 years old, which is defined as the specific day when a person has not had a period for one year, marking the transition into post-menopause.

It’s important to note that all recommendations for managing perimenopause and menopause are personalised and individualised. Treatment approaches will vary for each person, taking into consideration their overall health and their specific stage in the menopausal journey.

What are your top tips for a more manageable menopause?

Firstly, it is recommended to seek professional help in order to gain a better understanding of your own health. Professionals can assist in determining various aspects such as hormone levels, potential underlying health issues that require further investigation, and the root causes of your symptoms. If necessary, a nutritionist can provide guidance and refer you to a general practitioner (GP). Having access to comprehensive information such as blood test results and relevant tests will greatly contribute to the process.

Additionally, lifestyle factors play a crucial role in navigating this stage. Engaging in regular exercise outdoors, practicing effective breathing techniques, cultivating supportive relationships, and making time for activities that bring you joy are all important. Equally vital is obtaining accurate information to comprehend the appropriate diet for your specific needs.

If you would like to book a menopause nutrition and lifestyle consultation with Suzie, you can do so here.