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Menopause & Metabolism

For women navigating menopause, embracing a comprehensive approach means honouring the complexity of their experience.

Published on

Nov 07, 2023

For women navigating menopause, embracing a comprehensive approach means honouring the complexity of their personal experience. 


Menopause is not merely a phase; it’s a comprehensive transition that touches every aspect of a woman's health and wellbeing, on average for 40% of their lifetime. Beyond the widely recognised hot flashes and mood swings lies a complex interplay between hormonal changes and metabolic health that can profoundly impact a woman’s life.

During menopause, women may endure physical symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness, emotional and cognitive challenges like mood swings and memory issues, increased health risks including osteoporosis and heart disease, and an impact on quality of life through changes in self-image and social stigma.

Today, let’s dive deep into the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause, explore available treatments, and understand how the holistic approach we have taken at Autonomy to these changes—particularly in metabolic health—can optimise wellbeing before, during, and after this transition.

Symptoms of Perimenopause and Menopause

Perimenopause is the period before menopause when the ovaries gradually begin to produce less oestrogen. It typically starts in a woman's 40s but can begin in the 30s as well.

Symptoms can include:

  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Decreased libido
  • Weight gain, particularly around the abdomen

Menopause is diagnosed after 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period and marks the end of reproductive years. Symptoms of menopause can persist for years and can also include:

  • Thinning hair and dry skin
  • Loss of breast fullness
  • Increased risk of osteoporosis
  • Changes in cholesterol levels, contributing to a greater risk of heart disease

Treatments for Menopause Symptoms

Most menopause treatments focus on relieving the symptoms and may include:

  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): Replenishes hormones to alleviate hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal discomfort. However, it's not suitable for everyone.
  • Non-hormonal Medications: Antidepressants or other non-hormonal drugs can reduce hot flashes and mood disorders.
  • Alternative Therapies: Acupuncture, herbal remedies, and other complementary therapies have been used with varying success.

At Autonomy, we adopt a holistic approach to women's health, incorporating advanced lifestyle strategies for diet, relationships, environment, activity, mental state, and sleep adjustments. These strategies are implemented using advanced health habit coaching and can significantly enhance our clients' health and well-being before, during, and after menopause. (See your personalised plans for more information about our integrated menopause consultations).

The Link Between Metabolism, Metabolic Health, and Menopause

Metabolism—how your body converts food into energy—naturally slows down with age. Oestrogen decline during menopause can exacerbate this slowdown, leading to weight gain and a higher risk of metabolic syndrome, characterised by high blood sugar, increased blood pressure, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.

Poor metabolic health can contribute to chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. Hence, addressing metabolic health during menopause is not just about managing weight; it's about preventing serious health issues.

The Holistic Approach by Autonomy

Autonomy recognises that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work when it comes to menopause and metabolic health. Here’s how we tailor a holistic pathway (called DREAMS) to optimise lifelong health for women that considers traditional treatments with lifestyle changes:

  • Diet: A balanced diet rich in phytoestrogens, fibre, calcium, and other vital nutrients can help manage menopause symptoms and support metabolic health
  • Relationships: Emotional support is crucial. Autonomy encourages strong social ties to help manage the psychological aspects of menopause
  • Environment: Minimising exposure to endocrine disruptors and creating a cool, comfortable sleeping environment can make a big difference
  • Epigenetics: Epigenetics, which involves changes in gene expression without altering the DNA sequence, can affect menopause. By recognising the epigenetic influences on menopause, we can help in developing personalised treatments by taking into account individual genetic backgrounds and environmental interactions, which can lead to improved management of menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and sleep disturbances.
  • Activity: Regular physical activity is essential to maintain a healthy weight and reduce menopause symptoms.
  • Mind State: Techniques like mindfulness and cognitive-behavioural therapy can help women cope with mood swings and anxiety
  • Sleep: Good sleep hygiene practices are promoted to combat insomnia and night sweats
  • Supplements: Autonomy may recommend supplements to fill nutritional gaps and support overall health

By integrating these aspects, Autonomy crafts personalised plans that cater to the individual needs of our clients. Regular monitoring and adjustments ensure that the health pathway remains aligned with the changing needs during the menopause transition.

Understanding menopause from a holistic perspective offers a lens through which women can address the multifaceted changes they experience. By considering the interconnectivity of diet, relationships, environment, activity levels, mind state, sleep, and supplements, we see that managing menopause is not just about tackling individual symptoms but about nurturing overall health and wellbeing.

For women navigating these changes, embracing a comprehensive approach means honouring the complexity of their experiences. Autonomy's precision health pathways offer not just symptom relief but a sustained, vibrant, and healthy life beyond menopause. When we consider menopause and metabolic health together, we unlock the potential for a truly transformative journey towards optimal long-term health.

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