Menopause: From one healthy state to another

Menopause: From one healthy state to another
Alison Theaker
Alison TheakerLive Life for Me

Posted: Fri 19th Jan 2024

Many women feel very concerned, feel they have few choices during menopause but to take medication when they may prefer not to and very often dread it.

Together with my friend and colleague, Anne Hope, we have set out to show that there are alternatives.

Yes, it is a time of change, but it is a natural process that you can positively influence by taking important steps, allowing you to pass through menopause with ease. It’s also worth remembering that 25% of women have no symptoms at all during this time.


Menopause is a transition from one normal healthy state to another. Knowing yourself and your hormones can make this transition go as smoothly as possible.

In general, the more level and healthy your hormones are, the better you will transition through menopause. If you are struggling with difficult, painful or irregular periods, it is a good idea to try to sort these out as the chaotic nature of hormones during menopause can make this a more difficult time than is necessary.

The key to passing easily through this time of change is hormonal balance. The body is changing the way it balances itself and this can cause some chaotic days while it's trying to achieve balance. Spotting early symptoms and getting them balanced will help things run smoothly.

It is not unusual for women to experience menopause similarly to their maternal relatives. So, finding out the experience of your mother, aunts, sisters and cousins – what kind of age, what symptoms and how long they took to pass through this stage – is useful knowledge to have. You can then be on the lookout for early indications.

There are many natural approaches to help balance hormones, which some people prefer to try first. These include:

  • herbal supplements

  • vitamin and mineral supplements

  • homeopathy

  • acupuncture

  • bush flower remedies

  • diet

Doing some research into what you prefer, what may have worked in the past and other people’s thoughts and views is a good idea. It's better not to wait until a “crisis” of melting hot flushes or anxiety when it is harder to spend time and energy trying to sort it. Information is power!


Contrary to popular belief, the 'menstrual bleed' is often one of the later symptoms. Mental and emotional changes may be early symptoms, which in a busy life, can be harder to spot.

These can include:

  • increased anxiety

  • depression or mood swings

  • increased PMS

  • foggy brain (memory not very sharp)

  • exhaustion

Later symptoms can be:

  • difficulty sleeping

  • hot flushes

  • change in bleed, which can increase dramatically

  • weight gain

It is worth pursuing natural ways of addressing these as they will encourage the body to pass through menopause, and the more balanced the hormones, the fewer the symptoms.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

HRT is usually given for a limited time and has both risks and benefits. Unexpected changes in health, such as a blood clot, will mean that HRT has to be withdrawn and if you are reliant on this to relieve symptoms, your menopause symptoms will return.

Your body will still need to pass through menopause and it won’t do this while the body is using HRT. One of Anne’s clients in her late 70s, when taken off HRT, immediately had hot flushes again!

Learning more about yourself and your body, what sort of alternative approaches work for you and what dietary changes and supplements make you feel good, will have a positive knock-on impact on your longer-term health. If you have chosen HRT as the best option for you, always have a plan B if you change your mind or something happens, which means you are unable to take it.

Bone health

Many women worry about their bones becoming thin and brittle. It’s true oestrogen has a protective effect on bones, but the good news is that adding weight-bearing exercises will help. By causing the muscles and tendons to pull on the bones, stimulates bone cell growth.

Even if you aren’t a gym bunny, you can do things that help, like walking. Balancing on one leg for a couple of minutes at a time – you can even do this while cleaning your teeth or waiting for the kettle to boil – also helps bone health. Yoga postures, such as the plank or warrior or a sequence like 'salute to the sun' are very useful. If you aren’t familiar with yoga there are many online classes.

Adding impact to weight-bearing exercise has been shown to be even better. Jogging is also an option, although make sure you have the correct shoes. Join a low-cost running group for beginners if you are just thinking about starting now. Bouncing on a mini trampoline at home is excellent for bones. If you like going to the gym, the use of dumbbells and multi-gyms increases weight impact to exercise ratio and helps build healthy bones.

The key thing with exercise is to pick something that you like doing and can incorporate into your life. Perhaps a sport that you previously enjoyed and that you can return to. Don’t set yourself up to fail.

Contrary to popular belief, we don’t always need calcium – our diet is calcium-rich. The difficulty is absorbing calcium. Our bodies need vitamin D to absorb calcium so a vitamin D supplement is a good idea. Vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium and boron are also useful and many companies sell this as a combination mix.

Fear of change

There is a famous saying, there is nothing to fear but fear itself. There are a lot of negative stereotypes about ageing and many women fear they are losing themselves. You have little choice about the fact that this is happening. However, you do actually have a lot of choices about how you approach the experience and thrive through it.

There is a sense of clarity and purpose that comes with menopause as oestrogen changes. Hormonally, you return to the person you were before the veil of hormones descended. It’s like you are a child but with 40 years of experience! This can be an extremely creative time of life.

It’s true that as oestrogen reduces it can make you less forgiving, but this can give rise to better decision-making and more willingness to try new things. I took up belly dancing, put on art exhibitions and then started an MPhil research project on women entrepreneurs.

If you are struggling, don’t think it is inevitable – seek help. Some great areas of help are:

  • counselling,

  • homeopathy

  • hypnotherapy

  • EFT (emotional freedom technique)

  • yoga

  • mindfulness and meditation

Menopause is an exciting journey and reaching the other side should be a great landing. Let’s not settle for less!

Relevant resources

Alison Theaker
Alison TheakerLive Life for Me

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