Menopause marks the time in a woman’s life when you stop having your monthly period. It can happen in your late 40’s to early 50’s. It is a normal part of ageing.
As menopause approaches, the ovaries make less of the hormone called estrogen. This causes your menstrual cycle to change and ultimately cease to occur. You will know when you have reached menopause if you experience a complete year without menstrual bleeding - that is in the absence of any surgery or medical condition that may cause bleeding to artificially stop.
The change in estrogen production is what causes women to experience symptoms often associated with menopause, such as:
Some women may also experience:
There are standard options for managing menopause symptoms such as hormone replacement therapy and biphosphonate bone density pills. However, for those who do not want to go the medication route, there are natural alternatives. One of which is to increase their intake of foods that contain isoflavones.
Isoflavones are plant based chemicals that qualify under the category of phytoestrogens, which are hormones derived from plants. They are naturally occurring plant compounds that work similarly to estrogen. One of the best sources of isoflavones is soy.
Soy is said to alleviate the symptoms of menopause by balancing depleted estrogen levels. There are countless ways to enjoy soy, but it is strongly recommended to get the natural, organic, and minimally processed soy foods such as organic tofu, unsweetened, organic soymilk, tempeh, natto, miso, and edamame. They have much more nutritional value than highly processed ones that could even contain other ingredients that don’t add value to your food.
Research suggests regular, moderate consumption of high-quality soy foods to get the most health benefits. One to two servings of whole or minimally processed soy foods daily should be enough to get the recommended dose of 50mg of isoflavones.
Women who may want to explore alternatives to hormone therapy and might not be comfortable with taking estrogen for prolonged periods - such as those who have risks of blood clot, stroke, or breast or uterine cancer - might want to give soy a shot.
How do you know if you're in menopause?
There are signs that show up in the months or years before you reach menopause. This period where you notice changes is called ‘perimenopause.’
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