When it comes to the menopause, the collective imagination conjures up an image of fertility that stops almost overnight. It is of course a little more complicated than that. Pre-menopause and menopause are much more than this often simplistic image that has a taste of the end: they are new stages of life, a new beginning that needs to be accompanied not only physiologically but also psychologically and emotionally.
What is the menopause?
The fertility bell
To understand how a woman's cycles work throughout her life, let us imagine a bell-shaped curve. That is, both the beginning and the end (puberty and pre-menopause) are well-defined periods that vary on average from one to five years. Often, we forget to give the body time to put all this in place, putting a hormonal lid on it which, when removed often many years later, will allow the same unresolved issues to reappear.
Just as the first cycles can be irregular, abundant and take several years to harmonise, so the pre-menopause is the scene of cycles stopping and starting again, of symptoms that come and go for several months to several years before the menopause is definitively established.
Understanding menstrual function
Menopause is the end of the menstrual function and therefore of the activity of the ovaries.
But to understand what the end of menstrual function is, we need to understand what menstrual function itself is. Even before she is born, every woman has a defined number of "little eggs" located on the ovaries called De Graaf follicles. This heritage is precious and unique! The FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary gland causes these famous ovarian follicles to mature and, in combination with the LH (Luteotropic Hormone) hormone, causes an egg to "hatch" in the fallopian tubes for possible fertilisation. This is ovulation.
If no fertilisation takes place, the De Graaf follicle regresses and will then secrete progesterone in addition to its hormone folliculin. It is the gradual fall in these two hormones that then causes what we know well: menstruation. Menstruation is simply the uterine mucous membrane that disintegrates at the end of the cycle because fertilisation has not taken place.
This hormonal drop acts on the pituitary gland, which then reactivates the secretion of FSH. A new cycle begins.
What happens at the menopause?
After a more or less long pre-menopausal period during which the hormones play out on a rollercoaster, there are no more eggs on the ovaries, which secrete less and less follicle and progesterone. The ovary therefore gradually goes into total rest and "retires".
The menopause is considered to be established after 12 months without a cycle.
On average, the menopause occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, but it can sometimes occur earlier or later.
The consequences of the menopause
For the body
While the ovaries slowly retire, the pituitary gland is still functioning and continues to secrete FSH. As the ovaries no longer receive it, it circulates in the blood and its action dilates the vessels: here come the hot flushes.
In addition, estrogen and progesterone deficiencies have many physiological consequences: vaginal dryness, weakened bone structure, insomnia, etc.
For the emotional side
Like puberty, the menopause is a real psychological upheaval which is sometimes difficult to get through or, on the contrary, is experienced as a new lease of life.
Indeed, the woman is no longer bound to the regular rhythm of her cycles, she is entirely free to become whoever she wants when she wants. Menopause is often referred to as the age of wisdom and creativity. It is a time when a woman often reconnects with herself and finally thinks about herself (retirement, independent children, etc.).
Supporting the menopause naturally
HEAT FLUSH (once the menopause has set in)
- Raspberry bud: hormonal regulator and antioxidant
- Rosemary bud: hormonal regulator, psychic and hepatic tonic
- Clary sage herbal tea
- Evening primrose* capsules
- Bearberry / Echinacea duo: slows down the production of FSH and LH by the pituitary gland
*Not recommended in case of a history of hormone-dependent diseases.
- Chamomile tea
- Orange blossom tea
- Lime blossom bud
- Essential oils to be diffused in the evening at bedtime
- Sweet orange: peace and sleep
- Fine lavender: softness and relaxation
- Ylang-ylang: letting go and sensuality
MOOD SWINGS / STRESS
- Saffron capsules
- Rhodiola capsules
- Magnesium cure
- Essential oils in olfaction (on a handkerchief or a perfumer's touch)
- Bach Flower Remedies
Supporting the menopause on the plate
- Daily protein intake: eggs, fish, meat, legumes, tempeh, tofu, etc.
- Limit alcohol
- Limit coffee and tea, especially from mid-afternoon onwards
- Depending on your temperament, which can be defined by a naturopath, it may be preferable to limit your consumption of raw watery fruit so as not to accelerate bone demineralisation
- On the other hand, make the most of raw vegetables!
- Include good fatty acids in your meals: use cold vegetable oils such as camelina, linseed or rapeseed for your sauces and dressings, and make up your own set of oilseeds for your snacks (walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, etc.)
- Choose plant-based drinks instead of animal milk
- Limit the number of dairy products you consume each day: there is no need to consume 3 dairy products a day to fill up on calcium! You can have a sheep's yoghurt for breakfast or a piece of cheese for lunch and then opt for kale, spinach or fennel, almonds, hazelnuts and lupin or amaranth flours: vary your pleasures!