Menopause is a normal and inevitable biological transition that occurs in a woman’s life, marking the end of her reproductive years. It typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, although it can happen earlier or later in some cases. Menopause is defined as occurring when a woman has gone 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period.
In menopause, a woman experiences a decrease in the production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, as well as a cessation in the release of eggs from the ovaries. This hormonal shift can cause a range of physical and emotional symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, mood swings, and difficulty sleeping. These symptoms can last for several years, but they eventually subside as the body adjusts to the new hormonal balance.
Menopause is a normal part of aging and does not require treatment. However, some women may choose to manage their symptoms with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or other medications. It’s important for women to talk to their doctor about the risks and benefits of these treatments, as well as any lifestyle changes that can help manage menopause symptoms.
What are the symptoms of menopause and what do they result from?
Menopause is caused by the ageing of the body, the extinction of ovarian function and the depletion of the ovarian follicle pool, and its symptoms are due to a drop in hormone levels – mainly oestrogen, to a lesser extent progesterone and testosterone. As your body begins the journey towards menopause, you may notice that your periods are no longer ‘predictable’ – they may become shorter, longer, heavier or lighter than usual, and the intervals between periods may vary. At the same time, symptoms typical of the peri-menopausal period appear.  Every woman experiences menopause differently, but symptoms that may already occur several years before menstruation stops are:
- Hot flashes, night sweats – so-called vasomotor symptoms (VMS) occurring with varying frequency, accompanied by chills, facial flushing,
- Excessive sweating,
- Increased nervousness, excitability,
- Sleep problems,
- Mood changes, fatigue, difficulty concentrating – mood changes may also be related to stressors that women often face during menopause, such as physical signs of ageing, fluctuating libido, health problems,
- Headaches and dizziness.
Whether it is worthwhile to supplement during the menopause?
Whether or not it is worth supplementing during menopause depends on an individual’s specific nutrient needs and dietary intake. While a balanced diet rich in whole foods can provide many of the vitamins and minerals that women need during menopause, some women may require additional supplementation.
For example, women who are not getting enough calcium and vitamin D through their diet may benefit from supplementation to maintain bone health. Women who experience hot flashes and other menopause-related symptoms may benefit from vitamin E supplements, although the evidence is mixed.
It’s important to talk to a doctor or registered dietitian before starting any supplementation regimen, as some supplements may interact with medications or have negative side effects. Additionally, some supplements may be unnecessary or even harmful if taken in excessive amounts.
Ultimately, the decision to supplement during menopause should be made on an individual basis and should take into account an individual’s overall health and lifestyle habits.
Which vitamins are needed during menopause?
During menopause, women require adequate amounts of certain vitamins and minerals to maintain their overall health and wellbeing. Here are some vitamins that are particularly important during menopause:
- Vitamin D: This nutrient is essential for bone health and helps the body absorb calcium. It is particularly important during menopause because women are at increased risk of osteoporosis.
- Calcium: Calcium is important for strong bones and teeth. During menopause, women may experience bone loss, making calcium intake crucial for maintaining bone health.
- Vitamin B6: This vitamin helps regulate mood and reduce irritability, which can be particularly helpful during menopause when mood swings are common.
- Vitamin B12: This vitamin is important for healthy nerve function and the production of red blood cells. During menopause, women may be at increased risk of anemia, making B12 intake important.
- Vitamin E: This antioxidant has been shown to reduce hot flashes and other menopause-related symptoms in some women.
- Magnesium: This mineral is important for muscle and nerve function, as well as bone health. It may also help reduce anxiety and promote better sleep, which can be particularly helpful during menopause.
If you are going through the menopause, it is worth using ready-made complexes whose composition is adapted and targeted to women during the menopause. Menopause Complex is a specially formulated herbal blend containing ingredients known to offer hormonal balance and bone support to women.
It’s important for women to talk to their doctor or a registered dietitian to determine their specific nutrient needs during menopause, and to discuss whether they may benefit from taking supplements to meet these needs.