SISTERLY expert, Susie Perry explains...
When it comes to women’s health and SISTERLY, there’s one female health condition that every woman is likely to need support with, and that’s the menopause! In this blog, SISTERLY nutrition and female health expert Susie Perry explains the difference between bioidentical HRT and body identical HRT and shares her top list of phytoestrogen-rich foods.
With everything that you’ve got going on in your life, it may be hard to spot that you have entered the perimenopause. It’s often not until you feel the rush of your first hot flush or wake up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat or find sex unusually painful, that you start to question if you’ve hit - that stage! However, there may have been plenty of little tell-tale signs that your perimenopause was creeping in.
At SISTERLY we are passionate about educating women to identify that they are in the perimenopause as early as possible, so they can get the help and support they need. You can use the SISTERLY Perimenopause Symptom Checklist to see how many symptoms you are currently experiencing.
Balance is key
The SISTERLY approach to this hormonal transition is to encourage you to adopt a healthy lifestyle and achieve a sound nutrition baseline from a balanced diet supplemented with a daily sachet of The Elevator. Getting these positive habits in place is a smart foundation to help you cope better with your perimenopause, experience a smoother menopause, and extend your comfort, mobility and mental agility to match your post-menopausal lifespan.
No time like the present
Generally, symptoms are experienced when levels of oestrogen and progesterone drop below a baseline that your body needs to support areas of your health outside of fertility. That’s right, these two hormones don’t just run your periods, they also have an influence on your nervous system, blood sugar balance, gut, bones, brain and memory.
Maintaining daily levels of oestrogen and progesterone during and after the menopause is phenomenally important for reducing your risk of those impactful conditions associated with ageing. We’re talking heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, dementia and Alzheimer's. One of the fastest and most effective (and now, affordable) ways to keep these hormones on an even keel is with a body identical HRT. You can start these hormones during your perimenopause, so what are you waiting for? Time to book an appointment with your GP.
Prescription hormones - what’s safe, what’s natural, what’s best?
In the past HRT has had a pretty bad rap but now that GPs have the opportunity to prescribe HRT containing body identical hormones rather than synthetic hormones, it’s good news all round.
Don’t get confused between bioidentical hormones and body identical hormones as they are very different. Bioidentical hormones are produced by compounding pharmacies as a customised approach to hormone therapy via private specialists. This is an expensive route involving lots of testing, private appointments, customised dosages all to be approached with caution as this is an unregulated and unlicensed industry which needs substantially more research.
Body identical hormones contain the same chemical structure as the hormones that your body naturally produces. These regulated and licenced medicines are available on prescription from your GP, at affordable prices and provide dosages inline with what your body is used to. Examples are Oestrogel and Utrogestan and if you live in the UK you can apply for a menopause Prescription Payment Certificate (PPC) from the NHS website for the cost of £18, giving you access to FREE body identical HRT for a whole year! Fabulous news, thank you NHS. Please catch up HSE!
What about plant sources of oestrogen - is there such a thing?
If your symptoms are mild, you may find that just increasing plant sources of oestrogen into your diet is enough to hold back symptoms. Foods containing phytoestrogens (lignans, isoflavones, flavonoids) provide a gentle plant source of oestrogen which helps to buffer the times when oestrogen drastically drops too low.
This is as easy as adding milled flax seeds to your morning smoothie, tahini to your salad dressings and a spoonful of fresh miso to your stir-frys. Research studies reveal that fermented soya beans are bursting with super strength isoflavones so it’s time to pop miso, tamari, tofu and tempeh on your shopping list.
10 Best Phytoestrogens Foods
- Flax seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Brussel sprouts
The Elevator and the menopause
SISTERLY’S innovative daily women's nutrition supplement, The Elevator, has been formulated with all phases of womanhood in mind, including the nutrients that are often depleted during the perimenopause or that your body requires more of, after the menopause. As an important side note - not all women are suited to HRT (even body identical HRT) and phytoestrogens, this is particularly true for anyone with a family history of hormone-related cancer. For this reason, SISTERLY scientists formulated The Elevator without any phytoestrogens.
For more information on how the individual ingredients of The Elevator help to support you through the menopause, head over to our SISTERLY Lifestyle and read the blog - Elevate Yourself For A Smooth Perimenopause.
Find your tribe
Perimenopause through to post menopause demands extra care - these are the years when you want your ‘tribe’, your supporters on the journey with you. This is strongly advocated by Catherine O’Keefe author of All You Need To Know About Menopause and founder of Ireland's popular menopause support site Wellness Warrior.
Catherine says; “ An invaluable part is your relationship with your doctor which should be a supportive and collaborative one - if it’s not then please feel empowered to find the right support for you. Visiting a women’s health physio is also key in these years to ensure you maintain strong pelvic health. Empowering yourself with knowledge to navigate these years is crucial so you can make informed choices at all stages and look at the opportunities these years bring too.”