Blame the hormones
MARINA Lee, 48, notices her periods are not like before. She feels hot and sweaty even with the air conditioner on full blast, her skin is dry and there are fine lines she has not noticed before. She realises she is often hot- tempered and moody nowadays, too.
Marina wants to make positive changes but feels sapped of energy. It was only when a close friend shared a similar experience that Lee realised she wasn’t alone in this emotional phase of womanhood commonly known as midlife.
Generally, the phase of life between the ages of 40 and 55 years, midlife in women is known scientifically as perimenopause, defined as the “time around menopause” when hormone levels undergo the greatest degree of change.
Perimenopause closely mirrors the puberty phase, although it constitutes more of an exit from reproductive years. Many times, perimenopausal changes can be so dramatic, it is no wonder it is labelled a midlife crisis.
Hormonal highs and lows
Perimenopause is when hormonal imbalances become most obvious, as the female hormone oestrogen will start behaving erratically as oestrogen affects over 400 different functions in the body.
> Memory and concentration: Studies show that women during midlife are 40% more likely to report forgetfulness.
Belly and body fat: During perimenopause, fat metabolism slows down dramatically while a fat re- distribution exercise takes place, accumulating preferentially in the belly. As such, many women notice a significant sagging bustline. Overall, body weight also increases while weight maintenance becomes difficult.
Skin dryness: Skin dryness and loss of skin firmness feature prominently during perimenopause when oestrogen levels swing. As the skin on the face and hands dries, this is a reflection of the vaginal area, too.
Feeling blue: Women are more vulnerable to sadness and depression during hormonal change such as during midlife and postnatal. Perimenopausal women also report feeling anxious, angry and easily irritated without knowing why.
Psychological stress: Stress adversely affects hormone levels, resulting in negative moods.
Alternative natural therapies
Phytonutrients ( plant nutrients) such as genistein soy isoflavones have been found to help women navigate times of hormonal imbalances.
Genistein is an all- natural, phytoestrogen– antioxidant and metabolic- regulating complex. One of its main actions is to “mimic” the properties of oestrogen in a safe, selective and gentle manner. Genistein works differently from hormone- type drugs and hormone replacement therapy, which adds hormones to the body. Instead, genistein fills in the gaps when oestrogen levels are low, while competing with oestrogen in the body when levels are high, effectively regulating hormonal ups and downs.
As a phytoestrogen, genistein also works differently from evening primrose oil ( EPO), which possesses anti- inflammatory properties more suited for pre- menstrual syndrome ( PMS).
Women with weight challenges would also benefit from a non- oily supplement such as genistein to prevent the weight gain associated with increased intakes of oils ( fat).
Studies show that hormonal imbalances influence the way our body metabolises fat. Genistein possesses fat- regulating benefits owing to its ability to prevent fat formation, reduce belly fat and inhibit fat accumulation in the body. As a selective phytoestrogen that benefits areas of the bone, bones and heart, genistein does not have any adverse effects on breast or uterine tissues. When deciding on a genistein supplement, be sure to select one derived from 100% organic soy and is non- genetically modified ( non- GMO). An organic source of genistein invariably offers peace of mind.
Lee came across the phytonutrient organic genistein at the pharmacy after looking up perimenopause online. After two months, she now has more energy and feels more in control of her life and her relationship with others.
This article is brought to you by Nuvanta’s Nuvaceuticals division.
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Perimenopause occurs in women between the ages of 40 and 55 as they transition towards menopause.