menopause diet blog

Time for a Change

Day 3: The HRT debate

Migraines are my worst menopausal symptom, lasting for 3 days and not responding to painkillers. I did go the doctor and his solution was to put me on beta-blockers. I don’t want to be popping pills every day and anyway my blood pressure was a bit low for beta-blockers so I came away with nothing. I could try HRT of course, but I am nervous about the breast cancer link and it is not recommended to take it for years and years, so presumably you have to face the menopause sooner or later?

What causes the menopause?

The menopause occurs when our ovaries run out of eggs. Most of the oestrogen in our bodies is produced by the ovaries. As the ovaries age and run out of eggs they produce less and less oestrogen until they stop producing it altogether. This gradual loss of oestrogen is believed to be the cause of a range of unpleasant menopausal symptoms, such has hot flushes, night sweats, ageing skin, weight gain, mood swings, joint pain etc.

What is HRT?

HRT artificially replaces the hormones that your body is no longer producing.

In her book, Healthy Eating for the Menopause, Dr Marilyn Glenville is pretty clear about her view on HRT. She explains that oestrogen is not just one hormone – there are  several types that are produced naturally in the body, one of which is oestradiol. It is very active in adolescence but production of it declines with age. It is the most carcinogenic of all the oestrogens and it is the form of oestrogen that HRT contains. It is the liver’s job to convert oestradiol into a less carcinogenic form so it is asking a lot of your liver to deal with this extra oestradiol at a time when your body does not need it.

Everyone is an individual and needs to make an informed decision about HRT based on their own personal health and circumstances, but for me, Dr Glenville makes a pretty convincing case for at least trying to control menopausal symptoms, naturally, through diet. I am not trying to sway your decision either way… I’m just blogging about my choices and why I made them.

Day 3 Food Diary:

Breakfast: Menopause Muesli – see breakfast recipe page, Soya milk, berries, hot lemon & honey drink

Lunch: Quinoa grain, black bean, carrot, nut & prawn salad with soy & ginger dressing

Quinoa is a grain like crop, first cultivated by the Andean people 3000 years ago. It is the seeds that are edible and they are high in protein, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and fibre. It is easy to cook and has a nice ‘nutty’ texture.

quinoa

Red Quinoa

Dinner: Pork & Apple Sausage Cabbage Pot – see Dinner Recipe page

sausage apple cabbage bake

Snacks & Drinks: Olives, 2 squares dark chocolate, slice of ‘Menopause Cake’ (see Snack Recipe page)

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