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How throwing away your saucepans, avoiding clingfilm and other wacky ideas can delay the MENOPAUSE
 

How throwing away your saucepans, avoiding clingfilm and other wacky ideas can delay the MENOPAUSE

Weight gain, lower sex drive and greater risk of heart disease are just a few of the symptoms women get during the menopause
For many women the menopause seems to be starting sooner than ever
As many as one in 16 women experience the change before the age of 40
Dr Marilyn Glenville and others explain what you can do to prevent this 

Weight gain, ageing looks, lower sex drive and a greater risk of heart disease, some types of cancer and the crumbling bone disease, osteoporosis. No wonder most women dread the menopause and would like to put it off as long as possible.

But for a growing number the change of life appears to be happening sooner than ever. The most common age for menopause — judged to start when a woman has not had her period for a year — is 51, according to the NHS.

But a survey of 2,000 women last month found that on average most stopped menstruating around the age of 46. Furthermore, according to a study by scientists at Imperial College London, as many as one in 16 women experience the change before the age of 40.

Although the onset of menopause is strongly influenced by our genes, the good news is that there are lifestyle changes you can make to delay it.

BUY LOW-FAT DAIRY PRODUCTS

You may think you are just warding off middle-age spread by switching to low-fat dairy products.

But in a study which tracked 46,000 women, researchers from Harvard found those who consumed skimmed milk products, including low-fat cheeses and yoghurts, delayed their menopause by just over three-and-a-half years.

The scientists believe cow’s milk may contain a number of metabolites — or enzymes formed possibly during the process to remove the fat — which boost the amount of the female sex hormone oestrogen in a woman’s system, helping to keep her reproductive organs working for longer.

TRADE IN YOUR NON-STICK PANS

It’s not just what you eat that can influence how long you can put off the menopause. How you cook your food may also make a difference.

Non-stick pans are coated with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a synthetic chemical used to repel grease and water, which has been identified as a hormone disruptor.

In one U.S. study, 26,000 women were tested for this type of chemical in their blood. Those aged between 42 and 64 with the highest levels were found to have gone through the menopause sooner.

Menopause expert Dr Marilyn Glenville says it’s wise to choose your cookware carefully, especially as PFOAs appear to build up in the body over the years.

She says: ‘We don’t yet know how big a factor these chemicals are, but they may have a cumulative effect over a woman’s lifetime.

‘Using the right kind of pots and pans to cook your food may be important because the actual surface of the pan that you are using can end up being absorbed into your food when heated to high temperatures.

‘My advice is to avoid any non-stick pans or utensils completely as it’s just not worth having the possibility of that toxic exposure. It’s just as easy to cook with stainless steel, cast iron or glass cookware.’

EAT MORE FISH

Don’t just save fish for Fridays, eat it through the week to keep menopause at bay.

Turkish researchers studied the lifelong eating habits of 157 women who had been through the menopause, aged 45 to 60. They found the women who ate fish two or more times a week were among those who started their menopause later in the group.

It’s thought that omega 3 oils in fish help the pituitary gland in the brain to stimulate a woman’s ovaries to keep producing eggs.

USE NATURAL BEAUTY PRODUCTS 

A key area of concern is phthalates, found in four out of five beauty products.

They are common in foundation, face cream, lipstick and nail varnish, as they give a smooth texture and long-lasting effects, but have also been found to disrupt hormone balance.

Dr Natalia Grindler, from Washington University, Missouri, looked at the levels of phthalates in the blood or urine of 5,700 women.

Those with the highest amounts were found to have gone through the menopause an average of 2.3 years before the others.

Dr Grindler says: ‘There’s a lot that we don’t know at this point, our research is still preliminary, but it’s enough to suggest it is having a detrimental impact in the long term.’

To avoid any risk, Dr Glenville advises thinking more carefully about the products you regularly put on your skin.

‘As your skin is the most absorbent organ of the body, do you really need or want all these chemical entering your blood stream?

‘Check the ingredients list properly and, where possible, stick to natural, plant-based products.’

DITCH THE CLINGFILM 

These days much of our food comes wrapped in plastic — and we also use materials like clingfilm to keep it fresh.

This could have an effect on our hormones because these pliable plastics contain chemicals which have been found to disrupt the reproductive and hormonal systems in animals and children.

Although it’s not yet clear how this would affect the hormones of older women, some experts advise a ‘better safe than sorry’ approach — pointing to the rise in health problems such as breast cancer and other oestrogen-dependent conditions like fibroids or endometriosis, which are possibly linked to these chemicals.

Dr Glenville advises never to heat food in plastic — and if you must buy food wrapped in it, remove the packaging when you get home. She says: ‘Instead, store food in the fridge in a dish with a saucer covering it or use grease-proof paper.’

CUT BACK ON YOUR WORKING HOURS

Women who work more than 48 hours a week tend to go through the change of life sooner than their less hard-working counterparts.

Researchers in France looked at the health and lifestyle of more than 1,500 women in their 50s.

They found that those who worked more than 48 hours a week were more likely to go through the menopause before 51 than those doing shorter hours.

The more stressful the job, the sooner the menopause hit, according to the study. Women in particularly high-pressures positions had their change of life as much as a year earlier.

Women’s health coach Audrey Sourroubille Arnold, of Lotus Power Health, says many women may be driving themselves headlong into menopause with their stressful workloads.

She says: ‘When your body is under stress and has to decide whether reproduction or survival is more important, it will choose the latter. Your reproductive system will be impaired and that can lead to early menopause.’

REDUCE YOUR FAMILY WORRIES

A falling menopause age is not just due to workload, but to women being caught up in the sandwich generation — caring for parents and children — and feeling they are being constantly bombarded physically and emotionally, says Dr Glenville. ‘For women over 40, there can be the pressure of everyday life coping with caring for elderly parents as well as children who are staying at home for longer.

‘At this time of life, the hormones are constantly changing. This constant pressure can act as the last straw — and their periods stop and never come back.’

DO THE CROSSWORD 

Scientists have found a link between testing yourself intellectually and delaying the menopause.

The reason is that oestrogen does not just regulate your sexual cycles. It also keeps your brain sharper — and the memory working well.

Although it’s not possible to boost oestrogen with intellectual exercise, if you are feeling fuzzy-headed, doing brain exercises will help offset the effects of falling hormone levels.

GIVE UP SMOKING 

A woman’s lifetime supply of eggs develops in her ovaries when she is still a foetus.

The vast majority are lost naturally over the years or never mature. By the age of around 51, most of them have run out — and fewer and fewer are released until your reproductive cycle stops altogether.

As this happens, the supply of oestrogen falls — and finally drops so low that it triggers the symptoms of the menopause including hot flushes, vaginal dryness, mood changes and ultimately the loss of fertility.

Smoking is one of the factors that can kill off the eggs sooner.

Research has found that most smokers have the menopause around two years earlier than non-smokers.

Dr Sarah Brewer, author of Live Longer, Look Younger, says: ‘Those who smoke more than ten cigarettes a day are 40 per cent more likely to experience menopause earlier than non-smokers — and also to have more intense symptoms.

‘The most likely reasons are that the toxins found in cigarette smoke affect the enzymes involved in making the sex hormones so that oestrogen production falls.

‘It’s also possible that smoking has a direct toxic effect on primitive egg cells within the ovaries that stops them from staying viable.’

Sources: dailymail.co.uk
Founder: e-daifu.com

The above information is not medical advice, for reference only / from : Michelle

     
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