For us ladies, life is a never-ending rollercoaster, especially when it comes to our hormones! As we reach the menopausal years, our bodies shift and change once more and this shift can leave us with those dreaded symptoms - hot flushes, weight gain, irritability, tearfulness, vaginal dryness, insomnia, night sweats… you name it!

“If you’re affected particularly badly by the menopause, then it can be incredibly tempting to head to your GP straight away for HRT,” says Angelique Panagos, a nutritional therapist and hormonal health expert. 

However, while this can work wonders for some women, there are alternatives for others; diet, exercise and weight management can be the answers for many menopause sufferers. How do we stay happy, healthy and fit during the menopause?

“First thing’s first, we need to find and restore hormonal balance,” advises Panagos. During the menopause, our sex hormones reduce, and we lose that ability to keep the perfect trio of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone in balance. This can massively affect our wellbeing and cause the symptoms many women have to deal with.

“To keep hormones in check, we need to keep blood sugars balanced and stable (and, yes, this means saying good bye to sugar!), embrace rainbows of fruit and vegetables, drink plenty of filtered water and load up on complex carbs, lean proteins, and good fats, such as avocado and oily fish, nut, seeds and olive oil,” says Panagos. “These good fats help to synthesize hormones, and can reduce inflammation, too.”

On top of this, it’s important to look after you. “Rest, relaxation and meditation are all key to keeping our hormones in tip-top condition, and in preventing the spike of cortisol (the stress hormone) which can lead to extra weight gain,” she says. 

More information
Angelique Panagos’ book is  The Balance Plan: Six Steps to Optomise Your Hormonal Health (£13.60, amazon.co.uk). For more information on Panagos, visit: www.angeliquepanagos.com

If you believe you are in the perimenopause, or menopause, our Menopause Health blood test finger prick kit is designed for you. This test allows you to keep a check on your hormone levels and the impact changes in these levels might have on your overall health and bone density. The profile includes an FSH test, LH and Oestradiol (oestrogen) hormone check. In addition, it assesses your levels of vitamin D and calcium, key markers for bone health. This test will also measure your level of LDL (bad cholesterol), HDL (good cholesterol) and triglycerides, and is designed for women at all stages of the menopause, from early perimenopause through to post-menopause.