Nurture Yourself

Understanding the Signs of Menopause

By Nutritious Life Editors

As we age, our bodies undergo a TON of changes. And for us women, the dreaded menopause marks a massive transition that can affect our overall health and well-being. 

On episode 5 of the Nutritious Life Podcast, guest Dr. Kavita Desai, a clinical pharmacist and women’s health advocate, chats with Keri Glassman to demystify menopause and its influence on brain health. Dr. Desai explains how symptoms often viewed as standard signs of menopause may be indicative of enhanced risk for conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. 

By recognizing these signs early on, women can get the jump on symptom management and improve long-term health outcomes. In case you missed the podcast, here’s a summary of some important considerations and signs of menopause to pay attention to.

Perimenopause: More Than Just Symptoms

Often, perimenopausal symptoms like mood swings, bad sleep, and hot flashes are considered par for the course for women (how delightful!). But these symptoms should be taken seriously as they can be an indication of diseases like Alzheimer’s. Dr. Desai stresses the importance of not dismissing these as mere “signs of menopause” but as warning signals necessitating proactive health measures.

Hormones and Health Risks

Of course, we’re familiar with the hormonal changes brought on by menopause. But besides your mood, these also have a big impact on your body. The loss of estrogen and progesterone isn’t just about uncomfortable symptoms—it directly relates to an increased risk of cognitive decline. So, no, it’s not your fault that you left the grocery list at home! This connection is often overlooked in medicine, where the protocol still leans towards treating the symptoms rather than holistic condition management.

The Vital Role of HRT

While Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) was once discouraged as a treatment for menopause, the medical field is now shifting to acknowledge HRT’s potential benefits. Dr. Desai emphasizes that HRT isn’t just for alleviating symptoms. It has many preventive benefits, like fighting against osteoporosis—a huge issue for post-menopausal women—and maintaining brain health. Starting HRT early can significantly influence longevity and quality of life. However, for many women the main challenge with HRT is finding a healthcare provider knowledgeable enough about it to prescribe it.

Dr. Desai recommends finding a women’s health specialist who’s experienced in hormone replacement therapy. (This goes beyond your typical gyno appointment!) She also recommends showing up to your appointment with the right questions and knowledge so you’re well prepared.

Preventing Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease has become an increasingly hot-button issue, particularly for women in their postmenopausal years. Dr. Desai suggests that early symptoms of Alzheimer’s can mirror those of perimenopause, complicating detection and treatment. She recommends starting preventive measures early, addressing lifestyle factors, and possibly supplementing with specific nutrients to minimize risk.

Don’t let the science scare you! Remember that knowledge is power: By understanding the signs of menopause and its broader health implications, you can take informed steps to maintain your brain health and wellness as you age. 

(Image: Unsplash)


Check out episode 5 of the Living a Nutritious Life podcast to learn even more about the signs of menopause and its role in your overall health.

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