In recent years, our mindset around talking about menopause has thankfully shifted; possibly to do with celebrities being vocal about the subject and authors such as Kate Muir championing menopause awareness and calling out dubious headlines that are not only confusing but possibly dangerous when it comes to our health around the perimenopause and menopause.
Read More About perimenopause
The fact that menopause is still widely ignored in health care; from research to patient-facing care. In a recent Menoscandal paper, LESS than 1% of published studies consider menopause; it’s an area that seems to be dangerously overlooked which is, quite frankly, bonkers seeing as over 75% of age-related diseases are likely influenced by menopause. I could go on a feminist rant here, as I’m sure could you, but let’s try to stick to why we’re here today: menopause symptoms that no one talks about.
So, most of us are aware of, if not experienced, some of the more talked about symptoms (questionably because there’s little we can do to hide them?). I’m talking about the classic hot flashes, brain fog, night sweats, hair growth in areas we don’t want it to grow, and hair loss from areas we do want hair.
Today, I’m going to focus on 3 lesser-known symptoms of menopause that are quite heavily linked, as well as give you some ideas on how to counteract the effects of them.
3 Menopause Symptoms No One Talks About
Muscle Loss During Menopause
This is CRAZILY important. A 2021 study tells us that:
“decline in skeletal muscle mass and function is one of the main contributors to morbidity and physical disability…Changes in the gonadal hormones during the menopause transition appear to be a strong determinant of skeletal muscle mass in women…[therefore] menopause may be a critical time to introduce strategies to mitigate changes in muscle mass and function that contribute to physical disability and frailty in later life.”
Maintaining your muscle mass is critical, particularly for us women, if we want to try to lessen the chances of becoming frail, having a physical disability, and becoming sick in our later years. During the transition into menopause, the changes that take place contribute to us naturally losing muscle mass; postmenopausal women have 10% less than premenopausal, one study determined.
Maintaining higher levels of lean body mass during the transition into menopause can additionally help you reduce the chances of vasomotor symptoms; think as night sweats and hot flashes.
That’s not all. Low muscle mass in older women has also been shown to put us at higher risk of Type II Diabetes, weight gain, and osteoporosis – a condition where your bones become weak and more likely to break. All sounds a bit bleak, doesn’t it?!
As I mentioned, there are things that you can do; this doesn’t have to be our fate, and I’ll touch on this later. In the meantime, I’m going to take a deeper dive into the diabetes and osteoporosis points that I mentioned just a moment ago.
Diabetes And Menopause
The hormonal changes that happen in the perimenopause can impact our blood sugar levels. The drop in our estrogen hormone levels around menopause helps to facilitate the decline in muscle strength due to both skeletal muscles not being preserved and a reduction in the quality of the skeletal muscle that remains.
Why does this matter when it comes to diabetes? Type II Diabetes is common in postmenopausal women. Furthermore, did you know that muscle mass can help your body to clear blood sugar? The natural decline in our muscle mass around menopause is therefore clearly bad news.
A reduction in muscle mass can contribute to a change in your body composition; decreased muscle mass, alongside increased visceral fat (fat stored around your organs), contributes to reducing your sensitivity to insulin. Again, bad news because we want to be sensitive to insulin. Insulin regulates your blood sugar. The more sensitive you are to insulin, the less you will require to lower your blood glucose levels. If you have insulin resistance, you’re more likely to face prediabetes and Type II Diabetes, as well as weight gain. Woohoo.
Bone Loss During The Menopause
The NHS estimates that over 3 million people have osteoporosis. If you’re not familiar with osteoporosis, it’s a disease where your bones become fragile; everyday activities such as hugging someone, or simply reaching for something can result in broken bones when you have osteoporosis.
Approximately 1 in 2 (so about 50%) of women will have at least one bone fracture over the age of 60 due to Osteoporosis.
The lifestyle changes required to accommodate Osteoporosis can be dramatic. You can imagine the physical and mental health impact of this disease; the Life with Osteoporosis Survey (2014) showed a staggering 42% of those with the disease said it made them feel socially isolated.
Muscle loss and bone loss frequently go hand in hand. The drop in oestrogen around the menopause and after the menopause increases the risk of osteoporosis. It’s estimated that the average woman will lose up to 10% of their bone mass in the first five years post-menopause. Luckily, muscle strength can be improved, and alongside it, your bone health. Bones become stronger when a certain amount of strain is placed on them.
If you have osteoporosis already, you can still begin an exercise program to strengthen your bones, but it’s advisable to do this under the careful supervision of a professional after discussing it with your doctor.
If you don’t have osteoporosis, how blimmin’ fantastic! You can help to prevent this horrible disease now by embarking on an exercise program for your bone health. If you are not sure if you have osteoporosis but are transitioning into menopause or perhaps are postmenopausal, you may want to explore having a bone density screening to establish the status of your bone health.
Potential Treatments and Counteractions
You may like to explore HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy). There has been lots of information and MIS-information about HRT and possible risks. My advice would be to look for up-to-date information and research; for example, the headline linking breast cancer and HRT is one which MANY people refer to and rightly so, it is something that should be discussed. However, the British Menopause Society tells us that: ‘any risk conferred by HRT is comparable or less than that of other postmenopausal lifestyle risk factors for breast cancer (e.g. obesity, alcohol).” Read more from this here.
Strength Training and Exercise
I think if we take one thing away from today, it’s the importance of our muscle health as we enter perimenopause and beyond. Not only does muscle mass help to counteract morbidity and physical disability in later life, but it can also help reduce the risk of other diseases such as Type II Diabetes and Osteoporosis.
Balance training, resistance training and weight-bearing impact loading have been recommended as a general guide by Healthy Bone (Australia) to support bone health. You must seek advice specifically for you, however, particularly if you have an existing medical condition.
One way that our clients boost and maintain their muscle mass, and reduce their subcutaneous fat is via Emsculpt Neo sessions. A course on Emsculpt Neo can help you to achieve an average increase of 25% in your muscle mass, and an average 30% reduction in your fat (in the treated areas). This may be something worth exploring further if you are perimenopausal or postmenopausal and you’d like to help counteract the natural decline in your muscle mass.
Eating well can help with weight management and build and maintain your muscle mass (protein intake is hugely important for this). Your diet is instrumental in preventing insulin resistance and managing your blood sugar. A BALANCED diet and getting to grips with portion sizes is recommended.
There’s an interesting study from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that shows protein intake in midlife is significantly associated with better odds of healthy ageing. Healthy ageing is defined as having no physical function or mental impairments, having good mental health, and being free from 11 major chronic diseases.
This article from Diabetes UK gives a great breakdown of the food groups, how much roughly you should take from them each day, and some examples of each type of food. It also gives some good tips on cutting out foods that are high in salt, unhealthy fat, and sugar, if this is something you struggle with.
Calcium and Vitamin D have been shown to reduce bone loss in women who are perimenopausal and postmenopausal. An 18-year study on postmenopausal women has shown that adequate vitamin D intake is associated with a lower risk of osteoporotic hip fractures. Adequate calcium intake, alongside adequate vitamin D intake, “has been shown to prevent bone loss and reduce fracture risk in peri- and postmenopausal women.”
A Comprehensive Approach to Menopause Symptoms
The 3 lesser-discussed menopause symptoms discussed here are unlikely to be the only menopausal symptoms that you experience, they’re symptoms that may not instantly be associated as something that directly links with menopause. But they ARE associated. These hormonal changes have an awful lot to answer for, don’t you think?!
During this time of transition, it’s so important to look after our mental and physical health and advocate for ourselves… although we may just feel like running and hiding at times.
If you’re not 100% sure if you’re experiencing perimenopausal symptoms, you may find our blog an interesting read; it details some easily recognizable symptoms as well as less recognized symptoms of perimenopause.
If you are noticing any changes in your health, including muscle weakness, suspected muscle loss, diabetic symptoms, and bone fragility then the first thing you should do is book an appointment with a GP. If you don’t feel listened to or heard, please ask to see a different GP because *you* know if something isn’t quite right or if there have been changes to your health. Advocating for yourself can be hard at the very best of times, but it can feel especially hard when you’re experiencing hormonal changes… it’s so important that if you feel like something’s not right, you get to the bottom of it.
If you would like to explore ways to support your health and well-being around perimenopause and menopause there are some ways in which we can help; from increasing your muscle mass and reducing subcutaneous fat with the Emsculpt Neo treatment or improving your skin health with our suite of clinically proven, results-driven skin treatments through to supporting balanced hormones, reducing brain fog, and enhancing other health and longevity factors such as immunity and reducing stress, all with the Slimyonik wellness treatment. In fact, pop star Sinitta came to us for just this type of support around her menopause; you can see her enjoying her Slimyonik (and Byonik skin treatment) right here on our Instagram.
We would be happy to discuss your unique needs during a consultation at our CQC-registered, Save Face-accredited clinic in St. Albans, Hertfordshire. Contact us today to arrange your consultation and start your journey to improved health and wellness.
Can Hyaluronic Acid Serum Trigger Acne Acne-Prone Skin? +
Hyaluronic acid serum is generally not associated with triggering acne-prone skin. Hyaluronic acid is known for being non-comedogenic, which means it doesn’t clog your pores. While it may not directly help with acne, it can indirectly benefit individuals with acne-prone skin by maintaining proper skin hydration, creating a balanced and healthy skin barrier, and potentially reducing excess oil production that can contribute to acne.
However, it’s essential to be aware of the overall formulation of the hyaluronic acid product you’re using and consider your specific skin type and sensitivities. If you have concerns about how hyaluronic acid serum may affect your skin, consulting a dermatologist or skincare professional for personalized guidance is advisable.
Can Hyaluronic Acid Cause A Breakout? +
Hyaluronic acid is like that cool, drama-free friend. It’s not here to stir the pot; it’s here to hydrate. It doesn’t typically trigger the skin purging process, as it primarily focuses on hydration, not exfoliation. Purging usually occurs with ingredients that speed up cell turnover, like retinoids or AHAs. Since hyaluronic acid’s role is to attract and hold moisture, it generally stays out of the purging business.
Is Hyaluronic Acid Good for Acne-Prone Skin? +
Hyaluronic acid can be an ally for those with acne-prone skin. Acne-prone skin often needs hydration, and hyaluronic acid excels in providing moisture without adding oiliness. It helps maintain a balanced and healthy skin barrier, reducing the likelihood of excess oil production that can contribute to acne. Pairing hyaluronic acid with acne treatments can enhance their effectiveness, and its gentle nature makes it suitable for acne-prone individuals. Hyaluronic acid products can help when added into your skincare routine, and help heal minor acne scars over time.
Can You Overuse Hyaluronic Acid? +
While it’s tricky to overdo it with topical hyaluronic acid, there’s a limit to how much your skin cells can absorb and retain moisture. Using too much can make your skin feel overwhelmed, especially sensitive skin, resulting in a heavy or slightly greasy sensation. It’s essential to use the right amount of hyaluronic acid products, typically a pea-sized amount for your entire face as part of your skincare routine, to hydrate your skin effectively without overloading it. Different formulations have varying concentrations of hyaluronic acid, so adjusting your usage based on your skin’s response and environmental factors is key to finding the right balance in your skincare routine. If you are using a hyaluronic acid moisturizer, make sure it is for all skin types, better yet, if it contains salicylic acid and alpha hydroxy acids, it will help treat acne and improve skin health for all skin types.
Disclaimer: This blog is not to be used for diagnostic purposes. We are all unique which means that our results, recovery and suitability for any type of treatment will vary. Always seek the advice of a professional should you have any health or cosmetic concerns or to discuss treatments specifically for you.