5 Pillars of Menopause Care
Every woman will go through the menopause at some point in their life and each will experience her own unique set of symptoms. Anne Henderson has devised the five key pillars of menopause care to help support each woman through her personal menopause journey. These pillars are the basis of her ‘Natural Menopause’ book and also the basis of the management women will receive at The Amara Clinic.
These pillarsinclude natural remedies (herbal medicine and aromatherapy), mental wellbeing, nutrition, fitness and HRT.
The Amara Clinic offers specialist menopause care, following these principles, backed by a British Menopause Society Accredited Specialist and conforming to the current guidelines. The highly-qualified team can provide holistic treatment and support to help you stay healthy, positive and joyful through your perimenopause, menopause and beyond.
Pillar 1 - Natural remedies
Natural remedies offer a range of healing, rejuvenating and restorative benefits. Treatments can relieve menopause symptoms such as hot flushes, anxiety and insomnia and help your body function better, leaving you more able to adapt to the changes menopause brings.
After the menopause, production of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone falls substantially. Healthy body function and communication between different parts of the body are essential for post-menopausal hormone production. Natural remedies, including phyto-oestrogens and adaptogens, can help achieve this and maintain a better hormonal balance.
Herbal remedies and complementary therapies (such as aromatherapy, acupuncture and reflexology) can help women manage their symptoms and regain control of their lives. Different treatments and supplements offer different benefits:
- Ease hot flushes and night sweats: Black cohosh, red clover, sage
- Reduce anxiety and support mental health: Lemon balm, oat straw, skullcap
- Improve sleep: Lavender, valerian
- Aid digestive system: German chamomile, St John’s wort, sweet fennel
- Boost mood: Rose, bergamot, geranium
These natural remedies are rarely prescribed in isolation, so a soothing mug of lemon balm tea to lift your mood works well alongside a massage with clary sage essential oil to reduce hot flushes.
At The Amara Clinic, we work with you to find a unique blend of herbal supplements and natural therapies to help address your symptoms.
Pillar 2 - Mental wellbeing
Many women report distressing psychological and emotional symptoms during the perimenopause and menopause: anxiety, mood swings, brain fog and sleep disturbance are all common. Feeling in control of your symptoms is key to physical and mental health and wellbeing. Menopause is an ideal opportunity to reflect and take stock of your priorities.
Menopause can be an emotional rollercoaster. With the killer combination of fluctuating hormones, juggling busy lives and balancing the demands of work, kids and elderly parents, it’s no wonder the emotional part of your brain often drowns out the rational part, leaving you feeling overwhelmed.
Anxiety is one of the most common menopausal symptoms and is often accompanied by mood swings, crying, irritability, anger, brain fog and loss of confidence.
You can manage stress and anxiety in many ways. Self-care and stress management is essential, but the specialists at the clinic can provide guidance and support:
- Breathing exercises: Working with the breath at the start and end of each day
- Mindfulness: Being fully present and engaged in the moment
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): Understanding the link between thoughts, emotions, reactions and behaviour and managing anxiety, hot flushes and insomnia
- Journalling: Recording and reflecting on your thoughts and feelings
- Body scanning: Bringing attention to each part of your body to identify areas of stress
Pillar 3 - Nutrition
We are what we eat, and as your body changes through perimenopause and menopause so do your dietary needs. A well-balanced diet can help protect your bones, boost energy and mood, maintain a healthy weight, and manage many common menopause symptoms.
Here are some of the nutrients your mind and body need to stay strong:
- Improve bone density: Calcium, vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, collagen
- Reduce blood pressure and cholesterol: Vitamin C, antioxidants, essential fatty acids
- Boost brain function: Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E
- Better gut health: Prebiotics, probiotics, fibre
- Maintain a healthy weight: High-quality protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats
- Enhance mood: Antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, prebiotics, probiotics
- Better hormonal balance: Phyto-oestrogens
Whenever possible, avoid fast and processed foods, sugary snacks and foods high in saturated fats. It can help to cut caffeine and alcohol, which can make symptoms like insomnia and palpitations worse.
Pillar 4 - Fitness
Exercise brings health benefits at any time in your life, but during menopause, it can be particularly advantageous. As well as helping you maintain a healthy weight, regular exercise can improve your muscle and bone health, reduce the risk of heart disease, improve your mental wellbeing, and even alleviate menopause symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats.
You should aim for at least 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate exercise or 1.5 to 2 hours of more vigorous activity per week. A focus on strength and resistance training is a key priority to ensure muscle tone and mass is maintained, this in turn helps to prevent weight gain and loss of strength and stability in later life.
It’s never too late to try a new exercise. Yoga, swimming, Pilates, running, weight training, circuit classes, hill walking, boxing, tennis and cycling all bring significant benefits. Why not mix things up and add more than one to your weekly routine?
Pillar 5 - HRT
HRT replaces hormones that start depleting during perimenopause. By restoring oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone to a sufficient level, menopausal symptoms can be alleviated.
Awareness around menopause and HRT has greatly improved in recent years, however some gaps still remain. GPs are not always up-to-date with the latest HRT research, which means that women can be given incorrect advice and support.
Taking HRT long term helps maintain bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis, as well as cardiovascular disease, stroke and some forms of dementia. For many women, HRT offers an overall improved quality of life and general wellbeing.
Side effects of taking HRT can include tender breasts, bloating, indigestion, headaches or vaginal bleeding. However, these tend to be mild and often last six to eight weeks. For the vast majority of women, the benefits greatly outweigh the risks. Your individual risks will be discussed during your consultation but all women can be reassured that modern, body-identical HRT is incredibly safe with minimal long-term risks.
At The Amara Clinic we offer specialist menopause advice, backed by a British Menopause Society accredited specialist continually assessing you and your symptoms and tweaking hormone levels to match your individual needs.
Menopause care at The Amara Clinic
The Amara Clinic offers exceptional menopause care in person in a beautiful boutique clinic in the heart of Tunbridge Wells as well as virtual consultations on the telephone or by encrypted video link.
The Clinic is led by Miss Anne Henderson, a Consultant Gynaecologist and renowned British Menopause Society Accredited Specialist-one of only 200 specialists across the UK. She works with an experienced multi-disciplinary healthcare team to provide holistic menopause care.