December 2, 2021

The Real Impact of Menopause

As we all live longer it has become apparent that Menopause is affecting the quality of life of more women (and indirectly Men) than ever.

Women struggle with weight gain, symptoms and long term health consequences.

Comparisons with our mothers and grandmothers are commonplace, and its not unusual to be shamed into silence and reminded that we are not the first to “go through the change”.

By 2030, the world population of menopausal and postmenopausal women is projected to increase to 1.2 billion, with 47 million new entrants each year.

The British Menopause Society Factsheet entitled, A woman’s relationship with the menopause is complicated, lays out the stark reality.

45% of Women say menopause has a negative effect on their work, and 47% have had to take time off work, worryingly they wouldn't tell their employer why.

33% of women feel less outgoing, 32% feel they are no longer good company and 23% feel more isolated.

51% of women say menopause has affected their sex lives, and 42% say they just don’t feel sexy since the menopause.

However, it’s not only women who are affected, 33% of partners say they feel helpless when it comes to supporting their partner, and 28% say they end up having arguments, as they don’t understand what their partners are going through.

During menopause, as a natural process of ageing, the supply of eggs diminishes, and the ovaries reduce the amount of oestrogen and progesterone they produce.

Most symptoms of menopause are due to low oestrogen and early symptoms include:

• Hot Flushes

• Night sweats

• Joint pain

• Sleep disorders

• Mood changes

• Irritability

Later in the progression of menopause, vaginal and bladder symptoms can be problematic, and long-term consequences severely overlooked are heart health and bone health.

Hormone Replacement Therapy is the mainstay of Pharmacological treatment, and recent clinical trials have shown that early intervention with HRT can, not only reduce symptoms, but can prevent or reduce the impact of long-term consequences

Lifestyle changes can dramatically reduce symptoms, and obesity has been shown to be a risk factor for increased symptoms

Weight gain is not a direct consequence of oestrogen deficiency, however fat redistribution from the female pattern of laying fat on the hips and bottom, to the male pattern of laying fat on the abdomen occurs.

Women often complain of weight gain during menopause, and this can be multi factorial.

It can be the redistribution of fat to the abdomen, giving the impression of weight gain, it can be due to the decrease in bone mass and muscle that occurs in menopause, which means we need less calories to maintain our weight, or it can be physiological and psychological factors increasing appetite and comfort eating.

Regardless of the cause, two lifestyle changes can prove very useful in weight control, alleviation of symptoms, and perhaps more importantly the reduction or prevention of longterm health consequences.

Modification and education on diet and the introduction of resistance exercise has shown to help significantly with management of body weight, symptoms and longterm health.

Resistance training is particularly important, in regard to bone health and muscle preservation, in this at-risk group. Introduction of resistance training in untrained individuals needs to be managed to avoid injury and ensure correct technique.

Often women find it very difficult to begin resistance training at this time due to lack of time, motivation, strength or energy.

Personal training with Electric Muscle Stimulation - EMS, is a fast efficient way to ensure the equivalent of 3 gym sessions per week in just one 20 minute session.

EMS can also help with fat loss, muscle and bone health and energy. It is easy on the joints and can relieve back pain and tighten skin.

VOLO specialises in 3D Infrared Scanning to visualise progress, Personal training with EMS & Nutrition coaching in the Studio in Greystones.

Nutrition Consultations and Menopause Education are also available online, book a consultation to find out more.

Roseanna Gorman

Founder and Head Coach VOLO