The menopause is something nearly every woman will experience in life. It happens as a result of falling oestrogen and, for most, occurs between the ages of 45 and 55.
As most women who have been through the menopause will know, it comes with some symptoms that many find unpleasant including hot flushes, night sweats and mood swings. There are plenty of ways that may help reduce these symptoms, including changes to your exercise regime, eating a healthier diet, and taking supplements.
What are the best menopause supplements?
Women going through the menopause have an increased risk of developing weak bones, due to falling levels of oestrogen. For this reason, menopausal women could benefit from taking supplements that contribute to stronger bones, including calcium and vitamin D. You should be able to get enough of these vitamins and minerals through changes in your diet. Always remember before taking these kinds of supplements, it’s a good idea to speak to your GP, especially if you’re taking other medications.
Adults need around 700 milligrams (mg) of calcium each day. Calcium is found in dairy products, green leafy vegetables, and fish eaten with the bones (sardines and pilchards). It’s also added to soya drinks and bread.
If you can’t get enough calcium through your diet, the NHS advises that you can take supplements in a dose of up to 1,500 milligrams (mg) each day – taking more than this might cause unpleasant side effects.Shop calcium
Adults need 10 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin D each day. In the spring and summer months we can get vitamin D through sun exposure, but in the autumn and winter it’s a good idea to take daily supplements.
The NHS advises adults taking no more than 100 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin D each day.Shop vitamin D
In addition to calcium and vitamin D, you might benefit from taking supplements for any other nutrients you struggle to get into your diet. Just make sure you’re not having more than the recommended daily dose, and that you’re not doubling up on the same vitamin by taking several different multivitamins.Shop menopause
Supplements to support the menopause
To help support your through the menopause there are specially formulated menopause supplements available online and in-store from brands such as Vitabiotics and A.Vogel.
- Vitabiotics menopace plus – enriched with zinc for hormone balance, vitamin D to support strong bones and vitamin B12 for energy.
- A.Vogel menopause support – a daily supplement to help support every stage of the menopause
- HealthAid menovital tablets – suitable for vegetarians, they’re rich in natural herbs and B vitamins.
Before taking these supplements it’s best to talk to your GP or pharmacist.
What are the best supplements for menopausal skin?
As we age, the collagen in our skin breaks down leading to wrinkles and sagging. You might also find that after the menopause your skin becomes drier. You can help slow down the process of skin ageing by quitting smoking, cutting back on sugar and wearing sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays.
Some people may find that taking collagen supplements can help improve the appearance of the skin as they age. This is because collagen is believed to increase the skin’s elasticity, however there is little clinical evidence to support this. You can learn more about this topic in our blog which collagen is best for me.
Can I take weight loss supplements when I’m going through the menopause?
Some women going through the menopause might find that they put on weight due to a number of factors. You may find that you feel less confident about your body than you did before and are struggling to accept these changes.
If you’re interested in losing weight but you’re not sure where to start, check out the free 12-week programme on the NHS – this weight loss plan contains detailed resources for diet and exercise that will help you drop weight and get fitter in a sustainable way. You can also read our healthy eating and exercise guides for more top tips.
As part of a healthy diet and exercise regime, you might also find it helpful to take weight loss supplements – taken on their own, they’re unlikely to do anything.
For women finding it hard to lose weight even with a good diet and regular exercise, help is available from LloydsPharmacy. We have a medicated weight loss service, which may suitable for you if you’re under 75 years, you have a BMI over 30, or a BMI over 27 and a health condition related to your weight. If you’re interested please ask one of our pharmacists to see if you are eligible.
Should I take herbal remedies for my menopause symptoms?
There are lots of herbal remedies available to treat menopause symptoms, but there’s little evidence to suggest that they work – if they did, they’d be prescribed on the NHS.
What’s more, some may cause unpleasant side effects or may interact negatively with other medications you’re taking. If you’re thinking about trying herbal remedies for your symptoms, make sure you run it past your GP first.
You should also make sure that any remedy you buy is labelled with the traditional herbal registration (THR) marking.
Should I try hormone replacement therapy?
Some women going through the menopause might feel hesitant about trying hormone replacement therapy (HRT) because of the associated risks. If you’re interested in trying HRT please speak to your GP who can discuss the risks and benefits with you to see if this may be suitable.
HRT comes in tablet, patch, gel and implant form. Some types are designed to treat several symptoms at once, while others are designed to treat localised problems like vaginal dryness.
Other tips for coping with menopause symptoms
If your main symptoms are hot flushes and night sweats, it might help to take some simple steps like the following:
- Have your windows open and a fan on at night in your bedroom
- Take cool showers during the day and before bed
- Wear lightweight clothing
- Avoid triggers, like caffeine and spicy food
If your main symptoms are mood swings and anxiety, you might find it helpful to take up relaxing activities like yoga or tai chi. You can also speak to your GP about getting a referral for counselling or CBT.
Lastly, taking up regular exercise of any kind, and sticking to a healthy and balanced diet will help you maintain good general health and keep you fit and active. Learn more about maintaining a healthy lifestyle here.
Image for illustrative purposes only. Posed by models.