HWHR – Managing mind and Mood Symptoms
Mind and Mood symptoms can be debilitating for many women transitioning through menopause. Symptoms that may range from brain fog and low mood to anxiety and depression for some females.
In this episode we give a snapshot introduction to the potential reasons and risk factors for these symptoms and outline some nutritional strategies a mid-life female runner may wish to introduce to help manage or alleviate them.
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Exploring the recognised cause of mind and mood symptoms as a female transitions through Menopause with an emphasis on the two phases of perimenopause:
Early Phase – one or more missed menstrual cycles OR a persistent difference of 7 days (or more) in length of consecutive cycles
Late Phase – menstrual irregularity progresses to longer periods of amenorrhea and more dramatic fluctuations in sex hormones
Discussing key risk factors that may help explain why some women are more susceptible to mind and mood symptoms as they transition through menopause including:
Psychosocial Resources – how well an individual copes with life events generally plus what social support an individual may have
Mindset – a woman’s expectations of the transition and the way they regard menopause may impact on their psychological wellbeing during this phase of life
Exercise – it is thought that women who exercise experience less psychological symptoms as they progress through menopause besides their more sedentary counterparts
History of anxiety/depression – a previous history of these conditions may lead to an increased likelihood of them occurring during perimenopause
Considering the impact of mind and mood symptoms on a mid-life female runner with a focus on the positive outcomes from “running through menopause” including:
- Better emotional wellbeing
- Better self-image
- Better self-confidence
- Less anger/irritability
BUT…it is important to recognise that long-distance or intensive running may impact on mood negatively as a result of an exercise-induced stress response affecting hormone balance
Looking at the potential nutritional factors that may be implicated in the development or exacerbation of mind and mood symptoms as a woman transitions through mid-life including:
An overconsumption of refined carbohydrate rich foods and sugars – these foods are well known to lead to a disruption in hormone balance ranging from insulin to cortisol, both of which influence sex hormone balance
Low fibre diet – fibre is supportive of toxin removal from the body including xenoestrogens (chemical compounds that mimic oestrogen)
Low intake of fruit and vegetables – therefore low intake of phytonutrients, which are known to be cell protective
Outlining some dietary and nutritional habits to consider to support positive mental health and hormone balance including:
Phytoestrogenic foods – phytoestrogens being compounds found naturally in many plant-based foods with their chemical structure and effects being very similar to that of oestrogen, albeit their effects are weaker
Fennel and passionfruit – both thought to help reduce anxiety
Pre and probiotic foods – important for the absorption of phytoestrogenic compounds
Giving an action point to consider putting into place NOW that may help support any symptoms as you move through menopause
ACTION POINT: Introduce an everyday healthy diet CONSISTENTLY.
By introducing this concept here, it will help ensure that a variety of natural and whole foods are being consumed, which could support hormone balance. This is a simple step, but potentially a big step towards attaining more hormonal balance therefore, helping to diminish any negative mind and mood symptoms
The suggestions we make during this episode are for guidance and
advice only, and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment.
If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact
your healthcare professional for advice as soon as possible.
Aileen Smith and Karen Campbell host RUNNERS HEALTH HUB. A place for like-minded female runners who are looking for simple ways to support running performance, energy, endurance, and general great health.
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