Recognising the common symptoms of the menopause

Nikki Harris is the owner of Women’s Hormone Health and a fully qualified Nutritional Therapist, Dip NT mBANT CNHC. Here, she talks about how our body changes with the fluctuating hormones and what causes weight gain, hot flushes, brain fog, and changes in mood.

The menopause happens when ovaries stop releasing eggs, periods stop and the ovaries reduce the amount of oestrogen they produce.

The official end of fertility begins 12 months after your last period, while the UK average age of a women to hit menopause is 51.

I specialise in women’s hormone health. supporting women in the years leading up to menopause and beyond. I empower women to take control of their health, identifying what is causing your symptoms and get to the root cause, addressing what is needed to restore balance.

Common symptoms are:

  • Hot flushes/night sweats
  • Lethargy, irritability
  • Depression, mood swings
  • Anxiety, sleep disturbances, memory problems Decreased libido

Joint aches (increased risk of osteoporosis) Vaginal dryness/pain on intercourse Shrinking of breasts/sore breasts Headaches, migraines, weight gain

Hot flushes are due to a decline of ovarian oestrogen (estradiol). Oestrogen helps to control the temperature from the hypothalamus gland in our brain.

Oestrogen helps to protect a number of different parts of your body and can show up in symptoms connected with the heart and blood vessels, bones, brain, skin and vagina.

Before menopause, our ovaries produce sex hormones – progesterone, oestrogen (estradial) and testosterone.

After menopause our adrenals produce small amounts of progesterone and testosterone and our fat cells are our main site of oestrogen production.

Other hormones that are important during menopause

Insulin is our fat-storing hormone, an excess of carbohydrates will be stored as fat especially around the middle. Cells also become less responsive to insulin (pre-diabetic) when oestrogen declines, making weight loss harder.

Fat cells produce their own oestrogen, our body knows that this is a way of making more oestrogen = more fat cells = more oestrogen = harder to lose weight.

Hypothyroid (underactive thyroid) can have the same symptoms as the menopause.

When the body is not producing enough thyroid hormones to keep the body functioning properly and show up as symptoms. I use private lab tests to look at the thyroid in more depth.

Cortisol is our “stress” hormones and high levels of cortisol increases fat around the middle. If constantly stressed this has a knock on effect on our thyroid. Skipping meals also raises this hormone.

In order to feel relief and a release from our symptoms, we must REBALANCE ourselves first. Once we give our body what it needs, then change IS possible. Addressing:

  • Natural decline of oestrogen and supporting other hormones
  • Key nutrients
  • Stress
  • Food
  • Sleep
  • Bone and cardiovascular health Mood and movement

We have to accept our body has changed, menopause is not a disease it is a part of our life as a woman. Knowing what is going on with our body and how we can support this is the best way to give our body what it needs at this time.

This can be done through food , lifestyle, mindset, movement and targeted supplements and this is what I cover when clients work with me 1:2:1.

Ladies, you do NOT have to suffer in silence – I can help.

Having extra support can make all the difference when you feel like you’ve tried everything and are still struggling alone.

If you are finding it difficult and would like to talk to me privately, I offer a FREE 30-minute call where I can find out more about you and see how best I can help.

If you would like to get in touch please contact via email at or through my website:

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