Today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I'm going to be answering the question, "Does the menopause make you more prone to colds, flu, and other winter infections?"
How can menopause affect your immune system?
So, does the menopause make you more prone to colds flu, and winter infections? The answer is yes, unfortunately, it does. There can be a number of reasons for this.
First of all, the hormonal changes that are going on will really drain us of energy. And, as women today, do we take it easy? Do we rest, and try to recuperate? No, we keep going all the time.
Unfortunately, it's the fact that our body doesn't get a chance to rest that can put stress on our immune function. It's also the fact that symptoms in the menopause can drain us even further.
We know that poor sleep can affect immune function. And we know that most of us in the menopause have problems falling asleep, and staying asleep. If you're also being woken by night sweats, then this is going to compound the problem. Even a few nights of little sleep or poor sleep can affect immune function.
So, if you're having weeks and months of poor sleep, it's going to have quite an impact on your general health as well as your energy.
As I mentioned before, the menopause can really drain us of energy. And, with day-to-day life, we can find that we're really not getting on top of things, either emotionally or physically, and that can impact our immune system, too.
Then there's our diet. You know, we're busy, busy people and, sometimes, we don't eat particularly well. We might have a lot of emotional eating going on during the menopause when we're not feeling particularly good.
And, you know, we get so busy. Sometimes, we don't have time to cook proper meals, so we're relying on ready-meals or fast foods. But a poor diet is not going to give us the nutrients we need for good, healthy immune function.
Stress is another huge factor as well. Stress is going to drain us emotionally and it's going to drain us physically. And just feeling that little bit low can have a big impact on our immune function, too.
So, as you can see, even just one major symptom in the menopause, such as poor sleep, can have a big impact on how we deal with infections. And, if we're getting all these other little symptoms as well, then it's no wonder that our body just can't cope and can't prevent us catching all these infections.
How do you prevent colds and flu during menopause?
So, how can you help to make your immune system that little bit stronger, just to help prevent you succumbing to everything that's going around?
Give your diet a boost
Diet is absolutely vital. During the winter, we tend to eat more stodgy foods, more comfort foods, just because it's cold and we might feel a bit miserable.
But it's really important to keep your fresh foods up. I know salads might not be very appealing in the winter, but I try and have something fresh every day. Increase your cooked vegetables and remember to have a little bit of fruit as well. Things like your oranges and your kiwis are just great for adding in that little bit of extra vitamin C.
I know this is easier said than done, but it can be as little as 30 minutes of "me" time each day. If you can give your body some rest and little bit of recuperation time, it can make a huge impact on how your immune system functions. So, that little bit of "me" time is very, very important.
If you're finding that stress is an issue, we have lovely stress remedies such as our Avena Calm or Passiflora Complex. And, for those of you who are maybe having a little bit of low mood or SAD in the winter, then there's St. John's wort as well. Just be careful with that one, though, because it shouldn't be taken with other prescribed medication.
Try to get a good night's sleep
Again, I know this is easier said than done. If you're having problems getting to sleep or staying asleep, we've got our lovely Dormeasan, which can be taken every night if needed.
One problem during the winter, especially for us up here in Scotland, is that it's dark for most of the day. I go to work and it's dark, and I go home when it's dark!
This means it can be very difficult to get proper natural light, and this natural light can help support our immune function. So, if you can, try to get out maybe even just for a 10 or 15 minute walk during the day when there's a little bit of daylight.
That can make a huge difference. Go for a brisk walk and remember the deep breathing as well. It's going to help improve lung function, which is going to protect you against all these invading germs. That fresh air and extra deep breathing is going to rev up your circulation and can help with brain fog, too. So it's a great one for all sorts of different menopause symptoms.
Fight colds & flu with Echinaforce
There are some other things you can look at too. We have a remedy called Echinaforce, which is licensed for the relief of symptoms of colds and flu. The herb echinacea itself can also be taken as a preventative all winter. Many people use it this way to help prevent them from picking up colds and flu.
We also have a lovely new remedy called Immune Support, which is a combination of nasturtium, zinc, vitamin D, and Acerola, which is high in vitamin C – great for fighting those winter ailments. We need lots of vitamin C in the winter to help support our immune function. You can get it in fruit, fresh vegetables, or you could try our Nature-C supplement, which is made from fruits.
So, I hope this is going to help you. It is important to look after ourselves during the winter, not just to help our bodies cope with the menopause itself, but also to keep us on top of all these other infections that are going round at this time of the year.
If any of you have any tips on how you look after yourself during the winter, please share them with us.