The menopause is a process which nearly all women dread going through. It's full of negative symptoms, including lower sex drive and bone disease osteoporosis, and can shatter a female's confidence.
While the average age for menopause, according to the NHS, is 51, a recent survey of 2,000 women discovered that many of the ladies stopped menstruating at around 46. And more worryingly, according to a study carried out at Imperial College London, one in 16 women goes through the change before they reach 40.
Unfortunately it can't be stopped, but you could help delay it. Have we got your attention yet? Then read on to find out how.
Using low-fat dairy products is probably already a big part of women's lives, but if you don't do this already you should think about swapping calorific options for lighter choices. Researchers at Harvard discovered that females who consumed low-fat cheese, yoghurts and skimmed milk delayed their menopause by around three-and-a-half years. This came from monitoring 46,000 women and the experiment indicated that cow's milk could contain enzymes, formed when the fat is removed, that boost oestrogen in the body, helping a woman’s reproductive organs function for longer.
What you use in the kitchen could also help put off the menopause. Non-stick pans may be the easiest appliances to use while cooking but they are coated in perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a synthetic chemical which fends off water and grease as well as being linked to disrupting hormones.
A previous US study of 26,000 women aged between 42 and 64 found that those with high levels of PFOA in their blood had gone through the menopause sooner than those with few traces of the chemical.
"We don’t yet know how big a factor these chemicals are, but they may have a cumulative effect over a woman’s lifetime.
“Using the right kind of pots and pans to cook your food may be important because the actual surface of the pan that you are using can end up being absorbed into your food when heated to high temperatures," menopause expert Dr Marilyn Glenville explained to Mail Online.
"My advice is to avoid any non-stick pans or utensils completely as it’s just not worth having the possibility of that toxic exposure. It’s just as easy to cook with stainless steel, cast iron or glass cookware."
Dr Glenville also advises women to think carefully about the beauty products they use, as these too can have an effect on the menopause. Four out of five items of make-up include the chemicals phthalates, which help give long-lasting results, but they are known to disrupt hormone balance.
"As your skin is the most absorbent organ of the body, do you really need or want all these chemical entering your blood stream?" she questioned.
"Check the ingredients list properly and, where possible, stick to natural, plant-based products."
Previously research has also found that high levels of phthalates in the blood or urine saw women go through the menopause an average of 2.3 years earlier than those with lower amounts.
© Cover Media