CBD and the Menopause

CBD and menopause – can it help to ease symptoms?

When you think of all its reported benefits, it’s not that surprising that more women are beginning to talk about CBD and the menopause, and whether it can help to ease symptoms.

The menopause is a major life change that all women will experience usually between the ages of 45 to 55, although in some cases, it can happen even earlier. The ‘change’ is accompanied by a whole host of unwanted symptoms including the dreaded hot flushes, brain fog, aches and pains, mood swings and loss of libido.

For some, these symptoms will be barely noticeable but for others, they will be devasting and have a major impact on everyday life.

Given that women make up 50% of the UK population, it is amazing that the menopause is not a topic that has been openly talked about. Instead, for years, it’s been swept under the carpet, one of the last great taboos.

Thankfully, we’re in a new era where we are no longer prepared to stay quiet and suffer in silence, and frankly, why should we. As if to underline this point, the Countess of Wessex is using her profile to raise awareness of the menopause and earlier this month she gave a deeply personal speech about her own experience in a video call with the women’s health charity, Wellbeing of Women.

The Countess is also supporting their ‘Menopause Workplace Pledge’ which is aimed at employers to do more to support women in the workplace. To put that in context, 900,000 women have left their job because of the menopause.

The 3 stages of menopause

Before I started researching this article, I had no idea that the menopause happens in three stages and a quick check amongst my friends found that I wasn’t the only one. It does, and if you didn’t know, we’ve listed what they are below.

Perimenopause

Perimenopause means “around menopause” and is the time when our body begins the natural transition to menopause. It also marks the end of our reproductive years. Perimenopause usually starts when we’re in our 40s but for some women, it can start even earlier in their mid-30s.

The body’s levels of estrogen, the main female hormone, fluctuates during perimenopause which means that our menstrual cycles will become less frequent, can be longer, shorter, heavier or lighter than before, and eventually, they will stop altogether.

During this time we may also begin to experience hot flushes, sleep problems and vaginal dryness. Once we’ve had 12 consecutive months without a period, we’ve officially reached menopause and the perimenopause period is over.

Menopause

Menopause is the stage where we have not had a period for 12 consecutive months so we’ve left the perimenopause period and officially reached menopause. It usually starts between the ages of 45 and 55 and is a normal part of the ageing process as the ovaries have now stopped releasing eggs.

Menopause symptoms we may experience can include the same as during perimenopause as well as emotional changes in the form of mood swings, irritability and mild depression. We can also experience dry skin, eyes and mouth, headaches, joint and muscle pain and difficulty in sleeping to name a few.

Postmenopause

Postmenopause is the time after the menopause has officially ended and symptoms should ease although we may still experience hot flushes and night sweats for anything up to two years. However, we may start to feel more energetic and suffer less emotional changes but because we now have lower estrogen levels, there’s an increased risk of conditions such as osteoporosis and heart disease.

Now the menopause is over you may start to feel more energetic and your emotions may be less up and down but as you now have lower estrogen levels, there’s an increased risk of conditions such as osteoporosis and heart disease.

Why CBD could help to ease symptoms

As we’ve said before, research into the health benefits of CBD is ongoing so we’re not about to make any fantastical claims. However, what we do know is that Cannabinoids such as CBD act on the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which is the system responsible for maintaining an optimum level of balance in our bodies.

If our Endocannabinoid System isn’t working properly, it can lead to a number of health conditions because the body’s balance is disrupted and Estrogen is one of the hormones that help to maintain the proper functioning of the ECS. So one theory is that the declining levels during menopause could disrupt the ECS and trigger menopausal symptoms.

There are cannabinoid receptors throughout the female reproductive system that impact:

  • mood regulation
  • the function of the immune system
  • pain
  • sleep
  • memory
  • fertility and reproduction
  • temperature regulation

The receptors positively interact with cannabinoids like CBD, so it’s thought that products like CBD oil could potentially help to treat a range of PMS and menopausal symptoms including mood, relaxation, sleep and inflammation.

In the US and Canada, women have already embraced both CBD and cannabis (in US states where medicinal use is legal, in Canada it already is) with Kate Miller and Anna Duckwork, co-founders of online cannabis magazine Miss Grass reporting that ‘Women are adopting cannabis as a wellness tool and making it a part of a much bigger approach to self-care’ says Duckworth.

CBD and the menopause
CBD could help balance our body and ease menopause symptoms

The symptoms CBD could help to ease

A good, healthy diet, exercise and supplements can help ease the symptoms of menopause so now may be the time to try incorporating CBD into your daily wellness regime too. Always remember to check with your doctor if you’re on specific menopause medication such as HRT before you start to take CBD oil and if it’s your first time, always start with a low dosage and work up from there.

Pain

In addition to the dreaded hot flushes and night sweats, women can also experience more pain during menopause with 60% aged 40 to 64 suffering from pain in their muscles and joints. That’s because our bodies are producing higher levels of inflammation which is a reason why arthritis symptoms can sometimes increase.

It’s important to reduce the body’s inflammation and CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties could be a big help as Cannabidiol has proven anti-inflammatory properties. In mice, it’s been shown to be anti-arthritic and protect the joints against inflammatory damage.

Difficulty sleeping

Like a lot of the research on CBD, its impact on sleep disorders is still in its infancy but a small study of people who took a pill containing 25mg of CBD for a month showed that 66.7% of them experienced a better sleep experience.

Stress and anxiety

Increased levels of stress and anxiety go hand in hand with menopause and this is another area where CBD could help. A 2019 study found that CBD had a success rate of over 78% in alleviating anxiety-related problems and a 66% success rate in alleviating signs of depression.

Hormonal inbalance

As we discussed earlier in this article, CBD can have a positive effect on the Endocannabinoid System so could help to control the symptoms that arise from hormonal imbalance such as mood swings and brain fog.

Helpful menopause resources

There’s no getting away from the fact that if you’re a woman, you’re going to go through menopause and for many of us it can be truly bewildering. That’s why we’ve included some links to sites specially set up to help women talk about the menopause and look for the support they may need.

Talking Menopause

Talking Menopause aims to be the solution to positively impact a culture change in organisations around menopause. Set up by a team of experienced consultants, including business coaches and menopause professionals who are all committed to raising awareness of menopause in the workplace.

Rock my Menopause

Rock My Menopause is out to do exactly that and is on a mission to break through the taboo that surrounds menopause. Set up to give women the confidence to recognise and discuss their symptoms and equip families, friends, employers and the wider public with information about menopause to support women at this time of life.

Menopause and Me

Menopause and Me provide tailored information about all stages of menopause and the tools and support to help you make informed choices when it comes to managing your symptoms.

MegsMenopause

Set up by Meg Matthews, MegsMenopause is an open-source of information and advice dedicated to empowering women through an honest and frank discussion of all things menopause. The site also stocks a range of products specifically created for women going through the menopause.

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