Electrolytes, Dehydration and Menopause

Water is the largest component of the human body, representing up to 70% of a healthy young woman, this percentage reduces with age, and a post-menopausal woman may be closer to 55% fluid. 

Independent of menopause, aging has important effects on fluid balance. Aging is associated with a blunting of the thirst sensation and a slower rate of replenishment. This is possibly due to an age-related reduction in kidney function.

 

Imbalanced hormones change our fluid balance.

Progesterone acts as a diuretic. 

Estrogen can act as a fluid retaining hormone. Estrogen-related fluid retention can also feel like bloating and it’s related to a reduction in sodium levels.

Excessive sweating from hot flushes and night sweats further reduce sodium levels and compound the problem.

Heavy menstrual flow like some women in peri-menopause experience can also create dehydration.

 

Other causes of dehydration include

  • General sweating from exercise, hot weather, or sauna use
  • Vomiting or diarrhea can contribute to dehydration
  • Certain medications such as diuretic medications promote water loss.

Mild dehydration starts as low as a 1% drop in body fluid levels. Most people don’t start to feel dehydrated until they lose 2% or more but by this stage, your body’s electrolyte levels are already compromised. 

Electrolytes are small, slightly charged particles essential for human health. They include sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, chloride, phosphate, and bicarbonate. 

Electrolytes have many different functions.

  • They regulate the movement of sodium and potassium in and out of cells, this regulates how much water is kept or pushed out of the cell and this maintains hydration levels and prevents fluid retention. 
  • Electrolytes are needed to balance pH levels within the body.
  • They are also linked with bone health. 
  • Our nerve cells use electrolytes to carry electrical impulses or messages around the body. These messages can tell our muscles to relax or contract. 

But that’s not all folks, they also play a role in mood regulation, sleep, brain function, energy levels, and more.

 

Let me tell you about 2 experiences with adding electrolytes. The first is a patient of mine who was experiencing severe night sweats to the extent she was waking up drenched and having to change her bedding. This was happening about 4 times a week for the past 12 months. We discussed her fluid intake and she started having a daily serve of electrolytes. This was the only change we made as we were waiting for test results to come in. I saw her again a month after and she reported a 90% improvement with only 2 night sweats experienced since she started her electrolytes. Please do not discount the amount of salt your body is losing with excess sweating and it's relentless until you break out of the dehydration cycle.

The second story is my personal experience with electrolytes. My peri-menopausal journey has included a lot of heavy bleeding courtesy of my fibroid. During times of excessive bleeding, I could also experience chest pain, palpitation, and fatigue. I was topping up my iron levels but it wasn’t until I added electrolytes to my daily routine that my energy picked back up and my chest pain and palpitations resolved. I love my electrolytes so much and really noticed a fast resolution of symptoms. 

I’d like to suggest you try a 7-day electrolyte challenge and see if you notice any beneficial health effects. Many women don’t realize how dehydrated they actually are until they try this. It’s best to find a formulated electrolyte product that is free of sugar or artificial sweeteners.

I hope you have enjoyed this dietary tip to ease your menopausal transition, if you would like to learn more about how simple dietary changes can transform your transition, you may be excited to hear I’m opening enrolment to my Menopause Makeover program on Saturday 24th July. 

This program is for you if your menopausal transition has not been fun. You have been waiting it out and life is getting unbearable. Maybe you don’t know where to start to turn things around and you really just want to feel like you again.

The truth is the menopausal transition can take over a decade to complete. Don’t stick your head in the sand and try to wait it out. Let me show you where to get started.

After all, wouldn’t you prefer, better temperature regulation, abundant energy, a great night's sleep, happy moods, strong memory and to feel like you again?

For more details, click here. You may like to join the waitlist as I have any exciting early bird promotion that the waitlist will hear about first.

 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3984489/

Stachenfeld NS. Hormonal changes during menopause and the impact on fluid regulation. Reprod Sci. 2014;21(5):555-561. doi:10.1177/1933719113518992

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