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Perimenopause Awareness with Emma Bardwell

Perimenopause Awareness with Emma Bardwell

Penny Hamilton (Westlab founder) looks at how Magnesium can play a role in supporting perimenopause. With some insightful advice from expert nutritionist Emma Bardwell.

The menopause is finally being given the attention and airtime it deserves. I remember watching my mother struggle through her menopause and at times I felt I didn’t recognise her. There was almost no help or support 30 years ago. She just had to go through the myriad of symptoms feeling alone and unsupported.

Now that I’ve entered into my midlife, I feel so thankful that things have changed and moved on. The taboos are lifting, and menopause is becoming an everyday conversation. Hand in hand with this is the boom in research and expertise which is breaking down the barriers that used to leave women so isolated during this part of life.

What is perimenopause?

The term ‘perimenopause’ is still relatively new to many of us. But it’s essential for women to understand what it means and how it affects them on their journey through midlife. The common misconception is that the menopause suddenly begins on the day your periods stop. But this is simply not the case. Perimenopause is a part of the process and describes the time leading up to the end of your periods. It commonly begins in your early 40s (but can be earlier) and can last anything from a few months to a decade.

Perimenopause can bring with it a whole host of symptoms which can leave you feeling unwell, confused and scared. The emotional changes can affect all aspects of one’s life from relationships to work. It can be a very turbulent time. The best way to support yourself during midlife is to learn how to recognise the signs and when to get help. Plus an understanding for how to best manage your hormones through everyday wellbeing such as nutrition, exercise and rest.

One expert who’s leading the charge on perimenopause education is nutritionist Emma Bardwell, co-author of The Perimenopause Solution: Take control of your hormones before they take control of you.


We caught up with Emma during Menopause Awareness Month to hear her thoughts on magnesium and peri/menopause:  

Why do you feel it is important to supplement magnesium during Perimenopause?

 Magnesium is one of the recommendations I most often make for my clients. It is extremely beneficial for many of the side effects that come with peri/menopause. Including anxiety, insomnia, restless legs, muscle aches, headaches and low mood. We can get all the magnesium we need from food but sometimes this can prove tricky. I see magnesium supplementation as an insurance policy. One that takes care of bone strength, energy, heart health and blood pressure.

What are the benefits of transdermal bathing alongside a healthy diet?

Magnesium is used in over 300 chemical reactions in the body. It has been shown to be useful in everything from PMS to bloating. It’s essential for healthy bones, muscle relaxation and energy production yet many of us aren’t getting the recommended daily intake. Magnesium can be found in lots of foods, including seeds, nuts, dark chocolate, bananas, avocados, oats and leafy greens like kale and spinach. Some women find magnesium supplements cause loose stools so bathing in magnesium flakes is a great alternative. A 20 minute soak is not only relaxing (incredibly important for midlife women!), it helps with lots of the symptoms associated with menopause and perimenopause, from restless legs to muscle aches to insomnia.

What is it that you like about Westlab Magnesium Flakes?

I’m a big fan of Westlab as they dissolve well in the bath and come in large sizes. You need to be very generous with magnesium flakes, around 2 large cups per bath, so the large tubs are good value for money. The best thing about them is they’re made up of magnesium chloride which is more easily absorbed and utilised by the body than magnesium sulphate (Epsom salts). 

What recommendations would you provide to your clients to support their peri/menopause?

Every woman’s menopause journey is different but the four foundations to navigating the transition well are:
  • A Mediterranean style diet
  • Daily movement
  • Community and support (including medical assistance where needed)
  • Relaxation

If you’d like to learn more insightful advice from Emma or book a consultation, then you can head over to her website here:

Magnesium flakes

Responsibly sourced, cruelty-free, vegan and 100% natural. Independently tested in the UK for purity and quality. Our Magnesium flakes are pure magnesium chloride – exactly as Emma says, these are the best salts to use if you’re looking for straightforward transdermal magnesium. They’re the most readily absorbed form of magnesium and a much more comfortable option than the creams or oils, which can sometimes sting when you use them. I add 1-2 cups to every add them to every bath I have. I do this regardless of what else I’m using, they just fit in alongside other bath salts, aromatherapy oils or bath foam. You can also put them in a footbath if you prefer. If I’ve been going through additional stress or taking more exercise than usual then I’ll up it to 2-4 cups as I know my body will be more depleted of magnesium. Magnesium is easily used up by everyday activities and isn’t made by or stored in the body, so we need to constantly replenish it and a bath is a great way of doing this while also taking some time out for self-care.

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