The challenge is how to show the links without showing the repetitive words. If you generate that part of the menu so that googlebot can't see it, then you dirupt the circulation of link equity a PageRank too.
I'd look into strengthening the rest of the on-page content rather than monkeying with the menu.
You may try images... hacky but it would probably work. If they are not actual links but headers within your nav, you can create a css sprite and set background images for those headers. Would be nice to see a little snip of what the problem is here instead of guessing. I agree with tedster though I'd refrain from getting too cute with the menu.