Do you think menopause is an old woman’s thing? Come on be honest? I did, because at age 51 it was not a consideration even when my doctor said I was going through ‘The Change’. It never occurred to me that I was PERI-MENOPAUSAL from age 47 when I had a catalogue of symptoms which I attributed to a stressful work environment.
I had migraines for a six week stretch, forgot where I parked my car, weight started creeping up, I lost my confidence, felt tired, moody, I suffered back ache, bloating, leakage, hot flushes eventually and night sweats. Menopause oh my God are you kidding me?
Peri-menopause and Menopause are Natural
Peri-menopause is the time prior to menopause when you have no periods for 12 months. If only I was more aware of the hormonal upheaval which my body was going through, then I would have not have struggled as much so silently.
It’s my mission to educate and help women from as early in their mid-30’s to be aware of hormonal changes and its effects and how they can recognise symptoms early and make simple adjustments to our diet, exercise and lifestyle.
Some 13 million women in the UK are menopausal. Eight out of ten women experience some type of symptoms, half will find them difficult to deal with. Twenty five percent of women will suffer severe symptoms which can last up to ten years.
Women can live 30-50 years after menopause, so it’s no old woman thing. It’s a natural TRANSITION for every woman after the child bearing years. No more pads, tampons and periods. A time to rejoice. So why the hell has it been so taboo to talk about openly? Is it because we are a society fixated with youth and looks?
Talking Openly about Menopause
We as a society are only just coming to grips with openly talking about menopause. Women suffer in silence and rarely talk about loss of libido, vaginal dryness and depression. Throw into the mix irritability, breast pain, digestive problems, sleep disorders, anxiety, aching joints and the list goes on.
Stress is a huge factor and can affect you physically, mentally and nutritionally. It can lead to weight gain, sleep disruption, digestive problems and exhausts the immune system. Caring for elderly parents, kids leaving home, career changes, redundancy and throw into the mix the hormonal upheaval no wonder we are overwhelmed at times. The key here is to take time out for yourself. Building in a routine of 10-15 minute ‘me time’ – with no phone or laptops to distract you.
OK, another big taboo subject. The dry vagina! Dear Lord, how embarrassing and so I thought my libido is waning and it must be the weight gain. Ladies, a simple visit to your doctor, or, in my case a quick chat on the phone and I had a prescription for some pessaries which worked wonders. There are lots more you can do but that’s a whole blog post on its own.
Dietary and lifestyle factors also play a significant role in the severity of symptoms. Not only are hormones declining but so are some nutrients. Read my next blog for some more suggestions for a midlife healthy diet.