I’ve seen so many clients recently who have had a variety of problems both physical and emotional that they, or their health care professionals, initially didn’t contribute to the menopause or peri-menopause. Because menopause wasn’t considered as a cause these women ended up being prescribed lots of treatments, medications, even surgery to help cure the unidentified ‘illness’. To choose the right treatment (and not take any unnecessary treatments or medications) it’s important to know the cause of symptoms you’re experiencing. Here are just a few symptoms that can be caused by the hormonal changes at this time of life:
- Weight gain
- Heart palpitations
- Anxiety/Panic attacks
- Low mood
- Poor concentration/foggy thinking
- Feeling less sociable/increased need for time alone
- Thinning or dry hair
- Reduced/Increased libido
- Painful intercourse
- Hot flushes/night sweats
- Urinary/bladder problems – frequency, leaks when coughing, sneezing.
- Heavy/irregular periods
- Dry eyes/eye strain
The hormonal changes taking place in your body can affect so many different body systems it’s no wonder that symptoms are so varied. It can be a relief to know that many of these symptoms are a normal part of the menopause and that help is available. I often ask clients to think back to the roller coaster puberty years when your body was being flooded with hormones – menopause can be just like that except during the menopause hormones are reducing.
First and foremost, if you have any symptoms that are concerning you, I would always recommend that you schedule an appointment to see your health care professional for advice. Even if your health care professional has advised taking medication or other treatment there are still lots of things you can do to lessen the symptoms. I use a combination of hypnosis, acupuncture, neuro-linguistic programming and emotional freedom techniques to help support my clients but there are also lots of things you can do yourself too.
Here are 10 tips that I recommend to help you sail through this time of change.
Rest and or sleep.
Whenever you need to. Fatigue can be a huge problem during the menopause, sometimes because night time sleep has been disturbed due to hot flushes, and many women struggle on and try to keep going regardless of how tired they feel. Go to bed earlier – the hours between 10 pm and midnight are when you’ll get the best quality sleep. Take power naps in the afternoon if you can. Stop during the day and have a proper lunch break.
Eat as clean a diet as possible.
Sugar, highly processed foods, carbohydrates, caffeine and alcohol are all known to trigger menopausal symptoms. I know that even 1 glass of wine is enough for me to experience more tropical moments. Eat as clean a diet as you possibly can – plenty fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and pulses. If you’d like to find out more about how to eat a sensible, no-nonsense diet for maximum health and wellness I’d recommend Mad Diet by Suzanne Lockhart
Take good quality food supplements
It your diet’s not as good as it could be you may find supplements are helpful. Vitamins Bs, C, D, and E, as well as magnesium, omega 3 oils, pre and probiotics have all been recommended as being beneficial during this time of life. The 2 books I’ve recommended in this blog (Mad Diet and The Wisdom of the Menopause) will give you lots of information and advice on what supplements and herbal remedies you can take.
Exercise and Get Moving
The menopause is often seen as a time of slowing down and that’s what many women do; they stop exercising, getting out and about and generally become less active. However there’s absolutely no reason to slow down, or indeed any evidence to suggest that it’s helpful – quite the reverse! Slowing down, exercising less etc has been shown to speed up the aging process. So, get moving – dance, yoga, tai chi, jogging, cycling, walking… whatever floats your boat. Movement will keep your joints flexible and help keep your muscles toned (no chicken wings!).
Take Time Out
Taking some time every day to practice mindfulness or meditation can be great ways to help recharge your batteries, reduce anxiety, help you sleep better and get some alone time. There are some great apps out there that can help you with this – Headspace is one that’s popular. You can also read the Headspace book by Andy Puddicome.
Drink more water
It goes without saying that a well hydrated brain and body functions much more efficiently that one that’s dehydrated.
Look after your skin
Lots of women are concerned about facial wrinkles and lines as they get older. The decrease in estrogen and progesterone at this time can accelerate the aging process. Sagging, thin skin, lines and wrinkles, age spots and facial hair can all be caused by the changing hormone levels. You might find that you have to regularly review and change the skin care products you’ve been using for years in order to keep up with the fluctuating hormones and to keep your skin looking and feeling healthy.
Exercise your pelvic floor muscles.
The reduction in hormones can affect pelvic muscle tone resulting in bladder problems and painful sex. Get to know your pelvic floor muscles and exercise them often and regularly. If you are experiencing some urinary incontinence Diary Dolls are pretty pants with a secret waterproof lining are great for life’s little leaks. You can find more information about these clever pants at Diary Doll, you can also purchase them direct from Amazon.
You already know all the reasons why…. and your skin will love you for it.
You’re not alone. Share your experience with friends, partners and colleagues and/or professionals who understand.
If you’d like to read more about the menopause and find out how to best manage this important time in your life, I’d thoroughly recommend Christiane Northrup’s book The Wisdom of the Menopause. You can also read more on my other blogs Maybe it’s the Menopause and Maybe it’s the Menopause.. part 2
Menopause gets a bad press and is often associated with lots of negative aspects of getting older. However, menopause can be a time of wonderful empowerment where women have moved on from dedicated child care and career roles to having more time to care for themselves, ‘find’ themselves again and enjoy the wise, experienced and more confident woman they’ve become. Time to take back your power and shine!