I want to uncover something that is considered a truly taboo subject to help women understand what to expect going through the menopause and stop them feeling that they are alone.
I am 53 years of age and I have always tried to look after myself through eating well and exercising. Over the last 10 years I have noticed lots of different things that has happened to my body which I did not necessarily have the answers too.
I have never been a maternal individual and I always felt, that having come from a big family that as soon as I met the right person things would change. I did meet the right man in 2014 and we quickly fell in love. Neither of us had any children and both felt it would be the right time for both of us. Unfortunately, it was too late and despite often thinking I was pregnant, it turned out it was the start of the menopause.
I now know that my symptoms probably started around 2013 when my periods started to get a little heavier and I started to experience sweating during the day for no apparent reason. Sometimes I had moments of forgetfulness which did not help me when I was doing presentations at work.
Thankfully, my experiences were relatively minor, and I changed my diet, added in a few supplements and this has certainly helped me a lot. I stopped having periods about 16 months ago now and other than the odd evening sweats I do not experience any other issues.
So hopefully if you are wondering what is happening to your body you are not alone. Around 6,000 women every day and 1 million in the UK every year, are going through the menopause and experiencing some same issues as you.
Let us demolish the taboo!
Most women will experience the menopause symptoms between the age of 45 to 55. Some women might get these symptoms as early as the age of 35 and some will keep experiencing until their 60’s. The menopause is influenced in the main by our hormones just like our periods did.
The menopause starts when our body experiences changes in our oestrogen levels and the storing of eggs starts to decrease. The chances of conception become diminished as less oestrogen is produced. Slowly our period cycle slows and becomes erratic until a point that it stops altogether. At the time we have not experienced periods for over 1 year, it is deemed that menopause has finished.
Some women will experience the following in varying degrees and some of us will not have any or all of these.
Short, sudden feelings of heat.
Flushes and sweating at night
Tired and irritable night’s sleep
Reduced Sex Drive
Lack or no interest in sex
Difficulty in remembering things or lack of concentration
Discomfort, pain, and some itching
Occurring more regular especially if never had before
Low mood or anxiety
Increased levels of heart rate
Joint stiffness, aches, and pain
Reduction in muscle mass
Urinary Tract Infections
Weakness in bones
Waist disappears as the weight increases
Increased Risk of Disease
Greater risk of Heart Disease, Alzheimer
How To Manage Your Symptoms
Many doctors will offer you the opportunity of taken HRT to help you get through this difficult time. There are different types so ensure that you get the one that is right for you as they can be effective.
If you are suffering with the effects of cancer, then HRT is not recommended.
Experiencing Hot Flushes & Night Sweats
Wear Light Clothing
Keep Bedroom Cool
Cold Showers, Fans & Cold Drinks
Reduce Stress Levels
Avoid spicy food, caffeine, smoking and alcohol
Regular Exercise is important including strength, cardio, and flexibility workouts
Finding a good diet that is right for your lifestyle
Collagen supplement will aid to help our skin, muscle, joints, and bone as we age
This normally occurs as you start to feel more anxious about the smallest of situations. Rest and especially ensuring that you get enough sleep is key for your health.
Try relaxing with Meditation, Yoga, or Tai Chi techniques.
Reduced Sex Drive
HRT or a Testosterone Supplement can help
Oestrogen Treatment. Some over the counter moisturisers or lubricants can also help.
Healthy Diet – Include calcium and eating plenty fruit and vegetables
Sunlight – Vitamin D which you can also get from fish bones such as Anchovies
Cut down on smoking and alcohol
Might wish to take supplements such as Vitamin D and Calcium
Is a pro hormone which is found in the body and is a pre cursor to hormones. DHEA is said to be the mother of all hormones as it effects our major organs such as the heart, brain, skin, immune system, muscles, and bones. It is said that our body will deplete in DHEA as early as our late 20’s so by the time we reach the menopause it is no longer available for us to use.
As our ovaries start to falter during the menopause our body starts to become depleted in oestrogen and progesterone. To make up for this hormonal decline pressure will be put onto our adrenal glands to produce more DHEA. Depending on our needs this inactive hormone will convert into oestrogen and progesterone.
Many specialists state that taking a supplement of DHEA can really help with the menopause as it helps with hormone imbalance and replacement.
DHEA has many benefits all its own as well as easing the symptoms of the menopause.
Keeps the weight away
Reduces stress and fatigue
Prevents mood swings, anxiety, and depression
Improves brain function
Removes vaginal dryness
Strengthens the bones and builds muscle
Prevents dry skin, hair, and nails.
Science has proved that DHEA taken as a supplement can have enormous effects to help us through the menopause. It can help to look after our adrenal glands that work so hard at this time and together with eating well and getting regular exercise can ensure that we have less disruption to our everyday life.
Consult with your doctor or physician to find out more.
How You Feel Going Through The Menopause
Unfortunately, the menopause makes you feel less of a woman and sometimes that is difficult to come to terms with it.
It is hugely disruptive to what is considered as a normal life as your body is now having to cope with many adjustments and hormonal changes.
The mood swings become intense and what is worse is that you do not even notice, but the ones you love around you certainly do. Sometimes you might become angry or sharp for no apparent reason. You might find that you cannot handle criticism as you used too especially if you are at work and this can lead to unnecessary crying.
Some symptoms can be more severe than others and you might find that over the years some either decrease or increase over time.
Due to the changes with heart rate and blood pressure you might start to experience dizziness and nausea which can become quite discerning.
The aches and pains around the joints and muscles can start to become quite inflamed and this can also lead to fatigue.
Concentration can really start to be a challenge and mental forgetfulness can play a part to your whole life.
All these symptoms can become really testing for you at work and in your personal life. Several women often lose confidence as they are on ‘tender hooks’ for the emotions to start to flood in unnecessarily.
All these issues can become overwhelming, but it is perfectly natural to go through and you are not alone.
How Long Does The Menopause Last?
This is difficult to say as each woman is different and it becomes very personal.
As an average you will generally go through perimenopause about 4 years prior to the menopause which exists until you have gone 12 months without a period. Postmenopausal symptoms then exist shortly afterwards.
In total symptoms could last an average of 10 years.
Whilst I know that this is something that I never wanted to talk about whilst going through the symptoms and found myself in denial most of the time. I want to say that you should not be embarrassed.
Going through the menopause is perfectly normal and there is plenty of help there that you can receive.
Looking after yourself is so important and finding help to ensure that you are at the peak of health means you need to sleep, eat well, drink plenty of water, exercise incorporating strength training, cardio and mobility work and find ways to relax.
It is always important to seek medical advice as this will show where your imbalances are. Dr Miriam Stoppard has also written a really good in-depth book about the Menopause – The Complete Guide To Maintaining Health & Well Being and Managing Your Life.
Once you find a way to look after yourself better than life can be as exciting as ever.
If you have any questions or comments, then please let me know below.