This post is part of the Gorgeous 50’s series inspired by a book given to me by one of my sisters on my 50th birthday – ‘Grown up and Gorgeous in your 50’s’ by Pamela Robson. I will be sharing some of Pamela’s words and my own thoughts along the way. To see all posts published as part of this series, go here.
There’s no getting away from it and by your 50s you’ll be experiencing signs of the ‘change’ (if you haven’t already been through it all). During and immediately after menopause you will see a difference in your mood, muscle tone and metabolism. There is plenty you can do to minimise the impact of menopause. Just look at the thousands of women who survive it looking better than ever.
She’s goes on to say:
Hot, Hot, Hot!
Current thinking is that hot flashes occur because lowering oestrogen levels affect the action of the hypothalamus – the region of the brain that controls body temperature. No one really knows why some women are affected worse than others. It’s probably partly genetic. Overweight women often fare better because fatty tissue encourages higher oestrogen levels; smokers are more likely to suffer from hot flashes. A few other points:
- Some women sail through menopause without noticing a hot flush, others have to battle them for as long as 10 years.
- Some days and nights seem to be worse than others. This is because oestrogen levels rise and fall as the ovaries cease production.
- HRT can help but, these days, doctors prescribe the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time. Some doctors prescribe particular anti-depressants, and certain blood pressure medication has also been shown to help.
- Phytoestrogens – plant chemicals that mimic the action of oestrogen – can help. These include soy milk, tofu, soy flour, chickpeas, pumpkin and linseed.
- There are concerns about over-the-counter ‘natural’ hormones because they are not regulated and production is not subject to the same rigorous standards of the mainstream pharmaceutical industry.
Firstly, behold this line of Pamela’s:
“Overweight women often fare better because fatty tissue encourages higher oestrogen levels”
Woohoo! Finally, a time when being overweight is a good thing! See, there’s a reason why us women store fat more so than men!
Ok, moving on now. Menopause. It can feel like quite a personal topic can’t it? So many women suffer alone and in silence and think they are going crazy! Not talking about it with other women is what is crazy! Menopause is a natural process of the female human body that all females will reach one day. Some of us will find the process easier than others, but no-one will get a lucky pass! So let’s talk about it so we don’t feel so alone with it. By sharing our experiences and what has worked or not worked to help ease symptoms, we are helping others as well as ourselves.
Never has a topic been more relevant to me as for the first time (apart from a couple of pregnancies), I seem to have skipped a couple of periods, and NO I am not pregnant! Will I get another one down the track or have they stopped forever? That’s the big question! I hope the latter! I have not had a good time with periods ever since they started for me at the tender young age of 10 or 11. They have been painful and debilitating and unbelievably became horrendously worse as I matured. So at the age of 54 – !! YES !! – I am ready for them to leave me forever! In saying that, I am quite a bit nervous about what the transition to menopause has in store for me. For many, many years I have been peri-menopausal and suffered every symptom imaginable plus more. It’s a big part of the reason the decision was made that I not return to the busy corporate life I’d lived since I was 17. It just wasn’t possible due to all the problems I have been dealing with.
So, what’s different now that I’ve skipped a couple of periods? Well apart from the missing periods, symptoms include the onset of hot flashes! Previously I had a hot thermostat (always hotter than everyone else) but this is a bit different now as I’m fluctuating from feeling the cold to then suddenly feeling like I’m burning from within and then back to feeling chilly again (this is because it’s winter here right now, not because I am having fevers). I’ve also noticed that I get stressed and overwhelmed and anxious more easily than ever before, and to my shame, I am quicker to anger. My sleep is not great. I average around 5-6 hours a night, always waking very early in the morning (it’s mostly still dark). The good thing is that I am aware of all these things. I know they are part of this process, and I’m taking steps to try and manage them (see below).
Of the 5 natural ways to tackle menopause, I’m not doing too badly!
- I do pilates 3 x week, walk 2 x week, yoga 1 x week
- I did Mindful in May to try and make meditation a regular part of my life, and I’ve taken up Yoga
- I don’t eat soy based foods but I do eat pretty healthy
- I can only stand to dress in breathable fabrics like cotton or linen and I dress in layers to accommodate my fluctuating thermostat
- I dress cool to sleep – even in winter. As it’s winter in Brisbane right now I’m under the covers to keep warm one minute, foot out to cool off a bit the next, and then completely on top of the covers … and repeat!
I’m not taking anything for menopause at this stage but have some interest in possibly trying HAPPY HORMONES. In addition to their website they have a Facebook page here. (not sponsored – I’m just interested and sharing)
I’d love to hear your stories. Are you peri-menopausal or menopausal? Are you out the other side? Was it horrendous or not too bad? Tried Happy Hormones? Thoughts on HRT and/or bio-identical hormones or over-the-counter natural hormones? What tips would you like to share to help other women navigate the Menopausal years a little more easily?
Ciao for now,
Link up here at WOTM or with another of us in the Lovin’ Life Linky team:
Leanne of Deep Fried Fruit | Kathy of 50 Shades of Age |
Deborah of Debbish | Jo of The Hungry Writer – Joanne Tracey.
It doesn’t matter where you link up as it will magically appear on all five blogs.