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Menopause Mot

MENOPAUSE MOT
HEADING INTO OR THROUGH YOUR MENOPAUSAL TRANSITION? IT’S A GREAT TIME TO PAUSE AND DO A HEALTH AUDIT.

Think of your average teen going through puberty – floppy, disgruntled, needing a lot more sleep as well as plenty of tolerance from those around them. Menopausal women are doing puberty backwards, as far as their hormones are concerned – coming out of the menstrual cycles that make monthly demands on their bodies. They are also under way more pressure than the average teen, and their lives are hugely demanding. A pause to assess your health situation and check where you require most support will be massively beneficial. How are you doing in these areas?

VEGETABLES

How many, how colourful, how often? Digestion tends to become a little sluggish in menopause, and the more veg you put in, the less likely things are to jam up. Do a food diary for a week and see how many veg actually feature in your daily life. Do you stick with the same ones? Are there a wide range of colours represented? Try to tick off a different colour each day. Swap out ordinary potatoes for sweet potatoes, iceberg lettuce for radicchio or lamb’s lettuce, and regular cauliflower for Romanesco to get that colourful plate. The colours are great for your skin and your circulation, not to mention your heart and your brain. Colour up!

ALCOHOL

Related to so many other issues, let’s start with the negative effect on joints. Alcohol is dehydrating, which doesn’t do your joints any favours. It also tends to reduce your body’s removal of uric acid, causing more to build up in the small joints of the hands and feet – very painful. It strips you of magnesium, which makes your muscles stiffer and more painful, and makes you more sensitive to pain! All that and headaches too… And it disturbs your sleep, which means you’ll have crumpled wine face in the morning. Have a fruity Mocktail or a lovely nettle herb tea instead, and clear that uric acid away.

WATER

I’ve said it a zillion times already, and I’ll say it a gazillion times more – the simplest and most effective thing you can do for your menopausal health is to ensure you drink enough water. Plain, still (not sparkling) water – at least 1.5 litres daily, but preferably more, especially if night sweats are wringing water out of you. Drink it warm if that makes it easier for you. Drink 500ml first thing in the morning, before you do anything else, and you’re already well on your way to the daily target! Add slices of fruit if that’s the only way you like it. But get that water down you. More energy, better concentration, less pain, better skin – the benefits are endless.

EXERCISE

You may feel so tired as you head into midlife that the last thing you can muster is the energy to exercise. The good news for menopausal women is that gentle stretching exercise is better for their structure in general and joints in particular than pounding pavements or going ballistic in the gym. If you’re a happy gym bunny then that’s just fine; but if you don’t have the enthusiasm anymore, switch to walks, Pilates stretches, and swimming – this type of activity will keep you toned and pliant, without putting pressure on connective tissue that is affected by hormonal changes. Lower oestrogen levels mean reduced tissue elasticity, so now is not the time to make demands on your joints.

SLEEP AND REST

These are probably the last things on your agenda, but during menopause they need high priority. Your body is fuelling challenging hormonal changes, and although you can’t see it happening, there are billions of energy-demanding balancing acts going on inside you. No wonder you feel tired! Try doing a time-audit for a few days – exactly how much time are you spending doing which tasks? What percentage of your time is spent resting, in comparison to the time spent working (chores count as work)? Are your body and mind getting enough rest time to balance out all the busy-ness? If you regularly feel exhausted in the mornings, set yourself an earlier bed time. Being asleep by 11pm is extremely good for you. If you are waking with night sweats, this is even more important – try Menoforce Sage tablets taken with your evening meal to counter the sweats. But still go to bed earlier!

Menoforce Sage tablets A traditional herbal medicinal product used for the relief of excessive sweating associated with menopausal hot flushes, including night sweats exclusively based upon long-standing use as a traditional remedy. Always read the leaflet.

DAYLIGHT EXPOSURE

Especially during the winter months, we tend to huddle indoors and miss out on daylight. It may be dark on your way to work and dark on your way home. Getting a blast of daylight (it doesn’t have to be sunlight) in the morning will help entrain your hormones positively, setting your circadian rhythm to energise you in the morning and calm you in the evening.

BATHS AND SHOWERS

You may love a long soak or shower, but now is not the time to turn up the heat. Not only can it bring on a hot flush, but it can be drying and damaging for sensitive menopausal skin. As oestrogen levels fall, our skin has a tendency to become drier. (Another good reason to keep our water intake up!) Hot water won’t do it any favours at this time, so turn the temperature down a little. It’s also useful to check over your toiletries, as thinner, more sensitive skin can start to react to dodgy ingredients. Browse the ranges of lovely natural products in your health store, and take this opportunity to request luxurious ‘clean’ bathing and showering presents from family and friends.

Good sources of iron include beetroot, figs, green leafy veg, pistachios, adzuki beans and dried apricots. Take a natural iron tonic if you have had heavy bleeds.

MEMORY

Are you struggling to keep a grip on everything that’s going on? Dehydration and poor sleep will both affect memory, and so will low blood pressure and deficiency in nutrients such as iron and B vitamins. If your circulation isn’t great, blood flow to the head will be weaker. Try Ginkgo biloba and check the list of deficiency symptoms above. If you have had a lot of heavy bleeds, ask your doctor to check your iron levels. It’s best to check your ferritin (stored iron) levels rather than just your haemoglobin (the amount in your bloodstream).

Kelp supports normal thyroid function.

Some common deficiencies in menopause are these: check to see what might be affecting you, and ask your doctor to follow up any issues for you.

IRON DEFICIENCY
Tiredness
Shortness of breath
Dizziness/ light-headedness
Looking pale
Sore tongue/ cracks in the corners of your mouth
Heavy menstrual bleeding
Hair loss
B12 DEFICIENCY
Sore tongue
Mouth ulcers
Pins and needles
Lack of balance
Changes to vision
LOW BLOOD PRESSURE
Tiredness
Dizziness/ light-headedness
Head rush when getting up suddenly from bed or a hot bath
Cold extremities
Palpitations
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
Anxiety
Headaches
Vision problems
THYROID IMBALANCE
Changes in energy levels
Changes in weight balance
Hair loss
Anxiety
VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY
Tiredness
Pain in your muscles or joints
Pain in your bones
Low mood
Frequent infections
Heavy menstrual bleeding

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