How to avoid overwhelm and stop feeling stressed in menopause

With all the changes and strange symptoms happening in your body, menopause can seem overwhelming and confusing. It’s not for nothing that menopause and perimenopause have been known as ‘the change’ for many years.

 

As natural menopause coaches, part of our role is to reduce the overwhelm for you. We reduce the stress and worry you feel using the tools of our trade. But to get you started here are a few of our favourite tried and tested remedies for overwhelm.

 

As with any big goal or change there are lots of actions you can take to reach your goal and it’s best to break them down into small steps. There are lots of changes we recommend. You don’t have to do them all at once. Pick one you like the look of and practice it until you are comfortable with the change you have made, then add another to your repertoire. Make the changes gradually until you feel less stressed.

1.       Make yourself some head space. Take a break and practice meditation. Start with 5 minutes at a time and if you find your mind wandering, focus on your breath.

2.       Exercise. The benefit of exercise to reduce anxiety and also menopausal symptoms cannot be underrated as it helps correct hormone imbalance which is the root of symptoms. Another advantage of exercise is that it results in lower levels of heart failure in post menopausal women. You can read more here.

3.       Manage your mindset. If you expect your menopause to be stressful and difficult then it probably will be. It is important to maintain a positive outlook. There are lots of ways to achieve this. One of our favourites is  use of affirmations. You  can find lots on our Instagram feed

4.       Reduce toxins. This can be the confusing one as we are absolutely  surrounded by toxic substances which disrupt hormones. Industrialisation has been great in so many ways and we as a society have benefitted lots. However many man made materials, cosmetics, household cleaners and products contain toxins which contribute to oestrogen dominance which in turn exacerbates menopause symptoms You can read more about oestrogen dominance in our article here. A great rule of thumb is to use items which are as close to their natural state as possible.

5.       Get good sleep. It’s so much easier to deal with anything if you have had a decent night’s sleep and are full of energy. Go easy on the late nights, and all night parties. Get into good bed time habits and avoid too much stimulation before sleep (sorry that includes your mobile phone)

6.       Eat a good balanced diet. Avoid processed foods and sugar. Focus on plenty of fresh produce like organic meats and fish, fruit and vegetables. Cut down on alcohol – you don’t have to ban it altogether.

7.       Balance your hormones. We advocate the use of natural progesterone cream and our favourite one is made by a company called Naturone, as it’s important to ensure you have the correct percentage of progesterone in the cream  To try it follow the link and quote MENOPAUSE MATTERS in the order information

 

SEX & MENOPAUSE

  

  MYTHS ABOUT SEX AND MENOPAUSE

It’s dangerous to generalise about sex and menopause. Some women feel sexy during and after menopause, and some don’t. However, there are a few myths about sex, menopause and ageing that need to be abolished!

  • As hormones decline, so does libido

Hormones do indeed play a large part in how menopause affects women, and one of the best ways to counteract this is with Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT), particularly a natural progesterone cream*. However, a woman’s libido is not only driven by her hormones. It is also determined by physical and emotional health, and the availability of a desirable partner.

  • It’s normal not to want sex after menopause

Menopause affects women in many different ways.  While some feel less turned on because of vaginal dryness or night sweats, others feel a new sense of release and zest when freed from PMS and periods. They enjoy new-found freedom and independence and say sex is better than ever.

  • Sex is painful after menopause

The thinning of the vaginal wall as women age can cause extra sensitivity, and lack of lubrication may require a natural cream, such as progesterone*, to ease movement, but these are both issues that should not stop a woman from enjoying a healthy sex life.

  • Too much sex can worsen vaginal dryness

Doctors who specialise in sexual health are strongly of the view that sex at this stage and age is very much a “use it or lose it” proposition. Having sex regularly actually helps increase blood flow to the vaginal wall, increasing your ability to lubricate during sexual arousal and improving your overall sexual health.

  • Once you turn 60 you’re past it!

Sexuality has nothing to do  with age! One survey reported that 70 per cent of sexually active women over 60 reported being as satisfied, or more satisfied with their sex lives than they were in the 40s!

Another study found 84 per cent of older females in 106 cultures studied were sexually active, leading researchers to conclude cultural factors as much as biological ones determined how sexually active older people were.

  • No one will fancy my ageing body!

Sex drive and function are key ingredients in a healthy sex life. Exercise regularly, maintain good muscle tone, eat healthily, don’t abuse alcohol and keep smiling! If you keep yourself fit and active the changes in your body will not be particularly noticeable.

  • I don’t need to worry about falling pregnant or sexually transmitted disease

Even if you have gone for sometime without a period, it is still possible to fall pregnant! Official menopause occurs one year after you had your last period, and up until then you should still take precautions. After all, one of the benefits of menopause is the freedom from having to look after small children. Imagine dealing with a toddler’s tantrums whilst having a hot flush!

Unfortunately, sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise in the over 50s. Unless you have been married to your partner for years, take care and insist on condoms with new partners.

*To read about the benefits of natural progesterone go to our blog/newsletter on our website 28/7/17

GET A MOVE ON!

Get a move on!

 It’s vital to keep active during menopause for all sorts of different reasons. We need to keep our bones and our hearts healthy and strong, and the last thing we want to do is seize up and become less mobile as we get older.

Flexibility is important, but it can be really difficult during the menopause. Who wants to be jumping up and down when you’re suffering from hot flushes and aching joints! Of course, an exercise routine is very important, but on days when you feel you just don’t have the energy for a formal session, here are some tips on what you can do to keep fit as you go about your daily routine.

  • It’s important to keep arms and shoulders strong, and wrists also need exercise as our grip weakens as we get older. If you’re in the kitchen, grab a couple of tins and lift your arms up and down, and rotate your wrists, and do a few press-ups against the wall or sink.
  • just stepping up and down, 20 or 30 times, once or twice a day, on one step, can be really beneficial, and of course, taking the stairs instead of the lift! 
  • jumping jacks are good for heart and lungs. Just do a couple whenever you’re in a good space and add a few more every day.
  • there’s a lot you can do when you’re just sitting! A really good way to get the inside of your thighs exercised, ( which is a problem area for a lot of women), is to place a small, firm cushion between your thighs, and just keep squeezing. You can also do shoulder shrugs back and forwards. This is  really important if you do a lot of sitting during the day at a desk, because your shoulders can become very tight.
  • practice standing up and sitting down without using your hands, which is actually the start of a squat. Great for your heart and thighs.
  • practice standing on one leg when you’re in a queue or waiting for a bus. Start holding one leg up for 30 seconds, and then the other one, and slowly increase every time you do it. Your balance will improve enormously!
  • and don’t forget to s-t-r-e-t-c-h! It is so important for good muscle condition. Bend down and touch your toes, and do sideways-bends when you get out of bed in the morning and before you go to bed at night.

 

 

incontinence in menopause

Does coughing, sneezing or laughing make you wet your pants?! ☹️ One of the downsides of midlife is the weakening of the pelvic floor muscles (Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, PFD),  which can start as early as 40. This is not an inevitable sign of growing older and easily be prevented and even reversed. You should include strengthening pelvic floor muscles in your exercise regime, and the sooner you start, the better. This way you will have control over your bladder and bowels all your life. Plus exercise can help you avoid back and abdominal pain, have better orgasms, and may even help you achieve a flatter stomach! 😄

Fortunately, there are many ways to keep your pelvic floor muscles healthy and reverse PFD.

5 Natural Methods for Treating Urinary Symptoms

By Dr. Joseph Mercola

If you’re struggling with urinary symptoms that are interfering with your life, the following methods can be very effective:

  • Do Kegels: More women than men might be familiar with this term. A Kegel squeeze is performed by drawing your lower pelvic muscles up and holding them up high and tight, similar to trying to stop urinating in the middle of the flow. To make this a habit, do this daily at least 10 times whenever you think about it, eg driving, watching TV, and of course sitting on the loo! This can help to strengthen the muscles that help you hold in and control the flow of urine. Kegels can also help you suppress the need to urinate if you have trouble with frequency.
  • Keep a Bladder Diary: This will help you identify a pattern. It may help you develop a plan to visit the bathroom at timed intervals to avoid accidents, as well as help you strategically increase time between bathroom trips as you gain control.
  • Bladder Training: The bladder diary is often one step of bladder training, which involves visiting the bathroom according to a fixed schedule. When you feel the need to urinate before a scheduled visit, practice Kegels or relaxation exercises like deep breathing to suppress the urge.
  • Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment or Chiropractic Adjustments:  Research has shown that osteopathic manipulative treatment provided virtually the same therapeutic effect as pelvic floor muscle training (Kegels) in women with lower urinary tract disorders.
  • Limiting Fluids at Certain Times of the Day: If you’re getting up during the night to urinate, stop drinking three to four hours before bedtime. Coffee, tea, and alcohol should also be restricted.

If you only experience occasional incontinence, wearing a thin absorbent pad may help give you confidence and allow you to go about with your daily schedule without fears of embarrassment. But, ideally, try the safe options above so that you can fully recover. Remember, this is a very common problem that can often be effectively treated, naturally.

Can kinesiology help? 7 tips

Many women use kinesiology to manage their menopause. The menopause is a very natural wind down process, which can happen slowly over many years or can be very sudden, depending on the individuals’ bio- chemistry.

7 tips for an easier menopause:

  1. Water– dehydration will cause problems with every function of the body. Everyone needs to consume at least 2 litres per day. So often this simple tip is often forgotten and should be top of every list. When unwell the first thing to reach for is a glass of water before reaching for pain killers. Keeping the body fully hydrated is a must to achieving good health.
  2. Balancing stress in the lead up and during the menopause helps to minimise the symptoms.  There are many therapies that assist with stress management, however the beauty of kinesiology is that muscle testing establishes the specific stress and along with many powerful techniques the stress can be released simply and effectively.
  3. Ensure all the nutrients are provided by diet and fully processed in the body.  Addressing digestive issues can often help improve many health issues.  Initially digestive enzymes maybe needed short term if there is a problem.  Kinesiology can establish if digestion is struggling and also identify any foods which are causing problems by using muscle testing. Supplements which often benefit menopausal women and help with hormone balancing include the following:
  • Agnus Castus
  • Black Cohosh
  • Wild Yam
  • Dong Quai
  • Magnesium
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Star flower oil
  • 5 HTP
  • Amino acids
  • Vitamin B complex , B3, B6, C, D, E
  • Folic Acid
  • Iron

Supplemental needs are unique for each woman and often changing. Kinesiology can assess regularly individual needs using muscle testing.

 

4. Avoid caffeine, reduce alcohol and avoid sugary foods. It has been proven that caffeine increases the frequency and severity of hot flashes. Coffee also has a negative impact on fatigue, sleep and energy levels.  Sugar is also a contributing factor to hot flushes and night sweats.

5. Eat meals which are high in nutrients avoiding processed foods. Regular Intakes of protein to balance blood sugars is essential. High protein foods are hugely beneficial.

Add these foods to your daily diet:

skinless, boneless chicken, turkey, fish, organic eggs, full fat yoghurt, nuts and seeds, quinoa, beans and lentils, goats cheese or cottage cheese, oily fish, nuts, seeds, nut butters, avocado, organic cabbage, sprouts, cauliflower, spring greens, broccoli, celery, parsley, chamomile, peppermint, fresh fruit, flaxseeds.

5. Exercise has a significant and positive impact on mood and increases oxygen intake and improves blood and lymph circulation.

6. Set time aside each day for relaxation recharging the body and mind. The body and mind thrives on relaxation and this only needs to be for 10 to 15 minutes per day to be beneficial.

Article by Karen Thrush, a fully qualified systematic kinesiology practitioner and tutor registered with the Association of Systematic Kinesiology working in Wiltshire.

http://www.karenskinesiology.co.uk/ Facebook: Karens Kinesiology Twitter: @k_kinesiology

Sitting is the new smoking!

Well, unbelievably today is the Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere, and we’re already practically half way through the year! At least the sun is shining, and summer does seem to have finally kicked in!

We continue our series on the Heroes and Villains that can be found in all aspects of menopause, and today we focus on exercise and keeping in shape. This is particularly vital during menopause, as exercise not only keeps you trim and helps with mood swings and depression, but also keeps away villains like osteoporosis.

  

However, whilst keeping fit and exercising are Heroes, beware an Arch Villain that can undo all the good work! That villain is SITTING!

It can be quite daunting to realise that even if you dutifully go to the gym several times a week and are really fit, it is still not enough to counteract the many hours you sit during the rest of your day…

SITTING IS THE NEW SMOKING!

Is it possible to be incredibly fit yet still be at high risk of premature death and disability due to inactivity?

Startling as that may sound, mounting research says, yes, it does!

Dr. James Levine is the author of the book

Get Up!: Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It.

In one of his early speeches, he presented compelling data showing that people prone to weight gain and obesity are those who stay seated for two and or more hours each day.

Slings and Arrows…

The insinuation that sitting was independently harmful, and harmful enough to kill, was so unpopular that his peers sent letters to senior faculty at the Mayo Clinic suggesting he was psychiatrically ill, and he was required to be evaluated by a psychiatrist!

Since then, some 10,000 publications have shown that sitting is harmful to your health, irrespective of other lifestyle habits, including an excellent exercise program.

Dr. Levine notes, “The bottom-line is that if you’ve been sitting for an hour, you’ve been sitting for too long. We should all be up at least 10 minutes out of every hour.”

Are You Ready to Give Up Your Chair?

The evidence is overwhelming at this point—10,000 studies and growing—that prolonged sitting is devastating to your health. It actively promotes dozens of chronic diseases, including overweight and type 2 diabetes. As a general guideline, if you’ve been sitting for an hour, you’ve sat too long. Dr. Levine recommends sitting no more than 50 minutes out of every hour. But that’s really a bare bones minimum recommendation. Ideally, you’d want to limit sitting altogether.

If this all seems overwhelming, don’t despair! Just start slowly and gradually decrease your sitting time every week. In fact, it might be a good idea to start a “sitting record” to keep track of your progress and record any health improvements you notice.

should you or shouldn’t you….?

Following the news that hundreds of women missed out on having routine mammograms due to an NHS oversight, the process has been under scrutiny with different opinions on how effective/harmful they are.

Breast cancer screening scandal: Doctors warn against catch up scans

In an open letter, 15 medical professionals claim the breast screening programme “causes more unintended harm than good”.

Women who did not undergo routine breast cancer screening because of a computer glitch should not attend catch-up appointments, a group of doctors say.

They are being told to “carry on with their lives” as the programme can do “more harm than good”.

In a letter published in The Times, 15 medical professionals including GPs and university professors said women aged 70 to 79 who have been offered the checks “would be well advised to look this gift horse in the mouth” and should only seek medical help if they notice symptoms.

The letter, which includes the signatures of Susan Bewley, professor of women’s health at King’s College London, and Michael Baum, professor emeritus of surgery at University College London, warns that women should not be subjected to worry or “fear-mongering”.

More harm than good

The doctors write: “The breast screening programme mostly causes more unintended harm than good, which is slowly being recognised internationally.

Many women and doctors now avoid breast screening because it has no impact on all-cause death.”

Obviously it’s up to you to decide whether or not to go the mammogram route. Just make sure you read all the pros and cons before you make a decision. Other options to detect breast cancer include breast self-examinations, physical breast exams by a doctor, ultrasound, MRI, thermography, and other tests that may be ordered by your doctor.

Endometriosis..a silent enemy

menopause survey results

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a hormonal and immune system disease where tissue similar to that inside the uterus grows in other areas of the body. It is undetectable unless seen through laparoscopy, and is unlikely to develop after the onset of menopause. In peri menopause it is triggered by the oestrogen oestrodial, which diminishes after menopause.

Endometriosis most commonly occurs between the uterus and the rectum, where its presence can cause painful intercourse, rectal pressure, and pain with bowel movements, especially before a period; symptoms are pelvic pain and inter-menstrual spotting.

You may be one of the many women with endometriosis who looks forward to reaching menopause – the time when your hormones change and your period stops; your doctor may have told you that it “dies out” after menopause. The good news is that this seems true for some women although research on endometriosis and menopause is very limited. You may find that menopause brings relief from the pain you’ve experienced during your cycle or with sexual activity, and other symptoms may also ease up.

However, women with advanced stage endometriosis can often have long-term pain associated with the damage that endometriosis caused before menopause. Since it is a disease that affects the digestive and immune systems, as well as the reproductive system, you may find that you still experience problems or even develop new problems with your bowels or with your immune system, like asthma or allergies. While endometriosis symptoms vary a great deal from woman to woman, the classic symptoms of endometriosis are pelvic pain, abnormal menses, and infertility. A woman with advanced endometriosis may experience no symptoms and be unaware she has it, whereas another with minimal endometriosis may experience debilitating pelvic pain and cramps almost continuously. Most women with endometriosis fall somewhere in-between these extremes.

WHAT TO DO?

Natural progesterone is the best way to combat the effect, and it is best applied as a cream. A whole foods diet high in fibre that avoids trans fats can also provide dramatic relief from symptoms of endometriosis. Many women have had remarkable pain relief from simply stopping consumption of dairy foods, eggs and red meats.Be sure to eat one to two servings daily of organic, cruciferous vegetables, such as kale, collard greens, mustard greens, broccoli, cabbage, and turnips, and also avoid caffeine. Supplementing the diet with a good source of essential fatty acids and a multivitamin–mineral supplement rich in B complex, zinc, selenium, vitamin E, and magnesium can also help.

Simplify and declutter

Menopause can be a time of great overwhelm as here is so much going on and new things to learn about yourself and your body so it pays to simplify wherever possible. Decluttering your surroundings is one way of clearing space so there's room for other aspects of your life to flourish and grow.

Have you ever noticed just how much ‘stuff’ you have I your life? By that I don’t just mean all your physical possessions but also all the life going on around you that demands your attention. Menopause can be a time of great overwhelm as there is so much going on and new things to learn about yourself and your body so it pays to simplify wherever possible. Decluttering your surroundings is one way of clearing space so there’s room for other aspects of your life to flourish and grow.

Taking a bit of time to radically simplify your life by decluttering can radically affect the quality of your life and free up time you never even knew you were wasting. Trying to find things you need in an uncluttered environment is much simpler, takes less time and eliminates a lot of stress.

Lets start by looking at the physical possessions as it’s often much easier to deal with and the results of dealing with it are instantly visible.

Look around you. Are there piles of papers? Would your house be a great place to visit if there were a sudden famine? Can you fit one more thing in your wardrobe or would it be a challenge? Do you have cosmetics and toiletries which are half used and have been the same for ages? Does it take you an hour to get ready to go out because everything you need is in several different places?

Make it easier for yourself by deciding to do some decluttering. If that seems too huge to take on then break it down into smaller chunks. If you start by clearing out just one drawer that is a great start. Satisfactory completion of just one small area can often spur you on to tackle the more difficult areas as you see what a difference you’ve made.

Some simple rules for decluttering:

Set yourself achievable goals, share them and make yourself accountable. You can do this by sharing your goals with a friend/family member or even sharing in our Facebook group.  Deciding what you will do with the space you make when you declutter can be a great motivator.

Start small – I suggest a make up drawer or similar.

Set yourself a time limit. 10 minutes concentrated effort in one place won’t clear the decks immediately, but if you set yourself the task of decluttering for 10 minutes every day you will soon start to see results and 10 minutes doesn’t seem too onerous and de-motivating.

Really look at each item and ask yourself … Do I really need this? Do I use it? How many of these do I really need? Nobody needs 5 containers of black mascara! When did I last use this? Is it out of date?

Decide what you are going to do with your discarded items. I usually have a bin bag and a charity bag going. The ones which are delivered to your door are great as they are collected too. All you have to do is remember to put them out for the collectors

If the task really seems overwhelming or you don’t want to tackle it yourself there are professional decluttering companies you can engage to take the strain for you

Plastic pollution and your menopause

How plastic pollution affects your menopause

How plastic pollution affects your menopause

If you’ve listened to any news recently you can’t have missed the big plastic pollution problem facing our planet at the moment. Miles and miles of plastic in various forms are littering the oceans and causing death and destruction to sea life. That is to say nothing of the quantities of plastic in landfill which will not break down in our life times.

Plastic is also bad news for hormone balance and consequently the menopause. Toxins, both in the plastic and the manufacture of it are a major contributor to oestrogen dominance which you can read more about in one of our previous blogs – 10 signs of oestrogen dominance and what you can do about it

So, eliminating plastic, where possible from your life and that of your family can only be a good thing, for your health and the environment. We have long been champions of natural products which avoid toxins. Of course, plastic is everywhere so getting rid of it entirely will be a challenge. But, even halving you’re your plastic use will make a huge contribution. We aim to reduce our own use of plastic at home as far as we possibly can and it would be great if you could do the same.

Here are 8 ways you can be not so plastic fantastic

  1. Become aware of the amount of plastic you use in your household. Do you really need to use cling film and plastic bags when you could store leftovers in a lidded container for example? Simply by raising awareness of the plastic you get through will help you to reduce it.
  2. Check out the packaging when you go shopping. Choose retailers who pledge to reduce plastic use. When other retailers see the effect on sales they will follow suit. Shops like your local greengrocer will have unpackaged produce. It’s great for the local economy too.
  3. Invest in a set of durable shopping bags. That way you will always have a bag handy and won’t need to buy carrier bags which will eventually end up clogging up the ocean floor for hundreds of years.
  4. Many household cleaners come in plastic containers. Both container and contents are highly toxic. Try natural alternatives, or you could make your own using lemon juice, vinegar, bicarbonate of soda etc. Check out these suggestions for natural cleaning and a few recipes from Wellness Mama
  5. Ditch the plastic water bottles. A BPA free, biodegradeable water bottle will be far less toxic for you and your environment. Even better use glass.
  6. The same goes for disposable coffee and tea cups. Some coffee shops will reward you if you provide your own cup. There is a lidded coffee/tea cup to suit all tastes, and they keep your drink warmer for longer too.
  7. Straws – do you really need one? If you can’t drink your cocktail or soft drink without one, switch to paper or stainless steel.
  8. Bamboo toothbrushes have natural bristles and are biodegradeable. Try these from Amazon

 

There are lots of ways you can reduce your plastic usage. Feel free to share your suggestions either as a comment here or on our Facebook page