The M Word: Menopause

The Menopause effects every woman, and most of us are woefully underprepared.



46% women are not prepared for the menopause

This year I had to face the big M... the menopause.


After looking and feeling great for so many years I suddenly felt like I had aged overnight. For the past year or so I had struggled in myself. I couldn’t bend down, walk up or down the stairs, and started to experience continuous joint pain. I put it down to age and to be honest wear and tear, it never occurred to me that something else was going on.


Then it really began, hot sweats, cold sweats, erratic behaviour, mood lows, lack of sleep, joint inflammation and most of all I had lost ME!!


Symptoms


Every woman's experience of Menopause is different, but some of the symptoms that have been documented are:

  • Fatigue

  • Joint inflammation

  • Brain fog

  • Shivering

  • Overheating

  • Hot flushes

  • insomnia

  • Anxiety

  • Depression


The Menopause is difficult to talk about. Shame, embarrassment and denial are all emotions that I struggled with because we don't talk about these things as a society. So if you are experiencing multiple of the above symptoms it may be worth getting advice, even if you're not in the normal age of menopause.


Get advice


So I needed to deal with the imposter called the Menopause, and contacted the GP, who was a man I might add. My first initial thought a MAN I can’t discuss e symptoms as he won’t be sympathetic enough. I was wrong he talked me through the pros and cons and sent me literature to read and then once I made my decision I would have a blood pressure reading and weight check, which is monitored every 3 months and he would prescribe HRT patches


I put off the HRT treatment fear of the potential side affects, Breast cancer being top of the list………then I had to make a calculated risk, because my quality of life out weighed what may happen ????


Talk to your GP if you are experiencing Menopause symptoms, they will talk you through your options.


Treatment


There is no actual 'treatment' for Menopause, only for the symptoms. There are various natural ways to deal with symptoms, but HRT (hormone replacement therapy) is commonly prescribed.

I started HRT on New Years day 2022, as this was a good day to start, bringing positivity to the new year. Results have been incredible, so far, my joint inflammation has decreased by 90% and this happened within the first 24hrs


Exercise


Dealing with my menopause symptoms allowed me to feel the zest for life again, and reinforced the importance of exercise in my life as part of my self care routine. With a mix of cardio and weights I can control the weight gain some women experience during menopause, strengthen my bones and muscles and hopefully put off some of the other associated health problems.


  • Cardio helps with weight loss and blood circulation combats the potential risk of heart disease and type 3 diabetes that can develop with Menopausal weight gain.


  • Weight training increases muscle mass and will keep my bones healthy, dealing with those other Menopause related worries such as osteoporosis.


  • Exercise is a known anti-depressant...so it all helps!



Self Care


I will never take my health for granted and the fact I have been extremely lucky in my working career, coupled with my fitness achievements, I totally get why women wear smocks, baggy clothes and loose the will to take care of themselves, because being totally honest I became one of them women, the last thing you feel like is dressing up and making yourself feel sexy in fact that was the last thing I felt like I was having on average 10 hot flushes/sweats a day amongst the other symptoms, it was so consuming to think of anything else.


We all have our stories and experiences, and I just wanted to share mine and help other women who are struggling……..but equally it is individual and must be your choice, this treatment has suited me and I am so relieved.


Davina McCall hosted a great program on Channel 4 discussing how the Menopause effected her, I highly recommend you give it a watch.

Davina McCall: Sex, Myths and the Menopause - All 4 (channel4.com)


 

Resources



• Women's knowledge of (peri)menopause worldwide 2020 | Statista