The menopause: a topic not commonly spoken about and after watching many of my loved ones go through it in the last 18 months. I feel like there are many of us who simply do not know the signs and symptoms that the menopause is impending 🤷♀ Like most women, I was aware of a couple of the well-known signs such as the ability to sweat through your top in a snow storm and of course, no longer having periods.
Despite this, however, the run up to the menopause is not as sudden as you may think...
The menopause can actually begin four or five years before your periods stop, in fact they might become more frequent in the run up to the menopause as the bodies hormones begin to reduce and adjust. The menopause commonly occurs for women between their mid 40’s and mid 50’s with the average age being 51.
The period before the menopause (pardon the pun) is also known as the peri-menopause and here are 5 key signs to watch out for when approaching menopause:
Low mood or anxiety 😥
Some women describe perimenopause as being a teenager again and not in the fun drink all night and not get a hangover way. During perimenopause and the menopause your ovaries begin to produce less and less oestrogen (sex hormones) and therefore that delicate hormone balance you’ve worked on your whole life gets thrown right out of whack. For many women increases in anxiety are one of the first symptoms they become aware of but as anxiety can be attributed to many things they often don’t associate this to the beginning of the menopause until other symptoms begin to kick in.
Loss of sex drive 🚫
Urinary Tract Infections (UTI's) 💧
Vaginal dryness 😖
Guess what im going to say here – oh yeah oestrogen gets a portion of the blame here as well. The drop in hormones can cause the tissues in the wall of the vagina to become thinner and they get irritated more easily. Some women find the use of creams and lubricants can help reduce this symptom and these are easily available in pharmacy’s and supermarkets
Headaches are a very personal affair. Causes can differ from person to person and hormonal headaches are no different. Many women actually find their headaches get better after menopause and your hormone levels drop however many women experience an increase in intense headaches during the lead up to menopause as the change in hormones doesn’t happen as a gradual decline but can has peaks and falls during reduction.
Over to Cecilia to give us her top tips for how exercise and diet can help you during the menopause...
I realise now that reaching this age is a beautiful middle ground. You are old enough to be taken seriously, but young enough to be forgiven for still making mistakes. I am more relaxed in my skin, comfortable in my wisdom than ever was in my 20’s or 30’s. I have learned that being perfectly imperfect, is perfect. I have come to terms with who I am and have accepted my flaws, wrinkles, stretch marks and all.
“Middle Age Spread, is quite descriptive”
As I’ve grown into my years it’s become apparent that my body fat has increased and I’ve found it harder to keep it under control. As oestrogen dips (inevitable as we come closer to and go through the menopause) you are likely to lose muscle mass and put on body fat much easier. Middle age spread is actually quite an accurate description of what can happen if we don’t work harder in order to maintain a healthy body.
My top tips to stay fit and healthy in the lead up to, and during, the Menopause:
🏋♀You need to create a “calorific expenditure deficit”. This simply means your body over periods of time will have to “burn” off more calories than it takes in.
🏋♀ High intensity exercise. “the fat burning zone “ aim to train this way at least 2 x week. This will help your body utilize fat as the preferred energy source.
🏋♀ The more lean muscles mass the easier it is to remain lean and utilize fat as an energy source. Therefore training with resistance (either weights or body weight) another 2 x per week
🏋♀ Stretch and de-stress is so so important and part of your routine for weight loss. Practice yoga 1 x week.
My exclusive Fitness Ladies programme has been specifically designed for ladies over the age of forty by myself!
We offer 2 levels of the program, Beginner and Intermediate, proving that age is just a number when it comes to living a healthy, active lifestyle, regardless of the Menopause!