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How to reclaim MEnopause in midlife

Updated: Mar 6

Are you wondering when you last felt like yourself? Do you have a feeling in the pit of your stomach that something ‘bad’ is about to happen but there's nothing that you can think of? Have you slept fitfully for months but put it down to life stress? Perhaps you have sore joints you attribute to the cold weather, frequent UTI’s you put down to bad luck or maybe an increase in belly fat even though you don’t consider yourself an unhealthy eater.


I was that person in my early forties. I was far too early to be perimenopausal (or so I thought) yet I felt anxious each morning, was filled with dread and had a nagging feeling that something was about to go horribly wrong. My sleep was broken with night sweats that I attributed to the duvet being too thick and must have had at least three urine infections in a six month period.


But I still didn’t think in a million years it had anything to do with menopause until I started speaking to my sister, who at that stage was more well informed than I was about the pitfalls of midlife and menopause?!


If you’re anything like I was back then, you may still think you’re invincible and are still following the same lifestyle patterns you adopted in your early twenties and thirties. The thing is…..you are naturally ageing as much as you may not want to hear this and what served you back then, may not necessarily serve you now. In fact it may be exacerbating any potential symptoms you have.


You may or may not have children, a partner, your job may be more high pressured than it used to be, you’re looking after everyone including potentially ageing parents, you’re trying to have a social life whilst carving out some time for you (although that part is likely the bit that gets missed as everyone else’s priorities get in the way). You might reach for sugary foods to give you energy, self medicate with alcohol to take the edge off and binge watch Netflix at the end of your day when you are too knackered to manage anything else.


You may be stressed out, physically and emotionally exhausted with low confidence, poor motivation and a permanently flat mood. The things you used to find easy become harder and so the vicious cycle begins.


Is this sounding familiar? If so, you are NOT alone!


There are 15.5 million women going through one of the three stages of menopause at any one time in the UK. The average age of menopause in the UK is 51 but on average the menopausal process starts around the age of 45 until 55 give or take. But every menopause is individual, may not follow that pattern and there are always exceptions with surgical or early menopause.


There are actually three stages of menopause:


Perimenopause - the phase where your reproductive hormones are fluctuating and you may still have periods which are becoming more irregular

Menopause - the year where your periods cease for a period of twelve consecutive months and your reproductive hormones are still fluctuating whilst also falling

Post menopause - when your periods have stopped altogether and your reproductive hormones are low or negligible 


No wonder midlife is sometimes referred to as a period marked by crisis, there is a shit tonne going on people. It’s a tricky and complex life stage physically, mentally and emotionally. A time where ‘change’ is happening whether you like it or not and when everything may feel out of your control. BUT it is just a life stage and not a disease and you absolutely CAN feel like yourself again. It can be a period of new beginnings, opportunity, balance and freedom too, I'm living proof!


Hormones 

It’s important and maybe helpful to understand that reproductive hormones are not just involved in reproductive processes, a light bulb moment for me which made so much sense when studying menopause. The fact is reproductive hormones are SO much more in the female body.


The endocrine system is a complex network of glands and organs in our body that secrete hormones (chemical messengers), to control and coordinate the body’s biological processes. It is the pituitary gland (a pea sized gland at the base of our brain) that controls the reproductive glands (ovaries and testes) along with the thyroid (which regulates metabolism and energy) and the adrenal glands (which regulate heart rate and blood pressure). So the pituitary is often known as the master gland.


The endocrine system works on a negative feedback loop. This means the body is clever and will always try to get us back to homeostasis. In other words balance, by adjusting hormones elsewhere in the body to compensate if the reproductive hormones are falling. So you perhaps see in this life stage, that our bodies could be in hormonal and metabolic chaos with the body trying its best to balance everything out!


Reproductive hormones

Oestrogen - whilst it’s needed for puberty, the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. It is also a hormone with a role to play in bone strength, regulation of the central nervous system, cardiovascular health, brain function, skin physiology, food intake, weight, glucose metabolism plus more.


Progesterone - while it preps the body for pregnancy and supports it, it is also our calming hormone,  is involved in the sleep process, is fat burning and a diuretic.


Testosterone - yes, women do have testosterone it’s not just found in men….this enhances libido (in other words your sex drive which may well be lacking), is involved in bone health, muscle health, mood and energy levels. 


So it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out why women may experience menopausal symptoms. There are well over forty eight symptoms that can be attributed to this life stage and can leave women feeling exasperated, desperate and not feeling like themselves.


The most common are night sweats, low libido, mood changes, brain fog, insomnia, low energy, weight gain, inconsistent periods, hot flushes.


The less common may be itchy skin, sarcopenia, dizziness, dry skin, UTi’s, bladder weakness, sore muscles, burning joints, thinning hair, slower metabolism. 


So how can you support yourself

Often having an improved understanding of what is going on in your body can be relief in itself, it’s then knowing HOW you can support yourself.


There is research showing a significant relationship between science based lifestyle solutions and a decrease in the impact of menopausal symptoms. With many of them being really simplistic, realistic and achievable, however exhausted or lacking in motivation you are. 



To gain access to my FREE training video where you can learn more about scientific lifestyle solutions for wellness and to support a decrease in the impact of menopause symptoms, please visit my website


I am a qualified Menopause practitioner and menopause weight loss coach. I am also a mindset and behaviour change coach and a mind body practitioner. My education coupled with my own perimenopause have enabled me to develop a 12 week step-by-step online coaching program.


This aims to improve your sleep, kickstart weight loss and create healthy behaviour change - so you can feel like YOU again. We delve into sleep, stress, hormones, healthy habits, eating, weight gain, weight loss, self care, human needs, positive psychology and finding YOU.


Along with five hours of one to one online coaching you will receive weekly emails including tools, techniques, education, videos, information, tasks, self care action steps and more to keep you motivated and on track between sessions. All of which is simple and achievable, even for the busiest of people.


This program will enable you to take control of YOUR menopause so you can start to feel like YOU again.


To gain access to my FREE training video please visit the reclaim MEnopause method or email me directly antonia@healthyhabitslife.co.uk to pre register and gain a 15% program discount. You will be the first to know once the program is LIVE!


You only have one midlife, I want to help you live it.


References

Dr Wendy Sweet MYMT, Australian Menopause Society, British Menopause Society




Photo credit: Rhiannon at Small fish co.





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