5 Tips For The Menopause Journey

5 Tips for The Menopause Journey

5 Tips For The Menopause Journey.

I’m menopausal.  No secret there.

I wouldn’t call it a total blast.  But I wouldn’t call it sucky either. To be honest, the years before menopause were probably worse with periods of Biblical flood proportions. Until I learned what I know now.

Menopause is a journey.  Indeed, my whole life in hormones has been one big, fat journey.

And I have learned. A Lot. So here are my 7 top tips on dealing with the menopause journey. To stay at least half-way sane. Keep a smile on your face most of the time. And to avoid the scary rollercoaster of a ride.

AND IMPORTANTLY to help end the snickering and eye-rolling that sometimes goes with the word “menopause”.

Read on my Menopause Mavens …

 

#1 Be Loud and Proud.

I want to start with a biggie.

Menopause is not a taboo. Nothing shameful about it.

Let’s break the silence. End any stigma.

Be loud. And proud.  On your menopause journey.

I now proudly whip out a rather fetching fan when I get hot in public places. Very Downton Abbey in the early days.

Anyway, I’m constantly surprised by the number of people – younger women included – who don’t really understand what the menopause journey is. What the signs are. How it affects women. What we can do to help manage our symptoms and carry on with our valuable, productive, wild and precious lives.

YES society and media, we women in our 40s, 50s and older ARE valuable. We are useful. Productive. Eminently employable. Experienced and mature. Still attractive. Not invisible.

We matter. More than that, we’re freakin’ marvellous!

But menopause does affect us.  Just like puberty does. Or pregnancy.

And it affects women in different ways. We are all unique and special. And deserve to be treated that way.

It’s not a joke either.  Any woman who has experienced hideous hot flushes, memory lapses, anxiety, hair loss and more will tell you that.  It’s. Just. NOT. Funny.

No-one laughs at a pregnant woman – why would anyone laugh at a menopausal one?

Society and the media accept – even embrace – pregnant women. Why not menopausal ones?  We work with the fact a woman is pregnant and rightly so.  We don’t discriminate.  The same should be true in menopause.

You heard it from me all you partners, family, friends, employers, coworkers, neighbours of Menopause Mavens.

Let’s join voices.  We all need to help educate people about what the menopause journey is and what it means to women. Otherwise they may continue to snigger or misunderstand.

BUT, girls let’s admit it’s not a medical condition.

 

#2 Don’t See It As A Medical Condition

It’s my opinion that we medicalise everything these days and we shouldn’t.

Menopause is a life stage. A transition. Part of the cycle of a women’s life. The menopause journey. Just like puberty. If you’re unlucky, it also includes the spots.

Both do strange things to your body, emotions and mind. But they’re not diseases or medical conditions. We’re not ill.

And that’s a good thing.  It’s normal.  Totally natural.

You only need to visit your doctor if you want confirmation through tests that your symptoms are menopausal.  Or if you have symptoms that persist, get much worse or worry you, go to the doctors. You’re not wasting their time

Modern medicine has developed medications to relieve menopause symptoms.  It’s personal choice to go down that route.

I always urge women to check up before they decide on any medication, procedure or treatment.

What is the treatment?  What’s it made from (HRT can remade from pregnant mares’ urine for example)? Who was it tested on and how? How long is it safe to use? What are the benefits? And risks? The common and not-so-common side effects? What can I do myself to relieve my symptoms? What other options are there?

Then decide, what’s right for you.

And if it’s not a medical condition, should your employer allow “sick days” for it?

Mmm.

My view is that employers should enable their menopausal workers to function well in the workplace…just like everyone else. That might mean flexible working, the option to do some work from home, providing information, access to coaching or occupational health ….whatever is suitable for that employment.

That relies on us explaining our situation to our employer (see #4) and employers being equipped to handle it well and with empathy.

No need to retire early … unless you really want to and can, of course

 

#3  Help Yourself

 

I’m a firm believer in self-care.  It’s not selfish.  It’s necessary for you and all the people that rely on you to help and support them. You can’t give from an empty cup, lady.

So let’s take care of ourselves on the menopause journey.  Take responsibility for our own health and wellness – physical, emotional and mental – as far as we can.

There are lots of changes we can make to diet and lifestyle that make a big difference to symptoms.  We really can make a difference to our hot flushes,  muffin top,  hair, drynessmood swings , sex drive, memory issues  …

Click the links for my top tips on taking care of yourself naturally, at home.

Complementary therapies and treatments can also really help.

I have really helped myself with diet and lifestyle changes and natural therapies. I have really helped women through my online courses.  And through 1-1 coaching.

I’ve also helped myself by not reading and buying into the claptrap peddled by glossy mags and other media.  You know the stuff.

Photoshopped images of young women in clothes that hardly anyone can afford, skateboarding whilst on their period, kissing impossibly beautiful men (they’ll make such cute babies), whilst holding down a dream job that pays a gazillion dollars a year AND travelling the world. Oh and I forgot the good deeds. Gahhhhhhhhhhh.

Helen Mirren and Diane Keaton are MY role models.  Women even older than me. Strong. Attractive. Working. Warm. Clever. Funny.

 

#4 You Are Not Alone.

There are millions of us!  We’re everywhere…mwah ha ha ha ha ha

Find your tribe of Menopause Mavens.  Gather with your friends and talk about it – share!  Join online forums and follow pages to get support, encouragement and good quality information.  Hint: this blog has lots of fab tips and so does my Facebook feed!

Talk to your partner. Your family.  In a constructive way.  Don’t blame them for your crazy moods or getting (literally) hot under the collar. Help them understand what help and support you need from then as you navigate the menopause journey. Explain the changes you’re going through and how it affects you.

They are not mind-readers. Or well versed in the ways of the menopausal Miss.

Tell your employer. It shouldn’t be embarrassing for either of you. You’re just going through a life stage. They should be equipped to deal with the whole gamut of stuff their employees might face OR have access to experts who do and can advise them.

Make sure your close colleagues know. When they know, they can empathise and support. If they don’t know, they can’t.  If they know and still laugh and roll their eyes, they’re idiots. Fact.

 

#5 Look On The Brightside

Yup.  There is always a brightside.

Menopause is often talked about in terms of loss or lack. Lack of periods.  Mourning of childbearing years. Lost youth. Even lamenting an empty nest.

And I do get that IS those things and we need to find ways to work through that for ourselves, if those things come up for us.

It is possible to change we way we look at things and feel better about menopause.  The link shows a great guest blog on moving your menopause mindset.

It’s not just about loss really, it’s about gain.

New beginnings. Freedoms. Opportunities. And we have the maturity and experience to make the most of them.  Maybe we didn’t have that when we were younger.

In many cultures, menopause is celebrated as a rites of passage.  It’s when women become respected and trusted wise women. Mature women are revered.

And heck, 50 is the new 30. Well, it is if we make it so.

Plus there’s always laughter.  I wiggle my finger at anyone who laughs at someones else’s hot flush. Doesn’t mean we can’t laugh at our own, eh? If we choose.

Or follow someone genuinely funny, like The Mentalpause.  Always raises a snigger here.

That should help you get through the menopause journey laughing.  Just be careful you don’t laugh so hard a little pee comes out. *winks*

Love, Kathy x

P.S. If you love my menopause blogs and tips, sign up for my Free e guide Hot Flush Hacks below.

 

 

 

Trouble Down Below: How To Relieve Vaginal Dryness and Itching in Menopause

trouble-down-below-how-to-relieve-vaginal-dryness-and-itching-in-menopause

Trouble Down Below: How To Relieve Vaginal Dryness and Itching in Menopause.

Vaginal dryness and itching.  And urinary infections.

No. laughing. matter.

Nothing to be embarrassed about either.

But it can tough to talk about it. Even though it’s very common in menopausal and post menopausal women.

 

Vaginal Dryness

As women transition through menopause, oestrogen drops. Lower oestrogen leads to thinning of vaginal tissue and can make the vagina drier and less elastic.

Of course, this can make sex uncomfortable and lead to bleeding due to friction.  Sex can also cause bruising, inflammation and the burning sensation that we get when we have cystitis. No wonder some women would rather not have sex  – when the pain and bleeding are too awful.

In turn, that can affect relationships.

 

Vaginal PH Balance

The acid/alkaline balance also changes as we mature.

Before menopause, the vagina is acid, keeping infection at bay.  Afterwards, it’s more alkaline meaning we’re more prone to infections.  Think bladder infections, vaginal infections, thrush, cystitis, itching.  And they can be recurring.

 

Conventional Treatments

Where vaginal dryness and itching and and soreness makes intercourse – and even cervical smear tests – unbearable, its best to see a doctor.

It’s likely your doctor will prescribe oestrogen cream or pessaries to use in the vagina itself.  It plumps up the tissue.

As with all conventional treatments, please do your homework before you make a final decision  for yourself. Find out what the risks and side effects are as well as benefits.  Ask how long you’ll need it for.  Discuss whether you can take natural steps in time and perhaps stop using the cream or pessaries.

Some vaginal oestrogens are carcinogenic i.e. linked to higher risk of certain cancers.

Your doctor will also treat any infection found.  Be aware that antibiotics also destroy good bacteria. So if you choose antibiotics, get a good probiotic alongside. See tip 1 below.

 

Possible Natural Approaches to Vaginal Dryness and Itching

#1 Some Supplements

I always think that supplements are best tailored to individuals. That’s why I recommend hair mineral tests for my clients. So we can see what mineral and toxic metal status is and get some insights from a Lab.

That said, a general supplement programme for menopausal women might be:-

 

  • Good quality multivitamin and mineral for mature women, great for anti-ageing, heart health and bone health. Buy good brands as cheap ones are packed with fillers and ingredients our bodies can’t extract and absorb easily.
  • High quality Omega 3 fish oils to reduce inflammation and protect  heart, brain, bones and joints.
  • Vitamin C 1000mg daily for immune boosting, skin and bone health.  Buy it as Magnesium Ascorbate.
  • A oral good probiotic to help balance the Ph in the vagina.

 

#2 Choose a Hormone Friendly Diet

Eating for nutrition will help support mucous lining health – including the vagina.  There are some great tips included in this blog.   Also drink plenty of filtered water or mineral water from glass bottle for hydration.

Phytoestrogens (plant oestrogens) in beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas and flax seed could help nurture oestrogen levels.

 

#3 Natural Lube

If you use vaginal oestrogen, you may not need this.

If you need a vaginal lubricant, choose a natural one. I suggest Yes or Preseed brands to my clients, as they are not filled with nasty chemicals. Who’d want to shove nasty, health and hormone-harming chemicals up their vajajay?

 

#4 Cranberries for Cystitis 

But not just any old cranberry products, please.

Cranberry has been found to relieve cystitis because it stops bacteria attaching to the walls of the urinary tract. Who knew?

But buy either unsweetened juice or get dried cranberry supplement.  Cranberry juice with added sugar or artificial sweetener is NOT a good idea.

 

#5 Use Natural and Unperfumed Products 

Choose natural, organic and unperformed soaps, bath preparations and washing powder/liquid.  Again, harsh chemicals could make issues worse.

 

#6 Review Your Meds 

Some meds can be drying e.g. cold cures and allergy medicines. Ask your pharmacist or doctor if you think they could be adding to any issues.

 

Don’t suffer in silence. wonderful women.  It’s thought around 50% of menopausal women will suffer some symptoms.  Let’s raise awareness,  help ourselves and talk to our doctors without embarrassment.

 

No.  Laughing.  Matter.

Love, Kathy x

What Does A Hot Flush Feel Like? Flush to Furnace

what does a hot flush feel like-fWhat Does A Hot Flush Feel Like?

What does a menopausal hot flush feel like?

If you don’t know, Google it…well read this first and then Google it!

Here’s a snippet from the UK NHS website …

…”women often describe a hot flush as a creeping feeling of intense warmth that quickly spreads across your whole body and face ‘right up to your brow’ and which lasts for several minutes.”

If you’ve actually had one, that little description is NOT cutting it for me either, my lovely! “Creeping feeling of intense warmth”, yeah right!

I’d like to throw in my own experience at almost 50 and I’d love for YOU to share yours.

 

My Menopausal Hot Flushes

Anyone who reads my stuff regularly will know my hot flushes have been erratic.

I had a few mild ones a day from October 2014 to January 2015.

I had a few a day from October 2015 to January 2016 – sometimes mild, occasionally fiery furnace.  My worst nightmare was a full on almost literal melt-down in Multiyork talking to a very nice lady about replacement covers whilst stripping of more and more layers of clothes. She must have been relieved I stopped at my long vest top and leggings!  In December.

From late Spring until now they have ranged from easily manageable to full-on, call the Fire Brigade.  I one or two a day on average, maybe one overnight at the moment.

They are worse on hot days (I’m glad in a way when summer is gone!), when eating hot food, after alcohol and rich foods or sugar.   Spices don’t seem to make that much difference.

I have a theory that they’re changeable to test my own knowledge and determination as well as my patience.  Because every time they seem to get worse, I try new strategies to manage them back down with super self-care and natural therapies.

I almost used other words…words like “squash them down” and “winning the battle against hot flushes”, but that’s not really how I feel.

They are part of me. It’s menopause. They are part of growing (b)older.  Part of a natural transition. In traditional cultures, they’d be seen as part of becoming a Wise Woman, an elder.

I wouldn’t exactly say I embrace them – nah, that’s taking it just TOO far.  But I don’t want to “fight” part of myself. Life’s tough enough, as it is. And I’m a lover not a fighter.

 

What Do MY Hot Flushes Feel Like?

A hot flush always start the same way.  I can feel them “brewing”. I start to feel a little heat in my face and neck, like the schoolgirl blushes of my youth when my fave crush talked to me.

If only they stopped there!

Mild Flush

A “mild” hot flush will get stronger until my face feels like it’s throbbing slightly, I start to “glow” or shine and I flush deep pink.

A quick “fan”, maybe  taking off my cardi, opening a window and some deep breathing sees those ones off. I could almost call those the “tropical moments” or “power surges” of cliches.   Probably some people wouldn’t notice much.

Humdinger Hot Flush

A humdinger hot flush is a different story.

Schoolgirl blush gives way to a face like a massive red balloon- no ladylike “glow” just the “horsey” sweating of that old saying. These bad boys need more than a discreet dab of a tissue. People notice, people.

I can feel my heart beating in my chest like an old washing machine travelling the floor. Sometimes I feel faint, sometimes a little panicky…could be the flush itself or the gut-wrenching embarrassment if I’m with other people. Think Multiyork. Part of me thinks I shouldn’t be embarrassed …it’s as natural as puberty or pregnancy, after all.

Again, I take off layers. I furiously “fan”. I open windows or go outside. Breathe deeply. I run my wrists under icy cold water. A couple of minutes and they subside. Those couple of minutes can sometimes seem like a hideous half hour.

Night Sweats

And what of nasty night sweats?

Mostly, mine have become a bit like when you’re just hot in bed and you want to shove your feet and legs out to cool off. Thank goodness. Maybe I reach for my trusty bedside box of dabbing tissues if my face starts to get a bit sweaty. I can get back to sleep after.

But I have known a couple of full-on “someone stuck a lighted torch up my nightie” ones – sweat dripping, hot, red, shaking.

The kind where you jump under a cold shower and strip the bed to change it.

The kind when you can understand those strange Skandanavians who go out naked in icy conditions after a hot sauna. I haven’t by the way.

That only happened a couple of times.

 

I’m managing my menopause now pretty well, on a cocktail of homeopathic remedies, supplements, herbs and great self-care with good food choices and lifestyle habits. Following my own advice really. Except maybe the 80/20 rule of living very healthily 80% has become more like 90%. I kinda know that if I drink alcohol or eat rich or sugary foods, I’ll pay a price. I had to give things up.

I’d love to hear how YOU’RE managing your menopause OR tell me about YOUR hot flushes in your own words.

Leave me a comment, please.

Love, Kathy x

P.S If my gorgeous flushing friend who lends me her actual fan when we go out for a cheeky prosecco is reading, thanks chick. We’re still smokin’ hot after all these years!

Menopause Mood Swings – How To Stop Being A Menopausal Moody Mare

Menopause Mood Swings

How To Stop Being A Menopausal Moody Mare.

Menopause mood swings. Hands up if this is you?

Menopause Moody Mare.  You can go from quiet to riot in under 30 seconds?

If you’re not sure, ask a friend or relative? Or ask your partner, if they dare speak out. *winks*

I’m joking, but it’s often no laughing matter. I know, I have been a bit of a Mardy Bum myself occasionally. Hard to believe, I know.

 

Menopause Mood Swings, Menopause Hormone Swings

Menopause is all about changing hormone levels. Levels of oestrogen decline, generally. Yada yada yada.

Changeable hormones equals changeable moods.  Which kinda sucks.

Even even-tempered women can get emotional swings from teary to leery, from angsty to angry and from lover to “run for cover”.  It’s a pretty common menopause symptom too.

Clever scientists think it’s all to do with the decline in oestrogen and and it’s affect on The Feel Good Hormone, serotonin.  They believe that when oestrogen rises and falls, serotonin somehow goes up and down with it.

The good news – if there is any – is that when our hormones settle down after menopause, so will moods. Phew.

 

Menopause Mood Swings – The Double Whammy

I’d like to throw in other possible reasons for menopause mood swings.

Blood sugar imbalance, for starters.

Yes, if you’re riding the rollercoaster of blood sugar, you’re pretty likely to be riding the energy rollercoaster. AND the mood rollercoaster. That’s some terrible theme park.

Plus, if you’re not sleeping well, due to night sweats or stress, then your tiredness might make you tetchy.

 

So if you’re not up for HRT or antidepressants, what can you do to manage the signs and symptoms naturally. Read on …

 

#1 I sound like a broken record! Eat a hormone friendly diet and make sure you’re balancing blood sugars by eating little and often and choosing good quality protein with each meal and snack.  This will stabilise blood sugar, energy and mood – don’t snarf carbs and sugar or drink coffee to wake you up!   And don’t comfort eat – its no comfort when your clothes don’t fit and your health suffers.

 

#2 Look at supplements.  I’m a great believer in individualised programmes based on hair testing. But if you want to know which supplements are good generally for menopause mood swings, look at Omega 3 fatty acids (for brain health), Magnesium (a natural calmer and pain reliever) and Vitamin B Complex (for the nervous system).  Buy the very best you can afford to avoid cheap fillers and ingredients your body can’t absorb easily.

Check with your doctor before starting any supplement programme.

 

#3 Drink plenty of filtered water. Dehydration is a strange thing and can affect how we feel and think. Keep yourself well topped up.

 

#4 Move your butt. Exercise releases chemicals that help improve our mood. No need to join the gym unless you want to. Walking, swimming, cycling, yoga, dancing, gardening and much more, can really help.

 

#5 If you choose herbs, be careful and check they are suited to you and your circumstances. St Johns Wort is popular, but interferes with the contraceptive pill and other hormonal contraceptives. Valerian is also indicated for mood swings. And, of course, Agnus Castus is used for female balancing. Personally, I make up a gentle combination to my private clients, which contains a number of hormone and mood balancing herbs.

 

#6 Think essential oils. Clary Sage and Geranium are good for balancing out moods. Add a few drops of each to your bath or burn in a burner. Rose, Chamomile, Lavender and Bergamot are good for uplifting.   If you use oils for massage, use a carrier oil to dilute them to make them safe to use.

 

#7 Consider holistic therapies to support you through menopause, like homeopathy or acupuncture. Therapies like EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) a.k.a. tapping can help influence moods and behaviours.  I know a fab one.  Always find a registered and insured therapist.

 

If you’re suffering menopause mood swings, try making some changes and see what difference you can make naturally. You’ll have the added benefit of balancing hormones and improving overall health too.

What’s not to like?

Love, Kathy x

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Deal With Haywire Hair in Your 40s and 50s

 how-to-deal-with-haywire-hair-changes-in-your-40s-and-50s

How To Deal With Haywire Hair in Your 40s and 50s.

I have a Love/Hate Relationship with my hair. I’ve had many hair changes over the years.

 

My Love/Hate Relationship With My Hair

I loved the blonde Shirley Temple curls of my toddling phase. Super cute.

I hated the hacked and short cut that my Mother inflicted on me, driven by the need to save money. I accept that totally. I was a child of 70s Britain, power cuts and the three day week.

That haircut lasted many years.  I longed for pigtails. A ponytail. Ringlets.  Or an elfin face  for my pixie cut rather the square freckled face I was blessed with. I wished it was straight instead of sticking up. I looked like a continual bad case of bed head.

I loved my bleached and backcombed “goth-y” fright phase. At the time, anyway.

I loved my curls in the 80s when the poodle perm was in.

I hated my curls when straighteners became de rigeur. I straightened my locks to within an inch of their life. This trend lasted years – that’s years of taming the curls.

For about the last year, I’ve embraced the curls.

If I’m honest, mostly because I think it’s kinda Bull Twang to deny who I am. I am much more comfortable in my own skin …the gift of growing (b)older.  That’s no judgement on anyone with hair straighteners. No judgement on hair changes that you choose.  I’d be a big old hypocrite. I still get highlights to lift the mouse brown.

Embracing the curls has saved an awful lot of time and effort.

But then I started to notice my hair changes…and NOT in a good way.

 

MY Hair Changes In My 40s

My hair is fine but there’s loads of it. It’s whispy and gets frizzy in humidity and drizzle rain.

It’s mouse brown with (artificial) highlights of sun kissed caramel. From foils …to avoid the dye being spread all over my scalp and risk more chemicals than necessary going into my skin.  It’s coloured every 3 months and no more.

I have a few “glitter highlights” (greys) to cover but not that many to be honest. I’m 49 as I type this. I take after my Dad.

It’s always been quite soft…until recently. I noticed hair changes.

It was tangly when wet – just at one side. Go figure. Can’t blame bed head.

I bought a detangling brush as recommended by my gorgeous hairdresser Nik. I bought some pretty natural detangler on his recommendation.

Made no difference.

Instead, more and more hair got tangly.  And seemed more coarse. Every time I washed and combed more was breaking off or being pulled out, no matter how gentle I was. Grrrrrrrrr.

So I stopped washing every day and now wash a few times a week.  I can’t bear the amount of hair in my brush.

But more than that, I started to PANIC. Loads of hair  in my brush. My hair is thinning … falling out.  Chuff off Menopause!  I started to stress.

I am menopausal and menopause can cause dryness to skin and hair.  Another symptom can be hair loss.  Hair loss can be caused by sensitivity to male hormones or an imbalance leading to too many male hormones. And yes, women have male hormones too.

I asked Mr P is he thought my hair was falling out. He said No. I actually asked my hairdresser – he says no as well, but agreed the texture is changing and it’s very, VERY tangly.

I’m still worried.  I want keep my hair plentiful and in good condition. I want to keep my “crowing glory” er em glorious.

So what have I done?

Here are my tips.

 

Dealing With Haywire Hair in Your 40s and 50s

1. Eat a healthy, hormone helping diet with plenty of vegetables and fruit, wholegrains, nuts, seeds, pulses, fish, eggs and a little poultry and meat. Buy organic, unsprayed, free range, unprocessed. Make sure you include good fats like oily fish, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds, coconut oil and avocado. Choose eggs, liver, yeast, salmon, cheese, avocado, raspberries and cauliflower for the biotin (one of the B vitamins), which helps with hair growth and condition.  Drink plenty of good fluids – filtered water, fruit and herb teas, coconut water.

2. Use gentle hair products free from sodium laurel sulphate and other nasties. Natural and organic products with natural plant oils really help condition hair. (I usually favour Neals Yard and Faith in Nature). Maybe choose products with essential oils too. Rosemary and Ylang Ylang are stimulating. Lavender and Tea Tree fight dandruff and dry scalp. Chemical treatments can also be very damaging and dyes and tints contain potentially toxic chemicals.

You can use a tiny smidgen of coconut oil on your hair too. Rub a little in your hands and use as a defrizzer and natural conditioner.

3. Don’t brush and tease at wet hair – you run the risk of breaking and splitting hair. Overheating with hairdryers, straighteners etc can also be very damaging.

4. Massage your scalp to encourage hair growth. And it feels sooooo gooooood!

5. If your diet may be lacking, choose a short course (3 months) of a good supplement that contains Vitamins C, E, B Vitamins and Biotin. Buy the best supplement you can afford – cheaper ones contain fillers and the nutrients are often much harder to extract and use by your body.

I just bought Viridian Beauty Oil and Viridian Ultimate Beauty Supplement. They’re organic and good quality and Viridian make a charitable donation for every product sold.

6. Choose a good style.  Not just one that flatters your face shape, but one that plays to the texture and amount of hair you have. Nik created me a much better style to stop me running my fingers through my long bangs to keep it from my eyes – this will  save more breakage and improve the condition.  A new hairstyle is GOOD hair changes. Hurrah.

7. Don’t Stress. Stress is bad for our health. It causes our body systems, functions and processes to go haywire. It causes imbalance. It also affects us on the outside, often seen on our skin and hair.  Remove the sources of stress from your life or reduce the impact with coping strategies like meditation, yoga, exercise, massage, journalling and more.

8. Speak to a doctor. Hair loss can also be triggered by some health issues like low thyroid function. So go and get tests and advice.

The lesson for me is just LOVE your hair. No more Love/Hate here. Just love. With my 8 top tips.

Let me know how my tips work for you.

Love, Kathy x

Don’t Bury Your Head in The Sand Thirty and Forty Somethings

Don't Bury Your HeadDon’t Bury Your Head in The Sand Thirty and Forty Somethings.

30s? 40s? Do you bury your head in the sand?

I have a feeling.

A feeling that there an AWFUL lot of fabulous 30 and 40 Somethings out there are IN FEAR.

 

Fear. Me?

In fear, that their misspent youth is long gone and old age is around the corner. Menopause. Nice cup of tea. Incontinence pants. The Woman’s Weekly.   Wow, that’ll be some party, eh?

That’s there’s a huge and horrible hole after our fun and funky 20s and early 30s where we are dragged, kicking and screaming into the wilderness years of – God Forbid – our 50s and beyond.

Some are in fear that their body is changing. And there might be something really wrong with them.

BUT they don’t want to talk about their periods of biblical flood proportions. Not to their partner, Mum or friends. And the doctor didn’t help that much. They bury their head in the sand.

Or what about the monumental mood swings and chronic PMS.

And the food cravings…we keep schtum about snarfing our body weight in Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Let’s not mention the breakouts of big old zits.

Or the glow/perspiration/Sweaty Betty moments.

Gloss over the ever-expanding waist that no diet seems to touch.

They fear that they are no longer so attractive.  Not that their sex drive is firing on all cylinders anyway.

Or that they’re becoming like their mother/grandmother/Aunt Maureen and they don’t like it. Worse still they feel like they’re becoming some raddled old hag. You’re so NOT.

Well, let’s reassure you 30 and 40 somethings  … let’s have some truth bombs.

 

Truth Bombs

#1 You’re not old, until you think old and behave old.  There are some pretty old 20 year old and some very young 70 year olds.   There’s more to age than the date on your birth certificate.

#2 You are still attractive. To your partner. To prospective new partners.  Other people aren’t looking at you and snickering or rolling their eyes – that’s all in our own heads. Trust me.  Being comfortable in your own skin, not giving a shizzle and smiling are very attractive.

#3 You’re probably not menopausal in your 30s and 40s (although some women experience menopause earlier than late 40s/early 50s).  Menopause is when your periods have stopped for a year or more.

#4 Menopause needn’t be that bad anyway. It’s certainly not all about crumbling bones, crimpolene and crochet.  I’m menopausal – no crimpolene, hip replacement or yarn here. And my face doesn’t look like the road map of Great Britain yet at 49.

#5 Changes DO start happening in your mid to late 30s and 40s. It’s often called pre menopause or perimenopause.   I call it your 30s and 40s! It’s NOT menopause. No-one tells you about this. Sometimes signs sneak up on you, sometimes they smack you straight between the eyes.

Do NOT ignore these signs. Do not bury your head in the sand. Whether  you still want babies or not.

Deal with it now and you’ll feel better and look better. AND much more likely to have an easier time when menopause comes along. Menopause will be the next rites of passage, instead of an “illness to be cured”.

 

Changes in Your 30s and 40s

So what signs was symptoms might you see, hot and happening 30s and 40s?

Here’s some common ones…

  • Weight gain, even if you’re eating the same and exercising the same.
  • PMS with sore, lumpy breasts.
  • Irregular periods and heavy periods.
  • Lower sex drive.
  • Dry hair and skin or skin breakouts.
  • Mood changes – especially becoming more irritable and mardy. OR brain fog and forgetful. OR low and depressed.
  • Low energy.
  • Changes to body temperature.
  • Hormone related issues like fibroids, endometriosis.

 

And hormone imbalance can be at the root of these – although not aways. Get your doctor’s opinion and some tests. And then decide what to do.

 

I Recognise That List…

First of all don’t panic. No more head burying. Reassure yourself with a trip to the doctors.

If they recommends medications or procedures, think long and hard.

I’m not saying don’t ever take them or have procedures – that’s not my job or place.

But get info from different sources on the benefits, risks, side effects, what affect they have on you nutrition status (drugs rob nutrients), how long you need to take them, the alternatives and self help.  Weigh it all up for yourself. Then decide.

 

Self Help is where I come in.  I teach women how to eat, live and how to care for themselves naturally. And I practice a few complementary therapies too. And it can make a MAHOOSIVE difference. Trust me.

Read my own story, for one example.

So 30s and 40s women, do not be afraid. But don’t bury your head in the sand either.

Love, Kathy x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Skin Changes in Your 40s – by Louise Thomas Minns

How Skin Changes in Your 40s

How Skin Changes in Your 40s

What’s going on.

Our 40s are often called the peri-menopausal years. Oestrogen levels start to decline. Fat cells store oestrogen. Skin changes. Skin starts to lose its tone and can become drier as oestrogen drops.

Oestrogen is also a natural anti-inflammatory, so it’s not surprising that skin can become much more sensitive.

You may notice redness and dilated capillaries in your 40s too. If you have telangectasia (dilated capillaries) consider having them treated using a gentle diathermy current.  But prevention is key. Use sunscreen daily plus topical Vit C  – it will help.

If your skin health has not been part of your agenda, now is the time to start. Its never too late to achieve skin health. Our 3D approach at U & your Skin combines topical applications of vitamins,  dietary antioxidants from food and looking at you holistically, to create an ideal environment to maintain youthful skin.

 

At home I love...

Elena Rubin Biogenisis Serum is packed with potent skin protecting anti oxidants and youth giving peptides, including one from a Nobel prize winner.  It ticks all the boxes for those menopausal skin changes.

 

Professional treatments:

When skin changes, it’s good to get professional support.

At our Skin Lounge, our Super Facial really delivers. We exfoliate deeply,  incorporating ultrasonic technology. It helps gently peel, lift, tone, firm and drive active ingredients into the skin. We use DermaLux light to rejuvenate and soften lines, deep tissue massage and skin balancing reflexology during your 1 hour 45 minutes on the couch.

 

Skin Tips for the 40’s:

– Don’t neglect your neck. Make sure you apply your moisturiser with sunscreen to your neck and the sides of your neck every day!

– Don’t skimp on your sleep! Aim for at least 8 hours of quality sleep switching off all technology at least 30 minutes before hitting the sack.

– Eat lots of dark green veg, blueberries, tomatoes and drink Matcha Tea (does contain caffeine) to feed the skin antioxidants from within.

– Keep exercising! Build in some Yoga, Pilates and strength training to improve muscle tone as well as some cardio boosts.

– No going to bed with make up on! There is no getting away with this cardinal sin now especially as your skin maybe more sensitised. Cleanse away those impurities.

– Avoid abrasive scrubs when exfoliating. These can be too aggressive for the skin during this time.

Love Louise x

 

Louise Thomas-Minns has a passion for skincare.  It began at a very early age and was inspired by her own personal journey with acne and bad skin, both as a teenager and a young adult.

She is keenly interested in ingredient technology and innovation in skin care.

She has developed her own signature 3D approach to skin care.  It incorporates scientific, nutritional and holistic methods perfectly designed to nurture skin back to health.

The U and Your Skin Lounge is in Norwich, Norfolk, UK.

www.uandyourskin.co.uk

Uandyourskin features on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

How To FEEL Better About Menopause

How To FEEL Better About MENOPAUSE

How To FEEL Better About Menopause.

Or How To Have a Better Menopause Mindset.

(By Susanne Erricker, Head Girl at The Academy For Grown Up Girls).

 

Ok, I’m guessing you don’t believe it is possible to feel better about being Menopausal?  To have a better menopause mindset?

Just in case you think I might not understand, please be assured I DO.

I have been suffering from the side effects of perimenopause, the weight gain, hot flushes, mood swings. When it all started I really struggled with the thought of “that’s me done then’ I always thought that menopause happened to old women, but now I am there (I’m 49) and I don’t feel old at all.

As menopausal women we feel invisible, lack confidence, get lost in worry and anxiety about everything and anything, feel like our lives are over, right? Well, No! actually, absolutely not right! And this is why I have written this post for you today.

I am now going to make a statement that will probably cause you to ask …

“Who is this woman?”

‘What planet is she on?”

I’m actually hoping it will inspire you too and help you to look at things in a slightly different way… a slightly better menopause mindset…

 

‘As a Menopausal (or Perimenopausal) woman you are in the Prime of your Life’

Here are some reasons why…

  • You have oodles of life experience to draw upon
  • Due to changing hormone levels, you start to lose some of the all encompassing maternal instincts and you will find yourself starting to want to focus on what’s next for you (no guilty feelings here please!)
  • You are (or will be) mentally and emotionally stronger than you have ever been
  • If you are in midlife and beyond, as you move away from ‘hands on’ parenting/caring or other family issues, career building, home nesting you will have more time, freedom and choice as to what you want to do for the rest of your life

Yes, lovely lady – the REST of your life. In fact, if you are a similar age to me, you still have at least 25 quality years ahead of you – I am actually banking on more like 30 -35, but I thought I would be conservative with the numbers just there.

It never used to be this way.

In our grandmother’s day, once she reached the menopause it was time to reach for the knitting and the rocking chair and to a certain degree it is the same for our parents.

But for us, well it is different and so the menopause signals the start of embracing with open arms the next chapter of our lives.

So how do we do that? This is a big question that actually only requires a small shift in menopause mindset. Here are some pointers for you:

 

Work on changing your thinking style:

Are you a glass half full or a glass half empty kinda girl? Do you focus on what you don’t want rather than what you do want?

If you are the glass half empty type and know what you don’t want more than what you do want, then you are not alone, but you may want to consider a change.

Research shows that negative thoughts programme your brain to do a specific action (like run from danger) but at the same time narrow your mind and focus your thoughts on that one thing. The brain will then start to believe that thing to be true and guess what, so will the rest of you and this is when you start to feel anxiety and worry all the more.

 

Try changing your attitude to age:

Do you feel old? Do you consider yourself ‘Past it’ ? Have you lost touch with the youthful you? Is it too late ‘to change’?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, it’s time to change your attitude to age and accept that age is a state of mind. Average life expectancy for women who are 50 now is 86, so you have a good 30 – 40 years of your life ahead of you. Time to start planning for the next act otherwise you’re going to have a long wait ahead of you before you hang up your handbag.

 

Be kind to yourself:

What would you think if your own best friend started putting you down and telling you that YOU are hopeless, that there’s no way YOU can do something, or worse be cruel about your body image? My guess is that you would go and find another friend who is more encouraging and supportive of you and ditch this one

So why is it then that we are so cruel to ourselves and continue to be so?

Try these 3 things instead and practise them on a daily basis

  • Be more aware of what you are thinking or saying to yourself, are you being self destructive rather than compassionate?
  • Be grateful to your body for allowing you to walk, see, hear………. and give it what it needs in the form of good nutrition and hydration when you can. (Kathy has some great tips in her own blogs, social media and courses)
  • Learn to be a little bit selfish and set aside some time each day just for you

 

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2nd half to your life!  With a marvellous menopause mindset.

Love, Susanne x

Susanne is Head Girl at ‘The Academy for Grown up Girls’ and a Personal Development and  NLP Coach for Women in Midlife. The Mission of ‘The Academy’ is to bring inspiration, motivation and confidence to the lives of women who have been or are going through a life event that has knocked them off track. Through online teaching and coaching programmes she helps women ‘reinvent’ themselves and adjust to new roles in their lives, giving them confidence, self belief and clarity to enjoy the next chapter.

HORMONES – A Poem

Hormones a poem

HORMONES.

Hormones or “Upright Breasts Are Dropping and These Flushes Aren’t For Stopping.”

NO, I haven’t dusted off my Literature degree to start writing  poetry.  This verse is by poet Hazel Connelly. My poetry was never that good.

It’s from Hazel’s 2012 poem” Hormones”.  And it makes me laugh AND it makes me think.  I love it.

Here it is in all it’s fabulousness….

 

Hormones

My jeans zip is popping
My body’s gone crazy
Everyone is noticing
My memory’s a bit hazy.

The once upright breasts are dropping
and these flushes aren’t for stopping.

It’s the hormones
That’s what it’s about
All around my middle
I’m getting more stout.

There’s nowhere to hide
There’s nowhere to run
My newly aquired moustache
And chin hairs are fit to stun.

I joined a club that weekly meet,
They tell me all the can’t haves,
I just go home and eat.
Don’t have this, don’t have that,
I paid all that money just for a chat.

My feet are still the same size shoe
I could always buy them something new.

Time passes quickly, teenage years gone,
There’s no more excuses to rely on.
The one about puppy fat ran out long ago,
So now it’s time for a revamp
From head to toe…

© Hazel Connelly

 

Come on all you PREmenopausal Princesses and Menopause Mavens, who can relate?

The menopause muffin top?

The memory lapses?

Droopy boobs?

Hot flushes and nasty night sweats?

A few more hairs on your chinny chin chin?

Fighting the battle of the bulge?  And feeling like you’re never winning this war?

BUT or should I say “AND”?

 

AND, it doesn’t have to be that way.

We can either make the excuses like the “puppy fat”ones we made when we were young OR we can do something.

 

We can take control.

We’re not victims.

Sure we can’t stop the march of time… we can’t stop the inevitable drop in oestrogen hormones.

 

We CAN improve our health, hormone balance, wellbeing and happiness.

And that’s not just my Rose Tinted Bespectacled self talking.

I have had hot flushes, I have been known to try to cram the boiled kettle into the fridge, my once buxom pear shape has become a little bit more Coxs Orange Pippin. I curse when even WITH the magnifying mirror I struggle to see the stray hairs of my – sometimes –  bushy eye brows!

I’m just on it like a car bonnet. Living well at least 80% of the time.  Adopting a hormone friendly lifestyle at least 80% of the time.

And it works for me. And it can for YOU too. It doesn’t stop the march of time, but it helps keep me looking and feeling younger, healthier and happier for longer.  And much more balanced.

 

Amen to that. AND to the fact that my boobs aren’t droopy yet. *winks*

 

Love, Kathy x

Herbs For Menopause AND My Younger Hormonal Hotties

 

Herbs For Menopause AND My (Younger) Hormonal Hotties

Herbs For Menopause AND My Younger Hormonal Hotties.

Mother Nature is wonderful.  I believe in starting with natural remedies for many health problems, especially the minor ones.

My own toolkit and training is based around diet, lifestyle, nature fertility awareness,  homeopathy and herbs.

And I often get asked about herbs. Herbs for menopause mainly but sometimes for other hormone havoc.

 

Please, please, please check that herbs are suitable for you before you start taking them.  Some are not suitable in pregnancy, when breastfeeding, when taking certain meds including HRT or if you’re suffering from some medical conditions. It’s your responsibility to check.

And use quality herbal products.  Look for herbs that are not “standardised” to use them in the traditional way i.e. not processed.

Read labels for safe dosages.

If you need specific help speak with a qualified Medical Herbalist. Check the official register in your country to find a good one.

So here’s my low down on some of the herbs for menopause and other hormone issues.

 

MACA

Useful for: boosting fertility, hot flushes and sweats, pepping libido.

It’s Peruvian Ginseng and been used in the Andes for thousands of years for strength, energy and hormone balancing. It’s one of my herbs for menopause.

Maca is packed full of nutrients including zinc, which is a powerhouse for the sex hormones.

I shove this in my porridge, smoothies, shakes, some desserts at about a tablespoon at a time.

Some warn against using it pregnancy and breastfeeding because there is not much info on its safety here. Others warn against its use in oestrogen imbalances like certain cancers, fibroids and Endometriosis.

 

AGNUS CASTUS aka VITEX

Useful for:  PMS, irregular cycles, menopause symptoms, hormonal mood swings and low mood.

You may have heard this called The Women’s Herb?

It’s a balancer. Agnus Castus boosts where there is not enough and lowers where there is too much.

Women with breast pain, cramps, mood swings, menstrual headaches and cravings use it to support their PMS.

It’s great in your PeriMenopausal Princess years when your hormones are all over the place.

Again, some warn against it in pregnancy, breastfeeding, oestrogen- related conditions and when undergoing IVF. It’s not recommended for Parkinson’s sufferers and anyone with psychotic disorders.

It’s not recommended if you’re taking artificial hormones like the Pill, HRT etc and some other meds.

 

BLACK COHOSH

Useful for: PMS, hormonal headaches and migraines, period pains, acne, hot flushes and night sweats, bone health.

The Black Cohosh root is used for medicinal purposes. It was first used by Native American Indians and became a popular for women; health issues in Europe last century.

Black Cohosh root seems to have some effects similar to oestrogen. It’s sometimes known as a herbal oestrogen. It does not increase oestrogen or affect the cells in the womb or vagina, unlike HRT.  So, it’s a good choice when thinking herbs for menopause.

Research shows that taking Black Cohosh can reduce some menopause hot flushes and night sweats.

Its also used for mood swings and anxiety that we can get in our pre menopause years.

Again, be mindful if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have serious hormone related conditions.

There’s also some nervousness around liver issues after a handful of worldwide cases but it’s never been proven that the herb causes liver problems.

 

DONQ QUAI

Useful for: hot flushes and night sweats.

It’s been used for thousands of years traditionally.  Great as one of our herbs for menopause.

It’s also reported to be good for fatigue and disturbed sleep.

Usual warnings apply.

 

SAGE

Useful for: hot flushes and night sweats

Whoop whoop – another for menopause hot flushes and nasty night sweats!

I sometimes have this as a tea made from fresh leaves and just boiled water.

 

MILK THISTLE

Useful for: liver function.

When anyone asks me where to start to improve hormone health, my stock response is WITH YOUR LIVER!

The liver processes all the toxins, nasties and old hormones that we don’t need in our bodies, so tone up your liver to balance hormones.

Milk thistle is great liver tonic.  Diet and lifestyle choices are also important.

The same warnings apply as with all the other herbs I have mentioned.

If I take this, I choose a good quality tincture.

 

HOMEO-HERBS

I’m a little sensitive, so I use homeobotanicals myself. Herbs are powerful and potent and so some people may find them little too much.

Homeobotanicals are herbs prepared by dilution and shaking.

I have a lovely women’s balance tincture that I use with private clients and also one that’s a male balancing tonic I use with my baby-making fellas.

The women’s tincture I have used for hormone balancing and as herbs for menopause and had good feedback. I have one beautiful Perimenopausal Princess client who swears by it!

 

Love, Kathy x