Hottie’s Menopause Manual

Loss of Libido

8. Loss of Libido

This next symptom on our long and exhaustive list is more than reminiscent of a certain Mr Powers. Austin Powers.

Not familiar with ‘his work’? Oh you are so missing a treat Hotties!

Austin Powers is a hilarious spoof of James Bond, spanning three films, starring such a wonderful cast of characters with, let’s say, very inventive names such as Alotta Fagina, Ivana Humpalot and Felicity Shagwell; and it is whilst ‘dallying’ with the latter of these lovely ladies that Austin incredulously announces - “I’ve lost my mojo!”

Oh boy, we feel your pain Austin and us Hotties totally understand. HOWEVER, let’s be totally honest here; whilst some of us are devastated to lose our libido, it has to be said - perhaps a tad controversially - that some women welcome that loss with open hands, celebrating the fact that they have a bona fide medical reason to not partake in any bedroom olympics for the foreseeable. No more faking headaches or orgasms for them!

So which category do you fall into dear Hottie?

Lamenting the loss of your libido? Or, celebrating the loss of your libido?

No matter which category you fall into, let’s delve a little deeper as we work out why many women’s libido ‘takes a hit’ during the perimenopause and menopause.

Libido is the term used to describe sexual interest or desire, and there are two main reasons for loss of libido during the menopause:

  • The psychological aspect, where a woman has no emotional interest in sex
  • The physical aspect, when a woman has vaginal dryness which can make intercourse painful, pretty much making the loss of libido a foregone conclusion

More than a third of women in perimenopause, or who are postmenopausal, report having sexual difficulties, from a lack of interest in sex, to trouble having an orgasm - and no surprises for guessing who or what the main culprit is in all of this - yep, you’ve guessed it, it’s those pesky hormones!

Oestrogen is the main female hormone and it takes a massive nosedive during peri/menopause.

Oestrogen allows the walls of the vagina to be healthy and lubricated. When the levels of oestrogen decrease, the vagina walls can become dry, less stretchy and irritated - and an irritable vagina is not a happy vagina! This can make sexual intercourse painful and it can lower desire, making it more challenging for you to become aroused.

To add to the list, lowered levels of oestrogen also result in hot flushes and night sweats, which can make a woman feel less attractive, with knock on effects to our libido. Ideally, we want to be that hot ‘n sweaty sex siren AFTER sex, not BEFORE!

And then we have good ol’ progesterone and testosterone, playing an all-important role with our libido levels.

Testosterone is the main hormone for causing sexual desire and progesterone stimulates the production of this hormone. However, during peri/menopause, levels of progesterone also reduce, resulting in loss of libido.

So what can we do Hotties to help us get over this little hiccup as quickly as possible, or not?! (I suppose much depends upon which category you fall into - lamenting or celebrating?)

Read on if you want to help that libido recover in double quick time!

  • Stick with us - we know this is going to sound boringly sensible, however, regular aerobic exercise can help increase stamina and strength. Exercising regularly can help you feel better about your image, and in turn, boost your libido - when you look good, you feel good.
    Or start out with some gentle yoga to help your body become your new flexible friend. You might also surprise your lover(s), and yourself, with some new found ‘moves’ as a result of your enhanced ‘flexibility’!
  • Spend time with your partner - when you lose intimacy with them your sexual desire will naturally decline. Out of sight…out of mind, and all that! It is vitally important you can talk to your partner to increase your emotional bond, and for them to understand what you are going through - they are not mind readers (thankfully!) so good communication is key! Try ‘Date Nights’…a romantic candlelit(?) meal, Netflix and chill or bring out the big guns…Nine And A Half Weeks (oh Mickey you’re so fine…), Ann Summers finest, Fifty Shades of Grey…you get the idea!
  • Try eating certain mood-boosting foods that are thought to help increase libido and blood flow to the genitals, foods which include magnesium, soy and protein, especially before and during ‘Date Night’! Apparently bananas, avocados, figs, dark chocolate, basil, and garlic are all thought to have such beneficial properties…Food shopping will never be the same again - and even less so after watching Nine And A Half Weeks!
  • Stress less - yes, we know this is easier said than done, however, stress has a negative impact on libido. The more you overthink - the worse you will feel. You can’t force yourself to feel sexy and ‘in the mood’, so try and relax and let it happen naturally. Youtube is awash with short guided meditations to help you unwind, relax and generally ‘switch off’. Just don’t listen to any whilst driving or operating heavy machinery, etc ;-)
  • If you have tried homemade, over the counter, and/or herbal remedies, yet feel they have had no effect on your overall ‘mojo’, it may be worth seeking medical advice (and tests) from your GP. They may be able to prescribe treatment to help with any hormone imbalance which may be the root of the problem.

I guess the moral of our tale is that with time and a little help, your libido can and will return - whether that’s a good thing or not - no judgement here - but for Austin Powers it was a very ‘shagadelic baby, yeah’ moment and a return to his mojo-tastic, form which he happily accepted with gusto!

Your libido may not be firing on all cylinders, but with some time, effort, a little TLC, and a helping hand, you hang on in there hottie, as things can only get better.

It’s a time to go exploring, where there’s a whole world of sex toys and essential lotions & potions out there to spice things up. They say variety is the spice of life and you are in the prime of your life Hotties. So grab the world by the (jiggle) balls and enjoy re-discovering your mojo!

As we bid you farewell for another month Hotties, we’ll leave you with some great songs to help you deal with the declining libido with a small medley from the Austin Powers movies:

Divinyls - I Touch Myself
Marvin Gaye - Let’s Get It On
and one of Austin’s all time favourites; Burt Bacharach - What The World Needs Now Is Love…

Stay groovy baby, yeah!

Digestive Problems

7. Digestive Problems

Next up on our list of menopause symptoms is: digestive pain and associated problems from the various changes our bodies undergo during perimenopause, making our bodies more prone to tummy pain.

Our digestive system becomes sluggish with our stomachs and intestines emptying at a slower pace, which causes all sorts of noises, movement and pain - cue an ensemble of gurgles and groans accompanied by strange feelings of ‘movement’, ranging from subtle flutters, twinges, bubbling and cramps to “what the actual f*ck - I’ve got an alien about to burst through my gut!”

A tad melodramatic maybe, but this issue is about sci-fi and aliens, so we thought it apt to slip that metaphor in! With all this colonic chaos, it sounds like the Daleks debating and navigating stairs, but with an emphasis on ‘Evacuate’ rather than ‘Exterminate’, if you catch our downwind drift…

It’s no secret that the perimenopause process can cause us hotties to become stressed. REALLY??? Ya don’t say…

This impacts our bellies considerably, causing quite the $hit show, with our digestive system performing more moves and toe-tapping gyrations than a dance-along to Matt Bianco’s Wap Bam Boogie!

So why oh why fellow hotties is this happening?

In a nutshell…oestrogen helps keep the stress hormone, cortisol, in check, but when oestrogen runs low, cortisol increases, raising both blood pressure and blood sugars and slowing down digestion. The results of which are in - brace yourselves!

  • Bloating
  • Indigestion
  • Acid reflux
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Weight gain
  • Flatulence
  • Nausea

And adding to that illustrious list of goodies, us hotties can look forward to pre-existing conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) being exacerbated by the menopause. Oh joy! Our cup of good fortune runneth over. Literally!!

So what can we do to improve digestion during this potentially turbulent time?

  • Eat your food more slowly. Chew it well - your stomach doesn’t have teeth! Or, in layman’s terms - STOP eating like a pig! Be more mindful. Taste, savour and enjoy your food, rather than audition for a ‘competitive eating contest’. This will aid the ease of which food passes through your intestinal tract, allowing for a calm passage, rather than a rocky storm!!
  • Try to avoid eating when stressed. Reaching for your umpteenth biscuit will not only leave you feeling sick, bloated and crampy, it will also leave you feeling gluttonous, greedy and guilty!
  • Avoid junk food - aka ‘ultra processed food’ - this is usually awash with unhealthy levels of added sugar, sodium and fat, leaving you bloated. They also increase your risk of certain diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Women who eat a diet high in fat and added sugars are also more likely to experience hot flushes and night sweats…
  • Eat foods high in ‘dietary oestrogen’, aka phytoestrogens. These may have a similar effect on the body as your natural oestrogen, so try adding to your diet soya, seeds, nuts, fruits, pulses and beans...There’s no reason why you still can’t tuck into a fat juicy burger washed down with a large G&T from time to time - moderation is key! Your gut (and overall wellbeing) will thank you for it!

If you are concerned about changes in your digestive/bowel habits, don’t hesitate to get yourself checked out by your GP. Prevention is better than cure.

Oh the joys of the perimenopause and menopause!

It’s a major transition, a personal journey into a parallel universe where life as you know it ceases to exist. It’s like someone’s flicked a switch and your body has a mind of its own and your mind undergoes a personality transplant!

Your body and transition is unique to you, we all experience the peri/menopause differently but there is all one thing we have in common hotties, the desire to politely tell it to pi$$ off!

Love J x

Vaginal Dryness

6. Vaginal Dryness

Exploring the 34 symptoms, one at a time.

Our topic in this month’s issue is ‘vaginal dryness’. Holy Moly! Did you just say dry vagina? Yep, we sure did!

This is a sensitive issue for many hotties, although it’s not often the hottest discussion topic on those daytime (or night-time) talk shows.

I can’t ever remember hearing a discussion between the presenter and guests going something like:

“Ohhh, my vagina is a bit dry today, how's yours?”

But why the hell not? Fact of life - it’s totally normal for this to happen. So hotties, don’t be shy, let’s delve in deeper. So to speak…

Fun (not!) factoid for you.

Did you know that there are reportedly 50-70% of post menopausal women who have shared that vaginal dryness is a major issue for them, saying it’s one of the causes for lack of sex, drive and desire in their previously flourishing love life?

It’s also an everyday life challenge with irritation and discomfort.

Vaginal dryness is associated with the drop in oestrogen hormone levels; this drop in hormone levels can contribute to thinning of the uterus walls which could make everyday life and penetrative sex more painful and uncomfortable. We don’t have to put up with it.

The levels of dryness can vary for us hotties, with some women suffering more than others, yet still equally frustrating.

Unfortunately, we can be shy (really, you don’t say) when it comes to talking openly about our less than moist vaginas, it can be a ‘peri’ side effect we didn’t even realise was one, and some hotties may feel embarrassed by this.

Listen up hotties, there is no embarrassment here, well not on our hottie watch. It's real, it’s a fact and we WILL take control.

No more suffering in silence, we don’t have to put up with it. There is help at hand. Say no to vaginal dryness!

Thankfully, there is some good news…
Hotties - with far more education, choice and awareness you can find the right help that works for you.

You’re in your prime and it’s time to step out of the desert-dry spell and into your luscious oasis. No one puts hottie in the desert. No camels for us, toes or otherwise...

There is a variety of lotions, potions, lubes and creams which may help.

Speak to your doctor about which options are right for you, such as hormone replacement therapies, hormone creams that directly target the vagina to thicken the uterus wall, helping with moisture production.

There are many lubricants that you may want to try that could help with ‘friction’, or if you want to spice up your love life these potions could become part of a new enlightened foreplay.

Talk to someone - you are not alone. Share your concerns and experience with a trusted health professional, friend, partner or fellow hottie. You may be pleasantly surprised how much support and understanding there is out there.

Hell, why not experiment? Take the opportunity to educate yourself (and your partner if you have one too). Who knows? We could learn some new tricks.

Could more mean more ?

Apparently some hotties report that they have actually found an increase in libido once they had resolved the issue or found a satisfactory solution to dryness possibly due to eliminating their fear of pain.

It’s also shown that the more frequent sex we have, that the more pelvic blood flow we generate, which can add to more moisture as long as you feel good and comfortable of course.

Now remember hotties - whatever you decide is right for you is totally the right choice.

It’s your body, which you are in full control of, and it’s your menopause journey.

Stay healthy and happy hotties. Here’s to no more vaginal dryness.

Squishily and moisturisingly yours…

Love J x

Water & gas bloating

5. Water & gas bloating

Exploring the menopause’s many (or should that be meno?!) symptoms, one at a time!

As we whoosh on through our hotties’ list of menopausal symptoms it’s time to brace yourself as we explore ‘water and gas bloating’. Oh yes hotties, we ARE soooo going to go there.

Well you could have blown me down with a feather when entering peri menopause. What the actual heck? My abdomen started blowing up and down as if there was an alien inside mimicking a bicycle pump. My stomach would literally grow before my very eyes. One minute my jeans were fitting, the next I was bursting through and spilling out over the top.

My tummy stretched so much that it was now *that* time - oh yes, the time had come to purchase some Bridget Jones BIG pants. Oh the joy of it, a pair of pants which could cope with my ever-expanding abdomen without the urge to roll down and me constantly yanking them back up. My poor lacy undies soon became demoted from prime drawer space to a more sparse, ‘occasion-wear’ drawer. Sob!

Everything I ate seemed to create a whirlpool of wind that would whip up from out of nowhere, and sneak out without any warning and when I least expected it. Of course it goes without saying that it was hardly ever discreet either, not embarrassing at all right hotties?

And talk about being a passion killer! I’ve never had to flush the toilet so often in a pitiful attempt to disguise the noisy wind machine I was turning into.

The same could be said with water. Although we need to stay hydrated, as a hottie our tummies seem to hold onto it - I call it my camel tummy… except I’m not planning on trekking through the desert. Boy oh boy, who knew that gas and water bloating was an actual thing, and one of the documented symptoms of this menopausal journey.

So why do we start to bloat?

Bloating is one of the most common symptoms of menopause and perimenopause.
It’s thought that the drop in oestrogen (female hormone), which helps maintain the correct amount of water and bile in the body, is responsible. As its levels begin to decrease, we can store more water, which makes us feel bloated. And if that’s not enough, the amount of bile we produce can alter, which in turn affects how we digest fat, leading to more wind. Yep - so double the trouble!

***N.B. ALWAYS be aware that there can be other causes for bloating, so please, please, please always check with a medical professional to eliminate any other serious underlying health concerns or issues***

So what can we do?

Here are a few suggestions which have been found to be helpful.

  • Eating small and often can help aid your metabolism and ease digestion
  • Drink plenty of water to help with the elimination of toxins
  • Avoid/consume in moderation beans and soft cheeses - these can be notorious ‘windy weather’ culprits
  • Gentle exercise and relaxation such as yoga can help.
  • Peppermint or other digestive teas and herbal infusions can help with trapped wind
  • Don’t eat too late or too heavily at night
  • Avoid too much caffeine and alcohol as they are diuretics - decaff has come such a long way, as have low/no alcohol drinks

Whatever you do hotties, be assured these are all pretty much part and parcel of this crazy menopausal ride. So if you want some uplifting ‘wind beneath your [bingo] wings’, look no further for your inspiration, than Gone with The Wind! (cringe)

You can hold your head high - while keeping hold of your nose - and say to your quivering critics - “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Meanwhile, stay fragrant and fabulous hotties!

Love
Julie

Fatigue

4. Fatigue

Well hotties we are getting through our list of 34 reported symptoms of the menopause.

Remember, you may not experience them all, or even none at all, but for the majority of us, we will have at least several of these and to varying degrees!

This month the focus is on that other ‘F word’ - Fatigue!

So if you're reading this and struggling to stay awake and it’s not ‘cos you’ve been burning the candle at both ends, or, you have little interest to continue reading this, then it’s more than likely it’s the dreaded ‘F word’ which assails many a hottie. Yes, you could well have menopausal fatigue.

It's very real and super frustrating as it can leave you feeling in a constant state of blahhhh and mehhhh….you’re all too familiar with trying to disguise a(nother) yawn, or furiously blinking to keep your eyes wide open and to stay focused! It can be the stuff of nightmares.

Energy is totally zapped from even the most basic of tasks, seeming like too much effort or totally wiping you out. Overnight you feel as if you’ve gone from being the life and soul of the party to counting down the seconds until you can leave to go climb into your PJs or steal a nap on the party host’s sofa!

Concentration becomes quite the challenge. Wakey wakey hotties - hope you're still with us, or have rejoined after a much needed power nap. Ohh and I’m sorry to say that a good night’s sleep may also be another ‘casualty’ and a long distant memory thanks to the menopause. And don’t even mention ‘memory loss’ to me - it feels like a relentless menopausal circle. Sigh…Oh how I’d so love to be a square right now, I’m so tired of this menopausal cycle. And I’m way too knackered at the moment to even think of exercising...

As we approach menopause, our hormones bob up and down like a rubber duck floating on a wild stormy sea.

Decreasing female sex hormones - progesterone and estrogen - can make us less able to relax enough to get that much needed sleep. This sleep deprivation affects everything we do. I think it’s time to call in the sleep fairies - oh how I so wish that they were real; I swear it’s the lack of sleep ‘delirium’ kicking in!

As fairies (sadly) don’t exist, here are a few things we can do to help kick fatigue to the kerb:

If you’re able, try taking a power nap of 20-30 minutes is ideal. If it’s good enough for Olympians it sure is for us hotties.

Get fresh air: Fill your senses and lungs. Taking a walk in nature can rebalance and re-energise us. Yes, it really is a walk in the park. Or as the cognoscenti are known to call it, ‘forest-bathing’...

Don’t over exercise: Whoop whoop now that’s a tip I am totally here for. Aiming for 30 minutes a day will have a positive impact such as a power walk, yoga or cycling - these will boost your circulation and increase your energy.

Swap out the high caffeine drinks for herbal or decaffeinated teas/coffees and drink plenty of water, especially in the warmer months.

Turn off the technology. Swap it out for journaling, meditation or listening to music; perhaps unwind with a relaxing podcast, or read a book.

Emptying your mind of worries or tasks can help you unwind, ready to embrace those sweet Zzzzz’s 💤.

Stay cool: Keep the bedroom nice and cool; natural cotton-rich bedding will help draw heat away and keep you cooler if you're ever ‘visited’ by the night sweats!

Be kind to yourself. You are important. Make time for you.

Medications can help to rebalance lost hormones - there are so many positive benefits and it’s worth a visit to your GP to discuss what you need to navigate your way through menopause. There is also a huge range of herbal supplements to explore too.

The important thing to remember hotties is to know that you have the right to feel your best, and to be your best. Help is out there. Please don’t settle. Let’s banish the fatigue and sparkle brighter than ever before. We deserve it. YOU deserve it!

Love

Julie