Hottie’s Menopause Manual

Poor Sleep

27. Poor Sleep

When Forrest Gump claimed, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get”, he could have been describing menopause because as we all know ladies, menopause and its barmy symptoms is a complete conundrum - totally befuddling and one hell of a shit show as you try and navigate your journey into the unknown. You could even say it’s batshit crazy!

One size most definitely doesn’t fit all and everybody's journey is completely different. Your symptoms and experiences may be totally different to other women going through ‘the change’ which can be confusing, worrying, leaving you feeling all alone, but do not fear hotties as there is now so much information at your fingertips and help is on hand to help you navigate your way through this difficult time…so strap in ladies and deploy that sense of humour needed in order to learn about and get to grips with another menopause symptom - poor sleep.

We all need a good night’s sleep and it can be really frustrating when we find it difficult to produce those zzzz’s and to keep them going for the entire night. A massive 61% of women report troubles with insomnia during peri/menopause. This has a huge knock-on effect impacting daily life and exacerbating our anxiety.

Aching bodies, hot flushes - especially night sweats and mood changes - depression, in particular, are all prime suspects that contribute to poor sleep, so managing these issues will be key to helping manage sleep symptoms as well.

So how do we enter slumberland for an all inclusive stay?

  • Avoid heavy meals before bed - maybe spicy vindaloos aren't the best of supper treats?!
  • Minimize exposure to light before bed - give the all-night disco rave a miss!
  • Avoid napping after 3 pm - or run the risk of joining the night owls.
  • Don't exercise before bed - well maybe a little gentle sexercise to help you relax…
  • Create a relaxing bedtime ritual - and if sexercise isn’t your thing, try some calming music (we’ve thoughtfully provided a soothing playlist below), a relaxing bath or maybe a massage - but be warned though, that could lead to some sexercise!
  • Keep electronics out of the bedroom - that means putting down your bloody phone or iPad hotties and turning off that telly!
  • There are many over-the-counter remedies and or even prescription medicines to help with sleep disturbances, but it is vital to seek advice from your GP or pharmacist. Because medications are only short-term remedies and not cures, it is essential you see a health professional before taking any medications. 

And don’t forget the menopause drill:

P.S. There’s a reason Sleeping Beauty always looked so damn good and that’s because she slept a lot. It’s not bloody rocket science fellow hotties and it’s not called beauty sleep for fun either!

Believe it or not, beauty sleep is an actual ‘thing’ - we kid you not! It refers to how our skin and body begin to heal themselves from the day. When those tired heads hit the pillow and we enter the land of nod, our body enters recovery mode and produces growth hormones, which create new cells that help heal our skin from any damage done during the day.

Now you may be asking yourself if that were true why do I still wake up looking like a hot mess? Unfortunately ladies, beauty sleep is not a miracle cure and sometimes the only thing that will genuinely help you look more presentable in the morning is a hairbrush and makeup bag! Always keeping it real ladies - ALWAYS keeping it real!

Slumber Songs:

All of Me - John Legend
All Out of Love - Air Supply
Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me - George Michael & Elton John
Don’t Give Up - Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush
Eternal Flame - The Bangles
Everytime - Britney Spears
Flying Without Wings - Westlife
Gave It All Away - Boyzone
Give Me Back My Heart - Dollar
Holding On For You - Liberty X
I’m Not In Love - 10cc
If You’re Not The One - Daniel Bedingfield
Now We Are Free - Lisa Gerrard
Perfect Moment - Martine McCutcheon
The Power of Love - Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Say Something - A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera

Brittle Nails

26. Brittle Nails

Why would the menopause give me brittle nails?

That’s a bloody good question, however, from experience, we know that the peri/menopause journey is not a straightforward one, and a lot of what we experience is completely bat$hit crazy.

This may be a tad more unusual than other menopause symptoms but a right royal pain in the arse, especially if you are used to having and love manicured/painted nails. And who doesn’t love a bit of sparkle and glitter at the end of their fingertips to add some sparkle to the grind of the daily routine?!

For this we don’t need Miss Marple on the case as we already know the answer…

Yep. The usual suspects…HORMONES!  Please step under the microscope for closer inspection.

Changes in our ever-fluctuating hormone levels, especially that little devil oestrogen, are to thank for this cacophony of our crumbling claws.

Oestrogen is a hormone that contributes to regulating the water levels in our bodies. As we progress through the menopausal journey our levels of oestrogen decline, which affects our fluid balance. A lack of water in our bodies causes dehydration, resulting in our nails becoming brittle, chipping, flaking and/or splitting.

What can us ladies do to keep our talons in tip-top condition?

  • Wear rubber gloves if hands are going to be submerged in water for any length of time, such as washing dishes or cars etc. And if you’re feeling a tad under the weather we suggest adopting clever (sneaky) tactics such as deploying the ‘menopause card’ to get out of doing the dishes chores by pointing out that you don’t have gloves. Tho this could go one of two ways, so don’t be surprised if this cunning plan crashes and burns when your nearest and dearest can’t be bothered to help, or dash out to buy you some Marigolds… .  So either you suck it up and do them yourself, or throw the mother of all bitch fits so that help magically appears before all hell is let loose! Nobody wants the hormonal peri/menopausal woman going off on one!
  • Keep nails well moisturised - there are many great products out there. Or you could use some simple almond oil to keep them satisfied. A top tip is to do this at bedtime and pop on a pair of gloves - cotton not rubber! 
  • Alternatively, keep nails short, which makes them less prone to breakage when bumped or getting snagged and caught on clothing.
  • Use nail polish or treat yourself to a manicure. These will add a protective layer to nails and may help prevent breaking or chipping. Just be mindful that some products contain chemicals which may hinder rather than help, so do your research. Many polishes combine nail strengtheners to do the heavy lifting, so that you don’t have to.  

Knowledge is power, so help yourself by making good lifestyle choices.

You need to create a good balance of work, rest and play so here we go hotties.

As always ladies - you know the drill… Eat, sleep, rage/rave, repeat… Nooooo, not that drill ~ this one!

Last but by no means least - learn to relax and chill by taking time out to look after yourself. Have a leisurely relaxing soak in a warm bath, smooth and soothe yourself with moisturising lotions and potions, and decorate those nails so they sparkle and shine. Don’t forget to add in some music therapy to get those fingers and toes tapping.

Nobody needs to put the ‘manic’ into manicure, well not unless it’s something by the Manic Street Preachers…

A Design For Life - Manic Street Preachers
Over The Rainbow - Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
The River of Dreams - Billy Joel
Wild World - Maxi Priest
Daydream Believer - The Monkees
Feeling Good - Nina Simone
A Different Beat - Boyzone
Any Dream Will Do - Jason Donovan
Alive And Kicking - Simple Minds
Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) - Backstreet Boys
Happy Ending - Mika


25. Anxiety

The peri/menopause journey is rather like stepping onto a rollercoaster for the first time although with much less choice or warning!

You're scared $hitless because you don’t know how you are going to feel. Or what, or when.

You strap yourself in, then somebody comes to check that you’re secured properly.

They give you that knowing look - they know what’s ahead but you don’t; then off you go and there’s no stopping it. You’re in for the duration and there’s no getting off!

The journey starts with a slow chug-chug-chugging at first, lulling you into a false sense of security!

Ahhh, maybe this will be ok after all? Will it BOLLOCKS!?! Keep dreaming sisters - this ain’t no picnic!

As you ascend to the top of the ride, fear of the unknown cripples you and your anxiety levels reach Defcon 3.

You try to catch your breath but f*ck me, you’ve been launched over the top and are in total free fall as the ride twists and turns, throwing and rattling you from side to side; and then, just when you think you’re getting the measure of it, it decides to turn your world upside down!

What the actual f*ckety f*ck is happening now?

Ladies - it’s not so much Welcome to the Pleasuredome, but welcome to the MENOPAUSE! Sorry, Frankie…

Now if that little scenario hasn’t already given you the jitters, then ANOTHER of Mother Nature’s gift to us ladies of a certain age - step forward symptom No 25 on our long list of what the f*ck is going to be thrown at us next - ANXIETY, just might! And let’s nip this in the bud right here and now before you ask what’s the cause. You don’t need a fancy degree to work this one out. It’s those ever-fluctuating hormones causing mischief, mayhem and madness once more.

Now menopause can be an emotionally challenging experience at the best of times, but when your anxiety is let loose, well, it takes your stress management to a whole new level.

The anxiety can occur because falling oestrogen levels change the way our brains function, with oestrogen being linked to levels of serotonin (the happy hormone); and levels of cortisol (the stress hormone). So in a nutshell Hotties, when our oestrogen drops our serotonin drops and our cortisol rises, meaning our happiness levels lower whilst our stress levels elevate, leaving us anxious and pi$$ed off. What a gift eh?!?

Here is what we can look forward to if anxiety strikes:

  • Fast heart rate
  • Fast breathing
  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Shaking or tremors
  • Sweating
  • Panic attacks – these are severe attacks of anxiety, fear, and panic that occur suddenly, often without warning, and for no apparent reason and can be very scary.

So how can we keep our anxiety in check fellow Hotties?

It’s always good to talk. Talk to fellow Hotties:

  • Support groups where you can discuss symptoms and helpful strategies with fellow hotties. But remember - what works for others may not work for you. It can be trial and error. 
  • Holistic therapists can recommend a whole host of therapies to help relax you and alleviate and reduce anxiety. Tho be warned, there are quite a few charlatans out there, ready to prey upon our anxiety and desperation!
  • Most importantly, your GP/healthcare provider can help you navigate this complete $hit show, by prescribing suitable medication to alleviate symptoms or helping you get any therapy needed.

Next, follow the drill - it will help you to help yourself. It’s not rocket science ladies, it’s just common sense.

And to finish off with this little old chestnut: An anxiety-busting playlist to help you mellow out.

Weightless - Marconi Union
Pure Shores - All Saints
Strawberry Swing - Coldplay
Watermark - Enya
Sunshine On My Shoulders - John Denver
Under Pressure - Queen/David Bowie
Bridge Over Troubled Waters - Simon & Garfunkel
Patience - Take That
Let It Be - The Beatles
Footprints In The Sand - Leona Lewis
Viva Forever - Spice Girls
Time To Say Goodbye - Sarah Brightman & Andrea Bocelli

Itchy skin

24. Itchy skin

We’ve all heard of the seven-year itch, aka someone in a long-term relationship who is feeling unhappy with their partner after several years, and considering having a sexual relationship with another person…

Well get ready for this next itchy revelation fellow Hotties! May we introduce you to the menopause itch!

Take note of the following ‘fun’ fact:

The menopausal transition usually begins between the age of 45 to 55, often lasting around the seven year mark, but it can be as long as 14 years...

Digest that little gem then groan out loud when you realise that this particular itch has quite the long ‘shelf life’ - not only can it exceed its ‘best’ before date, it can actually exceed its ‘sell by’ date and twice over! 

This seemingly benign occurrence even has its own proper medical name: Pruritus, which - with apologies to Dame Prue - has absolutely nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off! More like ‘flake off’, but don’t let that put you off your mille feuille Hotties! 

So let’s delve into and explore another one of Mother Nature's wonderful gifts to us peri/menopausal women, by visiting the Menopause Command Centre for an up-to-date evaluation of this s-itch-uation AND how we can get that situation back under some semblance of control.

Once again that pesky little troublemaking hormone oestrogen raises its head above the parapet, ready to create a little more mischief and mayhem.


Because it can’t keep bloody still!!

Its constantly fluctuating levels, particularly its decline, affects the production of collagen and natural oils which are both responsible for keeping our skin fresh and hydrated. One of the fallouts from this rather exasperating hormonal roller coaster in a woman’s life is itchy, dry or flaky skin.

A mild case can be mildly irritating involving dryness, itchiness, prickly or crawling sensations which can happen anywhere on the body.

The most common places include the face, limbs, neck, chest and back. The elbows, T-zone, scalp and vulva may also be affected.

A bad case can be somewhat akin to taking part in an I’m A Celebrity bushtucker trial where it can feel like a gazillion bugs and creepy crawlies have been unceremoniously dumped all over you - only you quickly realise that it’s not Ant & Dec co-ordinating this pulsating pile on - it’s Mother Nature herself, courtesy of the Menopause Command Centre.

So what can us Hotties do to keep us from scratching that itch? And more to the point, we don’t want to be the ones who put the ‘itching’ into bitching, we want to be the ones taking it out!!

First up, completely overhaul your bathing ritual.

It’s ‘out’ with the old itch-inducing products which aggravate, and ‘in’ with the itch-soothing products to banish that (b)itch! 

Do your research Hotties, as there are lots of products out there for hair and skin-cleansing, including moisturising and hydrating products especially designed for dry, sensitive, itchy skin which can help provide relief. Your local pharmacist is a great place to start. They can recommend a whole host of lotions and potions, or even antihistamine tablets and supplements, along with other specialist over the counter medicated products; they can also advise whether you should contact your GP for further advice.

Embrace your inner Goldilocks by gathering - not sowing - (porridge) oats. Not for eating fellow hotties but to bathe in!

Move over Cleopatra with her bathing in asses* milk - it’s time for you to dunk in the gunk of an oatmeal bath. Oatmeal is renowned for its soothing effect on dry, irritable skin.

*for our American readers and for the avoidance of doubt - because so much can get lost in translation with our shared language - ‘ass’ in this instance is a (British) word for mule or donkey…As you were!

So let us present you with some prudent pruritus pointers because we know Goldilocks never got her oats right on her first attempt!

  • Make sure the bath water is lukewarm, NOT hot. You don’t want to scald that precious booty or aggravate already tender, sensitive skin.
  • Sprinkle the recommended amount of oat soak or 1 cup of your DIY oatmeal under running water as the bath tub fills.
  • Soak for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Haul your butt out of the bath tub and gently pat yourself dry so your skin still feels damp and immediately apply a gentle, fragrance-free moisturiser.

As always ladies - you know the drill… Eat, sleep, rage/rave, repeat… Nooooo, not that drill ~ this one!

And while you're soaking in that bath or soothing your body with pruritus-friendly potions, here’s a little playlist to help scratch your boogying itch.

Itch and Scratch - Rufus Thomas
Scratch My Back - Otis Redding
Feeling Good - Michael Buble
Daydream Believer - The Monkees
Never Ending Story - Limahl
Wild World - Maxi Priest
Burn - Ellie Goulding
Set You Free - N-Trance
Scream - Usher
We Love To Boogie - T Rex

Lapses in memory

23. Lapses in memory

For many of us on this menopause journey, memory lapse can be one of the more unsettling symptoms, leaving us to wonder if we’ve completely lost the plot or are going bat$hit crazy!

Whichever way we look at it, it can be a worry as it can lead to many misconceptions, such as the belief that memory lapses are indicative of a far more serious issue; this means a stressed Hottie on the edge - who’s already trying to cope with a myriad of menopausal symptoms - can easily work herself into a tizz by thinking the very worst.

Add into the mix that you are already reaching DEFCON 3 stress levels and it’s ‘perfect’ recipe for an onslaught of tears, tantrums, exhaustion and despair!

Memory lapses are typically due to hormone fluctuations that occur during peri/menopause and are rarely a cause for concern, however, it can frighten the Granny pants off of us, so if you are troubled by your symptoms, then please seek advice from your GP to put your mind at rest.

When we approach menopause, levels of certain hormones in our bodies decrease. These diminishing levels and - in particular - that troublesome little bugger oestrogen, have a whole myriad of effects on our bodies and mind. It’s a complete mind- and mine-field out there, and we never know what symptom is going to blow up next!

Oestrogen can affect the functions of the brain, impacting upon our language skills, our mood, our attention span - including memory. Oestrogen is also directly linked to verbal word fluency, or the ability to remember names and words. So is it any wonder that as our oestrogen levels drop, that our memory suffers, rendering us stupefied or tripping over our words as we try to work out what we were saying, or who the hell we were trying to say it to?!?

And don’t get us started on us questioning ourselves as to “why am I in this room” or “what the f*ck did I come in here for?!?” We've all been there hotties, so don’t fret - you’re in excellent company!

If you only remember one thing on this journey, that is to (sparingly) use the  ‘ooops, I forgot - again’ Menopause Get Out Of Jail Free Card excuse whenever you want a little ‘me time’ and/or can’t be bothered to clean, make the tea, tidy up, iron, etc, etc. Menopause does have its perks - granted not that many ladies - so do use it and try not to abuse it too much, when ‘those moments’ come along!

Now where were we?

Ah yes, back to those fluctuating hormones which are the most common cause of memory lapses in peri/menopausal women. But do be warned that other risk factors can also trigger and exacerbate these stupefying symptoms, such as:

  • Alcohol
  • Medication to treat/manage other ailments and symptoms, e.g. sleeping pills, heart, low/high blood pressure, antidepressants, painkillers & tranquilisers
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Excessive workload or caring responsibilities
  • Stress
  • Poor diet
  • Lack of sleep

Fortunately hotties - whatever level of memory lapse you are experiencing - there are solutions.

What are these solutions?

You know the drill… Eat, sleep, rage/rave, repeat… Nooooo, not that drill ~ the other one!

you know the drill 23 fpt

And if you do feel like you're losing the plot, then take a gentle jog down memory lane with some thumping good tunes to get those feel-good endorphins energised.

The oldies are simply the best - thanks Tina - now let us see all of you shaking your tail feather!

Proud Mary - Tina Turner
Daydream Believer - The Monkees
Dance Yourself Dizzy - Liquid Gold
Bye Bye Baby - Bay City Rollers
You Win Again - Bee Gees
I Wanna Dance with Somebody - Whitney Houston
Alive And Kicking - Simple Minds
I’m in the Mood for Dancing - The Nolans
I’m So Excited - The Pointer Sisters
Making Your Mind Up - Bucks Fizz
Fame - Irene Cara
Simply The Best - Tina Turner