Hottie’s Menopause Manual

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

Night Sweats

3: Night Sweats

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

Remember, you may experience them all or none at all, but for the majority of us, we will have at least several of these to varying degrees.

This month we focus on ‘Night Fever’, or more commonly known as Night Sweats. Believe me it’s not half as much fun as getting on the dance 🕺 floor to bust out some John Travolta moves. But you may find yourself doing a less than cool night time ritual.

So what causes night sweats?

According to good ol’ Google and Mother Nature:

“Night sweats occur before and during menopause because of changing hormone levels, including estrogen and progesterone, affecting the body's temperature control which is regulated by the hypothalamus.”

Even slight changes in our female hormone levels affect the action of other hormones, and the hypothalamus is responsible for regulating the body's temperature. It’s Mother Nature's way of cooling us down.

Sheesh Mum, you’re all heart! I can think of better, less sweatier ways, can’t you hotties?

A tell-tale sign that you're experiencing night sweats is that when you rise from your slumber - if you’ve managed to get any at all - and you find a soggy outline imprint of your body on your bedsheets, creating what I like to affectionately call ‘body sweat art’.

You may also feel like you’ve had the mother of all workouts as you’ve been performing the Hokey Cokey bed dance, all night long. You know the one that goes a little like this - you put your left leg in, left leg out, in out, in out you shake it all about. Hotties everywhere will know exactly what we’re talking about with THAT dance routine...

So what can you do? Well, there are lots and lots of pieces of advice out there. So take your pick and see if any of them work for you:

  • Natural fibre bed clothes and bed linen - cotton is good for staying and keeping cool; avoid if possible man made fibres - they all too easily can cause, attract and retain sweat.
  • Keep a fan or magazine nearby to help circulate the air over your body.
  • Stay hydrated - water is your new BFF - and avoid alcohol or caffeine drinks close to bedtime.
  • Keep the room cool and have plenty of fresh air circulating.
  • Several herbal supplements and remedies such as clary sage and peppermint oil are reported by some to help stay cool. Yeah baby! Although always check first with your GP/pharmacist that there are no contraindications.
  • Medications and hormone boosters such as HRT and certain food types can be an option too. Boost me up please…

It’s not a ‘one size fits all’ I’m afraid Hotties - it’s as individual a journey as you are - and oh my, what a voyage of discovery this is becoming!.

All that’s left to say Hotties is ‘stay true to you’. It’s a journey we are on but we will get to our destination. No sweat!!

Stay cool, stay beautiful…

Love
Julie x

Hot Flushes

2: Hot Flushes

It’s time to focus on the second symptom on our list - it’s going to get a little steamy without a sauna in sight - as we get hot under the collar with Hot Flushes - or Flashes - depending which side of the pond you live. Anyhow, whichever way you say it, it’s sizzling hot and not necessarily in a good way! But don’t entirely abandon hope either…

Having hot flushes are probably one of *THE* most telltale signs of peri-menopause and menopause.

Imagine for a moment that you’re going about your daily business without a care in the world; perhaps having dinner with friends or family, out at the shopping centre, or simply sitting reading a good novel or catching up with your favourite TV show.

Feel perfectly comfortable, then, out of the blue, a wave of heat surges and floods through your body, bringing you out in beads of perspiration. Who the hell turned on the fire inside of you?

Ever blushed in your life, and felt your (facial) cheeks burn and tingle?! Well imagine that sensation - and then some - as your entire body seems to furiously ‘blush’ from the inside out, from head to toe!

Seriously, it’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced. You start stripping off any layers of clothes faster than Usain Bolt, frantically fanning yourself with whatever comes to hand, waving your hands around like you're shooing away swarms of bees. Go and stand in front of the open fridge or searching for water like you're in the desert and just spotted an oasis of utter chill and tranquility. Yep - it’s THAT intense and then some…

Then just as fast as it came, and as if like magic, ‘POOF!’ and it’s gone again, disappearing almost as quickly as it appeared. Bewildered, you’re left wondering what the heck just happened (or words to that effect). It can be so very unsettling and so intermittent, akin to a long lost relative turning up unannounced, dropping by to say hello once in a blue moon, or - more frequently - surging every few minutes. Crikey. What a ‘house guest’ to have eh?!?

So what is it that causes us hotties to have these Hot Flushes?

Our body's inner heat is governed and managed by our hormones. As we embark on our journey towards menopause our female hormones start to decrease. Even a little drop in oestrogen causes our inner thermostat - called the hypothalamus - to react; when it thinks the body is too warm it (helpfully!) triggers a chain of events to try and cool the body down known as a hot flush/flash.

So hotties, what can we do to help ourselves?

Well there are plenty of options:

  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) could help to boost your dwindling hormones
  • Natural remedies - such as clary sage, starflower (aka borage) oil and isoflavones - are reported to help manage symptoms
  • Cut back on caffeine, alcohol and spices (what?? How very dare you!!)
  • Wear natural fabrics
  • Stay hydrated - pssst! Water really is a girl’s best friend!
  • Mindfulness, guided meditations, and relaxation techniques as the menopause can adversely impact your mood
  • Keep your environment nice and cool - and have your roomies invest in thermal underwear if they can’t stand the thermostat being on low!

These are just a few things for starters. Everyone’s journey is different and as unique as you.

Therefore, how you deal with ‘the change’ and all its eccentric ways is individual to you and you’ll need to decide what’s best for you, talk to an expert to guide you.

There is so much more awareness and coverage in the mainstream media, government debates and day to day life, compared to even a couple of years ago. And it’s heartening to see women gain the right to get the treatment they want/need.

The good news is that these flushes can be managed; they do pass, eventually becoming less frequent. Thank you Mother Nature, you’re too kind!

***DISCLAIMER However, just a little word of caution ~ if you are experiencing hot flushes, or any other symptoms giving you cause for concern, always check it out with your GP/health care professional to rule out any other potential cause***

Meanwhile hotties, stay cool and fabulous, and remember to invest in a fan, it’s a gal’s best friend. I’d marry mine if it were legal. You could say I’m my fan’s Number One Fan!!

Love
Julie x

Irregular Periods

1: Irregular Periods

Normally this starts in the run up to the full on menopause, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here hotties, remember to walk before you run. Before we reach the giddy heights of the menopause we go through a stage called the perimenopause.

Jeez Louise, it’s like a hormonal assault course out there in our hotties world.

So what does this mean for us? How does this perimenopause affect us? And how long will it last?

Great questions dear hotties so let’s explore in more detail.

One of the first signs you're entering the rollercoaster world of perimenopause can be irregular, crazy sporadic periods, and altered menstrual cycles.

They can become unusually light, missing a few here and there, or extra heavy. The unpredictable nature can be frustrating and downright annoying to say the least.

Guess what? This stage normally starts around four years before the menopause. Yes that’s right hotties - four Goddamn years of erratic periods, oh joy of joys!

It’s all down to our female hormones oestrogen and progesterone as they start to decline. This causes these fluctuations in our menstrual cycles and then some, but more about that in the upcoming editions.

Remember hotties, it’s a marathon not a sprint - so get your best trainers on!

Just as a side note, menopause is classed when ‘you’ve not had a period for at least 12 months straight’.

Worth pointing out to consult with your GP or medical professionals if you are experiencing irregular or unusual periods, and you’ve not been diagnosed as being perimenopausal. They are a font of information and are very reassuring with suggestions and remedies to help alleviate this confusing and stressful time.

Hotties do you want the good or not so good news?

The good news is: you're fabulous and there is support.

The not so good is that 80% of us will experience an average of 10 symptoms out of the known 34. At least no one can say we are greedy!!

So that’s Number 1: covered. Next month we turn the heat up as we explore Number 2: Hot Flushes.

Better get those fans ready hotties, as it’s going to get hot hot hot!

Bye for now you gorgeous hotties, and I’ll see you next month for number two, so to speak...

Love Julie x