Hottie’s Menopause Manual

Depression

10. Depression

Peri/menopausal women can be particularly vulnerable to depression, leaving us that much more sensitive due to hormonal shifts during this time.

But how do we differentiate between feeling blue and being depressed?

Feeling blue:

  • Down in the dumps
  • Feeling a bit ‘meh’
  • Bursting into tears over the most mundane $hit ever - sad films reduce you to a snivelling, snotty mess
  • You feel like crap
  • Apathetic and indifferent
  • Even basics like getting dressed seem like a chore
  • You don’t quite know what to do with yourself!
  • Binge-eating/drinking (more than usual!), followed by extreme bouts of self-criticism and pity-me parties!

And so the cycle continues…rinse and repeat…

Most people feel blue now and again, which is especially true for us hotties as we are having to deal with our bodies changing, and, to add insult to injury, it feels like we’re just mere passengers on this journey where we ride a rollercoaster of emotions daily. Our only advice is to buckle up and try to go with the flow…it’s not necessarily an enjoyable ride and it does have its ups and downs. HOWEVER, take heart dear hottie, and know that you WILL come out the other side, albeit a little shaken and stirred!

Being depressed:

‘True ‘depression has a whole host of other symptoms in addition to the already mammoth list mentioned above. However, they may be exacerbated and prolonged by any one, or several, of the following:

  • Significant weight loss or weight gain as your appetite changes
  • Insomnia - frequent problems sleeping - getting to sleep, waking up during the night, oversleeping
  • Struggling with feelings of guilt
  • Overwhelmed with feelings of helplessness or hopelessness
  • Constantly feeling sad, anxious, empty
  • Losing interest in daily activities and hobbies
  • Difficulty concentrating, problems with remembering things, decision-making
  • Fatigue/extreme loss of energy
  • Feeling extremely irritable and restless
  • You experience aches and pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems which have no obvious physical cause and may not ease, even with treatment
  • Some women can also have thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts

If you have been experiencing some of these symptoms, most days, and for at least two weeks, you may be experiencing major depression and should seek help from your GP immediately. They should be able to diagnose you and prescribe the treatment you need.

[Major] depression is a condition which is associated with a chemical imbalance in the brain - the changing hormones we experience during peri/menopause may also be associated with that imbalance.

Looking after our emotional health during peri/menopause is vital and it is important to make sure we can differentiate between feeling blue and being depressed.
If you are depressed, we cannot emphasise enough the importance of contacting your GP so they can address your needs ASAP.

If you are feeling blue, there are quite a few things you can do to help make yourself feel better, to lift your mood.

Go for a walk in the local park, along the beach, the forest, along a lakeside. Breathe in the fresh air, inhale nature's scents and enjoy the scenery. It is scientifically proven that spending time in nature, is hugely beneficial for mental and physical health. The Japanese tend to call it ‘forest-bathing’ - best of all, you don’t need a swimsuit, just some snuggly clothing and comfies!

Try some meditation to de-stress or uplift your soul. Our magazine has a smorgasbord of guided meditations for every emotion and mood you may experience.

‘Eat the rainbow’ - our bodies need a variety of fruit and vegetables which are brimming with vitamins and minerals to stay healthy, and nature has thoughtfully colour-coded these for us. You are what you eat - so put the colour back into your life.

How you dress can have an impact on how you feel! So if you want to feel fabulous make sure you look fabulous! Whether that’s putting on makeup, a favourite outfit, or a spritz of your favourite scent, especially as scents can uplift your mood and evoke memories…it’s the smell factor…smell good, feel good. Or scented oils, such as geranium or orange are particularly good mood-boosters.

Make sure you stay well-hydrated…water really is the true elixir of life…Your skin and joints (and wallet) will thank you for it!

Also try to limit your caffeine and alcohol intake, as they can exacerbate any depressive symptoms.

And our personal favourite: Compile a mood-enhancing playlist for whenever you’re feeling down in the dumps - kick off your shoes, hit play, sing out loud, shake your booty, and dance your socks off. Glitter ball and disco lights optional. Now go dance yourselves dizzy hotties (Liquid Gold)!

Here’s one we made earlier!

Things Can Only Get Better - D-Ream
Titanium - David Guetta feat. Sia
This Is Me - Keala Settle & The Greatest Showman Ensemble
Roar - Katy Perry
Rise - Katy Perry
Reach - S Club 7
The Only Way is Up - Yazz
The One and Only - Chesney Hawkes
Keep On Movin’ - Five
It’s Alright - East 17
I Am What I Am - Gloria Gaynor
Don’t Stop Believing - Journey
Tubthumping - Chumbawamba

Mood Swings

9. Mood Swings

If your mood changes more erratically than a politician U-turning on what they said a mere 24 hours ago, well fellow Hottie, it’s more than likely that you are experiencing ANOTHER of those pesky peri/menopausal symptoms.

Roll up, roll up, it’s time for ‘Mood Swings’ ~ BTW, check this out ~ you will have absolutely NO idea when they are coming! You get ZERO warning. Zilch. Nada. Which is frustratingly ironic when you know that boffins and scientists have applied themselves to earthquakes and tsunamis to build some early-warning system, yet nothing for us Hotties.

Those mood swings can strike anytime…any place…anywhere. And boy oh boy could we do with a glass of Martini!

When these mood-altering episodes occur, it’s probably best that family, friends, and loved ones either give you a wide berth, or swot up on some menopausal facts FAST if they wish to keep their peaceful surroundings intact, and not have them torn to shreds to be handed back to them on a plate!

Hell hath no fury like a peri/menopausal woman not taken seriously nor handled delicately with kid gloves ~ if your loved ones didn’t know how to ‘tread carefully’ when your unpredictable mood pendulum goes a’swinging and the $hit hits the fan…welllllllll, it’s safe to say it will be a lesson swiftly and harshly learned, and their future reactions will be ‘modified’ accordingly!

So Hotties, what can we expect with this pendulum of mood swings?

  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Inexplicably tearful

It’s safe to say that the menopause ‘phase’ is extremely challenging for our emotions, even when we may have been used to some erratic moods whilst having our periods. Well dearest Hotties ~ these menopausal-induced mood swings can be an extreme version of this.

Let’s delve a bit deeper to take a closer look at what’s making our moods go so bat$hit crazy!

This adverse change to our moods boils down to (yet again) fluctuating hormones ~ oestrogen is the main culprit ~ it changes the way our body handles serotonin ~ however, there are many things we can do to help ourselves on this emotional rollercoaster, as we clatter through this menopausal stage of our life.

  • Eat well ~ we don’t mean stuff your face with cake, chips or chocolate. You are what you eat ~ so if you eat good, healthy food, you will feel good and healthy. Eat a load of crap, you will feel like crap. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients on the food label, give it a miss!
  • Cut back on alcohol ~ especially the gin ~ it’s not known as mother’s ruin for nothing! The occasional tipple is fine, but take it to the extreme by emptying the bottle, you’re asking for trouble! And it WILL make your mood swing-o-metre go into meltdown!
  • Exercise regularly ~ say it quickly and it doesn’t hurt so much. You don’t have to be a gym bunny or a flexible yoga fanatic ~ try walking, swimming, a little hanky panky (in-keeping with this month’s issue!). Or, our personal favourite ~ dance like nobody is watching, to some thumping good tunes ~ we’ve put our toe-tapping, mood-busting, floor-filling, booty-shaking playlist below.
  • Get more sleep ~ this is so important. It’s tricky enough being a peri/menopausal woman, HOWEVER, a tired peri/menopausal woman is twice as bad, and a hundred times more moody! Try to get a full night’s sleep ~ don’t be embarrassed if you need a little cat nap during the day. Who's counting? We’re not!
  • Try a new hobby to keep your brain, body, and mood occupied. Now is as good a time as any to try something you’ve always wanted. Take up ballroom dancing ~ join a choir ~ try baking (just remember not to sample everything you make!) Find out what group activities there are in your local area and give them a go.
  • Consider complementary therapies ~ there are so many to choose from ~ aromatherapy massage or Reiki healing ~ plus there are a lot of vitamins, minerals and supplements, including HRT ~ compare ‘notes’ with your fellow Hotties ~ but first of all, make sure you talk through your options with a health professional as they can interact and interfere with other medicines.
  • Think positive ~ this won’t last forever, even if it feels like it! You can try meditation or guided visualisations ~ read some positive affirmations ~ our magazine has a whole host of them ~ if all else fails, try reading and watching some of the fun features in this magazine. Between The LWA, Lady P and Interview with the Drag Queen, you’ll be well entertained and your funny bone tickled ~ laughter is the best medicine!

Speaking of laughter ~ remember the Grinch who stole Christmas? The menopause is a bit/lot like him!

When you’re not looking, he steals your body, replacing it with a smokin’ hot body, just NOT the hot body you had in mind! You now have a furnace, living inside you switching itself on and off, in a nanosecond, with no warning ~ and let’s not forget our tummy ~ not so much a muffin top, more of a cake shelf!

Your lovely sleepy night in the land of nod, has been magically swapped for an evening of tossing and turning, doing the hokey cokey with the duvet!

Where once there was peachy glowing skin, now there’s menopause acne and unwanted facial hair, leaving you to sport a rather unattractive mustache! Tho with Movember on the horizon, every cloud eh…?!

Your sunny personality is taken hostage by a million mood swings ~ boy did Forrest Gump hit the nail on the head when he said “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.” No $hit Sherlock!

Dense brain fog has taken up residence, and with it, its unwelcome roommate of a dodgy memory ~ then factor in an insatiable appetite for naps, caffeine, and alcohol of any type (really not fussed) ~ throw in some sugar-loaded food or a truckload of ‘treats’ crammed full of unhealthy fats ~ and all the while, you are using every last bit of willpower not to cave in and end up feeling even more $hittier than you did before!

We could go on. And on. And on. And on, However, that’s enough information overload for this month, otherwise fellow Hotties, the mood swing-o-metre will go into overdrive. Tho remember ~ knowledge is power :)

When your mood goes mad, and you’re feeling sad…
Who ya gonna call?
MOOD BUSTERS!!!

So we will leave you with some mood-busting tunes to help turn that frown upside down.

Dance Yourself Dizzy ~ Liquid Gold
Crazy ~ Gnarls Barkley
Walking On Sunshine ~ Katrina & The Waves
Let’s Go Crazy ~ Prince
Don’t Stop Me Now ~ Queen
Happy ~ Pharrell Williams
Scream & Shout ~ will-i.am ft. Britney Spears
Don’t Worry Be Happy ~ Bob McFerrin
I Wanna Dance With Somebody ~ Whitney Houston
Man! I Feel Like A Woman ~ Shania Twain

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