The menopause or peri-menopause can be a lonely time in a woman’s life.
Mood swings, lethargy, aches and pains, headaches, night sweats, sleepless nights and weight gain can all feel overwhelming and worrying. With each new symptom and often no support or answers to explain the way that you are feeling it can feel like you’re going mad – but you’re not.
It is estimated that 13 million women are peri or post-menopausal and one in four of them can be experiencing debilitating symptoms including feelings of depression and anxiety. With a lack of research, understanding and help it is often found that women try to ignore it, pushing through it with little or no support.
Peri-menopause can occur up to 10 years prior to the full menopause, so with those sorts of timescales in mind it is important to try to understand what you are going through, and remember that if you can’t find answers now, new developments are being made all of the time.

I thought I was too young for menopause, and my Doctor thought I was too young too, but I knew that my body and mind was altering. I was torn between having the mind of a 25 year old but at times it was matched with the metabolism of an 80 year old. After being refused tests by my Doctor to confirm whether I was menopausal I tried to ignore it too, working long hours, training even when I was exhausted and then burning out and either getting ill or just not being able to get out of bed for days.

I thought about giving up exercise, about how life would be less painful, tiring and more relaxed if I just stopped!

Thankfully, before I made that decision I researched my own symptoms.

One of the first things I came across was written by the founder of a menopause charity, she said that women should ‘research, research, research to find their own answers’ and that symptoms are more effective than blood tests in confirming menopause status, she urges women to trust their feelings.

Reading this gave me the confidence to believe how I was feeling. I found that the more I researched, the less alone I felt and the more I realised that this was something that I could either push through and ignore (potentially for 10-15 years!), or accept and learn from.

Almost all of the articles that I found had common themes: 

·         The importance of a balanced diet and not cutting out food groups (like carbs).

·         The benefits of exercise – especially strength based training.

·         Using food and exercise to manage inflammation (which can be the cause of short and long-term illnesses).

·         How the benefits of HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) can be worth considering.

 

Over months, I managed to control some symptoms, but others would then start and my mood swings turned me into a person that I didn’t recognise. On top of that, I felt like I was fighting a losing battle with my weight, my energy levels and my sleep routines and it was all building – I had to ask for help.

I never thought that the first thing I would do would be to request HRT from my doctor. Just a month in some of the worst symptoms are easing. It’s still early days, and I know I am in the early days of this stage of my life, but already I have learnt that accepting help, going easy on myself and listening to my body is the way forward for me.

 

From all of this there are a few things that I have learnt and found helpful:

1. Listen to your body – don’t just push through when things are getting tough. Find things that work for you to relieve symptoms whether that is food, exercise, you time (or all three).
2. Research your options – reflect on your symptoms and make notes of them. Try to understand what is happening and why as this will help you to feel more in control and able to move forward.
3. Talk about it – more women are going through this than you realise and talking your feelings through will help you to feel less alone and will enable those close to you to support you better.
If you need any more help or advice then please drop us a message 🙂