Menopause Health Matters Blog

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The Menopause Blog, sometimes serious, sometimes entertaining. Includes, guest posts, sponsored posts, book reviews and more. Everything that might be of interest to a woman reaching menopause and beyond.

Rediscover Your Desire Naturally

For many years a woman’s sexual life was taken for granted. Women’s magazines described in detail how to achieve new heights of pleasure, how to be the perfect lover and, more importantly, how all this was really up to women themselves. Considering that not many women like to share details of their sex life with friends, there was little opportunity to question whether these expectations were unachievable and the many women falling short of these standards felt quietly inadequate for years. Sexual satisfaction is the result of many different factors, including psychological ones and the quality of the relationship. Stress can be a major passion killer for both men and women and libido is too often a casualty of too many worries and juggling numerous commitments. The increased use of antidepressants and the contraceptive pill can also negatively affect desire and interest in sex. A time that sees many women losing interest in sex is the menopause. Some women find that their libido seems to dissipate overnight. In some cases it comes back a few months, for some women it never seems quite to get back to the way it used to be, although some women find that, rather than leading to sexual activity, desire seems to grow once they engage in sex. A survey about desire run by Pharma Nord [1] highlights that libido and sexual enjoyment are a problem for a significant amount of women. Nearly 58% of women who took part in the survey revealed that they rarely felt desire and over half felt very dissatisfied with their sex life as a whole. Not surprisingly, half...

Omega 7 SBA24 for the Relief of Dryness during and after Menopause

This is a guest post by Pharma Nord manufacturer and supplier of pharmaceutical grade dietary supplements. One of Pharma Nord’s products is Omega 7 SBA24, a supplement which helps to relieve symptoms of dryness during menopause including intimate dryness, dry eyes, dry mouth and dry skin. Unfortunately, symptoms of dryness can stay with you into postmenopause.   You have reached menopause when you have not had a period for a full 12 months following which you are postmenopausal. The time leading up to this is perimenopause. Many women are familiar with hot flushes and night sweats, a constant sense of tiredness and mood swings but loss of oestrogen also brings on a series of symptoms associated with dryness of mucous membranes in general. Intimate Dryness Intimate dryness is a condition which affects around 50% of all women and inevitably leads to painful sex which can have a detrimental effect on relationships and a woman’s confidence and sexual response. Prior to perimenopause, your body naturally lubricates the vaginal walls with a thin layer of moisture but as your oestrogen levels decline your vaginal walls become thinner, dryer and less elastic. Dry Eyes Dry eyes occur due to declining hormone levels which can affect the ocular tissues and tear composition made by your eyes. Symptoms of dry eyes include: dry/watery/streaming/sandy/burning and gritty eyes. These symptoms can be compounded by prolonged use of computers or hand-held devices (tablets, smart phones etc.) environmental conditions, certain medications and extensive use of contact lenses. Although it is important to visit your optometrist or optician to assess the condition, eye drops are typically recommended with various...

How not to be a hostage to your hormones

Our resident nutritionist, Charlotte Debeugney, discusses how not to be a hostage to your hormones. Hands up if you’ve ever woken up knowing that it’s going to be ‘one of those days’! A morning where you feel like an “anti super woman”- no energy, no motivation and an overwhelming fatigue. It’s on those kinds of days that it takes me 30 minutes to park my car, that I am far more likely to burn or cut myself while cooking and I can almost guarantee that I am going to be late for everything, with my blood pressure going off the scale while I’m stuck in traffic. The tension builds throughout the day as I try to get through everything I need to do with a maximum pressure point at the beginning of the evening where I screech like a demented hyena at my children and husband and the world in general! Yup, we’ve all been there! Does this get worse with age and the menopause? Fluctuating hormones definitely play a role, with lower oestrogen levels as the menopause approaches contributing to tiredness, irritability and difficulty in concentrating. When you throw this into the mix of relationships, children and work, it’s not surprising that we have moments when we struggle. One of the lovely things about aging, is that you become your own best friend. Over the years, I’ve learnt to be very attuned to my moods. My younger self would have insisted on carrying on regardless, getting angrier and more frustrated as the day goes on. My older self, assesses and adapts the day to minimise the stress and...

Herbal Tea for Menopause Symptom Relief

This is a guest post by Elissa Scott, The T Lady: Menopause Tea – Hot Flush Tea. More and more women every day are turning to herbal tea for menopause symptom relief. Let me ask you…are you one of those many women suffering from hot flushes and night sweats? Me too! I started to investigate further and found that hot flushes and night sweats are one of the most common and bothersome symptoms of Menopause. Hot Flushes and Night Sweats Hot flushes and night sweats are a common symptom of Menopause. Quite often you will see them grouped together, as night sweats are an unfortunate night time manifestation of hot flushes experienced during the day. Not all women suffer from these symptoms but for those of us who do, we can wake up with our bedclothes drenched in sweat and/or have sudden feelings of warmth or heat in the body during the day. Why Do They Occur? The real cause of hot flushes and night sweats are not clear, however, it is known that during Menopause, Estrogen levels fall and it is believed that this fall affects the way the body regulates whether it’s too hot or not.     Deciding that I needed to do something to combat these symptoms I started to research natural alternatives as the chemical world just does not sit well with my soul. My research got me thinking…what about a Herbal Tea for Menopause…why not?  The culmination of my thinking resulted in The T Lady Menopause Tea – Hot Flush Tea.  Yes! My dream was alive and the vision of saturating the world...

Diet During Menopause

Our resident nutritionist, Charlotte Debeugney gives us the perfect recipe for our diet during menopause ensuring we maintain optimal nutritional health. There’s lots of interest in diets to support women during the menopause but before you get your shopping list ready, I’m going to highlight that diet is only part of the powerful toolkit for naturally supporting the menopause.  The whole shebang of moderate exercise, diet, stress management and sleep is ideally what we should all be aspiring too. Not only for dealing with the menopause but also for ensuring that we that we stay healthy, fit and strong for as long as possible.   Hormonal changes during the menopause As we start to approach menopause, our levels of oestrogen and progesterone decline.  So does our testosterone, but less so than the other two hormones.  The ratio of testosterone to oestrogen increases, even though levels of both hormones are lower. This explains the menopause barrel shape women tend to get, with excess fat being distributed around the waist as opposed to the hips and thighs in a classic ‘male’ type of distribution. Oestrogen helps to protect our bones as well as stimulating hair growth and giving our skin a youthful glow.  Recent research also links oestrogen as being a protective factor against ‘binging’ and this could explain why menstruating women often experience food cravings or find it impossible to control their food intake at the end of their cycle when oestrogen levels are low.  It could also be the reason that post-menopausal women can find it harder to control their appetites.  It’s not a lack of self-control but low...

Am I Menopausal?

This post is written by Dr Karen Morton, Consultant Gynaecologist and Obstetrician, medical director to Dr Morton’s – the medical helpline©  and MHM’s Medical Adviser. Am I Menopausal? If I had a pound for every woman who has said to me about whatever symptom you choose: periods getting heavier, gaining weight, getting hairs on the chin, leaking on the trampoline, or being forgetful ‘I just thought it was the change’, then I would be a very rich woman. Some women start by saying ‘I think I am premenopausal’, and I reply, well, I suppose we have all been premenopausal since we first started having periods, and of course what they really mean is perimenopausal. So then I get stuck into the definitions. The menopause is a single date in time. It is the date of the last period ever; when you look back and say ‘I never had another period after June 2016’. That was the date of my menopause. Then there is the perimenopause which is a length of time during which women get, or don’t get, symptoms of declining ovarian function. Some women don’t get a hot flush in their lives and others will get them to their dying day, with a variable amount of impact of their quality of life. They can be anything from a mild feeling of warmth to a river of sweat drenching the bedclothes and disturbing sleep and wellbeing to the point of exhaustion. Of course a change in menstrual pattern often accompanies the loss of regular egg production, which is the physiological event which tells the uterus what to do. Many...

Hypnosis – Mind Over Menopause

This is a guest post by Helen Breward, International Hypnotherapist & Speaker and pioneer of the nationally and internationally recognised Menopause Relief Programme. Many people have heard about hypnosis, they have often seen the stage shows where individuals have done daft things and appear to have no control. Whilst this is entertaining, it can give the wrong impression. No hypnotist can make anyone do something they don’t want to. Subjects are carefully selected through a series of suggestibility tests, to find the most likely candidate, who will do what is required on stage. Hypnotherapy is a different thing. It’s using the skills and tools of hypnosis to help the client in a beneficial way, to improve and make changes within themselves, which has a positive impact on their lives. In my view, it is about helping clients to transform their own lives with practical solutions to their problems. Teaching relaxation and tools is the mainstay of my work. Life happens, that’s never going to change. But, what we can do is learn how to react differently to those situations, how we see them, change our own personal behaviour and the way we think and feel about it. Arguably, hot flushes are probably the most common symptom when going through the menopause. But it seems to be the night sweats in particular that cause the most disruption. Lack of good quality sleep can have a huge knock on effect, as tiredness affects our ability to think, work, perform and do everyday tasks. Lack of control, feeling like menopause is being ‘done to me’ can have a big psychological effect. However,...

Nourish Menus from Charlotte Debeugney

Our Resident Nutritionist, Charlotte Debeugney has compiled for you, easy, delicious and healthy recipes to celebrate the New Year! There is a weekly meal planner together with 15 recipes ideal for pre and post menopause.   You can download your meal planner and recipes in pdf form here.   Charlotte Debeugney, a British nutritionist and author, based in France. Website  ...

How Safe am I as a Night Time Driver?

For the past few years, I’ve felt very anxious driving at night –  so much so that I recently brought it up with my ophthalmologist at my yearly check-up. When the doc informed me that there was no deterioration of my short-sighted vision, I specifically asked about my issues around night time driving, only to be told that headlights were most probably bouncing off my glasses. Why my glasses aren’t metal nor ‘blingy’, so what on earth was my ophthalmologist talking about?! I took a step back to think about my overall health since menopause. Most of us over 50 have reached menopause and are going through the many changes that postmenopause brings with it; insomnia, fatigue, difficulty concentrating (now, where was I?), random pains in joints and muscles, only to find that some of us now have issues when driving at night. Obviously we are all aware that our eyesight deteriorates once we get over 40, but vision for day-to-day activities can be corrected by glasses, contacts etc. During the day this works perfectly well, but driving at night is a whole different ball game. Fortunately, I only need glasses only for my short-sightedness, but I certainly can’t drive without them! While we may ‘test well’ at our yearly eye check-ups, it does not mean that we won’t have a hard time focusing at night. This is what I see… The Facts 40% of people over 40 feel uncomfortable/uneasy when driving at night. According to the National Highway Traffic Administration fatalities on the road occur three times more often at night than during the day even though only...

10 Tips for Easy Weight Management over Christmas

By our resident nutritionist, Charlotte Debeugny, a British nutritionist and author, based in France. Christmas is well and truly on its way and much as I love this time of year, I do find the constant focus on food exhausting.  We certainly should be celebrating the end of a long year and enjoying precious time with our families and friends.  It’s just that in a world where we are encouraged on a daily basis to ‘eat and drink and eat and drink’, festive food no longer seems quite so special. Yes, we can certainly enjoy some delicious meals over Christmas and the New Year, but we possibly don’t need to go ‘all out’ and stuff our faces constantly for a month!  There is also nothing more tedious than having to start January half a stone heavier, feeling sluggish and unhealthy, and starting a ‘detox’ of kale and cabbage juice for a month (dramatic shudder!). It is completely possible to balance your intake over the festive period so that you bounce into the New Year feeling fit and raring to go.  I’m going to underline that the amount of ‘moderating’ you need to do really depends on your sociability!  If you’ve only got a few festive meals coming your way (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve) you might not need to moderate anything (!) On the other hand, if you are a social butterfly and entertaining every night, you’ll find our 10 tips for easy weight management very useful!   Reduce the snacking The odd mid-morning mince pie, the sneaky handful of salted peanuts, the tip toeing back...

The Positive Aspects of Aging and Menopause

By Charlotte Debeugney, a British nutritionist and author, based in France. What a difference 40+ years makes! Hands up who remembers the arrival of the world-wide web in 1989?! Once upon a time there were little if any resources or support for women going through the menopause and it was something talked about behind closed doors or with close friends. It often led to women feeling isolated and struggling silently to deal with their symptoms and concerns. Now let’s roll forward to today and give a cheer of gratitude for the resources and support that we now have. Women can openly share and discuss their concerns, receiving tips and advice to help guide them through the menopause and manage their symptoms. Bring on the sisterhood! It’s just fabulous!     The power of positivity It’s this positivity that I want to explore in this article. Yes, the menopause can indeed trigger a range of distressing symptoms ranging from forgetfulness and mild anxiety, through to mood swings, depression, severe fatigue and hot flushes. If we add to this potent mix, the signs of aging such as potential weight gain, dry and brittle hair and wrinkles, it’s understandable that some of us might (just sometimes!) mutter ‘it’s all downhill from here’.  But no, let’s let out a roar and stand tall and proud. There is nothing that that can’t be achieved with a positive mindset. It is an honour and a privilege to grow old Two of my favourite quotes? Emily Dickinson, a 19th century poet ‘We turn not older with years, but newer every day’. I’ve always interpreted this as...

A New Reason To Smile During Menopause

Now that we are fully in the midst of National Menopause Awareness Month, it’s the perfect time to talk about a topic that often goes undiscussed among postmenopausal women. With an estimated 6,000 women reaching menopause each day, many of them often experience painful symptoms associated with the physical changes their bodies are going through. When most people think of the bothersome symptoms of menopause, what immediately comes to mind are hot flashes and night sweats – which collectively impact nearly 75 percent of postmenopausal women – however, there are a number of other painful symptoms that are often not talked about. With the lack of dialogue around women’s gynecological health during menopause, these symptoms can often go undiagnosed and untreated, leaving women suffering in silence due to the stigma often associated with these issues.   To help those who may feel uncomfortable with this topic or the changes you may be experiencing, it’s best to understand what is actually happening within the body and to know that you are not alone in this experience. You see, as women age, the ovaries stop producing estrogen which can cause a thinning of the uterus; this in turn prompts a new array of painful gynecological symptoms. Both the vaginal and vulvar areas may experience a decrease in tissue elasticity – in collagen and elastin fibers – as well as a reduced number of blood vessels, which help bring moisture and natural lubrication into the vagina. The result of these changes can leave many women suffering with the painful symptoms of menopause, For those of you who feel that you (or a...

Optimal Nutrition For Hair During Menopause

By Charlotte Debeugny, a British nutritionist and author, based in France. So, if ‘Eyes are the windows to the soul’ according to Peng Liyuan, then possibly ‘Hair is the mirror of our mental well-being’ according to yours truly! Hair loss is difficult to accept There’s so many things we have to accept in relation to hair growth as we age; the peachy fluff on our cheeks and the random dark springy bristles which appear overnight on our chins amongst other places (!) But, what many women find the most difficult to accept is brittle and thinning hair.  Our hair is rightly or wrongly closely linked to our femininity and our sense of self.  Hair loss is often the final straw, our last stand against the forces of aging.  Hair loss in men is universally acceptable (and expected).  Hair loss for women is stressful and deeply upsetting. The main type of hair loss in women is telogen effluvium, a general ‘shedding’ of hair which is seen when washing or brushing our hair.  And, you might be interested to know that women naturally shed up to 100 hairs a day, so please do not panic when you brush your hair!  It is the extreme shedding, often described as ‘coming out in handfuls’ which causes concern. This should be distinguished from alopecia areata which is an autoimmune condition caused by our immune system attacking hair follicles and which results in bald patches. Why does our hair change as we enter the menopause? Once we head into our menopause It’s mainly due down to the usual suspects – hormonal changes and lower levels...

Mindfulness – Meditate Your Way Through Menopause

Written by Anne Wray. ‘Mindfulness’ is a bit of a buzzword at the moment. You’ve doubtless heard about it being used in classrooms and board rooms, and perhaps raised a wry eyebrow at its rising ubiquity. On the surface, it seems like a typical Western cherry-pick fix – all the easiest bits of Eastern meditative practice without any of the deep spirituality. Not to mention the way in which the appellation ‘mindful’ can be tacked onto almost anything to make it more saleable – ‘Mindful’ colouring in, anyone? ‘Mindful’ baking? How about ‘Mindful’ nappy-changing while we’re at it? However, cynical though many of us may be about this phenomena, we have to reluctantly admit that, away from all the hype and cashing-in, there may actually be something to the ‘Mindfulness’ thing. And, if utilised correctly, it really could help people struggling with the emotional ups and downs of menopause.     What is Mindfulness? I’ll be brief, here, because you probably know a lot of this already. For those who are unaware, Mindfulness is not so much a specific practice as a way of living. It involves concentrating fully upon the present, and upon the task you are doing or the sensations you are experiencing. The idea is that this simplification of practical worldview enhances focus, decreases stress, eliminates harmful ruminative thoughts, and allows for deeper psychological health (the brain overall being less crowded with fripperies and tangential concerns). There are various techniques used by people to operate ‘mindfully’ in their everyday lives, but many choose to get their daily dose of mindfulness through meditation. It is meditation and...
Page Last Updated on May 16, 2017