By Tracey Leslie
I have two increasing independent teenagers (three if you include hubby!) a dog, a job, the house to run, food to cook, shopping to do, gardening, cleaning, dog walking, washing, ageing parents, one with MS, and everyone’s lives to sort out, hobbies.. and on top of that. I am menopausal!
Like I have the time or money for private medical consultants? I need to go down to the local GP, and queue until one is free! A lady doctor is recommended, of course this means waiting longer, can’t rush these appointments, they need booking three weeks in advance!! Wow! Then I have to write everything down as my ‘mush’ brain will forget what I need to discuss by the time I get in there!
The majority of women don’t have the luxury of private PT sessions, a nutritionist, time or money for aesthetics or the luxury of relaxation time to rejuvenate and recover from the menopause!
So, what do we do?
Through Rejuvage I am lucky enough to have met and partnered with Kathy Abernethy MclinSci RN, a specialist menopause nurse and the Chair of the British Menopause Society and author of “Menopause – The One-stop Guide.” She has offered me personally and our community some great advice and has been able to assist a lot of women who are really struggling to come to terms with various elements of the menopause.
Visit our menopause page to ask Kathy a question about the transition.
Managing without HRT is an option?
This is obviously an option. As Kathy’s book explains many women, feel the following: ‘The menopause is natural – I want to cope naturally’.
This is especially the case for those with medical conditions or a history that deems HRT non-suitable.
Why HRT may not be an option:
- Your symptoms do not warrant it
- For medical reasons you have been advised not to
- You believe the menopause is natural and you would like to deal with it naturally
There are some natural alternatives to HRT but before you buy non-medical products, research the scientific data behind the reviews, buy from reputable suppliers only.
A potent herb, used for many years to help the symptoms of the menopause, be aware that if you are advised not to use HRT then do not use black cohosh as it works in a similar way to oestrogen. Beware if you have liver damage as the workings of this herb are still unknown.
See our article on alternatives to HRT for more information about natural treatments.
Should I take Bio-Identical?
A common question asked to our partnered menopause expert, Kathy Abernethy is the following: “Many women consider bio-identical hormones as they like the idea of balancing out their hormones naturally rather than with HRT. The therapy does have its benefits, but many women have reservations about what it is made from, can you explain what it contains?”
Kathy says, “HRT which is licensed and regulated in the UK and prescribed both privately and in the NHS is most usually derived from plant extract. There are one or two products that are produced differently but if you ask for plant-based products, there are plenty to choose from. It will contain oestrogen or progesterone or both. Be careful with the word ‘bioidentical;’ which means different things to different people. Licensed prescribed HRT is available as bioidentical, so mention that to your doctor if that is what you prefer. Some clinics offer tailor-made or ‘compounded bioidenticals’. These are unregulated in the UK and whilst they may be fine to use, there is no evidence supporting their safety or efficacy. Such clinics should not be claiming them to be safer than conventional HRT.
I try very hard to eat well, here’s my typical schedule, which seems to be working! It’s perfectly fine to live in moderation, without going ‘fully clean’ during the transition.
- I start my morning with boiled water and lemon, followed by a herbal tea! This accompanies porridge made with rice milk (only because I don’t like milk very much!)
- My lunches are simple, but include protein and salad leaves normally
- Throughout the day I drink herbal tea (again not because I am saintly, but because I am very fussy about how I drink my tea!! Bone china tea cup, Yorkshire tea, squeezed to within an inch of its life and ¼ teaspoon of skimmed milk! Now who can be bothered to do that all day?!)
- Dinner is normally anything the kid’s want but we don’t eat processed food, I will make a homemade curry, I get up early to walk the dog and in the winter will put a slow-cooked meal in or make a quick ‘spag bol’ so I have more time in the evening to workout! Also, Joe Wick’s meals are my favourites as they genuinely do take 15 minutes! I am a lazy cook (too many other things to do!!)
- And obviously, I like the odd gin and tonic, (being a migraine sufferer I have stopped wine!)
- I do love a cuppa at night, out comes the teacup! Oh yes! And sometimes a large chunk of cake! Or a few biscuits! Or chocolate…
- I have a very bad back due to a serious accident years ago, so I do indulge myself and have a full body massage every couple of months, she straightens me out for a while
- I also cannot paint my own toenails! It looks like Banksy in a washing machine, so this is also a treat in the summer (when they haven’t fallen off through running!)
I exercise most days, during the week I try not to go to bed too late, as I am up early, and I walk every morning with the dog. I use a lavender pillow spray to help my (sometimes erratic sleep patterns!)
I live by ‘everything in moderation’! (except jellies! Which I have been known to binge eat!)
Menopause – there are no rules!
The menopause is something that all women will endure, to what extent is unknown, some will not be affected at all while others will ride the roller coaster of emotional turmoil, just don’t forget to talk about it and seek help! Don’t suffer alone.