What Women Want To Know About The Menopause and Perimenopause

I’m Catherine and I have a lifelong interest in health and wellbeing. Then perimenopause arrived and my interest moved up a whole new level. I understand first hand the rollercoaster ride that is perimenopause – I’m on that path myself! In the quest to feel better, I’ve researched and experimented with many ways to optimise energy, vitality and emotional wellbeing.

As a health and wellness coach, I help women overcome their challenges and I share my knowledge and what is working for me and for others. I will empower you to find what works for you – as every woman’s journey is different.

The last few talks I have found similar questions come up from the audience or ladies in private – so today I’m answering those questions that I hope will reach and help others.

Last week I was told I was in menopause – I am 41 what can I do?

Every week I am stunned by the increasing number of women going into early menopause. The symptoms of premature menopause ( under the age of 45) can be exactly as in natural menopause and the treatment would be the same. You do need to be mindful of other areas – long-term bone & heart health. This is an area I am keen to work more in, as such I will be doing more on this over the coming months. Going into early menopause comes with additional emotional and psychological challenges that we all need to be aware of. Being kind and gentle on yourself is very important as you navigate early menopause.

I suffer horrendous bloating what can I do?

Bloating can be very common in perimenopause. It’s imperative you ensure your bowels are moving regularly. The average western diet doesn’t support regular bowel function so you need to be mindful of this. Eat loads of fruit & vegetables and I would also recommend adding more fibre by way of Psyllium Husks. Psyllium husks make the stomach feel full and stimulate bowel movements in a very gentle way. You can buy these in most health stores – the taste is very bland and boring so a great alternative is Sylliflor by Rocahealthcare. They come in small sachets or larger tubs with lovely tastes and flavour – there is even one with added calcium which gives a double boost! Just make sure you drink plenty of water when you have it.

Menopause Supplements

Please note any products mentioned are ones I have used and believe in – I have no affiliation to any products.

What do I take every day?

My go-to dailies are Camu Camu & Rhodiola. I have used Camu Camu for a few years now and I totally love it. It can benefit every one of every age. It contains Vitamin C from Camu Camu berries which contain bioflavonoids & amino acids so essential to our body’s everyday functioning. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and as such supports the immune system. Camu has a far greater reach containing beta-carotene, calcium, b vitamins, minerals & amino acids. I also love how great it is for my skin – it’s a collagen booster and I find it really enhances my skin. Also to mention the Camu berry is often referred to as the Feel Good Fruit due to its mood elevating properties and it can be very helpful for mild to moderate depression.

For those who know me, you will know I’m passionate about good ethically sourced products. Sara has had her own journey and the result, which is helping so many people, is these fantastic ethically sourced products from Peru.

Rhodiola increases tolerance to various stressors, i.e. mental, physical, and environmental. This herb acts predominantly on the hypothalamus in a way that normalises the manner in which the body responds to stress triggers. It is also said to reduce mental & physical fatigue.

Can soy isoflavones help with menopause symptoms?

Yes, they can. You do need to be mindful of how you are taking it. My preference is via food but you can use a supplement like Red Clover for a higher dosage. There are several arguments out there about the impact of soy and also when you have thyroid issues. In Asia and Japan, in particular, they suffer fewer symptoms than the western world. An attitude I’m sure is one reason in Japan where women in midlife are revered. In the west the attitude is different but thankfully changes are happening on this front. Japanese women report fewer symptoms, which may be due to the high level of soy in the daily diet.

I have no symptoms should I take any supplements now?

Prepare and prepare some more!

If you have no symptoms now and your in your mid 40’s be mindful of the journey ahead and prepare yourself. Get ready to embrace and enjoy this chapter. There may be rough patches but you will move through them. Keep exercising, be social, eat good food and if you feel you need immune support then Camu Camu is the very best support for anyone at any age.

Have you found Maca helpful with night sweats and energy? There are so many on the web how do I know what is good?

I love Maca, it’s a fantastic and exciting herb – exciting as so much new research is coming out showing more great benefits it can give. Just last month research was published to show the bone strengthening properties of Maca and case studies where osteoporosis was reverted to osteopenia.
Maca has been used for centuries and it’s use dates back to 8,000 BC! It is commonly known for its energy giving properties but it does so much more. In my experience it is the number one herb in perimenopause helping balance the hormones that change during this chapter, it is also a great source of iron & calcium.

What you really need to be careful with is the many forms of Maca on the market. I am saddened by the marketing campaigns of many companies that target vulnerable women by promising quick results from what more often than not is a substandard form of Maca. I only recommend products that I have personally worked with and that I am passionate about. For me, the 3 Root Maca by Sara’s Choice is the only one to consider in the market.

What I really love is the accessibility to all of us with this product. Sara being so passionate about helping women provides capsules but once you know what your body needs you can move to the powder form. Once you are confident in dosage this is easy to use.

Please note the dosage with Maca is essential so please contact me with any questions.

I have hemochromatosis can I take Maca?

Unfortunately not due to the iron content. You can look at other supports dependent on the symptoms.

I have just completed cancer treatment can I take Maca?

Yes, you can but it needs careful monitoring. You will need to get your Estradiol levels taken and monitor these as you take Maca. Guidance and advise on dosage would have to be considered on an individual basis and also would need to task into account the type of cancer you had.

Anxiety and Menopause

Any suggestions for an intense fear of driving that came on very suddenly? Last weekend I was driving and I got really anxious and wasn’t able to keep driving

Anxiety can, unfortunately, reach a peak in menopause and it can happen at any time. I see the fear of driving, fear of crowded places and supermarkets a lot. When this happens the first suggestion is to concentrate on your breathing – pull the car over, open the window if you can and breath very slowly and very deeply. I would do this for 5 minutes.

Distraction then is your next best friend – your brain has fooled you into thinking you’re in a dangerous situation and you have gone into fight & flight mode. You need to distract your brain out of that mode – breathing will help.

What I have found great with clients is a podcast or an audio-book in the car. This really takes the brain away from focusing on anxiety. Longer term you need to look at more self-care, more downtime for yourself to re-energize your mind & your body.

I had my first ever panic attack a few weeks ago – is this common in perimenopause?

Panic attacks can be very common in Perimenopause. They can happen out of the blue and sometimes even when you are feeling you’re most relaxed. The first port of call is to rule out anaemia. I have had several clients who have had panic attacks physically occurring like palpitations and when they have had there blood tested it has sown them to be anaemic. This is not always the case but it is important to rule this out. The next step is to empower yourself to understand what a panic attack is and how your brain can fool your body into the physical symptoms. This will take the fear out of it and help you feel stronger and equipped to handle another one. There is much more to this form of anxiety and for that, I would suggest you refer to the Best-friends Guide to Anxiety.

Menopause And Your Skin

How can I relieve itchy dry skin on my legs & arms?

Water, water and more water with electrolytes are essential for health at midlife. Good hydration will help towards dryness. Ensure you are absorbing the water you drink, rather than it just flushing out your system. To enhance hydration try add the following foods to your diet: Coconut water, Watermelon, Celery, Kefir, Cucumber, Kiwi, Bell peppers, Citrus fruit, Carrots, Pineapple. I also find Extra Virgin Coconut Oil brilliant – Dr. Coy an Irish company do a lovely one that I use – I use it on my body and also in my cooking ( it’s a lovely addition to a warm bowl of porridge). For your body, you will find a small bit goes a very long way so it lasts ages and personally I love the smell of coconut.

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