There are many changes to become accustomed to when your menopause arrives. Food Scientist and Nutritionist Susie Debice highlights four common mistakes that you could end up making. Read on to discover how to navigate your way around these hormonal pitfalls.
- Fuelling your day on caffeine
No one can really prepare you for the extreme fatigue and tiredness that arises with no real reason on occasional days during the menopause. If you hit the menopause when you are juggling a full-time career, navigating a difficult relationship, have young children that need your time and attention or are coping with teenage mood swings, then these days of fatigue can be really impactful and hard-hitting. It’s totally understandable why some women keep the coffee machine on full throttle as a means to get through these days. However, studies show that women who drink coffee tend to have more frequent and more severe hot flushes, than women who don’t drink coffee. Turn off the coffee machine, keep hydrated with herbal teas and start taking a supplement such as Cleanmarine MenoMin which contains B vitamins that actively reduce tiredness and fatigue and help with hormone balance.
- Teach yourself to catnap
It’s a good idea to give your superwoman persona a bit of time off during the menopause. You have already proved your point – you’re amazing in so many ways. But if you don’t hang up that superhero cloak, you’ll likely drive yourself into a more testing menopause. It’s time to learn how to catnap, something you’ve probably sworn you’ll never do, and you’ll probably tell yourself that there’s no way you can sleep in the day. Well, why don’t you let your body decide if that’s true as sleeping for just 30 minutes in the afternoon is the best way to reset your hormones and recharge your batteries and smooth over the escalating menopausal symptoms. Sure, you probably won’t fall asleep the first couple of weeks that you do this, but sleep will come, eventually! Take yourself out of your schedule for 30 mins in the afternoon, find a quiet spot on the sofa or on your bed and allow your body and mind to unwind and relax. Teach yourself to catnap. The results are staggering.
- Giving up on sex
Changes in hormones early on in the first few months of the perimenopause could have a huge impact on sexual desire and level of comfort and enjoyment during sex. There are so many changes to cope with both physically and emotionally that it could seem to have arrived so intensely and so quickly that you feel overwhelmed and start to withdraw from your partner as a coping mechanism to get acclimatised to the hormonal transition.
But, by not taking confident steps to talk to your partner about how your menopause is affecting your sex life, you risk setting a new normal for your relationship. Your partner may pick up on the signs of your lack of instigating sex or lack of enjoying sex or your making excuses to not have sex and misinterpret these signals to have a deeper meaning, which could create more distance between you and impact their sexual confidence with you.
First steps are to talk openly about the emotional and physical changes you are going through – explain that it may take longer to be aroused, that dryness creates pain and discomfort and that you may feel like you don’t quite understand your body as well as you used to. Sharing these comments is likely to fall on sympathetic ears. Together you can start to rekindle that flame of desire and experiment with different types of natural lubrication for intimate, fun, enjoyable and comfortable sex again.
- Not keeping up with medical screenings
Hitting the menopause is not the time to bury your head in the sand in terms of health screening. The changes in oestrogen and progesterone put menopausal women at far greater risk of cholesterol issues, heart disease, breast cancer, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis, just to name drop a few of the big ones. So, if you get a letter from your surgery that it’s time to go in for a health screen, don’t just stick that letter straight in the recycling bin. Instead, pick up the phone and book your appointment. Picking up risk factors as early as possible gives you a fighting chance to make necessary dietary and lifestyle changes which could be paramount to your longevity.