5 Common Symptoms of Menopause and What to Do About Them
Recently I hosted a 6-day online summit for women in the menopause. This summit explored how 15 women found relief by making simple diet and lifestyle changes.
These women did not accept hot flashes, weight gain and lack of energy as something they had to endure. They did their own research in their particular fields of expertise and the results were amazing.
After the summit, I transcribed all the interviews into one ebook. It took many weeks to listen to every interview and write down the pertinent piece of information each speaker so freely shared with me.
As the days progressed I noticed five main themes intertwining between speakers and how they overcame these issues. I will share these with you now.
Weight Gain is One of the Most Common Symptoms of Menopause
Weight gain is the number one issue when it comes to menopause. Your body composition does change. Women are more likely to gain excess belly fat especially deep inside the belly as they go through perimenopause and into menopause. That’s because as oestrogen levels drop, body fat is redistributed from the hips, thighs, and buttocks – where it stored as a fuel reserve for breastfeeding – to the abdomen.
This weight gain is perfectly normal. But if you gain more than 2-5 pounds (1-2.5kg), it’s likely to go deeper into the abdomen, creating too much visceral fat. You need some fat in your belly, but when it becomes excessive, visceral fat increases inflammation in the body and ultimately contributes to several conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
As we age, it is not only our hormones that sabotage keeping our bodies lean and trim, but sedentary lifestyles and lack of motivation. And these are the issues my speakers discussed. Weight loss can come without too much disruption in your life; with the right approach anything is possible.
So is a Lack of Libido
We had a wonderful sex therapist on the panel of speakers and lack of libido was openly discussed. The key issue here is to stop blaming the hormones completely and perhaps look at other areas that may be interfering with our libido.
Here is an excerpt from Chapter 3: Isiah McKimmie (Sexologist & Relationship therapist)
“When it comes to lack of libido, there are often associated biological, physical or psychological elements going on as well as something within the relationship that can affect a woman’s libido. Low libido may not just be simply due to one only partner, but two people in a relationship may be mismatched with their desire levels. Sexual therapy can be helpful for couples to work together and create strategies to help improve libido and sexual enjoyment.”
“Low libido is certainly exacerbated by low oestrogen and testosterone, but there are other issues that can interfere with a woman’s sexual drive. The spontaneous desire that may have been in full force at the start of a relationship can wan as the years progress with the same partner.”
Use It or Lose It
This is another sensitive issue that was brilliantly addressed by a number of speakers. When it comes to vaginal dryness one of the main reasons is lack of use.
The term “Use it or lose it” was repeated many times in this book. To halt the progress of vaginal atrophy that occurs in the menopause, you need to maintain regular sex. Even if you do not have a partner (or do not want to include your partner), get a vibrator and keep using it. Use the vibrator with your partner. You need to keep the blood flowing to the area to keep vaginal dryness at bay.
Lack of Vitality
Over 70% of the speakers shared with me that during their menopause experience, before they made positive changes and overcame their symptoms, they were simply existing from one day to the next. They were not unhappy, but they lacked spark; they lacked vitality. It is not until you come out of the narrow tunnel of menopause and understand what this feels like, that you can truly help other women.
In Chapter 7 Inge shares the following sentiment. Many women wrote to me stating that they also felt like this:
“Inge is now a vibrant woman that loves her life. She wasn’t unhappy but was not vibrant. Ten years ago she did not experience cheerfulness and was simply okay. Now, she is a vibrant and happy woman and made the journey and the journey was well worth it.”
Become the “Wise One”
Menopause does not need to be kept in the closet. We need to be pioneers in changing perceptions of menopause in today’s society. Menopause is no longer a synonym with the end of life. A woman’s life expectancy used to be 60-62, so if she did experience menopause at 51-52 then there were fewer then 10 years of life expected, but not today. Today women are living well into their 80s and 90s and therefore have a good 40 years of living to do.
We all have different paths to take and bear. It is a transformative time in our lives and those of us who do the work in the perimenopause years as symptoms arise, will come out as the wise woman: liberated, liked, able to open our minds and hearts with no more constraints of trying to fit into a mould like we did in our 20s or 30s or even 40s.
Which one of these themes did you experience with your menopause? Are there any symptoms of menopause that you are still struggling with today? What have you found to be the best activities to counter-balance them? Please share in the comments below.