8 Xenoestrogens To Avoid – Why And How For Menopausal Women

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There’s so much to learn when it comes navigating our way through ‘the change’.  Understanding the impact of hormones is very important for managing the hormonal roller coaster.  Too much estrogen can cause breast cancer, low libido, breast swelling, belly fat and fatigue. Too little estrogen can cause osteoporosis, weight gain, depression, night sweats, hot flushes, breast tenderness, vaginal dryness and urinary tract infections.

Our hormones react to the food we eat, stress and the toxins we are exposed to through the environments we live and work in. During peri-menopause and menopause, we fluctuate every day, between having too much and too little of one or more hormone. Today I would like to share information on xeno-estrogens, what they are and how to avoid them.

Xeno-estrogens mimic the functions of our natural estrogens and are everywhere, reeking havoc on our body. They attach themselves to our cell’s receptors and take over the function of natural oestrogen’s. Xeno-estrogens, on entering the skin go directly to tissue without passing through the liver for detoxification. They are 100% absorbed by the body and can be 10 times more potent than those consumed orally.

By familiarising ourselves with the sources of xeno-estrogens, we can reduce the negative impact they have on our health and well-being.

1. Phthalates

Soft plastics used as packaging materials are often treated with chemical compounds called phthalates. Plastic wrapped foods, heated in the microwave, contain some of the highest xeno-estrogens levels.

What to do – Stop heating your food and water in the microwave with plastic wrappers and containers. Avoid Styrofoam cups and plastic water bottles. Store food in glass containers whenever possible.

2. Disposable products

Tampons and sanitary pads contain chlorine, fragrance, wax, surfactants, rayon, etc.  It has been reported that dioxins, a class of chemical contaminants that may increase the risk of cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, heart disease and diabetes  have been found in conventional tampons.

What to do – Use organic cotton or other natural materials or purchase a moon cup (menstrual cup).

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3. Tumbler dryer sheets

Tumbler dryer sheets are loaded with xeno-estrogens to make your clothes feel soft and fresh. These residual xeno-estrogens can permeate your skin and go directly into your cells.

What to do – Use a natural liquid fabric softener or ½ cup of baking soda in the rinse cycle instead.

4. HRT

HRT is made from Horse Urine! It contains synthetic hormones that can interrupt our natural hormone balance and cause Estrogen Dominance.  For some (not all) women HRT can make them feel worse, not better.

What to do – Increase your intake of natural hormone balancing vegetables, plants and seeds (phytoestrogens). Try natural alternatives to synthetic HRT – Red Clover, Maca Powder, Black Cohosh, Sage etc. Experiment with Essential Oils. Please note always check the ingredients and research the company and reviews of any products before you purchase.

5. Meat and Dairy

Animal products are contaminated with bovine growth hormones and expose us to a significant amount of xeno-estrogens.

What to do – Follow a plant-based diet – join a Facebook group dedicated to supporting  women on how to eliminate menopause symptoms with simple plant-based recipes.

6. Parabens

Parabens or phenoxyethanol are chemical compounds widely used by cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries as preservatives. These chemicals are found in shampoo, lotions, soap, toothpaste, cosmetics and other personal care products.

What to do – Replace with natural shampoo bars and soaps etc. There’s a number of natural alternatives to choose from on Amazon.

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7. Insecticide or pesticides

Due to the widespread use of agricultural chemicals in food production, we are exposed to low levels of pesticide through the food we eat and the tap water we drink.

What to do – Rinse fruit and vegtables thoroughly with vinegar and drink filtered water.

8. Food additives

According to a study published in the journal, Chemical Research in Toxicology, 31 substances added to food for the purpose of preservation, colouring, texture and flavour have potential estrogenic effects.

Tinned foods are lined with a plastic coating that contains bisphenol-A (BPA).

What to do – Eat real food and eliminate or at least reduce your consumption of processed food as much as possible.

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5 Essential Hormone Balancing Foods

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Hormones are our bodies email messaging service, sending messages to our endocrine system to keep us in good health and functioning well.  It is well documented that hormone imbalances can increase the risk of many chronic diseases and cancer.  It’s these imbalances that also cause an increase in severity and duration of menopause symptoms.  Adding a few essential foods will help to naturally rebalance hormones in the right way for you.

5 Essential Hormone Balancing Foods

1. Herbal Teas  

Tulsi Tea has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, digestive, stimulant, and stress-relieving properties and helps to regulate cortisol levels, thereby working as a natural remedy for anxiety and emotional stress.  Dong Quai Tea helps to naturally balance and regulate estrogen levels in women going into menopause.  The high levels of nutrients and vitamins, such as folic acid, biotin, and vitamin B12, work to clear out the blood and reduce toxicity throughout the body.  Replace tea and coffee with organic herbal teas to help remove toxins from the body.

2. Maca Powder

Maca is a cruciferous vegetable that is native to Peru and is related to broccoli, cauliflower, and kale.  A root vegetable that is high in antioxidants and nutrients and works extremely well to balance hormones.

3. Avocado Oil (Cold Pressed) 

This monounsaturated fat improves hormonal imbalances. It stimulates the release of leptin, the appetite suppressing hormone.  Replace highly processed monounsaturated fats like margarine with cold pressed avocado, coconut or olive oils.

4. Chia and Flax Seeds

They are rich in omega fatty acids and phytoestrogens.  Phytoestrogens perform the same tasks as regular estrogen, but on a much weaker scale and are essential for reducing inflammation. Omega 3’s contain linolenic acid that converts omega 3’s to GLA, which improves progesterone production in the body both seeds support hormonal balance and production.  To help rebalance hormones and reduce inflammation in the body add both to your diet every day in a green smoothie or chia pudding.

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5. Avocados

Avocados are rich in fiber, magnesium, potassium, folic acid, vitamins B and E, all required for maintaining hormonal balance. They also help to balance the hormones, cortisol (stress hormone) and DHEA (adrenal gland hormone). They are also rich in healthy fats which improve the body’s absorption power.

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8 Tips To Balance Hormones Naturally

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Understanding your hormones and how they impact upon daily life is vital in making better lifestyle choices during menopause.

8 Tips To Balance Hormones Naturally

1.    Move often:  Four Prime Moves, four times a day and/or low impact weight baring exercise, walking or cycling for 20 minutes or less.

2.    Choose anti-Inflammatory foods:  Eat fruit and vegetables and increase your intake of leafy greens.  Swap vegetable oil for Cold Pressed Coconut, Olive or Avocado Oils.  Eliminate processed food and sugar and increase your daily intake of hormone balancing foods.

3.   Drink infused water:  Drink at least at 2 litres of alkalised water per day.

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4.  Get rid of toxic chemicals in the home: Avoid hormone disruptors by reducing plastic as much as possible and replace chemical cleaning products with natural products or make your own.  Start using soap and shampoos that are phthalate and paraben free.

5.  Use 100% plant based supplements only: Maca Powder (Maca is a root vegetable that is high in antioxidants and nutrients)

 

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6.  Use organic essential oils:  Add a few drops of essential oils (Sage, Thyme or Fennel) to a carrier oil of choice, apply to wrists and neck.

7.   Improve bowel health:  An anti-inflammatory diet along with a good amount of fibre such as  chia seed and flax seed help to keep the bowel moving.  With good nutrition the body is able to detoxify easily.

8.  De-stress:  Stress has a negative impact on hormones.  Find ways to reduce your cortisone levels.  Take an uninterrupted warm bath, go for a (woodland or beach) walk, long deep breaths etc.  Do what you can to remove yourself from stressful situations and people.

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A Natural Path Through Menopause

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For the last month or so I’ve had way too many apps running at once in my rather over stimulated menopausal brain. This jumping from one thing to another, too easily distracted operating mode needs to end now because all these creative ideas are taking up too much head space and slowing me down to a stop.

In my bid to be indistractable today, I thought I would write about my experience of ‘the change’.  Hopefully, sharing what worked for me in the pursuit of a natural path through menopause you will learn something new or useful or both.

If my over sharing was not to your liking, no apologies here for wasting seven minutes of your time.  Thanks to menopause, I walk an unapologetic path these days.

And so we begin.

I missed my first period at the age of 47 and the bleeding from then on was very heavy. Buying new clothes every month became a regular occurrence. A bit expensive and very inconvenient but no big deal (for me).  The overflow mostly happened during a thirty minute commute to work.  The office was within a few miles of a huge shopping outlet.  More importantly the women’s clothes department was about three feet from the ladies toilets.

My worst menopause symptom and by far most distressing symptom was dizziness. After a Doctor diagnosed Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) I ditched the prescription and researched the Epley Maneuver.  After a few days of head and neck movements, the spinning sensation and sickness stopped.  Since then, a few episodes here and there, lasting a day or two.

Word of warning, ignore all pleas from grandchildren to join them on ‘The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ ride or any theme park ride because five minutes of swinging through the dark avoiding the gringotts with flashing lights while squealing like a pig was hilarious for my family.  For me, it was a ride through hell and not worth feeling I’d been hit with the worst hangover ever.

During the two years between 50 and 52 I gained nearly two stones of fat which sat comfortably around my belly.  I crawled through I hate myself so everyone else must hate me stage and experienced an on/off cycle of night sweats, insomnia and fatigue. I waited 8 months before tackling the weight issue and my way of dealing with the hate bombs and feeling unworthy, unwanted and unloved was to socially withdraw to protect the self-inflicted wounds and emotional vulnerability.  My my new game plan hide and seek – hiding under the safety of my duvet to get away from stress and drama was at the time, a great survival technique.

I removed myself from negative situations and people.  Avoidance was a temporary solution while I worked through many physical, psychological and emotional changes.  I sensed (or did I imagine the eyes rolling to back of the head), my family however, would have preferred a more direct route out of the menopause maze.   I knew the traditional medical approach and chemically laden drugs were not for me. I believe the body is capable of healing itself, given the right conditions – removing every thing toxic.  Including toxic thoughts and toxic environments.  I much prefer to let nature take its course.  Popping pills or taking anything that changes bio chemistry, gives us more problems than it solves. This is just my opinion of course.  I have no issue either way with women taking drugs to help them through ‘the change’.  We are all in this together and we need to do what we need to do.

To help with over heating at night I swapped my much loved pj’s for short light nighties with spaghetti straps.  To manage sleeplessness and chronic I can’t be bothered with myself syndrome I made use of the time between 2.30 am and 5.30 am by reading philosophy and power naps to help manage the tiredness during the day.

It was the emotional adjustment that took me by complete surprise.  I became a broken, weeping mess overnight.  I spent a full five days crying as if my world was about to end and everyone I loved about to die.  I remember my whole body shaking from head to toe as the tears kept flowing down my burning hot cheeks. If you are familiar with the term cry me a river, this will give you some idea of how I was at that time.   My confidence crashed to the floor and my self-esteem flew out the window with lightening speed. Thankfully, the tears dried up and with the help of Sage, Thyme and Fennel Essential Oils to help balance hormones and a change in diet, the emotional waves of heaviness shifted and I started to move forward again. What I have learnt so far is that menopause is a constant adjustment to change as hormones fluctuate from day to day.

A few months later in 2017, my new look as Quasimodo’s twin sister needed swift attention (Yes, my posture was really that bad and made me feel like a three foot side shuffling misfit).  One very painful frozen shoulder took twenty four weeks to heal with a £6 Ab roller. This strange looking two wheeled gadjet was all I had available to me at that time.  It was a painful process, with daily improvement and relief so worth the inital discomfort.  Women with hormonal imbalances are more likely to to experience  ‘adhesive capsullitis’ in one or both shoulders.  I had no idea frozen shoulder can be related to menopause.  Now I do and so do you.

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My libido went south until  I experimented with Maca Powder, Flaxseeds and Chia Seeds.  Feeling womanly again put a spring in my step not because of the obvious, because I felt more like the old me. This is a very interesting article and well worth a read if you want to try natural ways to improve a low sex drive and fluctuating hormones.  To keep the energy levels up I drink one green smoothie most mornings as part of my daily ‘lets gets on your feet and make it happen’ routine.

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I also noticed I forgot where I put things.  My concentration and ability to think clearly were getting worse. This was and still is frustrating at times.  I have since found out low testosterone effects concentration, energy and emotions.  More information on this important hormone can be found on this page.   

Now I am 52 and 11 months without a period.  The hot flushes present themselves as a slight warming up and are less frequent or nonexistent when I follow ‘living the change‘ a simple 3 step plan – four prime moves, eat real foods and drink infused water.

Alcohol remains on the banned list because its one of the major triggers for a flurry of hot flushes, mood changes and brain fog.  I don’t drink coffee (never have) and gave up chocolate last year.  When I need a sugar fix, buckwheat crepes with maple syrup are my go to.  Not quite the same impact as a bar of cadburys whole nut but it tricks my brain into giving me a hit of that warm fuzzy satisfying feeling.

My memory is no worse (I still can’t remember what I did last week and forgot where I was driving to one Saturday morning but I have yet to forget where I parked the car).  Some days my concentration levels are better than others.  However, I know this is temporary and will improve when my hormones level out again.

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I occasionally use a few drops of Rosemary Essential Oils to help clear the brain fog.  I also meditate, not as much as I want to because the path to peace results in a mental battle between past disagreements and the weekly shopping list.  Some days it’s a longing for a walk along the beach in Bali.  Other days imaginary conversations in a hindu temple with the wise one annoyingly interrupt my grasping attempts for serenity.

Well that’s it! 5 years of perimenopause symptoms and one example of a natural path through menopause.

What helps to alleviate your meno symptoms?

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Memorable Moments Of Menopause

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April?……how?…..when?

It’s nearly 39 Weeks since my last post and I can’t quite believe we’re already into the fourth month of 2018.  The speed in which life travels leaves me standing in total disbelief as I catch myself shaking my head, with my mouth wide open and arms up in the air.  In all seriousness though, how can months whiz by like the seconds on a stopwatch that never……erm stops!

Easter has come and gone but I’m certain I was hugging my family and wishing them a Merry Christmas in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Yes, a very quick and eventful 10 months have passed by and in true ‘Deborah’ style, I’ve cried and smiled my way through the good, the bad and the ugly.

It appears integrating the shadow self (that part of ourselves that we withdraw from and dislike so much we would rather spend an afternoon locked in a room listening to a hundred screaming cats) is a necessary part of the successful birthing of the wise crone.  When you get to this point I highly recommend contacting a close friend who understands the impact of this particular joy ride in life or Mentor to explore your thoughts and fears.

A Mentor provides a listening ear and support for women going through ‘the change’

At the very least write down your thoughts for your own peace of mind.  When I approached this stage it felt like I was in the eye of a Tornado. I was way too calm and yet unaware of the chaos I was causing around me.   Thank God, my self-awareness hit me in the face with the force of a bullet to the head and exploded onto the screen of my brain like the worst horror movie I had ever seen.   The experience was way too confronting and painful but necessary in my journey back to wholeness. My new mantra ASSUME POSITIVE INTENT is now mentally tattooed on my forehead.  We must remember there’s positive intention in everything. That’s the beauty of mother nature, everything has a positive purpose but its up to us to find it and sometimes we need support with finding our way out of the menopause maze.

Living the change

Menopause has forced me to recognise my strength and weakness as a strong, self-determined mature woman.  I’ve been told independence can be seen as selfishness. I was totally confused by that comment because I hadn’t thought of myself as selfish (its no surprise that ignoring the shadow self results in a few blind spots) and that’s why I referred to this as both a strength and a weakness.

An alternative view is that independence is the new female superpower.  I prefer this label while acknowledging there needs to be balance.

NOTE TO SELF: Do not let other people, through their limited view of the world and you, determine who you are.  You are much more than that and your potential to be even more is limitless. 

Remind yourself of this often during menopause to stop you from drowning in a sea of self-doubt. It really does take courage to define yourself in a world that tries to dampen down your uniqueness……..which reminds me of a quote I came across last year

“Sameness kills joy”

Most people take stock of their life at the beginning of the year……but not this ‘crazy cat lady’.  No, she must do things her way.  So here’s a review of the more memorable moments of menopause.

Eleven months of gray turned into twenty-three months which means the going gray gracefully journey is now coming to an end, thankfully.   I highly recommend ditching the dye but I don’t recommend going it alone.  We possess many skills, hairdressing (unless you are a professional hair technician) is not one of them and I learned the hard way.  You can do a lot of damage with a pair of blunt scissors and rapidly declining eyesight.

Going au-naturel and winning the to dye or not to dye challenge was a bigger struggle than I anticipated.  My DIY haircut resulted in the biggest belly laugh for my daughter and I.  So for me, it was worth a short lived disaster and even now, the memory of the moment my failed attempt at home hairdressing was brought to my attention makes my face widen with a huge smile. We laughed a bit too loudly that day.  Our shared mother daughter experience is now neatly stored in my memory banks as one of the more memorable moments of menopause.

Going gray

I feel older, wiser, freer and a lot more authentic with my new mature look and hair colour and it’s a huge relief to be using only natural, plastic free products – washing with a Lush vegan shampoo bar and using a natural vinegar rinse once or twice a week is all I need these days to reach one of three minimalist goals for 2018.

For women wanting to go gray.  Some days your hair will appear more gray than others but  you will lose the urge to cover up the demarcation line and in all honesty it doesn’t take that long before you will  love how your hair feels in its natural state.  Alive and vibrant instead of dull, dry and dead.  A leisurely trip to the hairdresser twice a year for a restyle and mini makeover instead of that feeling of dread before a head dip in toxic black dye every six weeks is liberating in a very satisfying fist pumping kind of way too.

I’ve also managed to lose belly bloat and menopause weight gain.  Now this was a lot easier to achieve once I sorted out my priorities, learned what worked and committed to a simple three step plan.

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Getting a handle on hormonal weight gain and the impact of declining oestrogen levels was one life lesson I wish I had been a lot more prepared for.   Its true what they say “prevention is better than cure”.  I urge all women in peri-menopause please DO NOT ignore the weight gain.  A few pounds can result in a few stones in no time.  I know, it happened to me.  I swear I woke up one weekend with a body double the size.  I hear a lot of menopausal women whisper with growing concern and quiet desperation when discussing a new phenomenon called the invasion of the body snatchers.  You have been warned.

Another memorable moment was slipping into a pair of jeans three sizes smaller and for the first time in a long time, feeling greeeaaat.  My first thought while dancing a little jig in front of the three way mirror of the changing room was, has the madness of midlife and menopause finally settled into a new rhythm?  If so, I’m liking the beat of this new post menopausal drum.

Apart from losing weight the benefits of natural weight loss are a reduction in menopause symptoms and increased feeling of well-being.   One study found that those who lost at least 10lbs or 10% of their body weight over a year were more likely to eliminate hot flushes and night sweats.  This was certainly the case for me and as a result I am able to continue a natural path through menopause, using only Essential Oils as and when needed.

More information on natural weight loss and weight management can be found in the pinned post of this group

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Just One More Night

It’s been every night for the last 5 nights.

Tossing and turning.

Quilt on, then off.

Burning in heat one minute and freezing my backside off the next.

I’m sleeping in just a vest top and knickers to feel more comfortable in bed.  Big nana knickers, because my humongous rear refuses to compromise anymore, its knickers two sizes bigger than I am and that’s that.

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And then I lie awake terrified CB will be turned off by my spreading belly (which is strategically hidden under my oversized unglamorous underwear), thunder thighs and now even bigger pendulous breast.  There comes a point when large breast aren’t in the least bit attractive and mine have without question past that point months ago.

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The lack of quality sleep really does interfere with my ability to maintain a balanced outlook on this whole [pre]menopause thingy.

Why is it just a woman thing anyway?…………..what I’m really asking here is, why not men?

To fully understand what were going through, our brothers, boyfriends, sons and husbands need to experience ‘the change’ too.

There’s a little part of me that feels jealous that men don’t have to deal with any of these

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Okay, I admit it I wish men were going through ‘the change’ and not us. Periods, pregnancy and birth is that not enough! No wonder our bodies cry out in protest………….oh no not again, pleeeeeeease.

As you can tell, the positive symptoms of [pre]menopause have bypassed me totally this week. Even my sense of humour has decided to put up a warning sign, BEWARE OF THE………. [crazy cat lady].

If things weren’t bad enough already, with irregular periods, sore breasts, weight gain, mood swings and memory loss. And now I can add sleep depravation to the long list of symptoms.

Oh well, tomorrow is another day. Maybe the temperature spikes during the night will take pity on me and give me a longer break between the waves of heat and chills.

Or better still, take the night off altogether.

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11 Months of Gray

The subject of hair is a huge one for this [pre]menopausal woman and I don’t mind putting my hands up.

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Yes, I personally struggle most days with the subject of hair, gray hair, as well as thinning, dull and lifeless hair.

Well, just about anything and everything to do with hair.

As you know I am embracing……………..did I say that?

Because in reality, I am struggling with the going gray gracefully concept.

I would have an easier time accepting advice from a pot smoking, drunken Chinese Herbalist that the best way to deal with bad hair requires cutting it all off with a pair of scissors blessed by Buddha, burning it in a fire made of Autumn leaves while reciting the Lords Prayer and then offering the ashes to a Hindu deity – incase you are wondering this is a ritual I made up.

On a good day I am happy to be taking on this challenge

on a bad day I just wish this two year long marathon was finally over (11 months in and I’m running out of steam already).

Today is one of those days, where I am seconds away from racing out the door with the speed of Mo Farrah and a towel over my head to hide my shame, into the first shop I see to buy my next bottle of toxic waste.

I have at least one of those crumbling surrender ‘ok you’ve won’ moments every week as I look with despair at my reflection. My family were right, unflattering long gray hair makes me look old.

That’s it I’m coming back as a man next time. Life is just so unfair.

“Have you heard yourself?”

followed by

“You sound ridiculous.”

Even the ‘crazy cat lady’ was sick and tired of hearing my moaning and would go to any lengths to knock me right off my soap box.

I agree, my complaints are trivial and the sensible thing to do is accept it is what it is and deal with it gracefully (there’s that word again, gracefully).

I can’t wait for the day I stop agonising over my hair and my going gray not so gracefully stage. For now I am happy I managed to dodge another bullet and my hair saga continues for another day at least.

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Premenopause Priorities

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So here’s the thing.

To make [pre]menopause an easier ride, it’s time to move your emotional well-being up the ever-increasing long list of priorities (somewhere between getting a good nights sleep – very important for your sanity and eating a healthy diet – very, very important for preventing your body doubling in size during the hormonal big dipper) and treat frustration, irritability and grumpiness like your bestest best friends, with

Compassionate, Gentle Understanding

Why?

Because you will be hanging out with the FIG Team (frustration, irritability and grumpiness) a lot more often than your real female/male mates.

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Get used to unexpected visits, long boring conversations and bad advice because these emotions (new best friends) will rudely interrupt you at some point day or night.

Having recognised that when I do the look (a cross between a perplexed puppy and Cruella De Vil’s evil eye), followed by a head tilt kinda thing. It’s usually because my irritability levels are skyrocketing into orbit, taking any rational reasons or kind thoughts with it.

Now (for me) this can happen without any warning and does not follow any particular pattern, making any pre planning or preparation impossible.

Before I know it, I’m thrown into a storm of conflicting emotions and just want to get out of everyone’s way and dive under the duvet before I erupt for no good reason.

Luckily for me (and others) I’ve not lost my head over three different hairdressers, on three different occasions in the space of 3 months making a complete mess of coloring my hair (just one of the reasons I decided to go it alone on my going gray journey). I have managed to keep calm during debates about Brexit and quietly walked away from negative environments and people.

Even, and this is a biggie………….disagreements with my husband Colin during the Andrew Marr Show have failed to break my run of good behavior during ‘crazy cat lady’ moments.

So far,

I’m proud of my self-control and for not letting my raging emotions get the better of me. For how long this will continue, I’m not at all sure. I’ve been way too close to the tipping point a few times in the last couple of months (hands up in the air, as I plead to the Gods, “please how much longer before this [pre]menopause thing is all over and done with).

Every day (not quite every day, it just feels that way) is like some sort of endurance test.

Each team mate turns up in all their glory with matching T-shirts to show solidarity, dig their heals in, fully prepared and ready to camp out for hours. Silently waiting to spill their guts on any unsuspecting passersby.

So what do I do?

I ignore the FIG Team (with compassionate, gentle understanding intentions, of course).

In the hope that without any drama, they will get bored, pack up and leave!

And it works.

Adios, Ciao, bye, bye my friends.

I would much rather share a ride with joy, gratitude, love and peace.

Paying attention to what you WANT

means you have less or no time for the things you don’t want in life.

Useful resources  to help with identifying and managing [pre]menopause symptoms.

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Midlife, Menopause & Madness

On our way to catch a water taxi we were now 5 minutes late for, I heard the words run.

Followed by, don’t walk. Run!

My son Craig spoke with the authority of my old school head master as we approached the second bridge and pushed our way through the crowds.

With my body burning in heat from a hot flush and the panic of possibly missing our slot for the taxi back to the port I replied in silence with a look that said it all (can’t he see I’m trying to calm the “crazy cat lady’ and stop her from breaking into a rehearsal of the next big TV drama scene). In a flash my [pre]menopause symptoms transported me back into the sea of pain and struggle.

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That morning it took me way too long to get ready for our day out. I hated the way my clothes were just about strangling me (a few days ago my favourite trousers fitted me well). My hormonal bloated ugly body crying to be free, pleading to move comfortably.

My head in a world of negative thoughts, all screaming at me at once (the hate committee just happened to have a full agenda that day, not wanting to be interrupted under any circumstances). I hated the way I looked. I hated the way I felt even more. I hated the way this dam change of life was interfering with my peace of mind!

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To top my morning off, the hairstyle I had imagined the night before was not the one staring back at me from the mirror. After 20 or so minutes (okay, it was at least 40 minutes) trying to make myself look and feel better I admitted defeat (after 51 years I know myself well enough now and accepted that this overwhelming feeling of ugliness was only going to get worse if I continued to look in the mirror and pick out every flaw for this years Oscar winning performance).  

“Step away from the mirror” in that soft familiar tone, gently resonating through my body in an attempt to get my attention.

Followed by

“Give Yourself a Break”

Easier said than done! I spat back angrily and at the same time feeling ashamed for responding with too much negative emotion and acting so self absorbed. I quickly pulled myself out this internal battle between my head and my heart and took at deep breath.

I can now laugh at my internal tug of war games, it’s like watching a episode of the worlds strongest man in the style of Bridget Jones. It’s also quite entertaining to see how quickly people and situations effect my responses during ‘crazy cat lady’ moments. My [pre]menopausal experiences would make a great script for a new comedy series; Midlife, Menopause and Madness.

The symptoms of [pre]menopause come and go as they please and can knock us totally out of balance but only if we allow them to. If you’re having a difficult day and know that you aren’t feeling your best try switching off the TV drama going on in your head and

“Step Into Your Heart”

Remember the symptoms are temporary and knowing where we are on the menopause map will help us to plan a better route.

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