Author of The Menopausal Mayhem Mothers blog Emma Skeates is on a mission to help women navigate this natural lifestage with compassion, vitality and humour.
Here she shares her thoughts on some unexpected menopausal symptoms, along with advice for tackling them face on, and enjoying life to the full.
The menopause is possibly one of the best disguised “transitions” a woman can go through and it is DEVIOUS! You can still be having regular periods and suddenly wake up feeling worried and anxious for NO reason. During early menopause, you are jumpy, paranoid, have a totally different feeling of self worth and with absolutely NO physical reason why, and it can happen at ANY age (around the age of 50).
Ok, so your periods are now irregular, you are pretty sure you are peri-menopausal so you visit your GP – these guys are great, they work really really hard, but they are, in the main, as baffled by what the menopause truly means as YOU are – so, before you know it you are on anti-depressants rather than perhaps HRT or a meaningful solution to what is REALLY happening to your body which is your hormones doing some kind of mad punk dance and are messing with your physical and mental health.
Your hair starts to fall out. From having a lovely full head of thick, lustrous hair, you are now finding great clumps in your hairbrush and bald patches start to appear. Do you have alopecia? Chances are… no. You are menopausal.
You have had healthy teeth all your life and then suddenly you start to develop gum disease which leads to regular and extremely painful abscesses. This is just another pre menopause symptom. Our teeth are made of bone and one of the signs of menopause is to deplete our bones which means that we develop pockets where our teeth used to sit tightly in our gums and tiny bits of food slip into these pockets and infections occur. I have lost 4 teeth since I went into the surgical menopause. Since I have been taking LYMA, my dentist says my gum disease has disappeared and my teeth are more healthy than she has ever seen them!
Insulin resistance – yep, it’s a thing! Insulin is a hormone and when you become menopausal, many women suffer from this. You eat as you always have, white bread, potatoes, pasta – all these turn into sugar and stimulate your pancreas to produce insulin. But in a menopausal woman LOADS is produced and for many of us, we just can’t use it anymore. This can lead to type 2 diabetes. LYMA can help to balance this problem.
The good old body shape change – Pre-menopause I had a waist! Sure, I used to gain a bit of weight during holiday periods and when I took my eye off the ball, but that could be lost with a week or so of dieting, no problem. But with our metabolism slowing down and our insulin not doing what it is supposed to do, our “middle-area” starts beckoning the fat to come in, have a cup of tea and make itself at home! And that is exactly what it does. Suddenly, we change shape and the muffin top becomes a permanent and pretty tricky squatter to move. This is all to do with sugar and our misunderstanding of how it got there. The beauty of LYMA is that when you get a fantastic night’s sleep (just one of its amazing effects) you are noticeably less hungry therefore fasting – which is a proven way for menopausal to keep a handle on their subcutaneous fat if they want to – is SO much easier.
Trying to lose this newfound weight gain around your midriff is pretty tricky. It’s like turning the titanic. You can be as strict as you like on calorie intake and absolutely NOTHING happens for about 4 weeks. It is demoralising and often floors women who try and get their old shape back. We have to CHANGE what we eat, not necessarily reduce it. I never knew that SO many savoury things that we eat and had thought were slimming, actually turned instantly into sugar as soon as we put them into our mouths – over cooked pasta and floury potatoes being just two.
Stomach seepage – yep, another joy! Our stomach linings become thinner with the menopause so often we can eat and some of the nutrients seep through our stomach walls making it harder for our liver to break down fat as it is dealing with toxins – I’ve found a spoonful of olive oil before eating helps.
Your liver IS your friend when you are menopausal – it is one of the major organs that breaks down fat in your body. Look after it by taking a few days off in the week from drinking and take LYMA to help cleanse it.
The menopause is a natural and normal part of a woman’s journey through life. It doesn’t have to be a catastrophe or life changing. There doesn’t have to be a stigma surrounding it. To me, it is the gateway to a new freedom : no more periods, a fantastic solution of either a combination of HRT and LYMA make it a liberating time. We have the rest of our lives to now enjoy being more than just a reproductive machine – I am of course talking about our biology, not our mental state – we are at our most powerful. Full of knowledge, experience, we know where we have been and with the added help of a magic night’s sleep from LYMA, we can have dreams that we never had before – both when we are asleep, but more importantly when we are awake.
THIS IS OUR TIME. I forgot that for a while as I struggled with the debilitating anxiety, depression and low self esteem. That has ALL changed. A dash of Oestrogen and LYMA and my life is all about looking forward. I have written a book, something that I dreamed of doing when I was in my 20’s and 30’s but never ever thought I would do, so how come I have waited until my 50’s? Well, I have something to say now and the urge to tell the world of women that you are NOT alone and this can be the ride of your life and the new beginning you have all been waiting for. Life’s out there for you, be the best version of yourself and go get it!
Originally published Jun 7, 2021.
Written by Emma Skeates, Menopause Blogger & Author.