JD Williams winter coat

Now there’s a title I never thought I’d write but the time has come and boy is it getting hot in here! The menopause symptoms are here and it’s time to share the knowledge.

This year I turned 50. That’s no secret, I have tried to embrace this number as much as I can but I won’t lie, it still scares me and I still think of it as old. Said that, I am still battling on and trying my best to live life to its fullest. In actual fact my life has never been busier and more fulfilling.

One thing I have kept secret though, is the menopause as the very word seems to have an air of ‘disapproval’ about it. No one talks about it. It’s like a dirty word and something to be swept under the carpet.

I find this a bit weird if I am honest. I have had regular periods every month of my life since I was 11 and I haven’t enjoyed one of them, oh apart from those times I thought I may be pregnant when I seriously didn’t want to be pregnant. I have always looked on this part of being a woman as a pain, something to endure and I’ve been waiting since I had the twins for it all to finish.

I am fully appreciative of the fact that I was ‘lucky’. I had regular cycles, regular ovulation and therefore was able to get pregnant and today, I have four beautiful children as a result. But there were painful months, frightening months, heavy months and months when my period would last way longer than the normal 4/5 days.

However, I am pleased to announce my last period was in August, let’s have a fanfare, balloons and party!

Four months with no cycle, can you imagine how wonderful that is? No more sore boobs, no erratic mood swings (well maybe a few, ahem). No pains in my back or in my tummy, no headaches and of course no blood, that has to be the very best part. I am still prepared and carry around the necessary in my handbag just in case, but I’ve not had to buy any sanitary items for four months now.

However, on the down side of this magnificent milestone comes a lot of brand new symptoms that my body is having to get to grips with.

Menopause symptoms

Hot Flushes

menopause symptoms

Credit: Women over 50/Facebook

These are pure fire. There is no mistaking a hot flush and I have got so good at recognising when one is on its way that I can start to strip and prepare before the onslaught. To have an idea of what a hot flush is like, this is how I experience one. I start to feel hot, I wriggle a bit in my clothing and take off a layer if I can, luckily it’s winter and I am normally wearing a cardigan. I then feel the flush travel, my entire back heats up as if I am resting against an oven door, my neck is hot and starts to sweat, my face starts to sweat, I start to rub the sweat most likely removing any make up I happen to be wearing and I start to pin my hair up so cool air can reach the back of my neck. My chest is hot, my thighs are hot, my feet are hot. Then as quickly as it started, it disappears. I replace my socks and my cardigan, lower my hair and thank my body that it has passed. That is a hot flush and they can be quite frequent on certain days.

Night Sweats

menopause symptoms

Credit: Women over 50/Facebook

As autumn approached this year and the temperatures dropped I changed our lovely light 4.5 tog duvet for the winter one envisioning long winter nights snuggled up underneath, nice and cosy. Last month I gave up and reverted back to the summer duvet! A night sweat is like a hot flush but happens when you are sleeping and blissfully unaware so you are woken in a pool of your own sweat, throwing back the covers, opening the windows and stripping out of your pyjamas. It’s like someone turned the thermostat up to 100C.

Shivering

Another symptom of the menopause is shivering and usually alternates with hot flushes. Picture a woman sitting down for a nice evening on the sofa, she starts to shiver and drags a throw over her to warm up, she grabs a nice hot cup of tea and settles only to be disturbed by an oncoming hot flush. Put down the tea, take off the throw, strip socks, cardigans and anything else that can be easily removed. The shivering is just as irritating as a hot flush as it seems you are cold through to the core.

Loss of libido

Hot Flash

Credit: women over 50/Facebook

I was hoping they were lying when I first read this symptom but they are not. However, do not despair, it’s not like it’s over for good, it’s just not top of your priority list any more. I find a hard week at work, challenging children, extra homework and the normal run to run of the family home is sometimes enough to make me just want to fall into the deepest sleep once I hit the mattress so it’s very hard to pinpoint a loss of libido amongst all of that.

Mood Swings

Another one difficult to pinpoint and blame on the menopause, after all I have been having mood swings since my periods started. Having said that, I did have enormous rage yesterday for the most trivial of reasons (we argued about putting the rubbish out and I sent a text in capital letters later on to state my case – unnecessary but hey ho). My problem with rage is I don’t recognise it until it has passed and then I nod and say, ‘Ah, rage again!’ I just wish I could spot this before and therefore eliminate it.

menopause

Credit: women after 50/Facebook

 

I think the most important thing to keep in mind whilst journeying through the menopause is to be aware and embrace the moment; it’s going to come so learn how to manage it to the best of your abilities.

Products to help

promensil

I was sent a couple of products by Promensil about a month ago, a spray that is used during a hot flush as it pulls the heat to the surface of the skin which I have found to be very helpful indeed. It smells nice too. The second product is a box of tablets with isoflavones from red clover, one of the world’s richest sources of isoflavoes. These tablets, taken once a day help maintain a good general health as well as bone and cholesterol health. I love the spray and have been taking the tablets although I am very forgetful. I think it’s something I shall continue with for the health benefits.

promensil

Disclosure: Promensil sent me the products mentioned, all opinions are my own.

Sometimes it’s just good to get stuff ‘off your chest’ wouldn’t you agree? And for a while now I’ve been feeling a bit out of sorts with myself. I’m carrying on, plodding by and getting all my work done but something isn’t quite right.

I have forgotten some family birthdays these past few months, something I have never done before priding myself on being on time on all occasions. I’ve forgotten thank you cards to thank people for thinking of me. I have a needlework piece I’m very proud of sitting around waiting to be sewn up since the beginning of the year – look here’s proof

emily peacock cushion almost compeleted

29/01/2012 – almost there

It’s finished and just needs sewing into a cushion but I never get round to it.

I have some friends who I haven’t caught up with in far too long. I have two gorgeous little girls who I should be playing with more and talking to to more.

I have projects I’d like to start but can’t seem to find the time, books to read; I must be the only female world over whose copy of 50 Shades is lying covered in dust abandoned after 6/7 chapters!

So when I saw Mum’s and me request for Me Time posts I knew it was a sign for me to get myself out there a bit more. Interact with ‘real’ people and find some time for me.

I look at my unshaven legs, my un-filed nails and my toe nails that need cutting and I realise I have neglected myself for far too long and this is no good. I need to cut back on the time spent on the pc and start using my time in a better way.

So yesterday, after cancelling for two weeks on the trot, thanks to sick children, I finally caught up with my lovely twin mums for a coffee in the posh John Lewis cafe at Bluewater. To think only a couple of years ago we used to meet every week on a Wednesday at Twin’s club come rain or shine a real lifesaver for all of us. Even last year we managed coffee mornings whilst the children were at preschool but since the girl’s birthday  in July it’s gone hopelessly downhill. I haven’t managed to make any of the organised night’s out, I missed out the twin club picnic and many other twin club trips simply because they clashed with other arrangements we had.

I started to feel bad and that leads to my usual paranoia setting in – ‘I hope they don’t think I’m trying to avoid them’

I’m not right at the moment, I’m not thinking straight. The fact I have lost a friend recently after trying hard to make up has hit me hard and sent me into a sadness that is proving hard to kick. I worry about my other half as this loss has caused a rift with all of his friends. Friends he’s had since childhood and I’m finding that an enormous responsibility to carry on my shoulders. I wanted to say to these people, ‘I don’t care if you don’t like me or never will but please don’t do that to him.’ But they did and although Other Half smiles brightly and shrugs his shoulders I can’t get past it.

I realise at 46 this ‘feeling‘ could be hormonally emphasised too. We go through the whole rigmarole of hormones in our teens turning us into blue eyed monsters and they’re back to plague us later on. Is this insecurity, lack of confidence and paranoia connected to an oncoming menopause I have yet to acknowledge?

It’s hard isn’t it being a woman? Fitting all these different parts of life into one big whole and managing them so our families are happy and are houses are safe havens.

This was supposed to be a post about me time but maybe just dedicating space to throw my thoughts down on paper is me time for me?

After all I did have another coffee this morning with some lovely school mums. New, caring people in my life that it’s a pleasure to be with, we have a couple of Christmas party nights in the calendar where we are spreading the word and inviting lots of other mums to join in. A meal one night and a ‘Funky Friday’ another night because one thing that hits home every time.

‘If I’m feeling like this then maybe other mums are too?’

If you are then maybe you need to carve out some me time too?