My name is Nikki, I’m 54 years old and it’s 12 months since my last period. Crack the bubbly. I’m officially in menopause. I’ve discussed the many curses of my peri menopause years before but I’m back here, not to gloat, but because we need to talk more about menopause.
You see, eight years ago, when I first started to think things were a little different and that I was possibly heading into the peri menopausal years, no-one really talked about. And if they did, it was with whispered tones, like it was something we should be ashamed about.
I – and many others – call B.S. on that.
If it isn’t enough that women spend most of their life on a hormonal rollercoaster, we’re thrown on to hormonal equivalent of the Big Dipper in our middle years, which is a shame really as these are the years when our kids can wipe their own bottoms and we’re actually looking forward to getting a bit of ourselves back.
If that’s not bloody cruel, I don’t know what it is.
I’m not here to wave some magic wand to wave away any peri menopausal symptoms you might be experiencing or offer medical advice (health professionals are your best source for that). I’m here because it’s been my experience that a problem or an experience shared is helpful in helping you to feel not so alone in it.
(Also un-scientifically proven to waving away the peri blues … wearing sunshine-y clothes really to help lift the spirits … case in point below)
When I put it out to the Styling You community that I was discussing menopause with my friend Shelley Horton on one of my weekly IGTV Lives (scroll on to watch), I was inundated with women sharing how peri menopause and menopause has affected them the most. So many said that HRT had saved them.
Here is just a fraction of the symptoms shared:
- Lack of confidence
- Brain fog/memory loss
- Body cramping
- Skin inflammation
- Unexplained weight gain
- Grumpy moods
- Joint pain
- Hot flushes
- Night sweats
- Migraines (when never previously had them)
- Huge painful breasts
- Easily irritated
- Loss of muscle mass/tendon strength
- Low libido
- Heart palpitations
- Lack of patience
- Heavy, clotting periods
- Low iron
- Weird, scary dreams
- Allergic to own sweat
Over the past eight years, I’ve ticked off so many of the symptoms listed above and the messages from women I’ve included below really spoke to me and made me feel all the feels. (Just quietly, it doesn’t take long for me to feel all the feels these days.)
My love life and my zest has been crushed.
I don’t have mood swings anymore – I’m just always cross.
I was totally lost. I didn’t know peri existed. Five years on, the madness makes sense.
(Peri menopause) robbed me of words! I will forget words in the middle of the sentence.
Shelly and I (over) share more of our own experiences in the video below.
Why we need to talk more about menopause – what’s worked for me
I talked about what’s worked for me in this blog post. I now wonder why I’ve never talked to my GP about HRT. It’s something I’ll discuss with them further but in consideration of my thyroid condition.
- I got checked/scanned for fibroids to see if there wasn’t something else causing the heavy periods.
- I had my iron levels checked regularly and had infusions as needed – and they were needed quite often during the last few years of peri menopause.
- I tracked my periods on an app. Brain fog ensured I didn’t know when the last one was and knowing how frequent/infrequent my periods was needed when talking to my GP.
- I see a psychologist, which has helped with my anxiety.
- I’ve had Reiki treatments to help with my anxiety. Yes, it’s woo-woo but the combination of my psychologist visits and this has been helped me to feel lighter in my thoughts.
- I changed my exercise routine to be less stressful on my body – my HIIT classes and running were not helping me mentally or physically (after of a few years of them very much helping). Walking and yoga are my exercise friends.
- I stopped my alcohol intake. Fact: my menopausal symptoms are lessened by not drinking. I now drink in way less quantities than 18 months ago. I’ve also found that just one or two glasses of wine can bring on the night sweats, anxiety and insomnia afterwards.
- I prioritise my sleep and stay pretty consistent with my nightly routine. These products are part of my nightly rituals as is prescription melatonin.
- I’m super careful with using any highly active skincare products on my skin, instead focussing on hydration and calming to keep my otherwise hypersensitive skin in check.
- I started intermittent fasting 12 months ago – with my GP’s advice and approval – and it’s been key to reducing the inflammation in my body and lowering my cholesterol – something suddenly appeared in the last two years of peri menopause. It was like my body took on a mind of its own.
Why we need to talk more about menopause – further reading/listening/watching/products mentioned
Ovestin Cream (the cream Shelly talked about)
Modibodi period undies (best insurance policy for heavy periods)