When midlife mayhem descends it’s not uncommon to wake up in the morning feeling like you have been possessed by an alien. Life as you knew may seem to be a dim and distant memory. Your hormones are in the driving seat and you are left clinging on by your finger nails. Gone are the days when you roll over in the mornings hoping your partner is in the mood for some fun. Instead of snuggling up for comfort and love you are only too pleased to be in your own space busy throwing off the covers as the heat over takes you. When you cool down, hoping you will stay cool long enough to engage in passion, you may be fearful that intercourse will be a nightmare leaving you feeling sore instead of satisfied.
Repeated nights interrupted by overpowering sweats leave you feeling overwhelmingly tired. Your skin takes on a pale hue and circles appear under your eyes making you look like you haven’t slept well for months. You drag yourself out of bed to get on with your day but struggle because of your lack of energy. Your clothes may be too tight as you have gained weight through comfort eating and lack of exercise and you feel despondent and somewhat depressed. The power surges that come unannounced at regular intervals make you red in the face and feel like you are melting are nothing short of embarrassing.
You long life as you knew it, feeling afraid about where this may be going. How will you manage to cope? Should you seek advice? Take hormones? You go on line to find some natural alternatives but the overwhelming amount of information makes you feel even more confused that you already are. In the back of your mind you wonder whether your partner will be supportive or might get fed up with the significant change in the regular rhythm of your relationship. Some of the things that are happening to you may be even too embarrassing to discuss with close friends so you sit in not so splendid isolation wondering what comes next.
Your body goes through a series of changes leading up to menopause. These are known collectively as the ‘perimenopause’ (‘peri’ meaning ‘around’). The first sign that things are on the move is usually a change in the pattern of your periods. They may become irregular, longer or shorter, as well as heavier or in some cases lighter. Other perimenopausal symptoms include hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, loss of libido, loss of energy, sleepless nights and not being able to concentrate – at first just occasionally, but as time goes by, more and more frequently.
Most of us are unprepared for perimenopause. It may simply bring a degree of unpredictability into your life, since you never know when your period is going to arrive. If you are less fortunate, you may experience a worsening of PMS symptoms, as well as regular mood swings and more ‘black’ days than you dare to count.
As you go through your 40s, the supply of eggs you were born with starts to run out and your ovaries stop releasing an egg each month. This means you no longer produce so much progesterone and oestrogen. Eventually, your ovaries run out of eggs altogether, progesterone production ceases and oestrogen levels fall. Oestrogen is required for many bodily functions – not just for reproduction – including strong bones, a sharp mind and a healthy heart, so it is inevitable that you will feel the effects of this change.
Fluctuating hormone levels may not be the only trigger of menopausal symptoms. The many surveys that we have carried out at the Natural Health Advisory Service (NHAS) suggest that dietary and lifestyle factors at this time of life can also play a significant part. Pregnancy, breastfeeding, as well as nutritional imbalances that may have developed over the years as a result of dieting, poor eating habits or malabsorption, often take their toll, leaving many of us in a nutritionally depleted state as we approach the menopause.
Peri-menopause also tends to hit most of us at a psychological turning point, when natural fears about ageing and what the future may hold start weighing on our minds. You may be overloaded with other problems, such as the ups and downs of life with teenage children, caring for elderly relatives, changes in your relationship if you have one or perhaps doing a job outside the home for the first time in years. If, on top of all this, you have the menopause to deal with, it’s not surprising if you feel below par!
Despite all the changes you may be experiencing, it is important to keep things in perspective. The menopause need not be the end of life as you once knew it, but rather the beginning of a new phase that can be just as exciting and rewarding as your earlier years. As long as you take into account all of your symptoms, there is a lot you can do to make this transition into the next stage as smooth as possible.
What seems like midlife mayhem can turn into the beginning of a wonderful new phase in your life. You just need to know how to meet the needs of your body and that’s my focus in the live webinars I’m scheduling in May. They are completely free so go to the homepage here at www.maryonstewart.com to register your interest.
Read My Ten Tips For A Healthy Midlife