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Menopause Blog: Reduce your symptoms, save your body!

Updated: Aug 23, 2023



Woman relaxing with a symptom free perimenopause

Your hormonal change right now can be such a hurdle to overcome that you may not be thinking about the years afterwards, or the affect on your health your current symptoms will have. What if I said that if you reduce your symptoms right now this will also help relieve the severity of your future symptoms? If you take action on what your body is telling you now, you may never have hot flushes, and if you don't then you may never have cardio vascular disease; as it starts with the seeds of change in your health during the perimenopause. If I can help you think about that today then it's a real incentive to resolve the current symptoms you have, get on top of how you're feeling and work your way back to feeling great. This month in my menopause blog: reduce your symptoms, save your body!



Reduce Your Symptoms, save your body!


What do I mean by this?


When your hormonal transition starts with the decline of progesterone (your oestrogen may still be at a very healthy level!) this starts a chain reaction of symptoms in your body, with the deep underlying cause being stress. I've been there, I know how I felt, I know I was being swallowed up by symptoms that I just put down to aging, I didn't think menopause or stress, I just thought: this is getting older I suppose. Finding out I could be menopausal (turns out perimenopausal) was a wondrous wake up call that I'm thankful for getting.


Many women find they get easily overwhelmed, simple tasks that could be done with ease in the past now seem like hurdles, attending events triggers anxiety; all of these are indicators of stress. Getting more emotional, crying over silly things, snapping easily, and being awake at 4am with swirling negative thoughts; stress, stress, stress.


You may go to the gym to work it out and release those endorphins; this causes more physical stress. Gentle exercise is good, but working out until you're exhausted? Not so good.


The theme here is that your body becomes more stressed as you advance into the perimenopause, and this is much more prevalent in today's world than probably your mothers generation, especially if you're juggling a job, family and more at present.


Some women say they aren't stressed, and maybe they aren't as for some it may come at a different stage in life, however there are others that don't register that they are stressed; it really is quite individual how and when stress peeks over and above your tolerance levels and how it manifests symptomatically. If you feel like you've lost your spark or your joy and your emotions are very flat or you're feeling even lower; stress is predominant now in your system. If you have anxiety, you most like are registering that you are stressed and this is a good thing, you know your body is in this state, this means you can take action to resolve it, awareness is always the first step to resolving your symptoms.


Helping your body out of a stressed state now combats a whole host of health symptoms that could be coming down the line, including:


Chronic inflammation / joint pain

Lowered immunity / autoimmune disorders

Cardiovascular problems (including hot flushes)

Gut health issues / gaining weight

Poor brain function and memory loss

Potential for Diabetes ||



Why you need to take stress seriously


If any of the symptoms mentioned so far are ticking boxes for you then you'll have some level of stress in your body physically and then it's a question of: Does it stay or do I combat it?


Notice that I've talked about stress in a physical sense, it has manifested physicallin you body now, this is what your symptoms now are; your body reacting to your body being in a state of stress.


Stress is now physical.


There is still a stigma around this; if you admit to feeling stressed at work or you're not coping well at home, you don't feel strong enough, or even more damage provoking I'm stressed but I'm carrying on regardless. What I'd like you to understand today is that stress is a physical response in your body, if you're feeling it it's because your body is already weakened by it. A body in a weaker state allows your mind to easily feel stressed, anxious, fearful, depressed and more. A strong body supports a strong mindset, they go hand-in-hand, and so once stress takes hold it's a catch 22 that can spiral downwards if you don't intervene. However you can also use this to flip this situation and use making positive changes to your mind and body at the same time to spring back up!


Knowing that stress is physical and that you can do something practical to start resolving it I think it a useful thing to know; I know it helped me. I'll look at some first steps you can make to intervene for positive change, but first lets look at how stress is going to affect your body if you don't do something about it.




How stress takes its toll



I've learnt this the hard way, but I also stepped in and took action when I learnt what all of this meant. I was putting up with symptoms like aching joints, more and more tired, crying at silly things and just feeling bleurgh about anything I should have been feeling excited about. I was heading in a bad direction so I'm so pleased I had a wake up call that there was something I could do about it.


I've had a stressful career, in fact I've had a very stressy life, I worried about everything, tried to be perfect all the time, so I probably did put a lot of strain on my system for many years, even decades. I also tried to combat it with sport, swimming and playing a lot of tennis. I ignored my aches and took Ibruprofen to get through my tennis matches; I thought those were better than painkillers. I , like many women thought doing more exercise would get me through.


The way stress was affecting me was it had interferred with my oestrogen levels all my life, meaning I hold onto fat, I kept my life in fight or flight mode for many years.


We should only be in this mode for a few minutes at a time , just enough to outrun that sabre toothed tiger! Then we should relax back into the rest and digest state; we should be in this state at least 95% of the time.


The likelihood is though you're in a stressed state nearly 95% of the time, and if you're awake around 4am and can't get back to sleep this is definitely a red flag on the level of stress in your body.


Stress is dictated by the level of the stress hormone cortisol that you have, it means you're sluggish in the morning and wired at night. Being in a highly stressed state plays with your blood sugar levels, meaning insulin is being overworked making Diabetes Type 2 a possibility if this continues.


Cortisol requires nutrition to be able to do its job, so it takes it from where it can get it; but this doesn't then leave enough for the rest of your mind and body to function, so you'll feel tired, achy, have brain fog and be moody.


Being in a stressed state affects your liver, and this in turn (hop over the anatomy and physiology lesson) leads to your body being in a state of oxidative stress, this literally takes it's toll on your cellular renewal (or lack of) and starts to affect the clean functioning of your body's organs and systems. All of this is going on before the hormone oestrogen starts to decline by the way, this is just the perimenopause when progesterone is taking a hammering!


Cortisol interferes with your ability to produce enough progesterone, and allows your oestrogen to spike at times of the month, so cortisol is having a heavy effect on your periods. If you're suffering from PMS then your body is stressed.



cortisol steal in perimenopause

picture courtesy of MyMT by Dr Wendy Sweet (phd)


Long term stress triggers chronic inflammation in your body. This is something that scientifically and medically is only just in the last few years really getting traction on why so many women are getting autoimmune disorders at this stage of life. Other health conditions from IBS to Fibromyalgia too; as hormones become imbalanced with the increase of cortisol and the decrease of progesterone the body starts to struggle and groups of symptoms can appear as if over night. They have been a long time in the making though, and then usually appear at a point of intense stress in your life; the straw that breaks the camels back scenario.


Chronic by definition means longterm, it's insidious, you may not really notice it but you start living your life differently because of it. A lot of people live with chronic pain, this isn't good but on some level it just seems manageable. It's not a sharp stabbing pain, its a dull ache, it makes you feel tired more early on in the day than if you didn't have it. Chronic is dangerous, especially for a perimenopausal woman.



Chronic at this time of life is setting up health patterns , ones that you just cope with, manage to get by with; live with whilst you're busy looking after everyone else. Chronic means you put up with it as you hope it'll just go away and you're managing aren't you? Your body starts to compensate for chronic conditions, it'll always find a way around but this isn't a good thing. Compensating means just that, and it'll be at the expense of something else in your body.



A bundle of chronic symptoms that left undealt with will lead to a worse menopause. Hot flushes are a sign that your body is being put under duress, and it will have been that way for sometime, however that doesn't mean you can't turn it around. So now let's talk about how you can help knock stress and chronic inflammation on the head and have a far happier and healthier menopause transition!


It's not all doom and gloom! Yes these are the things that can go wrong, but do you know what?


Your body is incredibly forgiving, start feeding it what it needs and it will start to turn things around and you'll feel the benefits. The more you do, the more quickly you'll see the results!





How to help your progesterone levels (lower your cortisol levels)


Progesterone needs vitamins and minerals to help it back on its feet, unlike oestrogen there are no phyto plants that can boost this. There is a herb Agnus Castus that is said to support your body's progesterone levels, I don't have a personal story about it as I just did vitamins and minerals to boost how I felt, which I always recommend you do first (and take herbals under advice).


There are 4 main minerals that really support your progesteron (because they support lowering your cortisol). I would suggest that you have an all round good multivitamin and then you can take extra of these as needed - the 4 are Vitamins are B6, C, E and zinc.


If you're on a good whole food multi vitamin (like the one I recommend from Cytoplan - grab my free download to help you get started) not only will you be getting a good dose of Zinc and B6 but as it's very bioavailable to your system which means you'll be absorbing a good dose from it, which your cortisol as it can get on with the job of destressing you.


Some vitamins and minerals you can't pack enough in a multi vitamin so you have to take an extra supplement - this goes for the likes of vitamin C, D, E and Magnesium. If you put the right dose in an MV it would be the size of a bullet!


Coming into Autumn it's really a good idea to increase your vitamin C for your immunity, but remember it's also a powerful antioxidant (so this supports your cardio health, liver health and it boosts collagen to!) It's a total super vitamin!!


Vitamin E is fantastic for your skin, it also encourages moisture to be held and along with vit C both are good for turning around vaginal dryness, as well as destressing you.


Zinc - another vital mineral that after Magnesium we tend to be depleted in. Another antioxidant it also helps keep progesterone and testosterone in check, plus immunity, brain and vision. If you're prone to diarhoea you may also require more zinc. We can't make it and you don't get much from food, especially if you're veggie.


Vitamin B6 can be taken as part of the whole vitamin B complex - and your good MV covers this. The B's are critical to getting you through your menopause and remaining sane and energised.


Magnesium - I can't write a menopause article without saying: add in more Magnesium! The likelihood is you're not getting enough. If you're awake at 4am, you're not getting enough. If you have aches you're not getting enough. If you're only getting Mg from an MV, you're not getting enough. Get the picture? Get help starting on your supplements that are really going to work for you in my handy menopause supplements guide.


High Cortisol levels lowers your immunity, it's why certain people catch every bug there is going. A better immune system means you're lowering your cortisol levels which in turn means your progesterone can catch up and manage the overpowering oestrogen; it's a complete balancing act and I'm not suggesting you get tests or try to micro manage your hormone levels but I am suggesting that along with taking the vital nutrients I've suggested that you also look at some lifestyle changes.




Stopping stress (chronic inflammation) at the root


Sleep - if you're not sleeping through the night this is the first thing to work on. Stress interrupts your sleep, get your sleep back and a lot of your symptoms will diminish. I really help you with this in Feel Better in 28 Days or you may prefer to talk with me directly.


Exercise - finding the balance, not too much as to stress your body, but enough that your body feels the benefit. The sweet spot? You feel great for the rest of the day and you sleep well, and wake up refreshed the day after. If you exercise a lot and you have mood swings, you're crying or you feel exhausted, it's too much of the wrong type. Look to incorporate yoga, qi gong, meditation into your life. Remember, walking the dog in the fresh air is valid exercise :)


Strengthen your gut - taking a probiotic is probably one of the most beneficial changes I made, and many of my clients have called Biolive a game changer! Your gut is most likely struggling, if you take any antibiotics this will be the case, if you have any gut health issues this is certainly the case. If you have gum inflammation, body odour, night sweats, constipation, diarrhoea, low moods, brain fog, your gut needs help. A probiotic puts back in the good bacteria that you're missing, it takes time, it's not one month thing, invest in at least 3 months to get started, but ideally you're looking at a couple of years to help your gut get back into shape. You also want to eat plenty of veg and wholegrains (for fibre too). Your gut health is the basis of your moods and happiness as well as your strong immune system. Stress will have weakend your whole system so combat with a good probiotic. I recommend Microbz Biolive because it had such an amazing effect on me and my clients are equally impressed.


Mindset management of stress - you'll see blogs that say reduce stress and you'll be going grrrrr, it's easier said than done! Of course it is :( So what about if you view stress differently? I said earlier that stress is a physical condition in your body, it is , but it's fed into by how your mind views situations on a daily basis in your life. If you're always telling everyone you're stressed, running around late, taking on too much, feeling guilty for not achieving, not able to say no; all of these are situations will create more stress in your life. Managing how you view and think of your day to day life can be incredibly life changing, I cover this as part of my Anxiety guide, or you can contact me for a chat if you'd like to explore this.



Master your menopause anxiety naturally
Click through to discover Master Your Menopause Anxiety Naturally


Getting started on relieving stress


Living with high levels of stress and chronic inflammtion in your body will not only age you faster but will lead to health conditions that will limit your capacity for a fantastic life post menopause; and will leave you feeling unhappier too. I want you to have a good symptom free menopause transition and if you achieve this you will be on a much stronger footing to head off the HRT scaremongering conditions of osteoporisis, heart disease and dementia. It's not lack of oestrogen that causes these, though the lowering of oestrogen can play it's part, it's the overall long term health of your body, its the state it got into with the perimenopause.


If you've had 10 or more years of chronic pain, stress and inflammation then these health symptoms will appear. They don't pop up over night once the menopause has happened, they are the long term results of your body struggling. You're feeling this struggle, it's in your lack of sleep, your low moods, brain fog, aches and more. Your body is telling you it's unhappy, the question is are you going to do anything about it?


Because there is so much you can do, you can turn this around, and you can start feeling great, you just need the help getting on the right path! I offer a free clarity call to point you in the right direction, you may not need any further help from me, or you may wish to read my book which steps you through making changes, or immerse yourself in my video series or work to me on a one to one basis as your needs are more complex. I don't mind how you make your changes, only that you get started and turn this around, because you're worth taking the time and energy to help yourself feel better.


Self care isn't selfish, it's going to save your body!



Where do I get started?


Empower yourself to choose your preferred mode of action: delve into supportive guides orengage with my indepth video series , or connect with me for personalised guidance in steering you in the right direction.


Let go of the daunting aspect of progress as you navigate through your menopausal transition embrace this time with minimal symptoms and disruption to your life. Unlock the potential to effectively relieve your symptoms through entirely natural remedies—an exceptional alternative to HRT. This approach positions hormone replacement therapy as an available choice only if necessary, putting the decision firmly in your hands.



Contact Andrea

Andrea is a shiatsu and chinese medicine practitioner who uses the principles of chinese medicine in a completely practical way to help you resolve your symptoms naturally and effectively. If you live locally you can book in for wonderfully relaxing Shiatsu for Menopause, otherwise Andrea does online indepth consultations where you'll leave with an actionable plan to follow.



excited woman with menopause Go Getter Starter Pack from Cotswold Menopause



KNOWLEDGE . PAUSE . FLOURISH















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Beware Menopause-branded supplements

There is very little scientific backing on most of the supplements that are currently flooding the market at present - you are being sold to; you are being promised that this one pill will solve everything. I look at the ingredients and percentages of all supplements that I'm notified about or come across. Do not believe any menopause expert endorsement; I don't know who these women are.

 

The menopause experts that I trust don't endorse any of the products I've looked at. Some supplements will help with some symptoms; it's better if the supplement is targeted to a small set of symptoms that are linked; it's more likely to be effective.  They can be a good starting place but over time will become less effective; don't be disheartened it's likely that they don't have enough dosage in for what you now need. I have a Starter Supplement Guide that  explains what you need and why you need it i effective levels to help relieve your symptoms naturally.

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