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Irregular periods and heavy menstrual bleeding.

It’s likely that  you’ll  experience irregular periods and heavier than usual bleeding during perimenopause.  I know I did, a couple of times, and it scared the heck out of  me! Even though I was all growed up, seeing the amount of blood that had just left my body, left me shaking. Eek. Had it stopped? Will it everystop? How much blood have I got to lose before I pass out? Terror in the toilet. Losing it in the silence of the loo with no one to turn to. Yep, a bit of  paranoia set in for sure

 

First stop for me was a trusted healer friend. She smiled calmly and said ‘you’re just having a good old clean out”. I wasn’t entirely convinced but I did calm down. I still went for investigation.

In my case, she was correct. But I had reason for fear. My mother developed heavy menstrual bleeding at the age of 46 and it was a warning sign. I don’t want to alar.m anyone, but just be aware that for some women, it’s something that will have an underlying cause. For most of us, it probably is just the womb having a clear out.

 

menopause signs, heavy menstrual bleeding, irregular periods,

 

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Signs of menopause: physical and emotional changes that rock your world!

menopause signs,There are hundreds, if not thousands, of lists  available across the internet, about the  physical signs of menopause. What doesn’t seem to be included often enough, are the less obvious, (but very impactful)  emotional signs of menopause. These stirred emotions, are often the  first rumblings that something – (you) – is changing. Emotional change may even arise with or without the ‘classic’ perimenopause (“peri” meaning “around” menopause) physical symptoms.

It’s really  surprising just how ‘early’ perimenopause starts. As estrogen levels begin to fall – generally given as around 44 years of age – perimenopause begins – albeit, slowly. Amongst emotions that may be stirred up,  I’ve noticed the following:

Broodiness – yes, the unexpected longing for a late baby, or even a first baby, can present itself and it’s not always ‘logical’. But then, emotion isn’t logical. And perhaps Nature has a way of having her voice heard as the fertility levels fall and chances of pregnancy do too.

Wistfulness/random tears A sense of wondering “what if….” – (“I’d done that course/married that guy/had a different upbringing”) can permeate your psyche, and even replay in dreams.

Doubt as to current and/or past  choices may be an offshoot of wistfulness . Doubt can create a sense of worry, concern or restlessness and dissatisfaction about who you have become, and the relationships, career choices and family dynamics that are playing out.

Withdrawal. According to Yogic Tantric wisdom, the Mahadeva (Great or presiding oversoul) of this passage in a woman’s life, is Bagalamhukh. She – or her energy field – causes us women to want to withdraw so that we can reflect, reassess and regenerate and come back to the world, post menopause, having left behind what no longer serves us. In the run up to this, a woman may well journey into her ‘past’.

natural menopause, menopause signs,

Anger and tension. It’s not unusual for a woman to feel more angry and tense at this time. Physically, she may be tired or adrenally exhausted, especially if she is a primary carer and has a career too. She may find that what she could normally do easily ,is now draining her.

Anger may arise from feeling overwhelmed and/or under appreciated.  This can cause mass upset across the board, because whereas once, she may have just ‘got on with it’, now,  in the ‘perimenopause pressure cooker’ of unexplained and disturbing feelings (combined with  physical fatigue), anger may volcanically erupt.  When it does, it can really rock the embedded expectations of others around her.

Anger may also emerge as a (not always very graceful)  boundary defence mechanism. It may be the  knee-jerk response to others,  because boundaries/behaviours that may  have been poorly set in the past, now need a radical overhaul. And anger may just be from on overwhelming desire to be heard and seen: in reality, the need for reassurance. Because one thing is for sure, when the foundations of your being rock,  reassurance is massively valuable.

menopause signs, support,

Support systems and structures are even more important now than ever. Extreme behaviour can lead to extreme consequences. So, if you want to avoid burn out, relationship melt down and potentially loss (to name the most common perimenopause breakdowns) please find people who will truly listen to you. Find people who can guide without judgement, can keep a confidence – for ever – and will be able to reflect back to you what’s valuable, what’s just a trip into the past and what you need to do to keep your sense of self.

 

Oftentimes, physical exhaustion (underpinned in many cases, by adrenal fatigue) makes the emotional symptoms worse. I believe however that it is important – maybe vital – to have an emotional ‘spring clean’ right now, to become more fluent and honest with  your needs and feelings, and to put the past ‘to bed’ The astrological impulses of this time of your life are there to support just that, and I will blog about the Uranian upsurge that is impacting you between the ages of 38 – 44 in future. Meanwhile, the three key things to focus on are: –

 

  1. Remove as much stress as possible from your life, including dietary stressors, too  many late nights, over exercising, overuse of electronic devices, addictions, noise and toxic relationship. I know. That is a big list. Aim to reduce one thing at a time. Honestly, every little does help!
  2. When you need to withdraw then let others know that it’s about you, not them. Time out – an hour, a day – a retreat – with a journal, or simply a place to walk undisturbed, makes ‘space’ for old emotions to surface.
  3. Let the past go with gratitude and ritual. Someone said to me this week that he had boxes and boxes of old photographs. He’s about to move house and really doesn’t want to take them with him but equally couldn’t  bear to just ‘dump them in the garbage’. “So make a ceremony” I said. “Let them go with love and your thanks”. I suggested he  take a few quiet moments, set up a (safe) fire in the garden (an old wok can serve as a fire bucket) or the fireplace (if you have one) and just think on all the joy, happiness, friendship – whatever – these photos recall. Once you have that sense in your heart of being connected – then let it go. And say ‘thank you” – cry, rage, yell, laugh.. whatever you need to do.

 

Remember, this too WILL pass – and with the coming of your “Second Spring” you’ll emerge, like Persephone, triumphant with the seeds of another new you safely embedded in your psyche!

menopause signs,

 

 

 

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Menopause symptoms – signposts to change

menopause symptomsAre you surfing the web just now, looking to piece together the symptoms you are experiencing because you wonder – if it could be menopause? (And perhaps you’re hoping it isn’t – you’re not ready yet!).

Perhaps your medical practitioner has told you “you’re too young – come back in a couple of years and I’ll test your hormone levels”. Or maybe you’ve been told that this is the run up to menopause and you’ll need HRT now to keep your symptoms at bay.

That’s it, for most women in the west (this phenomena doesn’t affect women in other countries in the same way). On offer – HRT, anti-depressants and a pat on the back. You’ve reached the end of your productive road and the medical profession don’t have the time, money or interest to look any deeper than this being a fault of your ovaries. Even though many would love to and a rare few specialise, it’s still not a sexy area of medicine.

 

The story seems to be that your ovaries have it wrong?  Apparently (according to whom I know not but someone will tell me ) it is not time for them to reduce estrogen production. I challenge that.

Your lungs now how to draw air in, your heart knows how to beat – your thyroid is constantly calibrating what needs to be done in your system – your body knows what to do  and when. But this seems to have been overlooked especially following the whole ‘estrogen failure’ thing from the 60s.

 

So. Is menopause an illness? No. It is a natural life event. Can it give rise to symptoms that need treatment? Yes, it can if they are allowed to become severe.. And the best way to manage them is to prepare your body for the change even before perimenopause arrives. Makes sure you do and make sure, please, that women you know do to. It matters. It matters that we stay well and live to enjoy the ‘third third’ of our lives.

 

In a nutshell – here are the usual signs and symptoms  of menopause that medical and other practitioners describe: –

 

  • Irregular periods.
  • Vaginal dryness.
  • Hot flashes.
  • Chills.
  • Night sweats.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Mood changes.
  • Weight gain and slowed metabolism.

Please remember – anything that worries you – especially bloating that doesn’t go away, or very heavy periods (and if there is a persistent low back pain and a feeling of fullness) MUST be checked out thoroughly by a medical practitioner qualified and interested in womens’ health.

But what about the emotional component of these changes? Irregular periods not only throw you into a tangle when it comes to planning – an event, an outfit – a stay away from home – but that stability is leaving and that can make you feel vulnerable. Likewise, vaginal dryness – a new barrier to confident love making perhaps – can leave you feeling like a slightly broken piece of equipment. Sleep problems not only make your day foggy  and hard to deal with but affect weight – leptin that should be produced to (in a healthy way) suppress appetite, is impacted as is the rest of your metabolic system.

In this short piece, I won’t give a run down of every response to every symptom, but I can give you a rule of thumb to apply.

 

  1. Decrease stressors (including foods and environments, people and self-imposed pressures) so that cortisol production is slowed. This is critical.
  2. Increase periods of rest, peace and calm. This is also critical – your adrenals must – MUST – be healthy now so that they can pick up some of the estrogen production.
  3. Ask for help.

From a Yogic/healers perspective what I see is the constant energy drain from an energy body we refer to as the sacral chakra. Think of your womb space as being a resource of personal energy that is leaking. This centre (chakra) also has a correspondence with the throat chakra and it’s so often the case that women do not or will not express their needs -their simple, basic needs – for support – and in perimenopause – they – you – will absolutely be challenged to stand up for them. To stand up for yourself.

 

I work exclusively with women who want the best experience of menopause. A passage that is about to a new place of deeper power, passion and peace. You too can experience the deeper meanings and mysteries of perimenopause, learn the tools and practices that make this a learning and growth experience like no other – buckle up and talk with me.

 

You can find my video series on YouTube where I give more information on the symptoms.

 

menopause symptoms

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Mid life weight gain: a menopause issue or a feminist issue?

menopause weight gain,

I recently met a lady who told me a  weight gain story that is – sadly – not uncommon. First of all, this lady is a health care professional herself. OK, that doesn’t necessarily mean she is doing ‘everything’ right – but she is really  taking care of her physical needs by eating well (avoiding overeating, sugary and refined foods and lately, alcohol) and exercising adequately.

 

She noticed (well, how could she miss it?) a roll of fat appearing around her belly area and try as she might, it would not shift. It worried her. It puzzled her. It made her feel uncomfortable in her clothes and embarrassed in her work situation. So she went to her doctor. He did not ask her any questions (intelligent, or otherwise): he did not even dignify the conversation by noticing that she was upset about this change – over which she seemingly had no control.

 

He simply said “Eat less and exercise more”. She was crushed. She left that surgery feeling like an idiot and also with no support or answers. If he had questioned her properly, he would have developed a  picture of her healthy lifestyle, she might even have shared with him some more factors (which she shared with me) that would shout out to all and sundry, that the lady was suffering from too much stress. She had developed a ‘cortisol’ belly. She was having nightmares – not ‘just’ nightmares, but the kinds of dreams that are SO vivid, that they appear real for hours after waking.

menopause anxiety, weight gain, menopause and grief,

Menopause is SO much more than a physical change. Yet, it is vital to keep the body as well as it can be. The stability of the body helps everything else to settle and transform, over time. Doctors in general practice really don’t have any training or much focus on this key passage in a woman’s life so we must measure our expectations against that knowledge. Let’s face it, most biology books  don’t mention a woman’s body, after the onset of  fertility and child birthing. So, it’s up to us, we  women who are in transition, to find those that can help us, want to help us and have taken time to understand menopause and hand on that wisdom.

 

Weight and weight gain,  is and has been a ‘feminist’ issue for aeons. “Fat” women are seen as being lazy, stupid and out of control. Not to mention ‘not very feminine’. The Rudd Center for Food Policy &  Obesity at Yale University highlighted this in a report as far back as 2008. (“Fat bias worse for women”).

And the trend continues. Women are more likely to be dismissed, demoted and just ignored in the work place if they are perceived as ‘fat’

 

ttps://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/aug/30/demoted-dismissed-weight-size-ceiling-work-discrimination

No wonder it’s hard for most women to deal with weight gain and I salute those brave souls who embrace a larger body (larger than what, or who, I wonder?!) and live without apology in it.

 

menopause weight gain

Challenge your health care professional to explain to you the link between stress and the belly jelly roll. If they can’t, then go find someone who can. And as you know, excess weight also increases risk of heart disease, joint pain and stress, and related issues – some big tummies can be as a result of internal changes, for instance, ovarian cancer. Weight gain is not always about personal irresponsibility.

 

So IF you know you are taking healthy steps and nothing is changing, do not be fobbed off with a simplistic and sometimes, offensive answer. (One other friend was told by her GP (who was wolfing down a packet of biscuits while he spoke to her) to “pick a number and let’s see if we can get you to that age”). I shiver, I really do.

 

perimenopause, weight gain,pelvic floor,

 

 

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Menopause, sexuality and sensuality.

perimenopause help

Menopause seems to be shackled, at least conceptually, to a long list of (very real) woes and laments. I get that. I had those experiences too. Sexuality seems to be the least highlighted but often, one of the most missed parts of a woman’s life experiences during this time.

 

But I do believe there is a vision – a powerful one –  and  better, healthier framework for menopause,  that is rarely shared. It’s not a surprise that it’s almost a secret. Where, in any of my  – or your – school biology lessons,  did womens’ bodies get a mention beyond ‘reproduction’. Menopause wasn’t important.  It wasn’t even visible! Do you think I’d be  I be getting too ‘over the top’ if I assert that this was, at least in part, because the female gender wasn’t  very important anyway and once female ‘productive’ years had finished, who would waste time writing about menopause?

 

Sexuality is always a defining aspect of humanity. And for most women, it has taken a very long time (and it’s a work in progress) to claim it for our gender as a multi-dimensional aspect of our lives (I mean, we ‘have sex’ for reasons other than procreation or being ‘good partners’). Sexuality, in this context  has purpose, pay-off – an end result. Making babies: feeling bliss and pleasure (sometimes!): being intimate: making money: staying safe: being dutiful: trying to ‘grow up’:  pleasing someone else: having to bow to someone else’s needs – perhaps even being forced to.  Being a victim in war, peace or  in the supposed safety of your own home because of someone else’s uncontrolled needs.  All, some or none of these affect most women.

 

Menopause brings with it the opportunity to withdraw from active sexuality for a while. It offers, through what I call it’s ‘hidden technology’, a  precious time to go inward. It’s a time to  protect and save your energy for inner work (physical and emotional) so that when the primal force returns (your Kundalini flows powerfully again, in Yogic terms) you are more connected – not  less.

 

menopause meaning

But this  new cycle  of life  is more about sensuality than sexuality.  It is about how you feel, with or without sexual activity,  a partner, or sexual stimulation that is external.  Your newly enhanced system is coded for sensuality. Sensuality for some, is bliss experienced simply from standing in a field and having the sound of a bird’s song pierce your skin and heart so that you smile and cry. It’s the feeling of formerly forbidden pleasure waves that convulse you as you stroke the velvet patch on a horse’s muzzle, the satin of a cat’s fur or run your hands over the cool smoothness of marble. The sun on your back can generate peaks of pleasure and dreams, dancing and dining can take you to some very ecstatic places.

menopause sensuality

This is one of the great and unsung rewards of riding the peri menopause waves with knowledge. Your central nervous system can become more powerful and more sensitive, so that your feelings, sensations and experiences are translated in ever-more exquisite ways. With the ‘right’ partner, sexual encounters deepen and transform your body into a palace of pure pleasure. But guess what? You don’t need a partner, you just need to keep deepening your own practices of connection. You are your partner: you are, ultimately, your beloved.

 

My top practices are still Hatha Yoga with some Tantric practice: mindful eating, meditation, walking and self-care (and I don’t mean I do this 100% but I do keep my awareness around the topics).I run the high frequency energies of Transference Healing ™ every day and that one has probably been my life saver.

 

I choose words and use them with care: I intend to feel all my feelings deeply and working ‘with’ them and not against them. I love being in nature in all her moods. And  I practice gratitude.

Practice it until it’s as natural as breathing. Gratitude for everything will open your heart (and it contains it’s own special cells, ‘sensory neurites’ which are like brain cells) and help your energy systems to calibrate to the powerful, indescribable pulses of joy which literally ripple through the grid of our planet all the time.

menopause sexuality, menopause anxiety, menopause fire,

My vision is that menopause gets the balanced framework and press it deserves. Women have felt (and allowed themselves to feel) undervalued, cheated and overlooked for too long. Nature has a treat in store for us, at least, that is my belief, but working with the natural forces, opening heart and  mind and getting information, support and knowledge are, as in everything else, key.

 

Don’t short change yourself or your families, colleagues or society. Learn the rites of this passage and reap the amazing rewards! I offer retreats, mentoring that includes energy work and of course, there is my book, ‘ Menopause Magic “which I had entirely forgotten about until I started this article! Now I can’t blame that on peri menopause. I’m 61!

 

 

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Improve Your Financial Life by Learning to Take Care of You First

Our fabulous guest blogger this week is Dr Nikki Ramskill, a hardworking medical doc.who regularly sees some of the difficult issues created when women, in particular, have not been given a sound financial education. Over to you, Nikki!

 

money,menopause, pensions,debt,

“My name is Dr Nikki Ramskill, and I’m otherwise known as the Female Money Doctor. My mission is to help women feel much more empowered around their personal finances because I believe that not only will her own mental and physical health improve, society as a whole will improve too.

If more enlightened women take the reigns in positions of power, I absolutely know the world will be vastly improved.

I’d love to be able to say that it doesn’t matter who you are, or what your background is, but unfortunately I can’t. Yet.

Money Talks

menopause money,

The truth is, money talks, and without this, it’s pretty hard to make big things happen. Whether you loathe it or love it, no one can deny that money is the lubricant in most everyday transactions, and unfortunately, in routes to power.

Now at the moment, you may not have such lofty aspirations as to want to become the next female prime minister, but I’m willing to bet that having more money to help your partner and your family out would be helpful to you?

Yes? Well then, the secret is TO START WITH YOU.

Take Control

For many women, focusing on themselves feels selfish, unmotherly, or dare I say it, “bitchy”. But in my view, it’s none of those things.

Actually, looking after yourself financially is probably one of the most loving things you can do for those around you. Too many women in later life are starting to realise that they are facing the prospect of retirement without significant savings to enable them to live a life they want after stopping work.

 

menopause money,

In addition to this, their kids aren’t able to move out due to spiraling property costs, and increasingly, women in later life are taking on the burden of providing childcare for their daughters who are going out to work to make ends meet.

Quite frankly, women are such awesome caregivers, that they’re forgetting to look after themselves, and the consequences can be dire for our finances.

WASPI Women

Take the WASPI campaign for example. This is a generation of women born in the 50s who are now having to work more years than intended to, because the government have moved the goal posts for the age at which they can collect their state pension. Women who may not be able to continue to work, are now having to find money to plug the gap, and have lost out on a significant sum of money.

This is the sort of situation that for those of us in younger generations should avoid. In fact, in light of this campaign, we’d actually be doing the WASPI Women a MASSIVE disservice if we DIDN’T take action now. Much like the suffragettes in the early 20th century who made the vote happen for women in the UK, so too have the WASPI women helped blaze a trail before us.

You Can Do It Too

 

menopause, anxiety, money worries,

No longer do we have the excuse of ignorance. The information is right there in front of us to see, but you have to know where to look.

Another issue that a lot of women are still guilty of is giving all the financial responsibility to their partner. I know because I used to be just such a woman, and I let my (ex-)partner have full control. We tell ourselves that It’s “too hard” and we’re just “not good with money”.

Well let me tell you that having control of your own personal finances is not rocket science. I promise you that with the right guidance, and a lot of perseverance, you CAN do what it takes to sort your own finances out.

So what can you do right now?

menopause checklist money,

1. Check your state pension status. Use the UK government website to work out your current state pension and your pension age. You can pay extra contributions to fill in gaps where you may have had time out of work such as maternity leave for example.

2. Get into a pension if you aren’t in one already. Most places are automatically enrolling their employees now as per government guidelines, however, if you’re self-employed, getting a SIPP is essential, and can provide you with some much needed tax-relief.

3. Maximise your workplace pension. How much are you paying in per month? How much is your workplace paying in? Could you maximise these contributions? See what your work place is willing to match you up to, and increase your contributions to this maximum. Take advantage of this free money!
4. Work out how much money you need in retirement. There are loads of pension calculators out there, and there are so many variables to really know if your pot of money will give you the find of income you want, but it will give you a rough ballpark figure.

5. Collect your pensions together. If you have lots of different pensions lying around, you can amalgamate them into one pension account. You could use Pension Bee to consolidate them all. There are caveats to this. The first is that you may not be able to transfer certain pensions if you work in the public sector. The other thing you have to be aware of is some pensions are so good you really shouldn’t move them. Final salary pensions are an example of this. Always consultant an Independent Financial Adviser for large sums of money, especially if you are new to this. Unbiased.co.uk is a good place to find an IFA.

6. Make sure your golden eggs are not all in the same basket! Do not rely on your house as “your pension”. Property is not liquid, and may be difficult to sell when the time comes. Also, property markets crash just like stock markets do, and it can take years for it to recover. In fact, some areas of the UK still haven’t recovered from the 2008 crash. Have a better distribution of assets, and utilise all the classes- stocks and shares, gold and other commodities, bonds AND property.

7. Improve your cash flow. Take a good hard look at your budget and trim down those expenses. Start to set aside money for saving and investing so not everything is heading out the door in the form of bills and unnecessary spending. If you’re approaching retirement, and still don’t have a lot saved into retirement funds, you must make this an absolute priority to get on track.

8. Have the right insurances set out. If you have dependents, life insurance is essential, but if you don’t, it really isn’t necessary. Don’t go out and buy expensive funeral cover unless what you pay in guarantees that it will cover all costs. A lot of them don’t, so check the small print before you sign.

9. Pay off debt, this includes your mortgage. Being mortgage free at the time of retirement will free you up enough to be able to enjoy your retirement without the worry of still needing to pay to keep a roof over your head.

10. Update your will and appoint a power of attorney. You never know when you might need this to come into play, so it’s best to have your wishes recorded when you’re fit and able, than when sadly you’re not. A good solicitor will be able to help you with this.

Final Words from Dr Nikki

Make 2018 the year you embrace your finances and take ownership of them. No one else will do this for you, and with women significantly outliving their partners in retirement, we absolutely must make our own finances an urgent priority.

Good luck in your journey to retirement. Yes money isn’t the be-all-and-end-all, but it will certainly go far to supporting you and helping you feel less financially stretched. This puts you in a place of strength to then help others around you do the same.

Being a woman has never before been so good.

With Love,

Dr Nikki x
https://thefemalemoneydoctor.com

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Menopause, anxiety and strange dreams. Grief may help.

menopause, anxiety,Anxiety in menopausal years  can be confusing, tiring and upsetting. While it is important to make sure your diet and life style, stressors and supporters, are all in a good place, there is potentially, more to mid-life anxiety. In the invisible realms of your body, something is calling for your attention and this low level anxiety is a clue.

 

You may know that I believe that (peri) menopause is a long term psycho/spiritual developmental stage as well as a physical one. The potential outcome of this development, to my mind, is an expanded way of living, Whether that  expansion is achieved by letting go of outdated ideas, behaviours or systems: or by the adoption of new and more liberating (joy bringing) ways of being. Or maybe it’s a simple shift in self perception that allows more self love. It’s personal.

 

At around 42  years of age, the effects of your Uranian opposition begin to be felt. Now I am not an astrologer and I can only recommend to you the seminal work by Barbara Hand Clow “Liquid Light of Sex” (Bear & Co) which came into my life once I had experienced some profound realisations about menopause, the Divine Feminine, Kundalini and astrology. At around the same age, a woman begins to lose ‘fertility’ – in other words, her body does notproduce so much estrogen. This is the commencement of peri-menopause.

Menopause and Uranian opposition

Astrological symbol for Uranus

Barbara Hand Clow says “unreleased grief is one of the most common sources of chakra blocks and it will lie in the solar plexus chakra until kundalini rises”. She also says that “it will manifest as seemingly sourceless anxiety… (or) in a dream or nightmare” (p 69).

(Erm, One of my nightmares that felt absolutely REAL every time I dreamed it, was that I had  killed a man and  completely forgotten that I had killed him. In my dream, I was going about my daily chores when  I suddenly remembered this murderous act. I can’t even tell you how that felt. It created a lot of anxiety for me. I used to wake up confused to the extent that I had to seriously question whether this was a ‘real’ memory from this lifetime). It’s a classic separation from Uranus (male power) dream and it was horrible!

menopause anxiety, menopause and grief,

What does grief have to do with ANY of this? Well, what prompted my to write this article is that the most powerful, devastating and cleansing grief experience of my life happened when  I was 43. And I have just witnessed one of my closest friends going through the same experience, and hers was not triggered by a death, a divorce or  even a family member moving. She is breaking her heart over a family friend,  a young man who had touched her heart and who, she believes, was a son in a former life. He has been moved away – overnight – by Social Services – and her family is bereft. She has sobbed for two days which is most certainly, not her style and is feeling anxiety and concerns beyond her remit.

In my experience, it’s  always a clue to a blockage about to get cleared, when a response is way out of balance with an incident. Low level anxiety that does not have a clear and reasonable source, is one of these clues.

 

So it was for me.  I had, by the time of my loss, grieved the death of two beloved parents, yet nothing prepared me for this storm.  Days were spent wrapped in a quilt, propped against a wall, so that the overwhelming impact of my uncontrolled grief was minimised on my exhausted body. I dreamed vividly about this long-lost love: I spoke with him in my mind: I found photographs and put them on my altar.

menopause, menopause anxiety

One wet and wild day, a wave of grief took me to my knees, literally as I walked my dogs in the winter flooded fields.  As I allowed the power of pain to sweep through me, I felt a new emotion. It felt like joy. And then – ecstasy. After a time, I  felt only one emotion and it was ecstasy.  In that moment, I knew how my love’s death had served me. It had blasted away all pretense, all mind stuff, all ‘blocks’ and only the ecstasy of pure Love was left for me to feel.  My Uranian opposition had done its work and blasted a path through my solar plexus to my heart. The work began there!

I am not suggesting that you go looking for grief. I am suggesting that if something  ‘triggers’ you, be curious and open. Perhaps an incident will occur that provokes a deep and  possibly, unwelcome response from deep within you. It may feel uncontrollable. Let it take you if you feel you can. or find a counsellor or similar, professional outsider to help you.

If others may be affected by your grief, then find ways to help them not feel responsible for your emotions. Take yourself to a private space and/or professional office and do what you need to. Don’t project this energy by blaming or shaming self or others, otherwise so that you create a messy ‘web’ for so often, what we feel has little to do with what is really happening outside of us. I promise, from bitter experience, this can have unwanted effects.

menopause anxiety, menopause fire,

Grief can be a fierce healer, but go into the fire with courage (the quality of the heart) and faith. You will emerge, and if you resist the temptation to fall into blame, shame or resentment, you will feel clearer, lighter and stronger. At least, I did and I think my bestie, M would agree.

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Perimenopause support – who wants soggy undies anyway?

perimenopause, pelvic floor,

 

I first heard the word ‘prolapse’ when I was pregnant. In fact, what I heard was ‘rectal prolapse’ and that random phrase galvanised me like a 1000 volt cattle prod poking into my stately rear end.

Peri menopause brings presents – and perils. One of the perils that can be managed is that of pelvic floor weakness In other words, the floor of muscle and ligament that supports your womb, bladder, bowel, rectum and associated plumbing can slacken and weaken. It may have been prompted by giving birth, especially to a large baby, or with forceps assisted birth. Carrying excess weight strains the pelvic floor too, so it’s not all down to menopause. But it will certainly show up now if it’s going to.

 

As the muscles slacken, various organs can move downwards, resulting in discomfort (well, that word covers a multitude of sins) –  leaking urine when you don’t want to – uterine position changes and more. Let’s not dwell too much on this but do be aware.

 

The other aspect of this problem is an emotional/psychological one. A woman in this stage of life may feel pretty vulnerable anyway.

menopause help, pelvic floor,

Finding that you can’t control your bladder so well, or noticing the unwelcome feeling of damp knickers, has a very unsexy effect on a girl’s psyche. Or so I found. The knowledge that things are sagging can  make you feel as though this is really the slide into Tena pads.

Take heart. The drop in estrogen does cause some elasticity to seep from your precious tissues. But getting to know those muscles intimately, and making sure they are healthy, exercised and hydrated and that you carry your pelvic organs correctly (remember ‘deportment’ at school? Bet that’s not what they meant) are going to make a big difference. Orgasm is negatively affected by slack pelvic floor muscles too – and positively improved by a bouncy, muscular, vaginal canal, I can assure you!

 

Things to do:

 

  1. Get intimate: what does your pelvic floor look like? A bit like this…perimenopause, pelvic floor

 

2 Build pelvic floor exercises into your day. Easy to do anywhere, especially while waiting for check out!

You can find out where the pelvic floor muscles are and how you control them next time you go to the toilet. As you wee, try to stop the flow briefly. The muscles you use to do this are your pelvic floor muscles.

Don’t do this more than once, though – it’s not good for your bladder to stop mid-wee and doing it regularly may lead to a urinary tract infection.

Once you’ve found your pelvic floor muscles, try stopping an imaginary wee rather than a real one. Once you can locate them like this, you can exercise them any time you like by tightening and lifting them.

To tighten and lift your pelvic floor muscles, imagine doing the following at the same time:

  • Squeezing your bottom as if stopping a poo
  • Squeezing to stop the flow of wee
  • Squeezing as though you’re gripping a tampon in your vagina.

You can do pelvic floor exercises anywhere you like. Nobody will know what you’re doing – as long as you don’t raise your eyebrows each time you squeeze!

You can exercise on the bus, while you’re on the phone or waiting in the supermarket queue.

3. Discover the power of breath and correct posture to support and enliven those organs and that tissue. This is where a knowledgeable Yoga teacher is invaluable.

Although the classical information about squeezing the pelvic floor muscles is all fine and good, but  does not describe the power and relationship between the diaphragm and the pelvic floor.  This is gold standard information. I recommend you start out by investigating a living legend, Uma Dinsmore-Tuli, and her Yoga work for women’s health:

http://www.wombyoga.org/events-and-courses

 

So, no more waiting and pushing it to the back of your mind. The sooner you strengthen them, the better you will feel!

 

As ever, contact me for details of these teachings. I will be teaching full breath and pelvic floor work,  at my next retreat or just ping me an email

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Belly fat, sweating & exhausted? Is it really all because of the menopause?

 

 

If you are suffering from unwanted saggy belly fat, sweating during the day and at night (or having gruesome chills) and feeling exhausted, you’re likely to be told that it’s the inevitable result of the dreaded menopause.

belly fat, menopause,

 

But why would 75% of women never report these symptoms? Or even tell you (as my ‘best’ friend did) ” I just sailed through it” Hmm.

 

Is it REALLY all because of the down regulation of your ovaries? Or could there be other factors at play? Factors that you may be able to work with… have a look at what Dr Berg has to say:

 

 

Have you got your copy of my “30 day sweat reduction programme”? It’s a good place to start taking back control.

Even if your flashes don’t respond and you need more support, you’ll learn a lot about your body and mind. Menopause is not just about your body – it is – in my opinion anyway – a doorway (well, a long tunnel sometimes) to a new and freer life. So don’t write it off, arbitarily medicate it away or feel you are being penalised. Honestly, messy as it can be – a gift awaits you on the other side.