Menopause: A Very Hot Topic

Allan Donque(flickr1) 4263260713_c9ccf6c858_o

"Let the change, change your life for the better." ~ Joanne Kimes.

If you are on the menopause or perimenopausal rollercoaster then you have probably already googled every corner of the web. And gleaned what you can from women friends and family members. It’s certainly not the taboo subject it was, but it’s still not your average dinner conversation.

However, there is an ever growing body of useful information and research at your disposal. A welcome relief (depending on the mood you are in) is the humour liberally dished out by writers, comedians and other entertainers. Menopause the musical springs to mind.

In “Menopause Sucks”, Joanne Kimes and Elaine Ambrose cover what is going on in your body and brain. It is in itself medicinal with generous doses of side splitting humour. You will learn how to cope more effectively, and be reminded that you are not alone. Let’s take a brief look inside:

♥  DO YOU REMEMBER YOUR FIRST HOT FLUSH?

What you were doing! Who you were with! Joanne does:

(The Introduction) – Joanne's first experience happened during an important business meeting, and she was the presenter! Her definition for perimenopause; “dangerous crazy lady.”

If you don't want to 'laugh until you cry' then I suggest you skip the introduction…

♥  THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY OF HORMONAL MOOD SWINGS

(Chapter 6) Emotional Volleyball – For some of us our hormonal imbalances can affect us on an almost hourly basis. And if if you were emotionally volatile during your reproductive years, you will have more intense emotions during menopause. In this section Joanne discusses:

1. Mood swings through the ages – Hold onto your feminist hat as you revisit the backward and sexist perspective of well meaning wise men on women's issues. And if you haven't watched the movie "Hysteria" yet, now might be a good time. Entertaining and funny movie.

2. Serotonin and a smile – Did you know that your serotonin levels are controlled by your estrogen and progesterone hormones? Your fluctuating estrogen and progesterone hormones begin rising like a rocket and falling like a rock, causing your moods to do the same.

What you can do:

   Plan regular exercise. You can increase your feel good neurotransmitter levels (serotonin and dopamine) by exercising regularly.

   Go outside and play. Natural light is known to raise your levels of serotonin.

   Boost your serotonin. Try serotonin-boosting vitamins and supplements.

   Drink less alcohol. Too much is a sedative and a depressant.

   Find some menopausal friends. They can make you laugh, and there is strength in numbers.

3. Picking Your "NOs". If you have always been a people pleaser, now is the time to learn how to say "NO". Not, maybe or in a minute.

Begin today – You will have more energy to say "YES", to things that are important to you.

Be prepared for tears, incredulous looks of shock, and dramatic stomping of feet. ~ Joanne Kimes

4. How To Jump Off Your Mood Swings

   Take a look at your diet. Did you know that fresh fruit and whole grains will raise your serotonin level and elevate your blood sugar?

   Laugh more. It will boost your immune system and release happy hormones.

   Take some deep breaths. Your brain and body will benefit when you take a moment to fully breath. It will help to calm you and clear your mind. Did you know that 70% of your toxins are expelled through your respiratory system.

   Breath in calming scents. Seek out calming smells like lavender, jasmine or eucalyptus.

   Get moving. Regular exercise can help restore erratic sleep patterns, and generate better self-esteem.

   Have a good cry. Emotional tears are a natural pain reliever, and will release unwanted toxins from your system.

 WHY YOUR BRAIN IS OUT TO LUNCH

(Chapter 8) Mental Health Issues are Important – If You Can Remember them – Joanne recommends this section for those of you who have done the following or something equally clever. Put your purse into the freezer, left ice cream on the desk, and then realized you were in someone else’s house.

No need to suffer social embarrassment because menopause provides the perfect excuse for being cognitively impaired. ~ Joanne Kimes

1. What your mind really does during the day – Learn about your brain (your very own personal computer) with its approximately 100 billion nerve cells gathering and transmitting signals to your mind and body.

2. Use it or lose it.  Keep your body active, your brain loves oxygen more than you might realise. The increased blood flow of twice weekly exercise can lower your risk of dementia by more than 50%.

Your brain needs exercise too. Challenge it with reading, board games, cards, educational games, and other stimulating activities.

3. Brain food list. Stop listening to what your taste buds crave and listen to your brain. It craves a low-fat diet, full of fruits and vegetables. Joanne's list of brain food to help you focus:

   Omega-3 fats. Regular consumption can increase your score on memory tests. Try flaxseed, salmon or tuna.

   Antioxidants. Found in foods high in vitamin E and C. Try citrus fruits, dark green vegetables, tomatoes, legumes, and nuts.

   Folates. Helps increase memory function, prevent strokes, and can significantly reduce your risk of Alzheimer's. Try leafy green vegetables, fruit, Lima beans, whole-wheat bran, and milk.

   Zinc. Can improve your memory functions.

   Ginkgo biloba. Increases blood flow to the brain.

   DHA. Regular consumptions helps to maintain brain function. Try salmon, tuna or supplements.

   Soy. Did you know people in Japan have fewer cases of Alzheimers and other dementia diseases? This is partly because of the antioxidants in the significant amount of soy products they consume.

   Turmeric. There are also lower rates of dementia in India, attributed to their high levels of turmeric consumption.

   Red wine. Moderate amounts are good for brain health. Note: Moderate is one glass, not the whole bottle.

Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. ~ Sonia Ricotti

♥   Every woman deserves a copy of Menopause Sucks. The 14 chapters are jam packed with useful advice and antidotal humor to help you negotiation the challenges of menopause more successfully.

Note: When serious mood swings lead to long periods of depression or anxiety, don't try and manage it on your own. Seek the support of family and friends, talk to your doctor and / or allied health professional, and find a professional counsellor you feel comfortable with.

 

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Lets Talk

If you are struggling to cope with mid-life changes, perimenopause or menopause, then please call me for a Free 15 minute consultation. We can talk about what is going on for you and I can answer any questions you might have. If I am with a client I will get back to you as soon as I can.

0403 064 874

kerry.sutton@insynccounselling.com.au

 

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4 Comments on “Menopause: A Very Hot Topic

  1. Hi Kerry – thank you for that; lot’s of good information that I didn’t know. Especially relevant (and it deserves to be shouted from the rooftops) is the established link between hormones and mental health. It isn’t a personal fault – it’s biology.

    1. Thank you for your feedback Tim. I really agree that we need to get this message out there as much as possible. It is empowering to know that its “normal” and it can be managed. 🙂

  2. Hi Kerry,

    I love this post. I can SO…. relate and it is lovely to get a laugh out of what can be a challenging and controversial topic! I will definitely be reading the book!

    1. Its wonderful to have your feedback Marg. Laughter is definitely therapeutic when it comes to menopause. That and knowing you’re not the only one! 🙂

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