Total Pageviews

Tuesday 30 June 2015

Woman's Health - Menopausal Middle and Other Things

Meet Julia McPhee, pictured above, she is a fellow blogger who lives in New Zealand  and has recently written this article below which I think many women may relate to ... hope you find it of interest.


" I love to watch and listen to people when I am out and about, and often make up stories about them; you know those ‘back stories’, we create about what’s going in other people’s lives. I doubt I am ever very accurate with my assumptions, until last month that is….. I heard some words being trumpeted across the departure lounge at the airport,

“I’m a nasty piece of work, I’m exhausted, insomniac, a horrible person, I’m anxious, I have fluid retention, I’m over weight, I’m angry and, a nasty piece of work”

(yes ‘that nasty piece of work’ was repeated several times). There was no mystery as to what was going on in this woman’s life. By my calculation she was mid 50’s and listening to her conversation, clearly menopausal.

To be honest, aside from a slightly thicker waistline than I would like, I have so far been spared unpleasant menopausal symptoms. I would like to credit this to healthy eating and my ‘quite’ active lifestyle, however as I look around and watch my peers suffering, I realise that the menopause story is more complex and less discriminate than I had hoped. I am also very aware that I may not have flown under the ‘menopausal radar’. There is still plenty of time for ‘mother menopause’ to serve me up among other things; some hot flushes, heart palpitations, maybe an anxiety attack or two. Unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be a ‘recipe’ for a pain or symptom-free menopause.

This lack of understanding around mid-age health isn’t helped by the absence of a consistent or definite age indicating the onset of menopause. Menopause is defined as the absence of menstruation for 12 consecutive months. This life stage is preceded by peri-menopause, and is characterised by menstrual irregularity, commencing when the menstrual cycle length changes from an established pattern to one less consistent than in previous cycles. For those of us who have endured irregular cycles for several decades, this doesn’t really help. It appears that from the moment we reach puberty we are effectively “pre-menopausal”!

It is assumed that a decrease in oestrogen is the primary cause of unpleasant symptoms of menopause (the ones my airport friend was so publicly suffering) such as hot flushes, mood swings, anxiety and impaired sleep to name a few. This theory however doesn’t account for those of us who are by the above definition menopausal, however not suffering those symptoms.

What we do know is this; weight gain, particularly around the abdomen, increases in post-menopausal women, commencing during peri-menopause. Metabolic disorders (diabetes, insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease) in peri-menopausal and menopausal women are largely determined by weight status. So while my airport friend was suffering seemingly unsurmountable physical and emotional discomfort she is also in a life stage where her metabolic health is very likely compromised, putting her at risk diabetes, CVD and obesity.

As I have already said there is no recipe for a symptom free menopause. There is however a way to improve your metabolic health, at any age. You know where this is going…..


A diet based on green leafy and non starchy vegetables, healthy fats, and low in processed and carbohydrate based foods and of course sugar, is a way of eating that will reduce those insulin spikes that are responsible for weigh gain. As we approach menopause our metabolism predisposes us to weight gain so we need to do everything we can to lose weight and/or prevent weight gain. Ladies I am not talking supermodel slim, I am just saying, eat well, in the manner we have discussed (whether or not you need to lose weight) and you give yourselves the very best chance of a healthy menopause. You owe it to yourselves.
So back to the motivation for my airport story. For a start thank you my menopausal friend where ever you are!! It’s time we discussed menopause more often; loudly, proudly, painfully. How-ever menopause is treating you let’s talk about it. If you are under 40, female and think it doesn’t matter to you; well if you are lucky you will be 50 one day, so start preparing now. If you are male (most likely you have stopped reading by now), you most likely have a mother going through menopause, or a future wife who WILL go through menopause. We will all be impacted one way or another by it so let’s not be shy, share your experiences, make menopause ‘normal’. It’s not going anywhere that's for sure!"
Words and article above from Julia. Her original article also has other helpful links so please hop over here

All the best Jan


Roses and Lilacs said...

I consider myself very lucky. While my friends were suffering terribly with hot flashes and mood swings, I had very few. In fact, I had far greater mood swings in my younger years than in my later life. And when I retired from a job I didn't like, I easily lost a lot of weight.

eileeninmd said...

I can verify the hot flashes, mood swings and the lack of sleep. It is awful and I hope it ends soon. Thanks for sharing this post, it is nice to know I am not the only one suffering, lol.

JanKnitz said...

I adopted a low carb lifestyle about 1 year before perimenopause became menopause. I still had hot flashes and sleepless nights, but I'd been having that for a very long time anyway, and it wasn't too bad.

However, once I switched over to true menopause (confirmed by blood tests) my weight loss stalled--I still had about 50 lbs to go. I'm trying to be grateful that I've lost 75lbs and I'm NOT gaining. I have great blood sugars and I feel 1000% better.

As for menopause symptoms, they have been very easy for me since going low carb. I can't complain. I still occasionally get a few clusters of hot flashes, but I find increasing my Omega 3 fats calms them down. I LOVE menopause. I have PCOS and the irregular, unpredictable, heavy periods were terrible, PMS was CONSTANT for 40 years!!!! Now I feel great, no cramps, no bleeding, no mood swings, no crying jags, not a single pimple, no unpredictability. I would have done this a long time ago if I knew what I know now and if I'd had the choice!

Lowcarb team member said...

This has been a very popular post and has received a lot of reads ... and continues to do so. With thanks to the readers above who have left their thoughts/comments. I do think it important to exchange views, thoughts, helpful hints etc to help every woman (and man) who does go through this time of life. The Low Carb Dietitian Franziska Spritzler has also written about this and you may want to read her posts. I give a link to this particular one:

All the best Jan

Anna Down Under said...

Great article ... having dealt with PCOS for so many years being terribly irregular, my body decided in my very late 40s to suddenly be regular like clockwork again! I'm nearing age 52 now and my cycle comes every four weeks without fail though it only lasts about two days, which is fine by me. I'm hoping for menopause so I don't have to deal with it anymore, and hopeful that losing nearly 125 pounds so far will make any symptoms I do have easier to bear. I don't remember my mother ever complaining of menopausal symptoms, but she did say she went through menopause at age 55, so I may have a few more years to put up with it.

Lowcarb team member said...

Many thanks for leaving your thoughts and comments here Anna. I do hope this article has been of interest to many, it has received a lot of reads.

All the best Jan

Woman Health said...

Thank You For Sharing a nice article .