Many women try really hard to help themselves through the menopause, watching their diet, stress levels and taking some kind of supplement or herbal remedy to help with their particular symptoms.
Then suddenly their symptoms come back, often with a vengeance, and their trusted remedy just doesn’t seem to help any more. So what is going on?
There can be a number of reasons for this so let’s have a look.
The menopause is not a static state and your hormone levels can fluctuate a lot. Sometimes they can be quiet, not moving much, or they can suddenly spike or fall. This means that you may have very few symptoms for a while, or a very stable set of symptoms, but then some new ones suddenly appear or the ones you have get worse.
What causes this?
Once again there can be a number of reasons.
We know that many things can affect our nervous system, which in turn can affect our hormones, such as:
- Stress: even low grade day-to-day stress can have a huge impact
- Dehydration: lots of women find their symptoms get worse in the summer. If you are lucky enough to have good weather but forget to up your water intake this can trigger flushes, joint pain, muscle ache, dizziness and headaches to name just a few!
- Getting a minor infection such as a cold, or being prone to hayfever or other allergies.
- Taking prescribed or over the counter medications
- Having a sudden shock
- Change of lifestyle
- Fatigue: falling hormone levels can deplete us of body energy very quickly and this can have a knock-on effect on other symptoms, resulting in a vicious circle.
- Your diet slipping: eating extra sugary foods, drinking more alcohol and coffee especially.
- Just being extra busy or on the go all the time.
- Not getting a good night’s sleep: falling oestrogen levels can affect our sleeping patterns, making it more difficult to get a deep sleep, so you wake up less rested. This can affect mood and energy the next day.
So what can you do?
- Firstly, I always suggest that you look back to the point where your symptoms got worse or your remedy stopped working and see what was going on in your life. Very often you will get a good clue!
- Have a thorough overhaul of your diet – it is amazing how quickly our healthy diet can slip, especially in the summer when there are parties, BBQs (more alcohol and processed foods) and the chance to sit outside and have a coffee or two and a cake! Caffeine and high sugar intake are primary triggers for flushes!
- If you are extra busy or stressed remember to take time out every day. I cannot stress enough how very, very important me-time is in the menopause and how quickly proper relaxation can help to reduce symptoms – and this is free!!
- If you feel fatigued all day or never feel rested after a night’s sleep it is best to get this checked out by your doctor. Low iron, low thyroid or low vitamin D may be the culprit – these can also cause other menopause-like symptoms such as low mood, poor sleep, joint pain, dry skin and poor hair.
If your symptoms got worse what did you do to help yourself?