Tag Archives: menopause

Top 5 Tips About Turning 40

40When I turned 40, I wasn’t vaguely bothered by the fact I was turning 40. After all, it’s just a number.

But, a lot of people I knew were significantly bothered about leaving their 30s behind. They got depressed, went into denial, all kinds of things.

Why?

It’s not a death knell to having fun and experiencing life. After all doesn’t the saying go “life begins at 40”, and nowadays 40 is the new 30.

In the 16th century average life expectancy fluctuated between 30 and 40 and didn’t actually rise above 40 until mid-19th century

Even in 1905 the average life expectancy was just over 49 years.

So you could say that back then reaching 40 was an achievement and considered pretty old.

Today though, average life expectancy is a lot higher, so why is there still this stigma attached to turning 40?

That aside, here are the top 5 tips I learned as I climbed over the hurdle:

Tip 5 – Watch your weight (aka Middle Age Spread)

You know when you were younger, you could polish off pretty much anything you fancied food-wise and have room for more with no fear that your jeans wouldn’t fit the next day?

Middle-age spread is not a myth.

I’ve always been fairly obsessive of my weight as you know, but when I hit 40 those few pounds I put on were not quite so easy to shift.

In fact, 2 years ago I was probably the heaviest I have been for over 20 years. I mean a lot of people probably wouldn’t even have noticed, but I did. My jeans started to feel a little too tight – and this is coming from the girl who always buys a pair of jeans 2 sizes to big to start with – and I just felt uncomfortable.

Nothing I did seemed to shift the weight.

In the end I radically adjusted my diet. I gave up sugar, completely, for about 3 months and the weight fell of. Then I gradually started introducing the sugar again, and when I felt a bit heavy, cut it out.

And I started exercising more. Nothing ridiculous like 5 hours at a gym every day. No. I found some fab workout DVDs which I could do at home – and yes I know you need the willpower to make yourself do it – but they were 10 minute workouts. If I had enough time to take out to make a cup of tea, I had enough time whilst the kettle was boiling to do a 10 minute workout.

2 years down the line I feel healthier than ever. It is now part of my daily routine to exercise and if I want a piece of cake I will have it, but just cut down on the sugar for the next couple of days.

So, don’t forget to watch your weight.

Tip 4.  Mid-Life Crisis

I guess, turning 40 does make you ponder about your life; what you’ve done, what you regret doing, what you regret not doing, what you feel you should have done, what you feel life is all about.

Of course, the answer to that one is 42!

Hitting 40 does whack you with a reality check that life is passing you by.

Some people go out and buy a sports car, others just inwardly panic.

After all you’ve had 40 years on the planet and what have you done?

I haven’t really done much with my life, to be honest. For sure, I went to  university and got a degree. I didn’t use it. I sort of fell into the IT world (and was part of the gig economy before it was the ‘in’ thing to do), went to drama school because I’d always wanted to give it a shot, had a baby (not exactly how it was supposed to be) and kind of floundered.

I don’t regret a thing. After all I would be in the same place I am now even if things had been different. It’s all down to the choices you make, and I’ve been too scared to do anything most of my life.

But when I hit 40, that was when I started rediscovering me and rebuilding myself.

So rather than a mid-life crisis, I had a mid-life re-birth.

Tip 3. Bloody Hormones

Yup, when you reach 40 those old hormones start wreaking havoc.

For us women we have “the change” to look forward too.

Although the average age for the menopause is about 51, it’s actually more about the ‘peri’. This is the transitional phase between the regular, normal monthly gubbins we’ve been used to for oh so many years and them stopping. Perimenopause can last between 4 and 8 years and normally starts in your mid-40s, but can start earlier!!

To be honest, the symptoms of the ‘peri’ are pretty much the same as the real thing, so once you start the ‘peri’ the end is in sight, so to speak.

But don’t think men have it easy. Yes, our estrogen levels may experience a sudden drop in our 40s, but for men their testosterone is on the decline by 1% a year from the age of 30.

So we may get night sweats, hot flushes and soreness in various areas, but men get to join us in the depression, mood swings, decreased libido and weight gain.

So do we all need to go onto HRT?

No!

The simple things, apparently are to make sure you get enough sleep, watch your weight (see Tip 5), exercise and try not to get too stressed.

Tip 2. Go With The Flow

Let’s face it, we can’t stop time. If we could we would all stop the clock at the most amazing points in our life, wouldn’t we?

Yes, we’re going to get wrinkles, begin to go grey or bald (if we haven’t started already), our joints will start creaking and bits of us might stop working properly.

BUT that’s just life.

Just embrace it.

I’m not saying let yourself go, of course not, we’re turning only turning 40. We still want to feel good and more importantly feel alive.

So take the vitamins, buy the anti-ageing stuff (although personally egg-white face masks and olive oil are a wonder), colour your hair, buy a toupee, anything o ensure you still feel good about yourself.

BUT.

We can’t, and shouldn’t want to compete with the 20-somethings.

We have something they don’t possess yet, experience and maybe, just maybe a little bit of wisdom.

Tip 1. Don’t Panic, Just Jump In

Turning 40 does not mean it’s time for the twinset and pearls or pipe and slippers. Definitely not!

It’s time for adventure.

After all, in your 20s you couldn’t afford it, in your 70s you might be too old to enjoy it, so isn’t your 40s the perfect time to start something new and enjoy an adventure or 2?

When I turned 40 I wrote of list of 40 things to do in my 40s – and yes, there are a couple of gaps at the bottom to which I am still open to suggestions. Some of the them are stupid, silly and inconsequential. But they are just things I’ve always wanted to be able to do.

It’s fun trying to think of what to put on there, and even more fun when you do them. I know I haven’t done many of them, but I am confident that I can, and will, get another 10 done this year, at least.

 

The most important thing I have learned is that life is mostly about experiences not things. Things are just stuff, whereas experiences stay in the memory for ever and are priceless.

So, don’t panic about turning 40. It’s easy. Just take a breath, jump right in and enjoy it 😉

 

 

 

 

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Bloody Hormones (Part 4)

Well, they’re at it again.mr spain

The monthly cycle is all over the place. A couple of months normal, then miss, then floodgates, then normal, etc., etc., etc.

And it is most definitely not [whispers] “The Change” – too young, and no other symptoms.

It’s all due to stress!!!!

That was until this month. And when I say this month, I literally mean ALL this month!!!!

I missed one, and then for the last 4 weeks, yes 4, I have been bleeding. Joyous! Rapturous! … NOT! To be fair, it’s not been heavy, and I’ve had no pain, cramps, etc. It’s just extremely annoying.

I eventually managed to see my doctor – after trying unsuccessfully to get an appointment for a fortnight, and then by the miracle of telephone triage an appointment became available that day – hoo-flippin-ray!

Now, I explained to the doctor the history, and I have regulars [whispers again] smears, all clear, and I’ve had no spotting in-between cycles whatsoever – which are obviously things we women have to look out for.

After an exam, she referred me for a colposcopy – which apparently is just a big magnifying glass to look inside to see what is going on. It was then she totally freaked me out when she said “don’t worry, 99% of the time everything is normal”

So now to say that I’m not internally freaking out would be an understatement, and if it is all down to stress – which I suspect it is – then this is doing nothing to help my stress levels.

And what better day to go and have your undercarriage examined than Valentine’s Day!!!

(I’m guessing the consultant is not going to be as hot as the new gynaecologist in Spain that all the ladies are queueing up to see – (see photo) he’s an ex-Mr Spain, sends my temperature rising 😉 )

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Stress, Stress, Go Away…

… and DON’T COME BACK!!

This is actually doing my noodle in…

Didn’t think I was that stressed that my periods would go all haywire again (*(^* &%£T(& )& %^$*() *^%***)

They have been behaving great – and thankfully had gone back to normal.

But this month – GGGGRRRRRRR!!

It’s not that they stopped this time.

Oh no!

I kind of got one, but it was seriously light, but it’s still being seriously light 10 days later!!

WTF is going on?

This does not help my stress levels, worrying about what is going on.

I would be even more worried if it was normal and there was spotting going on at odd times, I know that is serious.

But this is just crazy.

And for the record there are no menopause symptoms – no hot sweats, no …. well whatever other symptoms you get (I don’t know)

Oh well, hopefully one day it will sort itself out.

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Physical Manifestations of Stress…

… I knew, obviously that when people get stressed they get a bit down, tetchy and not their normal selves.

What I did not know until fairly recently, was that stress can manifest itself physically.

When my skin is bad, I have been told by doctors for years that it’s just that – bad skin.

It was only when my periods stopped last summer did I relate my skin problems to stress.

I had been under an enormous amount of stress last summer – basically I just let everything get on top of me, so to speak.

And I missed 2 periods.

Clearly, it was not a pregnancy – unless, as I told the lady in the health shop , it was the second coming of Christ!

My mother (bless her) always the merchant of doom said in a cheery voice, “Oh, it’s probably the start of the menopause, I started mine around your age!”

Bearing in mind, I had no other ‘menopausal symptoms’ I quickly ruled that one out (also my O&G doctor had said the same earlier in the year, when I had missed another period, just before my annual MOT).

So, I did what everyone else does and googled.

It would appear that abnormal amounts of stress can produce physical symptoms and in women this explain the absence of periods, and for both sexes it would appear skin can ‘break out’ in hives!

For the regulation of the menstrual cycle a lot of sites suggested taking Chaste extract – YUK! It’s vile, smells vile, tastes vile. Not sure if that’s what kick-started the periods, but only took it for 10 days, so am thinking probably not.

After the period of severe stress abated, the periods returned, albeit very weirdly. But bearing in mind it had been almost 3 months since I had had one, I thought nothing of it. (The MoD (Merchant of Doom) obviously thought otherwise, but thankfully I ignored it). They seem to be back to normal (cross fingers).

With the levels of stress returning to their normal state of affairs in my life, I could turn my attention to my skin. I know when I’m stressed, because my skin itches.

The lovely lady in the health shop (and yes, I do have a discount card) suggested that for stress I should take a vitamin b complex, which is very good for it. Obviously, she clarified that the vitamin would only help with the symptoms, not the actually cause of the stress, that I have to deal with on my own (if only I had a genie with a magic lamp or bottle).

I have been taking these tablets for nearly a month – the skin is definitely less itchy, which is a good sign and the tablets are suitable for vegans, I have checked the ingredients and there are no obvious nasties.

There is only one slight, rather amusing, side effect – they turn your urine bright yellow!

That’s right, bright yellow, literally the colour of saffron/turmeric (and no those aren’t listed in the ingredients).

I certainly did not realise stress can cause physical symptoms – I do now.

Think I need a month on a yoga/meditation retreat … if only 😉

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Bloody Hormones (Part 2)

Stress + Hormones = recipe for disaster

Having been so totally stressed out about so many things for the past couple of months my hormones have gone into overdrive.

So, I have my very attractive stress spots returned (OK it’s also that time as well), not only that but all that stress has caused mayhem with the monthly body clock. So far this month, zilch, nada, nothing!

That makes the 2nd time this year – FAB-U-LOUS!

My mother on one hand is the dome & gloom merchant, saying “it’s the start of the change!”

My lovely O&G doctor, on the other hand said absolutely nothing to worry about, stress will do that, and since I am (a) young and (b) have no other ‘change’ symptoms it’s definitely not “that”.

Oh, I’m so looking forward to next month and the period from hell!

Need to relax, de-stress and chill.

Off to the nearest meditation & yoga retreat 😉

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