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When should I start thinking about menopause?

by | May 10, 2022 | Body Positive, EVEolution™, Menopause, Women's Health

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If you are kid wrangling right now, or a fitness professional who is working with mums, menopause may be the last thing that you will be thinking about.

Menopause is something that happens in your 50’s, right?

And for many women, that thought alone will move it from the Need To Know Basket to the Deal With Later Basket.

If you are thinking that menopause is something that happens to women in their 50s. You are right about the money. The average age of menopause is 52.

Menopause is the bookend of your reproduction years.

Let’s look back at the start of our reproductive years – adolescence. Girls may start menstruating as young as aged 10 or 11. This officially signals the start of the reproductive years. However, we can all appreciate that changing from a girl to a woman is much more than the start of menstruation. I like to think of this transition as a dance the body and mind does. Just like the Hokey Pokey, our hormones shift in and out and they shake you all about.  The transition into adulthood takes years.

Menopause is no different. With hormones shaking you all about. This period of time is called peri-menopause and can start anyway from the late 30s to early 40s. Peri-menopause can last up to to 10 years.

This menopause transition is usually visually represented as hot flushes. See an image of a woman in menopause and I will show you a woman having a hot flush. This symptom is very overrepresented. Hot flushes are only one of 32 (and counting) symptoms.

Here are is a much more accurate list of menopausal symptoms:

  • night sweats
  • aches and pains
  • crawling or itching sensations under the skin
  • forgetfulness
  • headaches
  • irritability
  • lack of self-esteem
  • reduced sex drive (libido)
  • tiredness
  • difficulty sleeping – wakefulness or waking hot and sweaty
  • urinary frequency
  • vaginal dryness
  • discomfort with sexual intercourse
  • brain fog

Do all women experience all of the peri-menopause symptoms?

One third will experience peri-menopause symptoms and although it may be uncomfortable, they will be able to carry on and function as they have always. The ability to function is so important because this Hokey Pokey dance can coincide with:

  • children heading into / or in teenage years
  • ageing parents
  • more responsibility at work/career progression
  • still managing the motherload of home duties (pardon the pun!)

One-third of women will experience no or barely noticeable peri-menopause symptoms.

And unfortunately, around one-third of women will experience symptoms that severly impact their ability to function.

Menopause affects more than women.

Women who are having a tough time transitioning through menopause do not live in a silo. Their transition will also be impacting their families. Their workplaces. Their communities.

Rod Steward recently made headlines by demanding more education for both men and women around this topic, as he struggled to watch his wife Penny Lancaster go through menopause.

Penny Lancaster is reported to say:

“If there was a 50-year-old man in a company, at the top of his game, being promoted and he had a health issue – physically and mentally like women suffer from menopause – they would find something to help him,” she said. “And this is hundreds of women, it’s not just a few women suffer from this.”

What can be done? / How can you as a trainer help?

As it happens to around 50% of the world’s population, you would think the topic of menopause would be talked about way more than it actually is. Many women whom I talk to, feel woefully unprepared for this massive life change. And the most comment I receive is that I just don’t know enough about it.

If two-thirds of peri-menopause women experience noticeable symptoms and half of these women have symptoms that affect their ability to function as they have previously done in the home and at work, then this is a conversation that cannot be ignored.

If you are training women who are heading into their forties, it is totally within your scope of practice to start conversations about what they know about menopause. And what they want to know.

Here are my top 3 tips for women (or working with women) heading into peri-menopause

  1. Strength training is a must. Bone density dips along with oestrogen. Starting the menopause transition with strong bones is a non-negotiable
  2. Along with wrinkles that occur with the drop of oestrogen and gravity, there are also changes in the elasticity of the fascia holding the internal organs. Women may have survived childbirth without a prolapse, however, the menopause transition is a high-risk time. Don’t compromise your pelvic floor while building your bone strength.
  3. If menopause symptoms are encroaching on your quality of life – seek out a menopause specialist who can help. Hormone Replacement Treatment may be what you need to help with. Don’t believe the bad wrap it got over a decade ago – but do seek out someone who specialises in it.

If you are in Melbourne, I can recommend Dr. Fatima Khan.

And remember, EVEolution™ will give you the step by step instructions on how to work with your body. No matter what age or stage you are at.

If you’re interested in learning more about EVEolution™ CLICK HERE.

If you’re a fitness professional or any other service provider for women and want to become an EVEolution™ partner CLICK HERE.

Hey – want a quick (1 hour), informative and fun romp on how to work with (not against) the 2 major hormonal shifts that happen during peri-menopause – cortisol and oestrogen, why belly fat is a thing during this time (and what to do about it) and what your programming needs to include to prepare your clients for the future.
This course is $25 or you can bundle it up with 2 other masterclasses (see below) for $65
CLICK on the image for more information.
Mish Wright EVEolution

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