Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Surviving Christmas With the Menopause, By Dr Rosy Fazzi

The menopause can be a difficult time and is often thought of as ‘the last taboo’. In fact, the menopause is something that up to 50% of UK women are too embarrassed to talk about at all, even with their GPs. Being not sure what will trigger symptoms and how to cope can be embarrassing and upsetting, so knowledge is important when you start to experience the progression through the menopause.

For example, we all know that Christmas is one of the most stressful times of the year, but did you know that for menopausal women, it is also one of the biggest trigger times for symptoms of the menopause - in particular, the hot flush? 


When perimenopausal or menopausal women are exposed to increased levels of stress, drastic changes in temperature or large amounts of alcohol or coffee they typically experience a higher frequency of hot flushes. The stress of Christmas shopping, meal planning and sticking to a hectic pre-Christmas social calendar, as well as coping with the day itself, can be hugely demanding.

Stress is actually one of the major factors in triggering hot flushes; the release of adrenaline into the bloodstream causes your heart to race and blood flow to increase, leading to a subsequent increase in temperature. A hot flush is your body’s response to cool the body down, but a hot flush can be overwhelming in its intensity and leave you sweating and even shivery afterwards, as your body attempts to bring your temperature back to a normal level.


Alongside stress, the extremes of temperature that come with dashing in and out of shops, or in and out of the kitchen on Christmas Day itself, contribute to kickstarting a hot flush. And while we’re all so busy, you might not think that there’s any harm in consuming an extra cup of coffee to give you an energy boost or indulging in some wine with friends in the run-up to December 25, but caffeine and alcohol are both hot flush triggers too. 

But you needn’t think that your entire social schedule, shopping routine and gift list has to go out of the window this Christmas; in fact, I firmly believe that making small lifestyle changes this Christmas may help to reduce stress levels and keep those hot flushes at bay.

My five top tips for surviving a menopausal Christmas:

Wear temperature-control undergarments


This is such a simple change to make, yet it can really make a big difference. There are some fantastic menopause-specific undergarment ranges on the market, using temperature-control fabrics to regulate body heat, reduce the awful shivers post-flush, and wick away moisture to avoid embarrassing sweaty situations too. These garments are designed for wearing underneath your clothing during the day, so you can still wear your regular clothes and get all dressed up for the festive season, but be confident that you can remain in control underneath.

Layer up your clothing

Layering is the ideal solution for helping to regulate your temperature when you’re out and about. Layer a temperature-control tank top with a t-shirt and a cardigan, rather than wearing one bulky jumper, to help you better manage your body’s response to changes in temperature. Choose cosy items that are quick and easy to pull on and off, depending on how hot or cold you feel. 

Swap your coffee for a matcha tea


The caffeine in your regular teas and coffees stimulates the central nervous system, accelerating the heart rate, the blood pressure and the body temperature – all of which can bring on a hot flush. But just plain hot water can induce an episode, so I recommend trying something cooler to start your day. A bottle of cool iced matcha tea a good choice, as it’s cool and refreshing, with very low levels of slow-release caffeine, and an incredible level of antioxidants that help to keep the body healthy – especially important in winter when germs are rife! If you want something similar to coffee try a matcha latte instead.

Reduce your alcohol intake

Christmas time is full of Christmas parties so it can be tricky to avoid alcohol at this time but if you find a glass of wine brings you out in a flush, look to find an alternative. There are plenty of non-alcoholic options around such as delicious mocktails or soft drinks like Elderflower presse.  Why not make a delicious drink with pomegranate juice? As well as being rich in vitamins C, A and E, it also contains folic acid too. 

Limit exposure to extremes in temperature

Rather than rush around doing your Christmas shopping outdoors try and do it online. This will help avoid extremes of temperature that can bring on hot flushes.  If you do find yourself getting hot and flustered whilst out and about, try a cooling face mist with rosewater to soothe and refresh the skin, and help you to cool down.

The Diary Of A Jewellery Lover's Top Suggestions to Help You Through the Menopause this Festive Season:

  • Wear Become temperature control underwear (www.webecome.co.uk). For a discount of 10% off your entire order enter THEDIARY10, at checkout valid until the 15th of January 2018.
  • Try OMGTea Iced Matcha tea (www.omgteas.co.uk)
  • Sip a pomegranate ‘gin’ mocktail, made with Pom Juice and Seedlip non-alcoholic spirits
  • Try doing your Christmas shopping online, to help you find gifts without the stress!
  • Spritz your skin with Aster & Bay’s Rosewater Mist to cool down and refresh. 



This has been a guest post by Dr Rosy Fazzi. 

Dr Rosy Fazzi, MBChB, MRCGP, is the head of the Women’s Health department at Dr Nestor’s Medical Cosmetic Centre in Edinburgh (www.drnestor.co.uk). She is a specialist in women’s health issues and is passionate about treatment for the management of intimate female problems at various stages of life. 

Dr Rosy understands the mental and physical impact on women that can result from menopause and childbirth; she is enthusiastic about empowering women, with options to restore their sense of intimate wellbeing and general health. Dr Rosy offers bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, which is an alternative to traditional HRT and can help to ease the symptoms of the menopause. 
You can book an appointment with Dr Rosy by visiting www.drnestor.co.uk

Find out more about Become by visiting www.webecome.co.uk

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7 comments

  1. I'm definitely starting to get the odd hot flush these days, so these tips are really useful!

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    1. Glad to know this post has been helpful Sally.

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  2. Great for those who need the advice, glad I am not there yet. I think more women should be open about it.

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  3. This is definitely not something I am looking forward too having watched my mum suffer x

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  4. I'm only 24 so this is still a while away but I'm definitely not looking forward to it! I love all the tips you suggested and I bet they will be really helpful for many women x

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  5. I had no idea that stress-levels affect the symptoms of menopause, you learn something new every day.

    C x

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