The latest discussions, tips and advice from the Live Better With Menopause Community forum...
The Live Better With Menopause Community is filled with real people with lived experience of the menopause: from hot flushes, to aches and pains to foggy brains. It’s a space to go to share stories, find support, and pick up hints and tips for all things menopausal, from the people who understand - other menopausal and perimenopausal women. Here’s a round-up of some of the latest forum discussions...
When you just can’t sleep
Many of us going through menopause find ourselves struggling with poor sleep or insomnia, which can go on for years. Given the many demands on women’s time in midlife – family responsibilities, running a home, holding down at least one job, if not more – any suggestions regarding sleep are always welcome.
This month julie20 posted on the subject:
‘I have read somewhere that insomnia is caused by a drop in protein during the night which causes the heart to race causing us to wake up. The suggestion was to eat a small amount of slow release protein before bed to combat this. Has anybody tried it and had good results?’
Kaz had heard this too and listed some of the things she had tried, as she had found insomnia the toughest menopause symptom to deal with and one of the longest lasting:
‘I’ve done a handful of Brazil nuts and walnuts before bed…I’ve also tried bananas for the potassium. Magnesium, warm milk, lavender, valerian, and so many other things. All sorts over the years! Nothing really worked for me except magnesium for a short time. About a year ago I started to use a mindfulness app. I use Clarity, but there are lots of others on the market. This is the only thing that works consistently for me.’
Julie added another protein suggestion to the list but, like Kaz, she had found that the right app could make a real difference:
‘Someone told me to have a few spoonfuls of cottage cheese before bed. might have to try it :). My problem is that I can fall asleep really easily. I just can't stay asleep and that's when I use the sleep meditation app which does help.’
If sleep is eluding you, do take a look at the full thread, which you can find here. One or more of the suggestions might help. Live Better With also has an excellent range of recommended products that can help with sleep problems and insomnia.
The menopause and teeth – what’s the connection?
In one of her most popular poems Pam Ayres wryly observed : ‘…I wish I’d looked after me teeth’ but looking after your teeth can be a costly affair. Expensive dental care was something jules20 was grappling with back in March and she posed an interesting question about the menopause and teeth.
‘Have any of you lovely ladies found that you have more problems with your teeth since being menopausal? I've had to take out a Denplan as it’s costing me a fortune.’
The online conversation has continued ever since and it’s had its very welcome lighter moments, like this comment from Kaz, for example: ‘My teeth are the only things left that the menopause hasn't had a go at! Please don't say that my teeth are next on the list.’
Other members, like Annie2001, said that they had also started to have dental problems:‘I have wondered about my teeth lately as they have been so sensitive even after treatment at the dentist. Could there be a link do you think?’
In Didie’s case, her dental symptoms were particularly severe and distressing and the costs of possible treatment would be astronomical:
‘I have unfortunately had to have all my teeth extracted because they started to snap off at gum level. I had dry mouth for many years and that was a contributing factor. Certain medications will cause dry mouth too… It was not a pleasant experience and I am still toothless 3 years later because I can't have dentures due to gums shrinking …. Only way I can ever have teeth again I will need a bone graft as my jaw is not strong enough to just have simple upper and lower denture implants The cost of the procedures are about 25k.
‘I have come to terms with being toothless and that it doesn't define who I am. I did struggle with lack of self-esteem and I still think that I would rather have no hair than no teeth.’
Didie urged other members to be particularly vigilant about dental care and Kaz agreed:
‘I think it’s a good reminder for everyone to learn all they can about how menopause affects us. I, for one, wasn’t aware that even my teeth could be impacted by hormonal changes that occur during menopause.’
As Julie20 said:
‘I've been told that teeth are a form of bone which as we know dilapidates during menopause so it does make sense that our teeth would fall apart too.’
So – crumbling teeth, another of the joys of menopause; clearly it’s not all down to chewing too many toffees… If this is something that you have experienced during menopause, do take a look at the full thread, which you can find here.
Ask the menopause expert: Maryon Stewart
Another less common symptom cropped up in this month’s Q and A sessions with Maryon Stewart – spots! They may be less common but they have been a big problem for LisK67:
‘I’ve been perimenopausal for about 8 years or so. I’ve had all the symptoms along the way but my main problem is spots, I have more now than when I was a teenager! Also, my periods are very, very erratic and seem a lot heavier at times which I’ve never really suffered with. Oh the joys of being a woman!’
Maryon was able to reassure Lisa that she wasn’t alone and mentioned some supplements that might help to balance Lisa’s hormones and make life easier and more enjoyable for her:
‘…for some reason many women get spots, when they have never had them before, around the time of the menopause. It sounds like you are perimenopausal, which means you are in the phase leading up to menopause. Periods often become heavy and erratic. By learning to balance your hormones and get your nutrients back into an optimum range, as we know they take a nose dive at this life stage, you can clear your skin, regulate your periods and learn how to cruise through menopause. I’d be happy to give you some personal advice, but right now I would get started with some Fema 45+ which will help to boost your nutrient levels and Promensil, the red clover supplement, which contains naturally occurring oestrogen and has been shown to help regulate your cycle.’
Maryon Stewart is a healthcare expert and author who is often referred to as the Pioneer of the Natural Menopause Movement. For almost 30 years, Maryon has been helping hundreds of thousands of women around the world overcome PMS and menopause symptoms, reclaiming their wellbeing.
You can read the latest community forum members’ Q and A sessions with Maryon Stewart, including her advice for Lisa here and browse Maryon’s menopause kits and products in the Live Better With online shop here.