Middleagemum.com: making it through the menopause


There I was, quietly getting on with menopausal life, dressing in easy-to-whip-off layers, learning how to count to 150 before calmly putting down the kitchen knife and not murdering one of my offspring for putting his coffee cup on top of the dishwasher, buying clothes a dress size (or two) up from normal without sobbing, doing my yoga breathing lying in bed fully awake at 2.00am, repeating my anti-crazy mantra ‘It’s not you, it’s the menopause’ while fishing my garden secateurs out of my going-out handbag (?) when last week I looked down at my hands and realised…my nails weren’t flaking.

All the way through the menopause, my finger nails reverted to teenage-flakiness, splitting like layers of filo despite years of being able to use them as stand in screw drivers. As I write this, they are back to full strength. Also, a week or two ago I had a weird surge around the heart area, which turned out not to be a mini stroke (thank heavens) but the feeling of…. happiness, that welling up of joyous emotion I used to get a lot, but slunk into the background when I turned 50ish. On reflection, I realise I am a bit calmer, more balanced and less prone to gloom, more, well, normal. Hot flushes have turned into warm glows (still at awkward moments, mind) and although my memory is still rubbish, it hasn’t got any worse recently.

Help, what’s happening to me? Am I over the menopause?

After hearing that there’s such a thing as an everlasting menopause earlier this year (thanks Women’s Hour..) I knuckled down to assuming I was going to feel hot, miserable and cranky for ever, but I think I might be through…how the heck do you tell?

Earlier this year I was fortunate to meet the amazing naturopath Louise Westra at ESPA Life at Gleneagles (Tatler Spa Guide sent me there. I know, tough gig) and I think she may have set me on the road to recovery. I explained that although I was not ‘sick’, I felt constantly tired, glum and lacking spark. She gently told me that we should view our health as something that needs regular maintenance, a bit like a car. So less of the ‘keep going until something goes wrong then visit the doctor’ approach and more of a ‘book in for a regular wellness check’ to keep in tip top condition. I wish i’d found Louise at the beginning of my menopause and not at the end.

She though I might have stressed adrenal glands (turns out they were alarmingly depleted and seriously under performing) and after some stringent lab-testing, recommended a course of herb-based and adrenaline boosting remedies. While at ESPA Life she also suggested I try acupuncture, with the equally wonderful Ailsa Lauchlan, for the first time, something I’ve always been a bit scared of but which gave me a jolt of energy that lasted for around two weeks, a lot longer than the benefit of a massage or facial. Why did I not think of a naturopath before?

I am self diagnosing here, but if I am through the menopause, then one piece of advice I would give anyone about to enter (apart from read the relevant books on our list) is think about regular wellness checks with a naturopath (as well as sensible trips to your GP for the serious stuff). If there’s any time in your life when you need to invest in your wellbeing, it’s in your 50s, your poor body has been through a lot, now is a great time to give it a full wellness overhaul and naturopaths can cover areas -such as hormones, adrenal glands, sleep patterns etc- that your GP might not consider urgent. Louise and her team at ESPA Life Gleneagles are the 5 Star end, if you can treat yourself to a two day stay, then do so immediately here. Otherwise check the General Naturopath Council’s website for registered therapists in your area.

Anyone know how you tell is you really are ‘over it’?


  • sue evans says:

    Great post Amanda — humorous AND informative. I am not sure I remember when you can tell you are ‘over it” but it sounds like you are on the right track and can start looking forward to being back to ‘normal” !

    I’d like to investigate Naturopath for older women health issues so thanks for the heads up. Not sure how to do that in France — any TWR readers got any advice ??

  • amanda says:

    Thanks Sue, I felt SO GOOD after I saw Louise, it’s not until you are feeling better that you realise how low you’ve been. And we have a lot of readers in France, so… anyone? Ax

  • Grace says:

    Here you go, Sue :)

    Me, I’m on the synthetic hormones and intend to damn well stay on them! Your description of coming through the fog was really vivid, Amanda. I enjoyed reading it.

  • you know it’s over when the hot flushes stop or subside! I had them for about four years, from 50 to 54 (I’m 61 now). Last period was at 52, but of course you don’t know then that it’s the last one. Nice post. Let’s hear more about older women.

  • Amanda says:

    Thanks womenfolk, and thanks Grace for the French Naturopaths contact. Very much looking forward to my last hot flush! Ax

  • Sarah says:

    I’m still at the beginning, last nights hot sweats (whilst holidaying in very warm Italy) were grim, I’m going to find me a naturapath, thank you Amanda.

  • Amanda says:

    Pleasure Sarah, I really do think it’s worth a go. Ax

  • Becky says:

    This is fabulous to read. A friend of mine who has been feeling not quite herself for a while now just recently went to a naturopath and it sounds like she did the right thing – I shall be following her lead very shortly – any help you can get has got to be good.

  • Amanda says:

    Totally agree Becky! Ax

  • justine says:

    I am having so many night sweats, would love to find a naturopath. I live in sydney, does anyone know of a good one?

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