My menopause checklist

Bacterial vaginosis
I didn’t realise BV could be serious
September 24, 2018
period pain
I’m constantly either bleeding or bloating
September 24, 2018

I f hot flushes were the only thing that came with the menopause I could maybe live with it. Or live through it – I’m not sure if there is an exit from this cursed land to a better place, given time, or if I should expect to feel like this forever.

Fatigue, lack of focus and vaginal dryness are my main bugbears. I’m told that the flushes are definitely temporary.
A set of blood tests revealed that everything is “normal” – as in, I am not sick. Well that’s a relief but it doesn’t explain why I wake every day feeling like I’ve got a hangover. If I’m not sick, then I need to make some changes because frankly the way I feel now just isn’t good enough.

It’s hard to sift menopause malaise from general lack of wellbeing. So, here’s what I’ve decided I need to do every day to optimise my chances of feeling good:

  1. Get to bed early. It seems that if I go to bed by 10pm and get at least 9 hours of horizontal rest, but preferably 10, my wellbeing improves. So that’s my new normal, although there will of course be exceptions.
  2. Drink a lot of water. Sometimes I forget, that’s the menopause bit. Maintaining good hydration has to be helpful for my brain function.
  3. Drink less tea. I’ve noticed that it makes me pee too much, and I don’t want bladder troubles which often come with menopause.
  4. Give up coffee. Yeah, that’s not going to happen. But I will only drink good coffee, once a day, at a time designed to get the most out of the brain sharpening benefits, and that makes it a good thing, right? Pretty much medicinal.
  5. Get more exercise, preferably in the fresh air. Walking is under-rated. In the days when I had a dog and a school run, I walked every day after dropping the kids, whether there was rain, hail, snow or shine, and I never worried about my weight. It’s hard to find the self-discipline to walk without that routine, there’s always something else that “needs to be done first”. But does it? Really? I read that scientists studied people who walked in a park at lunchtime and they enjoyed better wellbeing scores and were more productive than people who didn’t walk. So this is now a JFDI (Just F***ing Do It) situation.
  6. Meditate. Preferably every morning for 15 minutes. Come on, I’m going to bed at 10pm, I can wake up in time to do 15 minutes of guided meditations that I’ve got recorded from a course that I did online. The discipline and focus on maintaining focus have got to be good for me, apart from anything else. The breathing will oxygenate my brain and body and activate my parasympathetic nervous system which will make me relaxed and possibly less of a cantankerous old bag as well as leading to spiritual enlightenment.
  7. Drink less alcohol. Aim for none. That way I can be sure that when I wake feeling like I’ve got a hangover, it’s not because I’ve got a hangover. These days, even one glass of wine leaves me a bit foggy next day.
  8. Use a vaginal moisturiser. My vagina deserves it, has arguably earned it. I use moisturiser on my face and body, after all. Given that I can’t rely on my memory to make sure I use the kind that’s needed every three days, I’m trying Multi-Gyn LiquiGel which you have to do daily so it’s like brushing your teeth.
  9. Eat more vitamin D and B. D helps absorption of calcium so that’s my anti-osteoporosis strategy sorted, but it has also shown to have a positive effect on low mood and cognitive performance. Symptoms of B vitamin deficiency include stress, tension, irritability, difficulty managing stress, poor concentration, and anxiety. That’s not just a hot flush, that’s a royal flush! Big ticks to all of those. Make it stop, please.
  10. Experiment with remedies for hot flushes. Seems like there’s not a lot of evidence for any of them but I’m not on medication for anything so I might give black cohosh a whirl.

And if all that doesn’t work, I’m getting on the HRT!!!!

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