“It was my stress levels wasn’t it?” asked Paula, when I met her at the dog-walking park. She had recognised me and called out my name and wanted to give me a warm hug on a cold day whilst I was walking my dog too. “You have changed my life” she said.
“No I haven’t – you have” I returned back to her. “You were the one who put the changes into place – all I did was show you the what and why.”
Paula is a teacher. Little did she understand that the stress she was feeling in her work-day as well as not sleeping as she went into menopause, was beginning to play havoc with her health.
She had suffered for years with gut problems, but like many women she knows, she believed that her diet was pretty healthy. When she began to understand how losing oestrogen in menopause affects the liver, gallbladder and gut digestion, she realised that her diet needed a good revamp. What she thought was ‘healthy’ wasn’t really suited to her now that she was in menopause.
Our gut health is interesting. As we lose oestrogen receptors, this is the signal that we are ageing. As such there are structural and biological changes that occur in our gut and digestive system. For example, our bile production decreases which means that fat digestion is altered and our gut motility (movement) slows down with age. As well, many women are losing muscle, which changes their need for protein in their diet. But the most important issue for so many of us is that our gut, liver, heart and blood vessels work to our natural, biological circadian rhythm, so if we aren’t sleeping we build up more and more inflammation in our body. This can lead to a condition called ‘Leaky Gut’.
So, part of the key to turning around our gut is understanding it’s role as part of our biological circadian rhythm. Understanding these factors not only helped Paula sleep all night, but restore her gut health and maintain it. How to achieve improved Circadian Rhythm is fundamental to turning around our symptoms in menopause – including our hot flushes.
I loved how Paula was a teacher. She knows that ‘knowledge is power’ and if we are going to change up a few things in our lifestyle, then understanding ‘why’ is really important. Not just in terms of ‘why’ we want to do something, but ‘why we should’ – that’s why I help women understand a bit of what’s going on in their body during menopause in the video’s and webinars that are in the individual Learning Hubs.
“Putting menopause into wellness, not sickness.”
Being a Teacher is rewarding, but challenging. Paula found that too. Feeling time-poor and overwhelmed with administrative tasks can increase the heart rate, blood pressure and this in turn causes more hot flushes. Paula and I had a chat about this when we met. She had no idea that managing her stress levels during and after work was important to her hormonal health in menopause too. That’s why walking her dogs helped enormously. She just didn’t realise how much! As she mentioned to me,
“About 6 weeks into the programme, I realised how suddenly everything was making sense. I was sleeping all night and my gut problems were improving too.”
With a husband who enjoys quite a different way of eating and teenage kids still at home, the MyMT™ programme not only taught her how to make lifestyle changes to re-balance her hormones for menopause, but also, she discovered new ways to plan, shop and prepare food that also met the family’s needs too. One of the biggest gains that Paula has enjoyed from the programme is one that she hadn’t realized and that is renewed gut health and bowel regularity!
Having finished her 12 weeks on the programme, Paula admits that she ‘fell off the wagon’ earlier this year, partly by becoming very busy again and losing some focus, and partly because she wanted to test what was really working for her – needless to say, all her old symptoms returned! For Paula, the personal approach of the MyMT™ programme as well as the knowledge she gained about why her symptoms were happening, was significant to her success.
“You know” says Paula, “I’m happy to share my story, because I know so many women who don’t talk about menopause. The MyMT™ programme has not only helped me resolve my symptoms, but it’s helping put menopause on the conversation-agenda in a knowledgeable way. And this is something that so needed to be done. I know so many women who just don’t talk about menopause and in my profession, they should be. It’s that important.”
Paula, New Zealand