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Navigating the challenges of Menopause

Updated: Apr 30


"So many women I've talked to see menopause as an ending. But I've discovered this is your moment to reinvent yourself after years of focusing on the needs of everyone else. It's your opportunity to get clear about what matters to you and then to pursue that with all of your energy, time and talent." Oprah Winfrey


Menopause, a word that often remains unspoken during our younger years, suddenly becomes an unavoidable presence as we reach our 40s and beyond. This natural transition in a woman's life is accompanied by a variety of physical and emotional changes that can be quite challenging to navigate. My journey or rather, horrendous adventure started 4 years ago. I left South Africa, on a cold and grey winte afternoon in August 2019, landing in the UAE, Dubai, 9 hours later in blistering heat... 48 degrees! There I was, 48 years old (had a hysterectomy at 36) and oblivious to the fact that this major life change, relocating internationally, was just one of the transformative experiences I would go through.

 

For many women, the onset of menopause can be swift and accompanied by a multitude of aches and pains. Before leaving SA I was super fit, running 10 – 12 km 3 days a week, swimming 2 days a week and mountain biking with my husband twice a week, I loved being active, fit and lean. The hormonal fluctuations that occur during menopause can cause an array of symptoms that range from mild discomfort to debilitating pain.

Unsurprisingly, training in warm weather in the UAE took its toll. One Saturday morning we went riding our bikes in the Fujairah Mountains, as we usually did over weekends, and the next day I was in ER. Heart rate just below 40. 


I have subsequently been in and out of ER seventeen times.  Have had several ECG’s, scans and been pricked and prodded. Was in hospital for 6 days with a headache from hell. More scans and an MRI.  I have never suffered headaches or migraines in my life, but the doctor thought a dark room, intravenous chemicals and a handful of tablets would cure me.  Left hospital with the same symptoms, just a little milder.  In retrospect, someone should have realised I must have been hormonal as I did not stop crying for almost the duration of my hospitalisation.


While hot flashes may be one of the more talked-about symptoms of menopause, they are just the tip of the iceberg. Menopause can also bring about joint pain and stiffness, leaving women feeling achy and stiff in different parts of their bodies. This can make everyday activities, such as getting out of bed or climbing stairs, a painful experience. In some cases, menopause can even exacerbate existing conditions like arthritis, further adding to the discomfort.

 

In addition to physical discomfort, menopause can also take a toll on a woman's emotional well-being. Fluctuating hormones can contribute to mood swings and irritability, leaving women feeling emotionally fragile and overwhelmed. The combination of physical and emotional changes can create a sense of despair and confusion.


And so, the roller coaster ride began. 


 Everyday brought along its own new symptoms and feeling of despair. Then COVID. Still in and out of hospital. Never once did any doctor do blood work for menopause, hormonal imbalances of other deficiencies. (This can be partly due to the communication barrier we face here.)


What I’ve learnt thus far:  hormonal imbalances can cause most of the ailments I suffered/suffer, and my highly inflamed body do not respond well to chemicals! Therefore, positive mindset, loads of laughter, movement in any form and direction (daily!), healthy food and correct supplementation made the difference for me –  it was and still is trial and error!  Take a holistic approach… it is most definitely not all about chemicals!


Follow me for the next 365 days as I embark on my transformative journey filled with experiences, challenges, and occasional setbacks - aiming to illuminate, inspire and bring forth joy, humor, and holistic solutions.


LOMA

Graceful Balance Pilates


Navigating the challenges of Menopause




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