If you’ve been following along my more personal journey of late, you’ll already know I ran to Hawaii once again this past summer to detach, unwind, and hopefully figure life things out.
The quiet always works! Add in a little adventure to lift the spirits, and you have the makings of really, such a perfect getaway and experience! That’s why I keep going back.
But it wasn’t as easy of a journey as I may have made it out to be in my Insta Stories I shared while away. There was a LOT of work to do on myself.
The thing that quickly rose to the very top was my apparent lack of good HEALTH.
Right before I left, I hurt in every which way possible. From head to toe. It lasted a good 3 weeks while there too which was shocking! And really limited what I could do.
So upon returning home, a visit to my doctor was absolutely imperative so I could get to the root of why I felt the way I did. And why I feel SO much better now.
I’m the same person from when I left vs. now so what’s the difference?!
Or rather, it can be complicated for menopausal women.
But now that I know what to expect, I am now better preparing. And it’s helping!
So I wanted to share my own current health update, what I recently learned from my doctor and what I’m doing about it that helps in hopes that these answers may help your own quest for feeling your ultimate.
Please note, this advice caters to myself and in some cases, is generalizing. So if you have any of these issues, I encourage you to see your own Dr. to get the goods on you.
Why do I feel depressed one minute, then amazing the next?
Before I left for Hawaii this past year, I didn’t understand my mood. I felt pulled down into some deep dark hole that didn’t really measure up. Life was relatively ok. I sufficed it to maybe I was just stressed and overdue for a true break (something I can’t achieve at home). Or maybe even weather related. All I know is, I felt moody, low and I ached from head to toe.
The low feeling doesn’t always accompany pain though. Which is equally puzzling.
Thing is, that black hole did more damage than I realized. It made me gravitate towards every negative thought or worry possible. Most of which I made up! I was hard on myself when I felt it approach and even harder on myself when it hit. I was just mad at myself for feeling bad.
What a waste of good life, huh? But it was very real. Some days I just needed to crawl into bed and have a good cry.
But what is this nonsense with the mood swings?! I explained this all to my Dr. and she didn’t even appear surprised!
The Dr. said:
Menopausal women have this thing where depression can hit. (there’s a term for it but it was too medical for me to remember). It can visit for a short period, or take an extended stay.
How much of your life does it take up? Now that you know it will likely visit again, are you able to accept it when it visits, knowing it will pass? Or does it pull you down to the point of shutting you down for months at a time? Depression is treatable, but nothing Dr. prescribed will alleviate your mood only a day at a time. Medication is a commitment.
I reasoned my own bursts where short enough to endure. I am not on any medication and I like it that way. So it was advised to stay super active, engaged with social interaction, and try new things to keep the spirits lifted.
With some days relinquishing myself to my current state, knowing it’ll soon pass.
Since the visit:
Since I’ve been home, the low mood has hit on occasion, but only a day or so at a time, then it’s completely gone. I’ve figured out it can be triggered by something happening that causes me to overthink and stress, but more commonly, 2 days before overcast weather, the aches come on and the low mood can soon follow.
Some days I succumb to it knowing it won’t last. I allow it, curl up in bed, flick on Netflix, cuddle with the cats and just have some downtime. Literally. Occupying my mind has really helped. I don’t feel low when immersed in a show.
I’m also going to look into a ‘good mood light’ or whatever they are called. Once our rainy season hits, it’s a long haul so I want to be prepared. I’ll keep you posted on that…
I personally detest feeling low, but if that’s part of my make-up at this stage, then it is and I must learn how to work with it vs. against it. And give myself grace when it hits.
(above image from a Maui cottage post from HERE)
Vitamins and minerals. What do I really need anyway?
I admit, my kitchen cupboard is full of vitamins. I did a deep clean awhile back and had to throw most of them out due to expiring… which meant one thing.
I kept forgetting to take them, period. Good grief.
So I asked. What do I myself really actually NEED at this stage of my own 56 yr old game?
A blood test was ordered to determine what I may be low on.
Generalizing, most menopausal women are apparently deprived of Vitamin D.
But she suggested to not go too crazy on the vitamin thing. You can put a lot into yourself you don’t need that you can achieve through a decent diet. Vitamins and minerals should not be replacing good food anyway.
Now I realize, there are other routes to go on this one. You can visit a natural path in which they may likely give you a very LONG list of supplements to take. You may be an essential oil person swearing that certain oils have effective healing effects. Or your tests may show you truly have an issue that needs attention, period.
So who’s even right?!
What I’m doing:
I’m personally going to wait for my blood tests, and round out my diet. And get Vitamin D at the very least.
However I will be seeking out some alternative vitamins or minerals that may help boost my mood dips.
Even though I have lots, I’ve chosen to not use essential oils. I personally don’t like their smell, haven’t found them to make a large impact on my past issues, and I 100% choose to not diffuse with pets in-house.
(above image from bike riding posts HERE)
What’s with the added weight?!
Do you ever dream of being your goal weight again? And how good you felt back then? I remember it vividly. Especially going into a thrift store dressing room while camping and anything I put on, I looked adorable. I just couldn’t look bad!
My doctor said I was about 20 lbs overweight and I believe she was being conservative. So if she says that, it must be more like 30!
All I know is, that weight gain came out of nowhere. Yet here I am. Now what?
I told her I really wanted to join a gym with a personal trainer because I am a person with physical limitations and every time I move with machines, I injure myself.
This is how it really works….
You adjust your diet to lose weight.
You work out to tone up and build muscle and strength.
Of course, they combine here and there. But you get where she’s going, right?
She claims menopausal women only needs up to 1600 calories a day. And if you eat less, your body gets use to less. Hmmm…
So if you’re feeling the need to munch at night, best to resort to fresh veggies for that late night crunch so you’ll feel full but without all the calories.
WARNING: She also made a comment that I will guarantee, will stay in your head once you read it. Bypass the next sentence if you wish.
She mused when menopausal women eat all the bad carbs, they tend to turn into marshmallows.
I laughed! But could immediately relate because I was packin’ one (or five) myself. That comment will be on my mind next time I grab something bad, I guarantee that!
What I’m doing:
My daily bike rides will of course continue. It’s the only thing I can currently do that doesn’t hurt me and I feel much stronger and happier after a ride. Plus, I love them!
And I’m going to add some beginner yoga to the mix as I can. (no head stand stuff, just normal old school yoga moves).
I may join a gym guided by a personal trainer (specializing in helping around injuries) as a trial. Still debating.
And I’ll be putting PREPARE GOOD FOOD as my #1 thing each and every day once again. Because when there’s plenty of good food around, I don’t resort to the bad.
When I cut out the bad carbs again after my vacation, I dropped 5 lbs within days. This is normal because I know carbs bloat me silly. And hurt my stomach. For me, protein and veggies are best. And for my sugar attacks, fresh fruit on occasion.
Good food to me means real food. Beef, chicken, tuna, fresh vegetables, eggs, fruit and I do allow some cheese. I’d also like to try some new recipes to grow this list.
(above image from the Pipiwai Trail hike in Maui HERE)
Why do I ache?
Before I left for Hawaii this past year,I ached. BAD.
In fact, for the first 2 weeks, I could barely walk. One instance was attempting some pretty walks along the Wailea Beach Path, but I ended up shuffling, moving super slow, then finally sitting on some pretty rolling hill overlooking the ocean instead.
Thank goodness for pretty surroundings and my camera! And let’s offer up some brave girl credit here too… for I have long practiced my health doesn’t have to be perfect for a getaway! In fact, Maui is my healing place.
But I was disappointed. I had hoped Hawaii’s weather would remove my pain.
Which eventually did happen. By week 3, it was completely gone. And what timing, as I was heading on an adventure to Molokai that remaining 8 days! Talk about perfect planning…
Since getting home, we’ve had hot, amazing weather, so I imagine that is why my aches have stayed away. YES! But one overcast day, pins poked every region of my body once again. Ugh. Back again, huh? But it only lasted a day, likely because the weather improved.
So I really do think weather plays a VERY big part in this. And since I live in rain country….
Yes, some people feel pain via the barometer readings. It can also be arthritis acting up.
Some take medication for it, but if I can do without, it’s best to stay off. Be kind to yourself during the painful moments, knowing better days are ahead.
And if you feel better in sunny countries, go when it rains at home! I like the way she thinks.
And… blood tests to rule out stuff were ordered for this too.
What I’m doing:
I will go do the blood tests.
And I admit, I’ve always wanted to ‘try’ a natural path route, so I may visit one to see what they say too.
I also think it could be food / carb related. If they hurt my stomach, why wouldn’t they hurt the rest of me? I have for the most part ditched wheat stuff, pasta (gluten free too) and tomatoes. It’s really helped.
I talked to my sister about family aches that appear to run in the family. That really helped.
I’m also testing out hot Epsom salt baths. If they help, I am debating on getting a hot tub.
And I will look into tweaking my future vacations. I have written down to adventure for short bursts during every season, but focus on good weather places when it rains at home… If my heart and soul requires adventure, I want to say yes for enjoyment, rather than hold myself back as punishment.
But for the most part, I allow some days to be down days. If I hurt from head to toe and know it will be temporary, I work with it (hello Netflix and cuddly cats) and am kind to myself vs. guilting myself into painful movement.
My new permission-to-rest mindset has greatly helped alleviate the pain and and I appear to push through it much quicker! In other words, don’t fight it.
Why isn’t my foot 100%?
Remember my foot surgery? I don’t believe what they did fixed it.
So my Dr. ordered up more x-rays to see if anything can improve things. The tests shared some issues that either grew back or were never fixed. Ugh.
So… a complete study on what can be done at this point is being put together at some big fancy place in Vancouver. I’ll be called when they are ready to see me and chat about options. So expect an exciting Vancouver city post coming your way one day soon! Maybe I’ll make a mini vacay out of it.
My doctor did remind me that surgery isn’t an exact science, so there are no guarantees with this kind of stuff.
BUT… I will not allow this hindrance to halt life. I’ll just keep living life and do things I CAN do and some harder things with moderation. Bike riding has truly saved my life on this one.
And yet another reminder to not hold back on the things you want to do… while you still can.
So there you have it!
And why I must put good health as #1 on my list at this stage of the game!
Summary on what I’m doing:
Good food prepared each AM. (adds the right fuel and keeps my head clear)
Get tests done. (I’ve delayed this for 3 years!)
Pick up Vitamin D. (hope I remember to take it)
Move daily in ways that don’t hurt aka bike. (keeps me strong, mobile and reduces stress)
Keep trying new things. (keeps my spirits up)
Keep striving for reasons to do stuff. (reasons motivate me)
Keep chipping away towards my smaller AND larger goals. (to seek continued improvement)
Start working on ‘harder things’ on the house that are long overdue. (seeing the same issues daily is deflating)
Become more social. (I’ve been visiting more!)
Go on more frequent, shorter adventures. (it’s on my actual schedule now!)
And being an empty nester? Drop the mom-guilt and be kind to myself already. It’s ok to do things for YOU. In fact, imperative.
When I didn’t take care of myself and put everything else first, I kept repeating, “What’s the point?” I lost enthusiasm for life.
All I know is, when I feel good, I feel like participating in life.
Which is really the entire point…
Where are you at with your current health? Did you find any of this advice comforting and helpful?
49 thoughts on “My Dr.’s advice for menopausal women and a health update”
Thank you! I needed this !
Try reading ‘delay don’t deny’ it explains the healing of intermittent fasting and why calories in and out lifestyle doesn’t work. My daughter, hubby and I feel so much better. It was recommended by a friend who is a gp. I’m not an agent! You can join the fb page for free… good luck
Thank-you Clare, intermittent fasting has become a real thing lately but I don’t know enough to try it yet. I’ll look into the FB page!
Oh you are speaking my language! Yeh! I have Found someone who is dealing with same issues as me and is doing a Mediterranean low fodmap diet! I will look up the books you talked to, but do you actually have an easy daily meal plan that you have come up with, with your new found Hobby? Sorting out a meal plan is definitely not my hobby lol. I signed up with a dietician because I have the marshmallow menopause weight gain that came out of nowhere and need to lose that spare tyre while also dealing with the bloating (and for me reflux as well – that I am sure started after medication for something else) ….. basically if I had read your article first I could have saved $400.
Thanks for sharing your story
It’s like you’ve been peeking thru the windows of my house. Thank you for posting. Makes me feel better knowing it’s not “just me”. And I too have been meeting with my doctors to rule out anything more serious.
Thanks so much for sharing your current health journey, and glad you are finding things that help.
Being bi polar and menopausal I do feel same way in some areas. Glad you figured out not to kick yourself when down. (I still deal with that but getting better.) And I also have the ‘sad’ dark wet winters issue…
At 71 my joints ache, but have found some relief using rubbing alcohol on them! cheap, and no greasy residue! =)
I do hope you are feeling better soon…you are making some great choices!
blessings and hugs
I don’t comment on posts of any blog, but I’ve been reading yours for quite a while and I thought my experience might help you. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and I do take medicine for it, but I’ve noticed several things that make me hurt, so I’ve cut them from my diet. They are red meat, sweets – especially bakery items and anything fried. I’ve read that nightshade vegetables should be avoided, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and more but I’ve not gone that far. Maybe soon, though. I hurt when it’s going to rain/snow and when it’s about to stop, not as much while it’s raining/snowing. Warm baths in Epsom salts help so much but I can’t get in and out of the tub anymore, so I soak my feet and that seems to help. Maybe it’s in my head, but it’s not hurting anything, right? Have you seen a Rheumatologist? Do you think it might be Lyme’s Disease? It can mimic arthritis and other things. Hoping you find what works for you.
Thanks for the advice Debby! I have not gone to a Rheumatologist, however I just took note on my blood test that it’s documented so looks like that’s the place to start. Yay! I’m documenting what you said for my next visit regardless.
Sorry to hear of your own issues. Sounds like you have a great handle on things though! I have read about the nightshade plants but have been sneaking in peppers because, I mean, what’s left?! haha Sheesh.
I even did a blood test to see which foods are best for me and naturally, most of what I love I shouldn’t have. Meh…
We still have to live, so I’ll continue testing things. Thanks for your list!
How timely this is. I too have been suffering and finally am seeing my Doctor in the morning. I don’t know what Is going on in my body yet. My mood has been spiraling down and have broken out with rash like symptoms among other things. At the advice of a dear friend I have been listening to a book on tape ‘When the Body Says No’ Exploring The Stress Disease Connection. It’s an eye opener. I am quite sure I will be seeing a rheumatologist next.
Thank You for sharing your story. I never even thought about menopause.
Thank you for sharing your journey toward a healthier lifestyle. It’s refreshing to read a story that you can relate to your own life. Your posts are like conversations with an old friend. May you enjoy happy days ahead!
Donna..great post and informative..sorry for your aches and pains..living in chilliwack rain will do it for sure..you seem to have a great action plan to handle it all..blessings as you navigate the joys of being a woman..
I hear you. I’m 60 years old, 40 lbs overweight, I’M the one who has fled the nest – I teach in another city during the week, living in a small home alone, and then go home to my family on the weekends. I love my job but I missed my family so much that I just snacked and ate all night up here and gained 20 pounds. I’m not one of those people who stop eating when they’re depressed, I eat more! But I had a life-changing experience a month ago in the Grand Tetons where I was on vacation. Quite simply, a young grizzly bear and I almost crossed paths while hiking. Neither one of us expected it, and after her sizing me up for a few minutes from a distance of about six feet, she decided to lope off. I fully realize that that could’ve ended badly. Since then I’ve thought, “if that was the end of your life could you have said you were satisfied with what you had done?” Sadly, the answer was no. So after a lot of soul-searching I have resolved to lose the weight, come to terms with my daughter getting older and soon moving out, and next year, get a job in Yellowstone national park for the summer! I’m a teacher so I have the time off, I want to spend it surrounded by nature in a place I love. I’ve already lost 12 of the pounds by simply cutting out the junk eating and embracing good food. Good luck on your Journey. I know I will continue to miss my family during the week, but now I have a goal and I can work through it. You can do this – I’m cheering you on!
I agree with you regarding the importance of fueling yourself with healthy food. We all have thoughts about the best way to do this so instead of going into detail about what I eat and why I thought I’d share some things that have been helpful for me. I always have healthy, ready to eat food in my fridge. I often batch cook grains and veggies in advance to make it easier to put meals together during the week. After experimenting with different foods I’ve figured out that my body often tells me what makes me feel better and what doesn’t (I don’t always listen but at least I know). If I’m really craving something particular I try to cook it or bake it myself using healthier ingredients (I tend to avoid refined foods and simple carbs). This usually satisfies my cravings. That doesn’t mean I don’t eat the occasional donut etc. but it really helps. I like that phrase that’s been going around for awhile, “progress not perfection”.
I agree 100% about once you identify that it is most likely a hormone thing that will soon pass, it takes the edge off immediately!
Kori, I think this is the #1 thing that changed everything for me. I use to be so hard on myself… now I invite it in, and change my day around as needed. I’m just so very grateful self employment allows this so spontaneously!
Oh, I love the “invite it in”! Smart!! I’m going to start using that! Thank you!
Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us! For me, it was very helpful, next time I go to see my dr, I will definitely be asking different questions than I have been in the past – who knew it could be menopause related? Thanks again!
I’m so glad this helped Robyn! Yes, ask lots of questions.
I’ve also edited my post on something really important I forgot about. It wasn’t until I had a chat with my sister, she mentioned all her issues that my mom also use to share when she was still with us. I took all these new inquiries to my Dr. as well, which proved really helpful!
OH MY my heart goes out to you. AND you are going to get alot of advice. You are headed in the right direction. Vit D may be a long term thing. You are in a cloudy area and “getting older” ahum….no disrespect. Put the Vit D out where you can see it and take with a meal. But do get tested for it every now and then so you can do maintenance. As for the aches….get tested for markers for arthritis. Pays off. It is a starting point. Then look at turmeric, anti-inflammatory…And Golden milk…great stuff. Also, look at consumption of gluten and dairy. It is a life long road to figure us girls out. I had fibromyalgia for years until I eliminated gluten. I have recently done no dairy and doing a lot of plant based meals. Don’t get discouraged I know you will find a good fit for yourself. I am 69yrs old and since 1986 have had to adjust over the years as “discomfort and weird stuff” popped up. But just take your time. Sounds like you have a great doctor. Do your research also for girls. I only take stuff for hypothyroidism. For my age that is pretty good since I see so many ladies my age take soooo much in meds. Take care of yourself and try not to get discouraged. Hang in there.
Thanks for your wonderful advice Melissa! I’m listing some things down you mentioned.
In the past, I had an infection that required long term antibiotics which ended up being a mistake it appears. I may have been misdiagnosed. As a result, I’ve had lots of issues with carbs since and have taken extended probiotics. Which I’m still suppose to be on! I keep forgetting…
So that was when I started eliminating crappy food to avoid extreme bloating. I feel better without all that anyway!
Oh how I can relate to where you are in life… After spending 2 years asking doctors why I felt like crap, was exhausted, ached all over, bouts of being depressed and generally felt like crap and being told there was nothing “medically wrong” with me I decided to try a different path. I started self care by attending a restorative yoga class (highly recommend this type of yoga as it focuses on gentle movements with stretching and really listening to your body). My instructor asked if I had ever considered seeing a functional medicine doctor and recommended one that she used. I did my research on functional medicine (find out the root cause of the health issues, not just treating the symptoms and use both natural and western medicine as needed). I made the appointment last September – first thing he did was ordered a plethora of blood tests. It was very interesting to get the results and see just how deficient my body was in certain vitamins and minerals, that I was prediabetic and was set up for possible heart and brain issues as well as having Hashimotos thyroiditis. Diet and exercise were the first no brainers – Keto diet with intermittent fasting and getting a puppy took care of that! Thyroid medication and supplements to build my body back up were next and engaging in more things that make me feel fulfilled (for me that is being creative) have also been key to healing. Less than a year later and I have dropped 25 lbs, reversed my diabetes and heart issues and have my thyroid under control. I still am working through menopause and definitely have highs and lows but know how to cope. I’m so glad that I searched out an alternative to traditional doctors. I now have hope that I didn’t have before. We each have to find what works for us and our bodies as there is no “one size fits all” prescription. Best of luck on your journey – sounds like you are headed down the right path!
Donna, glad to hear you are being proactive with this irritating problem, and kudos to your Dr for not shoving pills at you!
You already realize that most carbs give your body fits and that you react better to protein and vegetables, with a few fruits here and there.
I want to suggest before you do too much “other” stuff, that you seriously check out this informative and scientifically-based information from Jonathan Bailor, at sanesolution.com
He is passionate about the importance of vegetables and protein in our diets, and is adamant that we CAN get all the vitamins and minerals we need through our food. He promises to teach you how the correct foods will restore your hormonal health. Please check it out!
Oh Donna, welcome to the not-so-fantastic club! I hear you! Staying busy and treating yourself well is okay to do and should be at the top of your list. Volunteering has helped me ward off the depression and help me feel better about myself. As far as the food goes, we each DESERVE to eat healthy freshly prepared food. When the food is healthy and looks good, then it will help us to feel good too. I’ve been experimenting with buying organic when I can afford it. It actually seems to be helping (maybe less chemicals for the body to deal with). I take Vitamin D every day. I don’t think anyone in the northern hemisphere gets enough Vitamin D from the sun or their diet. We can’t stop aging but we can be the best we can while we do! 🙂
This empty nest Mom with psoriatic arthritis can completely get where you are coming from! Some days it is so hard to get moving – mostly because of the arthritis. I pretty much ignore it and do what I want. Some days that works better than others. I do see a rheumatologist and I love her. The medication really does help – I can actually wiggle and bend my fingers now! OH! And they found my vitamin D was non existent. Taking that has changed my life. I would suggest taking your meds/vitamins when you brush your teeth at night. Works for me! Good luck!
Thank you for sharing Donna, everyone needs to read this. I’ve had the same experiences and discovered the same remedy. I have always had a workout plan, but found I had to increase it for it to do the job. Had to find my sweet spot.
This is twice now you have helped me out. First time was the 3.5 IKEA sofa,? haha.
Great advice!!! Thank you for sharing with us, Donna!!! You have encouraged my health journey!!
How uplifting and inspirational! I’m so glad I read this post. I typically don’t read long posts. This has given me motivation to make some long overdue changes in my own life that, hopefully, will lead to better health and happiness. I wish you all the best with your life journey. Thank you for sharing. Marie
Thank-you Marie! I don’t typically write posts this long either! I generally try and keep it to 1000k words but this one was double! But I decided to tell the entire story the way it needed to be told anyway. I’m so glad it inspired you towards improved changes!
Thank-you for this very informative blog. I am right with ya…56 and post menopausal. Just like you, I don’t want to take medication for my aches, pains and depressive days. Frequent talks with my Creator helps adjust my attitude and down moods. It gets my eyes off of me and focused on helping others. Your advice was spot on though. I’ve already gotten my blood test done, now I’m waiting for my follow-up drs. appointment to talk about it. I really enjoy reading about your adventures and I appreciate your passion for bike riding. I share that love as well. Hope your days of Joy out number your days of melancholy. Best Wishes.. Jean from Michigan
Aww thanks for confirmation that I’m normal after all Jean! haha Seriously, it’s soooo good to know.
And YES… when I focus on helping others, it truly is so motivating.
I’m glad you enjoy the lifestyle posts I share as well… because, there’s just so much more to life than one thing! 😀