Debunking the Myths around Menopause


Debunking the Myths around Menopause

and resolving your symptoms for a happy & fulfilled life!

 

 


Hello lovelies and welcome to our April blog instalment packed with advice, tips and links to help you or someone you care for make the most of the menopause and all the changes that come with it. With all our ‘bee-utiful’ customers being at different stages in their womanhood, we have delved into the inevitable perimenopause and menopause to share some common frustrations, bring you the most up to date information on what symptoms to expect, possible solutions and our top tips on how to cope with fluctuating hormones wreaking havoc with our skin.
 
But first, lets debunk some common myths that have surrounded the HRT for so long.....




1. BUT
 shouldn’t you wait for symptoms to become unbearable before taking HRT
No, there is simply no need to suffer.  You deserve to live a happy, fulfilling life without symptoms and this is totally achieveable

2. BUT women who have had breast cancer are strictly advised not to have HRT.
False!  This is exactly what my sister's GP said to her but she was able to show him research which showed this not to be the case

3. BUT I’m an animal lover and won’t take HRT as it’s made from pregnant horse’s urine.  
No! Some older types of HRT were made from pregnant horse’s urine but most of what is now prescribed in the UK comprises of body- identical hormones with the same structure as oestrogen but being made from yams and NOT horse’s urine.

4. BUT if you suffer from migraines you can’t take HRT as it makes them worse?
False!

5. BUT taking HRT will bring my periods back won’t it? 
False!

 

What is wrong with me? Misdiagnosis and the Menopause




 
Yes, progress has been made since times when women were expected to ‘shut up and put up’ with this change but much still needs to addressed by the  medical profession and the media alike when it comes to the menopause.

Many women find themselves lost, feeling alone in a really dark place wondering, “Is it me? Am I going mad? What is wrong with me?”, when these feelings of concern are often brought about by natural hormonal changes during perimenopause and menopause.

Many of us women do not realise that our aching limbs, brain fog, low mood, anxiety, dry sensitive skin and sleep disruption are caused by the perimenopause and the menopause. Rather, we simply suffer with them, sometimes losing our ability to maintain our employment, relationships and our mental health, all when it is very possible that these issues could be alleviated with the right diagnosis and treatments -  be that homeopathic, management techniques or medical such as HRT.   

So many women find trying to seek confirmation of the onset of the perimenopause/menopause rife with challenges – blood tests are often inconclusive or simply do not work with women often being told by their GPs that their symptoms are not down to the menopause, often being told that they have mental health issues, leaving them confused, feeling unsupported, misdiagnosed amd left with a clear lack of guidance from their general health practitioners as they try to navigate what can be a rather difficult time.

This favoured ‘blood test diagnosis’ is problematic: more often than not menopausal women find themselves being told by their GP that their FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) levels are normal and therefore they are not menopausal.  However, “evidence suggests that FHS testing does not reliably aid a diagnosis of menopause in women aged over 45 years because levels of this endocrine tend to fluctuate considerably” (www.guidelinesinpractice.co.uk). 

Furthermore, hormones can vary wildly on a daily basis rendering this test inconclusive as a perimenopause or menopause indicator.

Anti-depressants are, similarly, not the answer for treating symptoms of menopause.

Do these experiences sound familiar? Please read on to arm yourself with helpful resources and for support on approaching your GP.

 
 A case in point: our ‘bee-utiful’ customers and my sister.


 When I consider the women in my life – close friends, the ladies making up our HBB family and, of course, my biggest female ally of all - my sister Libby- they have all corroborated similar experiences and outcomes when trying to seek help from their GPs.  Libby had all of the ‘typical’ menopausal symptoms along with some of the extreme ones, even feeling suicidal at one stage.  It was only as a result of us chatting when she was at her wits end, tearful at the kitchen table, that I managed to piece together what I had recently learned having myself gone through a chemically induced menopause whilst awaiting a hysterectomy. 

I suddenly realised that her aching limbsdermatitis, skin sensitivitysleep disturbances and very low mood were connected and likely caused by a sudden drop in oestrogen from the menopause. 
None of these symptoms were her fault and could easily be solved by going on HRT.  The relief in her face was palpable.

I was able to provide an easy way for her to piece together the information in an easily presentable app called the ‘The Menopause Tracker’; a handy tool where you can add your symptoms and it will spit out the results for you to take to your GP for quick and easy diagnosis and treatment. This made the whole process far less daunting and made it easy for her GP to diagnose and treat her.  I am so pleased to say that within a matter of months, her symptoms have been transformed and she is a 'new' women, sleeping better with reduced aching, improved skin and balanced mood.

It does take around six weeks for HRT hormones to fully kick in and sometimes the levels will need some adjusting, so it is a process that sometimes needs patience but it is so worth persisting with.

Libby is not alone in reaping the benefits of using the menopause tracker, since using the Balance app, 64% of women said they have managed to obtain treatment for their perimenopause or menopause. 
If you are curious as to whether your symmptoms may be caused by the menopause, download the Balance App HERE.

Forewarned is Forearmed – How to help your GP help you




Often we expect out GPs to be menopause experts when they are not, so let’s help empower us all to take the lead and arm ourselves with the relevant information to present to our health practitioners – do not be afraid to stand up and ask your GP if they have a women's health expert you can be referred to or a member of staff available that is experienced in menopause diagnosis.

Remember, it’s not that our doctors are negative people – far from it, they are members of the caring profession – but they often admit themselves to being inadequately informed when it comes to the menopause. In fact a 2019 Mayo Clinic survey of doctors and gynaecologists found that shockingly only 7% of them felt adequately informed to help women going through the menopause. 

Consulting your doctor is a two way process and we can help them to help us by ensuring we have all the relevant facts at our disposal and by keeping a log of our specific symptoms – armed with the knowledge and confidence to push for the help we need and deserve will make for a more positive diagnosis experience.
 

The Menopause Muzzle - why don’t we talk about it?




 Whilst chatting with our customers during our live Making the Most of your Menopause webinar with expert Lesley Morrison of Nourished Wellbeing, we found that many of us felt a lack of education and conversation with our peers or mums regarding the menopause.  It was commonly felt that we were taught at school about periods and sex but no mention was made of perimenopause or menopause which seems madness when it is something that every woman will go through! Fortunately conversations are now opening up with more and more information and candid advice available to answer the needs of perimenopause and menopausal women.

Did you catch our open forum on ‘Making the Most of the Menopause?’ Not to worry if you missed it - you can watch it anytime by clicking HERE.

 So, let’s talk Menopause 

 

  
What about Perimenopause?

 Perimenopause is the stage leading up to menopause.  Whereas the term ‘menopause’ is used to denote the time when a woman hasn’t had a period for 12 consecutive months, perimenopause, or the ‘menopause transition’, is the time leading up to menopause and can last up to ten years or as little as a few months with the average time span being four years. Perimenopause usually starts in a woman’s 40s but for some women it starts in their 30s. Bearing in mind of course that a woman’s journey through menopause may start early as a result of a hysterectomy.


 

What are the symptoms of Perimenopause?

 Certain indicators of perimenopause can creep in over time and you may be left feeling like ‘something is not quite right’ but unable to put your finger on the cause as you start to experience the menopause journey.  Although varying for each individual woman, the most common signs are: 
  • Irregular or heavy periods. As levels of the female reproductive hormones oestrogen and progesterone fluctuate perimenopausal women may experience longer or shorter, heavier or lighter periods, spotting in between, or skipping periods altogether. 
  •  Worse premenstrual syndrome (PMS) before periods
  •  Hair changes
  •  Headaches
  •  Muscle aches
  •  Concentration difficulties and forgetfulness 

And,  what about the symptoms of the Menopause?

As part of the same overall life transition menopause and perimenopause symptoms can and do overlap. As we go through perimenopause and our oestrogen levels continue to drop we will likely start to experience some of the common symptoms of menopause. These are:

 

Symptom 1:  Night sweats, hot flushes or vasomotor symptoms (VMS)





 These are sudden waves of heat across the upper body and face, sometimes accompanied by profuse sweating which, in women with light skin tone, can lead to redness. These flushes triggered by the fluctuation of hormones affecting the hypothalamus (part of the brain that regulates our body temperature) can last for a couple of minutes or up to several minutes at a time and can be accompanied by a rapid heart beat or chills.

 

Symptom 2: Insomnia




 Did you know that over 60% of women report sleep problems during the menopause? With two of the most commonly experienced sleep issues being night sweats and hot flushes. Why is this happening? Sleep disturbances are caused by the fluctuations in progesterone and oestrogen during perimenopause and menopause which impacts the body’s ability to control heat. With hot flushes and insomnia ranking highly as common problems in a poll amongst our HBB family too, what can be done to help?

 Tips to Help 
  • Cool down your bedroom. Dr Heather Currie of Menopause Matters, recommends a bedroom temperature of around 17 degrees Celsius. Try opening windows or using a fan
  • Wear nightwear made from light, natural breathable fabrics such as woven cotton, linen or silk
  • Cool down with a shower before bed to help reduce your body temperature
  • Choose your sheets carefully – consider investing in bedsheets spun from bamboo; with twice the absorbency of cotton, not only eco friendly and delightfully soft, these sheets will keep you cool whilst preventing any skin irritation. Or, why not try microfibre sheets that dry quicker than cotton or wool and are proven to wick away sweat helping to regulate your body temperature during the night. Check out a full range of sleep solution bedding especially designed with the menopause in mind HERE
  • Consider natural supplements including Melatonin: the go-to sleep hormone, L-Theanine: the 'wakeful relaxation' enhancer, Magnesium: the vital-for-sleep-and-everything-else mineral, 5-HTP: the mood-and-sleep hormone elevator, CBD: the calming, sleep-promoting pain reliever, Magnolia Bark or Valarian
  • Use aromatherapy prior to and/or during sleep to help increase the speed of going to sleep and the depth and quality of your sleep

Symptom 3: Weight gain





 Changes in metabolism due to a drop in oestrogen associated with lower levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and higher levels of fat in the blood (triglycerides) and bad cholesterol (LDL), spells a higher likelihood of unhealthy blood sugar levels and weight gain during the perimenopause and into menopause.
 
Tips to help 
  • Be sure to have your cholesterol levels measured at least one a year.
  • Consider adjusting to a low sugar diet
  • Try yoga and regular exercise to help keep a steady weight and release those ‘feel good’ endorphins. 
  • Try building in a step target to motivate you to keep moving on a daily basis


 Symptom 4: Mood changes




 Mood changes, irritability, anxiety, feelings of low self esteem, depressive episodes and panic attacks can all be part of perimenopause as oestrogen influences important chemicals in the brain such as serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin.

Interestingly, did you know a study found that women who rarely had anxiety premenopause were more likely to experience high anxiety during perimenpause and after menopause? No wonder we can be left feeling ‘not ourselves’ and confused about mood changes. Sadly, another study found that perimenopausal women were two to four times more likely to experience a major depressive episode. My lovely sister fell into this category.

In a 2018 survey, 44% of women reported that menopause significantly affected their mood and mental health. For our customers mood changes and anxieties constituted the top category that they felt they would like help with, so here goes:


 Tips to to help
  •  Try practising breathing techniques – look at the headspace app for help with this HERE 
  • Be present - try daily mindfulness and meditation. Stress is a major contributor to hormonal imbalance, raiding our levels of cortisol at a time when our hormones are already off kilter during menopause, meaning that any stress can really hit you hard. Prior to perimenopause oestrogen helps to control our cortisol levels.  However when we meditate there is a decrease in the volume of the area of the brain (amygdala) which is responsible for fear anxiety and stress which can only serve to help us feel calmer, and less anxious about the changes we are experiencing. For more information click HERE .
  • Practice kindness and self- affirmations. There is actually MRI evidence suggesting that practicing self-affirmation tasks activate the areas of the brain that make you feel happy and positive, mentally stronger and more able to cope with life’s challenges.   
  • Did you know that watching, engaging or even imagining an act of kindness can lower your cortisol levels reducing both stress and blood pressure.
  • Create a distraction – try baking something you enjoy, phone a friend, tend to your garden or binge watch your favourite tv programmes. 
  • Venture outdoors - did you know that people who spend time in green spaces have less of the stress hormone cortisol than those who don’t? For more info click HERE .
  • Aromatherapy can help you through this stage in your life – pure essential oils have been known and used for years to balance and regulate emotions naturally helping us with anxiety, sleep and mood. Some key oils to try are lavender to relax, rose geranium to uplift, clary sage to bust stress and cedarwood to ease tension. Unwind with our all natural Bathing Bee Bath & Body Oil with rose geranium, lavender & chamomile followed by our mood lifting Honey Bee Body Cream with rose and frankincense and try diffusing our Sleepy Bee oil with clary sage & valarian for the ultimate evening de-stress. For pure indulgence why not treat yourself to a the warm comforting scents of our cedarwood blend Cwtch Bee bath melts – can be used in the bath or in a hand or foot spa for their aromatherapeutic benefits and deeply moisturising properties.   

 Symptom 5: Vaginal Atrophy (dryness)



 This is a common symptom for many women as oestrogen levels drop, less natural lubrication is produced and vaginal tissue becomes thinner and drier, causing discomfort that can often impact our sex lives in menopause and post menopause. When I was in my chemically induced menopause, I even found that washing would sting because of the dryness of the tissues.

Experienced by so many women this is still one of the lesser talked about problems, remaining taboo as it seems we are still too embarrassed to talk about it, report it to our GP or summon up the courage seek any treatment . In fact a study shows that more than half of women develop vaginal dryness as they progress through the menopause, yet more than 50% do not report it to their healthcare providers, with less than 4% of these women actively using any of the proven easily available treatment options and instead suffering with the burning, itching discomfort in silence.

 Tips to help 
  • If you feel awkward talking about it with your GP, try writing down succinctly beforehand what you want to say and read it through a couple of times so that you will feel more prepared, relaxed and familiar with what you want to say to your doctor.
  • Avoid bath products and soaps containing chemicals or synthetic fragrances that can irritate
  • Try applying a water-basedglycerine-free lubricant which can help reduce discomfort during sex.  Avoid using oil based ones which may cause further irritation 
  • Apply water-based vaginal moisturisers every 2 to 3 days. Their effect lasts longer than a lubricant.  These are widely available online without prescription or from your chemist
  • Applying topical oestrogen cream directly to the vagina relieves symptoms quickly and effectively. It also reduces the exposure of the bloodstream to oestrogen creating an extremely safe treatment. Oral oestrogen is also an option.
  • An oestrogen-releasing ring can remain in the vagina and release hormones to address the changes.
  • Systemic oestrogen therapy is available as a skin patch, an implant under the skin, tablets or a topical gel.  Speak to your GP about these options
  • Opt for supplements like vitamin E, vitamin D, sea buckthorn oil and fish oil to help increase vaginal lubrication naturally

 Symptom 6.Brain Fog 




In perimenopause and the early stages of menopause women often describe being unable to function well mentally and suffering from “brain fog” – a term used to denote changes in their ability to remember, think clearly, make decisions, assimilate and make use of new information and maintain their attention span.
 
Tips to help 
  • Eat foods that have been proven to help beat menopause brain fog- click HERE to read about them in Lisa’s health blog.
  • Up your water intake – since 75% of the brain is comprised of water, even the slightest level of dehydration may compromise cognitive functions and lead to memory-related issues and poor concentration. (naturesbest.co.uk).  I have found that I need to drink much more water now otherwise I am almost certain to get a headache.
  • Try London Nootropics for their delicious coffee blends which make use of the highest quality natural nootropics from around the world. What are these? Nootropics are natural brain boosters (banish that menopausal brain fog!), being known to enhance memory, focus, motivation and verbal fluency. These nootropics have adaptogenic properties, meaning they help your mind and body adapt to physical, mental and emotional stressors and find balance – cuppa anyone? Oh, and we have teamed up with these lovely people to secure you a 10% discount – just pop in the code ‘nourished’ at their checkout!

  Symptom 7: Skin Issues




 Read on and later we’ll have an in-depth look at why perimenpause and menopause can impact negatively on our skin and what can help to lend some soothing care.
 

What about the less common symtoms?

 We have focused on the most commonly mentioned overlapping signs of perimenopause and menopause but it’s important to note every woman’s experience is different. To discover the lesser known, more uncommon symptoms of the menopause have a browse of  THIS article. 

 

What about Postmenopause?

 Postmenopause denotes the stage of life we enter after not having had a menstrual period for 12 months or longer.  During this stage the symptoms associated with perimenopause and menopause subside or disappear altogether - although some women will continue to experience them for a while longer fortunately they do generally decrease in frequency and intensity. Once we are postmenopausal, our hormone levels remain at a constant low level. It's worth bearing in mind that during this life phase we may be more at risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. For more information on this and tips to take care of your body in postmenopause click HERE and HERE.
 

To HRT or Not to HRT





 HRT used to be a dirty word, a result of misleading reports linking the treatment to a risk of breast cancer and dementia has long rendered the treatment controversial.  However things are changing;  thankfully menopause experts teamed with well known voices such as Davina McCall’s (watch Davina McCall: Sex. Myths and the Menopause) are challenging this age old stigma founded on a combination of medical sexism, hysterical reporting and outdated science that has long held women back from asking for hormone replacement therapy.

In fact, studies show the body-identical HRT- now favoured by the NHS and menopause specialists -  actually shows positive effects on preventing age-related deterioration of the brain after hormones drain away and many argue that even without symptoms, all menopausal women should be taking HRT to protect their future health from things like osteoporosis, dementia and heart disease. 

HRT generally works effectively to relieve the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause by replacing the oestrogen which your body stops making at this time – it readdresses the hormone fluctuation that have been giving rise to all the symptoms and issues we have mentioned. Some types of HRT also contain progesterone and you can also take testosterone if you need to.





Louise Newson, the Menopause doctor, actually refers to HRT as, ‘the gold standard treatment for menopausal symptoms and it will also reduce the future risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, depression and dementia. For the majority of women, HRT benefits have been found to outweigh any risks.” HRT is now available to suit most women – it can be profited from as a skin patch, gel or spray applied to the skin or as a tablet and, for many, is the most effective treatment to relieve symptoms of menopause and perimenopause.  The best type of HRT for you will depend on your medical history, whether you still have a womb and if you are still having periods. 

For more current information surrounding HRT, follow the menopause doctor on Instagram.

 
HRT isn’t for me - what are the alternatives?



There are numerous alternative treatments available if, for whatever reason HRT, is not for you.  These include: 
  1. CBT – a type of talking therapy that can help with low mood and anxiety. Find more info HERE 
  2. Yoga
  3. A diet rich in calcium and vitamin D
  4. Acupuncture
  5. Gabapentin or Clonidine for hot flushes
  6. St John’s wort for hot flushes and night sweats - for more info see HERE 
  7. Red clover plant supplement for mimicking oestrogen - click HERE for further info
  8. A diet rich in phytoestrogens - naturally occurring plant compounds that mimic the effects of oestrogen in the body . Examples are: soy products, tofu, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, linseed, beans.
  9. One of our ladies also swears by evening primrose and starflower oil for calming hormones

      It's a Skin Thing...





    A well documented  symptom of menopause is the onset of skin problems. In our HBB poll, you ranked skin frustrations as one of your top three concerns during the menopause, which isn’t surprising given that as expert dermatologist Joshua Zeichner explains, “Oestrogen is pretty much everything. Not only does the hormone fuel all things, but it also supports healthy skin functioning. 

    So, when oestrogen levels plummet during menopause, skin can’t protect itself, maintain hydration, or produce strong collagen the way it once could.” This is something we can help with here at HBB, so, read on to find out how to get your glow back!

    Here are the top issues those going through menopause have with their skin along with our top tips! 
     
    1. Help! My skin is so DRY……….



     
    Dermatologist Dr Alia Ahmed explains why menopause causes dry skin  frustrations: “When women reach menopause, the levels of elastin in the skin reduce, while skin thinning accelerates. This leads to dryness, itching, wrinkles and a reduction in suppleness, as well as an increase in sensitivity. As cell turnover slows down, natural moisturising fats from the skin are lost and glands that secrete oil become smaller again contributing to dryness.”

    Does this sound like what your skin is going through? You are not alone! In fact, a recent survey of 3,875 menopausal women over 40 showed that 36.2% suffered from extremely dry skin.

    Perimenpause and menopause signal a decrease in the production of sebum so protecting the skin barrier and stopping moisture loss is critical.  Avoid skincare with harsh chemicals that further strip the skin of moisture and invest in products that contain natural humectants that will provide the dual action of  sealing in moisture and drawing moisture in from the air.





    Did you know beeswax and raw honey are naturally excellent humectants to nourish and protect your skin? Check out our best-selling Bumble Bee face cream for dry skin which is packed full of these humectants -  beeswax, raw honey-  and omega rich rapeseed oil to help minimise the signs of ageing caused by decreased level of skin fatty acids during menopause which are responsible for flexibility and skin barrier functioning.




    For particularly dry skin, try layering your face care products. Use a nourishing, easily absorbed natural oil such as our Bumble Bee facial oil (containing Rosehip known to calm irritation resulting from rosacea – another common complaint in menopause) to penetrate deeply into the skin, followed by our Bumble Bee face cream and then for extra skin barrier protection and hydration, pop on our Sensitive Bee beeswax balm and allow to sit overnight for the ultimate dry skin replenishing treatment.





    For cleansing dry tight skin, ditch your foam or gel cleansers which may have served you well up until now, and opt for a natural soap containing moisturising oils and butters - try our naturally nourishing Baby Bee Goats milk, perfect for sensitive and parched faces or a rich creamy clay cleanser. Check out the moisturising, cleansing combo of our Bumble Bee cleanser with natural moroccan clay to help restore radiance and colour to your complexion while gently removing impurities.




     As cell turnover slows down with the onset of menopause, surface skin build up can make our complexion look dry, dull and even lead to breakouts. Forgo any harsh chemical exfoliants which you may find will only serve to now irritate menopausal skin, and opt for a gentle, natural exfoliators. You could make these yourself at home using brown sugar - this is the least abrasive sugar making it a great choice for dry, sensitive skin.  Or, why not try our Queen Bee facial scrub with naturally mild and gently exfoliating jojoba beads, sugar and tender oils our customers find it really helps to slay away dead skin cells and  restore a healthy glow to dry skin.
     
     2. Help! My hands are ageing and starting to look cracked and dry …



     
    During the menopause the backs of hands can lose moisture, collagen and fat, making veins and wrinkles more obvious .  To help, try to protect your hands when gardening etc by wearing gloves and always remember to apply a high SPF sunscreen to the backs of your hands. 

    Consider gently sloughing away dead skin and encouraging skin renewal by using a natural, deeply exfoliating and moisturising hand scrub such as our Garden Bee scrub. For cracked skin follow up with our naturally antibacterial, soothing Garden bee balm containing raw honey, pure beeswax and the  healing hero bee propolis.





    For extra nourishment before bed use a natural, easily absorbed  Honey Bee hand cream followed by a smoothing of calming, cooling Sleepy Bee balm
    – with lavender and chamomile it will also be sure to help ease any menopausal anxiety and promote a restful sleep.

     
    3.  Help! Fine lines, wrinkles and puffiness seem to be more apparent?




    Do you seem to be noticing new fine lines or dark circles that didn’t seem to be there before? Dryness and dip in collagen during this stage in our lives can serve to exacerberate fine lines and wrinkles.

    Common complaints during menopause according to dermatologist Ronald May are “bags under the eyes and sagging neck skin” 

    To tackle fine lines and puffy under eyes natural skincare guru and formulator Lisa Lise recommends trying rice bran oil as its jam packed with anti ageing and anti -puffiness goodness of omega-6, omega-9 , co-enzymes Q10 for anti ageing action making it a natural free radical fighting ingredient.




    Have you tried our rice bran oil- rich Queen Bee under eye serum to help activate micro circulation, assist in draining and brightening those under eye areas whilst being easily absorbed and non irritating to nourish the delicate dry under eye skin? The metal applicator roller ball also lends a wonderfully cooling feel as it seamlessly glides onto the skin.

    For improving sagging neck skin the natural way you could try our
    Busy Bee facial oil (a firm favourite of mine) with rosehip oil containing vitamin C and A (retinol) which are both necessary for the production of collagen for skin elasticity and firmness. These vitamins in rosehip oil have been “shown to synergistically combat visible sun damage and help prevent photoaging.” (www.healthline.com) . In fact a study showed that rosehip oil inhibited the creation of MMP-1, an enzyme that breaks down collagen in the body as we age. This natural Rosehip in our Busy Bee oil can also help reduce hyperpigmentation from, not only sun exposure, but also that caused by hormonal changes in menopause. 


     
    For general depuffing and to help boost circulation try a Gua Sha  tool to kick start collagen-making fibroblasts (to find out what these are click HERE) . The gemstone jade is known as the stone of eternal youth and is a fantastic skin weapon in the menopausal women’s armoury  - being cooling to the face and nonporous meaning it will not retain bacteria to disrupt sensitive skin and will be feel lovely and cooling for depuffing hot facial skin. See ours in action HERE.
     
    4. Help! My face feels so dry and hot....




     With one of the most common menopause symptoms being hot flushes, its no surprise that our facial skin can often feel uncomfortably hot. Try incorporating a refreshing, moisturising facial spritz in your regime, and pop into your handbag so you can enjoy a fresh reviving blast when you are on the go and experience one of  menopause's notoriously uncomfortable temperature surges.





     For an all natural spritz option have a look at our Bumble Bee facial mist with brightening, refreshing organic orange flower water and aloe vera to soothe and depuff hot skin. Try popping it in the fridge for an extra cooling treatment!

     5. Help! I have suddenly developed acne....




    Many women can also experience breakouts and acne during this time despite perhaps never having experienced it before. Expert dermatologists explain why: “ acne and spot eruptions are related to the imbalance of male and female hormones that occurs around menopause, oestrogen levels decline rapidly, whereas androgens decrease slowly – it is this imbalance leading to overall other androgen levels that cause this issue.”




     Have a look at our Busy Bee range HERE formulated specifically with for the needs of skins prone to breakouts. Our customer have found our Rescue Bee Remedy to work well as a natural targeted solution for hormonal acne – have a read of their reviews HERE.
     
    6. Help! My skin has suddenly become super sensitive....




    Many women find that the trusted products they have used for years are no longer suitable for their changing skin and begin suffering from sudden sensitivities or developing irritations from fragrances and perfumes. This  increased skin sensitivity happens as the natural lipids in our skin diminish triggered by the fluctuating hormones of menopause. To help, plump for natural ingredients where possible, avoid synthetic chemicals and fragrances altogether and opt for skincare free of essential oils.

    Are you familiar with our wide range specifically designed to cater for the needs of sensitive skin? Have a look HERE for natural skincare free of fragrance, chemicals and essential oils to help nourish and hydrate the most delicate, easily irritated skins.
     


    Menopause can also stimulate sensitivity in the hair and scalp and you may find that you need to switch to gentler, more moisturising options for shampooing such as our Gentle Bee shampoo and conditioner bar, or our completely fragrance free Sensitive Bee shampoo bar – in fact our customer Tanya has now found this is the only bar she can happily use- thanks Tanya for sharing.




     
    7. Help!  I have suddenly developed dermatitis....




     
    This is again a common skin complaint during perimenopause and menopause and one that my sister also suffered from in the form of dermatitis between her fingers. In fact studies show that the pH level of skin becomes higher around menopause, meaning skin cells are less able to defend themselves and skin is more likely to be prone to rashes, sensitivities and dermatitis and psoriasis.

    What can help is tracking what you are eating as trigger foods could be antagonising the problem. I know that a few of our customers have found cutting back on sugar and increasing water intake useful for helping dry, flaky, irritated skin along with helping to alleviate many of the other perimenopause and menopausal symptoms too.  




     To calm, soothe and relieve itchy skin, try our little miracle pot of Nurse Bee Balm with the calendula, raw honey, beeswax and propolis acting as nature’s natural anti inflammatory to reduce redness, swelling, rashes and itching. For in-depth info to help if you are struggling with psoriasis symptoms have a read of our free online blog HERE.
    ‘M’ Bundles


     



    In a bid to take the stress out of your menopausal skincare woes we have specifically put together a range to address many of the skin concerns mentioned above. Our ‘M’ bundles contain our top picks of natural honey and beeswax products to help alleviate dry, sensitive, sore, itchy skin. Available in a full or ‘mini’ travel size bundle and in fragrance free options for skin sensitivities, our bundles contain a cleansing balm, face cream, award winning nurse bee beeswax balm and a nourishing all natural lip balm with sweet almond oil to help keep those delicate lips hydrated and plump. Check them out HERE.
     
    Menopause and Men



     
    Here at HBB we think its really important to include and educate our men too on the menopause  – after all, it is something they will most likely all be effected by a some point in their lives, whether it be by virtue of their wife, partner, colleague or friend, their support and understanding is so important. Men still seem to comprehend surprisingly little about the menopause – but let's face it, who does understand everything about it?

    However it would be helpful for us if our men could learn a little more of what it involves and are clued up on the discomforts surrounding the whole process so that they can impart to us some much needed empathy.  As a customer pointed out, it can be especially tough for them to to try to help and check we are ok when we don’t know what is wrong or the answer to that ourselves!  So, if you are one of our ‘man’ newsletter followers or customers (I imagine you look just like the photo above) and are wondering how you can help the women in your life during this transition, have a look at some of the resources below:

                                                                                                                                                                       

    Power to the Bee!




     Is there anything that our amazing bees can’t help with? As well as providing us with soothing beeswax and honey to moisturise our dry and sensitive 
    menopausal skin they can also help with other symptoms! Did you know that fluctuating hormone levels in menopause can impact both how often allergies occur and their severity. What better excuse than to grab a jar of raw honey local to you to enjoy whilst helping you build up antibodies to pollen for relief of seasonal allergies.

    Packed with antioxidants that can help prevent cellular damage loss to the brain a study has shown raw honey to be effective in boosting postmenopausal women’s memory. How amazing!

    A further study found that, "over 70% of women with menopause symptoms caused by hormone imbalances said their symptoms improved whilst taking bee pollen and honey.” Be sure to chose a raw honey such as our delicious raw Welsh honey that hasn’t been heated , filtered or pasteurised so that it will still contain bee pollen, vitamins and beneficial enzymes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
    Mastering Menopause in the Workplace


     
    GP and menopause expert Louise Newson terms this the “silent issue for too many organisations.” There has certainly been and still exists for many a limited awareness of menopause in the workplace which has led and leads to many women being perceived as underperforming and at worst leaving their role as a result of their perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms.

    A BBC survey found 70% of respondents did not tell their bosses they were experiencing symptoms. In fact Professor Amanda Griffiths, psychologist and specialist in wellbeing at work has “heard of many cases where women have not admitted the cause of their problems until matters have reached disciplinary stages at work.” Menopausal women are in fact the fastest growing demographic in the workforce and yet despite this the vast majority of UK companies do not have a menopause work policy in place to support their female employees. Not only impacting on our women workers but this lack of support also hits companies right where it hurts – finanacially- due to a loss of output and employee retention.

     Emma Persand, a registered nurse and founder of ‘Working with Menopause’  explains: “the society we live in and culture we have been brought up with influences a menopause experience. This includes the workplace which generally does not cater for gender specific health issues other than pregnancy.”
    If you’re a working woman going into menopause, a helpful coworker, an HR professional or manager looking to support your employees, please click HERE to read  how we can all help one another in the workplace. Know what you are entitled to as an employee and, if your are a business, what you can do to support employees by accessing online guidance HERE surrounding menopause at work and the law.
     
     Be your Own Menopause Expert




     
    There is so much more information out there regarding symptoms and possible solutions that unfortunately we just don’t have time to go into here but if you are struggling to navigate your way through perimenopause or menopause don’t fret as we have put together some fabulous resources below for you to work your way through as and when suits to ensure you are in command of as much helpful information as possible.

    Balance App Symptom Checker

    The M Word - The BRAND new Menopause wellbeing online group programme 

    The Little Book of Ikigai by Ken Mogi - Mental health tool

    The Hormone Balance Clinic - Dr Hannah Watson 

    My Menopause Doctor set up by Louise Newson, GP and menopause specialist 

    Lesley Morrison at Well Nourished

     
    Positive Power!




     
    For some useful advice with a positive pep, try Jackie Lynch’s book,The Happy Menopause”, a practical nutrition and lifestyle guide providing all women with the tools to build their own individual menopause diet which specifically targets the symptoms that are relevant to them.  Expert clinician Jackie banishes the one-size-fits-all approach whilst treating menopause as the normal, healthy life change it is rather than a disease to be medicated or a problem to be shoved under the carpet. For some resonating, empowering quotes to channel some uplifting vibes have a look HERE.  and HERE.


    Final Thought



     
    Perimenopause and menopause are definitely subjects we all need to talk about more, thankfully there is now a vast amount of useful information out there for us to refer to for help – we have tried to furnish you with as many noteworthy reputable links as possible and really hope this blog has helped guide you through symptoms, solutions and how to help you open up the floor for a diagnosis from your GP.

    We really hope whether you are premenopausal, premenopausal, menopausal or postmenopausal then you have found some empowering inspiration and practical help here on how to navigate these stages of life.  Or, if you are a man, colleague or employer caring about someone who is going through these changes, then you have found this blog resourceful for helping support your team, wife, sister or mum.

    Every woman has a different experience of the menopause and we would love you to share your own coping strategies or any advice/resources of your own that you think would help ? Or, perhaps some of the common symptoms did not apply to you, nor did any of the suggested solutions work for you? Simply click reply to this email and let us know of your experiences which could help others.

    Here’s to taking control of our bodies and making it over the menopause mountain and beyond!

    Much Love,
    Cath, Bec and the bees xxx

    P.s We really love your input so please let us know what topic you would love us to blog about and we’ll see what we can do!
     
    Resources
     
    www.seemebeauty.com
    www.heikeyates.com
     

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