Stupid, crazy hormones: what it’s like for some women over the age of 40

I hate hormones.

Seriously, since I’ve entered my 40s I’ve had nothing but trouble with those things. I was still nursing a ferocious little monster at the beginning of my 40s, so that’s not even the time I’m referring to. Prior to 45 does not count.

(She nursed on demand for a full 18 month and didn’t sleep through the night till age 4 and a half years old, so I have forgiven myself for that period of time and all that I did wrong.Β  Until my baby learned the basics of human behaviour (like sleep in her own bed all the way through until morning) I did what I did to get through the day.)

After 45 though? That’s when things started to get a lot more interesting. Weight gain and loss, hot flashes, food cravings worse than during pregnancy…grey hair, dry skin, eczema…irregular menses, bloating, fatigue…you name it.

Lately, as in the past week, it’s been about food cravings and hot flashes.

Allow me to expand:

Over the last couple of weeks I have not been able to stop eating. I ate everything and then I ate more.

Sure I try to make healthy and nutritious choices (and that’s helpful if you actually like those choices, which I do) but by mid afternoon I wanted a pastry with my tea. Maybe two. Or some ice cream on pie. Even though I’m not a huge fan of ice cream. And maybe a piece of chocolate. They say dark chocolate has healthier properties than milk chocolate, but I actually prefer milk chocolate. Fine, I’ll have both. What if I include nuts with my chocolate? Nuts are good for you, healthy omegas and protein and all that? Ok, I’ll add some nuts to my chocolate. And to my ice cream. Or separately in a bowl to snack on.

Maddening.Β πŸ™ƒ

By the time the kids get home from school and want their own snack, I start craving salt: feta cheese with olives, sliced cheese on salty crackers, pickled veggies, even chips (or crisps as they are known in the UK). I’m not a fan of chips but when the salt craving hits, I reach for balsamic vinegar chips. If we have them in the house, which is questionable because I live with chips obsessed snackers.

Then I start to cook. If I’m not required to put my chauffeur hat on later on, I start to daydream about wine. You know how it is: you cook dinner while supervising homework and sip a bit of wine. Right?

I had to stop that. Wine made me so tired that by 8 pm I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I now reserve my sipping to [mostly] weekends pending activity schedules and stick to water. Or sparking water. Something that doesn’t make me tired.

Then comes night time and I go to bed with my heating blanket plugged in and turned to the magic number 13. By time time my evening hygiene routine is done my bed is warm and inviting and I feel comfy and sleepy.

But then by 11 pm or so I suddenly feel really hot. I turn the blanket off and try to go back to sleep. Except, I have to pee. So I get up and immediately freeze to death. It’s still cold here, especially at night, so by the time I get back to bed, I’m shivering. I turn my blanket back on and go back to sleep.

By 3 am I wake up again. Damn bladder.

Except this time, I’m so hot I feel like I’m roasting.

Sheesh.

Can’t win.

So the solution these past few days has been to do this:

  • cut caffeine (or at least reduce it, which is doable if I can have one coffee in the morning)
  • drink more water (which is doable if I plan around my time outside the house according to bathroom availability)
  • eat no wheat products or sugar at all (doable and easier after the second or third day, as long as there are plenty other items to eat to avoid snacking)
  • increase protein and vegetables, decrease everything else (I loosely follow Paleo, Whole 30 or Candida Diet for inspiration) (A fellow blogger is in the process of following the Whole 30 diet and is anecdoting it on her blog.)
  • increase exercise (exercise-schmexercise…this has not happened because I’m sick of winter coats and all the stupid layers we have to wear in this cold weather)

Today is day 3 of no sugar no wheat. I am doing fine. Less fatigued, less itchy (wheat and sugar flare up my eczema on my hands) and sleeping a bit better.

I shopped for groceries as well and picked up more food I can eat without worry, to keep myself satiated. I loaded up on full fat Greek yogurt, nuts, root vegetables (for soups) and berries. Also some gluten free crackers and hummus.

The pot of soup I made the other day I ended up eating throughout the day both to keep full and to keep warm, so perhaps I should make another pot. (I ate the whole thing in one day…)Β I can use my bone broth which is nourishing and healthy, I still have some in the freezer from before when I made a big batch.

And my snacking is under control. Day 2 of no sugar already got rid of the sugar craving, which is bonus. Even while I sipped tea I didn’t feel the need to cheat with scones or cookies.

In terms of the hot flashes though, I have no idea what to do to manage those. Other than doing laundry more often, I think I’ll be stuck with hot flashes for the foreseeable future.

So yeah, the middle to late 40s have been fun. Wonder what’s next? πŸ™‚

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43 thoughts on “Stupid, crazy hormones: what it’s like for some women over the age of 40

  1. I can relate to so much of this! Especially the peeing, as you know! It drives me nuts when I was enjoying a perfectly good sleep. How are you going with the changes in diet and has it helped sleeping issues? I do most of them already except the no sugar bit and I do love a glass of wine or two after a long day, although that isn`t as tolerable as in my hey day. My appetite is also all over the place. Some days I forget to eat, others I could eat all day. My symptoms are having a party at the moment, they just didn’t`t invite me :(. This is a great article and thanks for the link to it xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This post is so ridiculously relatable to me; I fell your pain sister, on more levels than you know! My lst child was born in 2011- before I turned 41 in July of that year. I was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 7 moths old. My menopause was medically induced, and has not quit LOL!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can identify with the food cravings – cheap tubs of Chocolate Ice Cream from the service station just up the road lol… other than that, I’ll just shut up πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Just WORD to all of this. Ugh. Do you think once menopause is actually here, this will all get better? Or will we start to dissolve like pillars of salt?

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  5. It sounds like you’re doing all the right things while you try and ride out the roller coaster! You know how I feel about sugar already. πŸ™‚ When I eat it I crave it. Same with most processed carbs! So it’s almost easier for me not to eat any at all. Weird. I’m counting down to the end of Whole 30. I really like how I feel right now and hope I can stay this way after introducing some of my favourite foods, like yogurt and granola!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. never mind, you’re already following the 5 day rules. I am printing this blog out to refer to, thank you for the suggestions!

    I wonder if I drank wine if it would make me sleepy and let me sleep at night? lol

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  7. “Then comes night time and I go to bed with my heating blanket plugged in and turned to the magic number 13. By time time my evening hygiene routine is done my bed is warm and inviting and I feel comfy and sleepy.

    But then by 11 pm or so I suddenly feel really hot. I turn the blanket off and try to go back to sleep. Except, I have to pee. So I get up and immediately freeze to death. It’s still cold here, especially at night, so by the time I get back to bed, I’m shivering. I turn my blanket back on and go back to sleep.

    By 3 am I wake up again. Damn bladder.

    Except this time, I’m so hot I feel like I’m roasting.”

    HILARIOUS AND SO TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like

  8. “(She nursed on demand for a full 18 month and didn’t sleep through the night till age 4 and a half years old, so I have forgiven myself for that period of time and all that I did wrong. Until my baby learned the basics of human behaviour (like sleep in her own bed all the way through until morning) I did what I did to get through the day.)”

    This is awesome and you will not regret it! Fuck the housework lol I nursed on demand too for I don’t even remember how long. maybe two years. i don’t remember. He was old enough for me to be able to talk to and reason with because I remember telling him “You’re old enough now that you can wait til later, mommy’s got to finish this.”

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  9. You’re on the right track for controlling what you’re going through. Sugar is the enemy. All I can tell you that I know for sure, is that you’re gonna love your fifties (or postmenopausal days) all that crap you’re going through goes away, and you have freedom from the aisle in the store that reminds of womanhood necessities. Exercise is the key in every stage of life!

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  10. oh yeah you’re perimenopausing alright!

    Ive got these two books by my bed: “Menopause with Science and Soul” – does a lot of explaining about whey the cravings and such – and tells you how to work them. The cravings are your pituitary gland apparently creating insulin in an effort to get your ovaries to get back to work. I spent the last month eating nothing bu sugar salt chocolate until I figured that out. Then I told my pituitary gland to stop it lol. And told my ovaries to communicate better with it and let it know when they might feel like ovulating and when they do not plan to. That’s worked for me.

    Other books is “In Praise of the Crone” by Dorothy Morrison. More for the emotional /spiritual end of things.

    Good freaking luck girl! You’re not alone!

    Oh and hot flashes are your body detoxing. The less you give it to detox, the less you will have. the coffee bean has an oil that stimulates them more. Peppermint tea will help you get them to DEcrease.

    I’m happy about where I am at the moment – but I started perimenopause at 40 right after I had MY little monster – and I”ve had 7 years to make my peace with it before this year has come and I’ve missed my first period and my hormones are gettin’ real! lol!!! All of a sudden I can’t sleep, and all I eat is the salt/sugar/chocolate/chips and i’ve had pms since a week before my period was SUPPOSED to come back on March 3!

    *runs off screaming!!!!!!!!* lol

    Thank you for writing this blog! I shared it to all my menopausing friends!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is cool, and the book reco’s are already listed in my growing list.

      I’m managing but it’s not always easy. Sharing helps. πŸ™‚ So does commiserating. lol

      Thank you for your comment!!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. About to turn 44 and I sense heading in the same direction. It really does make me wonder what I was thinking, having children in my late 30s! I will hit 50 with 12 and 14 year old girls!! No to mention all that is doubtless to be endured between then and now lol.I take one day at a time and remind myself that perimenopause doesn’t *have* to be shit. Many women sail through, apparently – we just hear more mutterings about the horrors of β€œThe Change” than we do the success stories. Food and exercise are definitely key to giving oneself the best chance of a good ride through all this so I focus on those. ( I have found guided meditations are the best way to get back to sleep after yet another dead of night trip to the bathroom πŸ™‚ )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was 36 with my first, 39 with my second….it is tough but there’s a wealth of information out there to help one though. Like one comment above says, being aware is a good first step! I combine traditional doctor visits with naturopath visits to let me make informed choices, so it’s been helpful. But it’s still quite a trip! Lol….my friend and I often commiserate over email, so it’s nice to know one is not alone. πŸ˜‰ You hang in there, and thank you for commenting. πŸ’™

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  12. I’m 36 and had a full hysterectomy 3 years ago. Because of my medical reasons for said hysterectomy, I cannot take any type of synthetic hormone replacement to manage any of the aforementioned symptoms you described. BUT I have found the best thing: Black Cohosh Root. It’s all natural and after 2 weeks of taking it, your hot flashes should improve exponentially! I only have to take one a day, at night. But I think you can take up to 4 a day? I order mine from Amazon but you might be able to find it in your local drug store’s supplement section. It’s been a LIFESAVER for me because the hot flashes were the worst of all my post surgery symptoms.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, now that you mention it, I think my naturopath mentioned this. I will go back over her notes. The hot flashes only happen for a short time once a month, so it’s not a huge problem, but while I’m in it….lol. πŸ™„… Thank be you for the tip!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I get it. Exactly the same! Except for hot flashes. But I am always nuclear hot (more so around shark week) and the same with food cravings. The minute I have sugar it becomes uncontrollable. Bread, bread and more bread. The wine is also getting out of hand. Not attend meetings out of hand but still it needs to be just a weekend thing…. thanks for the post x

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Love your excuse for eating chocolate is it’s ok if you have it with nuts – I do the same! Lol. Loving the Greek yoghurt, that’s stuff is a miracle food. I have all this and lots. Exercise does really help πŸ€Ύβ€β™€οΈπŸš΄β€β™‚οΈ

    Liked by 1 person

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