Category

Women’s Health

Your guide to talking to your Doctor about menopause.

By | Menopause, Women's Health

How do I talk to my Doctor about my menopause?

You have made the appointment to speak to your Dr about your peri menopause – menopause – post menopause. Now is the time to ask for advice, support, treatment and move forward on this journey.
Whether it’s the first appointment or the 5th it’s great to be prepared and work in partnership with your Dr for your midlife journey.

But what is the best way to get across all you want to say and find out in what may only be a 9–10-minute appt?

Preparation, Preparation, Preparation

Having facts about your current health, symptoms, and lifestyle with you when you speak to your Dr in person or on the phone will be invaluable.  Having the material to hand and the questions you want to ask will give them the information they will need, which will utilise your appointment time as much as possible.

How to get this information? By tracking your health, symptoms and changes, this is a really useful way to build a picture about what’s going on – when, how often, is it related to your current menstrual cycle. Start tracking as early as you can, if you have not, look back through your diary, dates, events that may remind you of a specific time… maybe your last period, a hot flash, bout of insomnia, anxiety levels changing etc.

Preparation applies to your research into the treatment/s you may want to try or find out more about. Explain what you would like and why, have you weighed up the risks and benefits to the treatments you are wanting to try.

A check list of information to gather could be:

  • If the Dr is not sure is your symptoms are hormone / menopause related, then having completed a Green Climacteric Score: https://www.menopausematters.co.uk/greenescore.php  will help them determine if they are.
  • Explain why you want to talk, make a list of questions/concerns.
  • Describe your symptoms and observations.
  • How long have they been going on?
  • How do they make you feel?
  • How long does it or they last for – hours / days?
  • Are there triggers, if so what are they.
  • What helps alleviate?
  • What have you tried or implemented up to this point?

Current Information:
Have your current medical history and details with you:

  • Medications prescribed and bought over the counter.
    It maybe you do not have a regular Dr, so each time you speak to someone new, letting them know about you can help save time.
  • Talking about your current lifestyle will help with the information and recommendations they may make: Such as exercise, specific nutrition, smoking / drinking, stress levels, allergies, supplements.
  • What is your work / family life dynamic like?
    Knowing what’s occurring in your life will give the Dr a better picture of what will be helpful based on this.

Depending on the outcome of your appointment – the answers, solutions, treatments that are discussed, there are some other things to consider and make sure you are aware of:
Questions to ask:

  • If tests are to be carried out:
    What are they, why are they being done, what is the time frame for the results, when to arrange a follow up appointment to discuss.
  • Medication prescribed:
    What is it, why is it being prescribed, if you do not want to take it what are the other options, side effects you need to know about

Being heard:
We want our Dr to listen, hear our story and help us plan a way forward.
Sometimes we may not get the treatment we would like or agree with, you can ask for a second opinion if you are not happy with the Dr’s answers, there may be another Dr that has more experience in menopause treatment etc, and remember, NO question is insignificant / silly or a waste of time. The Dr’s have probably heard it before.
If you are not happy you can also ask to be referred to a hormone specialist. I will list some links below for resources.

Support during your appointment:

Would you feel more comfortable taking someone with you to the appointment or have them with you during the call, to support you.
If you know that a 10-minute appointment will not be long enough, can you ask for a double appointment when booking?

Also..
You may know what you would like, you may not. This stage of life can and is a mystery, there is no one size fits all approach!
Our Dr’s too, like us may not have all the answers but working together to help us with our health, to find the best way forwards is key. One appointment may not be enough, so good communication and a plan that you can both work with will benefit you both.

If this has been useful and you know someone who would benefit from this blog, please do forward it on.
I’d love to know your thoughts and experiences, let me know at caroline@cpmpletefit.co.uk.

Caroline x

Useful Resources:

Nice guideline for menopause Treatment: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng23
British Menopause Society – Specialist Practitioners list:  https://thebms.org.uk/find-a-menopause-specialist/
Clinic 51: https://www.clinic51.co.uk/
Perimenopause Hub: https://perimenopausehub.com/medical-hub/

How do you know if you have Complete Fitness and Wellbeing?

By | Women's Health

How do we know? Well, I believe if we are feeling good, physically, mentally, and emotionally most of the time, we are pretty much doing the things for our complete fitness and wellbeing.

But if we are not sure, how can we tell?
We will not be feeling as good as we want or expect. Our goals are not being reached or the results we want not happening.

This is the time to take a step back and ask Why. Health and fitness are not always straight forward, nor does it fit into a one size fits all category. We are all different and we all need a variety of components to get the complete fit.

Complete:
Definition: Having all the necessary or appropriate parts

This could be –  the information, the tools, the time, the motivation – like a jigsaw we need a certain amount of pieces to complete it.

Fitness:
Definition: The condition of being physically fit and healthy or The quality of being suitable to fulfil a particular role or task (like life!)

Rate your current fitness levels, are they where they need to be for all you do right now, or are some areas missing in what you want to achieve?
Our fitness varies at different times of our life, working to maintain, adapt and progress or challenge it is one part of the puzzle.

Wellbeing:
Definition: The state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy (lets go for all 3!)

How are you feeling – does everything you do for your health and fitness leave you feeling healthy, happy, and comfortable?
Wellbeing is not just doing the work – it covers behind the scenes too – work, life, home, hormones, exercise, nutrition, sleep, rest, and self-care. All these parts of the puzzle should be placed alongside the work pieces.

One thing I have realised over the years is that we all have a story, we all have needs, wants, busy lives, likes and dislikes, but at the heart of it all we want to feel good, move well and do the things we want to do – physically, mentally, and emotionally.

All aspects of your life, and your health and fitness goals are connected. Taking this into account we can work out a plan, a course, a workout, a release that will help you get there.

If you are not sure if you have all the parts for your Complete Fitness and Wellbeing, lets look.
Review the pieces you have, discuss if they are working or maybe we need to add some other parts to help.

An informal chat is the first place to start, then we can progress from there. The services I offer that will support your journey are Personal Training, Massage Therapy, Holistic Core Restore® Pelvic Floor and Core programmes and the Complete Fit Monthly Membership for women entering midlife and beyond – a combination of all the services can be tailored to you – because you are unique as are your health and fitness goals.

www.completefit.co.uk
caroline@completefit.co.uk

Your Menopause Superpower

By | Women's Health

I shared this in the weekly Complete Fit newsletter, because today is World Menopause Day (18th October 2020). A day to really shine the light on all things menopause – to get the conversations started, flowing and continuing to highlight this life stage women go through.

So, do you know what your Menopause Superpower is?

What are you talking about Caroline?, there is no superpower to the menopause, it is the menopause, something we all go through at a certain stage of life, which can be ok or tricky or tough going or a mix and more. No superpowers there…”

Well, I disagree. YOU are your menopause superpower. YOU.

“A woman going through the menopause is like a butterfly emerging from her chrysalis – She goes through many changes to get to the end, Physically, Mentally, and Emotionally.” (source unknown)

How amazing is that? Look at what we go through, we change, adapt, grow and emerge into our 3rd age.

You are your superpower because you can take charge and do the best you can for this journey.

The journey begins:

Peri Menopause – The average time from peri-menopause to post menopause is approx. 6 to 10 years. We are all so different it will affect us very individually and when it may happen could be from the age of 35+. Hormones begin to fluctuate, we notice changes in our bodies, mentally and emotionally.
Menopause may be earlier than expected, premature menopause, or brought on because of illness or surgery. This is the theme for this years Menopause awareness and conversation. Menopause doesn’t always arrive when we assume it will, if it occurs before the age of 40 it is classed as early menopause.

Menopause – The average age for this is 51 – 53, the time we cease menstruating. After 12 consecutive months of no period we are classed as being…

Post Menopause – After menopause our hormones have adjusted to new levels – some lower or maybe higher than before and our body will be adjusting to these, and always will do, as hormones don’t stay at the same for long and for many reasons.

So, on this World Menopause day, I wanted to highlight how fantastic you are ladies.

Whether you have entered Peri Menopause, going through Menopause or you are Post menopause – every day is menopause day!

But we need to realise that being a Superpower comes with some responsibility…

To ensure we are looking after ourselves at this time – before, during and long after, we need to make sure we tick several boxes to help with the process and the way forward to live our best 3rd age life.

The main boxes I believe are: Nutrition, Self-Care, Bone Health, Heart Health, Brain Health and Cognitive Function, Movement, Lifestyle, Stress, and Sleep. But how, what do we need to do?

  • Listen to our body, noticing what is or has changed,
  • What works or doesn’t work for you now (hello mid 20’s, hours of cardio, late nights and booze!)
  • Finding what will work and benefit our health and wellbeing – whether it is HRT, supplements or a change in diet and exercise for example.
  • Picking up on triggers that could bring on a hot flash, a bad night’s sleep,
  • Noticing how stress affects you and what do you do when you are stressed.
  • Does this phase of life effect you at work, if so, what can we do about this?
  • Realising that now is the time to add a variety of movement into our daily lives,
  • Look at what’s on your “plate” and what can you do if you don’t like what’s on there, and
  • Very importantly finding time for some calm and self-compassion – because at any stage of the life it can be tough being a grown up can’t it!

So, take some time to process where you are right now. Hone into your superpower – YOU.
What can you add to help and make the process one that works for you.

If you would like more specific information, or for me to focus on a particular topic, then let me know – using movement, massage and self care I can help with your health and fitness goals at this stage of life and beyond x

Useful Resources:

https://www.daisynetwork.org/
https://thebms.org.uk/
https://healthandher.com/
https://themidlifehub.com/
https://www.menopausedoctor.co.uk/

 

 

 

Guest Blog

By | Women's Health

Let’s face it, divorce is not an experience anybody is lining up for!

Life changes on a fundamental level; suddenly we become an individual rather than a couple, finances may be under pressure, co-parenting challenges could become part of daily life and a new future stretches out in front of us. On top of that; all this happens whilst we are dealing with one of life’s most emotionally distressing events.

As a result, our well-being can take a bit of a battering and it is not uncommon to experience stress, sleep problems and even depression.

To counter this, consciously taking responsibility for our wellbeing is really important. Staying as healthy and sane as possible throughout the divorce process will help you achieve the best outcome.

Thinking about what you eat and for many drink (!) is crucial. Comfort eating and hitting the bottle is rarely a good idea. Feeling bloated and hungover is not going to make matters better and of course we all know this. So, instead, think about nutrition and what makes your body feel invigorated and nourished. During your marriage you may have had to compromise on family meals, is there an opportunity now for you to eat in a way that suits you better?

For many, exercise provides sanctuary at this time. We’ve all read about the natural high that exercise brings and even if it’s is not your passion, trying a new sport or attending a class will rarely be regretted. Finding somebody like Caroline Kerslake at www.completefit.co.uk who offers holistic fitness and wellbeing programmes tailored to what you need, would be a great start.

Yoga bridges the gap between mental and physical health and Caroline Miller at www.Yoganut.org provides some of the best around. She also offers meditation and even sports massage, so, she’s a glorious one stop shop for physical and mental wellbeing.

Wellbeing is also about nurturing and treating yourself; take the time to do things that make you feel truly wonderful.

Helen Turner at https://kch.life/ is my go-to for heavenly beauty treatments and stunning products. As a fellow divorcee, she better than most, understands how a luxurious massage or facial treatment or even just using one of her gorgeous facial oils can lift your spirits.

Or, how about absorbing yourself in a new activity which will allow you to completely switch off for a few hours. Concentrating on newly learned skills will give your mind a much needed break from the divorce and its surrounding worries. There is a raft of opportunities out there, from learning a new language, taking up gardening or how about really treating yourself and trying a glass workshop with www.glassalisa.co.uk ? Creativity is an outlet that is much underestimated in its ability to restore and repair our fractured emotions and a session with Alisa definitely hits the spot.

Alongside all of these lovely ways to take care of yourself, don’t forget to get the right support to help you through your divorce. Actively taking control of your divorce and making sure that you are making the very best decisions for you and your family, will ensure that your wellbeing is maintained as you enter the next phase of your life. Divorce coaching can make sure that you have the time and space to really consider your options on all divorce related matters and that you take the rights steps for you.  www.resetdivorcecoaching.co.uk

However you choose to take care of yourself, make sure that you are left feeling truly wonderful and uplifted. This difficult time will not last forever and if, on the other side, you are healthier, fitter, mentally stronger and equipped with new skills and knowledge, all the better.

Stress and Breath

By | Women's Health

Stress. How much does this play on your mind, do you know what effect it has on you physically?
Like it or not, we need stress in our lives.
Without it we wouldn’t survive – sounds dramatic doesn’t it.

We have an Autonomic Nervous System, this system keeps us safe, and in balance – it makes sure all our automatic processes are carried out, such as breathing and digestion.

There are two parts to the autonomic system:

SYMPATHETIC Nervous System – this is our reactive system, the one that detects we are being chased by a lion (nowadays, our stress could be work, kids, stuck in traffic etc etc.)

But…

If we are in a state of always feeling like we are being chased by a lion, then our stress levels and hormones adrenaline and cortisol remain high which can have a knock-on effect to our health.

When the lion has gone, or the traffic is moving or you have sorted out the work issues this is where our PARASYMPATHETIC nervous system (our rest and digest system) calms things down.
On the flip side, some stress is good!
When you are waiting to make a speech, or a bungee jump, to asking someone out… this stress gives us the push to do things and we need that too.
When we are feeling stressed, how does that affect our breathing, the tension in our body?
Our breathing may become shallow, breathing into our upper chest and shoulders, which results in not getting lovely full diaphragmatic breath. We maybe clenching our jaw, which creates tension and can affect our Pelvic Floor.

It’s all about balance.
We need to ensure we can let the parasympathetic nervous system in, to calm things down, let the tension go and just soften.

Notice how you feel right now. Are you clenching your jaw, sitting hunched over the desk, frowning?
Try and just let everything soften.
Breath in for a count of 4 and out for a count of 4, feel the breath expand your ribs, and tummy. Let your teeth be apart, the tip of your tongue on the back of your front teeth. Notice the difference now. Do you feel more relaxed, the tension has eased?

Rest, relaxation, good food and sleep are key parts to this process.

You may notice that as you enter midlife you are more reactive to stress, this is down to our hormones fluctuating, we may be busier than ever at this stage of life – work, children, parents, being pulled in different directions with little time to focus on you which can lead to more stress, especially at times when there is so much going on in the world.

If you feel affected by this and need some time to focus and reconnect with yourself, then why not get in touch and we can discuss all areas of female health, stress and self-care and how we can work together to get things in balance.

Use the contact page to get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.

Peri Christmas

By | Women's Health

With the hustle and bustle, expectations and effort put into the festive season, I have noticed that its not always “the most wonderful time of the year”.
Now I’m not being all bah-humbug, but it can be a time that adds more to your plate than usual, this can lead to additional stress, overwhelm and less time for yourself and your self-care.
Here are my thoughts as a peri-menopausal woman in the shape of an acrostic poem (well, not a poem, but words that resonated with the letters in Christmas)


C
: Calm.
Take time to feel calm when you may feel the complete opposite. Some deep breaths – for example, breathe in for a count of three or four, and out for a count of three or four, whenever you need to. This will help your nervous system to relax and give you some moments to help let the stress/anxiety/frustration pass.

H: Help.
It can be difficult or even not thought about at this time of year, but if you need some help getting things organised then ask, this could be anything that will make the preparations and build up to Christmas day easier for you.

R: Rest.
By the end of the year we are often in need of rest, and as the party season is in full swing, this is even more so. Late nights, visitors and travel, all lovely but can leave us feeling pooped. A nap, a sit down with a cup of tea, an early night. Do what you can to rest.

I: Ingredients.
Food and Nutrition during this time of year can leave us feeling full, not making the best choices and maybe missing out on key nutrients.
Ensure you eat well, try and stick to your usual diet, one that makes you feel nourished and satisfied. Party food should be enjoyed, but dare I say it, in moderation. If it makes you feel “meh” then consider what you are eating. Aim to have fresh fruit and veg to hand to add to meals and snacks.

S: Stress.
Can build up over time, and often we just brush it aside. With things to organise, people coming together – family, friends there may be more stress than normal. Try and recognise when you are feeling stressed and what is causing/triggering it and see what you can do to help reduce those stress levels…. C, H and R all apply here!

T: Talk.
Communication is key, not just to sort logistics, who’s preparing this and bringing that, but during this festive period, you may catch up with people you haven’t seen for a while and this can also be a time where we talk with friends and family that we don’t necessarily get on with or want to talk to.
Try and make sure you give yourself time, space and the chance to prepare if you know you are going to see these people. If you really do not want to engage with them, do you have to?
Enjoy the conversations with those nearest and dearest to you and the time spent talking.

M: Movement.
Get up and move. Going for a walk, clearing your head (not just from one too many prosecco’s) but if your usual exercises classes are not on over Christmas, then getting out and about will not only make you feel great, but give you time to yourself, or time to talk with friends and family in a relaxed way. A work out at home to will give you some time to yourself and physically make you feel good.

A: Alcohol.
It has got to be mentioned! We probably drink more than normal at this time of year. Be mindful of what you drink. Alcohol can affect us differently as we go through peri menopause and beyond. Alcohol is a diuretic and can leave us dehydrated, so when you have a drink complement it with plenty of water and ideally drink when eating, so it gets absorbed slower. Too much can lead to our C,R,I,S and T being affected!

S: Savour.
Whatever you have planned or you do over this period, savour the time you have spent preparing, the effort you have put into the festivities, and some time for yourself.

Wishing you a happy and healthy Christmas x

 

Ladies who Walk and Talk

By | Women's Health | No Comments

Where do you walk? How often do you go for a walk?
Walking in Five Oak Green, Tonbridge, Paddock Wood, Tunbridge Wells Kent.
We are lucky to have an abundance of green space – fields and orchards, parks and towns we can walk in.

As a Personal Trainer, Holistic Core Restore(r) Coach and Massage therapist I endorse the benefits of walking to my clients all the time.

A few of the benefits of walking:

  • It’s free
  • A great way to become more active
  • It can be incorporated throughout the day– a walk around the block at lunch time, taking the stairs, parking further away
  • Can improve and maintain good cardiovascular, bone and muscle health
  • Fresh air and sunlight / day light which contributes to our circadian rhythm – our natural rhythm for when we wake and go to sleep
  • A change of scene, time for your thoughts to process some ”head space”, calm and your mind can wander
  • Can be very sociable

Walking on your own or in a group?
If you need some time to yourself, then a walk in your own company is perfect, if you want some company, chance to talk with others then a group walk, be it with friends or an organised walking group will offer many benefits.
Different company, new conversations, getting to know new places to walk, mutual interests or goals, sharing experiences.

Join us for a Walk and Talk? 
After our first  “Walk and Talk” in October, which was really enjoyable, I am arranging another one for November.
We will start in Five Oak Green and explore one of the many walks I go on with my dog (dogs are welcome, but are the owners responsibility – and we do pass through a field with sheep)

We’ll be out for about an hour and a half.
All you need is yourself, suitable clothing and footwear and some water.

Details can be found in the events section on my Face Book page, take a look and let me know if you’d like to join us.
https://www.facebook.com/events/2360186090978937/

 

Services Holistic Core Restore Caroline Kerslake

Life Phases

By | Women's Health

 

Life Phases

I often mention working with women during all ”life phases”, but what does that mean and do we need to be aware of these phases?

You can categorise a women’s life cycle in phases:

1) Birth to Puberty

2) Teenage and Adolescence (physical changes from child to woman, the start of menstruation)

3) Womanhood – Reproductive years from late adolescence to peri-menopause

4) Post Menopause to our Elderly years (the rest of your life after Periods and childbearing)

I’m sure that we have passed phase one and two and we are within our reproductive years or beyond.

Each life phase is unique and has its own specific needs.

From birth to adolescence, the development physically, mentally and emotionally is huge. Some hormones (chemical messengers that tell our body what to do) peak, change and adapt ready for the next phase. Girls become Women and have begun their periods and may be able and ready to have children.

Our hormones fluctuate throughout life to accommodate pregnancy, growth, repair, healing and ageing. Between the ages of 20 to 40 this is a key time for our careers, starting a family, getting on with life.

From our 40’s through to our 50’s we may find ourselves in the “sandwich” years, having young / older children or young adults at home and to support. Maybe also elderly parents to care for too, plus, our careers and just life!

This is the time our hormones begin to fluctuate, getting ready for peri-menopause, when our fertility begins to decline, through to menopause. The levels of these messengers begin to lower becoming less balanced as we approach menopause, then at post menopause they tend to settle at lower levels than before.

We enter this next phase Post Menopause, when there has been 12 months of no periods. This time in our lives may still be like the previous phase, we have now entered the third age. We may have less responsibility, have time to change and rethink what we want to do, career wise, hobby wise etc. Often this is a time for reflection and having time for yourself.

Through each life phase one thing that is clear, our own health and fitness is key – to guide us optimally through each phase.

To nourish our body through hectic, stressful times, through times when our bodies may grow another human, and recover from that time, to dealing with health conditions and illness.

Changing our nutrition and movement to suit each life phase is key, if we have a good base to start with then transitioning between each phase will ease the journey.

Being aware of the changes that happen through our life is significant, as is knowing what conditions may affect us as we age e.g. bone health, cardiovascular health, cognitive function etc

So, as we enter each life phase, let’s make sure we are giving ourselves the best self-care, nutrition, movement and time to enjoy it and get ready for the next exciting stage.