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Alternative Ways to Deal with Perimenopause
Health and beauty
August 2021
Reading time 5

Elizabeth Joseph continues her exploration of the perimenopause

Elizabeth Joseph continues her exploration of the perimenopause, experimenting with some alternative ways to deal with it.

Welcome, my fellow travellers, to this month’s column. By now, we all know where we are. We are in perimenopause, or – as I like to call it – Hell Gorge. We are not ill; we do not need to be cured; we are just passing through and we will come out the other side bolder and braver than we entered.


We do not all have all of the symptoms. But we do know that the aches and pains, the insomnia, the itchy skin, the mood swings, the brain fog, the digestive issues, the burning mouth, the dry eyes, the rage, the loss of libido, the hot flushes, the night sweats and the epic wind are merely the result of our fluctuating hormones.


We are not content though, to merely grit our teeth and get on with it, as we wander through Hell Gorge. We are determined to find the best way through for ourselves – whether that is HRT or a natural approach, or a combination of both. I am navigating a natural path and, as you know, currently enjoying a range of approaches out there and some that are really ‘out there’.


I have complete faith that you are all now up to 60 seconds of blasting yourselves with icy cold water at the end of your shower. I know for certain that a few of you have donned wetsuits and ventured into the North Sea. Well done. I also know you will be boosting your immune systems, improving your circulation, reducing stress, reducing your levels of inflammation, giving yourselves a natural high and adding to your repertoire of swear words.


I also feel confident that you have all taken up meditation and now practise for 10 minutes a day, after lunch, to aid your digestion, ease mood swings, clear brain fog and lessen the rage. You may even have given strength training and face yoga a go and are both feeling and looking great. Or you may have read the last two columns merely to have a good laugh at all my daft exploits. If so, get ready to really chuckle.


This month, as promised, we will be looking at earthing, tapping, taping, turmeric and tabasco. Yes, really.


Let’s begin with earthing. Earthing, also known as grounding, is a rather marvellous concept. It simply involves putting your bare feet on the earth, preferably in the morning sun, ideally for at least 20 minutes, to attune yourself with its powerful electrical field, thereby reducing inflammation, speeding recovery and improving sleep.


Now, as we live in the North East of England, we most definitely do not have morning sun all year round. We also don’t all have lawns. I have a small yard and I don’t think standing in one of my larger plant pots is going to quite cut it. However, I promise you that the few times that I’ve had the guts to do this in the local park, or indeed alongside the Angel of the North, I am convinced it did improve my sleep that night and possibly lessened some aching joints. If you are lucky enough to have a garden why not give this a try? Stand outside with your morning cuppa. At the very least, you’ll get some quiet time just for you – and maybe even get the neighbours twitching their curtains.


Another natural approach that you may wish to attempt, in the privacy of your own home, is tapping. Tapping, also known as Emotional Freedom Technique, is believed to ease both physical and emotional pain. It focuses on the meridian points, in a similar way to acupuncture, to restore the body’s energy balance. Guided by a practitioner you simply tap various points on your body and face in a way that can help to release built up ‘emotional congestion’. I was fairly sceptical until I tried it myself and the tears just flowed. I felt amazing afterwards. There are beginner’s tapping apps available, and video demonstrations online. I also have an example session on my Instagram page. Give it a go. I highly recommend it.


For all tapping is great, I did not get on quite so favourably with taping – mouth taping that is!


Lots of people swear by mouth taping at night. Using a small piece of micropore tape to keep your lips closed, and to encourage you to breathe through your nose, you can improve your sleep. It is also believed to improve oral health, bolster your immune system and lower your blood pressure. It remains scientifically unproven but those who do it absolutely rave about it.


I gave it a go but lasted only three nights. On the first night, my son climbed into the bed after a nightmare and got the shock of his life. On the second, all was well and I thought maybe I did feel better in the morning. On the third night, the tape went AWOL and I discovered it on my shoulder at lunchtime, which was a relief as I had convinced myself I’d swallowed it in the night. But just because it didn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.


A slightly less ‘out there’ approach is adding the spice turmeric into your system. Turmeric (or rather curcumin, the active ingredient found in turmeric) can help to reduce inflammation in the body, low moods, anxiety and hot flushes as well as detoxifying the liver and improving skin health. So far, I have just sought to add more turmeric to my cooking and am not sure how much of a difference I can actually see/feel. I am considering whether to take a supplement containing turmeric or start adding a small amount to a glass of hot water and lemon of a morning. I would be keen to hear from you if you have tried turmeric and seen a difference.


And finally – tabasco. Tabasco? Yes, tabasco, for a burning mouth. Burning mouth?


Let me explain. Hormonal changes, specifically a drop in oestrogen, can lead to your mouth producing less saliva. This in turn can lead to feeling as if you’ve burned your mouth and/or your tongue. Tabasco contains capsaicin. Capsaicin is a component of chilli peppers – it makes them hot. It also works as an analgesic (pain reliever). It is used in patches and creams to treat joint and muscular pain. So why not fight fire with fire? Mix a few drops of tabasco in a teaspoon of water and slosh it around your mouth up to four times a day for a couple of days. It worked for me. No more burning mouth. Incredible.


So, there you have it, a range of natural approaches to make your time in Hell Gorge a little more comfortable. Which will you try?


Next month we will be looking at how we can make sure we come out bolder and braver than we entered Hell Gorge. There is no reason for us to feel invisible in midlife. No, really, there isn’t!


You can follow @elizabethjosephnavigating on Instagram.

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