Girl Uninterrupted Blog

Apr
30

Is it PMS or Perimenopause?

Posted by in Health, PMS, Tips

 

WIt could still be PMS when you are in your 40’s, but the symptoms of perimenopause are strikingly familiar to PMS.    Hormone fluctuations are at the root of both PMS and perimenopause. There are a whole host of physical and emotional symptoms associated with perimenopause and like PMS, not every woman has the same experience or symptoms.   As with PMS, there are natural ways to deal with symptoms through diet, exercise, healthy lifestyle and getting enough sleep.  Is perimenopause just PMS when a woman is in her 40’s?

Perimenopause is state of transition in a woman’s reproductive cycle that typically starts somewhere in the 40’s.  Hormone fluctuations are different during this phase.   Ovaries produce less estrogen but follicle stimulating hormone rises so…get ready for this…menstrual cycles shorten.   What was once a 28 day cycle might become a 25 day cycle.  Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) stimulates egg growth and development, but when ovulation becomes erratic and cycles shorten, your “flow” can go from normal to very heavy.

Perimenopause, as a coined term, is relatively new.  The four to five year time frame before menopause was only labeled peri or pre menopause roughly 20 years ago.  Most women realize things are changing because approximately 40% of women in their 40’s report symptoms, like mood swings, irregular cycles, heavy flow or hot flashes, but it is difficult to define how long you have been perimenopausal or exactly when menstruation will cease.

As with PMS, there are ways to treat and handle the unpleasant symptoms of hormonal fluctuations in our cycles.  They will sound familiar to you!

Exercise regularly-Abdominal fat starts to appear but regular exercise can melt fat, improve your mood and reduce your flow.  Mixing it up with strength training, cardio and yoga covers you for decreasing muscle loss, melting fat and providing a little “zen.”

Avoid Hot Flash triggers-Pay attention to your body!  If you drink wine or coffee, does that trigger a hot flash?  How about spicy foods or overly warm environments?  Try to avoid what ails you!  And if your hot flash is interrupting your sleep in the form of night sweats, invest in some pajamas that wick moisture away from your body.

Sleep-If an eye mask and ear plugs help, use them.  Try chamomile tea, practice deep breathing and relaxation techniques.  Poor sleep quality does not help your mood or your food choices during the day.  Keep experimenting with pillows until you find one that keeps your head supported, maybe have another pillow handy so there are three cool sides to the pillow at all hours of the night!

It is common to experience a little sadness when menstruation finally ceases, but then not having a period becomes extremely liberating!

Apr
28

Grown Up Coloring Books to De-Stress

Posted by in Health, PMS, Tips

IMG_3191Coloring is part one of our #GirlUBeWell blog series featuring analog pursuits to relax, de-stress and to boost low self esteem by focusing our attention on pen and paper and away from a screen.

The New York Times published an article in the business section a few weeks ago about The Secret Garden coloring books for adults and their creator, Johanna Basford.    This article, and others like this Pure Wow  piece, suggests that our fragmented attention as we bounce from social media to email to a text message to cat videos leaves us frazzled.

Coloring was something we all did as kids!  Some people scribbled outside the lines with reckless abandon and others meticulously selected colors and never strayed outside the lines, either method, though, was enjoyable and carefree.  As Ms. Basford said in the New York Times, “Part of the apparent appeal is the tactile, interactive nature of the books, which offer respite to the screen-weary. ‘People are really excited to do something analog and creative, at a time when we’re all so overwhelmed by screens and the Internet,’ she said. ‘And coloring is not as scary as a blank sheet of paper or canvas. It’s a great way to de-stress.’”

The smell of a fresh box of crayons alone may bring a flood of happy childhood memories, but there are also neon gel pens or retro tins filled with colored pencils from the artist supply store to choose from for achieving different looks.

We tried it and found coloring to be extremely soothing.  It presented an opportunity to create something unique and to step away from screens in an engaging, and yet mentally unchallenging way.  Just focusing on the design, colors and for some of us…staying in the lines…brought us each a short period of mental calm and an opportunity to let our minds just wander.

You don’t even have to buy a coloring book, here is a “zentangle” technique we posted on our Pinterest board!  Try it and happy coloring!

Apr
22

Monthly Cycle + Low Self Esteem

Posted by in Health, PMS, Tips

148027218The monthly clash of hormones can lower your self esteem in an instant.  As hormonal acne sends a blossom of zits across your T-zone and PMS bloating has the zipper of your jeans digging into your stomach, it is easy to feel horrible about the way you look!   The bloating and acne is never as exaggerated or as apparent to other people, but those PMS days can serve as a blow to your ego.

Wellness encompasses all aspects of our lives, like sleep, nutrition, friends, family and fitness.  What happens to us when we have negative feelings due to added water weight or acne?  I’ll insert another “ask” here for you to help us with our research by taking our survey on how PMS affects us at work because we wonder if low self esteem also plays a role in a woman’s reluctance to negotiate for a higher salary or not taking credit for her work.

Plus, as stated in this Huffington Post article, women are prone to dwell on the negative and ruminate, even on stupid things like thinking that everyone is talking about the pimple on your chin or that your skirt is a little snug.  And when you are busy mulling all of your perceived shortcomings, coupled with looking at people’s perfectly curated lives on social media…well, the self loathing can get worse!

Here are a few quick self esteem activities to boost your confidence:

Get outside.  Take a walk and be mindful of the sun on your face, the budding trees and the daffodils sprouting after a long winter.  Natural settings improve mood.

Avoid emotional eating.  This is the time when sticking to a healthy diet is truly difficult because you might want to stuff your face with donuts or ice cream or potato chips for that quick fix, but that junk food won’t help in the long run.

Take a nap.  Can you put your head down on your desk for 20 minutes?  Sometimes just a little rest will make you feel like yourself again.

Sweat. Take it all out on the elliptical or on the treadmill.  Feel good endorphin’s will help you bust through your personal pity party.

Take a screen break.  Seriously.  For the next few weeks we will be writing about some analog pursuits!  Our #GirlUBeWell campaign will explore ways to spend an hour or two offline.  We are hoping this will spark your creativity and give you even more ideas for some positive self esteem activities!

Check back soon or look for #GirlUBeWell on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Apr
15

Does PMS Affect You at Work?

Posted by in Health, PMS, PMS Survey

workReading about the #EqualPayDay campaign got us thinking about the $.78 women earn for every $1.00 a man earns.  Men don’t get a period.  As women, do our cycles affect our productivity?  For those of us who deal with PMS, the 3-5 days when you are in the midst of surging and crashing hormones don’t automatically fall on weekends and holidays!

We want to hear from you before we make any decisions on this idea and so we have designed an anonymous, 6 question survey centered around this topic.  Completing the survey takes under 1 minute and we will report back right here when we have compiled enough data to formulate a thoughtful response.

Please share this link with your friends and family and ask them to take the survey too!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KQRCQJD

Apr
8

A Healthy Diet & PMS

Posted by in Nutrition, PMS, Tips

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We spend a lot of time on the GirlU Blog talking about the importance of a healthy diet to help mitigate symptoms of PMS because, let’s face it, you are what you eat and what you eat matters.

Here is how a balanced diet can help with an assist from Epicurious.com and some easy recipes for one dinner!  The delicious GirlU dinner menu is Jamaican Jerk Salmon with Mango, Pineapple Salsa with sides of Sautéed Spinach and Brown Rice.

Will this dinner “cure” you of your PMS symptoms? Probably not.  One salmon dinner can’t stop the hormonal fluctuations going on inside you!  But, will a steady habit of good food choices help you maintain better balance of important vitamins, minerals and nutrients and ease hormonal fluctuations? Probably!

Look at the major ingredients from these recipes as examples of why good food choices matter.

  • Salmon                Omega-3 Fatty Acids to help ease bloating
  • Mango                  Vitamin A for clear, glowing skin
  • Pineapple            Bromelain is muscle relaxing and Manganese reduces irritability, decreases menstrual flow
  • Black Beans        Fiber alleviates water retention
  • Spinach                Iron helps keep blood sugar in check, which keeps emotions in check and Magnesium reduces stress, lifts mood, helps regulate serotonin, fights bloating
  • Brown Rice          Vitamin B6 helps alleviate mood swings and fatigue

Each of these foods has many other important vitamins and minerals in them that do other important things to support health in other parts of your body.

Add a tall glass of cucumber-infused water and you will have added quercetin, which helps fight bloating, and treat yourself to a glass of red wine and some dark chocolate squares for dessert  and you will have added antioxidants.

Cheers to making good food choices!

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