S1 Episode 7 - Tackle Early Menopause Symptoms Without Hormone Therapy (HRT) With Guest Star of Real Housewives of Cheshire Nicole Sealey



Nicole on her business journey so far:

One of the toughest things for me was to have built something from the ground up and then to have lost it all. I think equally, that's probably one of my most positive experiences as well because I then rebuilt a business that was even stronger than before from losing something that I had worked so hard for.

It was a big turning point where I jumped in on a very small project and it then turned into a huge project. I always say to people that they should take every opportunity that comes their way - no matter how big or how small - it doesn't matter whether you feel confident as long as you at least try because you never ever know what it's going to lead to. 

Nicole on how perimenopause affected her work and life:

I gained weight, I felt everything was very difficult to decide upon due to the brain fog I was experiencing. I used to be a really decisive person all of a sudden, I'd question myself and then question myself again. My Dad's got dementia and I starting wondering if I should get tested. If we knew what it was at the time, it would have been different. But at the time we didn’t. We decided not to make any big decisions because you don't know if you're making the right choice.

The only things I can liken it to are when I was younger and I had a hormonal type of cancer and then being pregnant, and also when I did IVF. The symptoms were very similar to how I felt during the IVF cycle. So there are similarities and I think from the quick shift in your hormones, and the drugs, play a part in it. But that's the only time I could say that the symptoms were quite like that. And now, I do have some symptoms, but I can control them.

Nicole on what helps her with hot flushes:

A cold shower every morning is something that everybody can do within reason. Even though there are options like cryo available, I don't have time to go and have cryo all the time. So actually, cold water works really well for me. I'll jump in an ice cold bath. It makes me feel great and helps with my legs and helps with just about everything. It's been the one thing that I've found that works the best for me. 

Joe on how they’ve learnt to live with symptoms:

I think we've learned tools on how to help cope with how you feel. Walking was a massive one we discovered that made Nicole feel better. We'd go on a walk for however long it took. It could be 20 minutes, two hours, four hours, sometimes we would walk miles.

Nicole on diet and exercise during menopause:

I'm going to try reformer pilates for some relaxation on my joints. My joints aren’t great when I get out of bed in the morning and because I can't take HRT, I need to start addressing that a little bit more. I think it is also just use the rule of thumb, eat slightly less and move more. And for menopause, because your body does slow down and I’ve found when I don't feel as heavy, everything feels better as well, even the joints. When I eat badly - and I don't mean weight gain - but if I put something not great in my body, I don't feel good. So I think it is trying to eat clean, look at what suits your body. And I say to everybody, there's no hard and fast rule, you have to find what works for you. So for me, if I'm feeling like that, I'll fast as it makes me feel great along with the walking.

Nicole & Joe’s top tips for helping your wife through menopause:

Joe: I think you’ve got to learn to communicate. If you've got a partner, failure to communicate is death in a relationship. I think the past generations haven't spoken about it with their partners, with their children or with anyone, and so partners have no understanding of what is going on. They often think my wife's just changed completely. I said as a joke a while ago, I now understand why men stand in the pub and say my wife is driving me mad, because beforehand menopause hasn’t been talked about enough.

We have that relationship where we can say anything to each other. So obviously, if Nicole is acting like an idiot, I’ll tell her and that helps. 

Nicole: So supplement wise, I've tried them, but I'm not very good at that. I could do with a supplement I can take just once a month. I'm not good at taking supplements. For brain fog I find keeping your mind active, whether it's playing a game or doing a crossword puzzle.

Joe: Sleep is a huge thing for Nicole as well. I look at her and say I know you need to have a sleep and send her to bed. And she might sleep for four hours and, it’s not all the time, but when she needs it, go and sleep and rest your brain and your body. So it's lots of tools together, and looking at how your wife feels and what she needs at that time and I also think we’re very lucky to have the relationship that we have.

Nicole: Sometimes you don't always know what's best for yourself and having a partner that does really helps. You have to learn about your own self care and I think as you get older and I would say as mothers and wives, we tend to historically always put ourselves last. But I think when you hit this period in your life, you have to try to take that time out because you won't cope otherwise. So you have to have a little bit of me time whether that's reading a book or going for a walk to be the best person you can be.