Kids in a classroom being taught with a teacher at a whiteboard

Why are the various stages of womanhood rarely taught?

Being in my fifties now, I find myself more and more baffled at the sheer lack of information I was ever provided with, either at school or via public health, when it came to the various stages my body would go through as a woman.

Entering the perimenopause was sudden and bewildering. Even though I knew the menopause was coming, I’d heard of it in terms of the older generation talking of ‘the change’ which I think is the most ridiculous description of a prolonged timeframe that gives us so much grief. I’ve got older friends that complain about being hot etc, but it seems to be an unspoken rule that we don’t really discuss it at length and stumble blindly into it whenever it may occur.

It was never mentioned at school. Like it was totally irrelevant. Even though we’d all go through it without exception. My schooling was in the 1980’s but things haven’t changed. My own daughter educated in the 2010’s knew nothing about it either.

On top of that, a recent study showed that the start of menstruation is rarely taught properly. Upon being asked by a correspondent for the BBC, an 18-year-old said that she had found most of her knowledge about what was going on with her body through Tik Tok.

And yes, OK, we now have the internet to tell us things. Like when I suddenly had daily palpitations out of nowhere (they disappeared as quickly as they came), and I discovered after much digging that they are very common in perimenopause. Along with a very long list of other symptoms as a consequence of fluctuating ovary function and hormone levels.

As my in-depth study of insulin has continued, and I’ve written about this before, I couldn’t help but notice that a lot of symptoms that can arise are very similar to the complications of insulin resistance. The ovary and hormone fluctuations cause cortisol, the stress hormone, to break down muscle, which turns to sugar and has an insulin response so that the sugar is turned to fat. Making the problem of insulin resistance even worse.

So, my question is this, have our symptoms got worse as a result of our rubbish diet? Did women in the 1950’s and 1960’s who weren’t brought up on as much junk food have the same severity and range of symptoms? Perhaps the fact they didn’t talk about it as much was because there wasn’t much to talk about?

That is the type of study that needs to be done to highlight the impact of poor food advice and how it is affecting us.

In the meantime, to alleviate symptoms, you know what I’m going to say, change the way you eat! My palpitations coincided with an increase in the wrong foods that I’d slipped back into eating (I took my eye off the ball, it happens). It is not a coincidence that when I stick to my own advice and eat full fat meat, fish, eggs, dairy and vegetables I have no symptoms whatsoever.

The foundation to health education for every stage in life should be great food so the body can do what it is meant to do with the least fuss.

For everything else there’s always the internet.

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