Are you drinking enough water?

drinking_waterThis month has seen the celebration of World Water Day (22nd March 2014). This is a great opportunity to assess the benefits of water and the wonderful things this simple remedy can do for your health.

Our bodies are made up of 60% water. We need it to survive and to help our bodies function properly, and you would be surprised at the amazing effects it can have on your general health and wellbeing. Lack of drinking the stuff, can cause all sorts of nasty problems, including kidney trouble, dry skin and dehydration, which can in turn have an affect on your concentration levels and cause awful headaches – similar to those you may suffer after drinking too much alcohol.

The daily recommended amount is 2 litres. According to the UK NHS website, this can also include other healthy drinks such as milk and fruit juice, and even the water content of your afternoon tea break. But it is highly recommended that you avoid sugary drinks such as carbonated soft drinks, which would not only be better for your general health, but also helps protect you from weight gain and bad teeth.

Drinking more water can do wonderful things to your skin. Keeping yourself hydrated from the inside out can make you look healthier and may even take years off your appearance. It is always important to use a daily moisturiser to help maintain the balance of oils that your skin produces, but drinking water can give your skin that boost you need to avoid having tired eyes and blemishes. Simply put, water will detoxify your skin and body and help you feel better all round.

If you are buying bottled drinks, always check the labels for sugar content (flavoured drinks and fruit juices). Tap water is just as good, if not better than bottled water (in the UK) as it is stringently tested against bacteria, whereas some bottled water could remain in storage for a long time and is not reported to have to undertake as rigorous testing. Though there are many brands of bottled water that have added vitamins and are perfectly good for you to drink, and so researching a brand before you commit to drink 2 litres a day might just be worth doing. There has been some controversy over the quality of tap water in different parts of the country, but if you have concerns, you can also check your local water supply by visiting the website of your local water supplier.

So, are you drinking enough water? Have you had an ongoing health problem that could be related to dehydration? As the weather begins to improve, why not pledge to start drinking more water now and get into the habit of replacing one or two of those sweet cravings with a healthy glass of H2O – it will make the world of difference.

Below are a few links to help you gain a better insight into the world of water and give you a head start on learning about the best water sources for you.

Smoking causes early menopause… another reason to quit!

cigarette-smashSmoking causes risks to your health. It is written on the packets and the countless advertising we are bombarded with, encouraging us to lead a healthier lifestyle. This is because smoking is scientifically proven to be bad for our body’s.

Not to mention the affect it has on your skin. It is commonly known that smoking can make the appearance of ageing more prominent at a younger age. Smoking is also a well-documented cause of many different types of disease such as cancer, heart disease and health issues such as infertility.

We all know that smoking is bad for us. But what you may not know is that another side affect of smoking has recently been assessed, it can induce early menopause. Scientists used to think that it could cause accelerated menopause by up to 1-2 years, but a new study has found that smoking can cause menopause as early as 9 years before you would naturally be expected to hit it.

The findings published in the journal ‘Menopause’ stated that the findings were based on specific genetics, and that this statistic was found to happen more commonly in white women and that the same relationship between smoking and black women could not be found. (Though this is not to say that any women should carry on smoking, as it is still not good for you, whether you hold the offending gene or not!)

This study has not been taken lightly. The researchers spent 14 years following over 400 women between the ages of 35 to 47. The women that carried the specific gene and were not smokers, entered menopause significantly later than women who do smoke.

And so if the threat of cancer, heart attacks and dreaded wrinkles was not enough for you, then maybe the thought of possible early menopause might tip you over the edge and encourage you to throw your pack of 20 in the bin and start living a healthier lifestyle.

There are many ways to give up smoking, some of which can be bought on the high street and some of which can be prescribed by your doctor. But any attempt to quit is a step in the right direction, no matter how you choose to go about it.

For more information on the study, visit the link below:

For more information on giving up smoking, visit the NHS website and take your first step to quitting:

Hot flushes – the science from the fiction…

Hot flushes. They are annoying, hard to treat and scientists have not yet found any conclusive research as to why they happen, why they stay so long for some women or why we cannot shake them very easily.

It is thought by many doctors and scientists that hot flushes are a result of the hypothalamus not working properly, which is the section of the brain that regulates body temperature. It is thought that this part of the brain also controls the release of certain hormones, therefore meaning that when your hormone levels change, your neurotransmitters cause you to overheat.

The following information is taken from the UK Cancer Research website, which is the one of few places online where one can find a more in depth explanation about why hot flushes occur, instead of ‘hot flushes happen because of menopausal hormone changes’.

“In the past, doctors thought that hot flushes were caused only by lowering levels of oestrogen in women and testosterone in men. Researchers now suggest that this is part of the process but it may be more complicated than they first thought. They are looking into a number of possible causes.

One example is that the part of the brain called the hypothalamus controls the production of many hormones. This part of the brain also controls our body temperature. It may be that the chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) the hypothalamus produces cause the hot flushes. We need more research to find exactly what causes flushes so that we can develop treatments.”

Hot flushes don’t just happen during menopause, but this is when they happen most commonly and menopause is what hot flushes are most associated with. Hot flushes can also occur as a result of eating disorders and head traumas, due to the nature of the affected parts of the brain associated with these conditions.

According to the Cancer Research UK website, men as well as women can experience hot flushes after cancer treatment, due to the drugs that are used to treat prostate and breast cancer, which contain hormones. Despite this, menopause is the most common cause of these waves of warmth and many women find them a hinderance to their everyday routine. Not to mention the sleepless nights.

Hot flushes can also happen as a result of stress, due to the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine which are released in our brains during stressful situations. So according to the research so far, I think it is safe to say that hot flushes are definitely hormone related.

But what can you do to try and reduce these overwhelming symptoms? There are many ‘old wives tales’ and sometimes it can be hard to differentiate the facts from the fiction. Below is a list of “do’s” and “don’t bother’s” to help you find a happy medium in the long list of supposed hot flush treatments talked about all over the internet.


– See your doctor about possible hormone management options for you if you feel that it is necessary.

– Adjust your diet to a more healthy one, this will boost your overall levels of health and help your brain to function better.

– Drink water – 2 litres a day – and keep cool generally by using light clothing, fans, cool sprays, natural fibres on your bed, and have cooler baths or showers. This will also do wonders for your skin and stop it feeling so dry.

– Avoid food and drink that is going to naturally turn up your heating – such as hot spices, caffeine, alcohol and hot drinks. This is because these foods trigger stimulation of nerve endings and dilate blood vessels which in turn causes your brain to produce a hot flush.

– Acupuncture has been known to reduce hot flushes and research on this subject looks promising, though more does need to be done to prove that this actually works for everyone.

– Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – which can be arranged via your local health service and helps you to manage your symptoms and stress, and train your brain to think in a different way which may in turn help you to overcome the everyday barriers of menopause – or generally any – symptoms or stressful situations which – let’s face it – we all face whether we are menopausal or not.

Don’t bother’s:

– Black Cohosh, soya, ginseng, evening primrose oil, angelica sinensis, red clover, wild yam and any other ‘herbal remedy’ that has no scientific research to back up it’s claims. Many women around the world have claimed to see a difference after using some of these remedies but as of yet, there are no scientific studies that have produced definitive results. On many occasions when some of these theories have been tested, the overall results often showed that there were no significant differences in the symptoms of women that had used these extracts, in comparison to women who had been given a placebo.

So there you have it, a starting point as to what to do next if you are worried about your menopause symptoms, or if you have started experiencing hot flushes but you are not sure why. You can also refer to our Helpful Hints and Tips page on the Menopause Skin Care Blog for how to look after your skin during menopause. The two links below will take you to the sites that you may find most useful/accurate, rather than having to trawl the net for information.

You’re welcome!