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Kate Dyson


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For words you might want to know more


Urinary incontinence is the unintentional passing of urine. It's a common problem thought to affect millions of people. There are several types of urinary incontinence, including: stress incontinence – when urine leaks out at times when your bladder is under pressure; for example, when you cough or laugh.


Endometrosis is a condition resulting from the appearance of endometrial tissue outside the uterus and causing pelvic pain, especially associated with menstruation.

Bladder weakness

Stress incontinence is usually the result of the weakening of or damage to the muscles used to prevent urination, such as the pelvic floor muscles and the urethral sphincter. Urge incontinence is usually the result of overactivity of the detrusor muscles, which control the bladder.

Curbing the menopausal sugar cravings

We all love a sweet treat from time to time, but what if the craving for sugar is feeling a bit overwhelming... and might be linked to menopause more than you initially thought?

We love (and definitely enable!) the need to satisfy our sweet tooth at Jude, but when that tips into constant cravings it's time to take a moment to pause and reflect on what might be causing us to crave sugar. We've teamed up with Emma Bardwell, who is a specialist menopause nutritionist, co-founder of The Mind Body Programme, and author of The Perimenopause Solution for her tips and tricks when it comes to managing our sugar intake:

Keeping mindful - not all sugar is bad! First the good news! Emma advises that not all sugar is bad - in fact, our bodies love glucose for energy and that's one of the building blocks for sugar - sucrose, to be specific. It's fine to include in your diet in moderate amounts. "Current guidelines advise no more than 30g of added sugar a day. This is the equivalent of 30g (or about 6 teaspoons)" she explains. Added sugars are the ones we need to watch - and for the vast majority of us, that's beyond those 6 teaspoons. "Added sugars are the sugars that we add to food - ie. in cakes, tea, yoghurt and processed meals - as well as those found in syrups (agave, date, maple), honey, dressings, smoothies and juices.". It's easy to be adding sugar in and not realising - but what if you go for alternative 'healthier' options, like coconut sugar? Emma is clear: "Your body deals with coconut sugar in just the way it does with white granulated table sugar, so don’t believe the hype around ‘unrefined’ sugars."

Most of us know that fruit is a source of sugar in our diet, but do we know how the body processes it differently to other sugars? "The sugar in fruit (fructose) is bound up in the cells of the fruit and also comes with fibre which slows down the rate of absorption into your bloodstream", Emma explains. "Added to this there are of course other vitamins and minerals which are key for health and wellbeing, which is why it’s not advisable to remove fruit from your diet (with the exception of a few chronic conditions)."

So what causes the cravings? How many of us have reached for a biscuit 'to keep us going' and top up our energy? According to Emma, these can be important for brain clarity and productivity throughout the day - but we need to be careful not to indulge too much. "Sugar also releases dopamine and serotonin receptors, which means when we eat a doughnut for example we get a rush of dopamine which makes us feel good and serotonin which makes us feel happy." she says. There are a few reasons that the sweet craving might hit you like a tonne of bricks too:

  • Hormones. Some women find that when oestrogen levels dip just before their period, they can experience sugar cravings.

  • Not eating enough. If you’re restricting your food intake you may find your body looking for quick fix energy dense foods such as high sugar items.

  • Habit. We often get into the habit of consuming high sugar foods at specific times of the day (elevensies!) or during certain events (watching a movie or talking on the phone).

How do you curb the craving? Emma knows that reducing sugar intake can be tricky, but as a start taking a look at your meals might be a good place to start. "Protein, fats, complex carbs and fibre are essential for stabilising blood sugar levels and keeping cravings in check." Eating mindfully helps with overeating too, "Slowing down when you eat and really noticing the sweetness of your food helps to curb overeating. Try it with a small piece of chocolate, really taking the time to focus on the texture, taste and sensation it gives in your mouth." 

Making small, slow changes can help - swapping out biscuits for some delicious plump berries is a great substitution for example. Importantly though, it's also worth looking at your lifestyle - are you getting enough sleep? Are you feeling stressed? Are you drinking enough water? These can all be triggers for a sugar craving that gives us that dopamine hit but can leave us in a sugar crash. Why not try digging into the spice rack for a solution? "Some research points to spices such as cinnamon, turmeric and ginger helping to stabilise blood sugar levels, thereby reducing sugar cravings. Worth including in your diet in the form of teas and adding to meals."

Don't expect instant results. It takes - on average - 66 days to break a habit and let's just say, that sugar habit is a tough cookie indeed. Slow and steady changes can have big impact, so hopefully these tips help you too!