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Nicola Vinall Nutritionist

About me

"I thought I'd have a few hot flushes, then my periods would stop"

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Ask any woman who hasn't hit perimenopause what she thinks is about to happen to her, and I can almost guarantee she'll have absolutely no idea.

Most of us thought we’d have hot flushes for a while and then be done with it.

 

Maybe you can identify with thinking that way? It might seem ludicrous once you know the truth. But let me reassure you that if you arrived at this life stage feeling slightly clueless, you’re not alone. And it’s not your fault. Because perimenopause and menopause have been completely neglected when it comes to research, investment and education. Appallingly so!

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Nicola Vinall Nutritionist

Millions of UK women are dealing with menopause symptoms

Three in five working menopausal women say their symptoms have a negative impact on them at work. Yet it’s still a taboo to even discuss this in many workplaces. And it’s not just career challenges we’re dealing with.

Symptoms like irritability, brain fog and low mood can affect your relationships and your sense of self. This can be utterly debilitating. At times you might feel like you’re losing your mind. I know I did. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Not remotely!

 

Today we have bold and courageous women like Davina McCall, Mariella Frostrup and Louise Newson, who are determined to bring this life stage into the spotlight and show us that we don’t have to collectively put our heads down and tolerate these symptoms. And I’m with them! We have the power to take control of our health and make this a positive life stage.

Book your free nutritional health assessment today

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My story

I’m Nicola Vinall, and I understand the journey you’re on, because I’ve been through it myself. Like many women, I took a long, winding and confusing road through menopause!

I’ll spare you every detail but, needless to say, I travelled a route that included black cohosh, patches in multiple doses, hormone implants, and a dawning realisation that my far from perfect lifestyle was not exactly helping my symptoms! Luckily for me, I also decided to train as a nutritional therapist, which was a revelation. I had been dutifully following a low-calorie diet and exercising obsessively, thinking I was being “healthy” but I wasn’t even looking at factors like stress and sleep.

 

Like a lot of women my age, I was running on empty - putting everyone else first and ignoring the memos about occasionally getting some rest and relaxation. Finding the right support felt almost impossible. I saw a gynaecologist, my GP, a nutritionist and went to the local HRT clinic. My symptoms were confusing and even at this point I didn’t understand that this could all be related to menopause.

Tipped over the edge by a puppy!

As I struggled with debilitating insomnia, fatigue, brain fog, anxiety and all-over aches - even while I was on HRT - I began to think this was simply what “old age” looked like. Maybe I’d be stuck like this forever? (I was only 52!).

 

Everything came to a head when a new furry friend arrived in our lives. Having been through a divorce and subsequent move from Switzerland to the UK with my two boys, a puppy seemed like the perfect addition to our new family set-up…Except suddenly I couldn't stop crying. That one extra responsibility tipped me over the edge from just about holding it together to fully paid up “basket case”. And it wasn’t our adorable puppy’s fault. He was merely the final straw in my stressful, nutritionally deficient, menopausal life.

Figuring out what my body needed

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As it became abundantly clear that I needed serious help, I did what I always do when I don’t understand something - I set about educating myself.

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Not one to do things by halves, I took a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach qualification to learn how to make changes that actually stick and decided to specialise in menopause.

 

I joined the British Menopause Society and took their Principles and Practice of Menopause Care course and their Cognitive Behavioural Therapy course, designed to help with hot flushes and insomnia - an approach that was shown to be beneficial in Mariella Frostrup’s BBC documentary, The Truth About…The Menopause. Armed with all this new information, I set about “fixing” myself. And I discovered that some of the “wishy washy self-care” stuff that I’d previously dismissed was actually a vital part of getting my health back on track.

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Herbal Treatment

The pharmacist who believes in a holistic approach

I’m a pharmacist, so you might think I’m heavily biased towards drugs. If you get help from me, will I just be pushing you to head to your GP and get HRT?
Short answer? Nope!

Everything I talk about is science-backed and based on peer-reviewed studies, but I definitely don’t believe that drugs are the only answer. HRT can be massively beneficial, but it is not the be-all and end-all. It is only one part of a multi-pronged approach. It’s good to talk to your GP about your symptoms and to get a diagnosis, but it’s also sensible to focus on small lifestyle changes you can make over time, to help you feel better, both now and long term.

My science background means I don’t do “happy clappy” or “woo” - I’ll talk to you about proven approaches to handling your symptoms.

And you don’t need to worry about being blinded (or bored!) by science. If you want an explanation I’ll cheerfully share my knowledge, but if you just want me to give you some recommendations, I can spare you the intricate details. Some people want the “why” behind the changes we’re making, and some people will try anything if it’ll help them get rid of the crushing fatigue, the constant headaches and the “don’t even look at me” levels of irritation.

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Nicola Vinall

Start feeling like yourself again

Palpitations, night sweats and anxiety (plus all those other symptoms you’ve got) don’t have to be a part of your new reality. Imagine feeling happy, healthy and easily able to deal with life’s challenges. That’s how the second half of your life should look, once you’ve got your symptoms under control. Or maybe you’re nowhere near the second half of your life? I help women going through early menopause too.

Menopause doesn’t have to be the hideous experience that so many women go through. After all, it’s a natural process, not a disease. By taking ownership and being proactive, there’s a way to create lasting change and feel better than ever. Is it easy? No, it’s not. I’m not going to sugarcoat this, because we're all grown-ups - most of the time at least(!) - and there’s work to be done.

Book your free nutritional health assessment today

Getting my help isn’t about following a diet for a few weeks and then reverting back to what you ate before.

It’s about making multiple small adjustments over time that gradually snowball… 

until you can hardly remember how awful you used to feel. You don’t have to be perfect. But you do need to commit.

 

There’s no magic wand, and there can be some trial and error involved, because we’re all individuals and our bodies respond differently to different approaches. But there are solutions, and it’s possible to feel so much better than you do now.

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Registered Nutritional Therapist mBANT, CNHBC   .   AFMCP certified 2018  .   Registered Pharmacist since 1990 Registered with GPhC and RPSGB  .   Functional medicine certified Health Coach (FMCHC)

British Menopause Courses attended:

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Training  .   Principles and Practice of Menopause Care  .   Virtual Women's Heath

 

Buteyko Breathing qualified instructor

book a free nutritional assessment today

Where you can ask me anything over Zoom. I’ll happily share my knowledge and let you know some initial steps you could take to start feeling better. 

I only offer a handful of these complimentary sessions each month, so if you’re ready to start putting yourself and your health first, book your session today.

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