Osteoporosis: the emperor has no clothes

What if everything your doctor told you about osteoporosis and osteopenia was wrong?

Until recently, most of the medical fraternity believed that the reason older people fell was because their bones had become brittle and fractured more readily. An article in the Journal of Internal Medicine titled, “Osteoporosis: the emperor has no clothes,” confirms that the primary cause of what are normally labeled “osteoporotic fractures” are falls due more to lifestyle factors and not osteoporosis, i.e. abnormally “porous” or low-density bones.

The new study pointed out three false notions that can be disputed:

  1. Mistaken diagnoses:  Most fracture patients have fallen, but actually do not have osteoporosis. A high likelihood of falling is an age-related decline in physical health.
  2. Ineffective screening: Current fracture risk predictions including bone densitometry and other prediction tools can’t identify a large proportion of patients who will sustain a fracture, whereas many of those with a high fracture risk score will not sustain one.
  3. Unproven and unsafe treatment: The evidence for the success of prescribing drugs to prevent hip and other fractures is mainly limited to women aged 65–80 years with osteoporosis, whereas the proof of hip fracture-prevention in women over 80 and in men at all ages is virtually non-existent. Plus many drugs for the treatment of osteoporosis have also been associated with increased risks and serious side effects.

“While bone drugs like Fosamax  (a bisphosphonate) may contribute to increased bone mineral density, they do not necessarily improve bone quality and strength. Very dense bone created by destroying osteoclasts (bone-degrading cells) may be far more brittle than less dense bone where there is healthy turnover of the osteoclasts and osteoblasts (bone-building cells). In fact, drugs like Fosamax are notorious for contributing to bone degeneration in the jawbone. Plus an extensive body of research indicates higher-than-normal bone density greatly increases the risk of breast cancer.”


The authors conclude: “Given all this, should ‘osteoporosis’ be added to a long list of diagnoses for which doing less, or even nothing, is better than our contemporary practice?”

Fortunately, there are natural alternatives!

Eating a balanced diet of organic, unprocessed foods, using a natural bio-identical form of the hormone *Progesterone, doing regular weight-bearing exercises plus practices like yoga, Pilates, tai chi, walking etc., can help reduce the risk of fracture, and increase bone mineral density and strength.

*At ‘Your Natural Menopause’ we recommend a natural, organic progesterone cream called Naturone, available from their  website  www.naturone.com

Friends in need…

Why friendships are important during menopause

Friends can be a really important lifeline for us during the menopause, and we need to be careful to nurture them, especially if family and workmates don’t understand what’s happening to us. 

How does the menopause affect your friendships?  There can be several reasons for this.

Mood Swings

One minute we can be absolutely fine. The next minute we’re really irritable or angry, and it can be difficult for our friends to understand why we’re having such severe mood swings.

Social Anxiety

You get to the stage where  you don’t want to be in a big group of people. Your worst nightmare would be going into a pub with loud music and lots of people talking.  

Loss of Confidence

This can be due to body image. Bodies change during menopause due to hormone imbalances, and if our friends are all nice and slim and you’ve put on a few pounds, you can feel really awkward.

Poor Sleep

If you’ve slept badly, what with night sweats and frequent trips to the loo, the last thing you want is to socialise… all you really want to do is just cuddle up in front of the the TV and have an early night!

Toxic or Unsupportive Friends

Friends who spend the whole time talking about themselves, and are unaware about what you’re going through and totally unsupportive, can make you think “Why am I here? I would be a lot happier on my own than being in this person’s company.”  You may also have other friends going through the menopause, and not suffering to the same extent, so they may be unsympathetic. Try to make them understand that you’re having a little bit of a rougher time and that all you want is their support, and maybe a bit of help to get you through a particularly difficult time.

Why not join our FB group, Your Natural Menopausewhere our members share their trials and triumphs, and we’re always on hand to advise, encourage and help!

How to avoid overwhelm and stop feeling stressed in menopause

With all the changes and strange symptoms happening in your body, menopause can seem overwhelming and confusing. It’s not for nothing that menopause and perimenopause have been known as ‘the change’ for many years.

 

As natural menopause coaches, part of our role is to reduce the overwhelm for you. We reduce the stress and worry you feel using the tools of our trade. But to get you started here are a few of our favourite tried and tested remedies for overwhelm.

 

As with any big goal or change there are lots of actions you can take to reach your goal and it’s best to break them down into small steps. There are lots of changes we recommend. You don’t have to do them all at once. Pick one you like the look of and practice it until you are comfortable with the change you have made, then add another to your repertoire. Make the changes gradually until you feel less stressed.

1.       Make yourself some head space. Take a break and practice meditation. Start with 5 minutes at a time and if you find your mind wandering, focus on your breath.

2.       Exercise. The benefit of exercise to reduce anxiety and also menopausal symptoms cannot be underrated as it helps correct hormone imbalance which is the root of symptoms. Another advantage of exercise is that it results in lower levels of heart failure in post menopausal women. You can read more here.

3.       Manage your mindset. If you expect your menopause to be stressful and difficult then it probably will be. It is important to maintain a positive outlook. There are lots of ways to achieve this. One of our favourites is  use of affirmations. You  can find lots on our Instagram feed

4.       Reduce toxins. This can be the confusing one as we are absolutely  surrounded by toxic substances which disrupt hormones. Industrialisation has been great in so many ways and we as a society have benefitted lots. However many man made materials, cosmetics, household cleaners and products contain toxins which contribute to oestrogen dominance which in turn exacerbates menopause symptoms You can read more about oestrogen dominance in our article here. A great rule of thumb is to use items which are as close to their natural state as possible.

5.       Get good sleep. It’s so much easier to deal with anything if you have had a decent night’s sleep and are full of energy. Go easy on the late nights, and all night parties. Get into good bed time habits and avoid too much stimulation before sleep (sorry that includes your mobile phone)

6.       Eat a good balanced diet. Avoid processed foods and sugar. Focus on plenty of fresh produce like organic meats and fish, fruit and vegetables. Cut down on alcohol – you don’t have to ban it altogether.

7.       Balance your hormones. We advocate the use of natural progesterone cream and our favourite one is made by a company called Naturone, as it’s important to ensure you have the correct percentage of progesterone in the cream  To try it follow the link and quote MENOPAUSE MATTERS in the order information

 

SEX & MENOPAUSE

  

  MYTHS ABOUT SEX AND MENOPAUSE

It’s dangerous to generalise about sex and menopause. Some women feel sexy during and after menopause, and some don’t. However, there are a few myths about sex, menopause and ageing that need to be abolished!

  • As hormones decline, so does libido

Hormones do indeed play a large part in how menopause affects women, and one of the best ways to counteract this is with Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT), particularly a natural progesterone cream*. However, a woman’s libido is not only driven by her hormones. It is also determined by physical and emotional health, and the availability of a desirable partner.

  • It’s normal not to want sex after menopause

Menopause affects women in many different ways.  While some feel less turned on because of vaginal dryness or night sweats, others feel a new sense of release and zest when freed from PMS and periods. They enjoy new-found freedom and independence and say sex is better than ever.

  • Sex is painful after menopause

The thinning of the vaginal wall as women age can cause extra sensitivity, and lack of lubrication may require a natural cream, such as progesterone*, to ease movement, but these are both issues that should not stop a woman from enjoying a healthy sex life.

  • Too much sex can worsen vaginal dryness

Doctors who specialise in sexual health are strongly of the view that sex at this stage and age is very much a “use it or lose it” proposition. Having sex regularly actually helps increase blood flow to the vaginal wall, increasing your ability to lubricate during sexual arousal and improving your overall sexual health.

  • Once you turn 60 you’re past it!

Sexuality has nothing to do  with age! One survey reported that 70 per cent of sexually active women over 60 reported being as satisfied, or more satisfied with their sex lives than they were in the 40s!

Another study found 84 per cent of older females in 106 cultures studied were sexually active, leading researchers to conclude cultural factors as much as biological ones determined how sexually active older people were.

  • No one will fancy my ageing body!

Sex drive and function are key ingredients in a healthy sex life. Exercise regularly, maintain good muscle tone, eat healthily, don’t abuse alcohol and keep smiling! If you keep yourself fit and active the changes in your body will not be particularly noticeable.

  • I don’t need to worry about falling pregnant or sexually transmitted disease

Even if you have gone for sometime without a period, it is still possible to fall pregnant! Official menopause occurs one year after you had your last period, and up until then you should still take precautions. After all, one of the benefits of menopause is the freedom from having to look after small children. Imagine dealing with a toddler’s tantrums whilst having a hot flush!

Unfortunately, sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise in the over 50s. Unless you have been married to your partner for years, take care and insist on condoms with new partners.

*To read about the benefits of natural progesterone go to our blog/newsletter on our website 28/7/17

GET A MOVE ON!

Get a move on!

 It’s vital to keep active during menopause for all sorts of different reasons. We need to keep our bones and our hearts healthy and strong, and the last thing we want to do is seize up and become less mobile as we get older.

Flexibility is important, but it can be really difficult during the menopause. Who wants to be jumping up and down when you’re suffering from hot flushes and aching joints! Of course, an exercise routine is very important, but on days when you feel you just don’t have the energy for a formal session, here are some tips on what you can do to keep fit as you go about your daily routine.

  • It’s important to keep arms and shoulders strong, and wrists also need exercise as our grip weakens as we get older. If you’re in the kitchen, grab a couple of tins and lift your arms up and down, and rotate your wrists, and do a few press-ups against the wall or sink.
  • just stepping up and down, 20 or 30 times, once or twice a day, on one step, can be really beneficial, and of course, taking the stairs instead of the lift! 
  • jumping jacks are good for heart and lungs. Just do a couple whenever you’re in a good space and add a few more every day.
  • there’s a lot you can do when you’re just sitting! A really good way to get the inside of your thighs exercised, ( which is a problem area for a lot of women), is to place a small, firm cushion between your thighs, and just keep squeezing. You can also do shoulder shrugs back and forwards. This is  really important if you do a lot of sitting during the day at a desk, because your shoulders can become very tight.
  • practice standing up and sitting down without using your hands, which is actually the start of a squat. Great for your heart and thighs.
  • practice standing on one leg when you’re in a queue or waiting for a bus. Start holding one leg up for 30 seconds, and then the other one, and slowly increase every time you do it. Your balance will improve enormously!
  • and don’t forget to s-t-r-e-t-c-h! It is so important for good muscle condition. Bend down and touch your toes, and do sideways-bends when you get out of bed in the morning and before you go to bed at night.

 

 

incontinence in menopause

Does coughing, sneezing or laughing make you wet your pants?! ☹️ One of the downsides of midlife is the weakening of the pelvic floor muscles (Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, PFD),  which can start as early as 40. This is not an inevitable sign of growing older and easily be prevented and even reversed. You should include strengthening pelvic floor muscles in your exercise regime, and the sooner you start, the better. This way you will have control over your bladder and bowels all your life. Plus exercise can help you avoid back and abdominal pain, have better orgasms, and may even help you achieve a flatter stomach! 😄

Fortunately, there are many ways to keep your pelvic floor muscles healthy and reverse PFD.

5 Natural Methods for Treating Urinary Symptoms

By Dr. Joseph Mercola

If you’re struggling with urinary symptoms that are interfering with your life, the following methods can be very effective:

  • Do Kegels: More women than men might be familiar with this term. A Kegel squeeze is performed by drawing your lower pelvic muscles up and holding them up high and tight, similar to trying to stop urinating in the middle of the flow. To make this a habit, do this daily at least 10 times whenever you think about it, eg driving, watching TV, and of course sitting on the loo! This can help to strengthen the muscles that help you hold in and control the flow of urine. Kegels can also help you suppress the need to urinate if you have trouble with frequency.
  • Keep a Bladder Diary: This will help you identify a pattern. It may help you develop a plan to visit the bathroom at timed intervals to avoid accidents, as well as help you strategically increase time between bathroom trips as you gain control.
  • Bladder Training: The bladder diary is often one step of bladder training, which involves visiting the bathroom according to a fixed schedule. When you feel the need to urinate before a scheduled visit, practice Kegels or relaxation exercises like deep breathing to suppress the urge.
  • Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment or Chiropractic Adjustments:  Research has shown that osteopathic manipulative treatment provided virtually the same therapeutic effect as pelvic floor muscle training (Kegels) in women with lower urinary tract disorders.
  • Limiting Fluids at Certain Times of the Day: If you’re getting up during the night to urinate, stop drinking three to four hours before bedtime. Coffee, tea, and alcohol should also be restricted.

If you only experience occasional incontinence, wearing a thin absorbent pad may help give you confidence and allow you to go about with your daily schedule without fears of embarrassment. But, ideally, try the safe options above so that you can fully recover. Remember, this is a very common problem that can often be effectively treated, naturally.

Can kinesiology help? 7 tips

Many women use kinesiology to manage their menopause. The menopause is a very natural wind down process, which can happen slowly over many years or can be very sudden, depending on the individuals’ bio- chemistry.

7 tips for an easier menopause:

  1. Water– dehydration will cause problems with every function of the body. Everyone needs to consume at least 2 litres per day. So often this simple tip is often forgotten and should be top of every list. When unwell the first thing to reach for is a glass of water before reaching for pain killers. Keeping the body fully hydrated is a must to achieving good health.
  2. Balancing stress in the lead up and during the menopause helps to minimise the symptoms.  There are many therapies that assist with stress management, however the beauty of kinesiology is that muscle testing establishes the specific stress and along with many powerful techniques the stress can be released simply and effectively.
  3. Ensure all the nutrients are provided by diet and fully processed in the body.  Addressing digestive issues can often help improve many health issues.  Initially digestive enzymes maybe needed short term if there is a problem.  Kinesiology can establish if digestion is struggling and also identify any foods which are causing problems by using muscle testing. Supplements which often benefit menopausal women and help with hormone balancing include the following:
  • Agnus Castus
  • Black Cohosh
  • Wild Yam
  • Dong Quai
  • Magnesium
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Star flower oil
  • 5 HTP
  • Amino acids
  • Vitamin B complex , B3, B6, C, D, E
  • Folic Acid
  • Iron

Supplemental needs are unique for each woman and often changing. Kinesiology can assess regularly individual needs using muscle testing.

 

4. Avoid caffeine, reduce alcohol and avoid sugary foods. It has been proven that caffeine increases the frequency and severity of hot flashes. Coffee also has a negative impact on fatigue, sleep and energy levels.  Sugar is also a contributing factor to hot flushes and night sweats.

5. Eat meals which are high in nutrients avoiding processed foods. Regular Intakes of protein to balance blood sugars is essential. High protein foods are hugely beneficial.

Add these foods to your daily diet:

skinless, boneless chicken, turkey, fish, organic eggs, full fat yoghurt, nuts and seeds, quinoa, beans and lentils, goats cheese or cottage cheese, oily fish, nuts, seeds, nut butters, avocado, organic cabbage, sprouts, cauliflower, spring greens, broccoli, celery, parsley, chamomile, peppermint, fresh fruit, flaxseeds.

5. Exercise has a significant and positive impact on mood and increases oxygen intake and improves blood and lymph circulation.

6. Set time aside each day for relaxation recharging the body and mind. The body and mind thrives on relaxation and this only needs to be for 10 to 15 minutes per day to be beneficial.

Article by Karen Thrush, a fully qualified systematic kinesiology practitioner and tutor registered with the Association of Systematic Kinesiology working in Wiltshire.

http://www.karenskinesiology.co.uk/ Facebook: Karens Kinesiology Twitter: @k_kinesiology

5 Ways to Relieve Anxiety Naturally During the Menopause

5 ways to naturally relieve aniety during the menopause

 

One of the most common symptoms of the menopause is anxiety.  Worry, tension and fear have a really negative effect so it makes sense to reduce them as soon as possible.  If you have felt more anxious than usual try these 5 ways to alleviate it

1. Meditation – Calm your mind by developing a meditation habit. Select a quiet, comfortable place and meditate for a few minutes each day. You don’t need any special equipment, just a quiet space. Getting out in nature helps too. You can find plenty of meditation videos on You Tube.

2.  Take time out –  Where possible remove yourself from the situation which is making you anxious. Listen to music, get a massage or learn relaxation techniques.

3.  Diet – Choose foods to boost your mood. Foods rich in Vitamin B such as pork, chicken, leafy greens and citrus fruits. Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) have been linked with uplifted and enhanced moods. Try salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines. Avoid caffeinated drinks and sugar. Avoid processed foods. All foods should be organic to avoid the interfering effects of added hormones and pesticides.

4. Exercise – Evidence shows a link between physical activity and mental wellbeing. Try introducing more exercise into your day and making it a habit. You don’t need to go to a gym to work out, having a good time dancing, a brisk walk or even taking the stairs instead of the lift are all just as effective.

5. Sleep – Make sure you get enough sleep. Tiredness exacerbates anxiety and you can cope with life much better if you aren’t feeling tired and grumpy. If you’re having trouble sleeping try our article on sleep How to get a good night’s sleep

 

Have you noticed yourself feeling more anxious since peri-menopause? What have you tried? Share your remedies with us in the comments section or on our Facebook page

Sitting is the new smoking!

Well, unbelievably today is the Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere, and we’re already practically half way through the year! At least the sun is shining, and summer does seem to have finally kicked in!

We continue our series on the Heroes and Villains that can be found in all aspects of menopause, and today we focus on exercise and keeping in shape. This is particularly vital during menopause, as exercise not only keeps you trim and helps with mood swings and depression, but also keeps away villains like osteoporosis.

  

However, whilst keeping fit and exercising are Heroes, beware an Arch Villain that can undo all the good work! That villain is SITTING!

It can be quite daunting to realise that even if you dutifully go to the gym several times a week and are really fit, it is still not enough to counteract the many hours you sit during the rest of your day…

SITTING IS THE NEW SMOKING!

Is it possible to be incredibly fit yet still be at high risk of premature death and disability due to inactivity?

Startling as that may sound, mounting research says, yes, it does!

Dr. James Levine is the author of the book

Get Up!: Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It.

In one of his early speeches, he presented compelling data showing that people prone to weight gain and obesity are those who stay seated for two and or more hours each day.

Slings and Arrows…

The insinuation that sitting was independently harmful, and harmful enough to kill, was so unpopular that his peers sent letters to senior faculty at the Mayo Clinic suggesting he was psychiatrically ill, and he was required to be evaluated by a psychiatrist!

Since then, some 10,000 publications have shown that sitting is harmful to your health, irrespective of other lifestyle habits, including an excellent exercise program.

Dr. Levine notes, “The bottom-line is that if you’ve been sitting for an hour, you’ve been sitting for too long. We should all be up at least 10 minutes out of every hour.”

Are You Ready to Give Up Your Chair?

The evidence is overwhelming at this point—10,000 studies and growing—that prolonged sitting is devastating to your health. It actively promotes dozens of chronic diseases, including overweight and type 2 diabetes. As a general guideline, if you’ve been sitting for an hour, you’ve sat too long. Dr. Levine recommends sitting no more than 50 minutes out of every hour. But that’s really a bare bones minimum recommendation. Ideally, you’d want to limit sitting altogether.

If this all seems overwhelming, don’t despair! Just start slowly and gradually decrease your sitting time every week. In fact, it might be a good idea to start a “sitting record” to keep track of your progress and record any health improvements you notice.

Heroes & Villains of Menopause

Superheroes and villains of menopause

 

HEROES & VILLAINS:  the good the bad and the ugly 

With the current movie craze for Superheroes showing no sign of abating, we decided to jump on the bandwagon and start a series on the Villains and Heroes of Menopause! There are plenty of candidates for both in all aspects of experiencing a natural menopause, and this week we start with diet; who are the Heroes and the Villains of food?                                        

What you eat during menopause is all important. Because of your body’s hormonal changes, foods you used to eat without a second thought now seem to stick to your tums and bums like glue! 

Of course, no food on its own is a villain! It’s just so many of them have been adulterated to make them more appealing i.e. removing fats and adding extra sugar to compensate!

Whatever diet/eating plan you choose to follow, the general rule is to avoid processed foods, and watch out for hidden sugars, and instead choose whole, nutrient-rich minimally processed foods.

Environmental toxins

Of course, dietary advice can be a bit of a moving target, and needs to be regularly revised based on new research. A classic example would be the advice to eat fish, one of the best sources of protein and a critically important source of high-quality animal-based omega-3 fat. However,environmental pollution with heavy metals and other toxins has become so pervasive with mercury, PCBs and other toxins, that eating nearly any fish now may actually do more harm than good…

VILLAINS

Processed foods which contain excess sugar, preservatives, additives, trans-fats, (hydrogenated vegetable and seed oils which are unsaturated fats that have been artificially manipulated into saturated fats i.e.made solid) colourants, harmful chemicals, pesticides, gm foods, many of which are hormone disruptors.

HEROES

Organic vegetables, meat, eggs, dairy products. Healthy fats such as saturated fats that are found in organic animal products like unpasteurised milk, butter and cheese and fatty meats, plus avocados, raw nuts and coconut oil.

Trust your body

Your body is designed to identify the best foods, but problems arise when it is  tricked into craving foods that don’t contain the nutrients promised by their smell and taste. The system does work, however, if you eat real food.

“My advice to people is to eat the most delicious food you can, but buy real foods,” says award-winning journalist and author, Mark Schatzker. ”Don’t be frightened of calories. Don’t be frightened of food … The other thing I’d like to tell people is be aware of your own eating experience … I think there are two different kinds of delicious.

There’s a delicious feeling where you can’t stop eating. This is what happens to me with flavoured potato chips or the like. You have one and you just can’t resist putting your hand back in the bag … These are experiences to be avoided …

“Then there are other foods — dark chocolate and a great tomato are good examples— where the point isn’t to stuff as much into your mouth as fast as you can. The point is to sit in a kind of deep contemplation of this incredible flavour experience. That, to me, is a better kind of food experience to have. I don’t think it’s one that you need to be afraid of. I think it’s one that will give back.

Also, be aware of how you feel after a meal. Try to integrate that into your perception of food. I’ve eaten some pretty low-end fried chicken that had that manic I-can’t-stop-eating [sensation], and an hour later I felt dreadful. If you can remember that feeling, it makes you less inclined to go after that [unhealthy food] again in the future.”

All this might all seem a bit daunting at first, but remember that the most complex tasks can be made easy if you just take one step at a time.

(The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor,” by Mark Schatzker)