Menopause. Is it a modern myth?

Menopause. Is it a modern myth?

We’re always interested in finding different explanations of menopause, and even more to hear your opinions.

Helen has recently visited a homotoxicologist , a biomedical  therapy based on homeopathy who recommended a book Medical Medium by Anthony William.  The book contains chapters on various conditions and offers explanations for them.  As you can imagine we were fascinated to read his theory of menopause.  

William notes that throughout history menopause has been viewed positively. The medical literature contains few references to menopause particularly in a detrimental way. This all changed around the 1950s. Women born from 1900 on were the first to experience the symptoms we now associate with menopause, hot flushes, mood swings, depression etc. He also noted that men suffer the same symptoms around that age, weight gain, depression forgetfulness and ‘work sweats’.

“Physicians reported the epidemic to pharmaceutical companies and at first the consensus was that it was all in women’s heads – it was just crazy woman syndrome. They had to be making up their symptoms because otherwise it made no sense. It was all a cry for attention, a sign they were bored. Women were told to join the PTA” (WTF?!)

So what changed between 1900-1950 to make menopause the monster it is seen as today? Williams proposes a number of factors which attribute all the blame to menopause when the symptoms are the result of a variety of causes

Epstein Barr Virus

EBV was taking root in the early 1900s. the theory here is that it entered the womens bodies and spends decades building up to the inflammatory condition which causes symptoms and coincides with the onset of perimenopause.

Radiation exposure

Most women of the time were exposed to huge amounts of radiation just through buying shoes. From the 1920s-50s each shoe shop and department contained an ingenious foot measuring device called a fluoroscope. This amazing machine took an x-ray of the foot bones to enable shoe sales people to get an accurate picture of your foot and therefore find and sell the best fitting shoes. The dose of radiation delivered each time was unmeasured and unregulated. Luckily by the 1950s the dangers of radiation had been discovered and the fluoroscope was removed from service. Many women had legs amputated and suffered from related cancers around this time and all were attributed to the menopause rather than the real culprit.

DDT exposure

In the 1940s and 50s DDT was seen as a wonder pesticide. Little was known about the incredible harm it did due to its toxicity. Use of DDT peaked in the 1950s and the central nervous system and liver were overloaded with the toxin.

Williams states that menopause was used as a scapegoat for a variety of reasons and it does not make sense that something which had previous caused no problems should suddenly be the root cause of all the symptoms of menopause.

Now it’s quite possible that these theories do explain some exacerbation in symptoms in women. However, there are other possibilities. Since the turn of the last century there has been a huge increase in the manufacturing industry. We use more artificial chemicals than ever before in cleaning products, cosmetics and industrially. The xeno-oestrogens found in these have a severe effect on hormone and hormone balance. You can read more about oestrogen dominance in our article 10 Signs of Oestrogen Dominance and What You Can Do About It.

What do you think?  What other explanations for menopause and its symptoms have you heard? We’d love to hear  your views. Feel free to comment on this blog. fffff

I is for Inner Bitch…and 11 ways to tame it!

Have you noticed since becoming menopausal that your mood swings all over the place? Without warning you can go from being perfectly happy one moment to ‘screaming bitch from hell’ with a short stop off at tearful and anxious on the way. Fluctuating hormones have a lot to answer for. The first thing you need to know is that mood swings are a well documented symptom of menopause. But we’d like to give you some natural tools to arm yourself with so you can calm down before you find yourself friendless, frustrated and alone.

Handling mood swings naturally

1. Balance your hormones: hormone imbalances around the menopause are the root cause of your mood swings. BHRT, (Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy) is the safe, natural way to get your hormones back in balance using a natural progesterone cream which will elevate your mood and make you less snappy! See our previous article on the benefits of the mother hormone progesterone here: http://menopausematters.guru/wp-admin/post.php?post=660&action=edit

2. Meditation:  Carving out time in your day to meditate really helps quiet your mind and give you personal space. Just 5 minutes of meditation a day will make you calmer, increase feelings of well being and happiness, and help you keep things in perspective.

3. Tapping or EFT (emotional freedom technique): Tapping is a great ways to reduce feelings of despair, anxiety, anger and many other negative emotions. Measure your feelings of an emotion on a scale of 1-10 before you start and when you’ve finished and you will see a reduction in that feeling.

(You can learn more about EFT here. Tap your way to emotional freedom)

4. Exercise: Exercise increases endorphins and makes you feel better, particularly in relation to mood swings. For menopausal and peri-menopausal women there is the added benefit of improving bone health and helping to eliminate that menopause middle. If you’re feeling uptight, vigorous exercise such as the 4 minute Nitric Oxide Dump (www.nitricoxidedump.com/) will help you work it off. A session of yoga can calm you and reduce anxiety, and walking is also a great exercise and stress reliever.

5. Supplements: Ginseng, Agnus Caestus, St Johns Wort and magnesium are among the supplements which help mood swings. Do your research carefully and make sure there are no adverse effects when mixed with other medications or conditions.

6. Healthy diet: cut down or avoid sugar which can give you extreme highs and lows. Try and ensure that the food you eat is as close to its natural state as possible. Processed foods should be kept to a minimum as they contain all sorts of additives and chemicals. Whenever possible eat organic foods.

7. Sleep: a lack of sleep will make anyone feel cranky. Add that to hormone imbalance and you have a perfect storm for mood swings. Check out our recent post for ways to get a good nights sleep

8. Eliminate caffeine and alcohol: excessive caffeine intake can lead to irritability, insomnia, anxiety and restlessness, so you should at least reduce your intake. Wean yourself off caffeine as you can experience adverse symptoms with sudden withdrawal. Regular alcohol intake reduces your serotonin (the happy hormone) levels which affects your mood. Reduction or elimination of either or both will help reduce your mood swings.

9.  Figure out your triggers: identifying your stressors will help you take actions to avoid or reduce them. Whether it’s certain situations, people or even foods you are intolerant of, working out what causes you stress encourages you to take measures to alleviate the effects. For example if a particular person upsets you and you have no option but to see them try promising yourself a little reward afterwards or use EFT.

10. Get support: don’t go it alone. You are not the only one prone to mood swings. If your friends are of a similar age to you they will no doubt be experiencing the same things, and make sure your family are aware of what you’re going through. We’re always available for help and support, so join our FB group and get involved in lively discussions with members going through the same problems. And you can always email us, Helen & Caroline at info@menopausematters.co.uk

11. Be kind to yourself: sometimes you just need to take time out for yourself and relax. Book a massage, read that book you’ve been meaning to get round to or just take a bubbly bath.   

G is for Good Habits!

While hormones play a vital part in a healthy life-style, there’s a lot more to do! The no. 1 mistake a lot of people make is being unaware. Be vigilant about anything that you put in or on your body. Toxic substances in food, creams, shampoos, cleaning products, all add to the xeno-oestrogen overload polluting Mother Earth, that you can eliminate. Learn their names and read the labels. Eliminate sugar from your diet, especially high fructose corn syrup. According to nutrition experts, it’s as addictive as cocaine and heroin, and there’s  new research on how sugar fuels cancer cells, which is their only source of energy. Deprive them of that and they die! Also avoid all artificial sweeteners like Aspartame and the like. There are natural plant based alternatives such as xylitol and stevia.  A good rule of thumb is put nothing on your body that you wouldn’t put in your mouth! There is always a healthy alternative.

More than 84,000 chemicals are used in household products, cosmetics, food, and food packaging, and a majority of these have never been tested for safety. The overuse of anti-bacterial soaps and cleaning products can reduce the amount of healthy bacteria on a person’s skin, which can make antibiotics less effective in the fight against new strains of bacteria, called superbugs.

Healthy, organic eating is vital for good health. Far too many people eat anything unquestioningly as long as it tastes good. Fortunately, people are waking up, and there’s now a big move to healthy, organic eating.

Food production is one of the basic fundamentals of our society, and if we change our mindset, eating habits and  consumer patterns, corporations will have to respond and adapt to a new market.The small farmer is getting back to being relevant to the whole chain of production and people are even growing plants and seeds in their homes.

habits for a healthy menopause

Your diet should consist of as much raw organic food as possible, especially vegetables, plus beef from grass fed cows, free range organic chicken and eggs and out-door reared pork. Above all, avoid all processed foods. They are the source of most of the inflammation we suffer from.  For the updated 2019 list of “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean green” vegetables and fruit, got to the EWG (Environmental Working Group) link https://www.produceretailer.com/article/news-article/2019-dirty-dozen-and-clean-15-lists-released

G is also for gut! We now know that 80% of our immune system resides in our gut, and research shows that your gut flora can affect numerous processes in your body, including your metabolism, energy production, nutrition, and genetic expression. Your intestinal microflora is unique. Choice of foods can alter your microflora in a matter of days, for better or worse. The ideal way to optimise your gut flora is to include fermented foods in your daily diet. While most probiotic supplements contain no more than 10 billion colony-forming units, one serving of fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut,  can contain 10 trillion colony-forming units of bacteria, and give you a wider variety of beneficial bacteria, so all in all, it’s your most cost effective alternative.

Exercise is also vitally important. Use it or lose it is the key, but it doesn’t have to be time consuming. Many of us lead very busy lives, and if you have trouble incorporating exercise into your daily schedule, then you should try the Nitric Oxide Dump. Developed by Dr. Zach Bush, it is a new version of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that is designed to stimulate the release of nitric oxide, which can catalyse and promote health. http://www.nitricoxidedump.com/

The Nitric Oxide Dump uses simple movements done in quick succession, providing benefits similar to longer workouts, but accomplished in just a very small fraction of the time. The Nitric Oxide Dump only takes a small amount of your time, with one session lasting between three to four minutes. Since it’s ideally repeated three times a day, you’ll be using a total of around 15 minutes. Bush calls it one of the best ways to start toning your body’s systems.

Hormone balance is also vital, and you simply cannot enjoy good holistic health if your hormones are out of balance The key to this is to make sure you are not deficient in the mother hormone progesterone, which declines drastically during peri and menopause. For more information, go to our blog http://menopausematters.guru/wp-admin/post.php?post=660&action=edit

Learn also how to make use of the incredible power that natural herbs and plants can bring, and the benefits of meditation, and a positive mindset. Together with a healthy, balanced, organic diet and exercise, this can go a long way towards addressing many of your body’s problems.

Can you reverse Menopause?

Is menopause reversal possible?

Although emerging research suggests that it could be, at least temporarily, many women would react with horror, especially at the thought of going through it all again at a later date! Scientists are looking at potential treatments, one of which is melatonin therapy, which can reduce the symptoms of menopause and revive natural ovulation.

For years, researchers have been investigating the connections between menopause and melatonin. Melatonin, the sleep hormone, is produced in your pineal gland. Older research shows that the pineal gland begins to shrink as you approach menopause.

Researchers believe melatonin plays an important role in the production of reproductive hormones. Without it, reproductive hormone levels begin to plummet.

One study found that a nightly dose of 3 milligrams of melatonin restored menstruation in participants ages 43 to 49. These participants were either in peri-menopause or menopause. No effects were seen in participants ages 50 to 62.

Clinical trials have also found a nightly dose of melatonin may reduce feelings of depression and improve overall mood for women in menopause. This treatment may be suited for someone looking to minimise menopause symptoms rather than restore fertility.

Melatonin may also have protective effects for older women against some cancers — including breast cancer — and certain metabolic disorders. It’s also been shown to improve the immune system.

Although more research is required, melatonin could be a natural and safe way of delaying, or potentially reversing, menopause, and at the very least helping to alleviate anxiety and depression.

F is for flushes!

Hot flushes (or flashes) and night sweats are a very well known symptom of menopause. They happen when blood vessels close to the skin dilate to cool.

The root cause of hot flushes is not clear. What is known is that the part of the brain that senses and controls body temperature (and other body functions) is the hypothalamus.

During the menopause, hormone levels are disrupted, particularly falling progesterone levels. Although not fully understood, scientists think that this fall causes a glitch in the way the hypothalamus senses body temperature, making it think that you are too hot.

This causes a response designed to cool the body down. More blood goes to the skin (one of the causes of hot flushes and reddening of the skin) and sweat glands start working (the menopausal sweat).

The sudden feeling of heat appears from nowhere and  seems to spread through your body. They can appear at any time and if they turn up at night are known as night sweats. A flush can cause redness, sweating and sometimes palpitations. The incidence and severity, like all menopause symptoms, varies from woman to woman.

Hot flushes are at best slightly inconvenient, and at worst so severe that they cause serious disruption for some women. They can occur as often as several times an hour – not good for that silk blouse, but there are plenty of natural ways you can try to reduce them.

Keep a diary of your hot flushes and see if there are any patterns or you notice any triggers. These may be caffeine, hot and spicy foods, alcohol or stress. Smoking may also trigger hot flushes.

Lifestyle

Cut down on caffeine and hot spicy foods.

Wear clothes and choose bedsheets that wick away sweat, particularly those night sweats which leave you feeling cold and clammy afterwards. For natural fabrics try bamboo yarn which is naturally wicking. Avoid cotton as the moisture stays close to your skin.

Keep your rooms cool and sleep with a window open if possible

If you are a smoker then giving up the habit will benefit you in more ways than just hot flushes.

Other remedies

Natural progesterone cream. I am a huge fan of this and know from experience that it is extremely effective in getting rid of hot flushes

Red clover provides a rich source of isoflavones (water soluble chemicals which act like oestrogen – known as phytoestrogens). It is available in tablet form, tea bags and dried flowers which can be taken as an infusion

Black cohosh used by native Americans for many years since it was discovered it can help reduce menstrual cramps and menopause symptoms

Sage has been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. Sage tea has may uses not least of which is to reduce hot flushes and menopausal sweats. Sage is also available in tablet form.

Evening primrose oil  has many benefits for menopausal women including lessening the effects of hot flushes

Meditation, yoga and breathing exercises all help reduce the stress that can be a trigger for hot flushes. Try a minute of slow deep breathing. 6-15  breaths per minute is ideal. We are great fans of Tapping, also known as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) helps and there is now an excellent app you can download for free that helps to deal with stress. Nick Ortner, who is The Tapping Solution founder, and a favourite of ours, posted the following;

“The easiest way to start tapping and to always have it right at your fingertips is to download our free app. Seriously, it is free – and there is a ton of free content available as soon as you sign up.”

E is for eggs

Women are born with about a million eggs in each ovary. By puberty about 300,000 eggs remain, and by menopause there are no active eggs left.

On average, a woman will have 400-500 periods in her lifetime. From about 35-40 years of age, the number of eggs left in your ovaries decreases more quickly and you ovulate (release an egg from the ovary) less regularly until your periods stop. Menopause means the end of ovulation.The transition or lead-up to menopause (running out of eggs)

Peri-menopause

  • Lasts an average of 4-6 years, but can be as short as one year or as long as 10 years
  • Periods start to ‘wind down’ and become less regular
  • Periods can be lighter or heavier, last for longer or finish earlier than they used to
  • Menopausal symptoms often gradually begin during this time.

  Many women talk of peri-menopause as a time of hormonal ‘chaos’. Hormone levels can swing erratically from high to low. This is because the ovaries are beginning to run out of eggs, which affects hormone levels. The pituitary gland produces higher levels of signalling hormones – follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH) – to the ovaries in an effort to keep the ovaries producing eggs and oestrogen levels normal. During this time, ovulation (the release of an egg) might occur twice in a cycle, the second time during a period. This can lead to very high hormone levels. In other cycles, ovulation might not occur at all.

There is no test to diagnose peri-menopause. It is best identified by considering:

  • Changes in the nature of your periods, such as:
    • how frequent they are now and if that has changed
    • how long they last and if that has changed
    • how light or heavy they are and if that has changed

Because of the hormonal swings during peri-menopause, this is the time many women experience the most symptoms. Symptoms of peri-menopause – are you experiencing:

hot flushes?

mood changes (low or swinging mood/irritability/anxiety)?

decreased ability to do your normal activities/inability to cope?

Talk to your doctor if you experience:

  • increasingly heavy periods
  • long periods of more than 8 days
  • periods that come less than 3 weeks apart
  • periods that come more than 2-3 months apart
  • painful periods causing you to stay home
  • bleeding between or after periods, or after sex
  • any of the above listed peri-menopausal symptoms.

Are you tired of feeling tired all the time?

Fatigue during menopause is incredibly common and it can affect so many areas of your life, such as concentration at work, ability to focus, being too tired and neglecting your  relationships and life in general.

We’ve had a few queries about increasing energy in our Facebook group recently. Its such a common feature of the menopause that we thought we’d get everything here in one place to help you raise these flagging levels.  It is primarily caused by hormone changes as your body prepares for the next stage. Here are some areas that you need to concentrate on to raise your energy and beat the tiredness.

Most importantly, the first thing you need to do is eliminate any other causes of fatigue. Visit  your doctor to check for underlying factors which may be causing it.

Once you know that your energy depletion is a part of your menopause there are several areas you should focus on to improve it.

Nutrition

Ensure you have a balanced diet with plenty of fresh food, which is organic and free range where possible. Eat a wide variety of unprocessed food including meat, fish, fruit and vegetables. Processed food often contains lots of sugar and undesirable additives which affect your hormone balance.

A good quality multivitamin will help keep your levels topped up too.

Hydration

Dehydration is a major cause of fatigue. Keep your fluids topped up. Water is ideal. Alcohol, soda and caffeine aren’t (sorry!)

Stop doing too much

It should be obvious but most of us are simply doing too much. Assess what you are doing – is it really necessary? Could you delegate? Self care and taking time to relax and recuperate are crucial. It’s time to put yourself first and stop running on empty.

Get good sleep

A good night’s sleep where you wake up feeling refreshed and relaxed can seem like a distant dream in menopause, especially if night sweats are waking you up. Our article How to get a good night’s sleep has several helpful suggestions.

Hormone balance

Ensure your hormones are balanced. We recommend a bio-identical progesterone cream which is easily applied. If you would like to find out more about natural progesterone read our article here.

Rest and relaxation

Take periods of rest during your day and DO NOT feel guilty about them. They are very restorative. Your productivity levels will soar if you just take a break sometimes. It sounds counter intuitive but trust me on this one. A short break will have you raring to go. In your break, try and get some fresh air with a short walk or try some meditation.

Self care

All of these points count as self care and it is essential during menopause and peri-menopause to really take time for self care. If you find it difficult try making a diary note to include yourself in your day.

What ways will you try to increase your energy. Share them in our Facebook group, a community of like minded women who share gripes and good times.

International Women’s Day 2019 campaign theme:
#BalanceforBetter

Talking about menopause and perimenopause on international women's day

Celebrate! Tomorrow, March 8th, is International Women’s Day and although this is a great theme for all ages and sexes, it is particularly important for peri/post/menopausal women. The lows of menopause are highlighted much more than the benefits, but there are definitely highs, even more so for the postmenopausal period ( talking of periods, saying good-bye to those is a huge bonus… ‘Hello white jeans!’

The number one secret to a healthy happy menopause is hormonal balance!’  We have stressed that many times in our newsletters to you.

But, that taken care of, the next most important thing is to embrace the fabulous opportunities that menopause brings.

It’s Freedom, Baby!  Freedom from debts to children, husbands, lovers, or the species. You can use your creativity, energy and power to plan your life with you as Numero Uno!

It’s time to re-think how you feel about yourself. Don’t assume because ‘you’re a woman of a certain age’ you have to conform to the norm. If you want to grow your hair long, wear shocking pink and get a tattoo, do it! Go through your wardrobe, and apart from discarding anything you haven’t worn for a year, or anything that makes you look like everyone’s favourite maiden aunt, ask yourself if you love it? If not, it’s off to the charity shop!

Now is the time to take up new hobbies; learn a language, do a Cordon Bleu cookery course, take up sky diving! The opportunities are endless, and it’s all about you and what you want and haven’t been able to do before.

And we’d love to hear from you! Let us know how you’re doing, what challenges you are tackling, and any triumphs you’ve had.

As the wonderful Dr Christiane Northrup says  “The good news is that the menopausal transition is an exciting developmental stage that changes you at the core level. It is designed to heal all the unhealed parts of you. That IS the wisdom of menopause.”

C is for contraception..

Being peri-menopausal means your fertility is reduced but not entirely gone. Contraception is still required to prevent those unwanted little additions

Think you’re menopausal? Here’s why you shouldn’t ditch precautions.

According to Dr. Roger Henderson, unintended pregnancies in older women occur as often as they do in younger women!

“I am sometimes asked by women who are going through the peri-menopause – the time when their hormones are changing as they head towards menopause – if they still need to use contraception and they are often surprised when I say to the vast majority of them that they should.

They are even more surprised to learn that spontaneous pregnancies have occurred up to the age of 59, and that unintended pregnancy rates in older women occur at levels similar to those in young women.

As a general rule, reliable contraception should be used until the menopause is confirmed either by periods having stopped totally for 2 years before the age of 50, or for 12 months after this age.

So, what types of contraception should a woman entering her menopause consider? Fortunately, there are many possible options here and each case needs to be taken on its own merit, so always discuss this with your doctor in order to help make an informed decision.”

N.B. For women who use hormone based contraceptives, such as the pill, mini-pill, injection, Mirena coil, etc, you may not be able to tell when your last period occurred as the hormones mask your natural cycle. You should ask your doctor when you can stop using contraception during your usual check ups. Bear in mind too, that condoms are also a safe guard against sexually transmitted diseases at any age!

Whatever choice you make, do not always assume that the start of the menopause means you no longer need contraception – you do!

B is for bone health

Bone loss accelerates during and after menopause for about five to seven years. It's vital to take care of your bone health in menopause.

Normal bone loss accelerates during and after menopause for about five to seven years. You can lose as much as 35 percent of your bone density during those few, short years…many people have weak bones and don’t even know it! Hormone imbalance, due to low levels of progesterone, over-acidic diet, nutrient deficiencies, smoking, excess alcohol, and sedentary behaviour are common osteoporosis risk factors. The good news is that there’s lots you can do. Healthy progesterone levels are vital and a healthy diet that includes calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K2, and magnesium, an organic progesterone cream and regular weight-bearing exercise also help to support bone health.

What is bone?

Bone is a living substance that contains blood vessels, nerves, and cells. There are two types of cells that control your bone structure:

▪ Osteoblasts – cells that build your bones

▪ Osteoclasts – cells that break down old or damaged bone to make room for new bone

Strong bones protect your heart, lungs, and brain from injury.

4 Steps to Help Protect Your Bones in Menopause

One of the best ways to achieve bone health in menopause (or any other time) is a diet rich in fresh, raw whole foods. In addition, you need healthy sun exposure along with regular, weight-bearing exercise:

  • Optimise your vitamin D3 either from natural sunlight exposure, a safe tanning bed or an oral vitamin D3 supplement. Check your blood levels regularly to make sure you’re within the optimal range.
  • Optimise your vitamin K1 through a combination of dietary sources (leafy green vegetables, fermented foods like natto, raw milk cheeses, etc.) and a K2 supplement, if needed.
  • Make sure you do weight-bearing exercises.
  • Consume a wide variety of fresh, local, organic whole foods, including vegetables, nuts, seeds, organic meats and eggs, and raw organic unpasteurised dairy for calcium and other nutrients. The more of your diet you consume RAW, the better nourished you will be. Minimise sugar and refined grains.

N.B. Osteoporosis Drugs

Contrary to what you’ve been told, most osteoporosis drugs actually weaken your bones. Bisphosphonate bone drugs impact your normal bone repair process by killing off your osteoclasts, and do make your bones denser, but because the osteoclasts are killed the bone is actually weaker as it is not remodelled properly.

AND REMEMBER!…it’s never too late to start!