There’s been much in the news lately about how doctors can delay menopause for up to 20 years. One procedure has just become available at a clinic in Birmingham. Doctors at the ProFam (short for Protecting Fertility and Menopause) are able to remove a piece of ovary via keyhole surgery, freeze it and then re-implant it when a woman’s natural menopause occurs.The implanted tissue then produces hormones that reverse the menopause. These grafts can maintain a woman’s youthful hormone production for years.
This procedure has been used before to help young cancer patients who have gone into premature menopause because of chemotherapy, who want to recover their fertility. Now it is being offered to more women who can pay to have their ovarian tissue removed up to the age of 40 and stored for use when they reach menopause. The average age for women to reach menopause is 51. The hormonal changes can affect quality of life and cause adverse effects such as strokes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, not to mention hot flushes, depression, mood swings and memory loss.
So whilst this breakthrough procedure to delay menopause could enable women to have babies into their 50s, it could also benefit women whose menopause triggered health issues and who were reluctant to use HRT because of harmful side effects. Women who did not want to become pregnant could have the ovarian tissue re-implanted anywhere with a strong blood supply, such as the armpit.
Children born in the West today can reasonably expect to live up to 100, so for the first time women will be living for as long after menopause as before it. Medical procedures like these can help women to break free from the constraints of their biology, by calling time on their biological clock.
The Sandwich Generation is a generation of people (usually in their 40’s to 70’s) who care for their ageing parents while supporting their own children; including young adults aged 25 -34, who are staying or returning home in increasing numbers!
Keeping all those ballsin the air can be a major problem! A Carers’ UK report in 2012 said that approximately 2.4 million people aged 40 to 70 are both raising a child and caring for a parent.
That in itself is stressful, but look at that age group! It is almost precisely the time that women are starting to feel the effects of peri and menopause!
A number of strategies are needed to cope with this situation so that you don’t become overwhelmed.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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)
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:
mood changes (low or swinging mood/irritability/anxiety)?
decreased ability to do your normal activities/inability to cope?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.”