should you or shouldn’t you….?

Following the news that hundreds of women missed out on having routine mammograms due to an NHS oversight, the process has been under scrutiny with different opinions on how effective/harmful they are.

Breast cancer screening scandal: Doctors warn against catch up scans

In an open letter, 15 medical professionals claim the breast screening programme “causes more unintended harm than good”.

Women who did not undergo routine breast cancer screening because of a computer glitch should not attend catch-up appointments, a group of doctors say.

They are being told to “carry on with their lives” as the programme can do “more harm than good”.

In a letter published in The Times, 15 medical professionals including GPs and university professors said women aged 70 to 79 who have been offered the checks “would be well advised to look this gift horse in the mouth” and should only seek medical help if they notice symptoms.

The letter, which includes the signatures of Susan Bewley, professor of women’s health at King’s College London, and Michael Baum, professor emeritus of surgery at University College London, warns that women should not be subjected to worry or “fear-mongering”.

More harm than good

The doctors write: “The breast screening programme mostly causes more unintended harm than good, which is slowly being recognised internationally.

Many women and doctors now avoid breast screening because it has no impact on all-cause death.”

Obviously it’s up to you to decide whether or not to go the mammogram route. Just make sure you read all the pros and cons before you make a decision. Other options to detect breast cancer include breast self-examinations, physical breast exams by a doctor, ultrasound, MRI, thermography, and other tests that may be ordered by your doctor.

How to pause the menopause

How to delay the menopause with diet

How to Pause the Menopause

We know that a diet rich in  fish and legumes is healthy, but how many women know that it can delay the onset of the menopause? And women who eat a lot of pasta and rice may hasten the process, scientists have found.

A British study involving more than 35,000 women aged between 25 and 69 from England, Scotland and Wales has found that a woman’s diet, and her intake of meat, fish, vegetables and carbohydrates, may play a role in the age at which she goes through the natural menopause.  Natural menopause is when menstrual periods stop permanently for at least 12 consecutive months.

The study, published in the BMJ Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health , found that the average age of menopause was 51, but noted that certain foods play a role in its timing taking into account influential factors such as weight, physical activity, reproductive history and women’s use of hormone replacement therapy.
It found that for each additional daily portion of carbohydrates eaten, particularly pasta and rice, women were more likely to reach the menopause 1.5 years before 51, but that for each additional daily portion of fish and fresh legumes – beans and peas – women could delay the process by more than three years. Women with a higher intake of vitamin B6 and zinc were also more likely to delay the menopause.
Omega 3

Vegetarians were found to reach the menopause at an earlier age than women who ate meat. Non-vegetarians who increased their daily portion of savoury snacks were more likely to reach the menopause by 49 while mothers who ate high levels of oily fish and fresh legumes reached the process at a later date. Women without children were found to delay the menopause by eating more grapes and poultry.

Oily fish, which contacts omega 3 fatty acids, are found to stimulate antioxidants in the body while legumes contain oxidants, which are important in the maturation and release of eggs during ovulation, explained researchers.

Refined carbohydrates, such as pasta and rice, can boost insulin resistance and oestrogen levels, both of which could increase the number of menstrual cycles a women experiences and deplete her egg supply faster.

While vegetarians consume a lot of antioxidants in their diets, they are more likely to eat more fibre and less animal fat which are associated with low oestrogen levels and can affect the timing of the menopause.

Women who go through the menopause early are at increased risk of osteoporosis and heart disease, while those who go through the process late are at increased risk of breast, womb and ovarian cancers, noted the study.

While the study’s findings confirmed that a woman’s diet could be associated with the age when natural menopause occurs, it cautioned that the women involved in the research were “more affluent and health conscious than average” which may have influenced the findings.

However, given the implications that menopause can have on health conditions later in life, the researchers from the University of Leeds noted that the research was relevant to public health and that health practitioners should take into account the diet of a woman when dealing with menopause-related issues

Rescue remedy for Menopause and Peri Menopause

Here are the symptoms you don’t want to talk about. Heavy, flooding periods. Mood swings. Insomnia. Hot flushes.

They’re not nice symptoms because, well, it’s not fun to bleed through your clothes or wake at night with your heart pounding and your sheets all wet.

And part of you is thinking that maybe you’ve done something wrong to get into this situation. Or, at the very least, that you’ve made the shameful mistake of getting older in a society that doesn’t want to hear from older women. And so you keep quiet.

These symptoms won’t last forever. And there are simple things you can do now to feel better quickly. (Things that aren’t the hormonal IUD or antidepressant your doctor wants you to take.)

Please try them IN ORDER, adding the next treatment only if you need it.

Step 1. Magnesium plus taurine

Together, magnesium and taurine boost GABA which is the calming neurotransmitter your brain needs as it adjusts to the great progesterone crash in your 40s. They’re incredibly soothing and can improve sleep, mood, and hot flashes. (300 mg magnesium plus 3000 mg of the amino acid taurine.)

For additional relief, consider adding 50 mg of vitamin B6, which is another good way to boost GABA.

In a 2017 paper called “Magnesium in the gynecological practice: a literature review,”magnesium was found to be effective treatment for symptoms of menopause and peri menopause.

For mood and sleep and hot flashes, this could be as much treatment as you need. Try it for a few weeks, and then if you’re still suffering, consider adding progesterone.

Step 2. Natural progesterone cream

Natural progesterone or micronised progesterone is entirely different from the progestins used in birth control or conventional hormone replacement (HRT). It’s not a drug. It’s the beneficial hormone you used to make in your 20s and 30s.

Progesterone has many benefits.

• It makes periods lighter so progesterone can be used together with turmeric and other treatments to relieve the crazy heavy periods of peri menopause.

• It relieves hot flushes— even on its own without oestrogen. Progesterone works best in combination with magnesium and taurine.

• It improves sleep. For severe sleep problems, a progesterone capsule such as Prometrium is preferable to a cream. By ingesting progesterone, you can convert more of it to the sedating metabolite allopregnanolone (which is like a natural sleeping tablet).

It helps to clear histamine thereby relieving the histamine intolerance that can flare up during perimenopause and menopause.

• It stabilises the HPA or adrenal axis and improves your ability to cope with stress.

 Tip: Other strategies to stabilise the HPA adrenal axis include rest, meditation, and adaptogen herbs such as ashwagandha and Rhodiola. All are valuable treatments during the menopause transition.

  Tip: Natural hormones should not be taken continuously; they should be stopped for at least five days per cycle.

Magnesium + taurine + progesterone should be enough for most of you. Try it for a few weeks, and then if you’re still suffering, consider adding a small amount of oestrogen.

 Tip: Do not take oestrogen until you are first taking natural progesterone.

Step 3. Oestrogen

It’s okay to add a small amount of oestrogen. It’s a lot safer than you’ve been led to believe and can be incredibly helpful for sleep and mood and hot flushes. (Please read In Defense of Oestrogen).

 Tip: Most of the cancer risk from conventional hormone replacement was from the synthetic progestin—not oestrogen.

If you do decide to add oestrogen, please choose one that is:

• Low-dose. When it comes to oestrogen, the lower, the better. If you can get away with a little dusting of Vagifem cream or a pessary, then stick with that. The next step up is a low-dose patch like Estraderm 25.

• Bio-identical, which means it is identical to human estradiol or oestrogen. Fortunately, most (not all) modern conventional oestrogen products are bio identical.

• Transdermal, which means you absorb it through your skin from a cream, gel, or patch. Oestrogen is better and safer when taken this way.

 Tip: Please also take progesterone—even if you don’t have a uterus! You need natural progesterone for mood and to protect your breasts.

  Tip: Do not take oestrogen if you’re still having periods. A common situation is first, your periods stop (you need oestrogen). Then, your periods return for a few months (you should stop oestrogen). And finally, your periods stop again (you need oestrogen again). But you can take the basic prescription of magnesium + taurine + progesterone during all the tumultuous years when you’re having symptoms but still having periods.

This information is from an article by

Lara Briden, Naturopathic doctor and period revolutionary

Endometriosis..a silent enemy

menopause survey results

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a hormonal and immune system disease where tissue similar to that inside the uterus grows in other areas of the body. It is undetectable unless seen through laparoscopy, and is unlikely to develop after the onset of menopause. In peri menopause it is triggered by the oestrogen oestrodial, which diminishes after menopause.

Endometriosis most commonly occurs between the uterus and the rectum, where its presence can cause painful intercourse, rectal pressure, and pain with bowel movements, especially before a period; symptoms are pelvic pain and inter-menstrual spotting.

You may be one of the many women with endometriosis who looks forward to reaching menopause – the time when your hormones change and your period stops; your doctor may have told you that it “dies out” after menopause. The good news is that this seems true for some women although research on endometriosis and menopause is very limited. You may find that menopause brings relief from the pain you’ve experienced during your cycle or with sexual activity, and other symptoms may also ease up.

However, women with advanced stage endometriosis can often have long-term pain associated with the damage that endometriosis caused before menopause. Since it is a disease that affects the digestive and immune systems, as well as the reproductive system, you may find that you still experience problems or even develop new problems with your bowels or with your immune system, like asthma or allergies. While endometriosis symptoms vary a great deal from woman to woman, the classic symptoms of endometriosis are pelvic pain, abnormal menses, and infertility. A woman with advanced endometriosis may experience no symptoms and be unaware she has it, whereas another with minimal endometriosis may experience debilitating pelvic pain and cramps almost continuously. Most women with endometriosis fall somewhere in-between these extremes.

WHAT TO DO?

Natural progesterone is the best way to combat the effect, and it is best applied as a cream. A whole foods diet high in fibre that avoids trans fats can also provide dramatic relief from symptoms of endometriosis. Many women have had remarkable pain relief from simply stopping consumption of dairy foods, eggs and red meats.Be sure to eat one to two servings daily of organic, cruciferous vegetables, such as kale, collard greens, mustard greens, broccoli, cabbage, and turnips, and also avoid caffeine. Supplementing the diet with a good source of essential fatty acids and a multivitamin–mineral supplement rich in B complex, zinc, selenium, vitamin E, and magnesium can also help.

Simplify and declutter

Menopause can be a time of great overwhelm as here is so much going on and new things to learn about yourself and your body so it pays to simplify wherever possible. Decluttering your surroundings is one way of clearing space so there's room for other aspects of your life to flourish and grow.

Have you ever noticed just how much ‘stuff’ you have I your life? By that I don’t just mean all your physical possessions but also all the life going on around you that demands your attention. Menopause can be a time of great overwhelm as there is so much going on and new things to learn about yourself and your body so it pays to simplify wherever possible. Decluttering your surroundings is one way of clearing space so there’s room for other aspects of your life to flourish and grow.

Taking a bit of time to radically simplify your life by decluttering can radically affect the quality of your life and free up time you never even knew you were wasting. Trying to find things you need in an uncluttered environment is much simpler, takes less time and eliminates a lot of stress.

Lets start by looking at the physical possessions as it’s often much easier to deal with and the results of dealing with it are instantly visible.

Look around you. Are there piles of papers? Would your house be a great place to visit if there were a sudden famine? Can you fit one more thing in your wardrobe or would it be a challenge? Do you have cosmetics and toiletries which are half used and have been the same for ages? Does it take you an hour to get ready to go out because everything you need is in several different places?

Make it easier for yourself by deciding to do some decluttering. If that seems too huge to take on then break it down into smaller chunks. If you start by clearing out just one drawer that is a great start. Satisfactory completion of just one small area can often spur you on to tackle the more difficult areas as you see what a difference you’ve made.

Some simple rules for decluttering:

Set yourself achievable goals, share them and make yourself accountable. You can do this by sharing your goals with a friend/family member or even sharing in our Facebook group.  Deciding what you will do with the space you make when you declutter can be a great motivator.

Start small – I suggest a make up drawer or similar.

Set yourself a time limit. 10 minutes concentrated effort in one place won’t clear the decks immediately, but if you set yourself the task of decluttering for 10 minutes every day you will soon start to see results and 10 minutes doesn’t seem too onerous and de-motivating.

Really look at each item and ask yourself … Do I really need this? Do I use it? How many of these do I really need? Nobody needs 5 containers of black mascara! When did I last use this? Is it out of date?

Decide what you are going to do with your discarded items. I usually have a bin bag and a charity bag going. The ones which are delivered to your door are great as they are collected too. All you have to do is remember to put them out for the collectors

If the task really seems overwhelming or you don’t want to tackle it yourself there are professional decluttering companies you can engage to take the strain for you

Pressing for progress on menopause – Happy International Women’s Day

How to have a stress free natural menopause. Happy International Womens Day

It’s International Women’s Day on Thursday 8th March, IWD is a global day celebrating the social economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It also calls for gender parity. We have come a long way but there is still work to do. 

Each year there is a theme and this year it’s press for progress focussing on equal pay and recognition for women. 

 At Menopause Matters Guru we are pressing for progress to ensure women are enlightened and empowered about the menopause. Many women have been taught to fear the menopause believing that it is nothing but gloom and doom coupled with a huge mixture of horrible symptoms ranging from well known hot flushes and mood swings to the lesser known joint pain and burning tongue. With those thoughts in your head who could be blamed for dreading this time that all women experience?

 It doesn’t have to be like that.

 There’s lots you can do and you don’t have to resort to hormone replacement therapy or antidepressants. 

 We are great advocates of using natural remedies and holistic methods. We believe by taking a whole body approach you can have a stress free, natural menopause. 

 Start with what goes on in your head and work down. Just believing that the menopause is the start of all good things and freedom from lots of other parts of life that have been holding you back will help immensely. We regularly publish positive affirmations on our social media to get you on the right track. 

Hormone imbalance which is the cause of most menopause symptoms can be approached from a whole variety of angle. You can apply a natural progesterone cream which fits with your body’s own receptors. You should ensure it has the correct percentage of progesterone in it or it will be ineffective.

Next think about what you are fuelling your body with. If you feed it with junk food, highly processed foods and sugar, it doesn’t owe you any favours. Adapt your diet to contain more natural, organic vegetables, fruits fish and meat. The closer your food is to its natural state, the better.  The beauty of home cooked food is you know what goes in it. You can be sure there will be no nasty additives or artificial ingredients.

Take a good look in your cleaning  cupboards and the products you use for self care. Are they chemical cocktails of toxic substances. These all affect your hormone balance in the form of xeno-oestrogens. Check the ingredients and reduce harmful chemicals where possible by switching to natural alternatives. 

Exercise is also crucial to your wellbeing. You don’t need to do lots but it’s good to establish a regular habit. We like the 7 minute workouts which can easily be found on YouTube.

Lastly take time to relax and refresh your mind with some meditation. Just 5 minutes a day will soon get you feeling more chilled and less stressed.

Our blog contains lots of information on how you can make your menopause a happier, stress free time. Take a look through and feel free to email us with any questions at info@menopausematters.guru or join our Facebook group for mutual support and a safe space to share your wins and worries

Plastic pollution and your menopause

How plastic pollution affects your menopause

How plastic pollution affects your menopause

If you’ve listened to any news recently you can’t have missed the big plastic pollution problem facing our planet at the moment. Miles and miles of plastic in various forms are littering the oceans and causing death and destruction to sea life. That is to say nothing of the quantities of plastic in landfill which will not break down in our life times.

Plastic is also bad news for hormone balance and consequently the menopause. Toxins, both in the plastic and the manufacture of it are a major contributor to oestrogen dominance which you can read more about in one of our previous blogs – 10 signs of oestrogen dominance and what you can do about it

So, eliminating plastic, where possible from your life and that of your family can only be a good thing, for your health and the environment. We have long been champions of natural products which avoid toxins. Of course, plastic is everywhere so getting rid of it entirely will be a challenge. But, even halving you’re your plastic use will make a huge contribution. We aim to reduce our own use of plastic at home as far as we possibly can and it would be great if you could do the same.

Here are 8 ways you can be not so plastic fantastic

  1. Become aware of the amount of plastic you use in your household. Do you really need to use cling film and plastic bags when you could store leftovers in a lidded container for example? Simply by raising awareness of the plastic you get through will help you to reduce it.
  2. Check out the packaging when you go shopping. Choose retailers who pledge to reduce plastic use. When other retailers see the effect on sales they will follow suit. Shops like your local greengrocer will have unpackaged produce. It’s great for the local economy too.
  3. Invest in a set of durable shopping bags. That way you will always have a bag handy and won’t need to buy carrier bags which will eventually end up clogging up the ocean floor for hundreds of years.
  4. Many household cleaners come in plastic containers. Both container and contents are highly toxic. Try natural alternatives, or you could make your own using lemon juice, vinegar, bicarbonate of soda etc. Check out these suggestions for natural cleaning and a few recipes from Wellness Mama
  5. Ditch the plastic water bottles. A BPA free, biodegradeable water bottle will be far less toxic for you and your environment. Even better use glass.
  6. The same goes for disposable coffee and tea cups. Some coffee shops will reward you if you provide your own cup. There is a lidded coffee/tea cup to suit all tastes, and they keep your drink warmer for longer too.
  7. Straws – do you really need one? If you can’t drink your cocktail or soft drink without one, switch to paper or stainless steel.
  8. Bamboo toothbrushes have natural bristles and are biodegradeable. Try these from Amazon

 

There are lots of ways you can reduce your plastic usage. Feel free to share your suggestions either as a comment here or on our Facebook page

 

Dry eyes and menopause

Dry eyes in menopause

 

 There’s more than one place menopause can make you feel high and dry! About 61 percent of peri menopausal and menopausal women suffer from dry, itchy eyes, but only 16 percent of them realise menopause is to blame, according to the Society for Women’s Health Research.

As always, hormone imbalance is the main culprit! 

“Many women going through menopause experience dry eye syndrome or exacerbation of their pre-existing symptoms,” says Dr. Sol Shaftel, M.D., Ph.D., an ophthalmologist and ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgery fellow at the University of Washington. Common symptoms include dryness, light sensitivity, blurred vision, as well as burning, gritty, and sandy feelings (often called “foreign body sensation”). But don’t let watery eyes fool you! Although teary eyes look like they are anything but dry, excessive tearing may be a sign that your eyes are desperately trying to make up for a lack of moisture, according to Dr. Shaftel.

If dry, scratchy, burning eyes trouble you, you can feel (and look!) better without any invasive medical interventions. “These symptoms can often be treated effectively with simple measures leading to major improvements in quality of life,” says Dr. Shaftel, who notes that successful treatment hinges on three major strategies: increasing lubrication, decreasing tear outflow, and reducing eyelid inflammation.

Try out these five easy remedies for dry eyes:

1. Avoid Environmental Triggers

Wind, dry air, and pollutants all contribute to dried-out eyes. On windy days,  wear glasses or sunglasses to help block the wind. Try a humidifier in your home if it is particularly dry, it can bring serious relief to your eyes, not to mention to your skin! 

2. Try Over-the-Counter Eye Drops

 Here’s a quick overview of the options: tear substitutes, which are quick-acting, but provide only temporary relief; gel drops, which are longer-acting but can blur vision; gels, which are for nighttime use and will blur vision; and preservative-free formulations for those women who are allergic to preservatives. The option that’s best for you — and how many different ones you need to employ on a given day — largely depends on just how dry and miserable your eyes are. Start with tear substitutes and work your way up. Caution: Avoid “get the red out” and “clear eye” drops as these can cause rebound redness, inflammation, and dryness if used for prolonged periods, warns Dr. Shaftel.

3. Take It Easy on Your Eyes

Blink! Being told to blink more might sound silly, but how often have you found yourself not blinking because you were enthralled in a book or a movie? When you must concentrate, lubricate your eyes. Another way to take it easy is to limit how many hours a day you wear your contact lenses.

4. Eat Right

Omega-3 fatty acids are good for more than your heart, they are also good for your eyes, says Dr. Shaftel. A 2011 study from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine found that eating unsaturated fatty acids can effectively treat dry eyes. Eat at least two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily fish such as salmon, tuna, or mackerel, and/or take  Omega-3  supplements, preferably Krill oil.

5. Talk to Your Doc

While you should tell your menopause specialist about any menopausal symptoms you experience, an ophthalmologist (eye surgeon) who specialises in the anatomy, physiology, and diseases of the eye can help provide significant relief.

 

Menopause survey results

menopause survey results

Half of women say their mental wellbeing suffers as a result of menopause, Woman’s Hour poll finds.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the poll commissioned by Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and BBC Radio Sheffield found the menopause makes 25 per cent of women want to stay at home, with a further 23 per cent reporting that it reduced their enjoyment in life.

It also revealed that women have a limited understanding of their biological clock, even as they approach the average age for the menopause (51 in the UK). Over 70 per cent said they didn’t have a strong understanding of the menopause, which led to some being unaware of the effects it would have on their physical and mental health.

Of the women who reported a change in their mental health, just over a third said they consulted their GP about the problem. And only 70 per cent of women who were working when they experienced the menopause told their employer about the change in their mood.

***There are around 3.5 million working women over the age of 50 in the UK. Previous research shows that around 50  per cent of women find employment difficult when undergoing the menopause, and 10 per cent have given up work because of the symptoms. Physical and mental  side effects associated with the menopause  include low self-esteem, anxiety, memory loss and verbal slips.

The survey, which ComRes conducted on behalf of the BBC, involved 1,009 women between the ages of 50 and 60.

***Our online program “Menopause in the
Workplace” is available now . It is jam-packed with information, advice, helpful hints, worksheets and much more! Find out more here

BHRT: Doctors and the use of bio-identical hormone therapy

Wild yam

From the website of Jerry Tennant, MD, MD (H), PScD.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

Menopausal symptoms are annoying and sometimes debilitating to many women.  For many years, standard therapy was Premarin, a form of oestrogen from horse urine. Rarely was progesterone included.  Eventually, it was recognised that the most important issue with hormones is balance.  Oestrogen must be balanced with progesterone.  Without progesterone in adequate amounts, one has what is called “oestrogen dominance”.  It is oestrogen dominance that causes many of the side effects of hormone inadequacy.

 

Because one cannot patent natural substances, pharmaceutical companies modify natural products so they will have a similar effect but they can patent the modified compound and thus make a profit from it.  Such a substance is progestin, a synthetic progesterone.

 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) established the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) in 1991 to address the most common causes of death, disability and impaired quality of life in postmenopausal women. The WHI addressed cardiovascular disease, cancer, and osteoporosis. The WHI was a 15 year multi-million dollar endeavour, and one of the largest U.S. prevention studies of its kind. The three major components of the WHI were:

* a randomised controlled clinical trial of promising but unproven approaches to prevention;

* an observational study to identify predictors of disease;

* a study of community approaches to developing healthful behaviours.

 

 

The study was discontinued after seven years because it was clear that the synthetic hormones were increasing risks—see below.  This has made many women fear the use of hormones of any type.

 

It appears that the use of bio-identical (same of the human makes) hormones instead of synthetic hormones have the reverse effect.  These hormones must be compounded by a compounding pharmacy since regular drug companies have no interest in these natural compounds as they can’t patent and pay the cost of getting the FDA to approve them.  If one company paid the FDA the millions of dollars it would take to get them approved, all of their competitors could make/sell them with no opportunity for the first company to recover the millions of dollars paid to the FDA to approve them.  Thus there is a constant effort to discredit bio-identical hormones in the U.S.  Since the FDA can’t control the use of natural substances, they have recently received authority to enforce severe requirements upon compounding pharmacies.  This increases the cost of bio-identical hormones above the price affordable by most consumers.  Thus there is a problem:  synthetic hormones are harmful and bio-identical hormones are helpful but difficult to afford.  However, women who can find them at an affordable price usually feel amazingly better without the risks of synthetic hormones.

(pictured; wild yam)

To read more: go here