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! 

A-Z of menopause: A is for anxiety…

We were inspired by a recent blog to write a an A-Z of menopause – Thanks Simply Ceremonies. It’s such a wide ranging subject so there’s lots to learn. Keep coming back as we work our way through the alphabet. Let us know if there’s a subject you’d like us to tackle by emailing us at info@menopausematters.guru

A is for anxiety

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. One we recommend is https://relaxlikeaboss.com/the-art-of-mindfulness/ We welcome feedback, so let us know what you think 🙂

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

Yoga for menopause

Yoga for menopause

We’ve long extolled the virtues of yoga to help alleviate menopause and peri-menopause symptoms and generally make you feel amazing. So we’ve put our money where our mouth is and teamed up with an amazing yoga teacher to bring you a range of poses. These will be in the form a course which will be available imminently but for now we wanted to give you a little taster.

Don’t worry, you won’t need to stand on your head with your ankles round your shoulders. These are some simple poses designed to combat individual symptoms. There are photos and directions to accompany each one. While you are in these poses concentrate on your breathing

About our yoga teacher – Claire Rother


Claire is an experienced yoga teacher who offers classes in Kent, United Kingdom. Yoga has been an important part of Claire’s own healing journey and she is immensely grateful for that. It is so much more than an exercise, than just a way to increase in flexibility, strength and tone. It certainly has those benefits (and many more!) but the real beauty of yoga is it’s transformative power; a power it has through the focus on both the health of the mind and the health of the body as one.

You can find our more about Claire on her website www.clairerother.com

Hot flushes

Ardha Halasana (Supported Plow Pose) with the legs resting on a chair:

  • calms jittery nerves
  • cooling and restorative
  • tension in the body can make hot flashes worse, so using a chair with a blanket helps to
  • support legs and release deep held tension

Directions:

  • Place three blankets on top of mat. Make the blankets neat and folded edges in a clean line. This goes under shoulders to make space for the neck, protecting it.
  • Use a bolster or a folded blanket across seat of chair
  • Lie down on the blankets – head at the same end as the chair – and line the shoulders so that they are on the blanket but the neck and head are on the mat.
  • Bend knees into chest, then lift the hips and bring legs back so that the feet and front of  shins come onto the blanket or bolster on the chair.
  • Keep the arms down by the sides of the body or if more comfortable, place them over head.
  • Rest here for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Whilst here, work on softening the throat, temples and jaw. Try to widen the back of the neck and shoulders. Allow the legs to release their weight onto chair.
  • Roll down and take a couple of breaths before coming up.
Arda halasana – supported plough pose 

Anxiety / irritability / insomnia

Forward folds can help to reduce tension and stress because when we fold forwards, we remove distractions from our external environment and we feel a sense of coming home to ourselves and feeling protected.

Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) – with head on chair

  • Stand facing the chair, feet together or hip distance apart, whichever is most comfortable for you.
  • Fold forward so that the the head is supported by the chair (using a blanket or two to raise height if needed). Allow arms to either fall down to the sides or rest arms on chair – holding each elbow with the opposite hand.
  • Stay for 5-10 breaths.
  • Whilst in this pose, keep a soft bend in the knees to prevent from locking them and work on drawing the lower belly in towards to spine and lifting the sit bones upwards to help create extra length in the back of the legs.
  • On an inhale slowly come up.
Uttanasana – Forward fold

Upavista konasana (Wide-Legged forward Bend)

  • Sit on a folded blanket or a yoga block to help raise hips and support lower back. Make sure you have a bolster or chair or yoga brick in front.
  • Open the legs wide.
  • Push into heels and draw the big toe mounds back towards the body, toes and kneecaps facing the ceiling.
  • Hinge forward from the hips and walk the hands out in front of you. Rest the forehead on your block, blanket or bolster so that is it supported. walking your hands out and resting your forehead on the block, bolster or chair.
  • With every inhale, lengthen torso; with every exhale, allow tension to release from the neck and upper back.
Upavista Konasana – wide legged forward bend

Tell us how you get on 

We’d love to know how you get on with these poses and what your experiences of yoga are. Let us know in our Facebook group where you can share your experiences of menopause and peri-menopause and get support from like minded women.

Countdown to a naturally stress free Christmas

Naturally stress free Christmas

Christmas can be stressful and even more so if you are menopausal or perimenopausal. Try these steps for a naturally stress free Christmas

1. Planning: Planning is key to reducing stress at Christmas (and any other time of year) and if you suffer from a touch of brain fog you can use some help.  It’s time for some lists. Make a list of all the things you need to do, the people you need to contact, shopping you have to buy. Once you have everything out of your head and on paper, you have made space for actually getting some of the items ticked off rather than worrying about them. Start early and keep your lists updated. You will probably need to add things as you think of them. Remember to cross things off as they are done.

2. Delegate: Christmas is a fun time for everyone and you are no exception. It’s a great time to remind your family you are a team and all need to pull together. Allocate the tasks fairly and make sure everyone knows it’s their responsibility to complete them. Even the young or old can help out in some way.

3. Build in some ‘me’ time: To stay chilled and stress free over the Christmas period you need to build in some time for self care, whether it’s treating yourself to a massage, getting your nails or hair done or just relaxing in a hot bubbly bath.

4.  Relax: Take time to relax with friends or make yourself a cup of tea and read a good book.

5. Keep your eating healthy: Tempting though it is to stuff your face with chocolate and cakes which are more freely available at Christmas, try to resist. Keep your diet as organic as possible and above all avoid highly processed foods.

6.  Pace yourself: There’s always lots going on at Christmas. Remember you don’t have to attend every single event you’ve been invited to. Be selective and really enjoy the ones you go to. Send your apologies but don’t feel guilty about the ones you miss.

7. Manage your mindset: Make a decision early on not to get stressed and overwhelmed by Christmas. If you have a positive mindset and are determined to enjoy yourself then you stand a much better chance than if you worry about things going wrong, the turkey being raw in the middle and relatives being bored or fighting.

8. Set a Christmas affirmation. Peace on earth and goodwill to all men is a great phrase to repeat daily to remind yourself of the aims of the season.

9. 5 minutes of meditation: Make every effort to fit in five minutes of meditation every day. It will calm your mind and centre you for the rest of the day.

10. Take a hike: With all the festivities taking up your time it is easy to let exercise habits lapse. Try exercising which is a great de-stresser as it gets you out of the way and helps produce endorphins to make you feel great. Just fitting in a short walk 3-4 times a week will help.

11. Go easy on the Christmas cheer: In addition to the usual hangovers and bad moods following a night of excess, alcohol exacerbates hot flushes. Stay cool by moderating your intake. Just in case you overdo it try these ways to naturally beat your hangover

12. Enjoy It!