SEX & MENOPAUSE

  

  MYTHS ABOUT SEX AND MENOPAUSE

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

  • As hormones decline, so does libido

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

  • It’s normal not to want sex after menopause

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

  • Sex is painful after menopause

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

  • Too much sex can worsen vaginal dryness

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

  • Once you turn 60 you’re past it!

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

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

  • No one will fancy my ageing body!

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

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

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

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

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

GET A MOVE ON!

Get a move on!

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

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

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

 

 

incontinence in menopause

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

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

5 Natural Methods for Treating Urinary Symptoms

By Dr. Joseph Mercola

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

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

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

Can kinesiology help? 7 tips

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

7 tips for an easier menopause:

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

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

 

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

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

Add these foods to your daily diet:

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

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

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

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

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

5 Ways to Relieve Anxiety Naturally During the Menopause

5 ways to naturally relieve aniety during the menopause

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Sitting is the new smoking!

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

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

  

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

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

SITTING IS THE NEW SMOKING!

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

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

Dr. James Levine is the author of the book

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

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

Slings and Arrows…

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

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

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

Are You Ready to Give Up Your Chair?

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

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

Heroes & Villains of Menopause

Superheroes and villains of menopause

 

HEROES & VILLAINS:  the good the bad and the ugly 

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

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

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

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

Environmental toxins

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

VILLAINS

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

HEROES

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

Trust your body

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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