Osteoporosis: the emperor has no clothes

What if everything your doctor told you about osteoporosis and osteopenia was wrong?

Until recently, most of the medical fraternity believed that the reason older people fell was because their bones had become brittle and fractured more readily. An article in the Journal of Internal Medicine titled, “Osteoporosis: the emperor has no clothes,” confirms that the primary cause of what are normally labeled “osteoporotic fractures” are falls due more to lifestyle factors and not osteoporosis, i.e. abnormally “porous” or low-density bones.

The new study pointed out three false notions that can be disputed:

  1. Mistaken diagnoses:  Most fracture patients have fallen, but actually do not have osteoporosis. A high likelihood of falling is an age-related decline in physical health.
  2. Ineffective screening: Current fracture risk predictions including bone densitometry and other prediction tools can’t identify a large proportion of patients who will sustain a fracture, whereas many of those with a high fracture risk score will not sustain one.
  3. Unproven and unsafe treatment: The evidence for the success of prescribing drugs to prevent hip and other fractures is mainly limited to women aged 65–80 years with osteoporosis, whereas the proof of hip fracture-prevention in women over 80 and in men at all ages is virtually non-existent. Plus many drugs for the treatment of osteoporosis have also been associated with increased risks and serious side effects.

“While bone drugs like Fosamax  (a bisphosphonate) may contribute to increased bone mineral density, they do not necessarily improve bone quality and strength. Very dense bone created by destroying osteoclasts (bone-degrading cells) may be far more brittle than less dense bone where there is healthy turnover of the osteoclasts and osteoblasts (bone-building cells). In fact, drugs like Fosamax are notorious for contributing to bone degeneration in the jawbone. Plus an extensive body of research indicates higher-than-normal bone density greatly increases the risk of breast cancer.”


The authors conclude: “Given all this, should ‘osteoporosis’ be added to a long list of diagnoses for which doing less, or even nothing, is better than our contemporary practice?”

Fortunately, there are natural alternatives!

Eating a balanced diet of organic, unprocessed foods, using a natural bio-identical form of the hormone *Progesterone, doing regular weight-bearing exercises plus practices like yoga, Pilates, tai chi, walking etc., can help reduce the risk of fracture, and increase bone mineral density and strength.

*At ‘Your Natural Menopause’ we recommend a natural, organic progesterone cream called Naturone, available from their  website  www.naturone.com

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

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

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

Bone health in menopause

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.

Bone up on bone health

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! 

 

Brain Fog in Menopause: What is it and how to cope with it

Menopause brain fog and how you can clear a way through it

The menopause brain fog you notice is definitely  real. Leaving the remote control in the fridge or forgetting what you came into a room for is frustrating and women notice it happens more and more around their 40s and 50s.

Have you noticed some things aren’t some clear as they used to be? Do you feel forgetful, muzzy headed and have difficulty concentrating at times? Those times when you go into a room and forget why, or start doing something and lose your train of thought are very real for menopausal women. A recent study by Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University found that brain fog around the ages 45-55 is a  real feeling.

Memory and cognitive tests were carried out on men and women, hormone levels were measured and functional MRI scans were used to view changes in the brain’s memory circuitry. The research found an association between decreasing levels of oestrogen and brain fog in women, particularly those with lower levels of oestradiol (one of the oestrogen hormones produced by women’s bodies). However, the fog wasn’t the same in all women with lower oestradiol, prompting the big  (unanswered so far) question: why should some women be more resistant to lowering levels?

 

So what can you do to clear the menopause brain fog?

1.  Increase your activity levels. Regular brisk walking is fine. You don’t need to take up marathon running (unless you want to).
2.  Keep mentally stimulated. Challenge yourself with a range of activities which keep you thinking. Puzzles like Sudoku and Words with Friends are great for some gentle brain stretching.
3.  Get good sleep.
4.  Avoid toxins – try to stick to natural, organic products to banish those damaging chemicals.

5.  Help your memory by writing the important things down. Keep a diary of important dates and events and get in the habit of referring to it. Make lists.

6.  Make life simpler. Could you help yourself by reorganising life in a different way. Now is a great time to reassess what you do and the ways you do it. Often complexity gets built into life over time and we rarely step back and assess what is going on. You could simplify by decluttering your house/work place or delegating to others.

How long does menopause brain fog last?

The good news is, most women seem to bounce back after menopause and are just as sharp as ever. So hang on in there. Taking the simple steps we’ve outlined above and knowing that it will come to an end will really help.

 

Menopause at Work and 9 Practical Steps You Can Take to Help Yourself

How to manage menopause at work

Managing menopause at work

Did you know there are over 3.5 million women aged over 50 in the workplace – and that’s just in Britain. The average age for a woman to go through menopause is 51 and in the United Kingdom we retire at 68. This means there are 17 years on average that women are menopausal and post menopausal at work. In fact one third of a woman’s working life.

 

The emotional and physical changes you experience during and after menopause may impact various aspects of your work. For example just like all other relationships,  the relationships you have with co-workers and bosses can change and maybe feel awkward. Your productivity may decrease as you experience the physical and psychological  symptoms and take time to adjust. In a recent survey, a quarter of women questioned said they had considered leaving working due to menopause symptoms, so it is a very real issue for women at work.

 

In previous years women have felt embarrassed about being menopausal and largely kept their symptoms and feelings private. Fortunately menopause is increasingly being recognised as a valid occupational health issue which is a great help to women where awareness exists. However there is still some way to go.  You need to take charge and make sure your working environment is one where you feel you want to stay.

How to manage your menopause at work

In addition to the lifestyle changes you can make to help with menopause symptoms, there are a few options open to you at work:

 

  1. Discuss your symptoms with your line manager or other sympathetic management and see if adjustments can be made to your working environment. It may help you to have a fan for hot flushes or flexibility in working hours.
  2. If your company is large enough, you may have an occupational health department who have already thought about how menopausal symptoms can be accommodated within the work place.
  3. Brain fog may affect your cognitive abilities at work (and home). Use technology to give you reminders and assistance where possible.
  4. Avoid hot flush triggers at important times e.g. before an important meeting by reducing caffeine and spicy food intake.
  5. Manage your diary around your symptoms where possible. For example if you can set the clock by your hot flushes avoid meetings and presentations at these times.
  6. Get help from your colleagues, especially the ones in the same boat as you. It really helps to have some friendly and upbeat mutual support around you.
  7. Lifestyle changes such as reducing your weight or giving up smoking will really help not just your menopause symptoms but health in general.
  8. Manage anxiety and mood swings using meditation and mindfulness. The 4-7-8 breathing technique will also help if you are feeling stressed and panicky. Breathe in through nose for 4, hold for 7, breathe out through mouth for 8. Repeat 4 times.
  9. If you feel your confidence waning due to menopause remember positive affirmations can be a great help. These are positive statements to get your mindset in the right direction. You need to repeat them regularly and out loud to yourself. We frequently  publish affirmations on our Instagram and Facebook profiles or you can make up your own.

 

Above all do not suffer in silence. There are plenty of things you can do to make your working and home life easier.

 

 

 

10 Signs of Oestrogen Dominance and What You Can Do About It

How oestrogen dominance affects your menopause and what to do about it

Oestrogen dominance has become a hot topic, particularly during peri-menopause and menopause when progesterone levels start to decrease. We all have much to be thankful for in our modern world, but unfortunately, a side-effect of greater industrialisation is the introduction of harmful chemicals in our daily life, such as ‘xeno-oestrogen’, an unnatural substance which mimics oestrogen in the body, leading to oestrogen dominance.

Signs of Oestrogen Dominance

1. Heavier than normal periods
2. Severe PMS (breast tenderness, mood swings, headaches)
3. Loss of libido
4. Weight gain (especially round middle)
5. Tiredness
6. Brain fog
7. Hair loss
8. Abnormal thyroid function
9. Sluggish metabolism
10. Sleeping problems

Xeno-oestrogens can be found in some surprising places so it pays to be aware of them and reduce your exposure to them where possible

Here are some of the top offenders:

  • Plastic water bottles
    Plastic food containers
  • Cosmetics, makeup and toiletries, cleaning products (opt for natural lines)
  • Non-organic dairy, vegetables, meat, fish, chicken
  • Tap water
  • Cans lined with BPA (bisphenol A, an industrial chemical used in plastics)
  • Dryer sheets
  • Birth control pill
  • Non-fermented soy protein

 

These 3 simple steps will help you bring your hormones back into balance.

 

  1. Avoid constipation:
  • Drink 2-3L of water per day
  • Fill up half your plate with vegetables at each meal
  • Eat probiotic foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, kefir, plain full cream yogurt and tempeh
  • Add a scoop of fibre to your daily smoothie

body brushing to reduce oestrogen dominance

To support elimination throughout the body, do the following as well:

  • Take deep breaths to support the lungs
  • Go for a massage to support the lymph system
  • Work up a sweat through exercise or sit in a sauna to support the elimination of toxins through the skin
  • Use a dry skin brush to remove dead skin cells

 

  1. healthy food for oestrogen dominanceSupport your liver!
  • Eat a real, whole-foods based diet , and avoid processed food
  • Drink plenty of clean, filtered water
  • Avoid overeating
  • Avoid alcohol abuse
  • Eat plenty of foods that support liver health:

beets, dark leafy greens, artichoke, onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, eggs, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale etc.)

 

  1. Natural progesterone

Find a source of natural progesterone, preferably in cream form, as it is the natural antagonist to oestrogen dominance.

 

(Sources; Sally Longden, holistic health practitioner,

Alina Islam, nutritional practitioner)

 

 

 

How to tame your inner bitch – 11 ways to handle menopause mood swings

Mood swings are a well known symptom of menopause make you tearful, grumpy or depressed. Here we show you 11 natural ways to handle menopause mood swings

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 tools to arm yourself with so you can calm down before you find yourself friendless, frustrated and alone.

Handling mood swings naturally

1. 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.

2. Tapping or Emotional Freedom Technique: tapping is a great ways to reduce feelings of despair, anxiety, anger and many other negative emotions. Measure your feelings of an emotion on a scale of 1-10 before you start and when you’ve finished and you will see a reduction in that feeling.

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

3. 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 will help you work it off or a session of yoga can calm you and reduce anxiety. There really is something for everyone

4. 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.

5. 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. Where possible eat organic foods

6. 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. Speak to your friends and family and enlist support. If you don’t feel able to share so close to home try online. There are many supportive message boards on Facebook and other websites. If you don’t want to post your stories, read other people’s, just knowing you’re not alone in this will help. N.B. We’re always available for help and support. Just drop us a line at info@menopausematters.co.uk

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

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

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

10.  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.   

11. Balance your hormones: hormone imbalances around the menopause are often the root cause of your mood swings. Balance using a natural progesterone cream which will elevate your mood and make you less snappy!