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.

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.

6 ‘thanks’ you need to give this year – even if you’re not American

Our readers come from all over the world, but wherever you are, it’s unlikely that the American holiday  Thanksgiving has escaped your notice. So, we thought, in honour of our stateside readers, we’d remind you of 6 things to be thankful for in menopause.

 

1.      The biggie – no more periods! Hello white trousers! What a relief to not need to carry around a selection pack of tampons, sanitary towels and the like just in case of an unexpected bleed.

2.      Freedom from the risk of unwanted pregnancy. The end of periods means an end to fertility and you can look forward to years of fun, carefree sex without the need for contraception. Whats not to love? N.B. You should continue to use contraception if you have experienced any bleeding in the last 2 years if you are aged 50 or under, or in the last year if you are over 50.

3.      Fun. As your children grow up and become more independent there is no excuse not to make the most of the extra free time created and indulge yourself in those hobbies and interests which have taken a back seat for years. This is your time to shine. Make the most of it.

4.      Choice: Now there is more choice than ever about how to cope with your menopause symptoms. Not so long ago women had to put up with their symptoms with no help or guidance. We were solely reliant on those who had gone before and many women in their 50s or older seemed very old indeed.

5.      Increased confidence levels: How much more confident do you feel than when you were in your twenties? That’s right, lots of our friends have reached a stage where they are not constantly worried about what other people think about them. In fact we’ve reached an age where we realise that most people are so worried about what others are thinking of them that they don’t have time to think and be critical of others.

6.      Opportunity to make health giving changes and benefit from them in other areas. One of our simplest recommendations for a stress free menopause is to change your diet to organic, local food which is as close to it’s natural state as possible. This is great for hormone balance but means the foods you eat are more nutritious, taste better and their production does less harm to the environment.  Using organic, paraben free soaps, creams, cosmetics  and cleaning products will have similar effects.

 

What are you most thankful for? Remember gratitude doesn’t have to be saved for one day in November. You can enhance your mood by a daily gratitude practice. Before you go to bed each night, reflect on the day you’ve had and try and find at least three things, large or small to be thankful for.

Osteoporosis: the emperor has no clothes

Osteoporosis is not an inevitable part of aging. There are many natural wways you can reduce your risk of fractures and improve your bone health

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

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.

 

 

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

Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about peri menopause

Everything you ever want to know about peri menopause

It is only relatively recently that science has been able to break down the female experience they simply called ‘change of life’ and give each stage of it a name, like ‘peri menopause’, ‘menopause’ and ‘post menopause’. What every woman over the age of fifty could have told them, it took scientists painfully long to recognise as a serious complication of the process of ageing, and the wait was costly in terms of misunderstanding, misdiagnosis and mistreatment.

So now it is official. It’s in the books. ‘Peri menopause’ is first stage menopause and the one it is vital to understand and crack right at the beginning. It is when the body begins to prepare itself for a time when child bearing is over and no longer therefore the focus of the body biology. 

This usually happens in a woman’s 40s and is generally a fairly measured process, a gradual build-up to the time when the menstruation cycle ceases completely. From a body chemistry point of view, peri menopause is signalled by a dropping off in progesterone production. Progesterone is such a critical hormone in females that when its production slows down or ceases much trouble can be expected. That’s because normal health requires a hormonal balance between progesterone and its opposite, oestrogen. Take one away and the other becomes dominant.

Signs of peri menopause

Here are some of the ‘symptoms’ that have been found to be the signatories of progesterone decline:

  • Anxiety 
  • tearfulness 
  • weight gain (or loss)
  • lowering libido 
  • night sweats
  • increased menstrual cramping
  • cracked and dry skin, and many more still to be documented. 

 

These uncomfortable symptoms are because the body is trying to adjust to the relative oestrogen excess.

Now, oestrogen and progesterone are what are known as the ‘sex hormones’. But when they are unbalanced it affects other hormones too. For example, cortisol levels may increase and insulin resistance can become more common. 

As you will readily understand all these hormones are synthesised in the body using nutrients absorbed in the digestive process. And so it is absolutely vital at this potentially unbalancing time to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Get that right and the business of managing and coping with the effects of peri menopause can become a little easier.

Another word of explanation! Before menopause the ovaries are the main source of oestrogen manufacture, but as  they become less active the balance shifts. Eventually at least half of the body’s oestrogen and progesterone is made in the adrenal glands. 

At times of stress the adrenal glands will always prioritise the secretion of the stress hormones over the creation of sex hormones – that’s their prime function, you see. Stress therefore is a key factor in keeping your body hormonally balanced from your 40s onward. The body, meanwhile, can also seek oestrogen from other sources – like the fat cells which store it – once the ovaries start to slow down. Of course this may explain why some women put on weight at this time – the body craves more oestrogen which translates as more food. 

Oestrogen dominance is actually a dreadful condition, particularly during peri menopause. It is the cause of decreased sex drive, irregular or absent periods, bloating, swollen and tender breasts, not to mention depression and irritability, wild mood swings, cold hands and feet, weight gain, and headaches.

 

 How to manage peri menopause

So all in all, you have to find ways of managing or alleviating what is happening to you during peri menopause. On a scale of one to ten proper nutrition must be a ten and your first priority.

Healthy diet in peri-menopause and menopause

Eat a healthy balanced diet, avoiding refined carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, cake and biscuits, and choosing fresh vegetables, white meat and fish, pulses and whole grains instead.

Switch to organic if you can possibly afford it, it is after all just another investment in your own health! (It can be expensive, but at least you should go organic or be prepared to leave out apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, grapes, hot peppers, nectarines, peaches, potatoes, spinach, strawberries, peppers, kale and courgettes. Here are some that it is supposedly ok to go with ‘organic or not’: asparagus, avocados, cabbage, melon, sweetcorn, aubergine, grapefruit, kiwi, mango, mushrooms, onions, papaya, pineapple, frozen peas, and sweet potatoes.)

If you can handle it, try to cut out the use of stimulants like caffeine and alcohol, but don’t be too hard on yourself! In other words, don’t make yourself miserable. 

And then there is the question of keeping yourself ‘busy’. Exercise is obviously number one here because not only can it keep your mind off your problems, it is so good for you! And in this bracket you can include things like regular reflexology or massage treatments, daily meditation, better time management, spending more time outdoors, spending time with animals/nature, and even keeping track of your actions and thoughts!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the peri-menopause?

The peri-menopause can be a confusing time. Here we explain what ist's all about and what it means for you

Peri-menopause and what it means for you

Peri-menopause is the end of a woman’s child bearing years, around the age of 40 onwards, culminating in menopause. It’s also the end of periods. Yay…there are some pluses! The resulting decline in progesterone can cause some of the following symptoms:
  • Hot flushes
  • Weight gain
  • Mood swings
  • Low libido
  • Sleeping problems
  • Irregular periods
These occur as progesterone levels decline, leaving the hormone oestrogen dominant, and an increase in cortisol, (the fight or flight stress hormone) After menopause, the adrenal glands take over from the ovaries in the production of oestrogen and progesterone.
Stress will lead to increased cortisol and a decline in the production of the sex hormones. As progesterone decreases, oestrogen and cortisol increase, so it’s important to source a bio-identical form of progesterone to combat this, preferably as a cream. A balanced life style and a healthy organic diet is all important, too. I’ll go into this in more detail in the future. Don’t despair, there’s lots you can do!
P.S. Feeling hormonal? Why not download my free guide to hormone imbalances. Click Here

P.P.S. Any queries, ideas or if you would just like to say Hi, email me at info@menopausematters.guru

What is the NUMBER 1 secret to a health happy menopause?

The number one secret to a healthy, happy menopause is hormonal balance. 

The best way to achieve this is bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, BHRT, which has been the biggest breakthrough in recent years. Shun synthetic hormone replacement therapy, HRT, like the plague! Many doctors treat menopause as a disease, prescribing synthetic hormones which make millions for  the drug companies. Instead, using only natural, bio-identical hormones, helps to relieve these distressing symptoms. Let me explain that more fully. Bio-identical means that it is identical to the same hormone that your body produces, and will fit exactly with the receptors in your body and comes from a natural source.
When doctors prescribe HRT, they are referring to synthetic hormones, such as oestrogen, estradiol, synthetic progesterone, progestin etc. in the form of tablets, injections, capsules, implants or creams.  These don’t fit your bodies receptors properly and cause confusion and disruption, not to mention ill health.
In 2002, researchers called a halt to a huge government- run study of hormone replacement therapy, used by millions of women under the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI). Researchers discovered that the long-term use of synthetic oestrogen and progestin significantly increased women’s danger of stroke, blood clots, heart disease and invasive breast cancer.
Bio-identical hormones, however,  can help protect your body from cancer, stroke, and heart disease as well as other diseases related to inflammation and early ageing. The best form of BHRT is the natural hormone, progesterone, also known as the mother hormone. This is because it is the precursor to all the other hormones, including testosterone, and is vital in their manufacture.
If you are between the ages of 35 and 55, there are important truths you need to know. Symptoms can start  as long as 10 years before. Most doctors’ advice is hopelessly out of date. Many of them  know little or nothing about the benefits of bio-identical hormone therapy, although there are some enlightened ones out there. This is often not their fault as they were never taught about it in medical school, in the same way that learning about nutrition probably took up less then a day! What they were taught consists primarily of information from drug companies whose purpose is to sell the synthetic hormones of HRT, for obvious reasons. As I said before, this is a major break through in treating hormonal imbalances and inflammation, especially if combined with organic, healthy, unprocessed foods, good nutritional supplements, enough sleep and regular exercise. This can benefit your overall health and wellbeing physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I will go into this in more detail in my next post.
As a world expert on bio-identical hormone replacement says, “We age because our hormones decline… our hormones don’t decline because we age.”

A woman’s hormonal system, with all its ebbs and flows, like those of the earth’s tides and the moon, acts as an link between your emotional life and your body. Mess with your hormones and you may  undermine your ability to grow spiritually.’