PREGNANT AT 50! Eeek!

There’s been much in the news lately about how doctors can delay menopause for up to 20 years. One procedure has just become available at a clinic in Birmingham. Doctors at the ProFam (short for Protecting Fertility and Menopause) are able to remove a piece of ovary via keyhole surgery, freeze it and then re-implant it when a woman’s natural menopause occurs.The implanted tissue then produces hormones that reverse the menopause. These grafts can maintain a woman’s youthful hormone production for years.

This procedure has been used before to help young cancer patients who have gone into premature menopause because of chemotherapy, who want to recover their fertility. Now it is being offered to more women who can pay to have their ovarian tissue removed up to the age of 40 and stored for use when they reach menopause. The average age for women to reach menopause is 51. The hormonal changes can affect quality of life and cause adverse effects such as strokes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, not to mention hot flushes, depression, mood swings and memory loss.

So whilst this breakthrough procedure to delay menopause could enable women to have babies into their 50s, it could also benefit women whose menopause triggered health issues and who were reluctant to use HRT because of harmful side effects. Women who did not want to become pregnant could have the ovarian tissue re-implanted anywhere with a strong blood supply, such as the armpit.

Children born in the West today can reasonably expect to live up to 100, so for the first time women will be living for as long after menopause as before it. Medical procedures like these can help women to break free from the constraints of their biology, by calling time on their biological clock.

I is for Inner Bitch…and 11 ways to tame it!

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

Handling mood swings naturally

1. Balance your hormones: hormone imbalances around the menopause are the root cause of your mood swings. BHRT, (Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy) is the safe, natural way to get your hormones back in balance using a natural progesterone cream which will elevate your mood and make you less snappy! See our previous article on the benefits of the mother hormone progesterone here: http://menopausematters.guru/wp-admin/post.php?post=660&action=edit

2. 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.

3. Tapping or EFT (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)

4. 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 such as the 4 minute Nitric Oxide Dump (www.nitricoxidedump.com/) will help you work it off. A session of yoga can calm you and reduce anxiety, and walking is also a great exercise and stress reliever.

5. 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.

6. 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. Whenever possible eat organic foods.

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. 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, and make sure your family are aware of what you’re going through. We’re always available for help and support, so join our FB group and get involved in lively discussions with members going through the same problems. And you can always email us, Helen & Caroline at info@menopausematters.co.uk

11. 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.   

G is for Good Habits!

While hormones play a vital part in a healthy life-style, there’s a lot more to do! The no. 1 mistake a lot of people make is being unaware. Be vigilant about anything that you put in or on your body. Toxic substances in food, creams, shampoos, cleaning products, all add to the xeno-oestrogen overload polluting Mother Earth, that you can eliminate. Learn their names and read the labels. Eliminate sugar from your diet, especially high fructose corn syrup. According to nutrition experts, it’s as addictive as cocaine and heroin, and there’s  new research on how sugar fuels cancer cells, which is their only source of energy. Deprive them of that and they die! Also avoid all artificial sweeteners like Aspartame and the like. There are natural plant based alternatives such as xylitol and stevia.  A good rule of thumb is put nothing on your body that you wouldn’t put in your mouth! There is always a healthy alternative.

More than 84,000 chemicals are used in household products, cosmetics, food, and food packaging, and a majority of these have never been tested for safety. The overuse of anti-bacterial soaps and cleaning products can reduce the amount of healthy bacteria on a person’s skin, which can make antibiotics less effective in the fight against new strains of bacteria, called superbugs.

Healthy, organic eating is vital for good health. Far too many people eat anything unquestioningly as long as it tastes good. Fortunately, people are waking up, and there’s now a big move to healthy, organic eating.

Food production is one of the basic fundamentals of our society, and if we change our mindset, eating habits and  consumer patterns, corporations will have to respond and adapt to a new market.The small farmer is getting back to being relevant to the whole chain of production and people are even growing plants and seeds in their homes.

habits for a healthy menopause

Your diet should consist of as much raw organic food as possible, especially vegetables, plus beef from grass fed cows, free range organic chicken and eggs and out-door reared pork. Above all, avoid all processed foods. They are the source of most of the inflammation we suffer from.  For the updated 2019 list of “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean green” vegetables and fruit, got to the EWG (Environmental Working Group) link https://www.produceretailer.com/article/news-article/2019-dirty-dozen-and-clean-15-lists-released

G is also for gut! We now know that 80% of our immune system resides in our gut, and research shows that your gut flora can affect numerous processes in your body, including your metabolism, energy production, nutrition, and genetic expression. Your intestinal microflora is unique. Choice of foods can alter your microflora in a matter of days, for better or worse. The ideal way to optimise your gut flora is to include fermented foods in your daily diet. While most probiotic supplements contain no more than 10 billion colony-forming units, one serving of fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut,  can contain 10 trillion colony-forming units of bacteria, and give you a wider variety of beneficial bacteria, so all in all, it’s your most cost effective alternative.

Exercise is also vitally important. Use it or lose it is the key, but it doesn’t have to be time consuming. Many of us lead very busy lives, and if you have trouble incorporating exercise into your daily schedule, then you should try the Nitric Oxide Dump. Developed by Dr. Zach Bush, it is a new version of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that is designed to stimulate the release of nitric oxide, which can catalyse and promote health. http://www.nitricoxidedump.com/

The Nitric Oxide Dump uses simple movements done in quick succession, providing benefits similar to longer workouts, but accomplished in just a very small fraction of the time. The Nitric Oxide Dump only takes a small amount of your time, with one session lasting between three to four minutes. Since it’s ideally repeated three times a day, you’ll be using a total of around 15 minutes. Bush calls it one of the best ways to start toning your body’s systems.

Hormone balance is also vital, and you simply cannot enjoy good holistic health if your hormones are out of balance The key to this is to make sure you are not deficient in the mother hormone progesterone, which declines drastically during peri and menopause. For more information, go to our blog http://menopausematters.guru/wp-admin/post.php?post=660&action=edit

Learn also how to make use of the incredible power that natural herbs and plants can bring, and the benefits of meditation, and a positive mindset. Together with a healthy, balanced, organic diet and exercise, this can go a long way towards addressing many of your body’s problems.

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.

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

Friends in need…

Why friendships are important during menopause

Friends can be a really important lifeline for us during the menopause, and we need to be careful to nurture them, especially if family and workmates don’t understand what’s happening to us. 

How does the menopause affect your friendships?  There can be several reasons for this.

Mood Swings

One minute we can be absolutely fine. The next minute we’re really irritable or angry, and it can be difficult for our friends to understand why we’re having such severe mood swings.

Social Anxiety

You get to the stage where  you don’t want to be in a big group of people. Your worst nightmare would be going into a pub with loud music and lots of people talking.  

Loss of Confidence

This can be due to body image. Bodies change during menopause due to hormone imbalances, and if our friends are all nice and slim and you’ve put on a few pounds, you can feel really awkward.

Poor Sleep

If you’ve slept badly, what with night sweats and frequent trips to the loo, the last thing you want is to socialise… all you really want to do is just cuddle up in front of the the TV and have an early night!

Toxic or Unsupportive Friends

Friends who spend the whole time talking about themselves, and are unaware about what you’re going through and totally unsupportive, can make you think “Why am I here? I would be a lot happier on my own than being in this person’s company.”  You may also have other friends going through the menopause, and not suffering to the same extent, so they may be unsympathetic. Try to make them understand that you’re having a little bit of a rougher time and that all you want is their support, and maybe a bit of help to get you through a particularly difficult time.

Why not join our FB group, Your Natural Menopausewhere our members share their trials and triumphs, and we’re always on hand to advise, encourage and help!

How to avoid overwhelm and stop feeling stressed in menopause

With all the changes and strange symptoms happening in your body, menopause can seem overwhelming and confusing. It’s not for nothing that menopause and perimenopause have been known as ‘the change’ for many years.

 

As natural menopause coaches, part of our role is to reduce the overwhelm for you. We reduce the stress and worry you feel using the tools of our trade. But to get you started here are a few of our favourite tried and tested remedies for overwhelm.

 

As with any big goal or change there are lots of actions you can take to reach your goal and it’s best to break them down into small steps. There are lots of changes we recommend. You don’t have to do them all at once. Pick one you like the look of and practice it until you are comfortable with the change you have made, then add another to your repertoire. Make the changes gradually until you feel less stressed.

1.       Make yourself some head space. Take a break and practice meditation. Start with 5 minutes at a time and if you find your mind wandering, focus on your breath.

2.       Exercise. The benefit of exercise to reduce anxiety and also menopausal symptoms cannot be underrated as it helps correct hormone imbalance which is the root of symptoms. Another advantage of exercise is that it results in lower levels of heart failure in post menopausal women. You can read more here.

3.       Manage your mindset. If you expect your menopause to be stressful and difficult then it probably will be. It is important to maintain a positive outlook. There are lots of ways to achieve this. One of our favourites is  use of affirmations. You  can find lots on our Instagram feed

4.       Reduce toxins. This can be the confusing one as we are absolutely  surrounded by toxic substances which disrupt hormones. Industrialisation has been great in so many ways and we as a society have benefitted lots. However many man made materials, cosmetics, household cleaners and products contain toxins which contribute to oestrogen dominance which in turn exacerbates menopause symptoms You can read more about oestrogen dominance in our article here. A great rule of thumb is to use items which are as close to their natural state as possible.

5.       Get good sleep. It’s so much easier to deal with anything if you have had a decent night’s sleep and are full of energy. Go easy on the late nights, and all night parties. Get into good bed time habits and avoid too much stimulation before sleep (sorry that includes your mobile phone)

6.       Eat a good balanced diet. Avoid processed foods and sugar. Focus on plenty of fresh produce like organic meats and fish, fruit and vegetables. Cut down on alcohol – you don’t have to ban it altogether.

7.       Balance your hormones. We advocate the use of natural progesterone cream and our favourite one is made by a company called Naturone, as it’s important to ensure you have the correct percentage of progesterone in the cream  To try it follow the link and quote MENOPAUSE MATTERS in the order information

 

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