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

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

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.