C is for contraception..

Being peri-menopausal means your fertility is reduced but not entirely gone. Contraception is still required to prevent those unwanted little additions

Think you’re menopausal? Here’s why you shouldn’t ditch precautions.

According to Dr. Roger Henderson, unintended pregnancies in older women occur as often as they do in younger women!

“I am sometimes asked by women who are going through the peri-menopause – the time when their hormones are changing as they head towards menopause – if they still need to use contraception and they are often surprised when I say to the vast majority of them that they should.

They are even more surprised to learn that spontaneous pregnancies have occurred up to the age of 59, and that unintended pregnancy rates in older women occur at levels similar to those in young women.

As a general rule, reliable contraception should be used until the menopause is confirmed either by periods having stopped totally for 2 years before the age of 50, or for 12 months after this age.

So, what types of contraception should a woman entering her menopause consider? Fortunately, there are many possible options here and each case needs to be taken on its own merit, so always discuss this with your doctor in order to help make an informed decision.”

N.B. For women who use hormone based contraceptives, such as the pill, mini-pill, injection, Mirena coil, etc, you may not be able to tell when your last period occurred as the hormones mask your natural cycle. You should ask your doctor when you can stop using contraception during your usual check ups. Bear in mind too, that condoms are also a safe guard against sexually transmitted diseases at any age!

Whatever choice you make, do not always assume that the start of the menopause means you no longer need contraception – you do!

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

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.

Plastic pollution and your menopause

How plastic pollution affects your menopause

How plastic pollution affects your menopause

If you’ve listened to any news recently you can’t have missed the big plastic pollution problem facing our planet at the moment. Miles and miles of plastic in various forms are littering the oceans and causing death and destruction to sea life. That is to say nothing of the quantities of plastic in landfill which will not break down in our life times.

Plastic is also bad news for hormone balance and consequently the menopause. Toxins, both in the plastic and the manufacture of it are a major contributor to oestrogen dominance which you can read more about in one of our previous blogs – 10 signs of oestrogen dominance and what you can do about it

So, eliminating plastic, where possible from your life and that of your family can only be a good thing, for your health and the environment. We have long been champions of natural products which avoid toxins. Of course, plastic is everywhere so getting rid of it entirely will be a challenge. But, even halving you’re your plastic use will make a huge contribution. We aim to reduce our own use of plastic at home as far as we possibly can and it would be great if you could do the same.

Here are 8 ways you can be not so plastic fantastic

  1. Become aware of the amount of plastic you use in your household. Do you really need to use cling film and plastic bags when you could store leftovers in a lidded container for example? Simply by raising awareness of the plastic you get through will help you to reduce it.
  2. Check out the packaging when you go shopping. Choose retailers who pledge to reduce plastic use. When other retailers see the effect on sales they will follow suit. Shops like your local greengrocer will have unpackaged produce. It’s great for the local economy too.
  3. Invest in a set of durable shopping bags. That way you will always have a bag handy and won’t need to buy carrier bags which will eventually end up clogging up the ocean floor for hundreds of years.
  4. Many household cleaners come in plastic containers. Both container and contents are highly toxic. Try natural alternatives, or you could make your own using lemon juice, vinegar, bicarbonate of soda etc. Check out these suggestions for natural cleaning and a few recipes from Wellness Mama
  5. Ditch the plastic water bottles. A BPA free, biodegradeable water bottle will be far less toxic for you and your environment. Even better use glass.
  6. The same goes for disposable coffee and tea cups. Some coffee shops will reward you if you provide your own cup. There is a lidded coffee/tea cup to suit all tastes, and they keep your drink warmer for longer too.
  7. Straws – do you really need one? If you can’t drink your cocktail or soft drink without one, switch to paper or stainless steel.
  8. Bamboo toothbrushes have natural bristles and are biodegradeable. Try these from Amazon

 

There are lots of ways you can reduce your plastic usage. Feel free to share your suggestions either as a comment here or on our Facebook page

 

Dry eyes and menopause

Dry eyes in menopause

 

 There’s more than one place menopause can make you feel high and dry! About 61 percent of peri menopausal and menopausal women suffer from dry, itchy eyes, but only 16 percent of them realise menopause is to blame, according to the Society for Women’s Health Research.

As always, hormone imbalance is the main culprit! 

“Many women going through menopause experience dry eye syndrome or exacerbation of their pre-existing symptoms,” says Dr. Sol Shaftel, M.D., Ph.D., an ophthalmologist and ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgery fellow at the University of Washington. Common symptoms include dryness, light sensitivity, blurred vision, as well as burning, gritty, and sandy feelings (often called “foreign body sensation”). But don’t let watery eyes fool you! Although teary eyes look like they are anything but dry, excessive tearing may be a sign that your eyes are desperately trying to make up for a lack of moisture, according to Dr. Shaftel.

If dry, scratchy, burning eyes trouble you, you can feel (and look!) better without any invasive medical interventions. “These symptoms can often be treated effectively with simple measures leading to major improvements in quality of life,” says Dr. Shaftel, who notes that successful treatment hinges on three major strategies: increasing lubrication, decreasing tear outflow, and reducing eyelid inflammation.

Try out these five easy remedies for dry eyes:

1. Avoid Environmental Triggers

Wind, dry air, and pollutants all contribute to dried-out eyes. On windy days,  wear glasses or sunglasses to help block the wind. Try a humidifier in your home if it is particularly dry, it can bring serious relief to your eyes, not to mention to your skin! 

2. Try Over-the-Counter Eye Drops

 Here’s a quick overview of the options: tear substitutes, which are quick-acting, but provide only temporary relief; gel drops, which are longer-acting but can blur vision; gels, which are for nighttime use and will blur vision; and preservative-free formulations for those women who are allergic to preservatives. The option that’s best for you — and how many different ones you need to employ on a given day — largely depends on just how dry and miserable your eyes are. Start with tear substitutes and work your way up. Caution: Avoid “get the red out” and “clear eye” drops as these can cause rebound redness, inflammation, and dryness if used for prolonged periods, warns Dr. Shaftel.

3. Take It Easy on Your Eyes

Blink! Being told to blink more might sound silly, but how often have you found yourself not blinking because you were enthralled in a book or a movie? When you must concentrate, lubricate your eyes. Another way to take it easy is to limit how many hours a day you wear your contact lenses.

4. Eat Right

Omega-3 fatty acids are good for more than your heart, they are also good for your eyes, says Dr. Shaftel. A 2011 study from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine found that eating unsaturated fatty acids can effectively treat dry eyes. Eat at least two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily fish such as salmon, tuna, or mackerel, and/or take  Omega-3  supplements, preferably Krill oil.

5. Talk to Your Doc

While you should tell your menopause specialist about any menopausal symptoms you experience, an ophthalmologist (eye surgeon) who specialises in the anatomy, physiology, and diseases of the eye can help provide significant relief.

 

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.

 

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)

 

 

 

Why you need Vitamin D during the menopause

Why you need vitamin D during menopause

VITAMIN D during menopause

Although vitamin D is vital for everyone, it is particularly important for women going through menopause. Vitamin D isn’t actually a vitamin, although scientists refer to it as such. It’s a steroid hormone that you get from sun exposure, food sources, and/or supplementation. The term refers to either vitamin D2 or D3, but D3 (chemical name 25-hydroxy vitamin D) is real vitamin D—it’s the same substance produced naturally through your skin by sun exposure.
Optimising your vitamin D levels could help prevent at least 16 different types of cancer. According to one large-scale, randomised, placebo-controlled study, it can cut the risk by up to 60 percent.
The most important factor is your vitamin D serum level. To prevent a wide variety of diseases and health ailments, your vitamin D level needs to be between 50 and 70 ng/ml year-round. According to the most recent research, adults need about 8,000 IU’s of oral vitamin D3 per day in order to get serum levels above 40 ng/ml.
The ideal way to optimise your vitamin D level is through sun exposure in summer, or a safe tanning bed during the winter months. According to Dr Joseph Mercola, a tanning bed comes a close second after natural sun exposure as an ideal way to optimise your vitamin D levels, as opposed to getting it from fortified food items or supplements. However, it must be the right kind of tanning bed—one that produces UVB without dangerous EMF radiation produced from magnetic ballasts used in most conventional tanning beds. Vitamin D is also found naturally in foods such as eggs, organ meats, animal fat, preferably organic, and cod liver oil. If you take a vitamin D3 supplement, you also need to take vitamin K2 as it helps move calcium to your bones and teeth, and remove it from your arteries and soft tissues.
 As a very general guide, you need to expose about 40 percent of your entire body for approximately 20 minutes to the sun, between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm, when the sun is at its zenith, as UVB rays will only penetrate the atmosphere when the sun is above an angle of about 50° from the horizon.
I love this infographic from Dr Mercola – 7 signs you may be Vitamin D Deficient