Okay ladies, here is the scoop!
Menopause can be an ENJOYABLE period of your life. Seriously! The secret is to know what is to come during this transition period and be prepared for it!
You've all heard about the undesirable side effects of menopause: hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain (aka "muffin tops"), and decreased libido to name a few. There are actually over 35 symptoms of hormone imbalance! These symptoms will vary from woman to woman. They are all indicators of the hormonal changes that are taking place within the body, at the end of menstruation. The reality is that many women go through menopause without major issues- it is only the negative stories we all hear that cause us to think otherwise. In fact, a study done by UK researchers revealed that a negative outlook toward menopause may actually lead to more severe symptoms. So, let's be positive! Knowledge is power! Let's look at 4 of the "big, bad" symptoms of menopause and how they can be helped. There is no need to suffer!
Why do many women gain the dreaded "muffin top" or put on weight during peri-menopause and menopause? Well, metabolism does decrease by about 10% during this phase and that doesn't help However, the most pressing reason: changing hormone levels lead to a change in shape. How? When estrogen and progesterone levels drop during menopause, the body ceases to store fat all-over in various parts of the body and concentrates where fat cells have ESTROGEN receptors. This is right around the mid-section; located here because during pregnancy you want some fat storage here. After menopause, when progesterone levels fall, fat begins to store here producing the infamous "muffin top". Then this area becomes a fat-making area because fat encourages estrogen production and the estrogen leads to more fat! Simple lifestyle changes help avoid this, including consuming more lean protein and low-glycemic carbs. Insulin levels, if chronically high, also lead to fat storage. See my blog, "Why We Get Fat" for an in-depth discussion (or write to me if you would like a hard copy sent to you). Both insulin and estrogen can become "bullies" and demand that your body stores fat. This can be circumvented and I tell you how in the "Why We get Fat" blog and also on my YouTube channel under the weight loss videos.
In addition, the weight gain may be caused by an under-active thyroid, which is common among women as hormones fluctuate, particularly when estrogen becomes "dominant" in relation to progesterone. Have your thyroid levels checked if you have symptoms of low thyroid. Using bioidentical thyroid medication as treatment can help shed the unwanted pounds. (Remember to ask for bio-identical) At the very least support your thyroid by using L-Tyrosine or any good thyroid boosting supplement. For more on this, Email or call for my thyroid article.
Again, I promise, this weight can come off. You can be free of this annoying symptom of Menopause!
Hot Flashes are the most common indicator of menopause in women. They are caused by fluctuating and/or decreasing estrogen levels in the body which affects the brain's hypothalamus, which directly regulates body temperature. Erroneously getting a signal that you are"cold", your internal temperature elevates resulting in hot flashes and sweating. There are great natural hormone crèmes containing phyto-estrogens that are available over-the-counter and do not require a prescription. Our Menopause Crème is great because it contains Red Clover, not soy. If you can locate a doctor who will prescribe bio-identical estrogen, and progesterone, this can provide enormous relief for some women. If not, the OTC crèmes are great. Remember, bio-identical progesterone is available over the counter and it has a positive effect on circulating your natural estrogen. So, if you cannot find a BHRT doctor, this is an excellent place to start. According to many naturopathic doctors, 40 to 80 mg/day of Black Cohash has been shown to be helpful with sweating and hot flashes. You can usually find a good herbal support for menopause. Look for one that also contains chasteberry as this herb has known benefits for hormone balance. I also like rhodiola to help manage stress; stress has a negative effect on those all-important hormones!
This is so common! Insomnia and sleeplessness in women occur most frequently in those between the ages of 45 and 65 directly correlating with menopause and peri-menopause. You find yourself waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep for 2 hours hours or, in the worse cases, not at all. This of course, can be devastating not only physically but mentally as well. What can you do? Taking a melatonin supplement before sleep can help immensely. Taking a 3 mg melatonin supplement can help provide peaceful, undisturbed sleep. I personally take 6 mg every evening. Two favorite are Natural Factors Melatonin 3 mg Sublingual Tablets and SomnoPro chewable tablets with 5-HTP and L-Theonine for those with severe or chronic insomnia. Melatonin also has other WONDERFUL benefits: combats premature aging, stimulates human growth hormone production, decreases cortisol levels and regulates other hormone production. In addition, low melatonin levels have been associated with depression and breast cancer. Taking melatonin supplements can help alleviate or avoid these issues. Dr. Francisco Contreras, founder of the Oasis of Hope Cancer Centers told me that he gives his cancer patients up to 30 mg of melatonin per night. So don't be afraid of those low doses we mentioned.
Want to learn more about insomnia and re-setting your circadian rhythm?
Email or call for our insomnia article.
This symptom will not hold YOU hostage if you address it with natural treatments.
Last, but NOT least for my married ladies: Low Sex Drive/ Libido:
Experiencing a disinterest in sex? During menopause this can be VERY common. Hormonal changes can directly affect the vaginal tract. There is less blood flow to the vagina, thus less lubrication which can result in vaginal dryness. Sex can become unenjoyable and even painful for women. You may need an estrogen suppository from your doctor. Estradiol or Estriol are both bio-identical and will help rather quickly. Replens, sold over-the-counter is a good "fast fix" and has also been shown to have cumulative benefits for vaginal dryness. Also, remember, natural progesterone will help your body circulate those estrogens that are in your body. If it is more a lack of desire than vaginal dryness, there are some great natural products you could try. DHEA is one. Others are Tribulus Terrestis, and Avena Sativa. Progesterone is also great for "amping up" the libido.
I have a great blog called "Help! My Sex Drive Drove Away", you can find it in the archives. And, as always call if you need more help!
Well there you have it, a guide to better understanding yourself and menopause. Don't despair. God created menopause and there are answers in "God's Pharmacy" vs. "Man's Pharmacy". Contact us for further questions you may have. I want you to have a happy menopause, NOT a "Mean-Pause" or a "Men-Pause".
Barbara's Favorite Supplements for Menopause/ Peri-menopause:
ProHelp or Menopause Crème
DHEA - libido, bones, energy
Super Adrenal Stress - adrenal support
L. Tyrosine - Thyroid support/ dopamine
Phosphatidylserine - memory
ZenMind (GABA + L. Theonine) - anxiety
5-HTP- depression (raises serotonin), cravings
Vitamin D - Bone Health
Milk Thistle - Liver support
Testron SX - extra libido boost