Does Menopause Make You More Susceptible To Diseases?

Immune System During Menopause

I worry that my emotional state can affect my health

Mary was concerned that menopause was predisposing her to diseases. She reasoned that she was “feeling run down” because of her menopause symptoms and that this may be making her more susceptible to various diseases.

There are those who subscribe to the idea that “feeling run down” can make you more susceptible to ill health. However it is much more likely that the hormonal changes that occur during menopause, if not addressed, can bring about various diseases.

Your health is governed by your immune system. Your immune system, like all of the other functions of your body, is affected by the hormone imbalance that occurs during menopause. Prior to perimenopause, your hormones worked in harmony by co-existing with one another in a certain ratio. This kept your body healthy and functioning.

How does a healthy immune system work?

The immune system is the body’s defense against infectious organisms and other invaders. Through a series of steps called the immune response, the immune system attacks organisms and substances that invade body systems and cause disease.

The immune system is made up of a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body. The cells involved are white blood cells, or leukocytes, which come in two basic types that combine to seek out and destroy disease-causing organisms or substances.

What happens to your immune system during menopause?

During perimenopause, your ovaries produce less estrogen and less progesterone. While estrogen levels fall from their premenopausal levels during perimenopause, progesterone levels fall further. In terms of the ratio between them, there is greater percentage of estrogen in your body, relative to progesterone. This condition is called estrogen dominance. It disturbs the balance between all the hormones in your body. As hormones regulate every function of your body, all of the functions of your body are affected.

Besides estrogen and progesterone, the other major hormones are insulin, thyroid hormone and cortisol. Insulin regulates your digestive system, thyroid regulates your metabolism (metabolism is the process by which your body converts the food and water you consume into energy for immediate use or to be stored for later use) and cortisol regulates your immune system. Insulin, thyroid and cortisol play major roles in your health.

For the remainder of this post, I will discuss the affect that estrogen and cortisol have on your immune system during menopause, because they have the biggest affect on it.

Many studies have examined the affect that falling estrogen levels has on the immune system during menopause. The findings of these studies are conclusive. Falling estrogen levels weakens the immune system during menopause.

Cortisol has a big affect on your immune system during menopause because it plays a major role in fighting disease. It is an anti-inflammatory. As such, it counteracts germs, bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi that cause disease.

Cortisol has another function. When you experience stress, your body automatically goes into a hardwired inbuilt survival mechanism called “fight or flight”. It produces increased amounts of the cortisol. Cortisol, known as the stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream to give you the energy you need to combat the threat. It also curbs functions in your body that are nonessential or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation….like your metabolic system, immune system and digestive system etc.

This “fight or flight” response was developed as a short term response mechanism to enhance your survival. After a real threat has been dealt with, cortisol levels return to their pre-threat levels and your other body functions normalize.

Menopause is a time of persistent stress. Persistent stress causes the adrenal gland, which produces cortisol, to become fatigued …. because of the continuous high demand for cortisol. As a result, the adrenal gland produces insufficient cortisol to counteract disease causing organisms.

Your body can become prone to autoimmune diseases, because of diminished levels of estrogen and cortisol during menopause. An autoimmune disease is an illness that occurs when the body tissues are attacked by its own immune system. Lupus, hashimoto’s thyroiditis, graves’ disease, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis are a few of the autoimmune diseases that menopausal women are prone to developing.

Here is what Dr John Lee says about autoimmune diseases and menopausal women

Women are afflicted with autoimmune diseases at a much higher rate than men, which is a good clue that female hormone balance in involved in some way. …The onset of autoimmune disorders is often in middle age, when estrogen dominance becomes common

In my next post, I will discuss what you can do to strengthen your immune system during menopause.


Vaginal Cream For Hair Loss During Menopause?

Hair Loss During Menopause

Clumps of hair come out every time I brush my hair

Many women use vaginal cream during menopause to treat vaginal dryness, but who would have thought you could use a vaginal cream as treatment for thinning hair? An interesting way to treat hair loss has recently emerged …. women are using vaginal yeast infection products to grow their hair longer or to reverse hair loss.

Hair loss during menopause is common. It is thought that up to 50% of menopausal women experience it.

Like all of the other menopause symptoms, menopause hair loss is caused by falling estrogen and progesterone levels. It begins with a change in the ratio between estrogen and progesterone. Progesterone levels fall further than estrogen levels. This affects all of the hormones in your body, which operate in concert with one another.

Testosterone is the hormone most associated with hair loss. Testosterone is not just a man’s hormone, women have it as well. The falling levels of estrogen and progesterone create an imbalance with testosterone, which doesnt fall as much.

If you search YouTube, you will find hundreds of testimonial videos from women who’ve used vaginal yeast infection products to grow their hair longer or to reverse hair loss.

Can a vaginal yeast infection product reverse hair loss during menopause?

The active ingredient in these products is miconazole nitrate, an antifungal agent. Miconazole nitrate is similar to another chemical called ketoconazole. Studies have found that ketoconazole blocks dihydrotestosterone, the hair-killing hormone responsible for female – and male – hair loss.

Therefore, it make sense that such a vaginal cream can also be effective at preventing hair loss during menopause. However, it’s important to understand that vaginal creams haven’t been clinically evaluated as a hair loss treatment. Having said that, the promise of this method still has many women eager to try it.

Conventional methods for treating hair loss during menopause

  1. As the cause of hair loss during menopause is hormonal imbalance caused by falling levels of estrogen and progesterone, it would make sense to re-balance your hormones. To do this, you first need to do a hormone test to determine your current hormone levels
  2. There is dietary advice that can reduce hair loss. Key nutrients that promote hair growth are proteins, iron, B vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids, sulfur, and vitamin E. Foods rich in these nutrients are

    • Protein: liver, brewer’s yeast, fish, eggs, beans, cottage cheese, yogurt, tofu
    • Iron: liver, whole grain cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, eggs, dates, raisins
    • B Vitamins: eggs, meat, poultry
    • Omega 3 Fatty Acids: soy, walnuts, canola oil, and oily fish such as salmon, sardines, trout and mackerel
    • Vitamin E: avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil
    • Sulfur: meats, fish, nuts, legumes, vegetables (especially onions)
  3. Estrogen and progesterone creams, applied directly to the scalp, may be an effective treatment

If you are not averse to trying a vaginal yeast infection cream to reverse your menopause hair loss – even though such products have not been clinically tested for this use – go ahead and try it. Otherwise, you can use 1 or more of the other methods.


Is Bio-identical Hormone Therapy Safer Than HRT?

Bioidentical Hormone Therapy

I am going through hell

I have been asked about the safety of bioidentical hormone therapy countless times. Ever since the 2002 WHI study found that women who take HRT have a higher risk of breast cancer, heart disease and stoke, women have been seeking alternative treatments and remedies to relieve their menopause symptoms.

Bioidentical hormone therapy has been popularized by the publication of the Suzanne Somers book, Ageless: The Naked Truth About Bioidentical Hormones and the support for bht from Oprah.

In the introduction to her book, Somers writes “A better life, a healthier life, a life of youthful energy comes from embracing antiaging medicine, and bioidentical hormone replacement is a big component. This new approach to health gives you back your lean body, shining hair and thick skin … allows your brain to work perfectly and offers the greatest defense against cancer, heart attack and Alzheimer’s disease. Don’t you want that?”

This certainly makes bioidentical hormone therapy seem very attractive…..but does it offer a better defense against heart attack and stroke or does it carry the same risks as HRT?

There have been very few studies of bioidentical hormone therapy. Recently, a team of investigators at the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center, Harvard Medical School, and other WHI clinical centers reviewed the scientific data collected by the Women’s Health Initiative on 93,000 post-menopausal women and tracked their use of hormone therapy, along with their health outcomes. Their spokeswoman, Chrisandra Shufelt, MD, director of the Women’s Hormone and Menopause Program at the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center in the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute commented about their findings.

Today there are many hormone options in the form of pills, patches and creams, synthetic or bioidentical, low dose or higher dose, and we wanted to answer whether they all have the same risk. This study is important because it is the first of its kind to provide a head-to-head comparison of the different doses and delivery methods. We found low dose and the transdermal patch may carry less risk for some outcomes than traditional hormone therapy, but more research is needed.

Our analysis of the data shows that women taking oral estradiol, the bioidentical as opposed to synthetic form of estrogen, may have a trend toward a slightly lower risk of having a stroke. Also, taking estradiol through a patch on the skin was associated with a slightly lower risk of heart disease when we compared it to taking a synthetic hormone in pill form.

It is important to make the distinction between FDA approved bioidentical estrogen and bioidentical estrogen compounded by pharmacies. The researchers examined only the FDA approved bioidentical estrogen.

Prior to this study, there has been extensive medical evidence to show that low-dose estrogen delivered by transdermal (through the skin) methods, such as patches, creams, or sprays, is superior and lacks the negative effects associated with oral formulas.

This is the first study, that I know of, that compared the health risks of taking
FDA approved bioidentical estrogen with taking synthetic estrogen …. which is the common form of estrogen found in traditional HRT.


Are Your Doctors Not Helping You To Relieve Your Menopause Symptoms?

Holistic Medicine

Maybe an holistic medicine practitioner can provide menopause relief

If you are in your 40s, or even your late 30s, there’s a good chance that you’re already taking a cocktail of prescription meds every day for disturbed sleep, mood swings, anxiety, weight gain and other body aches and pains .

Chances are that you went to see your physician about these complaints. What happens too often is the physician, having heard a few of your complaints and being pressed for time, probably whipped out the prescription pad and sent you away with 1 or more prescriptions. This approach to what you are experiencing is like your car mechanic trying to fix your car by listening to its sounds, rather than looking under the hood. Too many medical practitioners follow this approach.

It doesnt have to be this way. There are other approaches. Have you ever considered CAM?

CAM is an acronym for complementary and alternative medicine. Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine, and alternative medicine is used in place of conventional med

Then there is holistic medicine, sometimes referred to as integrative medicine. Holistic medicine combines conventional and CAM treatments. It considers the whole person — body, mind, spirit, and emotions — in the quest for optimal health and wellness. Holistic medicine practitioners believe that the whole person is made up of interdependent parts and if one part is not working properly, all the other parts will be affected. In this way, if people have imbalances (physical, emotional, or spiritual) in their lives, it can negatively affect their overall health.

What practices and approaches are considered CAM

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), a part of the US Department of Health, says that CAM approaches fall into 2 broad sub-groups …. mind and body practices and natural products. Natural products include herbs (also known as botanicals), vitamins and minerals, and probiotics. All the other CAM approaches fall under the mind and body practices sub-group. Here is what NCCAM says about them

Mind and body practices include a large and diverse group of procedures or techniques administered or taught by a trained practitioner or teacher. For example

  • Acupuncture is a technique in which practitioners stimulate specific points on the body—most often by inserting thin needles through the skin
  • Massage therapy includes many different techniques in which practitioners manually manipulate the soft tissues of the body
  • Most meditation techniques, such as mindfulness meditation or transcendental meditation, involve ways in which a person learns to focus attention
  • Movement therapies include a broad range of Eastern and Western movement-based approaches; examples include Feldenkrais method, Alexander technique, Pilates, Rolfing Structural Integration, and Trager psychophysical integration
  • Relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises, guided imagery, and progressive muscle relaxation, are designed to produce the body’s natural relaxation response
  • Spinal manipulation is practiced by health care professionals such as chiropractors, osteopathic physicians, naturopathic physicians, physical therapists, and some medical doctors. Practitioners perform spinal manipulation by using their hands or a device to apply a controlled force to a joint of the spine. The amount of force applied depends on the form of manipulation used
  • Tai chi and qi gong are practices from traditional Chinese medicine that combine specific movements or postures, coordinated breathing, and mental focus
  • The various styles of yoga used for health purposes typically combine physical postures or movement, breathing techniques, and meditation
  • Other examples of mind and body practices include healing touch and hypnotherapy.

Why do people use CAM approaches?

The American Medical Association conducted its own research into this matter and found that the majority of people who use CAM approaches, do so because they find these health care alternatives to be more congruent with their own values, beliefs, and philosophical orientations toward health and life.

Other researchers have found that people also use CAM approaches because

  • their symptoms aren’t fully resolved by conventional medicine
  • they have concerns about the side-effects of medication
  • CAM approaches offer a more personal and compassionate treatment than conventional medicine
  • they prefer the more holistic approaches over the ‘quick fix’
    solutions offered by conventional practitioners
  • they believe that ‘natural’ treatments are safer and potentially more
    effective than pharmaceutical products

Other studies reveal that some people use CAM approaches together with conventional medicine approaches, because it gives them more options.

Who uses CAM approaches?

Research has revealed that the majority of healthcare providers use a variety of CAM approaches for themselves. 76 percent of health care workers use CAM, compared to 63 percent of the general population, according to research in the journal Health Services Research. Even more revealing, health care providers, including doctors and nurses, were more than twice as likely to have used practitioner-based CAM, and nearly three times as likely to use self-treatment with CAM, than support workers.

I recommend that you seek out a practitioner of holistic medicine, who will be more likely to take the necessary time to identify the root cause of your symptoms. You can do this in conjunction with your conventional medicine physician or you can do it independently.

Here are 3 three directories that you can use to find holistic medicine practitioners in your vicinity

Practioners of holistic medicine 1

Practioners of holistic medicine 2

Practioners of naturopathic medicine

Good luck


12 Solutions To Improve Your Sleep During Menopause

Sleep During Menopause

I would give my right arm for a good night's sleep

I am awake, but I am not aware. I am functioning, but I am not feeling.

This is what Alice said to describe what her life had become, as a result of her disturbed sleep during menopause.

She went on to explain that when she lays down to sleep, her body is ready to shut down but her mind keeps going and going. She said it finds every little thing to worry about…..including worry about a hot flash waking her, once she does fall asleep. She said that she doesnt fall sleep until absolute fatigue overtakes her mind…and then, more likely than not, a hot flash will wake her within and hour or two. As a result, she said that during the day she is exhausted and she walked around like zombie.

Sound familiar?

If it does, you are not alone. 61% of women experience disturbed sleep during menopause, according to the National Sleep Foundation. To put this into perspective for you, it is estimated that there are 50 million American women who are currently experiencing menopause symptoms. That means that there are approximately 30 million American women, who are experiencing disturbed sleep during menopause.

A recent sleep survey revealed that 63 percent of menopausal women struggle to fall asleep and 79 percent have trouble staying asleep.

It doesnt have to be this way.

12 solutions to improve your sleep during menopause

  1. There is compelling evidence that exercise can improve your sleep during menopause. Exercise even improves the sleep quality of menopausal women who experience hot flashes at night
  2. One study found that just being active helps to improve sleep quality and that women should not be concerned about the type of physical activity they engage in, as long as they strive to remain active. It suggests that doing more household chores will help you to sleep better
  3. There are foods that will help you to sleep better. Learn about them and incorporate them into your every day diet
  4. Meditation has been found to improve sleep in menopausal women. It reduces anxiety. Meditation is a practice of concentrated focus upon a sound, object, visualization, the breath etc for an extended period of time. In so doing, your breathing slows down, your stress level falls and you are able to sleep better
  5. Studies have found that yoga improves sleep quality and reduces feelings of fatigue
  6. Studies have found that relaxation therapy improves sleep
  7. Listening to music that you love, and that fits whatever mood you’re in, has been shown to lower stress levels. This can help you to sleep better during menopause
  8. A review of 46 trials, covering 3,800 patients, has found that acupuncture is effective at relieving sleep disturbance
  9. The Mayo Clinic reports that “the weight of scientific evidence does suggest that melatonin decreases sleep latency (the time it takes to fall asleep), increases the feeling of sleepiness, and may increase the duration of sleep”. You can increase your melatonin level by including certain foods in your regular diet or by taking a melatonin supplement
  10. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter (chemical messenger) that sends signals between nerve cells in the part of the brain responsible for the sleep-wake cycle. Low levels of serotonin cause insomnia. Eat foods rich in calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B to help with serotonin production. These include most fruits and vegetables, almonds, beans, cheeses (particularly Cheddar and Swiss), chicken, eggs, fish (especially high-oil fish such as herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, and tuna), milk, peanuts, soy foods, turkey, and yoghurt. You can also increase the level of serotonin in your body by taking a serotonin supplement
  11. Studies have also shown that valerian, a herbal remedy, has improved the quality of sleep for menopausal women
  12. A recent medical study found that daily supplements of pycnogenol, an extract from the bark of French maritime pine, reduces hot flashes and night sweats, which in turn enables better sleep during menopause

If your sleep disturbance is primarily caused by hot flashes and night sweats, please note that most of the above solutions reduces those symptoms as well as disturbed sleep.


How To Find A Doctor Who Understands Menopause

doctor who understands menopause

I'm lucky. My doctor listens to me and understands what I am going through

Complaints abound from women about not receiving help from their doctors for their menopause symptoms. Their biggest challenge is finding a doctor who understands menopause. Here is a small selection of the complaints I have heard

  • I went to two women “hormone specialists” who would only throw antidepressants at me when I wasn’t depressed, but having anxiety/panic attacks instead
  • When I told my doctor about my symptoms, her advice was to go out and buy a new dress or get a manicure
  • When I was hospitalized and questioning things, I found that the doctors didn’t have much knowledge about menopause. They wanted me to simply be quiet and take a pill
  • I have a female doctor. When I described my symptoms to her, her response was “so that’s what I have to look forward to?”. I looked at her like, really…this isn’t about YOU for crying out loud….ugh!
  • Doctors think they’ve heard it all and so they brush you off….they say things like that’s normal, that’s normal shrug their shoulders and then offer anti depression pills for a quick fix
  • I went to my doc a couple of days ago because I’m having really BAD anxiety with panic attacks. He wrote me a prescription for a low dose anti depressant and waved me away! He does not know jack shit about menopause!

Unfortunately, this is the norm. The majority of women are not receiving help from their doctors for their menopause symptoms. If you have found a doctor who understands menopause and is helping you, consider yourself fortunate.

Why is your doctor not helping you?

Quite frankly, it is hard to find a doctor who understands menopause. A recent survey of ob-gyn resident doctors, conducted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, found that there is a lack of understanding by ob-gyn residents in matters connected with menopause.

510 resident ob-gyns, from all over the country, were surveyed. Only 100 (20%) reported that they had received formal training in their ob-gyn curriculum in regard to menopause matters and only 78 had reported that they participated in a practical menopause clinic. That means that just 15% of those being trained as ob-gyns are receiving practical training to help you with issues that you are facing during menopause. The results of this survey explains why you are finding it hard to find a doctor who understands menopause.

A positive take from this study is that approximately 70% of the participants expressed a desire to learn more about menopause, its symptoms and its treatment.

An earlier study of ob-gyn residents found that most residents did not feel comfortable managing menopause patients with 75.8% reporting feeling “barely comfortable” and 8.4% feeling “not at all comfortable.”

It is not surprising that it is hard to find a doctor who understands menopause. If ob-gyns are not being trained in menopause matters, what training can you expect an internist or general practitioner to have had about menopause?

What to look for in a doctor who can help you with menopause

  1. You want a doctor who has received training about menopause
  2. You want a doctor who has experience in helping menopausal women
  3. You want a doctor who listens to you and is a caring human being

1 above, may be easier to find than you may think. 2 may be a little more difficult to find than 1. Unfortunately, 3 is not taught in medical curriculums. It is a case of “suck it and see”.

How to find a doctor near you who has been trained about menopause

The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) has developed a menopause competency examination. All licensed healthcare providers (including doctors, nurses, and physician assistants) are eligible to sit for this examination. Those who pass this rigorous competency examination, have demonstrated their expertise in the field and are awarded the credential of NCMP, which stands for NAMS Certified Menopause Practitioner.

How do you know if a physician is a menopause “expert”?

One way is to ask if he or she is a NAMS certified menopause practitioner. The credential is good for three years and they receive a certificate that they can proudly display in their office.

Another way is to search the directory of menopause healthcare providers on the NAMS site. You enter your zip code and the search results will reveal doctors in your vicinity. It is advisable to tick the box that limits the search results to NCMP practitioners, because the NAMS directory also contains details of doctors who do not have the NCMP credential.

Good luck in finding a doctor who understands menopause.


Acne During Menopause: A Fact Of Life For Many Women

Acne During Menopause

I've been using the treatments my daughter uses.....but they are not helping

“What is going on? I have come to terms with my hot flashes, my mood swings and my weight gain. Now I am breaking out pimples and blackheads …. just like I did when I was a teenager”. This is how Jane opened her session with me.

Many women are shocked to discover that they are susceptible to acne when they reach menopause. They equate acne with adolescence. I told Jane that acne during menopause is more common than she thought. I asked her how common she thought it was. She said that none of her friends are showing signs of it, nor are they talking about it.

I then told her about a recent study of 2895 women to determine the extent of the rise in adult acne in women. It found that more adult women are getting pimples than ever before. 26 percent of the women aged 31–40, and 12 percent of the women aged 41–50 had clinical acne.

I explained to Jane that when she was a teenager and she got pimples, her changing hormones, at that time, was the culprit. Now, in menopause, her changing hormones are once again the cause of her acne.

How hormonal change causes acne during menopause

Like all of the other menopause symptoms you may be experiencing, acne during menopause is caused primarily by the changing levels of estrogen and progesterone in your body. Prior to perimenopause, your hormones work in harmony by co-existing with one another in a certain ratio. This keeps your body healthy and functioning. During perimenopause, your ovaries produce less estrogen and progesterone. While estrogen levels fall from their premenopausal levels during perimenopause, progesterone levels fall further. In terms of the ratio between them, there is greater percentage of estrogen in your body, relative to progesterone. This not only disturbs the balance between estrogen and progesterone, but it disturbs the balance between all the hormones in your body.

The hormonal disturbance affects the hormones that are directly responsible for acne during menopause. These hormones are called androgens, which include testosterone and DHEA among others. We tend to think of androgens as male hormones, but women have and need them in their blood, as well.

One of the functions of androgens is to cause your glands to secrete oil to keep your skin moist, vibrant and healthy. That oil is called sebum. Prior to menopause, androgens perform this function well….for the most part. During menopause, while the levels of estrogen and progesterone are falling, androgen levels remain fairly constant. This disturbs the balance between them. As a result, your glands are producing excessive oil. This causes acne during menopause.

How to get rid of acne during menopause

As hormone imbalance is the cause of all menopause symptoms, not just acne during menopause, the first step to eradicate acne is to get your hormone levels tested. The results will tell you which hormones to address to re-balance them.

Researchers have found that quickly digested carbohydrates, stimulates the production of sebum. Quickly digested carbohydrates are found in all processed and fast foods. These foods raise your insulin levels, which in turn raises your androgen levels, which in turn stimulates the production of sebum. This means that your dietary habits play an important role in the prevention and elimination of acne.

So…..the second step in the eradication and prevention of acne during menopause is to address your diet. Unless your diet consists mostly of eating real food, the food you are eating is exacerbating your acne. Real food does not need labels – ie – unprocessed meat, fish, milk, eggs, legumes, fruits, grains and vegetables.

These two steps are the way to beat acne during menopause…. permanently. However, it will take time for this to happen …. maybe months. In the meantime, it would help to improve your acne condition if you follow a good regimen for the general care of midlife skin. This includes exfoliating your skin regularly, to remove dead skin cells that can clog pores.


Itchy Skin: How To Beat The Itch – Scratch – Itch Cycle

Itchy Skin

I itch day and night but it's worse at night

Do you experience any of the following
  • you suddenly itch everywhere – mostly at night. Your back, legs, chest, and stomach end up with what looks like hives
  • a burning, tingling itch from your head to your toes and everywhere in between …that drives you crazy
  • itching in your armpits or palms or bottom of your feet
  • you cant stop scratching your arms or legs or back or neck
  • vaginal itching where you cant stop scratching “down there”
  • itching that is so severe that you scratch your skin until it is raw

Itchy skin is a common symptom during menopause. During menopause, the most common underlying cause of it is hormonal change. Hormone changes play havoc with your skin during menopause.

The hormone most associated with itchy and dry skin is estrogen. Low estrogen levels are the cause of itchy skin during menopause. Estrogen normally plays a vital role in maintenance of healthy skin. Most importantly, it plays a role in the production of collagen which is a form of protein that gives strength to all body tissues including the skin. Decreased estrogen therefore impairs this important process. Furthermore, low estrogen levels reduce the body’s intrinsic ability to retain moisture and also impairs the production of natural skin oils. The result is dry and itchy skin.

There is a medical term for dry itchy skin. It is called pruritus. Pruritus is an uncomfortable and unpleasant sensation on your skin that causes the need to scratch to maintain comfort. This feeling can also be a burning or stinging sensation and can appear anywhere on your body in spots or a generalized area. It can be extremely disruptive because the more you itch, the more you scratch.

Many women report that the elbows and the T-zone of the face are the first places where itchy skin develops during menopause. It often leads to dry itchy skin appearing just about anywhere on your body, from your head to your toes. It can affect your scalp, face, neck, chest, back, arms, arm pits, elbows, hands, vagina, anus, legs, feet … even nails.

Suggestions about how to beat itchy skin

As hormone imbalance is the cause of all menopause symptoms, not just skin that itches, it would be advisable to get your hormone levels tested. You will then be in a position to take steps to re-balance them.

Some doctors believe that topical treatment with vitamin A creams, such as Retin-A and Renova, can have some effect on itchy skin by rebuilding collagen. Even though some women report that these products reduce flakiness of the skin, they can cause skin irritation. Irritation aggravates the itching condition. These products are best avoided.

Your personal care routines play a part in keeping your skin irritant free

  • Avoid taking hot showers or baths. Hot water can be harsh and can have a drying affect on the skin. Use warm water instead
  • Use an unscented soap when taking a shower or bath or washing your body.
    Scented, antibacterial, or deodorant soaps can be harsh, removing your body’s essential oils, leaving skin even more itchy and dry
  • Exfoliate your skin by gently brushing it
  • Moisturize your skin. Petroleum jelly is one of the best. It helps to trap moisture and keep it in the skin
  • Protect your skin with a good quality broad spectrum sunblock, with an SPF of 15 or higher. This will prevent further damage to your skin and will prevent drying

It is advisable to increase your daily intake of water. This will help to hydrate your skin form the inside out.

The best nutritional advice is to base your diet around real food, not processed food. Specifically, increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids found in foods such as salmon, sardines, walnuts, fortified eggs, and flaxseed. Adequate vitamin B intake is also crucial to skin health. Some foods rich in vitamin B include beef, turkey, bananas, potatoes, brazil nuts and legumes.

Now you can take the steps to end your own itch – scratch – itch torment.


The Most Natural Treatment For Your Menopause Symptoms


This could restore my life to me.....without risks to my health

What could be more natural than using your mind to relieve your menopause symptoms?

No…this post is not about having a positive attitude. It is about using mental techniques for menopause relief…..techniques that have been found, by studies, to significantly reduce hot flashes, night sweats, disturbed sleep, anxiety and depression. The topic of this post is hypnosis …. in the form of hypnotherapy and self hypnosis.

An article on the Web MD site reports the results of a study that examined the effects that hypnosis has on hot flashes and night sweats. It found that hypnosis reduces hot flashes and night flashes by 74%. It concludes that it is an effective treatment for menopause-related hot flashes and night sweats. Margery Gass, MD and Executive Director of the North American Menopause Society, says that there is a need for such non pharma treatments for these menopause symptoms.

In a 2010 report from Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, researchers reviewed the available research and found that the tremendous volume of research provides compelling evidence that hypnosis is an effective treatment for anxiety. Other studies have found that it is effective in reducing depression and insomnia, as well.

Hypnosis has been used by doctors to reduce pain experienced from surgery. In a study from Harvard Medical School published in the Lancet in 2000, patients who had 15 minutes of hypnosis before surgery not only needed less pain medication afterward, but also took less time in surgery.

What is hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a subject that is widely misunderstood. Very few terms have quite the emotional impact that “hypnosis” does. All sorts of beliefs surround the concept, most of which have little to do with what it actually is.

Hypnosis is a process that increases communication between your mind and body. In
hypnosis your mind goes into a trance — a daydream-like state. A trance is a heightened state of attention where your body is more open to suggestion.

You have experienced trances many times.

A daydream is one example of a trance. When daydreaming, you temporarily suspend your focus on external events and drift into an internal sensory reality of our own making. In fact, you can become so absorbed in your fantasy that, at times, you literally don’t hear what’s happening around you. Who hasn’t had the experience of having one’s name called a number of times before you suddenly realize that somebody is trying to get your attention?

If you’ve ever been totally engrossed in a book or movie and lost all track of time or didn’t hear someone calling your name, you were experiencing a hypnotic trance. You become so focused on the images on the screen, or the images you have created in your mind from the book, that you become less aware of things around you in your current physical environment.

Three types of hypnosis

  1. stage hypnosis – this is done for entertainment. We are not concerned with it in the context of this post
  2. hypnotherapy – this is the application of hypnotic techniques by a qualified hypnotherapist, for therapeutic purposes. The hypnotherapist induces a hypnotic state and then makes suggestions that will improve an unwanted condition
  3. self hypnosis – the situation in which you enter a hypnotic state, as result of either listening to a CD developed to specifically induce a hypnotic state …. or using deep relaxation techniques.

    CDs are usually developed to improve specific conditions – ie – anxiety, insomnia etc. The CDs will also contain the suggestions that will improve the condition.

    If you are using a deep relaxation technique to enter a hypnotic state, once you are deeply relaxed (that is the hypnotic state) ….. you visualize the condition as improved or reduced or eliminated

As a majority of women prefer a natural treatment to relieve their menopause symptoms, you cant get more natural treatment than hypnosis. You are putting nothing into your body. And … it is relatively inexpensive, when compared with other treatments or remedies.

If you use the CD self hypnosis approach, the only cost is purchase of the CD. If you use deep relaxation and visualization, there is no cost. Of course, there will be a cost if you use a hypnotherapist.

If your menopause symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety, depression or disturbed sleep, you could begin with self hypnosis and see how that works for you. If your symptoms are quite severe, it may be a better idea to work with a hypnotherapist. It often takes no more than 1 or 2 sessions with a hypnotherapist to relieve your menopause symptoms.


Should You Have Your Ovaries Removed During A Hysterectomy?

Ovaries Removed

But.....why do you want to remove my ovaries?

Despite advice from The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, that a pre-menopausal woman should keep her ovaries when undergoing a hysterectomy, gynecologists are continuing to ignore that advice.

According to a new study, one in three ob-gyns still recommend removal of healthy ovaries from women undergoing hysterectomies ….. who haven’t yet entered menopause.

The study was conducted by researchers from Tufts University School of Medicine. An anonymous survey was mailed to practicing ob-gyns, randomly selected from a list produced by the American Medical Association, in an effort to assess their opinions regarding removal of ovaries at the time of hysterectomy. 443 ob-gyns responded.

600,000 hysterectomies are performed in the US every year. Today there is growing sentiment that many of the hysterectomies performed are unnecessary. It is argued that around 10% of the hysterectomies performed are necessary, due to the presence of cancer. That amounts to around 60,000 hysterectomies. The remaining 540,000 hysterectomies are performed for benign conditions, which either resolve themselves over time or which have alternative treatments that are less invasive. If one third of these also involve the removal of ovaries, it means that 180,000 women have their ovaries removed every year. In this post, I will present information that suggests that these women would have better health prospects, if their ovaries were still intact.

At the very moment the surgeon snips the ovaries and removes them, a women is in menopause. She will no longer menstruate. This is surgical menopause. It is important to understand that a hysterectomy – the removal of the complete uterus including the cervix – does not bring about surgical menopause. If the woman still has her ovaries, she will go on to have natural menopause.

You would be mistaken if you thought that natural menopause and surgical menopause bring women to the same place. It is true that either route leads to an end of menstruation, but that is where the similarity ends. Natural menopause is a change that takes place over years. A woman’s ovaries gradually produce less hormones over those years.

There is a common misconception that when you reach natural menopause, your ovaries no longer produce estrogen and other hormones. This is incorrect. The production of estrogen by your ovaries does not go to zero at menopause. Your ovaries continue to produce estrogen, for the rest of your life, but much less of it. They also continue to produce testosterone and androstenedione, which your body converts into estrogen.

Surgical menopause occurs very suddenly; one day a woman is having menstrual cycles, and the next day, after having her ovaries removed surgically, she is postmenopausal. Because she had her ovaries removed, her body stops producing estrogen, and other hormones, abruptly.

Removal of ovaries increases health risks

The removal of a woman’s ovaries increases her risk of cardiovascular disease, because estrogen helps to prevent it. Estrogen acts as an anti-inflamatory agent that prevents the build up of plaque in the blood vessels. The sudden absence of estrogen also increases her risk of dementia and alzheimers disease.

Women who enter menopause via the surgical route also experience more severe menopause symptoms, than women who go through natural menopause. This, too, is due to the abrupt absence of estrogen, and other hormones. While 10%-15% of women who go through natural menopause experience severe hot flashes, 25% of women who go through surgical menopause experience severe hot flashes. The abrupt loss of ovarian hormones will also cause more severe vaginal dryness, mood swings, anxiety.

A major study was conducted in 2008 to determine the affect of hysterectomy on women’s health. It was led by Dr William H. Parker, a noted gynecological surgeon. The study reviewed the health of 29,000 women who had hysterectomies for non cancerous conditions. 16,000 of these women had their ovaries removed. 13,000 of these women retained their ovaries. The findings of the study, which was reported in 2009 were as follows

  • women who had their ovaries removed, had a higher risk of death from any cause, and had a significantly higher risk of heart disease, stroke and lung cancer
  • While breast cancer and ovarian cancer were less frequent in women who had their ovaries removed, the overall risk of death from all types of cancer was higher among women who had their ovaries removed

To put these findings into context, ovarian cancer accounts for 14,700 female deaths per year in the U.S., heart disease causes 326,900 female deaths, and stroke causes 86,900 female deaths each year. The risk of death from heart disease is 23 times greater than the risk of death from ovarian cancer. The risk of death from stroke is 6 times greater than the risk of death from ovarian cancer.

The main reason given for removal of the ovaries is to prevent ovarian cancer. However the study showed that risk of death from ovarian cancer to women, whose ovaries had been conserved, is extremely low (34 deaths out of 13,305 women, or 0.26%). Since heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer are each much more common than ovarian cancer, many more women, who have their ovaries removed, will die of these conditions than can be saved by preventing ovarian cancer.

If a woman is at such a low risk for ovarian cancer with her ovaries intact, and at such a high risk for heart disease as a result of her ovaries having been removed, does it make sense to you to have your ovaries removed?

The truth is that by having your ovaries removed, you do reduce your risk of ovarian cancer somewhat….but in so doing you increase your risk of heart disease by 500% (that’s by 5 times). The fact is that you are about 23 times more likely to die of heart disease than you are of ovarian cancer. So if you’re looking at odds, you would be wise to keep your ovaries.


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