What To Look For In A Menopause Doctor

Menopause Doctor

A doctor who listens and understands

Too many women complain about a lack of understanding and compassion from doctors…..when it comes to menopause.

Here are some of the things that they have said

  • I haven’t found doctors to be helpful or understanding when it comes to the topic of menopause at all. The only thing which has been helpful is talking to women who have been through the change
  • Doctors like people to be dumb and just go along with whatever crap they want to prescribe, like antidepressants that are addictive, hormone treatments that can cause breast cancer. They get really cross if you even hint that you disagree with them, particularly male doctors. Menopause is not an illness. No pill will fix it
  • I truly think it’s time that women get mad as hell about being ignored by the medical profession during this rebirth. We need to educate ourselves, get in tune with our own bodies and search until we find the doctors who are willing to discover what happens as our bodies transition. It is our right as patients and as consumers
  • My OBGYN is young and I feel she does not get it and my medical Dr. makes me feel like I’m overreacting and seems upset that I will not take HRT
  • Sometimes I wonder if my doctor has flagged my chart because I don’t get the good care I used to. I think he thinks I’m crazy
  • I have no faith in doctors. My symptoms were worse than what a lot of women go through and I never got one ounce of support from the medical field. I started reading everything I could get my hands on and I took care of myself the best I could
  • seeking help from any physician is just a waste of time and money..if u get one to admit it is menopause, they’ll prescribe every estrogen med out there..trust me, i’ve been dealing with this nonsense for over 3 years
  • I need to find a good doctor, my OB thinks I’m crazy, I thought because she is a woman shed be understanding. My General practice doc is male and I think he thinks I worry about everything to much and thinks I’m a hypochondriac! It frustrates me, they don’t seem to want to look for answers for me

There are countless other women who have complained about their experiences with doctors during menopause.

Some women think that the solution is to find a good female doctor, because they will be more understanding and compassionate. Perhaps that will help, but there have been many accounts of female doctors who were unhelpful. As 80% of women experience only mild symptoms when they go through menopause, 80% of female doctors will not have experienced the more severe symptoms that you may be seeking advice about.

Tips About What To Look For In A Menopause Doctor

You want a menopause doctor who

  1. first and foremost will listen to what you have been experiencing and who actually “hears” you
  2. is compassionate and cares about you
  3. is knowledgeable about menopause and its symptoms. It would also be preferable if this doctor was knowledgeable about all of the treatments that are available for the symptoms….but this is not essential if the doctor is prepared to find out about this for you
  4. understands that there is no one “best treatment” for menopause symptoms, because every woman is different. Each women has her own unique medical history and family medical history, as well as lifestyle preferences, that needs to be considered when choosing a treatment
  5. is open to complementary and alternative medicine treatments for your symptoms
  6. discusses all of the treatment options with you and who provides you with their professional advice about the treatment that they think is best suited to you, but who allows you to decide on the treatment to use
  7. will monitor your progress on a treatment and who will suggest that you use a different treatment, if the one that you are using is not providing you with satisfactory results

Many women have found doctors who are helping them through their menopause journey. If you havnt found such a doctor yet….keep looking. Seek and you shall find a good menopause doctor for you.

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Can Chinese Medicine Treatments Help Me?

Hot Flashes

I will try anything that is safe

Jessica’s hot flashes had been bad …. and they were getting worse. She described them as heat waves and not mere hot flashes.

She refused to take HRT and had tried several natural remedies, without much success.

A friend had told her that acupuncture had helped to reduce her hot flashes and that she should check it out. Jessica asked “can Chinese medicine treatments help me?”.

Jessica had never used Chinese medicine treatments for any health complaint before and she was skeptical of it. She said that she thought of it as unscientific. She didnt think that it had standard treatments that resolved health complaints.

I acknowledged her concern. I then asked her if traditional western medicine had provided her with a satisfactory standard treatment to relieve her hot flashes. Of course she said no. I then asked her how much she knew about Chinese Medicine. Her response was “nothing really”.

I introduced her to the work of an MD based in Colorado, who uses traditional western medicine treatments…as well as Chinese medicine treatments…in his practice.

This MD has recently written an article about Chinese medicine and menopause symptoms relief.

Can Chinese Medicine Treatments Help Me

Here is an excerpt from that article

Women want relief from bothersome symptoms such as night sweats or sleep disorders. Therapies in Chinese medicine can support and balance the body in its time of change, addressing not just symptoms but underlying root imbalances through both acupuncture and herbal formulas, helping reroute unhealthy aging. These methods support and protect a woman from the physical and emotional effects of aging. There isn’t a single, universal solution – after all, everyone is different – so therapies will vary based on analysis.

In Eastern thinking, the reproductive energy is so much more than simply “menopause,” as Westerners tend to lump it together. The Chinese model is unique in its belief in the interconnection and communication between individual organ systems. Acting independently, each organ also controls or balances others, creating a cohesive whole. Reproduction takes on broader connotations in the Eastern model, encompassing the kidneys as well as intertwining it with bone, spine and brain well-being. Is it any wonder that the decline of reproductive energy (or menopause, as Westerners are accustomed to calling it) causes osteoporosis, low libido, brain fog and spinal pain? Add to that that the classic weakness of “menopause,” or declining kidney energy, is night sweats and hot flashes. It’s much like a spider web that moves as a whole when any strand is pulled.

By looking at menopause as a whole, Chinese medicine can treat the acute symptoms and bring balance to the core of a woman’s aging process.

Chinese medicine uses diet, acupuncture, herbal remedies, Chinese exercise, and meditation to heal. It is the longest existing continuous medical system practiced in the world, with over 3000 years of history.

Traditional western medicine has yet to develop a safe treatment that relieves menopause symptoms. This fact, coupled with the fact that studies have shown that Asian women experience less severe and less frequent menopause symptoms, should be enough for you to consider using Chinese medicine treatments to relieve your menopause symptoms.

If you want to know if Chinese Medicine treatments can help you, consider this: one study found that Chinese medicine treatments are as effective as HRT in the relief of hot flashes….and there are no health risks associated it.

Please help to spread the word that Chinese medicine can bring menopause relief, by LIKING this post and SHARING it with your friends

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Which Treatments For Hot Flashes Work?

Treatments For Hot Flashes

Im desperate for something that works

Joyce had been seeing me for advice about reducing her menopause symptoms, for several years.

She expected her hot flashes to decrease when her periods stopped, but they became more frequent and more severe.

She described her current experience with them like this: they normally start in her belly and then erupt to her face, neck, chest, back and elsewhere….in a matter of seconds. She said that she gets so hot that she has to do something about it.

She said that she had a hot flash recently…in the dead of winter….when driving her son to school. She had to open the car windows. He said “mom…I’m freezing….the snow is coming into the car”.

What Joyce wanted from her session was to find out which treatments for hot flashes work.

According to medical studies, the most effective hot flash treatment is HRT. However Joyce, like most menopausal women, had previously told me that she would not take it because of the health risks associated with taking it.

The remaining treatments for hot flashes vary in their effectiveness, according to medical studies conducted on them, but some are generally more effective than others. The effectiveness varies from woman to woman according to their own unique medical history and the medical histories of their parents and siblings.

Accordingly, I decided to provide Joyce with the findings of the studies that have looked into most of the hot flash treatments that have helped woman. My reason for doing this was to help her to choose what she thought would be the best treatment/remedy for her.

Since preparing this for Joyce, I have used it to help some of my other patients who wanted advice about how to relieve their hot flashes.

I have updated this to include the most recent studies. I am sharing this information with you now.

Which Treatments For Hot Flashes Work?

Findings from studies on all of the treatments for hot flashes

  • HRT – Hormone replacement therapy is the most effective treatment for hot flashes, but there are health risks associated with taking it….breast cancer, heart attack and stroke
  • Weight loss – Overweight women, who lose weight, experience a significant hot flash reduction
  • Diet – hot flash frequency is suppressed after eating, while hot flashes are experienced when blood glucose falls between meals. Maintaining stability in blood glucose level may be effective in reducing menopausal hot flashes
  • Exercise- Results are inconclusive. However, aerobic exercise as part of a weight loss program for overweight menopausal women is effective at hot flash reduction
  • Soy – this study says that it is effective. Other studies raise a question about its effectiveness
  • Black Cohosh – It’s widely used, but some research questions its effectiveness. In a year-long clinical trial funded by the US National Institutes of Health, it was found to be no better than a placebo for relieving hot flashes
  • EXD – Very effective
  • Pycnogenol – Very effective
  • Hypnosis – clinical hypnosis results in significant hot flash reductions
  • Relaxation Therapy – Significant hot flash reductions
  • Acupuncture – Significant hot flash reductions
  • Meditation – The study found that while the hot flash intensity and frequency did not decrease, there was a significant reduction in how bothersome (how the hot flash affected women) they were
  • Yoga – A 30% hot flash reduction
  • Deep Breathing – results in a hot flash reduction
  • Bio identical hormone therapy – There have been no independent studies conducted on its effectiveness for hot flash relief. However many women say that they have benefited from it

I hope that this post provides you with further insight into which treatments for hot flashes work and that it helps you to choose a treatment/remedy that you think will work for you.

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Doing Household Chores Will Help You To Sleep Better

Disturbed Sleep

If I could just be Sleeping Beauty for 1 night!

A new study of menopausal women, has found that doing household chores will help you to sleep better.

This study will be of interest to many women who experience disturbed sleep during menopause, as a sleep survey of 900 menopausal women showed that 79 percent of you have trouble staying asleep, and 63 percent struggle just trying to fall to sleep.

Previous studies have found that if you exercise regularly, you will sleep better. But there has never before been a study that has examined the relationship between housework and sleeping better.

The study was was reported in the March 25 edition of the journal Menopause.

Here is an excerpt from an article about the study that appears on the North American Menopause Society site.

Getting a good night’s sleep isn’t always easy for women at menopause. Exercise may help, but women can have a tough time carving out leisure time for it.

The good news from a study published online today in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society, is that higher levels of routine daily physical activity may be the more important key to a better night’s sleep for many women who have hot flashes or night sweats.

Although exercise is known to improve sleep for people in general, studies in menopausal women haven’t been conclusive. That’s why the researchers at the Pittsburgh site of the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) focused exclusively on women with hot flashes or night sweats and also drew the distinction between
leisure time and household activity.

The 27 white and 25 African American women in the study, who were 54 to 63 years old, kept diaries rating their sleep and wore sleep monitors. They also completed questionnaires about their physical activity, including routine household and caregiving chores requiring light, moderate, or vigorous effort as well as sports and exercise.

The results showed that the women who had higher levels of activity reported better sleep and fewer nighttime awakenings. The positive effects were mainly associated with household and caregiving activity rather than sports or exercise.

Many women face a “chicken and the egg” dilemma in connection with physical activity and disturbed sleep. They feel too tired to increase their physical activity, because of disturbed sleep,….yet they need to do it in order to sleep better. Some say that they are too exhausted to even do their housework.

There have been other studies that found natural treatments/remedies to reduce disturbed sleep.

A recent medical study found that daily supplements of extracts from the bark of French Maritime Pine reduces hot flashes and night sweats, which in turn enables better sleep.

Another study found that acupuncture reduces hot flashes and night sweats, as well, thus reducing sleep disturbance.

And yet another study found that Relaxation Therapy improves sleep.

The Mayo Clinic reports that melatonin helps to improve the quality of sleep, as well, and studies have also shown that Valerian, the herbal remedy, has improved the quality of sleep for menopausal women.

As the Swan study found that being active helps to improve sleep quality, women should not be concerned about the type of physical activity they engage in, as long as they strive to remain active. Therefor, doing household chores will help you to sleep better.

Please SHARE this post with friends who are experiencing disturbed sleep.

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HRT Increases Your Risk Of Breast Cancer By 50%

HRT And Breast Cancer

Breast cancer kills 1 in 8 women

A new medical study has found that women who take HRT are 1.5 times more likely to develop breast cancer than women who do not take HRT. They are also more likely to die from breast cancer, than women who do not take HRT.

The study, which was published in the March 29 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, looked into women who took estrogen plus progestin, which is the most common HRT treatment for women who havnt had a hysterectomy. Women who have had a hysterectomy take estrogen therapy.

The link between HRT and breast cancer has been known since the well known WHI study reported its findings in 2002. Since then, other studies have confirmed the link between HRT and breast cancer.

This excerpt from the Health Day site will tell you more about this study and the link between HRT and breast cancer

Women who take hormone therapy that includes estrogen and progestin are at increased risk of developing breast cancer and dying from it, especially if they start
taking the therapy just as menopause begins, a new analysis confirms.

Researchers followed nearly 42,000 women, all of whom were past menopause, for an average of more than 11 years. Of those, more than 25,000 did not use hormone therapy and more than 16,000 took estrogen and progestin, also called combined hormone therapy. For this analysis, the researchers did not include estrogen-only therapy, used by women who have had a hysterectomy.

At the end of the follow-up period, more than 2,200 of the women were found to have breast cancer. Compared to non-users, those who took combined therapy were more likely to have breast cancer, said Dr. Rowan Chlebowski, a medical oncologist at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Chlebowski led the study, which was published in the March 29 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The link has been found in other studies, but Chlebowski also found the risk was greatest among those who took the hormones closest to menopause. “Women starting within months of menopause had about a threefold greater risk than women starting 10 years after menopause,” Chlebowski said.

Earlier this year, many of the leading medical organizations in this country, and many doctors, renewed their campaign to encourage women to take HRT for relief from their symptoms, despite the evidence that links HRT and breast cancer. Fortunately 90% of women refuse to take it.

Why would these medical organizations, and the doctors who are influenced by them, be pushing HRT on women in the face of evidence surrounding the risks associated with it?

One gynecologist has said that drug companies promote and run medical conventions and conferences to promote their products and these are normally the products doctors have information about and are educated in, making them the ones they prescribe to their patients.

Another medical doctor said that pharmaceutical companies have very strong relationships with societies such as The Endocrine Society, The North American Menopause Society and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and have a significant influence over them.

Please help to spread the word about this new study that provides further evidence that links HRT and breast cancer.

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Is Bioidentical Hormone Therapy Safe: Arguments For And Against

Bioidentical Hormone Therapy

There is so much conflicting information about it

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 (bht) 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 the greatest defense against cancer, heart attack and Alzheimer’s disease or does it carry the same risks as HRT?

I will not provide you with an answer to this question. I will present the arguments for and against bht safety and let you to decide for yourself.

Arguments Against The Safety Of Bioidentical Hormone Therapy

  • Are bioidenticals really a healthy option? JoAnn Manson, M.D., professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and a past president of the North American Menopause Society thinks not. She advises her patients that there is no proof that bioidenticals any safer than HRT
  • Cynthia A. Stuenkel, M.D., a clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego, and former president of the North American Menopause Society says that most bioidentical hormones are sold without the controls, safeguards and testing required of prescription drugs. “Are they safe? Do they work? That’s never been shown in any real way”
  • Bioidentical hormone therapy is a clever marketing concept “devoid of scientific underpinnings, and preys upon the patient’s desire for better hormonal replacement therapies that are both safe and effective, properties totally unproven by the proponents of such agents”, according to Alan Garber, MD, PhD, chief medical editor of Endocrine Today
  • According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and several medical specialty groups, bioidentical hormones may be riskier than hormones used in standard hormone therapy, and there’s no evidence they’re any more effective
  • The American Cancer Society has stated that “natural” and “bioidentical” hormones present the same risks as synthetic hormone replacement therapy

Arguments For The Safety Of Bioidentical Hormone Therapy

  • In 2009 the Holtorf Medical Group, Inc. of Torrance, CA performed a comprehensive analysis of over 200 physiological and clinical studies (including the WHI study) concerning synthetic and bioidentical hormones. This analysis states “With respect to the risk for breast cancer, heart disease, heart attack, and stroke, substantial scientific and medical evidence demonstrates that bioidentical hormones are more effective forms of HRT than the commonly used synthetic versions.”

    Dr Holtorf said that societies such as The Endocrine Society, The North American Menopause Society and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have either failed to adequately review the medical literature on bioidentical hormones or more likely have let their significant relationships with the pharmaceutical companies influence their positions on the issue

  • One gynecologist has stated “As a board certified, OB/GYN trained at Emory University I am embarrassed by what I learned in residency concerning hormone physiology. It is a crime that this information is not taught in residencies. Instead we are bombarded by propaganda and misinformation by the so-called leaders in our field”
  • Another doctor has gone on record saying that women are being denied the benefits of bioidentical hormone therapy because of the lack of clinical research.

    He points out that bioidentical hormones are not patentable and therefor of little financial interest for pharmaceutical companies, which are the ones paying for the majority of clinical research. A pharmaceutical company is not willing to pay for an investigation from which it is not going to get a profit by selling a product and it can only do this with patented products.

    He also points out that drug companies promote and run medical conventions and conferences to promote their products, they offer doctors attractive gifts and these are normally the products doctors have information about and are educated in, making them the ones they prescribe to their patients

  • Bioidentical hormones are compounded products. The FDA doesn’t approve any compounded products, for any condition, because those products aren’t standardized. That doesn’t mean that compounding is bad. Compounding can be useful for patients who are allergic to an additive in an FDA-approved product, says Kathleen Uhl, MD, the FDA’s assistant commissioner for women’s health
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Where to Find Answers To Your Questions About Menopause

Questions About Menopause

I've got more questions than answers

Whether you are close to beginning your menopause journey, at the start of perimenopause, been in perimenopause for sometime and waiting for your periods to end or in postmenopause, if you are reading this post…..you probably have unanswered questions about menopause.

You will find a list of authoritative sources on menopause below. The list contains government sites, medical sites, academic sites and sites that I think contain information that will be most helpful to any menopausal women with questions.

If you are new to menopause, it may be helpful to begin with the North American Menopause Society site, because it will provide you with a good overview of menopause, its symptoms and their treatments.

If you have questions about perimenopause, you may want to begin with the CeMCOR site, which deals primarily with perimenopause and its symptoms.

If you want to understand more about the specific symptoms you are experiencing, you can go straight to the 34 Menopause Symptoms site.

If you are interested in traditional medical treatments for menopause like HRT or drug treatments, you can go to the Medline Plus site or the WomensHealth.gov site or the Mayo Clinic site.

If you want to know about natural treatments for menopause, go to National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) site.

I sincerely hope that you find answers to your questions about menopause from these sources.

The North American Menopause Society site

This is the best site for an overview about menopause in general, about menopause symptoms, about treatments. It does not go into detail about these subjects.

Medline Plus site

This is a US government site. It provides reliable information about menopause in general and its symptoms. Treatment recommendations lean toward traditional medicine. It is light on complementary and alternative treatments.

The WomensHealth.gov site

This is a US government site. It provides reliable information about menopause symptoms and the medical treatments for the various symptoms. It is light on information about complementary and alternative medical treatments.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine site

Search for menopause. NCCAM is a US government site. This site will give you reliable information about all of the complementary and alternative medicine treatments for menopause.

The Mayo Clinic site

This site contains good information about menopause in general, and its symptoms and health risks. Treatments are slanted toward traditional medicine. It is skeptical about complementary and alternative treatments.

The The Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research site

CeMCOR is a private organization set up by Jerilynn C. Prior, MD, FRCPC, ABIM, ABEM and Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C. It specializes in research about ovulation, progesterone and perimenopause. It provides the most helpful information about perimenopause, its symptoms and what a woman can expect to happen during perimenopause. It is opposed to estrogen therapy during perimenopause. It strongly encourages progesterone therapy during perimenopause. It does not touch on complementary medicine treatments. The explanations about perimenopause are a little on the medical/scientific side. However there is a section on the site called Ask Jerilynn, where menopausal women have asked her specific questions about their personal menopause experiences. The answers are very helpful to any menopausal women.

The Harvard Health Publications site

Search for menopause. This will provide you with an academic slant on menopause, which will help to balance the information that you get from government sites and medical sites. The information is easy for the layman to understand.

The 34 Menopause Symptoms site

This site provides outstanding information about any symptom that a woman can experience during perimenopause and menopause. It goes into detail about the physical, mental and emotional aspects of each symptom. You will get a good understanding of each of your symptoms. The downsides are that it glibly attributes every symptom to falling levels of estrogen, which is not true. It also has the same fixed solution for treating each symptom.

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What Can I Do About My Depression During Menopause?

Depression During Menopause

I cry so often

Alice began her session by saying “I am depressed…what can I do about my depression during menopause“.

She went on to explain that her life had begun to fall apart. Up until then she had been a smart, confident, able woman who could usually find the joy in most any situation. Suddenly, she was weepy, sad, and was unable find the joy in anything. She cried all the time. At the same time, her periods began to get very heavy. Her 26 year old marriage had almost ended in divorce ……..that’s how bad it had gotten.

In addition to finding a remedy for her situation, she also wanted to understand the cause of her depression during menopause.

I explained to Alice that depression, if it happens, occurs most frequently during the early part of perimenopause. The cause of menopausal depression has not been established, but researchers are working on the basis that there are 2 probable causes for it

  1. women are overwhelmed by the physical and emotional changes that they are experiencing during menopause. These come on top of life stresses that are common at this time of life
  2. The changes in the levels of the sex hormones in the body during menopause, results in a decrease in the levels of other hormones that keep moods stable

Research reveals that women whose menopause has been brought on by surgery… removal of ovaries or hysterectomy, are at a higher risk of depression than women who experience natural menopause. This is because surgical menopause brings about a sharp sudden decline of estrogen, which is associated with the production of the other hormones involved in stabilizing mood.

Also, women who have a history of a depression episode earlier in her life or who have a family history of depression or who have experienced severe PMS, are at risk of depression during menopause.

What Can I Do About My Depression During Menopause?

Before I addressed this question, I showed Alice an article that appears on the Epigree site. Here is an excerpt from it

Menopause can trigger feelings of sadness and episodes of depression in a number of women. It is thought that somewhere between 8% and 15% of menopausal women experience some form of depression. Menopause depression is most likely to hit during perimenopause, the phase leading up to menopause. Causes of menopausal depression are under debate, but a variety of theories have been suggested as to why so many menopausal women experience mood disorders.

One theory asserts that the stress of menopause symptoms leads to depression. You may be finding that your symptoms of menopause are simply too difficult to manage on your own. You already have to deal with family, friends, work, and finances, let alone this huge physical change. Menopause may just be that straw that breaks the camel’s back, causing the onset of depression.

Another theory links menopause depression with fluctuating levels of hormones in the body. Throughout menopause, levels of estrogen, progesterone, and androgen are constantly changing. These hormones are thought to be linked with the mood centers in your brain. As hormones drop, especially estrogen, you can experience periods of sadness and hopelessness. Some women experience a severe drop in mood, resulting in depression.

There are many researchers who believe that an imbalance in serotonin levels may influence mood in a way that leads to depression. Whether it does or doesnt has not been confirmed by research.

So ….. what can you do about depression during menopause?

Exercise, nutrition and stress management have all helped women to improve moods. They each also play a role in increasing the production of serotonin by your body.

Many experts suggest that 30 minutes of physical activity a day can help to lift depression during menopause, but as little as 10 minutes a day has been shown to be beneficial. Happily, the activity doesn’t have to be strenuous to make a difference. A brisk walk is all it takes.

Following a sensible and nutritious diet and doing yoga or a form of meditation to reduce stress, improves mood as well.

Please LIKE this post and SHARE it with friends who are dealing with severe moods in their meno-journey.

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Perimenopause Symptoms Are Caused By High Estrogen Levels….Not Low

Perimenopause Symptoms

What is happening to me?

Ellen had been in perimenopause for a little more than 1 year and her symptoms had been worsening. She began her session by saying that her symptoms were driving her nuts and that she was ready to consider HRT.

I told her that it would be a mistake to do that, because HRT would increase the levels of estrogen in her body and that her symptoms were caused by estrogen levels that were too high!

She replied by saying “I thought my symptoms are caused by falling estrogen levels”.

I then explained to her that perimenopause symptoms are caused by high estrogen levels…not low estrogen levels …. and that later on when her period vanishes permanently, the symptoms she may experience will be caused by low levels of estrogen.

I think that most menopausal women do not understand that the cause of perimenopause symptoms is the opposite of the cause of any symptoms they may experience in post menopause.

I showed Ellen an outstanding article written by a top gynocologist, who is also Scientific Director for the Center for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research.

Perimenopause Symptoms Are Caused By High Estrogen Levels….Not Low

Here is an excerpt from that article

I survived a rough perimenopause and my own experiences told me that the experts had it all wrong about dropping estrogen!

What’s the evidence that perimenopausal estrogen levels are high?
A dozen or so studies in the last 20 years have set out to measure hormone levels in perimenopausal women. Each study reports the data and summarizes by saying that estrogen levels are dropping. Surprisingly, few bother to mention the high levels they found (2). When all of the studies are put together, and the average perimenopausal estrogen levels are compared with average levels in young women, it is clear that the levels are higher, and significantly so (3).

Let’s consider estrogen levels from 300 Australian perimenopausal women taken during the end of flow (2). The data presented as a scatter plot indicates a wide range of hormone levels. Not only are most of the levels as high or higher than the average end of flow estrogen level for 20-35 year olds but many are even higher than the average mid cycle estrogen levels (peak in the cycle) in 20-35 year olds. Clearly many of these perimenopausal women had very high estrogen levels.

Later it says

Dr. Patricia Kaufert, a scientist from Winnipeg who has done one of the best studies about what women experience during perimenopause, found that women were likely to have a flooding menstruation just before their periods changed from regular to skipping(5). But heavy flow, bleeding at shorter intervals than 3 weeks, continual spotting or flow every two weeks, and clotting with cramping are all signs that estrogen is too high and progesterone is too low. Any period is too heavy if you soak more than 16 pads or tampons.

It is normal for the breasts to swell during the week before flow and it is sometimes normal to feel tenderness in the front or nipple area when estrogen hits a high midcycle peak. But swollen breasts most of the time, or front-of-the-breast soreness for more than a couple of days of the month means high estrogen.

the complete article

The reason for the confusion about estrogen during perimenopause, is that almost all researchers have reported that they had found that estrogen levels were falling in their perimenopausal subjects…..but they failed to say that they were falling from a high level!

Based on the information in this article, HRT will exacerbate peri-menopause symptoms. As estrogen levels are already high, HRT will increase the levels of estrogen in the body and further distort its relationship with progesterone.

The author of the article says that if any balancing of hormones is to be done, to relieve perimenopause symptoms, the level of progesterone should be increased.

I do not advocate progesterone treatment, as the first course of action to relieve perimenopause symptoms. I think the first course of action falls under the category of lifestyle changes.

Studies have conclusively shown that changes to diet, daily exercise, and the adoption of stress reduction techniques from yoga or meditation, lowers estrogen levels. If perimenopause symptoms are still severe after these lifestyle changes, then it is time to consider progesterone treatment.

Please LIKE this post and SHARE it with friends to let them know that perimenopause symptoms are caused by high estrogen levels…not low estrogen levels .

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Are There Different Types Of Hot Flashes?

Hot Flashes

Do they come with varying intensity?

Jenny was a newcomer to menopause symptoms. She had experienced a change in the pattern of her periods, some hot flashes and some mood swings.

She was most concerned about hot flashes, because she had heard some horrendous stories about them. She had been learning about it on the internet, but she wanted to know more about them and asked “are there different types of hot flashes?”. She told me that she had tried searching the internet for information about this, but could not find any.

She also wanted to know what she could do to minimize the affect that they can have on her.

I told Jenny that that I didnt know of any research that defined hot flash types. We searched together using search terms “hot flash types”, “hot flash description” and “what a hot flash feels like”. These searches did not produce any useful information.

Then we found an article that provided a helpful answer….in a light manner.

Are There Different Types Of Hot Flashes?

Here is an excerpt from the article

Number One (“Who Turned Up the Heat?”): My whole body gets slightly warmer. It will usually take me a moment to realize what’s happening, and before I do, I might ask, “Is it warm in here?” These are usually short.

Number Two (“My Face!”): The heat is confined to my face, and it burns hot. No, I’m not blushing, unless you want me to, and then yes, my red face is all about YOU.

Number Three (“Tropical Morning”): This starts out as a Number One and moves on to light sweating that can last a while. In these cases, a Kleenex will come in handy, but I don’t have to change my clothes.

Number Four (“Tsunami”): Drenched. All of a sudden I’m soaked to the bone with no preamble. It’s Normal to I-Should-Have-Worn-A-Bathing-Suit in less than three seconds. This usually happens at night and always surprises me.

Number Five (“The Fires of Hell”): Hot. Really hot. It can start in my belly, my face, or anywhere else, and I get too hot not to do something about it. If I’m driving my youngest son to school in the morning when it’s forty degrees outside, and I have the windows wide open, and he is yelling: “It’s cold! It’s cold!” you know I’m having a Number Five. These can last a long time. Poor kid.

Number Six (“Whoa Nelly!”): This is the combo platter, the all-in-one doozy of a hot flash. I get the heat, the sweating, the everything. It’s more of a work of art than a hot flash.

the entire article

This articles provides a helpful answer to the question are are there different types of hot flashes….as it provides a possible gradient of severity that you can experience.

As Jenny’s symptoms have been mild thusfar, I recommended the following to her to keep it that way

  • Follow a healthy and balanced diet. Avoid fast food, processed food and spicy food
  • Exercise regularly
  • Do yoga or meditation to reduce stress and slow down your breathing. A slower rate of breathing has helped women to reduce their flashes

I also referred her to some natural treatments and remedies, in case her hot flashes worsened.

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