Is Your Vagina Going Through Troublesome Changes?

Vaginal Dryness

I dont feel comfortable talking about this to anyone

If you search menopause forums or go onto Facebook pages about menopause or just search for articles about menopause symptoms, you will find much discussion about hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, sleep disturbance and weight gain. But you wont find much discussion about vaginal dryness.

Vaginal dryness is the least discussed menopause symptom, yet it is estimated that 32 million American woman experience it. Because it causes pain during intercourse, it often leads to a decrease in sexual interest and activity. This has strained relationships.

Vaginal dryness is caused by a condition called vaginal atrophy. Vaginal atrophy is a condition in which the vaginal wall gets thinner and it gets inflamed. It occurs during menopause when there is a reduction in levels of estrogen. The symptoms of vaginal atrophy include vaginal burning, itching, dryness and irritation.

Vaginal dryness has had a significant impact on relationships, yet studies have found that women do not tend to talk about this symptom with friends, peers and their doctors.

Dr James A. Simon, MD, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, DC, and past president of the North American Menopause society led the Clarifying Vaginal Atrophy’s Impact on Sex and Relationships (CLOSER) study…..that looked into the affect that vaginal atrophy had on relationships. He concluded that most women are not comfortable talking about their vaginal symptoms and so vaginal atrophy goes untreated. It is estimated that as many as 32 million women in the U.S. alone may experience vaginal dryness but only 7% get treatment for it.

Dr Simon said “We need a well-respected, visible, menopausal woman to bring this to the masses, because now we have survey data that say it’s not only prevalent, it’s not being adequately treated and it’s affecting relationships.” An Oscar nominated actress, Virginia Madsen, is now a spokeswoman for this issue. This is what she had to say

“When I found out how many women don’t talk about their painful intercourse, I was surprised.

It amazes me that in this day and age, when it seems there is no topic considered off limits, that so many postmenopausal women remain silent,” said Virginia Madsen. “It’s very important for women to know they’re not alone. The more women who are able to find the right words to begin this conversation, the more widespread attention we can bring to this topic.”

later she said

“These days, about one-third of a woman’s life could be spent in her menopausal years. I’m a confidante to many of my close girlfriends and we talk a lot about what we are experiencing as our bodies change, and I can tell you that intimacy remains important to women at any age,” added Madsen.

As another recent study found that twenty-eight percent of women did not tell their partners when they first encountered vaginal dryness because ‘it was just a natural part of growing older’ (52%) or embarrassment (21%), I am particularly pleased to learn about the Finding the Words website. The purpose of this site is to help women to break their silence around this common but seldom discussed medical condition. It will provide you with information, tools and resources that will help you to begin this conversation with your partner and your healthcare provider.

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Your Cosmetic Products Are Making Your Menopause Symptoms Worse

Menopause Symptoms

I know that cosmetics can wrinkle skin...but I didnt know about the menopause link

Almost all cosmetic products contain 2 chemicals that are xenoestrogens. A xenoestrogen is a man made chemical that acts like estrogen in your body. Xenoestrogens worsen your menopause symptoms, by disturbing the hormonal balance in your body.

The two xenoestrogens you need to be concerned about in cosmetic products are called parabens and phthalates (pronounced THAL-ates).

Parabens are chemicals that are used as preservatives to fight bacteria and fungus. They
keep ingredients fresher for longer by killing molds and funguses before they have a chance to spread and damage products. They extend the shelf life of cosmetic products on store shelves and in home medicine cabinets or drawers. They are widely available and cost very little to manufacture and use. They are easily absorbed through your skin.

Phthalates are called “everywhere chemicals” because they are so common. They are used in cosmetic products such as nail polishes, to reduce cracking by making them less brittle, and hair sprays and gels, to help avoid stiffness by allowing them to form a flexible film on the hair. They are also used as solvents in perfume, fragrances, and deodorants.

In 2002 a coalition of environmental and public health organizations contracted with a major national laboratory to test 72 name-brand, off-the-shelf beauty products for the presence of these xenoestrogens. The laboratory found them in 52 of 72 products, including nine of 14 deodorants, all 17 fragrances tested, six of seven hair gels, four of seven mousses, 14 of 18 hair sprays, and two of nine hand and body lotions.

Unless you are aware of the omnipresence of parabens and phthalates in cosmetic products, and take steps to avoid them, their presence in the cosmetic products you are using will disturb the balance of the hormones in your body. This will worsen your menopause symptoms.

As you probably already know, your menopause symptoms are caused by the changing levels of the hormones in your body during menopause. Prior to perimenopause your hormones coexist with one another in a certain ratio. That ratio changes during perimenopause and it causes the symptoms that you are experiencing.

The two main hormones that bring about menopause symptoms are estrogen and progesterone. During perimenopause, the ratio of estrogens to progesterone increases. 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 estrogens in your body, relative to progesterone.

To reduce the frequency and severity of your menopause symptoms, you need to restore the ratio of estrogen to progesterone …. to their premenopause levels. You can do this by decreasing the levels of estrogen in your body or increasing the level of progesterone in your body….or a combination of both.

This is an ongoing challenge because xenoestrogens are everywhere around you …. not just in the cosmetics you use. More than 80,000 different chemicals are now used in manufacturing, agriculture, and consumer products to increase company profits. Many of these chemicals mimic estrogen in your body.

Because parabens and phthalates in cosmetic products are absorbed by your body, they disturb the balance of your hormones and exacerbate your menopause symptoms. If you eliminate, or at least reduce, your use of cosmetic products containing them, it will help you to reduce your symptoms.

Look out for a future post that will help you to identify brands that do not contain parabens and phthalates.

It is also worth noting that a recent study found that cosmetics containing parabens and phthalates brings on early menopause.

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Your Gramdma’s Menopause Vs Your Menopause

Food and Menopause

Organic and fresh and local is the way to eat to reduce menopause symptoms

Chances are that your grandmother had any easier menopause than what you are experiencing. There has been very little written about menopause during your grandmother’s generation. That generation didnt acknowledge menopause or talk about it much.

However something that has changed since the time your grandmother went through menopause…. is our food. There is a link between today’s food and menopause symptoms. The food that you buy at a supermarket today contains much more sugar and many more chemicals than the food that your grandmother ate. Sugar and chemicals in the food that you eat exacerbates menopause symptoms, because they alter the balance of your hormones, especially the ratio of estrogen to progesterone.

In your grandmother’s generation, and before, much of the food that was eaten was fresh and natural. There is a link between fresh and natural food and menopause symptom reduction. Today 70% of the food eaten in America is processed food. Just take a walk through the isles of your local supermarket, and notice the predominance of processed food. Processed food has much of the natural nutrients removed from it. It has sugar added to it, for flavor, and preservatives added to it to extend its shelf life.

Furthermore, for the past 30 plus years, Americans have been advised to stay away from foods containing fat. This gave rise to fat free foods, reduced fat foods and low fat foods. All of these foods have sugar added to them for flavor. There is a link between fat free and reduced fat food and menopause symptoms worsening.

What’s the relationship between sugar in food and menopause? When there it too much sugar in your body, it increases the amount of estrogen in your body. This disturbs the balance of hormones in your body even more…exacerbating your menopause symptoms. You can expect to have more frequent and more severe hot flashes, when you have excessive amounts of sugar in your body.

What’s more, your grandmother’s generation didnt have to contend with xenoestrogens, which are chemicals added to your food and other household products. Xenoestrogens act like estrogen in your body. The processed foods you see in your supermarket are full of them. They are added to the foods for coloring and as preservatives (longer shelf life).

Furthermore, non organic dairy products and meat products contain xenoestrogens. The chemicals have been mixed into the feed to grow the cows larger and grow them faster. The chemicals are stored in the fat and muscle of the animal fibers, which you consume when you eat meat products. The chemicals are also passed into the milk from cows. Milk is the key ingredient in all dairy products. More than 14,000 chemicals are used in our food today. Many of these man made chemicals make their way into your body and act like estrogen, further disturbing the hormone balance in your body and exacerbating your menopause symptoms. Xenoestrogens in food and menopause symptoms go hand in hand.

What can you do to reduce the effect that sugar and xenoestrogen has on your menopause symptoms?

  1. Stay away from fat free, reduced fat and diet foods
  2. Restrict your intake of processed food
  3. Eat organic food, as much as you can. It is free of xenoestrogens.

    However organic food is expensive. If cost is an issue for you, you can reduce your consumption of beef and lamb and increase your consumption of poultry and pig products. Xenoestrogens are used to promote the growth of cattle and sheep, but they are not used on chickens, turkeys, ducks and pigs.

    It will also help if you peel the skin from fruit and vegetables, before eating them. There are pesticides and insecticides on the skin, that contain xenoestrogens

Foods that will help to keep your hormones balanced

  • cruciferous vegetables – they include broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts and cauliflower
  • green leafy vegetables – they include Spinach, celery, rucola, parsley, dandelions, Swiss chard
  • citrus fruits – they include lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, mandarines, tangerines, and pomelos
  • Sesame seeds and flax seeds
  • Lastly, grandma was right…an apple a day, keeps the doctor away. It also helps to keep your hormones balanced. Eat insoluble fibre found in apples, oats, berries and beans
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The Silent Symptom And Its Affect On Relationships

Vaginal Dryness

Some things are not right "down there"

A global survey of 4,100 of postmenopausal women, who experience vaginal atrophy (va), and 4,100 male partners of postmenopausal women, who experience va, has been conducted in 9 countries….to determine the affect that va has on relationships. The survey is called CLOSER (CLarifying vaginal atrophy’s impact On SEx and Relationships).

The Canadian results have just been reported. The US results were reported a few months ago.

Vaginal atrophy is a condition in which the vaginal wall gets thinner and it gets inflamed. It occurs during menopause when there is a reduction in levels of estrogens. The symptoms of va include vaginal burning, itching, dryness and irritation. Intercourse becomes painful, because of it, and it often leads to a decrease in sexual interest and activity.

According to the Canadian CLOSER findings

  • Nearly one quarter of Canadian women feel uncomfortable discussing VA with their partner
  • In comparison to other countries, Canadian men would rather their partner did not talk to them about VA
  • If a woman’s partner was suffering from ED, three out of four women would talk about it with their partner
  • Eighty-six per cent of men surveyed say they would discuss ED with their partner, and 83 per cent would discuss it with their healthcare professional

Further findings were as follows

  • Sixty-six per cent of post-menopausal women avoid sexual intimacy fearing it is too painful
  • Sixty-three per cent of women avoid sexual intimacy due to a general loss of libido
  • Canadian women are among the most likely to agree that due to VA sex is less satisfying
  • One fifth of women feel VA has made them emotionally distant from their partner
  • Forty-four per cent of women say VA makes them feel old
  • Sixty-eight per cent of men surveyed say they have sex less often because of VA
  • Thirty per cent of men say sex is less satisfying for them personally
  • Twenty-six per cent of Canadian men say they have stopped having sex altogether

Canadian women and their partners are one of the most likely, out of nine countries surveyed, to feel that va has caused them to avoid sexual intimacy.

By contrast here are some of the results from the US findings, which had 1,010 participants

35 percent of women reported they do not feel sexually attractive anymore and 31 percent had lost confidence in themselves as a sexual partner. Women were also likely to experience a sense of isolation in the relationship, with 24 percent reporting that they felt emotionally distant from their partners.

The survey also showed women are not the only ones affected: 65 percent of men worried that sex would be painful for his partner, and almost a third of both men and
women reported that they have stopped having sex with their partners altogether because of the discomfort.

Compared with other countries surveyed, U.S. women experienced higher rates of vaginal atrophy-related consequences on sexual health and interpersonal relationships.

If you are uncertain about whether you are experiencing va, you can assess your symptoms at this site.

Its more than likely that your mother never sat you down and had a conversation with you about what to expect when you were expecting menopause and chances are she never uttered the va words either. It seems that vaginal atrophy is still a taboo subject. More often than not it is not discussed among partners nor even among female friends. As such, it remains the silent symptom.

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Aha…The Reason Ob-Gyns Dont Understand Menopause

Doctor And Menopause

Why doesnt he understand?

A study of ob-gyn resident doctors, conducted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, has 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 study does not surprise me. Every week I hear complaints from women about their doctors not understanding them. They complain that their doctors are not providing them with acceptable treatments/remedies to relieve their menopause symptoms or that their doctors are pushing HRT on them, which they do not want because of the health risks associated with taking it. Here are some of the comments written by women about their doctors

  • “I have NO faith what-so-ever in Doctors where menopause is concerned. They don’t want to know you because they don’t have a clue. Read and learn about it for yourself and then help yourself…”
  • “I went through the whole process myself for the past 17yrs. At age 36 when symptoms started, I was simply told that I was too young, it was all in my head and not to worry about it. Now that I am 53 and haven’t had a period for a year, they finally listen to me and want to prescribe me things! I told the last one where he could put those pills…..”
  • “I gave up with the Doc’s – the test results kept coming back “normal” so they didn’t want to know, even though I pointed out that what is normal for one person isn’t always for another & I knew something wasn’t “right”. I learnt to trust my own instincts on what my body was telling me & took action for myself. It’s also the reason why I opted to go the alternative therapy route after I’d had my ovaries removed & got pushed into full-on menopause. My point – it’s the medical profession that needs test results to prove things, not you, so be more pro-active. Read up on the menopause, it’s symptoms & the treatments available, there’s plenty of info out there on the Net now, as well as books – knowledge is power! Don’t be afraid to try alternative therapies, if you can access/afford them, or supplements to help. It’s YOUR body – YOUR choice.”

Here is an excerpt from an article about the study

“A majority of our study respondents indicated they were barely comfortable in managing women with menopause-specific problems,” stated senior investigator Wen Shen, M.D., assistant professor of gynecology and obstetrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who specializes in treating menopausal women.

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.”

If ob-gyns are not trained in menopause matters, what training can you expect an internist or general practitioner to have had?

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

The reason ob-gyns may not provide you with the help and advice that you want, is that there is a hole in the curriculum of their training during residency. Why those responsible for the curriculum, do not think that it is important enough to train ob-gyns on menopause is a matter for another post.

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Estrogen In Food Unbalances Your Hormones Even More

Estrogen In Food

There must be something I can do to feel better

This post is about raising your awareness about the estrogen in food and what you can do to better manage your intake of it, to reduce your menopause symptoms.

As you probably already know, your menopause symptoms are caused by the changing levels of the hormones in your body during menopause. Prior to perimenopause your hormones coexist with one another in a certain ratio. That ratio changes during perimenopause and it causes the symptoms that you are experiencing.

The two principal hormones involved in causing your symptoms are estrogens and progesterone. During perimenopause, estrogen levels produced by your body begins to fall, but they also fluctuate……they go up and down. They do not reach a stable low level, until after your periods end permanently. On the other hand, progesterone levels fall more steadily during perimenopause. This disrupts the balance between the two hormones, that existed prior to perimenopause.

The ratios between estrogens and progesterone are further unbalanced by estrogen in food that you eat. There are two types of estrogen in food that you eat…. xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens.

Xenoestrogens are man made chemicals that act like estrogen in your body. They are found in and on food that you buy from your supermarket. They are in the meats, in milk, on and in fruit and vegetables, in processed food, in canned food and in plastic containers used to hold, store and heat food (ie – in a microwave).

In terms of reducing the the amount of xenoestrogens you consume in your food, the best thing that you can do is eat organic food, as much as you can. It is free of xenoestrogens. However organic food is expensive. If cost is an issue for you, you can reduce your consumption of beef and lamb and increase your consumption of poultry and pig products. Man made chemical versions of estrogen, and other hormones, are used to promote the growth of cattle and sheep, but they are not used on chickens, turkeys, ducks and pigs. It will also help if you peel the skin from fruit and vegetables, before eating them. There are pesticides and insecticides on the skin, that contain xenoestrogens.

Phytoestrogens are found in the fruit and vegetable products that you eat. We have been told over and over again, that a diet based on fruit and vegetables is good for our overall health … and that is true. However, when it comes to managing your menopause symptoms and reducing your risk to cancer, it is important to understand that there are two types of phytoestrogens; one type adds to the amount of estrogen in your body and the other reduces the amount of estrogen in your body.

Phytoestrogen foods include

  • Legumes: Foods like soy flour, soybeans, soy protein powder, tofu; black-eyed peas, chick peas (garbanzo beans), red beans, split peas
  • Seeds: Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, anise seeds
  • Fruits: Apples, plums, dates, tomatoes, cherries
  • Vegetables: Beets, peppers, carrots, eggplant, sweet potatoes (yams), celery
  • Grains: Wheat, barley, rice

There are phytoestrogen foods that help to help remove excess estrogen from your body
and thereby fight hormone imbalance from estrogen in food. They are also called estrogen blockers. These include

  • Cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts all contain a chemical called DIM, a compound that naturally binds to estrogen and removes it from the body
  • Citrus fruits – they contain flavonoids that help regulate hormones

Phytoestrogens do not act the same as xenoestrogens in your body. Their hormone stimulating effects are much weaker and can have a self-regulatory effect, if natural estrogen blockers are eaten with them. Xenoestrogens have a much stronger, stimulating effect and are not cleared very quickly from the body. They store in fat cells and can really throw hormones out of balance.

If you manage your intake of estrogen in food, it will help you to improve the balance of your hormones and reduce your menopause symptoms.

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Mediterranean Diet Reduces Hot Flashes

Hot Flash

A way of eating that reduces hot flashes

A study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at the connection between hot flashes and what women eat, and offers further support to the notion that diet can relieve these very annoying symptoms.

A new study appearing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that women who adhere to a Mediterranean Diet have 20% fewer hot flashes. The researchers also observed that menopausal women who ate high-sugar, high-fat diets were 23 percent more likely to experience them.

A Mediterranean diet is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, and poultry. The use of unsaturated cooking oils, like olive oil and canola oil, and the avoidance of saturated fats, are also hallmarks of a Mediterranean diet, as is the decreased intake of red meat, processed meats, and dairy products.

The researchers studied the eating patterns of 6,040 women, age 50 to 55, over 9 years.
All of those women went through natural menopause – meaning menopause not brought on by surgery. They found that women who ate fruit, garlic, salad greens, pasta and red wine – experienced a hot flash reduction, after accounting for their other lifestyle habits….like smoking, drinking and exercise. However, vegetables in general, as well as meat and dairy, were not associated with either a higher or lower chance of having menopausal symptoms.

Here is an excerpt from an article about the study

Women who eat diets high in fruit, certain vegetables, pasta and red wine are less likely to have hot flashes and night sweats during menopause, a new study from Australia suggests.

Researchers found that of about 6 000 women followed over nine years, those who ate a lot of strawberries, pineapple and melon and most closely followed a Mediterranean-style diet were about 20% less likely to report those common symptoms.

At the same time, menopausal women who ate high-sugar, high-fat diets were 23% more likely to experience hot flashes and night sweats during the study. The study can’t prove certain foods prevent or trigger hot flashes, researchers said. And it’s one of the first yet to tie general dietary patterns – not just certain supplements – to menopause-related symptoms.

The findings of this study are not surprising. They are consistent with other studies that have been done and other works published about nutrition and hot flashes.

Several years ago, it was thought that soy products reduce them. Today their effectiveness is controversial…..some studies claim that it is beneficial, while others claim that it is not beneficial. Soy has plant estrogens (phytoestrogens), which were believed to provide natural estrogen replacement. Asian women, who live in countries where soy is a big part of the diet, also report fewer hot flash occurrences than women in western countries.

A study done in 2009 of more than 17,000 women, by the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, found that weight loss stemming from a low-fat, high fruit and vegetable diet helps to reduce hot flash occurrences and night sweats.

In the book Nutritional Almanac, by Lavon J Dunne, it says that fresh fruits and vegetables such as apples, avocado, broccoli, kale, mushrooms, black-eyed peas, oranges, pears, prunes, bananas, raisins, blueberries and kiwi are loaded with water, fiber and vitamins, nutrients that can prevent or ease hot flashes. It was published in 2001.

The message is clear: if you want to reduce your hot flash occurrences, increase your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and fish, while eliminating saturated fats from your diet.

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What Is Estrogen Dominance And How Does It Affect Me?

Estrogen Dominance

Dr Lee's research is the basis of her books about menopause

Carol had been in perimenopause for more than a year. She had described her symptoms as moderate, but they had been getting progressively worse.

She had been gathering information about treatments for her symptoms from every source she could think of….from internet searches, forums, support groups, books etc.

One day she began her session with me by asking “what is estrogen dominance and how does it affect me?”. The following is the gist of what I explained to Carol.

Estrogen dominance is an interesting theory, because the medical community is divided over it.

The term estrogen dominance refers to a situation in which your body does not have enough progesterone to balance out estrogen levels. It occurs during perimenopause. While estrogen levels are falling during this time, they also fluctuate……they go up and down. They do not reach a stable low level, until after your periods end permanently. On the other hand, progesterone levels fall more steadily. This disrupts the balance between the two hormones, causing the menopause symptoms that you are experiencing.

Whats more … proponents of the estrogen dominance theory say that research suggests that this imbalance between estrogen and progesterone levels is responsible for several female health conditions that are a concern for women

  • Weight gain secondary to insulin resistance
  • Fibrocystic breast disease
  • Certain types of PMS
  • Migraines
  • Menstrual disturbances–irregular and heavy bleeding
  • Endometriosis, the uterine tissue disorder
  • Fibroids
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Breast Cancer

Progesterone acts as an antagonist to estrogen. For example, estrogen stimulates breast cysts while progesterone protects against breast cysts.

Proponents of this theory are opposed to traditional HRT, because it increases the estrogen levels in your body and it doesnt do anything to redress the imbalance between estrogen and progesterone levels in your body…. that is causing your symptoms. They say that to relieve your symptoms, the levels of progesterone in your body needs to be increased.

The father of the estrogen dominance theory is Dr John Lee, MD. He is the author of the book “What Your Doctor May Not tell You About Menopause: The breakthrough book on natural progesterone”.

Other medical doctors who support this theory are

  • Michael Lam, M.D., M.P.H., A.B.A.A.M. is a specialist in Preventive and Anti-Aging Medicine
  • Ronald Hoffman, M.D. is an American physician, author, and broadcaster in the United States who hosts Health Talk, a syndicated radio talk show. He is the founder and director of the Hoffman Center in New York City
  • Christiane Northrup, M.D., is one of the world’s leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. She is a board-certified ob-gyn physician who graduated from Dartmouth Medical School. She is the author of the best selling book “Wisdom Of Menopause”
  • Dr Jerilynn C. Prior MD, FRCPC, ABIM, ABEM is a Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C. She is the founder and Scientific Director of the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR)

The mainstream medical bodies and many physicians are dubious of the estrogen dominance theory. The North American Menopause Society, the American Medical Association, and the Endocrine Society all say that scientific evidence does not exist to support this theory. All of them endorse HRT as the recommended treatment for menopause symptoms.

My take on this?

  1. The real test of the estrogen dominance theory is…..does progesterone therapy effectively relieve menopause symptoms and is it safe. There are countless testimonials about its effectiveness and just a few negative reports about it. There is no evidence that is unsafe and in fact there have been studies that have found that it is safer than HRT
  2. The fact that there has been few studies to substantiate this theory, is a weak argument. Most studies are funded by pharmaceutical companies. The pharma companies have a great deal invested in their HRT products. Why would they fund studies that could damage their financial results?
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The 8 Best Treatments For Menopause Symptoms – My Opinion

Menopause Treatments

I am confused about which treatments are the best for me to use

I have listened to thousands of women, who have spoken to me about their menopause symptoms, over the past 24 years. I have recommended just about every known menopause treatment to relieve these symptoms and I have observed the results. I feel that this qualifies me to have an opinion about the best menopause treatments.

For the most part, the medical community says that HRT is the best menopause treatment. I do not agree. HRT is the most effective treatment to relieve menopause symptoms, but because of the health risks associated with it, not only do I not think that it is the best treatment, but I rank it at the bottom of my list of best treatments.

There are some in the medical community, and in celebrity circles, who swear by bioidentical hormone therapy. Many women have said that this treatment is effective in the relief of their symptoms and there are few negative accounts about it. I do not rank it highly on my list of best treatments, because I am concerned about the long term health affects of interfering with the natural hormone levels in the body. I will cover this more fully in another post.

Here is my list of the 8 best menopause treatments, in descending order (best first)

  1. exercise and diet – In my experience, women who do at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day … or who do physical activity that is aerobic for 30 minutes every day… and who follow a healthy and nutritious diet regimen, will have less frequent and less sever menopause symptoms, by and large
  2. stress reduction – do yoga, meditation, relaxation therapy or some other stress reduction technique. Studies show that stress exacerbates menopause symptoms. Your symptoms will be less frequent and less severe if you regularly use a technique that reduces your stress
  3. acupuncture – it is extremely effective at relieving hot flashes, mood swings and insomnia
  4. natural herbal products – Medical studies have found pycnogenol to be particularly effective at relieving hot flashes, night sweats, irregular periods, decreased libido, night sweats and vaginal dryness. The effectiveness of other natural products have not been validated by medical studies. However many woman report relief from these products. They do not produce universal results. A given product may work for 1 woman, but not other women. You may need to keep trying different products, until you find one that helps you
  5. vitamins and supplements – you should seek advice from your health provider for a vitamin and mineral supplementation regimen for your particular symptoms
  6. Chinese herbs – Many women report that Chinese herbs have helped to relieve their symptoms. Medical studies have found that EXD is effective at relieving hot flashes
  7. hypnotherapy – medical studies have shown hypnosis to be particularly effective at reducing hot flashes
  8. hormone therapy – Medical studies have shown hrt to be the most effective treatment for menopause symptoms, but it increases the users risk of heart attack, stroke and breast cancer. Bioidentical hormone therapy has helped many women reduce their menopause symptoms. There have been no studies that have examined its effectiveness or safety. I only recommend hormone therapy when a woman is unable to function in her life, due to the severity of her symptoms

This is my opinion concerning the best menopause treatments.

In what order would you rank these treatments?

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How Much Of Your Mood Swings Or Brain Fog Is Caused By Diet?

Mood Swings

I can go from feeling happy to crying for no reason

Are your mood swings driving you and your family nuts? Is menopause “brain fog” a daily occurrence? Are you suffering with depression during menopause? Your diet may be largely, or partially, contributing to these symptoms.

This post will not rehash the affect that junk foods have on your symptoms, although they clearly do have an affect on your symptoms. It will however delve into the nourishment that your brain requires….. and how if it doesnt receive it…… your menopause mood swings, brain fog and depression will be more severe.

The things you eat have a direct effect on your state of mind, and even have the power to drastically alter your behavioral patterns. A new study has found that without the proper nutrients, the body cannot produce the appropriate chemicals and hormones required for clear thinking and healthy mood. This can lead to menopause mood swings, brain fog, depression and other menopause symptoms.

The lead researcher of the study, Dr. Drew Ramsey, Columbia University psychiatry professor, said this in an interview

Food choices are the foundation of good brain health. Your brain is made of food. Every molecule in your brain started out on your plate. And just like any chef will tell you, the most important thing about being a chef is getting the best ingredients. I think that’s true with the brain as well.

An earlier study of 53,000 women, that looked into diet and its affect on mood, found that women whose diets contained the greatest number of healthy omega-3 fats (and the lowest levels of unhealthy omega-6s) were significantly less likely to suffer from depression.

Another study, that examined fat intake and depression, found that diets high in trans fats found in processed foods raised the risk of depression by 42 percent among adults over the course of approximately six years.

I have found an article that is most helpful in explaining the effect that diet has on menopause mood swings, menopause brain fog, and depression. Here is an excerpt from it

Like any other muscle, organ, or bone, our brain needs the right nutrients to thrive, grow and repair itself. In a world where many people live on processed food, fast food or all ready prepared food we are becoming, according to Dr. Drew Ramsey assistant clinical professor at Columbia University, “a nation that is overfed and undernourished”.

He says we are being poisoned with preservatives, pesticides and plastic packaging. These substances have introduced a slew of new chemicals into our systems, which pose threats to our brain functions.

Did you know that over 14,000 man made chemicals are added to our food supply in this country alone, according to Dr. Richard Wurtman who is an MIT professor and director of MIT Clinical Research Center? It is insideous and it is hidden in many of the foods that we eat.

If you think that your diet is having a significant impact…. or even a minor impact…. on your mood swings, brain fog, and feelings of depression, here is what you can do about it

  • Eat organic – There are many toxic insecticides and pesticides in non organic food. Food chain companies claim that no proof exists, as yet, that they are bad for our health. The same argument was used by tobacco companies, before proof was found that it is harmful to our health
  • Include omega 3 fats in your diet. They are good for your brain. A diet that includes regular consumption of fish, will provide you with omega 3 fats
  • While a diet that is heavy in fresh vegetables and fruit is essential for brain health, it should include some “grass-fed” or “pasture-raised” beef and chicken (they are brain food). “Grass-fed” or “pasture-raised” animals are free of antibiotics and harmful hormones fed to factory farmed animals. As hormones are significant in your life at this time, do you wonder which hormones they give to the animals?

Eating in this way may be somewhat more expensive than eating the foods that come from the traditional food supply companies, but it is not as expensive as the medical bills that you will incur as a result of the insecticides and pesticides in the food produced by traditional food companies.

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