Tag Archives: menopause

A Menopausal Survival Guide

Attitude

According to one of the leading American experts on menopause, Dr. Karen Deighan “a positive attitude and a little preparation” can make a huge difference in the way women experience menopause. Targeting menopausal symptoms before they occur is essential to getting through this stage of life.

“Menopause is not a disease. It is a normal event; a passage from one stage of life to another.”

Menopause is in many cases the time when women enter “the most productive and lucrative stages” of their career, fulfilling their professional aspirations. It is also the time when many children leave home – giving women the opportunity and time to focus on themselves. According to Menopause Signs, “Menopause can be a time of unprecedented self-confidence, freedom and financial liberation for women.”

Also, a recent American study found that stress, a lower income and attitudes toward aging had a significant effect on the way women experienced menopausal symptoms. Having a positive outlook on life changes the way women go through menopause.

Dr. Sheryl Kingsberg, of Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, reveals that life expectancy for western women is more than 82 years of age, which means that a third of a woman’s life can take place after menopause. She reminds women, “Menopause is not a disease. It is a normal event; a passage from one stage of life to another.”

Avoiding menopausal weight gain

Women often struggle to maintain their weight as they grow older.

It is estimated that up to 90% of menopausal women experience some type of weight gain in the period leading up to menopause (perimenopause) as well as during menopause.

Hormonal imbalances in combination with genetic factors, stress and the loss of muscle tissue associated with aging may leave women with a few extra inches on their waistline. Also, menopausal women, especially those experiencing debilitating symptoms, are often times less likely to exercise. In addition to this, “women experience a metabolic slowdown of about 10-15 percent at midlife compared to earlier in life, making our bodies more efficient at taking in and storing fat,” according to Christiane Northrup, M.D., internationally known author and speaker with an empowering approach to women’s health and wellness.

The weight acquired during menopause no longer distributes itself equally, tending to settle instead in the belly area. Many women gradually gain 5 to 15 pounds during menopause and unless they adapt their diet, the weight gain may be even more prominent.

As women grow older, they can expect a change in their bodies. Although a slight weight gain can be expected (and may even ease certain menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes) excessive weight gain is problematic as it can lead to high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, and even certain types of cancer. If you are carrying many extra kilos, your menopausal symptoms may also be worse as a result.
According to the Mayo Clinic: “Gaining as little as 4.4 pounds at age 50 or later could increase the risk of breast cancer by 30 percent.”

To avoid or combat this weight gain, it is important to increase the amount of exercise and to be consistent in one’s exercise regime. Crash diets should be avoided at all costs during menopause as they wreak havoc on the metabolism. Women should rather take steps to alter their lifestyle and improve their health. Avoiding refined sugars and opting instead for a rich and varied lower-calorie diet is very important. However, losing too much weight can also be dangerous as it may lead to a greater risk for osteoporosis.

Eating right

A nutritious diet in combination with plenty of exercise leads to better physical and mental health during menopause. Research has shown that women in their 50′s need approximately 200 fewer calories than women 10 or 20 years younger just to maintain their weight, let alone to drop a few pounds. This means women will need to change their eating habits as they will most likely not be able to eat like they used to. Controlling which foods you intake and the portion sizes, rather than calories is the most effective route. Also, do not skip meals, as this will only lead you to overeat later. It is suggested that menopausal women eat three meals a day, rather than skipping breakfast or lunch as the food eaten later in the day is more likely to be stored as fat due to the slowing down of the metabolism. Personal trainer Kristin McGee, a personal trainer who works with menopausal women in their 50′s and 60′s, suggests following the simple rule: “Eat like a queen in the morning, a princess at lunch, and a pauper at dinner!”

Menopausal women should enjoy a diet consisting of plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, nuts, seeds, fish, poultry and low-fat dairy products – all in small portions. “Be a grazer, not a gorger!” MedicineNet suggests.

� Whole grains

In addition to plenty of exercise, it is recommended that menopausal women eat whole grain foods, which can reduce constipation, as well as reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

Whole grains include rye and wholemeal bread, wheat cereal and oats, brown rice or wholegrain pasta, which are rich in nutrients, fibre, vitamin B, minerals and selenium. Whole grains are preferred to white rice, white bread, potatoes and pasta, which are calorie-rich but nutritionally empty.

The United States Department of Agriculture suggests “It’s important to substitute the whole-grain product for the refined one, rather than adding the whole grain product.” Women should look at the food label to ensure that the product names “one of the following whole-grain ingredients first on the label’s ingredient list: ‘brown rice,’ ‘bulgur,’ ‘graham flour,’ ‘oatmeal,’ ‘whole-grain corn,’ ‘whole oats,’ ‘whole rye,’ ‘whole wheat,’ ‘wild rice.’” However, Dr Christiane Northrup warns that even women who “have eliminated refined grains [...] may still have problems with whole wheat, whole rye, whole oat, or millet flour” due to a high carbohydrate sensitivity.

� The ‘good fats’

Substituting certain types of fats and oils for others can make a huge difference to how you feel, as well as reducing cholesterol levels and improving heart health and slowing the hardening of the arteries. Dr Christiane Northrup saw her female patients “complain of sallow skin, brittle hair and nails, susceptibility to infection, inability to concentrate, and weight gain despite their rigid diets. None of these women were getting enough healthy fat.”

It is suggested that women limit their intake of saturated fats, which are known to raise blood cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease. Saturated fatty acids include butter, whole milk and cream, eggs, chocolate and red meat. The USDA suggests a limited consumption of these foods. Trans fats, contained in fried foods, crackers, cookies and snack foods also increase LDL cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.

Monounsaturated fatty acids are preferred to saturated fats as they may lower cholesterol levels and lower the risk of coronary heart disease. Foods with a high content of these fats include avocados, nuts, olive oil and canola oils.

Omega-3 fats have been linked to reducing the severity of menopausal symptoms, especially psychological stress, mood swings and depression.

Omega-3 fatty acids could reduce the ‘psychological distress’ and depression associated with menopause.

Although more research is necessary, a Canadian study recently found that omega-3 fats had a positive effect on women’s mental state. Omega-3 fats are contained in fish, including salmon, halibut, cod, catfish, trout, sardines, and herring, as well as in krill, shrimp and clams, green-lipped mussel, raspberries, flaxseed, walnuts, pecan nuts and hazelnuts.

� Fruits and vegetables

Menopausal women benefit from a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, as they are naturally low in fat and contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. Fruits such as plums, strawberries, apples, pears, grapefruit and raspberries contain boron, a mineral that seems to increase estrogen levels in middle-aged women. Some fruits and vegetables also contain phytoestrogens, a plant form of estrogen, which may “potentially diminish some of the discomforts caused by lower estrogen levels during menopause,” according to Medicine Net. More research is needed to confirm these positive effects.

Dr Christiane Northrup suggests women choose fruits and vegetables that are rich in colour as “the deep pigments in these foods contain powerful antioxidants. Go for broccoli, green leafy vegetables, berries, red, yellow and green peppers, and tomatoes, and vary your choices through the seasons, ” she suggests. “Antioxidants combat cellular damage from free radicals, which are known to be a cause of chronic conditions such as heart disease, cataracts, macular degeneration, and cancer,” she confirms.

Substituting high-calorie foods with fruits and vegetables can also be part of a successful weight loss strategy.

� Protein foods

Lean meat, poultry, fish, beans, peas, eggs, nuts and seeds are all high in protein and should be an integral part of a menopausal women’s diet, eaten at almost every meal. Women should choose the leanest cuts of beef (and at least 90% lean ground beef), pork and skinless chicken and turkey. Some organ meats such as liver are fairly high in cholesterol, as are egg yolks. Processed meats may have a higher sodium content.

Beans, peas, lentils, soy, carob and nuts are all legumes, known as sources of plant protein, as well as nutrients like iron and zinc and dietary fibre. Beans are an excellent choice for menopausal women as they are a low-fat source of protein and they contain fibre and many vitamins and minerals. They also keep women feeling fuller for longer and contain plant-based estrogens, phytoestrogens.

Soy has been praised for its role in lowering the risks of heart disease and its positive effects on bone health. Recent studies have shown that the phytoestrogens contained in soy products such as soy milk, tofu or soy nuts may also ease problematic menopausal symptoms, especially hot flushes. According to HealthCastle Nutrition:

“In Japan, where soy foods are commonly consumed daily, women are only one-third as likely to report menopausal symptoms as in the United States or Canada. In fact, there is no word in the Japanese language for ‘hot flashes.’”

“Soy products have been taken by women and promoted for relief of menopausal symptoms,” according to Australian women’s health expert Dr Jane Elliott. The results obtained from research studies are limited but “new research currently being undertaken is looking at a compound derived from soy,” she confirms.

Nuts and seeds such as sunflower seeds, almonds and hazelnuts contain vitamin E, which women have also reported as helpful for certain menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes. Flaxseed, which contains both omega-3 fatty acids and lignans, has also shown promising results in treating menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings. According to dietician Jane Reinhardt-Martin, “Cross-cultural research shows that women whose traditional diet features a high intake of soy and flax have, on average, a milder menopausal experience.”

� Dairy products

A menopausal woman’s dairy intake should be composed of mainly low-fat sources. The USDA warns that cheese, cream and butter do not retain their calcium content but dairy products, as well as dark leafy greens are good sources of calcium. A range of calcium-fortified juice and soy beverages are also available. According to Menopause Matters, “During menopause an adequate daily calcium intake is especially important to help protect and maintain bone density as bone loss accelerates.”

�Which foods to avoid

During menopause, it is best to limit or avoid processed foods, canned soups, salted nuts, margarine, processed baked goods or ketchup, as well as high-sugar foods. High-sugar foods include soft drinks, syrups, jams, sweetened coffee beverages, cookies, cakes, pies, pastries, frozen desserts, ice-cream and sweet yogurts and should mostly be avoided. Menopausal women are at a stage in their lives where they must be more conscientious about calorie intake than ever in order to prevent weight gain.

Drinking right

Menopausal women should be drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water a day. In addition to keeping you hydrated, drinking more water can reduce food cravings. Menopausal women can enjoy diluted fruit juices, vegetable juices, herbal teas, low fat milk and mineral water but it is best to avoid sweet sugary drinks.e

�Drinking tea

Green tea contains strong antioxidants and has anti-cancer properties. Similar claims have also been made about black tea. Although more research is still necessary, studies have shown that several cups of green tea a day could be effective in relieving hot flashes and sleep disturbance for menopausal women.

�Drinking coffee

Menopausal women should limit their intake of caffeine, which may improve their hot flushes and stabilize sleeping patterns. It has been suggested that a high caffeine intake during menopause may trigger night sweats.

�Reducing alcohol

Alcohol should be consumed in moderation amongst women undergoing menopause. Alcohol, as well as spicy foods, has been labeled as of the triggers of hot flushes. “Research indicates that menopausal women who drink excessively are at much higher risk for the common types of cancer, especially post-menopausal breast cancer, GynOb reports.

“One serving of alcohol can increase the risk of cancer by 7%. However, three servings of alcohol per day increases the risk by 51%.”

Exercise and Fitness

�Staying active

Staying active is one of the most important aspects of getting through menopause. Dr Jane Elliot stresses the importance of “a healthy lifestyle, including exercise” for menopausal women.

Research has shown that women who undertake regular physical exercise enjoy better health than women who are sedentary.

�The benefits of exercise

There are numerous benefits to exercise during menopause: regular exercise can help women lose weight or prevent menopausal weight gain, strengthen bones and reduce the risk of breast cancer. In addition to this, exercise improves the function of the immune system, decreases the risk of heart disease, improves moods, may have a positive effect on depression or anxiety, regulates sleep patterns, increases self-esteem, boosts the metabolism and results in more energy and a better outlook on life.

�How much exercise is enough?

According to the Mayo Clinic, healthy menopausal women should undertake “at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week” as well as “strength training exercises at least twice a week.” Dr Jane Elliott suggests that women do more: “At least 30 mins of exercise a day. The best exercise is the one you will keep doing regularly.” Her advice is choosing an activity you enjoy. “So if you hate the gym, don’t go there. For many women 30 mins brisk walk daily is a very good start.”

Exercising with a friend can be a great way to keep up your fitness regime. It’s fun!

�Which types of exercise

According to personal trainer Kristin McGee, it’s important to work the core muscles with exercises such as the plank, especially since fat tends to settle in the belly area. McGee also suggests mixing up the types of exercises you do, such as yoga and swimming. The Women’s Menopause Health Center suggests enjoying other calorie-burning day-to-day activities such as mowing your lawn, taking dance classes, or playing catch with your children or grandchildren.

A healthy lifestyle is the key to overcoming the obstacles that may arise during the menopausal transition. A recent American study explored “how and why midlife women think about health in general” and the various influences which contribute to a healthy lifestyle during menopause. It found that a majority of the menopausal women associated guilt with not making enough effort on healthy lifestyle choices such as their exercise and diet regime. It’s never too late to start!

The information published in the Menopause Survival Guide is based on wide ranging research into the condition, however, our sources and the resulting content is only intended as a guide. Each woman needs to assess the available information and speak with a professional health practitioner before applying any of this content or beginning any exercise or diet program.

By Liz Skrbkova

Detection of Menopause – hormone levels and Blood Test Explanation

Menopause is one of the most feared for the life of most women, and something that most women start worrying about what was about forty. During the early forties, some women begin to become preoccupied to look for early signs and symptoms of menopause that cause hormonal changes, as more and more on what they perceive as the end of his life as a woman in full operation .

Much of this concern is a result of misinformation, so it is even more critical that every woman understand the methods used to detect the menopause, including hormone levels and blood's role in this process.

If you think you may be experiencing the first symptoms of menopause, one way to know for sure is that your doctor test your hormone levels. When you approach menopause, your glands produce less progesterone, and to begin the process of closing its reproductive capacity. A good method to measure levels of the hormone means to determine if an abnormally large amount of estrogen that occur.

When progesterone is not present in sufficient quantity to counteract the effects of estrogen, unexplained weight gain, insomnia, mood changes and may, along with other symptoms. Your physician may use measurements of the levels of hormones for menopause not only detection but also eliminating the possibility of other diseases.

The best way is to detect the menopause by measuring hormone levels with blood tests. Many times, changes in the menstrual cycle can cause confusion and fear in women during the years before the onset of menopause. Hormone levels measured with a blood test becomes very important for early detection of a number of issues hormonal imbalances, and deficiencies can be corrected with various forms of hormone replacement. Early signs and symptoms of menopause can often be minimized with these replacement therapies.

The detection process of menopause by measuring hormone levels with a blood test is relatively simple and is also one of the less invasive techniques you can use. The real benefits can be seen in the early detection of menopause and other conditions, and reducing the need for painkillers and other medications when menopause is aggressively treated since its inception.viagra online Many women are using these medicines to treat a very real pain that can cause discomfort of menopausal symptoms. Principles of hormone replacement techniques can help prevent such complications.

For years, it has been commonly assumed that women should just accept the signs and symptoms of menopause, suffer in silence and wait for change to happen. By detecting it earlier than ever before through the measurements of hormone levels with blood tests, doctors can now more aggressively treat symptoms and provide better quality of life for their female patients, even during stress of menopause.

What is Menopause – Help?

We all know what menopause is, but do we? We also all know that it does not seem to effect any two women in exactly the same way. Some women sail thought no real noticeable symptoms, yet others suffer with hot flashes, mood swings, and a host of other physical issues. The real secret to menopause relief seems to the acceptance of the changes that are happening, persistence and flexibility in finding treatments that work for you and a good sense of humor.

As I type this I realize that I might have death threats being put out against me. I am in no way downplaying the real emotional and physical toll that menopause takes on many. In fact I am saying that this is such a big issue for many with no real sure fire, 100% solutions that you need to respect that you are against a very formidable issue, so you are best served by strategies that are long term and aimed at preserving your health, relationships and your sanity.

The bottom line is time keeps marching on and every perky girl who ever graced the silver screen or the pages of magazines has either gone thought it or will be going thought it. Thousands before us have gone through it. It is inevitable, but out response to it is not. Our bodies might give us hot flashes, but we decide if they make us ashamed and upset that time is catching up to us or if they are a chance to laugh. You need to decide if you call it a hot flash or is it a power surge.

Acceptance is important, because it will happen no matter what, but finding solutions is very important. Talk to other woman in your family and find out what helped them with menopause. Talk to trusted girlfriends and coworkers. Research on the internet and make some simple changes, like adding soy products for the estrogen like properties in soybeans. In countries with high soybean consumption woman do not experience the same levels menopause symptoms that we have in western cultures.

Talk to your physician. Your health care providers are there for a reason. Don’t be ashamed to tell them what your problems are. They can offer treatments, alternatives, and ideas. All they do all day hear what is working and not working for people in treating this and many other conditions. Relief might be as simple as a little estrogen cream applied once a day in your case or drinking black cohosh tea. Menopause help will not come find you, so be your own advocate and find something that works for you.

Premature Menopause – Get the Gist

It might be surprising for some to hear that others might experience premature menopause especially if you strictly associate this period in a woman’s life with an older age of about 40 and above. It’s a little disturbing as well to know that there might be instances when you yourself might be a candidate for this condition and you might experience it in the least expected earlier time of your life.

Indeed premature menopause does happen. On the average, a woman may experience such stoppage of the monthly period naturally between the age of 40 and 50. During this period, the ovaries no longer produce a mature egg and thus any preparatory event such as thickening of the lining of the uterus along with sudden surge of progesterone, no longer takes place. Since the surrounding tissues of the uterus will not change by addition of potential nourishment, the usual monthly period is also absent.

Is the Condition Natural?

Such a condition can be natural or induced by what is triggered by different things including ones genes, a medical procedure underwent by the concerned individual, and even serious medical conditions.

Commonly, one may tell if they are undergoing this condition through various symptoms. One obvious thing to be encountered is very little, irregular or missed monthly visits especially among those who have a normal menstrual cycle. Aside from irregular visits, too slow or too heavy blood flow may also indicate that your fertility is dropping too soon.

A sudden sensation of something hot enveloping your upper extremities is also another good sign to watch out for. Other related symptoms can be observed as well.

These include: lowered libido, sudden changes in ones mood, one easily gets depressed even if there is no particular reason to do so, incontinence or sudden loss of control on one’s peeing, drying vagina, relatively dry mouth, eyes and even skin, and sleeplessness.

Take a good look at your family background also proves to be helpful in assessing whether you are indeed undergoing such a condition or not. If an autoimmune disorder runs in the family, chances of you experiencing premature menopause is quite high. Women who have undergone chemotherapy or any form of radiation therapy also posses high risk of experiencing earlier fertility drop. Also, those who have direct family members who have experienced the same are likely to pass the same condition to you.

Take a Tour and Know What is Menopause

Although women who approach fifty or beyond usually suffer from a natural condition, which redefines their monthly period, no one perhaps has a clear understanding about what is menopause?

Individuals may have various thoughts on this condition but which ones are true and which are myths. Taking a brief information tour might help one be enlightened about this condition.

So what is menopause really? Some women may think that this condition happens among a few select women, but it is every woman once they progress with age will experience this condition. The term is not merely the condition but rather it is more of the changes that before or after the normal monthly period of a woman stops.

Such event is often referred to as the signal that tells the women that her reproductive period is more or less over. This is supported by the fact that during this time, the ovaries, which are the source of a mature egg, no longer release a mature ovum. As a result, there will be no disintegration of the uterine lining and so no monthly period.

There are two general types of this condition: natural (which happens in women 40 years old and above) or the premature (those that happen in women below 40 years of age). In the first condition, the whole thing is gradual and is divided into three phases: perimenopause, menopause, postmenopause. The perimenopause stage is classically associated with significantly lowered estrogen production.

Also, during this time, mood swings, depression, fatigue, insomnia, racing heart, dryness in the vagina and subsequent reduced sexual drive, irritability, and headaches are also relatively pronounced during this transition period. That is why this is considered as the preparatory stage since you will need to be ready to get used to these changes.

In the menopause stage, the ovaries have completely stopped producing mature eggs, which are ready for fertilization. Because of this event, a pronounced stoppage of the usual monthly period happens. Estrogen levels in among under this period are quite very low. The postmenopause stage is the years that will pass after the menopausal stage. Uncomfortable symptoms may have also evaporated during this period. The associated discomforts of the first two stages are no longer evident due to the reduced estrogen level. Now that you have a clearer understanding of what is menopause, take the steps to prepare yourself.

Menopause – Green Tea is the Secret Healthy Weapon For Menopause

As women reach menopause, breast cancer, uterine cancer and ovarian cancer are threatening us. Moreover, in order to mask menopause symptoms, menopause women have to take synthetic or bio-identical estrogen, which is a strong carcinogen.

Everyday, due to genetic and environmental factors, some cells out of the trillions in your body may turn cancerous spontaneously. As Rome was not built in one day, cancer is not developed in one day too. At the time of diagnosis, most cancers have been in the body for 10 years.

During those 10 years, cancer growth obeys no rule. Cancers develop at different rates over different periods in different people. Something in the body promotes cancer growth, such as estrogen, which stimulates cancer cells to multiply out of control. Fortunately, something can inhibit cancer development.

Green tea is a secret weapon that fights cancers, because it contains high concentration of EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), one of the strongest antioxidants which shows impressive activity against many kinds of cancer.

EGCG is one class of a larger group of protective phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are natural chemicals widely distributed in plants. They have powerful anticancer activity and also protect against coronary heart disease. No wonder eating more fruits and vegetables, in whatever form, is clearly a great way to take advantage of the healing properties of food.

Studies found that the well-known anticancer activity of green tea is a result of its inhibiting one of the most frequently over expressed enzymes in human cancers, called urokinase. Extracts of green tea have been shown to prevent cancer in animals, and recently similar claims have been made about black tea.

All true tea comes from the same plant species (Camellia sinensis), such as black tea, pu-erh tea, oolong- tea, so they should contain EGCG. However, herbal teas are not true tea, so they do not contain EGCG.

You need to drink about four cups of green tea daily to get the optimal dose of EGCG. EGCG deteriorates quickly, so drink tea as fresh as possible and discard tea which has been kept overnight. Although green tea contains less caffeine than coffee, it is still a stimulant. Brewed tea contains about half as much caffeine as instant coffee. Avoid drinking tea in the evening.

Pour boiling water over tea leaves and let steep for 5 minutes. Drink tea the Chinese way with no milk or sugar. I feel tea made with a microwave does not taste as good as tea made with boiling water.

Tea is a time-honored beverage which has been consumed over thousands of years. Although coffee increases heart rate, insomnia, nervousness, headache, irritability, diarrhea and frequent urination, so far, no negative effects have been reported on tea.

Menopause women, who are taking synthetic or bio-identical estrogen to mask menopause symptoms, are susceptible to cancers. Green tea is a great antidote to the cancer-causing effect by synthetic or bio-identical estrogen.

Why do women gain weight at menopause?

If you have started going through menopause you've probably noticed a few extra kilos around your midsection area. Do not worry, you're not alone, one of the major symptoms of menopause seem to be to obtain weight and a general change in the shape of your body. And while it may not be happy about this unfortunate incident, only to be taken into account that women in menopause weight gain, and is a very common. Studies have shown that approximately 90% of women begin to gain weight between the ages of 35 and 55. Never fear, you can not be responsible for this weight gain, studies have shown that most women in menopause weight gain due to a change in hormone levels, not overeating.

The average woman has been to gain about 10 to 15 pounds during the menopausal years. However, the most likely weight is gained gradually through their pre-menopausal years, you can expect your package around an extra pound a year. The weight gain that occurs with menopause is likely that around your abdominal area instead of the most common areas, such as the hips, thighs and buttocks. During menopause it is harder and harder for your body to redistribute the weight evenly.

What factors lead to women in menopause to weight gain?

The cause of weight gain menopause is the change in the maintenance of their body weight levels of the hormone.

1. Estrogen: Estrogen is a female hormone that makes a woman ovulates each month. However, during menopause, this hormone decreases dramatically because of their body to stop ovulation. This decrease in estrogen seems to be an important factor in weight gain of menopause. Because the ovaries produce less estrogen, your body begins to look elsewhere to get their desired estrogen. The problem here is that fat cells have been known to produce estrogen, so your body will start to convert their calories in fat to increase estrogen levels. This is obviously a major reason why women in menopause weight gain.

2. Progesterone: This is the hormone that regulates water weight we carry in our bodies. During menopause, this hormone has been shown to decrease rapidly, as does estrogen, which makes women hold more water as they grow, thus adding a bit of pounds to the stack menopause weight gain.

3. Testosterone: Testosterone is the hormone that facilitates the creation of lean muscle mass of the calories we consume. And, it's a proven fact that muscle burns more calories than fat, increasing metabolism. During menopause, hormone levels low testosterone, causing muscle loss, which unfortunately results in a lower metabolism and gain more weight.

4. Androgen: This is the hormone that is responsible for sending the newly formed fat in your midsection. In fact, the period for weight gain during menopause is commonly referred to as "middle-aged spread," due to rapid weight gain in the abdominal area. In fact, one of the number one sign of menopause is the increased production of testosterone resulting in increased belly fat.

The silver lining:

Although I know it can be difficult to accept that women in menopause weight gain is important to know the benefits of this event, apparently unfortunate. You have to know that this weight gain is natural and can actually be a good thing. This small amount of extra weight you can put really the lesson of the symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes and anxiety. Furthermore, weight gain during menopause is regulated by your body, and help prevent osteoporosis and other common diseases associated with aging.

Menopausal Hormone Treatment and Natural Hormone Treatment

menopause19What questions remain unanswered?

Cathy was beginning to understand more about the benefits and risks of using hormones, but she wondered whether there are still questions about the WHI results and menopausal hormone therapy in general. What else needs to be looked at?

Experts now know more about menopause and have a better understanding of what the WHI results mean. But, they have new questions also.

  • The average age of women participating in the trial was 63, more than 10 years older than the average age of menopause, and the WHI was looking at reducing the risk of chronic diseases of growing older like heart disease and osteoporosis. Do the WHI results apply to younger women choosing MHT to relieve symptoms around the time of menopause or to women who have early surgical menopause (surgery to remove both ovaries or the uterus)?
  • Other studies show that lower doses of estrogen than were studied in the WHI provide relief from symptoms of menopause for some women and still help women maintain bone density. What are the long-term benefits and risks of lower doses of estrogen?
  • In the WHI, women using E alone did not seem to have a greater risk of heart disease than women not using hormones. Does this mean that the risk of heart disease in healthy women in their 50s who can use estrogen alone might not be higher than the risk in women who don’t use estrogen?
  • Would using progesterone or a different progestin than the one used in the WHI be less risky to a woman’s heart?
  • The combination menopausal hormone therapy used in the WHI makes it somewhat more likely that a woman could develop breast cancer, especially with long-term use. Is using a different type of estrogen, a smaller dose of estrogen or progesterone, or a different progestin (instead of medroxyprogesterone acetate) safer?
  • Does using estrogen around the time of menopause change the risk of possible dementia in later life as starting it after age 65 did in the WHI Memory Study (WHIMS)?

The National Institute on Aging and other parts of the National Institutes of Health, along with other medical research centers, continue to explore questions such as these. They hope that in the future these studies will give women additional facts needed to make informed decisions about relieving menopausal symptoms.

What are “natural hormones”?

Cathy’s friend Susan thinks she is not at risk for serious side effects from menopausal hormone therapy because she uses “natural hormones” to treat her hot flashes and night sweats. Cathy asked Dr. Kent about them. He told her that there is very little reliable scientific information from high-quality clinical trials about the safety of “natural” or compounded hormones, how well they control the symptoms of menopause, and whether they are as good or better to use than FDA-approved estrogens, progesterone, and progestins.

The “natural hormones” Susan uses are estrogen and progesterone made from plants such as soy or yams. Some people also call them bioidentical hormones because they are supposed to be chemically the same as the hormones naturally made by a woman’s body. These so-called natural hormones are put together (compounded) by a compounding pharmacist. This pharmacist follows a formula decided on by a doctor familiar with this approach. Compounded hormones are not regulated or approved by the FDA. So, we don’t know much about how safe or effective they are or how the quality varies from batch to batch.

Drug companies also make estrogens and progesterone from plants like soy and yams. Some of these are also chemically identical to the hormones made by your body. These other forms of MHT are available by prescription.  Importantly, hormones made by drug companies are regulated and approved by the FDA.

There are also “natural” treatments for the symptoms of menopause that are available over-the-counter, without a prescription. Black cohosh is one that women use, but a couple of clinical trials have shown that it did not relieve hot flashes in postmenopausal women or those approaching menopause.  Because of rare reports of serious liver disease, scientists are concerned about the possible effects of black cohosh on the liver. Other “natural” treatments are made from soy or yams. None of these are regulated or approved by the FDA.

What’s right for me?

There is no single answer for all women who are trying to decide whether to use menopausal hormone therapy (MHT). You have to look at your own needs and weigh your own risks.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself and talk to your doctor about:

  • Do menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes or vaginal dryness bother me a lot? Like many women, your hot flashes or night sweats will likely go away over time, but vaginal dryness may not. MHT can help with troubling symptoms.
  • Am I at risk for developing osteoporosis? Estrogen might protect bone mass while you use it. However, there are other drugs that can protect your bones without MHT’s risks. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of those medicines for you.
  • Do I have a history of heart disease or risk factors such as high blood cholesterol? Using estrogen and progestin can increase your risk.
  • Do I have a family history of breast cancer? If you have a family history of breast cancer, check with your doctor about your risk.
  • I have high levels of triglycerides and a family history of gallbladder disease. Can I use MHT? The safety of any kind of MHT in women with high levels of triglycerides or a family history of gallbladder disease is not known. But some experts think that using a patch will not raise your triglyceride level or increase your chance of gallbladder problems. Using an oral estrogen pill might.
  • Do I have liver disease or a history of stroke or blood clots in my veins? MHT, especially taken by mouth, might not be safe for you to use.

In all cases, talk to your doctor about how best to treat or prevent your menopause symptoms or diseases for which you are at risk.

If you are already using menopausal hormone therapy and think you would like to stop, first ask your doctor how to do that. Some doctors suggest tapering off slowly.

Whatever decision you make now about using MHT is not final. You can start or end the treatment at any time, although, as we learned from the WHI, it appears that it is best not to start MHT many years after menopause. If you stop, some of your risks will lessen over time, but so will the benefits. Discuss your decision about menopausal hormone therapy with your doctor at your annual checkup.

MHT is not one size fits all

Cathy realized that talking to her friends about what each is doing to relieve menopause symptoms was helpful, but that her decision needed to be just for her. And she was sure that basing her decision just on what she heard on a TV show might not be the best way to choose. She tried to find sources of information that seemed to be unbiased and didn’t have a product to promote. She felt most comfortable with science-based websites like the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or doctors’ professional groups.

Each woman is different, and the decision for each one about menopausal hormone therapy will probably also be different. But, almost every research study helps give women and their doctors more information to answer the question: Is menopausal hormone therapy right for me?

For More Information

Other resources on menopausal hormone therapy include:

National Institutes of Health
Menopausal Hormone Therapy Information
www.nih.gov/PHTindex.htm

The National Library of Medicine MedlinePlus www.medlineplus.gov website has information on many health subjects, including menopause. Click on Health Topics. Choose any topic you are interested in, such as menopause, menopausal hormone therapy, or osteoporosis, by clicking on the first letter of the topics and scrolling down the list to find it.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street, SW
P.O. Box 96920
Washington, DC 20090-6920
1-202-638-5577
www.acog.org

Food and Drug Administration
10903 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002
1-888-463-6332 (toll-free)
www.fda.gov

North American Menopause Society
P.O. Box 94527
Cleveland, OH 44101
1-440-442-7550
1-800-774-5342 (toll-free)
www.menopause.org

For more information on health and aging, including menopause, contact:

National Institute on Aging
Information Center
P.O. Box 8057
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8057
1-800-222-2225 (toll-free)
1-800-222-4225 (TTY/toll-free)
www.nia.nih.gov
www.nia.nih.gov/Espanol

To order free publications (in English and Spanish) or sign up for email alerts, go to www.nia.nih.gov/HealthInformation.

Visit NIHSeniorHealth (www.nihseniorhealth.gov), a senior-friendly website from the National Institute on Aging and the National Library of Medicine. This website has health information for older adults. Special features make it simple to use. For example, you can click on a button to have the text read out loud or to make the type larger.

Do You Have Depression In Menopause?

depression and menopause

depression and menopause

If you were to ask most women that were going through menopause what it was that stuck out most of their mind it would probably be something along the lines of hot flashes or perhaps headaches. Something that happens with many women, however, is the fact that they may experience depression during menopause, even if they had never experienced it before in their lives. Some women may not make the connection between the fact that they are going through menopause and that they are experiencing depression but in many cases, the two may be quite intertwined just the fact that you are suffering depression in menopause.

If you are experiencing depression in menopause, it is important for you to make sure that you talk to somebody about it in order for them to be aware of the situation. Depression is certainly nothing to play around with and although it is possible for you to reduce the amount of depression that you are experiencing naturally, it is still something that should not be kept to yourself. That being said, here are some things that you can do which will help you to work on the amount of depression that you are feeling and to overcome it in many cases.

One of the main reasons why women have depression in menopause is as a result of the fluctuation of hormones, vitamins and minerals in their bodies. If you’re lacking in vitamins and minerals as a result of menopause, supplementing with them may help you to overcome your depression to a large extent.

Something else that you can do which helped greatly with depression in almost every instance is to exercise regularly. Exercise not only helps to bring the body into a balance, it also releases chemicals into the body which make you feel good about yourself. That is why some people actually get addicted to exercise and once you do it regularly, you will find that you enjoy doing it and the way that it makes you feel.

Another thing to try is to adjust your diet, as this may be at the root of your depression. We may have been able to handle eating a standard American diet before our body began to fluctuate its hormone levels but now, the same diet may be deadly to us. Avoiding processed sugar and any other processed foods is a great start and can help you to improve your overall outlook. Not only that, you often feel and look a lot healthier, which is a great deterrent to depression overall.

Ovarian Cysts during Menopause and What to Do about Them

menopause and ovarian cysts

menopause and ovarian cysts

Something that is of concern to many women who are going through menopause is the possibility of having ovarian cysts during menopause and this time in their life. These cysts can cause additional fluctuations in the hormones that are being produced by the ovaries and can throw you out of balance even further than menopause itself. In order for you to overcome these problems, there are a number of different natural things that you can do.

The first thing that you need to understand is that in many cases, the ovarian cysts that are occurring during menopause are not really going to do all that much damage. As a matter of fact, there are a number of different fibroids that can occur in both inside of the uterus and on the ovaries during menopause that will naturally disappear once menopause is gone. Although it is not really known why they occur, it is thought to be a natural process and it is very rare that these benign tumors are going to need to be removed surgically.

Of course, there are some things that you can do in order to balance the body out and to reduce the number of cysts that you are experiencing naturally. Since it is as result of the body being out of balance and experiencing a reduction in the amount of estrogen and progesterone that the body is producing, often, bringing those levels back up naturally is an excellent way for you to reduce the number of fibroids that you are experiencing. This can be done through homeopathic means and there are plenty of enzyme therapies that are naturally available through your homeopath.

Something else that you may want to do is to adjust your diet so that it is more balanced. The easiest way for you to do this is to add things in your diet, such as raw fruits and vegetables. Instead of changing your diet rapidly, which very rarely works, begin to add things to your diet in order to change it gradually. Exercising regularly can also have a great impact on your overall body balance.

One final thing that you can do is to make sure that you are hydrated properly. Make sure that you are drinking eight to 10 glasses of water every day and taking a little bit of salt with the water. It will help to flush impurities out of your body and to bring it back into a balance that it may be lacking.