What do you know about menopause? Perhaps it’s the anxious expectation of hot flashes, mood swings, incontinence, depression and insomnia that go on for years – definitely nothing to look forward to! How would you like to change your perspective and find easy solutions for debilitating symptoms? Sound too good to be true? Read on for the ultimate morale booster and learn you are not alone…
Why Newspapers & Magazines (and even this article) – Cannot Give You The Full Story
For your average 35+ lady on the street , whether she is raising children, running a business or working hard – life does not leave much time for any investigation into what menopause really is, and even less time to uncover the proven natural remedies that improve symptoms! The modern woman – in her rushing life – now relies on newspapers, magazines, and the occasional Google session to find answers when she is falling apart at the seams! The problem with popular media is that it’s very rare to find the complete picture of menopause in one article, let alone refine that information for an woman’s individual needs.
For instance, how much have you heard about the interplay of your estrogen hormones with thyroid(metabolism) and serotonin(happy hormone)? Has anyone ever shown you exactly how eating your broccoli and making time for regular meals and relaxation can actually lower your anxiety – and the severity of hot flashes? You know that fibre is a good thing, but did you know it can lower your risk of breast cancer – which sources should you get it from to avoid gaining weight on whole wheat breads and pastas?
It’s no wonder that millions of women feel like they are alone – on a ship out to sea in the most turbulent of waters imaginable! There is so much that can take you unaware during menopause, that this can easily turns into an extremely isolating time, with relationships, mental health, and fitness all threatening to burn up in the fires of your changing hormones.
Are You Avoiding HRT, Antidepressants and Sleeping Pills?
Many women want to find out if there is an alternative to antidepressants, HRT, blood pressure medication, and sleeping pills. The good news is, that with the right knowledge and support, you can understand and recognise what’s going on and begin to come into your happier, balanced place.
The hot flashes, anxiety and depression can start any-time from 35 years and continue for up to 4 years after your last period! With a maturing population that leaves millions of women suffering deeply on their own. Without an expert to guide you, access to life-changing information and support from other women, the road is sticky indeed.
Many of us have of course heard about HRT – once widely prescribed for all women reporting symptoms of ‘The Change’ to their doctor, HRT is linked with an increase in female cancers – breast, ovarian, endometrial (uterus/womb). Naturally fearful of HRT, women have decided to navigate The Change without support – but this also leaves you without the background knowledge required on hormones, nutrients, supplements, movement and lifestyle recommendations to make it a smooth a ride as possible! For some women, HRT will actually be the best way forward for them. If you choose to try natural ways to hormonal calm before HRT – The Sistahood offers you steps to take before – which include giving very clear information on alcohol, sugar, fibre, and supplements that will really help you to make the personal push for a better tomorrow. At The Sistahood, we don’t just tell you what to do, we give you the why – easy to digest science that will turn on light-bulbs of self understanding and empowering knowledge to light the way!
The Science Bit
There are three types of estrogen hormones experienced by a woman. Your ovaries now say it’s time to take a holiday and stop making so much Estradiol (your main estrogen during fertile years). Your main estrogen will now be Estrone. When you were pregnant it was Estriol.
The sensors in your brain notice the drop in estrogens… only no one told your brain it was time for a rest! Your brain starts hollering at your ovaries…
BRAIN TO OVARIES!!! ANYONE IN? I DETECT YOU ARE TAKING A HOLIDAY – MAKE -MORE ESTROGENS! MAKE MORE ESTROGENS! I’M SENDING IN FSH TO KICK YOU INTO ACTION!!”.
It’s like the brain having a loudspeaker. Your brain sends out Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) to the ovaries to holler again. FSH dutifully foghorns the signal from your brain. Once upon a time, when your periods were more regular, the FSH would have caused a ripe egg to prepare for ovulation. But, as you now have less ripe eggs, the egg never gets ready…and so FSH keeps yelling!
Eventually, your ovaries find a ripe egg and splutter into action pumping out Estradiol. But just like you…..your ovaries have had enough of doing what everyone else needs! And they say:
Nope! I’m putting my feet up! No more ripe eggs here, stop your hollering!
So now estrogen levels drop again. And so it continues through peri-menopause with jumps up and down in levels of estrogen, and therefore how you are feeling too!
Did you know that oestrogen is in a dance with progesterone. They each signal the body to make or respond to the other. Its super common for women of any age to have an estrogen/progesterone imbalance. Adrenal stress is likely the root cause, in addition to the common swings of perimenopause. Stress robs your body of both these hormones, So find ways to seek pleasure in life and learn to say no! Know your boundaries and know your joy.
So now you know why you have these sanity questioning fluctuations in mood, appetite, energy, vaginal juiciness, joy, body temperature, breast volume, bleeding, pelvic pain, sleep, sex drive, tolerance of others and more! It’s not you its your hormones! This can be a really challenging time (to say the least) for women, especially if they did not have a smooth ride with their periods either. It’s important that you get support, practice self-compassion, and ease back if you are feeling overwhelmed.
How to stabilise hormonal levels naturally
The most important part is that you learn to live for you!! Nourish you!! No doubt you’ve spent a long time accommodating others (willingly and unwillingly!.) Now that estrogen has dropped, so will your willingness to serve others!
Here’s my top tips for you to get started on at home!
1 – Monitor stress, find ways to relax and seek pleasure
It’s helpful to learn a mindfulness technique and deep breathing with a skilled teacher, try out some gentle yoga, OM chanting, hang out with supportive females and partners, and journal. Are you actually taking any time out each day just for you? Just one yoga class a week, and 15 minutes of yoga a day has been proven to improve sleep and reduce the impact of hot flashes on daily life!
2 – Deep breathing for 20 minutes a day can curb hot flushes by 20%!
You can learn more about menopause-specific at a Sistahood Workshop and by checking out the article here.
3 – Eat a wholesome diet with lots of filtered water.
Have veggies, lean proteins and healthy fats at each meal. If you are having any bowel troubles like IBS or constipation, pelvic pain, or food sensitivities, recurrent infections or a low mood, then it’s vital you work with a trained practitioner to make a healthy gut. If the gut is irritated, you may not be absorbing the nutrients you need to help you coast through, or making enough serotonin to feel good. Many people benefit from finding alternatives to gluten, dairy and conventionally raised meat (barns/corn feed).
4 – Specific Dietary additions:
- Flax and soy can increase levels of oestrogen – get expert advice – during peri-menopause (aka The Change) you have time when you will be making too much estrogen already!
- Avoid coffee, alcohol, gluten, sugar and any other irritants
- Eat rhubarb to alleviate hot flushes
- Make bone broth for strong bones!
5 – Specific Lifestyle Supports
- Get sunlight every day! Vitamin D is essential for immunity, bones and more!
- Use natural cosmetics, garden sprays, cleaners and clothes &bedding; avoid cans and plastics – all hormonal disruptors.
- Moderate exercise to build bone strength – like yoga. Don’t push it through! Too much sweat and you could bring on a hot flash!
- Have regular sleep cycles – try to get to sleep by 10pm, no screens after 8pm
7 – Supplement tip!
300mg-600mg each night of valerian, can help you sleep
If you aim to nourish yourself with good foods, blood sugar balance and relaxation, you may not want to take further supplementations. Whilst there are many proven to help with various aspects of menopausal symptoms, you will need to consult with an educated coach, herbalist, naturopath or functional doctor to ensure you get the right ones at the right doses – not everyone will need them all!
- Vitamin E
- Magnesium oxide
- Pueraria tea
- St John’s Wort
- Black Cohosh
- Red and Asian ginsengs
6 – Get a team of support!
It’s common for other hormones glands involved with stress and metabolism to go a bit awry too! Work with a professional to come into balance. As well as Wellness Coaches and Health Coaches you may be drawn to friends, support groups, functional nutritionists, accupuncturists, yoga teachers, meditation teachers, energy healers, functional doctors and endocrine specialists.
7 – Remember that HRT isn’t all bad if your hormone levels are monitored
See a functional/integrative medical practitioner for bio-identical hormones, rather than commonly prescribed synthetic ones. These doctors are also to great for getting your hormonal levels checked.
Work with a coach to find out which strategies are BEST FOR YOU! We all have our own hormonal, genetic and personality fingerprints, with varying experiences of life. A skilled Woman’s Wellness Coach will help you identify what will best serve you. You can contact Claire at The SIstahood now for details of the next workshop Cooling Off Menopause here and for personal coaching.