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Menopause Q&A

The Most Misunderstood Transition of Your Life

There is so much in print and in the media about menopause.  There are over 40 million women in the U.S. who have reached that time of life when menstruation ends and the ovaries no longer make very much estrogen.  This is a normal body "change" that forces menstrual periods to slow, then stop completely.  When there is no menstrual period for a year, a woman is said to be "in menopause." 

 

The physical changes that occur during menopause should not slow you down or keep you from activities you enjoy.  Every woman is unique.  How you cope with and respond to menopause, can determine whether it is a pleasant or unpleasant experience.  If you understand your body, learn what options are available to you to prepare you for the rest of your life and live each day to the fullest, menopause can be the beginning of one of the best periods of your life.

 

How do you know if your starting this process? The period before menopause is called peri-menopause.  During peri-menopause some women have no symptoms and others realize something is happening to their bodies.  Some of the symptoms include:

  • Irregular periods that occur unpredictably and vary in length and amount of flow.

  • Hot flashes that feel like a sudden rush of heat that start at the chest or neck and spread to the face, and are accompanied by sweating, flushing, blotching or a rapid heart rate.

  • Night sweats which are when a hot flash awakens a woman from a sound sleep and she finds herself drenched in sweat.

  • Vaginal dryness that can cause painful intercourse.

  • Change in sexual desire where there is an increased or decreased interest in sex.

  • Urge incontinence causing a sudden urge to urinate.

  • Stress incontinence causing involuntary leakage of urine when you laugh, cough, sneeze or lift a heavy object.

  • Overflow incontinence where there is a constant leaking of small amounts of urine.

The women we hear from say even more.  Such a far wider range of symptoms that include facial hair, itchy scalp, thinning hair, brittle nails and even a deepening voice.  So many symptoms can come from the aging process, so how does the loss of estrogen relate to accelerated age-related symptoms you may ask?

 

Let's start with thinning hair. According to the information we have, as women age, they often experience significant overall thinning, as well as a reduction in hair shaft diameter, particularly around the forehead and crown of the scalp.  Before menopause, estrogen blocks or "opposes" the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT).  DHT is the known cause of non-traumatic hair loss. Once females enter menopause, levels of estrogen decline and more testosterone is then available to be converted to DHT.  Some researchers suggest that before menopause about 13 percent of women report hair thinning; afterwards, about 37 percent.

 

Regarding loss of muscle tone: no one really knows if women's muscle tone changes are a general result of aging or from hormone fluctuations, the studies simply haven't been done.  But in the 1940's, a Los Angeles gynecologist named Arnold Kegel recognized that as estrogen levels decreased during menopause, pelvic floor muscle relaxation accelerates, leading to urinary incontinence, sexual response problems, prolapse and other issues.  His regimen of pelvic muscle exercises is very helpful in strengthening the bladder and retaining orgasmic vitality.  The instructions are outlined for this exercise on the left column of this page.

 

Many come to us regarding our natural hair remover and how it will help them with unwanted facial hair.  We'll it really does help. But why does it happen in the first place? Before menopause, androgen hormones, mostly testosterone, combine with estrogen providing the balance for a woman's body.  "When a woman enters menopause, production of ovarian hormones declines," says Fall2003 Remedy Magazine.  "This means that estrogen levels drop, often more than levels of androgen hormones such as testosterone.  This can cause the appearance of facial hair or a deeper voice."

 

"Dry Eye." That's what the National Eye Institute is calling it.  A condition more common in women, especially after menopause.  The main symptom of dry eye is usually a scratchy or sandy feeling, as if something is in the eye.  To determine the cause and treatment, it is important to see an ophthalmologist for an evaluation.

 

SURGICAL MENOPAUSE

 

Surgical Menopause occurs when ovaries are removed by an operation before naturally occurring menopause. Menopause can also be caused by treatment for a serious disease, like breast cancer.
 

MAINTAINING VAGINAL HEALTH

 

The Kegel Exercise can strengthen the muscles around the urethra, vagina and rectum, helping to improve bladder control. The exercise involves squeezing and relaxing the muscles around the vagina. Squeeze them tightly for 5 to 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat this 10 times every time you talk on the phone or any other time when you are waiting for someone or something. Many women make a practice of "doing Kegels" each time they stop at a traffic light.

MENOPAUSE MYTHS & FACTS

Myth: Menopause makes women emotionally unstable.
Fact: Most women experience no emotional problems; those that occur can be treated.

Myth: Menopause puts an end to sexual desire.
Fact: Vaginal dryness can make intercourse painful, reducing desire, but this is readily treated with products such as a vaginal lubricant for one. Menopause itself can affect libido either positively or negatively; some women actually have increased libido with menopause.

Myth: What we eat doesn't affect us.
Fact: Eating foods high in plant estrogens, such as soybeans and lima beans, may alleviate menopause symptoms; additional sources include whole grains, other beans, nuts, and seeds. Quoted from the book, "The Alternative Advisor."

Myth: Menopause disrupts a women's life.
Fact: Most women experience few or no menopausal problems; 25 percent have moderate, treatable symptoms. In countries where age is respected, women report the fewest symptoms during menopause.

MENSTRUAL MYTHS & FACTS

Myth: A bath causes or worsens menstrual cramps.
Fact: Soaking in a warm bath can soothe and relax muscles; thereby reducing pain.

Myth: Menstruating women should restrict their activities; and even stay in bed and rest.
Fact: Women can carry on normal activities during their period. Exercise may actually help lessen pain by stimulating muscles to release endorphins.

The above statements came from the book The Alternative Advisor, The Complete Guide to Natural Therapies & Alternative Treatments

Do you have any of the symptoms listed below? The former Dr. John Lee, M.D., states in his book, Natural Progesterone: The Multiple Roles of a Remarkable Hormone, that the use of natural progesterone can reduce or eliminate the symptoms associated with hormonal imbalance, menopause, and osteoporosis.
 

HELPFUL TIPS FROM ALTERNATIVE HEALTH AUTHORS


Essential oils of Clary Sage, Sage, and Geranium can help ease the symptoms of menopause. Put a few drops in the bath, or sprinkle the oil on a handkerchief and inhale. This is quoted from the book, "The Alternative Advisor."

 

Information we obtained came from the following organizations:

Medical Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of a licensed medical doctor. Natural Solutions - Holistic Beauty, Body & Bath (Bewellstaywell.com) does not diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you have or suspect a mental or physical health condition, please see your healthcare provider.