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Natural Ways to Overcome Menopause

Menopause has occurred when a whole year has passed since the date of a woman’s final period. Prior to the final menstrual period there is perimenopause, a transition lasting from two to eight years, during which time women ovulate less and less and their cycle begins to lengthen. In Australia menopause commonly occurs between 48 and 53 years of age.

Although it is something that many women dread, if you have spent the majority of your adult life dedicated to your career and/or looking after your children, the time of menopause may be a gift to you….. Perhaps to slow down, drop the hours you work and begin to express your creative side. A career change may be in the making. Perhaps you can start to do, and be what you want and not what has been expected of you in the past. Many women over the age of fifty, take a deep breath in and a good look at the life they have created for themselves and for the first time in their lives make changes; with themselves in mind and heart - and guess what - nobody else!

Menopause is, and can be a very exciting time of life!

Menopause – A Natural Transition of Life

Our oestrogen does decline, however we do not want any more babies, do not necessarily need to ovulate and it is a normal and natural progression, a transition in life. We are not biologically defective and automatically in need of medication.

It is true that symptoms of menopause do include a range of things such as hot flushes, sweating, insomnia, nervous irritability, depression, lack of concentration, joint pain, vaginal dryness, excessive menstrual bleeding, headaches and palpations.

Obviously this isn’t pleasant to experience but fortunately very single one of those menopause symptoms mentioned above can generally be treated successfully with an alkalising diet, see our Recommended Diet, which is high in fresh vegetables & salads and low in sugar, alcohol, red meat & grains, and herbal medicines in conjunction with a cleansing and detoxing program…..Gentle Liver Cleanse.

This is not by an act of suppression or covering up a natural biological process, but by normalising the internal functioning of organs and systems and encouraging the balance of hormones using plants.

A client, healthy, working full-time, in her mid-sixties came to me wanting to get off her HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy). She has never had a hot flush in her life. She was placed on HRT in her midforties. I was interested to know the reason. It was she replied, “just what doctor’s did in those days, the trendy thing to do, we all did it!”

Concerns about HRT

No orthodox medication will ever be able to precisely mimic the finely tuned, ever-adjusting levels of hormones produced by an individual woman. The ovaries may no longer be producing oestrogen, however the adrenal glands, liver, fat (adipose) and muscle tissue and intestines take over the role of oestrogen production. It is common sense then that peri-menopausal and menopausal women be considering their intestinal health as well as liver detoxification. The reduction of stress levels is also important, so that the adrenals are no longer in over-drive AND if you weigh more than what you did in your twenties this is also NORMAL and needed for oestrogen production!

Synthetic administration of oestrogen and progesterone totally crushes and over-rides the capacity of a female body to make the gentle transition to a new mechanism of natural hormones. HRT produces a non-physiologic pattern of breakdown products that the liver does not recognise and increases undesirable levels of certain liver proteins as well as increasing the likelihood of gall bladder stones. Premarin, the most commonly prescribed oestrogen pharmaceutical, is derived from pregnant mares’ urine.

In July of 2002, you may remember press releases about a major clinical trial on HRT (the oestrogen plus progestin trial) that was stopped in its tracks three years short of its completion. It was decided that the health risks outweighed the benefits. They had found that HRT increased the risk of invasive breast cancer beyond the specified safety limit. The study also found increases in coronary heart disease, stroke and pulmonary embolism in those women receiving HRT, compared to women receiving placebo. The TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) concluded that the combination HRT in any form should not be used for long-term disease prevention in postmenopausal women because the risks outweigh the benefits.

The best, most effective way to come off HRT is slowly and in conjunction with your health care professional. Most women have to re-experience some symptoms, often more than what they would have experienced initially if they had never gone on HRT. (All those extra toxins in the liver). But with a pure diet, liver cleansing techniques and herbal medicine, the transition you may have been avoiding will be much smoother.

Herbal Medicines Can be Very Effective to Relieve Menopause Symptoms

Herbal Medicines contain oestrogen-like substances (phytooestrogens) that bind to oestrogen receptor sites and increase the oestrogenic response in the body. There are herbal medicines to support adrenal gland function, thereby promoting the production of oestrogen.

Herbs during peri-menopause/menopause are also needed to detox the liver, manage anxiety and depression, (especially when behaviour and feelings are uncharacteristic to the individual), alleviate insomnia, reduce or clear hot sweats and flushing, promote vaginal mucus production, cease menstrual flooding, resolve fluid retention, increase energy levels and libido and can also heal a sluggish or irritated digestive system.

Diet; Eat Your Way to Feeling Better Again

The dietary intake of phyto-oestrogens improves many perimenopausal/menopausal symptoms including flushing, sweating and vaginal dryness. Adding just 100gms tofu and 1 tablespoon of cold pressed flaxseed oil has had a remarkable effect on many of my menopausal clients. And when you add herbs containing plant oestrogens, the benefits are even greater.

Edible sprouts, particularly Alfalfa sprouts, have been scientifically proven to have oestrogenic activity. Most fresh and dried beans and possibly all legumes (beans, chickpeas, etc) are thought to contain quantities of plant oestrogens. Linseeds (flaxseeds) and the grains including corn, rye, buckwheat, millet, oats, and barley all contain lignans, phyto-oestrogenic compounds. And the culinary herbs, aniseed, caraway, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, parsley and fenugreek also possess oestrogenic activity.

Exercise

From my understanding the best exercise you can possibly undertake promoting bone density, fitness and to enhance emotional well-being are walking, swimming (preferably in fresh/sea water), Tai Chi, Chi Gong (gentle Chinese exercise) and some of the more gentle forms of yoga, such as Tibetan and Chinese yoga.

Top Tip to overcome dryness;

Wheat germ oil, or infused Calendula oil are the best lubricants for vaginal dryness and irritation. Wheat germ is the highest food source containing vitamin E and Calendula is a proven anti-fungal, antiinflammatory and healing agent. Applying a little natural yoghurt to the area is helpful also. Oestrogen-promoting herbal medicines and foods can also alleviate vaginal dryness.

Good News to Finish On

The fluctuating cycles of LH (Luteinising Hormone) and FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) during the menstruating years frequently bring emotional highs and lows and feelings of instability. After menopause, LH and FSH balance out bringing emotional stability and an unbelievable feeling of well being! Menopause can be something to look forward to, rather than being dreaded!

If you aren’t already using natural remedies to help with your symptoms it is best to see a Naturopath 1st to have a full consultation.

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