Yoga for Menopause – Enjoy this guest post by Allannah Law!

Cat yoga

by Allannah Law!

At some point in a women’s life, often in her late forties, she will find herself going through yet another transitional stage. And that stage is menopause – the cessation of her periods. If only it were that simple. Imagine waking up one day, your period is due, yet never arrives – and thinking – ah! I must be in menopause! However, as we well know, menopause can be a hell of a lot more complicated than that – its more like arrrgggghh! Menopause!!!!! Most women enter menopause somewhere between their mid forties and early fifties. However, as Dr Chistiane Northrup describes in her inspirational book – The Wisdom of Menopause – PERImenopause can start as early as 35.

My cousin discovered this to her dismay. She had just turned 39 when she went to her GP with symptoms of increased irritability, insomnia and feeling flushed. She was unduly worried- the symptoms were manageable – but she felt maybe her contraceptive pill was not agreeing with her. Her doctor suggested a hormonal profile, during her checkup, as well as some routine bloodwork. She was horrified when the results came back. Her oestrogen level was well below normal, in fact, she had a count of one (should be about 100By the time she was diagnosed at 39, she had been going through perimenopause for years and was in the stage before menopause!

So how can yoga help? Yoga can help because the purpose of yoga is balance. Postures, breathing techniques, relaxation and meditation are designed to balance your mind and body. Yoga works directly with your nervous system, increasing the parasympathetic response – allowing the body to relax and restore. When your nervous system is stable it stops your hormonal system from over reacting. The cycle of stress is well researched. When we are stressed our sympathetic nervous system (SNS) goes into overdrive, causing the hormonal system to flood our bodies with hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline. This provides our bodies with the energy we need to run or defend ourselves – fight or flight. When these hormones leave our body, we are left fatigued, the body needs to restore itself. When we are constantly stressed, these hormonal levels are routinely high, leaving no time for the body to restore. At any time in a woman’s life, this can cause major physical and mental reactions including lowered immunity, anxiety, depression and even Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. At menopause however, when we need hormonal balance as much as we did at the onset of our period, it can be devastating.

Yoga also works directly on your endocrine system – balancing the body’s hormonal levels, reducing oestrogen excess if needed; or encouraging the body to produce more, depending on the stage you are at. One of the most well researched yoga techniques is Progressive Muscle Relaxation, which has now been proven to reduce stress and anxiety; promote healthy sleep; improve wellbeing and immunity and reduce pain and discomfort in the body.

The best news is that these techniques, once learnt, can be practised at home, or whenever they are needed to bring relief and calm. The key is knowing what to practise and when. Helpful poses include forward bends, gentle inversions and lying postures. Strengthening poses are also useful, as they build bone in your body,and decrease the risk of osteoporosis. There are also pranayama (breathing techniques) created specifically to cool the body and calm the mind. Meditations and visualisations, practised before bed, will bring deep and restful sleep. But a word of caution, not all yoga styles are suited to menopause. And I’ll be writing next post on why not all yogas are equal – ESPECIALLY when it comes to menopause.

Allannah law is a fully qualified Yoga Teacher and Therapist. She specialises in Women’s health with a particular interest in fertility, pregnancy, post pregnancy and menopause. www.yogayin.com

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Premature Menopause Symptoms and Treatment

Early Metamorphosis © lynette sheppard

Early Metamorphosis © lynette sheppard

This guest post by Dr. Andre Berger demystifies symptoms and outlines help for when the Big M comes early. I know several women who started menopause in their late 20′s  / early 30′s. If you think the Change is body and mind boggling when you are 50, think what it might be if you were a younger adult. I’m sure you’ll find it informative.

The average age for the onset of menopause is approximately 51 years of age. However, some women may experience menopause before the age of 40. This early onset can be due to genetics, medical procedures, illness, or causes that are unknown. Whether it is caused naturally or induced, it is called “premature” menopause.

Premature Menopause Symptoms and Treatment

Women undergoing premature menopause will experience symptoms such as mood swings, hot flashes or other symptoms associated with menopause. However, those going through premature menopause often face additional emotional and physical concerns. For example, since menopause signals the end of fertility, women who want to get pregnant may face difficulty doing so.

Symptoms of Premature Menopause

The sign is the same as natural menopause and can include which is 12 consecutive months with no period.

Accompanying symptoms are caused by the decrees of estrogen and may include:

Vaginal dryness
Bladder irritability
Emotional changes such as depression and mood swings
Dry skin, mouth or eyes
Decreased sex drive
Difficulty with sleeping

In addition to these symptoms, if you are under the age of 40 and have any of the following, you should consult a physician to determine if you are actually experiencing premature menopause

Undergone radiation or chemotherapy
You or a family member have an autoimmune disorder
Your mother or sister went through premature menopause

Premature Menopause Diagnosis

You will likely undergo a physical exam plus blood and diagnosing testing to exclude any other medical conditions, including thyroid disease or pregnancy. You may also undergo tests that measure your estradiol, progesterone, cortisone, and testosterone levels.

The most important tests is a blood test that measures the Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) that signals your ovaries to produce estrogen and Luteinizing Hormone (LH). When the ovaries slow the production of estrogen, the follicle-stimulating hormone levels rise. If these levels rise above a certain level, this is a good indication that you are in menopause.

Premature Menopause Treatment

Premature menopause can be treated and managed with methods used for natural menopause. However, women dealing with infertility issues caused by premature menopause should discuss their options with a reproductive specialist.

Women experiencing premature menopause are experiencing lower estrogen levels that can lead to overall health changes. Additionally, these women may be at higher risks for conditions such as osteoporosis, heart disease, as well as increased risk for colon and ovarian cancer, cataract formation, gum disease and tooth loss.

If you feel you are experiencing premature menopause, consult a physician.

Dr. Andre Berger is the founder of Rejuvalife Vitality Institute in Beverly Hills, CA, and the author of the acclaimed book “The Beverly Hills Ant-Aging Prescription. Dr. Berger is Secretary of the California Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, has been board certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine for 20 years and is a diplomate of the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine, and the American Board of Holistic and Integrative Medicine.

 

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Happy Hair Days Are Here Again

tangled sunflower © lynette sheppard

tangled sunflower © lynette sheppard

Thinning hair has plagued me since the beginning of menopause. Actually, it freaked me out more than any other symptom! And I had plenty of them. When I dashed to the dermatologist and hairdresser in a panic, they were less than concerned or interested. I really felt alone.

Thankfully, those days are behind us. More and more, thinning hair is recognized as a frequent and disturbing malady for Menopause Goddesses. While overall, my thinning has slowed and stabilized, I still long for fuller hair with more body.

I help matters by having my hair cut in layers, and getting periodic highlights to “fatten” up my hair so it looks fuller. Still, anything that can help, I am game for.

When the Redken folks were looking for women with thinning hair to try their new Cerafill product line specifically geared to us, I raised my virtual hand up high. Pick me, please. Pick me. And they did.

For two weeks, I used the Cerafill solution to thinning hair. I used the Defy shampoo and conditioner. Then I worked in the Cerafill Maximize Dense FX which thickens hair diameter. I also tried the fourth product they sent called Cerafill Maximize Texture Effect, which really fluffed up my hair.

Cerafill defy

Cerafill defy

densefx-and-texture-effect-122x350

Previously I’d had pretty good success using my previous shampoo and conditioner – Nioxin. As for products to fluff, I changed every other month – they all worked okay. I did feel like my hair seemed thicker subjectively using the Cerafill products almost right away. But I wondered if I wasn’t just talking myself into it.

Yes, I should have taken before and after pictures but other than the inadvertent neck selfies when my iPhone camera flips to front facing, I rarely take photos of myself. I’d have to depend on my sense of touch.

Near the end of two weeks of use, off I went to a professional conference. A woman came up to me out of nowhere and said, “I love your hair. I would give anything to have hair like yours!”  I stammered a “Thank you” and went to the restroom to take a look in the mirror. While I wouldn’t say I felt that I looked dramatically different, my hair did look full and normal. Normal is big when you have thinning hair, believe me.

I got more compliments on my hair over the three days of the conference than I have had over the last 12 months. I think that would constitute a successful trial of Redken’s new Cerafill thin hair solution.

Tomorrow, I go to see my hairdresser. I’ll let you know what he says!

In the interests of full disclosure:   I am participating in a Vibrant Influencer network campaign for Cerafill powered by Redken. I am receiving a fee for posting; however, the opinions expressed in this post are my own.* I am in no way affiliated with Redken and do not earn a commission or percent of sales.

*If you regularly read my blog, then you know that I don’t endorse anything lightly nor do I pretend to like something when I don’t.  Nuff said.

For more information, check out these links:

Redken Cerafill Webpage
Cerafill Salon Finder
Redken Youtube Page has some cool videos of real people and their experiences with the products, so you don’t have to just take my word for it.

Yes, there is hope for our hair after menopause. Hallelujah!

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Beat the Summer Heat with this Survival Kit

Mele in the Grass © lynette sheppard

Mele in the Grass © lynette sheppard

The dog days of August are upon us, which is a double whammy for an already thermically challenged Menopause Goddess. Time to head for water – a pool, riverbank, or beach. Or even your back yard. And to help you cope with the summer heat wave, we are offering a giveaway to one lucky goddess.

Estroven, a well-known company in helping women manage hot flashes and more through the menopause transition, has sent us their “Beat the Heat” survival kit, designed to keep you cool while you enjoy summertime. It includes a beach towel, a water bottle (got to stay hydrated), sunscreen, (wrinkle prevention), a two month supply of Estroven weight management (which also helps with hot flashes – sort of a 2 for 1 supplement, woo hoo), an ice sphere which is a cute little plastic thingy that you can freeze water and fruit in and add to any beverage for extra cooling and flavor, and a booklet of nutrition tips from Estroven’s expert, LeAnne Skinner.

And of course, you’ll need reading material, so I will throw in an autographed copy of “The Big M”, the chronicle of our Menopause Goddess group adventures, guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. (And there are lots of helpful tips for surviving, even thriving during menopause and beyond.)

OK, so the contest. All you have to do is “like” Estroven (click here) and Menopause Goddess Blog (click here) on Facebook. Once you have “liked” both pages, send your mailing address and email to me at lynette@9points.com. We will draw a lucky winner from the contestants in one week – on Monday, August 11. (BTW, I only need your address, etc. to facilitate getting you your prize, should you win. I won’t use it for any other purpose.)

Oh, and if you have already “liked” Menopause Goddess Blog FB page in the past? Then just “like” Lusome’s FB page and send me your info. You don’t get left out just because you are an early adopter or loyal follower.

Note: The Estroven supplement contains soy isoflavones and black cohosh. If you are allergic to soy (like me, sigh), then you may not take the supplement. OK, stay cool and start liking!

PS. Congratulations to Peg Daley, who won the Lusome sleepwear giveaway!

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Menopod: Cool New Device Relieves Hot Flashes Naturally

frozen flower © lynette sheppard

frozen flower © lynette sheppard


The folks at Alexander Medical sent me one of their “cool” devices to try. It’s called the Menopod. Small enough to carry in a purse and discreet to use, this little powerhouse really does stop hot flashes in their tracks.

It works by counteracting what happens during a hot flash. When we suffer menopausal vasomotor instability (hot flash), our surface blood vessels dilate causing a flush and sensation of heat. With the menopod, we can reverse the process. Press the power button when the discomfort starts and place the device on the back of your neck. It’s copper cooling plates put 41 degrees F (5 degrees C) right where your thermoreceptors are most sensitive. The brain (for reasons unknown to me, even as a registered nurse) responds by vasoconstriction of surface vessels and blessed cooling of the flash.

Here’s a little more info straight from the developers.

FYI, the Menopod was “born” when CEO Patricia Copeland went through menopause hell with hot flashes, especially as she was not a candidate for hormonal treatment. Menopause goddesses like Patricia make things happen!

I have been carrying the Menopod around with me for a couple of weeks, and it works like a charm. Sure, ice cubes or a bag of frozen peas might work too, but they are horribly inconvenient most times. And messy. And usually not instantly available.

The menopause folks have launched an Indiegogo campaign to make sure this device is available to menopausal women everywhere: here is the link:  https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/menopod-hot-flash-relief/x/8032073. 

You can buy it at a greatly reduced price during this promotion, but only until August 26. I bought mine! Too too cool. And that is a great thing to be for a menopausal woman. Just sayin’.

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Giveaway: Cooling Sleepwear Can Be Yours

Daisy Chain © lynette sheppard

Daisy Chain © lynette sheppard

Earlier this month, we had a guest post about the innovative “cool” new sleepwear from Lusome. I got to try it – and it’s an absolute winner in my book. With a feeling of soft brushed cotton along with its wicking ability, we can be dry and cool all night long. Which is heaven, as those of us who have been hot, wet, then cold in rapid succession can attest.

Anne sleepwear © Lusome

Anne sleepwear © Lusome

The Lusome folks want to give away one of their lovely cool gowns or jammies to a lucky Menopause Goddess. And because we goddesses don’t have a lot of time or energy thanks to this transition, we will make it super easy.

Just “Like” Lusome’s Facebook page (click here) and then “Like” Menopause Goddess Blog Facebook page (click here.) Once you have “liked” both pages, send your mailing address and email to me at lynette@9points.com. We will draw a lucky winner from the contestants in one week – on Monday, August 4. (BTW, I only need your address, etc. to facilitate getting you your prize, should you win. I won’t use it for any other purpose.)

Check out the Lusome website for all the beautiful styles and start thinking about the one you want! I chose the Anne gown – and I love it.

Oh, and if you have already “liked” Menopause Goddess Blog FB page in the past? Then just “like” Lusome’s FB page and send me your info. You don’t get left out just because you are an early adopter or loyal follower.

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Older Ladies Rock!

Donnalou Stevens

Donnalou Stevens

Donnalou Stevens is a true Menopause Goddess. Her hilarious midlife song Older Ladies has gone viral. Watch it and you’ll see why. This may just be our new anthem as we journey our Second Adulthood. Enjoy. And you can find more on her website at donnaloustevens.com

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Menopause Supplements and Licorice

Candy Dish © lynette sheppard

Candy Dish © lynette sheppard

This informative guest post comes to us from our friends at menopausesupplement.com. Licorice may just relieve our hot flashes – just think, we might be cool without hormones or the latest trend of prescribing antidepressant drugs. (Talk about using an elephant gun to kill a fly – antidepressants purely for hot flashes? Really?) Read on for enlightening info including how licorice has effects similar to SSRI antidepressant drugs – without the big dog side effects.

Menopause Supplements and Licorice

When faced with menopause symptoms, many women turn to menopause supplements because of the health risks associated with hormone replacement therapy. The most common herbal remedy for menopause is black cohosh. While some women have experienced success with black cohosh, many have been left disappointed and forced to take more drastic action for their menopause symptoms. What many women do not know is that licorice is a viable alternative and research is continually showing what a great menopause supplement it can be.

A recent study conducted with 90 women showed that licorice root is effective in reducing the frequency and severity of hot flashes. In fact, licorice showed approximately a 90% reduction of severe hot flashes while the placebo only showed less than a 10% difference. After 8 weeks the test group stopped taking licorice which resulted in hot flashes going back to their original levels, confirming that licorice is effective.

No one knows for sure why licorice is effective for hot flashes but it may be a combination of two interesting properties of licorice. First of all, licorice has similar properties to a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).  A SSRI influences a neurotransmitter called serotonin which is thought to have a role in affecting body heat and thereby reducing hot flashes. Additionally SSRIs are generally used for their role in elevating mood and may be beneficial for women going through mild or moderate menopause mood symptoms*.

Another reason licorice may be so good at alleviating menopause symptoms is that it is a phytoestrogen which means that it mimics the effects of estrogen in the body.  Menopause symptoms are closely connected to diminishing estradiol (a type of estrogen). It was previously known that that glabridin, a molecule in licorice, functions like estradiol.  In one of the pioneering studies on glabridin, glabridin was proven to be a phytoestrogen that actually binds to estrogen receptors in the body. According to the study, “The stimulatory effects of 2.5–25 μg/animal glabridin were similar to those of 5 mg/animal estradiol.” So it makes sense that a natural substance that shares the same structure as estradiol, and is confirmed to operate similar to estradiol in the body, will have beneficial effects with respect to relieving menopause symptoms.

Overall, licorice-based supplements have been clinically studied and found to greatly reduce common menopause symptoms by naturally replace the bodily substances that are diminished during menopause.

While it may be tempting to attack the candy aisle at the grocery store, you should know that licorice candy is not really licorice and furthermore taking licorice for an extended period of time can be bad for your health. There is a menopause supplement based on a licorice extract called MenoSupp that is specially formulated for safe daily consumption. You can learn more about licorice and MenoSupp at: www.menopausesupplement.com.

1. Lida Menatia, Khosheh Khaleghinezhadb, Mitra Tadayonic & Amir Siahpooshd. (2013). “Evaluation of Contextual and Demographic Factors on Licorice Effecting on Reducing Hot Flashes in Postmenopause women.” Health Care for Women International, 00:1-13 (2013).

2.  Ofir R., Tamir S., Khatib S., Vaya J., Inhibition of Serotonin Re-uptake by Licorice Constituents. Journal of Molecular Neuroscience. 2003 Apr 20 .(2):135-140

3. Snait Tamir, Mark Eizenberg, Dalia Somjen, Sarit Izrael, Jacob Vaya. “Estrogen-like activity of glabrene and other constituents isolated from licorice root.” Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 78 (2001) 291-298.

 

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Staying Cool and Dry at Night: Help for Night Sweats

Anne sleepwear © Lusome

Anne sleepwear © Lusome

Lara Smith of Lusome contributed this guest post, introducing her line of sleepwear for Menopause Goddesses. They sent me a nightgown to try and it is glorious. And my husband Dewitt loves it. I’m not only cool – I look stylish not frumpy. As most of you know, I am a wicking sleepwear junkie and have tried a number of brands. I like and use many of them. Definitely, the Lusome fabric is different – it feels more like brushed cotton than athletic microfiber. Read on to learn more – and Lara also shares some other great tips for getting a good night’s sleep. Enjoy!

Staying Cool and Dry at Night
Night Sweats Suck! For about 75% of women, hot flashes and night sweats are a fact of life during perimenopause and menopause. For some women it is a minor annoyance but for others the extreme perspiration makes sleeping through the night impossible.

Finally, a proven solution that is comfortable and beautiful. I founded Lusomé with dryLon technology for the millions of women suffering through night sweats. After 20+ years in the fashion industry I put my production and sourcing experience to good work and partnered with a fabric mill, experts in textile innovation.  Over the period of 18 months we worked on fabrics that achieved superior moisture management performance with a soft luxurious handfeel.

Why don’t you treat yourself to a brand new pair of sleepwear from Lusomé (www.lusome.com)? Lusomé sleepwear combines best-in-class fabric and manufacturing with a beautiful yet simplistic aesthetic to offer women relief from those nasty night sweats.

Of course there are other factors keeping us awake, and we have the following tips:

  • Put your smart phone, Ipad or any other device away.
  • Ladies, turn down that thermostat! It will do wonders for the environment and your body temperature. And, recent studies suggest you will burn a few more calories by setting the thermostat to 65 when you sleep.
  • Swap caffeine for herbal teas. With the insurgence of tea bars almost on every other corner, it is easy to find a tea that will not only cure some ailment but will be quite enjoyable to drink.
  • Ladies- you will love this one- avoid night workouts! The post workout adrenaline will keep you as alert as a cup of java will.
  • Avoid that nap!  If you must rest during the day, do it for a max of 20 or so minutes, anything more will interrupt a good night’s sleep.
  • Routines are key to catching quality zzzz’s, so establish a regular bedtime. Go to bed at the same time every night. Pick a time when you normally feel tired, so that you don’t toss and turn. Try to stick to this nightly schedule even on weekends when it may be tempting to stay up late.

 

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Top Home Remedies To Cure Bacterial Vaginosis

Abstraction V © lynette sheppard

Abstraction V © lynette sheppard

Vaginitis, vaginal atrophy, vaginosis. These can afflict us during and after Menopause. Guest blogger Joydeep Majumder shares some simple, effective home remedies for vaginosis. Remember these conditions can mimic one another and/or occur together. For this reason, it is helpful to consult a health care professional to determine the state of your vaginal health.

Top Home Remedies To Cure Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis causes strong itchiness, swelling, and bleeding in the vagina. It starts inflammation when bacteria count increases in the vagina. There are a number of home remedies for treating this condition.

Bacterial vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis

  • Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is a very effective remedy for vaginosis. A cup of apple cider vinegar in the bathtub to soak the vagina will help to kill the bacteria and toxins.
  • Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil contains strong antifungal property, which helps in killing harmful fungi. Rinse your vagina in 2-3 tbsp tea tree oil in water. It also removes unpleasant vaginal odor.
  • Garlic: Garlic also possesses strong antifungal and antibacterial agents that kill bacteria. A few slices of fresh garlic ground in paste needs to be applied to your vagina. Rinse it off with water later.
  • Fenugreek: Soak fenugreek in a glass of water in the night and then drink the water in the morning. Drink the water on an empty stomach. This solution balances the hormones efficiently and regulates menstrual cycles.
  • Tea bag: A wet tea bag reduces itchiness in the vagina. Freeze it for several minutes and then put into the vagina for 10 minutes.
  • Yogurt: Yogurt helps to balance normal vaginal pH level. Soak a tampon in the solution, which includes yogurt and water. Pass the tampon through the vagina for 3-5 minutes and rinse it later. Because of the presence of lactobacillus acidophilus, yogurt helps in proper restoration of equilibrium in a woman’s vagina.
  • Citrus Fruits: Citrus fruit is a great source of vitamin C that fights against vaginal infection and fights against vaginal odor.
  • Diet concerns: Avoid high fat foods including butter, milk, chocolate and the like.
  • Vitamin E content: Get enough Vitamin E through fruits like avocado, broccoli, kiwi, and other fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid certain products: Avoid fermented items, chocolate, soy sauce, vinegar, cheese and the like.
  • Douche: Douche, specifically boric acid type of douche helps in the acidification of overall pH of the vagina. Those sensitive to Boric Acid should refrain from using it. Potassium iodide-rich douches are effective in terms of lowering the overall pH or you can use vinegar with less concentration. Some experts believe that one should refrain from douching, but do consult someone before doing this practice.
  • Warm water bath acts as a powerful home remedy for the disease. It helps soothe the vaginal tissues.The warm temperature of the water also helps in eradicating weak organisms present in the vagina. It is important to set the right temperature of the water to avoid any skin injury.
  • Practice of Safe Sex: In addition to the above, safe sex is a must. Use protective means to avoid getting organisms. Vaginal condoms are necessary in this regard. This will also help reduce the possibility of transmission to your partner.

It is important to consult experts to determine the possible complexity of using any of the solutions for bacterial vaginosis. The best solution should be used for eradicating bacterial vaginosis. Abstinence is essential for better healing of this disease.

Author Bio:

This article is written by Joydeep Majumder. Bacterial Vaginosis has been affecting lots of women these days due to different factors. These bacterial vaginosis remedies can help you cure the disease painlessly and effectively.

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