Tag Archives | MenopauseGoddessBlog

What’s Important to Post-Menopausal Goddesses?

Arch of Celebration © lynette sheppard

Arch of Celebration © lynette sheppard

OK, wow. As of this post, I am officially no longer the go-to Menopause person at Menopause Goddess Blog. I’m thrilled that Ashley Ross has taken over that position. From now on, I’m the Second Adulthood blogger here. Ashley and I will alternate weeks posting most of the time, subject to change if one of us is on vacation, overwhelmed, etc.

Now that menopause is (mostly) in my rear view mirror, I find myself contemplating how I might spend the rest of my life’s time. Not that we didn’t spend hours discussing how we might best live a vibrant Second Adulthood during our Menopause Goddess gatherings – we surely did! It’s never too early to start looking ahead and crafting a vision for the future.

Myriad thoughts and ideas swim through my head. Crafting a vision is important, but so are the changes brought about by aging, coping with elderly parents, dealing with loss. So for this first blog post, I’d like to ask what you are most interested in reading and sharing.

Because that blank piece of paper can sometimes make the mind go blank (happens to me all the time), I’ll list some potential topics. Add others as you think of them. You can post them here in the comments section or email me at lynette@9points.com. That will let me know where you’d like the conversation to start.

Potential Topics
Retirement (or being unable to retire)
Finding a passion
Creating a new relationship (with either a new person or your partner of many years)
Exploring creativity
Caregiving
Health issues
Staying / becoming healthy
Looking good
Aging
Coping with change
Travel
Redefining yourself
Legacy and giving back
Grandchildren
Me time
Nurturing self
Nurturing others
Learning

These are just a few ideas – let me know which of these is most important or intriguing to you or send me topics of your own. I’m excited about experiencing this new adventure together. Again, my direct email is lynette@9points.com  Can’t wait to hear from my sister goddesses, menopausal and post-menopausal.

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Ashley Ross Joins Menopause Goddess Blog!

Painted Lady © lynette sheppard

Painted Lady © lynette sheppard

Drumroll please. I am so excited to welcome Ashley to our virtual menopause community. As a menopause coach and holistic health practitioner with a focus on women’s hormonal issues (and one who has journeyed this transition herself), she is uniquely qualified to take over the Menopause area of the blog. I’ll let her introduce herself to you in this first of many blog posts. (BTW, Ashley is available to help in person and also virtually via Skype – details at the end of the post!)

Ash-6

Hello everyone!

by Ashley Jeanne Ross

I am so thrilled to be joining the inimitable Lynette Sheppard and the Menopause Goddess Blog community as it changes and transforms just as we all do. Menopause is after all The Ultimate Change. And MGB is about to become a fuller and more collaborative mouthpiece for Gracious Transitions and What Awaits beyond.  What an honor!

Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Ashley Jeanne Ross – holistic women’s health practitioner, counselor and coach, mother and lover of relevant and inspiring perspectives on this crazy and fabulous ride called life.

Here’s what I’m passionate about: I’m on a mission to eradicating the the obstacles that keep us from feeling at home in our bodies. With so many forces coming at us from when we were little girls until we arrive at our full womanhood – to turn away from or even against our women’s bodies – it becomes the Task of Menopause for many of us to ‘find our way back home’.

When I began working with women 20 years ago – balancing menstrual cycles, managing PMS, counseling mood swings, teaching natural birth control – women in menopause would implore me to help them, please! There was a tiny voice (you know that one, right?) that said to me: “Wait until you’ve gone through it – that’s when you’ll be able to really help them.” So I would refer them to other practitioners and waited for my turn.

It arrived almost 8 years ago, that day I began to feel The Change coming on … a story for another blog.

Since then, I’ve sat with hundreds of women in all kinds of settings and we’ve mulled over this crazy, confusing and ill-treated time in a woman’s life – to see if there might be another way to understand what’s happening to us. We’ve toyed with the idea of Change, and what it means to change. Our needs are changing, certainly our bodies are changing, our sexuality’s changing, our focus is changing. Apparently we’re changing!

A very surprising question emerged – what if we changed intentionally, consciously?  What if we claimed this transition, this change of life and went through a Conscious Menopause?

Here’s a taster of how that might look:

  • instead of feeling at the mercy of your symptoms, you can learn to decipher what they’re trying to tell you
  • instead of being afraid of The Change, you might use it to revamp outdated beliefs and habits that have overstayed their welcome
  • instead of biding your time to ‘just get through it’, you can make adjustments that will pay off down the road
  • instead of feeling alone in your misery, you can turn to your sisters for support and fabulous stories

So much to explore together. It’s such an honor to be here. Thank you Lynette for inviting me to the party. I am truly delighted to join the wonderful Menopause Goddesses, to share what inspires me and to be inspired as we claim this “one wild and precious life”.

BIOGRAPHY
Ashley Jeanne Ross seems to have a insatiable lifelong fascination with the rich terrain where our hormones and emotions meet. When she’s not immersed in studying the female experience, she’s an author, teacher, counselor and speaker, as well as a loving mother of burgeoning adult triplets, two girls and a boy. Her ‘day job’ is as a holistic reproductive health practitioner, professional fertility awareness educator and somatic counselor in private practice in California, and thanks to the 21st century, also online. Place her in a circle of women to observe her in her natural habitat.

Ashley offers Conscious Menopause coaching in San Rafael and via Skype. You can read more on her website ashleyjeanneross.com

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Menopause Goddess Blog Part Deux

Vibrant Amaryllis © lynette sheppard

Vibrant Amaryllis © lynette sheppard

Back in early December, I wrote that Menopause Goddess Blog would be going through some changes. I had hoped to introduce our new addition, fabulous Menopause Coach Ashley Ross,  by the end of December. The holidays and such got in the way, like they do, so we will be starting the new format in February.

Ashley will write on the Menopause transition and I will write about Living Our Second Act from my postmenopausal perspective. Many of our original goddesses have thankfully seen the worst of the changes recede in their rear view mirror, yet we remain committed to our sisters just beginning this rocky ride.

We will continue to showcase products in our Menopause Marketplace and keep up with the latest on the Big M. And I am very excited to embark together on our journey into Second Adulthood. Stay tuned! And if you have specific questions, thoughts, offerings; be sure to let us know by clicking on Contact Us in the left sidebar.

Menopause may be an ending but it is also a beginning. Most important is that we travel these roads together. That will take us from merely surviving to outright thriving.

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Managing Hot Flushes & Night Sweats

Flame On © lynette sheppard

Flame On © lynette sheppard

One of our goddess sisters from across the pond, Lucy Teear, shares this terrific book review with tips for managing hot flashes and night sweats naturally. And do check out Lucy’s blog at Embrace the Change.

Book Review: Managing Hot Flushes & Night Sweats  By Myra Hunter & Melanie Smith

by Lucy Teear

Whoa…. My usual chick lit abandoned for two nights in favour of truly engrossing and informative read about the menopause, not something I ever expected to say! The menopause seems to be such a taboo subject, something to be suffered in silence and ever so slightly embarrassing, but this book provides balanced informative which changed my preconceived negative thoughts and the four week self-help guide shared techniques to help manage symptoms that are uplifting and positive.

The Finding of This Holy Grail….

I discovered Myra Hunter and her wonderful book in October whilst attending a “Managing menopausal symptoms following breast cancer treatments” (bit of a mouthful) held by “Breast Cancer Care” support – a fabulous support network that saved my sanity whilst going through chemo.

Having had breast cancer the possibility of HRT is ruled out for me, so resigned to the fact I’d have to go cold turkey and the impact of chemo can make the symptoms more severe than a natural menopause… Explains the hell of the last 3yrs, major hot flushes up to 10 – 15  times plus a day at its peak, then the flooding where my period would last weeks and be so super heavy I’d be jacked up on tampons and pads giving me a cowboy stance!! All in all leaving me feel drained and incredibly miserable. Happy to report I’m in a much more manageable place but still attended like the majority of the women in the room full of hope of discovering a new medical breakthrough, a pill, a drug that would magically alleviate the suffering of the night sweats and hot flushes (now at about 2 a day), but what we covered and discovered was far more powerful and enlightening, resonating with me….

Including:

What is the menopause
Symptoms
Pharmacological approaches to alleviating symptoms
Non-pharmacological approaches (natural remedies etc.)
Cognitive behavioural approaches
Self-help strategies

All the above is covered in detail in a readable and engaging format in the book.

So, we didn’t get the pills and drugs but instead  CBT.

So what is “Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)”:

CBT is a therapy that helps manage problems by enabling you to recognise and ultimately change the way you think and behave in connection with the problem. Combining a cognitive approach with a behavioural approach, CBT encourages you to notice how your thoughts and actions influence one another.

It was clear that most of the women in the room felt the menopause was a taboo topic, something viewed negatively by society and therefore a source of great embarrassment… This is where CBT kicks in, as how we think will ultimately have an effect on how we experience the symptoms – makes sense right?

The below slide highlights the negative thought cycle:
hot flush cycle

My personal experience with hot flushes are they tend to arrive at the most inconvenient times, an example being a business meeting I had with five guys in a very small room, knowing it was going to be a challenging negotiation I was pretty pumped up and as soon as we started, it started… heat building, sending my pulse racing, panic rising along with the heat “My god they’ll notice” was all I could think, just intensifying the whole darn experience! In reality I’m sure it looked like a normal stress related response to the situation, and had I read this book then my perception would be just that and I’d have handled differently, controlled my breathing and had a very different internal dialogue.

Although a complete rookie yogi, I’m a newbie fan of mediation/mindfulness and often use it to help with the stresses of work (Construction industry is a hive of stress), and hadn’t thought to apply it to menopausal symptoms but having read the book I now see the correlation between the reduction in my flushes and the reduction in stress since practising meditation daily. At the seminar Myra guided us through a paced breathing exercise and calm spread through the room, even the most skeptical looked more relaxed and chilled out!

Right, lets take a look at this book….

Managing-hot-flushes21

Firstly the authors credentials:

Myra Hunter (the speaker above) is professor of clinical health psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. She’s worked in the area of women’s health for over thirty years and her research on menopause has established her as an international expert in the field…. Knows her stuff for sure.

Melanie Smith is a clinical psychologist who has specialised in helping people to manage physical health conditions through the use of cognitive behavioural therapy. She is currently working with the Manchester and Salford Pain Centre.

The format:

The book covers in more depth what we touched on in the “Breast Cancer Seminar” and is divided into two sections:

Information about the menopause, hot flushes and CBT explained
CBT Self-Help Guide

There’s also download link which provides an audio recording guiding you through a relaxation and breathing exercise, which I love  listening to first thing in the morning to set me up for the day, as feel amazingly refreshed and positive after – Also great just before going to bed if you need to let go of the days fuzz buzzing around the mind!

Although both academics this book is clearly written by women for women, the first section shares current knowledge based on really accessible and easy to understand research data, along with the latest information on why we experience hot flushes and night sweats – It’s not all about the hormones! It looks at how different cultures experience the menopause which is fascinating, and makes you consider if society was less judgmental about the ageing process then maybe as women we wouldn’t judge ourselves so harshly and feel the embarrassment quite so deeply!

It covers the principles of CBT, the theory behind how it works and the relationship cycle between: Thought – Feelings – Behavior – Physical reactions and how this cycle impacts on menopause symptoms.

I found it a compelling read and I’m usually more of a fiction gal! Even reading aloud parts with much excitement to Teear (my husband for those who haven’t read my intro)… not sure how much he took in but feigned sufficient interest!

The second part of the book sets out an interactive four-week programme using CBT, exercises and worksheets designed to enable women to develop strategies for managing symptoms. This approach is based on the authors’ research and has been shown to be effective in recent clinical research trials.

The main components of the self guide include:

Being informed about menopause symptoms;
Understanding what can help you cope with your symptoms
Learning steps to use relaxation and paced breathing
Taking steps to reduce general levels of stress
Identifying and modifying triggers of hot flushes
Dealing with negative thoughts and behavioural reactions
Practicing relaxations and breathing at the onset of a flush
Dealing with hot flushes in social situations
managing night sweats and sleep

We’re now embarking on the four week self-help guide, Diane (who’s also reading the book) and I are doing this part together so we can compare notes and we’d like to invite fellow suffers to join in, feeding back your experiences and reviews – If you fancy giving it a go you can buy the book on: https://www.routledge.com/products/9780415625159.

Available also in the US at Amazon: click here.

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Menopause Goddess Blog: New Directions

Dubrovnik Walled City © lynette sheppard

Dubrovnik Walled City © lynette sheppard

It has been over a month since I posted to Menopause Goddess Blog – mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. How did this happen?

Well, for starters, I traveled to Croatia and Slovenia including a side trip to Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina with five girlfriends of a certain vintage. Yep, Dewitt was calling us the Menopause Vagabonds. We sampled history, stunning beauty, and some of the best white wines we have collectively encountered. Hmmmm, vagabonding. We may be on to something here.

Recovering from jet lag has proven to be an arduous process but I am finally on Hawaii standard time and my molecules have rejoined me. (They were spread across two oceans for a while.)

The holidays took another bite of time – Thanksgiving celebrations, Christmas parade, tree trimming, gift buying. Whew.

Now, for some big news. Menopause Goddess Blog will be changing in 2016. No worries, we will continue to bring you the latest news and reality checks about the menopause journey. In addition, we will be expanding our focus to Life after the Pause – how will we live a vibrant, joyful Second Act?

A fabulous menopause expert and coach will be joining me as a principal writer of the blog. She will be illuminating all things pausal and I will be exploring “what comes next.”  I’ll introduce her to you all before the end of the year. Stay tuned for new perspectives, new insights, new visions.

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Feel Fab After 40: A Webinar for Menopause Goddesses

Flame On © lynette sheppard

Flame On © lynette sheppard

Health and wellness company Root Fitness across the pond is offering a free webinar with help for menopause goddesses on Wednesday 22nd Oct. at 13:30  (1:30 pm) Pacfic Time.  To sign up, just click here.

This ‘Feel Fab after 40’ webinar gives ladies the opportunity to understand what causes and exacerbates menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, weight gain around the middle, poor sleep and irritability.   They then follow up with NATURAL solutions to keep these exhausting symptoms at bay so that women can go back to gliding through life with energy, vitality and confidence!

For more information about their program, Hot Flush Free  visit https://www.facebook.com/hotflushfree or www.hotflushfree.wordpress.com

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Healthy Heart Talk for Women

Heart disease is the number 1 killer of women. And a woman’s symptoms of heart attack often vary greatly from the classic symptoms that men suffer such as crushing chest pain radiating down the left arm. Women are much more likely to suffer jaw or neck pain, pain between the shoulder blades, or shortness of breath with sweating (heck that’s me every day on my run). There may be stomach or chest pain, but heart attack may also present as fatigue. Speaking as a former coronary care nurse, I can also add “feeling of impending doom” associated with any of the symptoms as a red flag. Don’t be stoic, get to an ER right away and get checked out. Oh, and if you have that feeling of impending doom? Call 911. I personally know a number of women who did and didn’t that suffered heart attacks. Getting medical help pronto saved heart muscle.

But better than getting treatment is prevention. Our pals at University of Florida shared this helpful infographic about the ins and outs of heart disease. Of course, prevention can be boiled down to a few simple interventions. A nurse friend of mine who also happens to be a hospital administrator has her own three point plan: eat well, destress, and keep moving. I couldn’t have said it better.

heart-disease-101-the-basics

For more info, click here.

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Regain Bladder Health with AZO

maypole London

Having to go urgently is truly uncomfortable and can be embarrassing as well. I remember several years ago visiting London with my husband. We had had a glorious time photographing children in fluffy dresses and ribbons dancing around a maypole in the shadow of the Tower bridge. We wandered over to a patch of tents selling all manner of crafts and even bought a stuffed bear named Pipkin. (We still have him – he lives on our bed – ok, too much information.)

The upshot of all this is that we both urgently had to urinate. And there were no public restrooms to be found. We hobbled across the bridge, thighs pressed tightly together, groaning and wondering what the penalty might be for public relieving. As we left the bridge walk, we came across a convention center draped with a 10 foot high banner proclaiming “Overactive Bladder”. We were laughing so hard we almost didn’t make it to our hard won goal of the restrooms inside.

For those who suffer urgency and frequency, though, it is no laughing matter. Remember those good old UTI days? Well, some of those symptoms can occur as we age. How sucky is that? I used to have a coworker who could not be 2 hours out of bathroom availability.

So when Menopause Goddess blog was offered a free sample of AZO Bladder Control to try, I contacted one of our satellite goddesses who suffers urgency and frequency to evaluate it. She used it for two weeks before she began noticing relief. After a month, she was delighted to report that her symptoms had eased so much that she felt “normal” again.

AZO

AZO Bladder Control is a drug-free, natural product with the active ingredients being pumpkin seed extract and soy isoflavones. Pumpkin seed extract supports bladder muscle integrity while the soy isoflavones help relax the muscles and maintain muscular strength in the pelvic floor.

Best of all, it’s available at your neighborhood drug store or grocery store. AZO has a range of other products that promote urinary and vaginal health that we didn’t try, including AZO Bladder, AZO Cranberry, AZO test strips, AZO Urinary Pain Relief, AZO Urinary Pain Relief Maximum Strength, and AZO  Yeast.

Find out more on their website:  www.azoproducts.com or follow AZO on Facebook:
www.facebook.com/AZOproducts

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New Treatment for Vaginal Atrophy: Mona Lisa Touch

Prism Heart © lynette sheppard

Prism Heart © lynette sheppard

Vaginal atrophy affects 4 out of 10 women after menopause. (I’m surprised it isn’t more.) We’ve had a number of posts regarding lubricants and other remedies that can help with this often painful condition. Everything from avoiding sexual intimacy to discharge to daily pain unrelated to activity has been a symptom of this all too common malady.

Recently, the FDA approved a laser treatment designed to rejuvenate the lining of the vagina. Now I am always a proponent of the least invasive remedies for any condition. Still, for women who suffer despite HRT, lubricants and the like, this may be life changing.

The treatment involves 3 office visits where the CO2 laser is inserted into the vagina and emits the treatment to the wall to stimulate collagen growth. It is painless and lasts only 5-10 minutes. The only caution is that sexual intimacy be abstained from for 24 – 48 hours after the treatment.

I spoke with Holly, a 49 year old woman who was having symptoms including dryness and itching. After one treatment, she noticed immediate improvement and says that her tissue feels “more full.” Full disclosure: Holly works for Medical Aesthetics of North Dallas, where the procedure was performed.

Holly relates that many of their patients have had worse symptoms than she and have enjoyed relief after the first treatment. Some women prefer this for the convenience factor – not having to mess with creams or gels.

They know of no side effects so far. The treatment has been done in Italy since 2008. It’s pricey – approximately $2700.00 for the series. Alas, insurance does not cover the procedure yet.

It’s good to know such an option is available. Would I do it? No, I don’t mind the inconvenience of vaginal estriol and good lubricants. For me, the least interventional option that gets me the desired result will always be my go to remedy. For those where nothing else works, who cannot take estrogen, or who are really bothered by the creams and gels, this might be a viable possibility.

For more info, check out Medical Aesthetics of North Dallas and this article from Medical Daily.

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Is It True That Tomato Juice Can Ease Menopause?

 

shutterstock_94720522

Enjoy this thought provoking guest blog post by health writer Evlin Simon. I’m off to the store to buy tomato juice?

Is It True That Tomato Juice Can Ease Menopause?

Menopause brings multiple changes to our bodies. While it is a natural stage a woman will undergo, menopause symptoms are unpleasant. It brings hot flushes to the body and irritability. With the right nutritional intake and lifestyle change, menopause can be treated. Women have to undergo this stage in life when they grow older, but they don’t have to suffer the symptoms that come along with it.

You can treat menopause symptoms with tomatoes. Yes, this delicious treat is a very effective menopause treatment. To get the benefits, it would be best to drink its juice than to eat it whole. Drink a glass of tomato juice a day to combat menopause symptoms. According to research conducted at Tokyo Medical University, drinking 200ml of tomato juice twice every day for eight weeks can treat menopause symptoms, lower cholesterol, and manage anxiety.

How the Study Was Done

In the study, 93 women ages 40 to 60 were made to drink tomato juice. By the end of the study, their anxiety, irritability, hot flashes, and other menopausal symptoms halved. The study tracked the women’s cholesterol level, blood pressure, and heart rate. After drinking tomato juice for four weeks, the women who had triglyceride levels higher than 150mg/dL saw a significant decrease to only 70 mg/dL. Their menopausal symptoms dropped to a very low 16%.

Reasons for the Benefits

One of the major reasons why tomatoes can greatly benefit women suffering menopausal symptoms is its high content of bioactive components. One of these is 13-oxo-ODA, a fatty acid that prevents metabolic syndrome. Tomatoes also have esculeoside A, which supports the heart health. Tomatoes have a high content of lycopene, which reduces menopausal stress. The heat activation during the canning process of the tomato juice gives it plenty of antioxidants, which is very beneficial to a person’s health.

According to Los Angeles-based obstetrician and gynecologist Steven A. Rabin, MD, the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, is another substance abundant in tomato juice. It helps relieve hot flashes, reduces stress, and treats other menopausal symptoms.

If you buy tomato juice in the market, you might not see these nutritional values on the label. It would be best to buy the unsalted tomato juice, according to one of the leading authors of the study, Masakazu Terauchi Ph.D. It would also be a great idea to add tomato juice to your diet. There will be no side effects to it, and it won’t taste bad.

Tomato has its own type of Estrogen

There has been research in the past about how tomato juice can help relieve menopausal symptoms. Tomato juice has gamma-aminobutyric acid, which has the same effects as estrogen. Taking hormone supplements is one of the most common ways women treat menopausal symptoms. Tomato juice is like a  hormone replacement therapy that helps bring back the lost estrogen that occurs during and after menopause.

Over-the-counter estrogen supplements may help relieve menopausal symptoms, but there may be dangers associated with it. Studies in the past suggest that taking prescription estrogen can lead to higher risk of stroke, heart disease, blood clots, and even breast cancer. Artificial hormone supplements may not be a very good idea, especially as you are growing older.

Why bother with prescription supplements, when you can choose to take in tomato juice? Since tomato juice can give you the natural estrogen hormone benefits you need, it would be ideal to choose it over supplements. Fight menopause naturally with tomato juice.

Other Tomato Benefits

Besides relieving women of menopausal symptoms, the tomato has many other benefits to your health. If you include tomatoes in your lifestyle, here are some of the advantages you can get:

  • Reduces cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease
  • Rich in vitamin A, vitamin K, B vitamins, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and phosphorous
  • Treats damages caused by smoking
  • Naturally enhances flavours
  • Rich in phytonutrients like flavonones, flavonols, carotenoids, hydroxycinnamic acids, glycosides, and fatty acids derivatives
  • Filled with phenolic compounds
  • Improves digestion and prevents constipation
  • Prevents kidney and gall bladder stones
  • Keeps hair, skin, and bone healthy
  • Strengthens immune system
  • Increases fat burning capacity
  • Restores biochemical balance among people suffering from diabetes
  • Reduces risk for prostate cancer
  • Reduces risk for breast cancer

References:
https://www.consumerhealthdigest.com/health-center/
http://theheartysoul.com/natural-menopause-treatment/

Evlin Symon

Author Bio:
Evlin Symon is an experienced health writer who has been at this for more than 5 Years. She is an expert in health, fitness, weight loss, nutition and beauty. When she is not writing she can be usually found hitting the Gym. Connect with her on Facebook and Google+ .

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