Tag Archives | coping with menopause

Get a Perfect Temperature for Sleeping

In the early days of menopause, sleep temperature alternating between boiling lava to glaciated goosebumps as moisture then evaporated from hot flashes. My husband had always slept warmer than I, needing less blankets. Suddenly, he experienced hot flashes of his own as all the covers were flung on top of him. We like sleeping together but that was an untenable situation. Thankfully, the worst is over.

Still, we sleep at differing temperatures even now. I’m variable night to night – sometimes too warm, others chilled. He is usually fine except when I overheat and burn him like a shrimp on the barbie.

Enter BedJet. This truly amazing innovation lets one of us sleep cool and the other warm. Or vice versa. They sent me one to try and I fell instantly in love with it. So did my husband. Dual temperature control without wires or special pads or mattress toppers! And that’s so important now that I have the perfect mattress – I sure don’t want to change it.

We are able to cool off or warm up nearly instantly. Finally, a blissful night’s sleep for both of us.

Bedjet also has a single zone version for those who just want the same temperature for the whole bed – obviously less expensive.

Check out the video about it:

 

BedJet is quick relief for hot sleepers, night sweats, evening hot flashes, cold feet and cold legs, cold winter sheet shock and memory foam mattresses that trap heat. There’s even a Bluetooth Sleep App for intelligent remote control from your smartphone or tablet. They say that the Bedjet reinvents your bed to become one of the most delightful places in your home. I totally agree. That’s probably why it’s now the #1 customer recommended bed cooling and heating product of any kind on all of Amazon.

Check out their website here:  https://bedjet.com/

Comments { 0 }

An Obstetrician’s Transition to Menopause and Survivorship Medicine Part II

love, sweat, and tears

Last week, I posted Part I of Dr. Pam’s openhearted sharing of her journey from gynecologist to menopause healer. In Part II, she tells us more about her journey and how being a caregiver changed her forever. I am profoundly grateful that she has chosen to be naked and unafraid in order to help others. Be sure and click on the info at the end of the post about her breakout film “Love, Sweat, and Tears.”

An Obstetrician’s Transition to Menopause and Survivorship Medicine Part II

I became a caregiver to my husband when I stopped obstetrics in 2005.  He was an OB/GYN himself.    Our lives changed immediately after his first surgery and radiation therapy.  Our intimate relationship ceased immediately.  We tried to remain intimate, and we sought help.  We did ask one of his physicians for assistance, and unbelievably, he said, “Well, you are alive, right?”  Yes, he was alive, and we appreciated the fact that he was alive.  But, we lost a great part of our relationship.

We lost our closeness and our ability to show our love to one another.  It was a terrible loss, and we grieved the loss in different ways.  I didn’t realize that he continued to try to “fix” things.  About 2 weeks before he died, I was getting the laundry together and checking his pockets.  I didn’t realize that he was standing behind me when I took a couple of packets out of his pocket.  I put some glasses on and saw that it was packets of testosterone.  I turned around and saw him there and said the worst thing in the world.  I said, “What are you doing?  I don’t care about that!”  Well, he put his head down, and I know that he was tearful. He said, “I wanted to try.”  As he walked away, I realized that he took my words wrong.  I meant that it was not a factor in how much I loved him.

I wish that I could have that moment back.  The more that I tried to explain my thoughts, the more that I made the situation worse.  After he died, I have had years to think about this situation.  Here, you had a married couple – both of which are gynecologists – that have not talked for 5 years about the fact that we could not have sexual intercourse.   If we can’t talk about it, then I bet lots of people in our situation have absolutely no hope of talking about it.  How sad is it that two gynecologists can’t talk to each other about what we could do to help our problem.  How sad is it that two physicians went to another physician to ask if there was any way to help us get our intimate lives back, and none of us knew what to do.  I mean to change that fact.   I understand that one of the hardest things for a physician to say is, “I don’t know what to do.”   I mean to change that fact, too.  It is terrible to have to accept that a bad or terminal illness means the end of your sexual relationship.

Taking care of another adult is the hardest thing that I have ever done in my life.  Medical school, residency, and having twins were a breeze compared to this responsibility.  This is something else that I completely missed during the early years of my practice.  I didn’t understand what it was like to be a caregiver.  I didn’t understand the physical and emotional wear and tear that was required of my body and mind.  When a patient came in and told me that she was taking care of a husband or parent, I would immediately go into sympathy mode – and I meant it.  I asked who their doctor was, how they were progressing, and the plan of care.  I commented on the physician taking care of them and encouraged them to hang in there.  I completely missed the fact that they were hurting and overwhelmed.

Whether someone is taking care of a spouse, family member, or a parent, they become the “mother.”  It is difficult to take complete care of another adult.  The patient is angry about their situation and frequently those that are closest to them take the brunt of the anger.  As with so many circumstances, life experience is a brutal and uncompassionate teacher.  After being a caretaker, the object of my sympathy reversed – I focused on the caregiver.  I asked if they had any help. I asked if they ever got a break from their caregiving.  Usually, there is not, but someone who understands their “new” life and their “new normal” is a welcome change.  No one can help them, and they know it. However, having someone even acknowledge their responsibility, fear, and stress is comforting.

For almost twenty years, I was a good obstetrician.  I thought I had the best job in the world, and at the time, I did.  For the last ten years, I have become a (hopefully) great gynecologist, gynechiatrist, intimacy, menopause, and sexual medicine physician, intimacy counselor, and survivorship gynecologist.  I have impacted lives in a different way.  I know that I helped so many women as an obstetrician; I loved them and I know that they felt the same about me. However, if I am truly honest, my obstetrical career satisfied me.  The gynecology career that I ended up with satisfies the reason that I went to medical school: my desire and need to help others.

Pamela Dee Gaudry, MD, NCMP
NAMS Certified Menopause Practioner
Medical Sex Therapist
Survivorship Medicine Physician
(and I’m still an Obstetrician 😉

You can host a screening at a theater near you of Dr. Pam’s film, “Love, Sweat, and Tears” through Gathr – they handle the details, it costs you nothing – you get your friends to go and promote the film. Click here for details.

Comments { 0 }

An Obstetrician’s Transition to Menopause and Survivorship Medicine

love, sweat, and tears

When I asked Dr. Pam Gaudry to share her personal story of how she came to create the film for menopausal women “Love, Sweat, and Tears”, I got way more than I bargained for. Her story brought me to tears at times.

Because she shares with such naked honesty her process of progressing from obstetrical physician to menopausal women’s advocate and then goes on to detail the tolls of caregiving, I am posting her poignant piece in two parts. More about “Love, Sweat, and Tears” at the end.

An Obstetrician’s Transition to Menopause and Survivorship Medicine
I fell in love with my job before I even had one.  I delivered a baby.  I brought life into the world.  As a medical student, a wonderful couple let me into one of the most amazing and private events that they would ever have in their lives: the birth of their child.  I was honored, thankful, appreciative, and overwhelmed.  I could not believe that I could get paid for doing something so beautiful and miraculous. This first time and the last time that I delivered a baby, I was overwhelmed; I had butterflies in my stomach.  I couldn’t wait to go to work every day of my life.

Why did your OB/GYN choose obstetrics and gynecology?  Because pap smears are fun?  Because we want to treat gonorrhea and chlamydia?  Because it’s amazing to see a bladder falling out?  No.  They fell in love with the excitement of bringing a sweet, adorable new life into the world.  Think about the fact that every time that an OB/GYN physician walks into an exam room with a pregnant woman, they have two patients in the room.  An OB/GYN loves their patients, and they love being part of the family.  They thrive on the excitement and thrill of bringing that life into the world. Obstetrics is our first love.

In 2005, I had a bustling obstetrics practice, my husband became ill with an oral cancer, I had 8-year-old twins, I was spending 6-8 nights a month in the hospital, and I was profoundly overwhelmed.  Something had to give.  Unfortunately, I had to give up the best part of my job – delivering my babies.

I really thought that I would hone my gynecologic surgical skills and become a better surgeon, and to some extent, that did happen.  However, I was flabbergasted that women were coming in just to “talk.”  I was shocked.  The major comment that I got was that they were glad that I now had time to address their gynecologic issues.  What?  I had always addressed their gynecologic issues.  How could they say that?  Well, it became apparent that I did not.  I especially did not address menopausal and intimacy issues.  When I thought about it, I realized that I very superficially discussed menopause and did not touch on the ‘legion’ of problems that peri-menopause and menopause causes.

I was always (very happily) running to Labor and Delivery and (unhappily) trying to rectify being very behind schedule in the office. There is no way to be an obstetrician and, “plan your day” – let alone your schedule.  When I had to stop delivering babies, my days changed overnight.  When I did obstetrics, a normal day was running from room to room and then to Labor and Delivery and then back to the office where I (usually unsuccessfully) tried to catch up to the schedule.  After I stopped doing obstetrics, I found myself entering a room, calmly sitting down, and talking to a patient for 20 minutes or so about menopausal and intimacy issues.

To be honest, I really did not have much training in this area; I went and got some.  I decided to become a certified menopause practitioner through the North American Menopause Society.  Additionally, I spent a couple of years getting a medical sex therapy certification.  There are not many gynecologists that have this kind of training.  Patients probably think that it is inherently part of our residency training in obstetrics and gynecology.  Unbelievably, it is not.  There is no information or training to draw from when treating these patients.   An OB/GYN must rely on their own personal experience as well as the experiences that we encounter during years of practice.  Surprisingly, in 2017, only 20% of residency programs have training in menopause and sexual medicine.  Kind of frightening and sad, isn’t it?

So many women ask me why their OB/GYN had not given them information about the changes that occur in the peri-menopausal transition.  My answer? They don’t know what they don’t know.

I had no idea that I was not really paying attention to my menopausal patients, and I’m sure that other OB/GYNs don’t know that either.  But, think about it.  If a physician rushes into the room, stands up the whole time, asks if you have any new problems or concerns, and you both know that the waiting room is full of pregnant women, crying babies, and strollers, and you know that there are probably two people in labor, it isn’t an atmosphere conducive to a discussion about your vaginal dryness, relationship issues (code word for sexual dysfunction and pain), hot flashes, and rage (pushing you to think about killing people).

When I look back, I feel badly about it; I (unknowingly) blew them off.  I probably, and very nicely, told them to try some systemic estrogen – and, oh by the way – it can give you breast cancer and blood clots.  After a quick exam, I was out the door.  There are sweet wonderful babies to deliver; there are mamas to comfort and reassure.  I gotta go.

I do things differently now.  I come in the room in a calm fashion, say hello, and sit down – giving my patient my full attention.  I spaced my visits out to 30 minutes.  I grab their hands and ask how they are handling the changes that their bodies have gone through in the last year.  It is not uncommon for someone to burst into tears.  I know now.  My dear patient, I will take care of these issues with you and for you.  If you were my patient in those first 18 years of my practice and I blew off your gynecologic and menopausal issues…I’m sorry.  I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

Pamela Dee Gaudry, MD, NCMP
NAMS Certified Menopause Practioner
Medical Sex Therapist
Survivorship Medicine Physician
(and I’m still an Obstetrician 😉 )

You can host a screening at a theater near you of Dr. Pam’s film, “Love, Sweat, and Tears” through Gathr – they handle the details, it costs you nothing – you get your friends to go and promote the film. Click here for details.

Comments { 0 }

How To Fight Menopause Belly

Ah, the belly fat, the spare tire, or as I call mine – the storage depot. Menopause brings myriad changes – and one of those that afflicts many goddesses is unwanted adipose tissue (sounds better than fat, but not much) around the middle. Katrina Jane Rice tackles this sensitive subject in her guest post here – enjoy.

How To Fight Menopause Belly
by Katrina Jane Rice

One of the problems many middle age women face is belly fat. This excess body fat situated in the midsection of the body is usually caused by poor diet and lifestyle, but it also naturally occurs with aging. And for some reason, it is difficult to get rid of, even with strict diets and exercises.

Women are especially vulnerable to gaining excess fat around the belly. As they go through the perimenopausal and menopausal stages, their estrogen levels drop exponentially. When this happens, they will lose the natural contours of their body. And for that reason, excess fat is redistributed to their abdomen in particular, plus the buttocks, hips and thighs.

If you have accumulated belly fat around your abdomen and stomach, it is a priority to try to lose it earlier than later. This is not just for vanity and improvement of physical appearance, but also a precaution you can take to prevent diseases later on in life. Recent scientific research has shown that belly fat has a relation with the risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and myocardial infarction.

Here are some tips for you to fight menopausal belly fat.

Eat Healthier Fats
Just because you want to reduce your belly fat does not mean you need to cut out fat in your diet for good. Not all fats are bad. Eating healthy fats such as omega-3 from fish can actually help decrease the size of your belly. This is the so-called good fat.

A study published in the International Journal of Obesity demonstrated that eating 3 ounces of salmon as part of a low-calorie diet every week for a month resulted to an average of 1 kilo additional weight loss than going on a fish-free diet.

You can also source other healthy fats from avocados, coconut oil and olives if you are not a fan of eating fish.

Include Exercises
Becoming physically active can help you deal better with your menopausal stage. Exercising and including a lot of cardio workout can help lose the fat in your mid-section. It also helps alleviate other symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, intense mood swings and irritability as reported by the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Yoga is also known to help women deal with this sensitive stage of their life. According to a published review article in the Journal of Mid-Life Health, yoga helps improve the symptoms of menopause. It is also a good exercise that can target some issues like belly fat and bloating.

Lessen Your Sodium
Cut back on processed foods. A normal American diet contains a lot of sodium. Too much salt can cause bloating and water retention in your belly so try to whip up your own so that you can regulate your sodium intake. The recommended daily amount of sodium among adults per day is 1,500 mg. Sticking to that requirement will limit bloating and lower your blood pressure.

Other Potential Causes of Menopausal Belly Fat
Overeating, imbalanced hormones and an inactive lifestyle are just some of the culprits of menopausal belly fat. However, the display of a fat belly may also be caused by other health problems like constipation, esophageal reflux, pancreatic problems, celiac disease, tumors or ovarian cancer.

If you feel like your belly has increased too fast in size, do not assume that menopause has caused the problem. It could be a sign of other health conditions. Check with your doctor to find out the cause of your enlarged belly and find out the best treatments you can get for it.

Comments { 0 }

Menopause Wellness Summit

For those approaching or already deep into perimenopause and menopause, a wealth of information will be offered at the Menopause Wellness Summit. Several experts will offer information and support for the Change. Hosted by Shirley Plant, the cost is only $49. Don’t miss it. Sign up here:  Menopause Wellness Summit.

Comments { 2 }

All You Want and Need to Know about Menopause

Painted Lady © lynette sheppard

I recently did a podcast for The G Spot, Genneve’s women’s health blog where I talked about all things Menopause. The gals there asked some terrific questions – definitely worth a listen and subscribing. Here’s the link:  The G Spot

Enjoy! Questions or thoughts? Put them in the comments or email me at lynette@9points.com

Comments { 1 }

A Paleo Diet May Help With Menopause

Ginger Mint Shrimp © lynette sheppard

Guest blogger Allison Thompson shares her experience with the Paleo diet to relieve symptoms and make the menopause transition easier. Enjoy!

Foods I Enjoy That Help Deal With The Menopause

Hi there, my name’s Allison and I have been going through the menopause for almost 4 years now.  In fact it came as quite a surprise to find out I was in the peri-menopousal stage. I had a friend who thought I was having problems with my thyroid.  So she suggested that I see her doctor.  Before he even prescribed anything I had to had several blood tests carried out. Once he had received confirmation he prescribed some natural treatments.  Along with iodine that I needed to drink in a glass of water, he also prescribed a natural progesterone cream.  This I had to apply each evening before bed.

I decided to do as he suggested for a year.  But then I made a decision that I wanted to see if a change to my diet and lifestyle would help me more.

About this time my husband was looking for ways to lose weight.  Again my friend came to the rescue by giving us some books relating to the Paleo diet.  So I decided to give it a try.

It was difficult at first. I couldn’t find much about Paleo for menopause.  Even so I decided to stick with it even though I wasn’t as strict with my diet as some others are. During the past 4 years I have learned more about what to include in my diet.  But I don’t rely on food alone I also take some supplements.  The ones I take have been suggested to me by reading up about menopause online.  The main ones I include in my diet are Red Clover and Magnesium. But what I want to share with you now are the foods I eat on regular basis. These are the ones I include, as I’ve found they help me deal with the menopause effectively.


Broccoli

I actually love eating broccoli.  I either boil it for a few minutes or steam it.  Occasionally I love to at it in to stir fry’s.   The reason I eat so much broccoli is because it contains calcium, that my body can use. Like me, you are probably aware that during the menopause your estrogen levels have gone down.  But including foods that contain calcium will help to reduce the risk of bone loss.  Of course including dairy in your diet is another great way to get the calcium your body needs.

Flaxseed
I love adding flaxseed into smoothies as well as putting it on top of some fresh fruit with yogurt.   Not only am I getting more fiber in my diet I’m also getting a food rich in Omega 3 fatty acids.  So it’s helping me to keep my heart and arteries healthy. But one other benefit to be gained from this food is that it contains certain estrogen compounds that our bodies need.

Almonds
As I follow a Paleo lifestyle I like to include almonds along with other nuts into my diet.  I tend to use almond flour in place of conventional flour when making baked goods or pancakes.   The great thing about almonds is that they contain a type of fat that can help to slow down the aging process.   Plus for women going through the menopause, these nuts are rich in magnesium and Vitamin E complex.  Both of these help to reduce the symptoms often associated with the menopause. The only problem is that I don’t eat enough of them.  To help me further, I take a magnesium supplement each evening.   By doing this I find that I sleep much better at night.  Okay, I may still wake up occasionally with the night sweats, but not that often.  In order to help combat this situation, I take the Red Clover supplement I mentioned earlier.

Eggs
My husband thinks I eat too many eggs, but I don’t agree.   Not only do eggs provide me with a good source of protein, they also provide me with a good source of Iron.  I include them in my diet as I am still quite active.  In fact this morning I started a HIIT class close to where I live and will be doing the same twice a week.

Fish
I love all types of fish. I’m especially fond of salmon, cod and sardines. The great thing is I live in Spain and we have some really wonderful beach bars close to where I live. So we often take time out to visit them and enjoy fresh sardines.  These are ones that they cook over hot coals. Eating this fish ensures I am getting sufficient amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids in my diet.  Not only is it helping me to keep my skin in shape but it helps to keep my energy levels up.

Liver
I love liver and enjoy cooking it on a regular basis. I tend to opt more for cow or lambs liver as they don’t have such a strong taste. But I also like to use chicken livers to make my own pate.   Liver is rich in Iron and also Vitamin C complex. I’ve found including this food in my diet helps to reduce menopause symptoms.

One thing I think I should mention relates to eggs and meat. If you can, try and opt for meat where the animal has been fed on grass.  As for eggs, then go organic. If you cannot find grass-fed meat go organic.  Also make sure that you choose the leanest cuts you can. All of these will help you to stay in shape and will provide you with essential fats that your body needs.

BIO:
Allison Thompson, a mother of 1 daughter who has been living in Spain for the past 12 years.  For the past 4 years, she has been following a Paleo lifestyle that has helped her to deal with the effects that going through the menopause can have on women, without the need to use any kind of medication.

Comments { 2 }

Maca Root Superfood Black Friday Sale

Yellow Hibiscus with Waterfall © lynette sheppard

Yellow Hibiscus with Waterfall © lynette sheppard

I know, I know! After yesterday, we may never want to eat again. Except we all know that we will. So a heads up about the Black Friday  – Cyber Monday Maca sale starting today!

Maca is a superfood and for menopausal women it is so much more.

From today November 25 – 28, 2016, you can take 40% off all products in their Yellow Gelatinized and Yellow Raw Maca Categories!

Maca Root is a Peruvian plant that boosts strength and energy. It is particularly helpful in hormone balancing and revitalizing lost libido for menopausal women. Available in powder form or elixir, maca root has virtually no side effects (though a small # of women report mild gas with the powder version.) A couple of our original goddesses swear by it. For more info or to order, please visit The Maca Team. They source non-Gmo, organic maca root from Peru.

maca-recipes

Also, they have some really great recipes on their site – although, I know – we are never going to eat again.  Here’s the link:  Maca Team

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments { 0 }

The Magic of Menopause

magic-of-meno

Lorraine Miano, an Integrative Certified Health Coach, sent me her new book: The Magic of Menopause, A Holistic Guide to Get Your Happy Back. I admit the title set me back a bit – after all, it used to be that books on menopause were either dry medicalese or overly perky treatises that only served as a further irritant during the throes of menopause.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that Lorraine didn’t shy away from all the suckiness of the Change. She freely shares stories of her transition as well as that of others. Then she moves on to offer helpful options and solutions for beginning to survive and then thrive during the Big M. With humor and heart, she offers a guide to beginning to indeed “get your happy back”.

Comments { 0 }

Vaginal Dryness – Affects One in Three Women

High Sierra Flowers © lynette sheppard

High Sierra Flowers © lynette sheppard

Wow. One in three – that is a lot! (There are a lot of us baby boomers that have come of age.)

Menopause brings many changes and one that really affects our intimacy is vaginal dryness. The folks at Genneve are committed to helping with this with their special lubricants designed to mimic our natural moisture. They sent me some samples (and since, yes, I am one of the one in three), I will be testing it. In the meantime, enjoy this video that brings the topic to light.

You might want to check out the blog on their site too – lots of great info: click here

Comments { 3 }