Tag Archives | menopause symptoms

Hormone Linked to Menopausal Weight Gain

Finally, we have some promising research into the why of (and hopefully soon, the remedy for) menopausal weight gain. And it doesn’t have to do with calories or lack of exercise or all the other causes postulated up until now. As nearly every menopausal woman knows, dieting and increasing exercise often do little to help with the meno pot. It’s deeply demoralizing and can make one want to just give up.

During perimenopause and menopause, estrogen levels drop but levels of FSH, follicle stimulating hormone, remain high. This mismatch has been associated not only with weight gain but bone loss as well. FSH is the hormone that helps the egg develop and ripen in your ovary just prior to ovulation. These levels drop just after ovulation and increase again prior to the next ovulation.

Just prior to and during menopause, FSH levels remain elevated. Hence the weight gain and weird fat distribution coupled with bone loss.

A new study published in Nature has examined the use of an antibody to block FSH in female mice thrown into menopause when their ovaries were removed. They were fed a high fat diet, yet lost weight, upped their metabolism, and gained bone mass. While this is exciting news, the next step will be to try the experiment in larger animals, then humans. We may be some years away from realizing any benefits from this research but at the very least, we can feel vindicated.

That said, our best bet right now is healthy eating and continuing to move! Weight training with light weights, stretching, and walking will keep us at our optimal fitness level. We can eat less meat, more healthy carbs like quinoa or brown rice, and healthy fats such as almonds, legumes, and avocados. Oh, and a little dark chocolate and wine, just sayin’!

Read more at Medical News Bulletin.

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Stay Cool Without Calling Attention to Yourself


Hot flashes and just heat in general are hellish for menopausal women. Often, we find ourselves, mopping ourselves with kleenex or fanning ourselves with the nearest sheet of paper. It just plain sucks.

I found myself in just that situation a few years ago. One of our beloved elders had passed away in Molokai. A few thousand showed up for her memorial service held in a community center on the island. While we could open the doors, it was Hot with a capital H in there. Luckily, I had my secret weapon: the BlowMeCool fan. I’d charged it with the USB cord and dropped it in my purse for just such a menopausal emergency.

I turned it on, holding it in my hand. It was barely noticeable visually, it was QUIET, and blissfully blew loads of cool air right onto my beet red face. It saved my bacon that day and so many others. We’ve carried it in the Menopause Marketplace for 5 years or so.

Now, there is a new, blue edition (the first iteration is orange.) It’s sturdier and the blue color makes it even more unobtrusive. It’s less transparent so the inner workings are less visible. It costs a couple dollars more, but having tried it when the company sent me one, I can definitely recommend you buy the blue one if you can. If you are truly geeky and you want to see the innards, by all means buy the orange one.

And Menopause Goddess Blog readers get a 10% discount just by adding this code at checkout:  MGB18.

In this video, creator Brian Burge explaining why he developed this wonderful fan (spoiler alert: his wife went the the Pause).

Click here to order. And don’t forget to add our Menopause Goddess Blog discount code: MGB18. You won’t be sorry!
 

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Must See Film “Love, Sweat, and Tears” Released on DVD

love, sweat, and tears

At last, Dr. Pamela Dee Gaudry’s film, Love, Sweat, and Tears is going to be available on DVD (release date is Aug. 22 but you can preorder now.

This is a groundbreaking film – and addresses how to keep intimacy alive and thriving during and after the Pause. A host of celebrities and entrepreneurs in menopause remedies augment Dr. Pam’s humor and wisdom.

The DVD is only 29.95 – I wish we had had this film some 15 years ago – it would have been so helpful to the Menopause Goddess group. We had to stumble and fumble our way through (although we wouldn’t have missed our collective journey for the world.).

Dr. Pam’s plain talk is refreshing and appealing. The humor in the film resonated with us goddesses – reverent irreverence helps us along this transition.

I will say that the film spends less time on symptoms of menopause other than romance and intimacy – but if she’d covered every aspect in depth the movie would be several hours long! Those of you who are in or through menopause know what I mean!

I highly recommend that every woman approaching, during, and even post menopause view this DVD. You might want to start your own Menopause Goddess Group and see it together. For hints on how to do this, just put Creating a Goddess Group in the Search box here on the blog.

Order the DVD on the Love, Sweat, and Tears website. You can also rent or purchase the streaming video via iTunes or directly on the website. Click here for more info; Love Sweat, and Tears Film.

And if you missed our blog posts where Dr. Pam shares her personal story, here are the links:

Part I: An Obstetrician’s Transition to Menopause and Survivorship Medicine

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

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Tackle Hormonal Mood Swings

Maelstrom © lynette sheppard

There are powerful things at work in each of our bodies that help regulate the most basic and the most complex of things. Take hormones, for instance: They regulate our growth and they impact our immune system. When it comes to estrogen and progesterone in females, they also control our reproductive processes.

But hormones have long gotten a bad rap, as a reason that women have to ride an emotional roller coaster every month based on their cycle or as changes occur in menopause. The question is—is that reputation that hormones have deserved?

Research suggests a strong maybe, although the link may not be as definitive as once thought. For starters, some women may be more in tune with those hormone level fluctuations, which means that the levels may have more impact on how they feel. And how they feel may also depend on the phase of their cycle and how they experience menopause.

To learn more, check out this helpful graphic shared by Health Perch in partnership with Ghergich and Co.

Health Perch offers these helpful suggestions for dealing with hormonal mood swings:

Balancing Act

If you feel like your hormones are holding you hostage, some relatively simple lifestyle changes may help.

1. Pay attention
Keep a diary of your symptoms for a few months. All women are different, and the only way to understand your moods is to record them and analyze the data. It may bring relief to observe that menopausal mood swings don’t last forever.

2. Eat up
Studies suggest women with hormone fluctuations may be deficient in calcium and magnesium. Foods rich in vitamin B6, omega 3 fatty acids, and zinc may also help prevent mood swings, according to some experts. It can’t hurt to eat a more nutrient-dense diet. Reach for vegetables, leafy greens, beans, seeds, nuts, legumes, whole grains, poultry, seafood and seaweed, and fish.

3. Improve sleep habits
Some women report insomnia when estrogen and progesterone levels plummet; 40 to 50 percent of women experience insomnia during menopause. Women with sleep disturbances are more likely to feel stressed out, tense, anxious, or depressed. To improve your odds of a good night of sleep, make your room dark, quiet, and cool, and stick to routine sleep and waking times.

4. Move more
In one study, eight weeks of aerobic training significantly reduced participants’ premenstrual symptoms. Choose physical activities you enjoy since the point is to feel good.

5. Manage stress
Women who experience stress early in a menstrual cycle are more likely to experience mood swings later in the cycle, according to a study. The same goes for menopause. Walking, mindfulness exercises, visiting nature, and hanging out with friends are proven ways to reduce stress.

6. Reduce caffeine and alcohol
In studies, caffeine has been shown to decrease feelings of relaxation and increase ratings of anxiousness, tenseness, and nervousness. Alcohol may interfere with estrogen detoxification (which could be why it’s associated with a higher risk of breast cancer). Reach for a drink, such as water or herbal tea, that helps you feel calm.

If you experience mood swings that interfere with your daily life and these healthy makeovers don’t help, it may be time to check in with your doctor or naturopath. Herbs, such as chaste tree and red clover, vitamin supplements, or medical treatments may help.

Conclusion
Hormonal changes should not be used to discount or discriminate against women or medicalize normal life changes. However, it doesn’t serve women to pretend our bodies and moods stay constant through the course of a lifetime. Whether the subject is menstruation, menopause, moods, or other topics, we should take women’s health seriously. Recognizing and understanding hormonal fluctuations may help women move through their lives with more awareness and ease.

You can find lots more health and wellness information on Health Perch: click here to go to their website.

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The Connection Between Blood Sugar And Menopause

cupcake blues © lynette sheppard

Katrina Jane Rice shares another pertinent guest post with us – this time, she is addressing blood sugar issues that can show up during and after the Pause. As the hot flashes diminish and mood swings stabilize, our attention rightly turns to aging and remaining healthy. Enjoy.

The Connection Between Blood Sugar And Menopause

by Katrina Jane Rice

Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when her menstrual cycle and her ability to reproduce stop.

As a result, different symptoms occur, such as weight gain, hot flashes, mood swings, irritability, and sleep problems among others. These are triggered by decreased estrogen and progesterone levels in the body and can lead to health concerns to look out for.

If you are in your forties and about to reach menopause, you can expect the above symptoms as well as possible blood sugar problems.

Just as every woman experiences different symptoms, not everyone suffers from high blood sugar. Some women may have lower levels while some may not experience any change at all.

Women who are dealing with blood sugar problems even before they reach their menopause stage are usually those diagnosed with diabetes by their doctors.

Effects of Menopause On Your Blood Sugar
If you are already managing high blood sugar levels before menopause, there are certain changes in your body that you need to be prepared for. You will find that your blood sugar fluctuates more often and it may become more unpredictable. This can alter your energy and affect how you go about your daily activities.

Since the symptoms of menopause can alter your daily routine (due to sleepless nights, mood swings, weight gain and irritability), you will find it more difficult to manage your pre-existing health issues as easily as you used to. Before the menopause symptoms totally take effect on you, beating your health problems and normalizing your blood sugar as soon as possible will truly make a difference.

Estrogen’s Role On Your Blood Sugar
The hormone estrogen decreases when you hit menopause. When it does, your body will undergo significant physical and physiological changes. Your body which once was a well-oiled machine will go through a series of unpredictable metabolic responses that can pose health problems and even put you at risk of diabetes.

To explain further, estrogen plays many roles in a woman’s body and that includes blood sugar regulation. The hormone estrogen has a protective effect on the pancreas and the pancreatic cells by preventing premature cell death.

The pancreas is the organ producing insulin, which is needed to burn sugar. While estrogen helps keep your pancreas healthy, it can efficiently produce insulin and transfer the sugar from your blood to your cells.

The sudden decline of estrogen contributes to your body’s resistance to insulin. For this reason, the sugar in your blood cannot be distributed to your cells and be utilized for energy production. If left untreated, your blood sugar will constantly stay high and can cause the metabolic disorder diabetes.

How To Stay Healthy
If you have been living an unhealthy lifestyle for years, you have to know that there is no quick and easy solution to this complicated medical situation where diabetes and menopause co-exist.

It is normal to feel worried about the likelihood of getting diabetes. But early intervention with a physical check up will determine the amount of work you need to improve your health.

If you already have blood sugar problems before reaching the menopause stage, continue to live a healthy lifestyle and consult your doctor immediately to plan a course of prevention from diabetes. This way you do not have to worry about the other health concerns menopause can bring up.

Monitor your blood sugar and pay a close attention to your lifestyle. Stay away from stress, sleep better at night, eat balanced meals and exercise regularly. If you are overweight, you will be required to shed off the excess pounds as early as possible. Losing as little as 10 pounds can already make a significant difference in your health. Working out daily can also improve your insulin sensitivity.

Be cautious of your health sooner than later. Though menopause is just a stage in a woman’ life, it can become a threat to her overall health. Maintain a healthy lifestyle while waiting for the menopausal symptoms to subside. If you do, you will surely avoid serious health concerns that many women are facing today.

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Breathable Bedding for a Toss-Free Night!

We Got Older and My Girlfriends and I Complained about Night Sweats. So What Did I Do? I Launched a Line of Breathable Bedding for a Toss-Free Night!
Guest post by Lana Abrams

You know how a travel memory sometimes sticks with you, bubbling up and making you smile even years later? A while back I had one of those swoon-worthy vacation moments that completely transported me. The day in Shanghai had been busy and I ended the night freshly showered and nestled under a comfy, almost weightless layer of bedding. I rested under those crisp, clean linens. Sigh… just perfect.

It turns out that the comforter was filled with mulberry silk—something I’d never seen in the States. I filed the info away, raised my kids, ran a successful design business, and my girlfriends and I… aged. (Wait. What?!) We chatted about the symptoms that start when you can’t have kids. You know—foggy memory, mood swings and (yuck) night sweats. Welcome to perimenopause.

I turned 50 and wanted to try something new, work-wise. I tapped into that travel memory of the delicious bed dressed with a mulberry silk filled comforter. That was it: my Turning 50 project! Bedding that breathes with you and regulates heat, hot or cold. I took the leap and created a new product for women like us.

Mulberry West 300 tc unbleached polished cotton comforters and blankets offer a naturally cooling cover filled with Grade A mulberry silk— a lifesaver for women who’ve been throwing on and off the covers at night. This porous and pure fiber is known for strong ventilation and moisture absorption, making it ideal for battling hot flashes and hot summer nights. Mulberry silk deters dust mites and mold, perfect for allergy and asthma sufferers, plus it repels bedbugs. And ours is the ONLY silk filled cotton comforter internationally certified for no formaldehyde or chlorine. Made in the same factory where a well-known Seattle-based outdoors store manufactures their goods, Mulberry West is committed to eco-friendly production and international inspections.

The all-white collection includes King, Queen and Twin XL cotton piped comforters filled with silk providing a lightweight, shift-free layer of wicking warmth and comfort. They can be placed in a duvet cover or use as is. The collection also offers generously sized King, Queen and Twin XL cotton with satin trim silk-filled blankets. This is a terrific layering piece or lightweight option to a coverlet. Easy to clean—simply air out in the sunshine for a few hours to naturally whiten the cotton shell and rejuvenate the silk filling.

Menopause Goddess Blog readers are receiving a special reader rate of 25% off any item from Mulberry West, plus free shipping with this code: goddess2017.  Click here to go to the website.

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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.

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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.

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Maniacal – Pause, A Humorous Menopause Poem

Tropical Toast © lynette sheppard

Happy New Year, everyone. Let’s make 2017 a year we thrive rather than simply survive. And what better way to begin our posts than with a good laugh (we sure need it.) Author Tracey Maguire shares her humorous take on the Change. Enjoy!

MANIACAL-PAUSE
Written by Tracey Maguire (Author of ‘THE WORKER IN ME’)

She’s a hotbed of volcanic blasts
And often has the blues
She’s red and raw and sweaty
And always wants a snooze

Her husband doesn’t know her
There’s a certain kind of pall
It wasn’t always like this
He’s been driven up the wall

It’s a waste, and a futility
To think that there’s a cure
For nature takes the best of us
And steals our whole allure

It’s a time, a place, and milestone
Don’t share it with a crowd
The secret curse of menopause
Just silent suffering allowed.

What’s all the fuzz about?
Why the fluid retaining?
It’s transformation to old age
While tummy weight is gaining

She fights alone her hormone hell
She doesn’t want to boast
No puberty or change of heart
But a slow and steady roast

She buys a fan, nudes up at night
Her husband, he gets chancy
Her heat is high, she’s burning up
Cold showers are her fancy

It’s basted and it’s burning
A bitter pill to taste
When everything is said and done
A mid-life change is faced

Tracey’s book The Worker in Me goes on sale April, 2017. Watch for it.

 

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Change of Season

Squirrel Tail Barley © lynette sheppard

Squirrel Tail Barley © lynette sheppard

Greetings dear readers. Summer is nearly over, autumn is on the horizon. It’s time to take stock of things. Changes are part of the season and part of life. Change has come to the blog as well. Ashley has taken a full time holistic health position, which leaves her little time to contribute to Menopause Goddess Blog. We wish her well in her new endeavor and hope to hear from her in the future.

That said, Menopause Goddess Blog has been around for 15 or so years. In that time, we have covered just about every physical, mental, and emotional symptom of the Big M. If you want to know more about any manifestation or remedy, simply put it in the search box and all blog posts relating to it will show up. Really. Examples might be:  anxiety, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, research, natural remedies. heavy bleeding, and so on.

Rather than repeat these topics, I’d like to focus on new research, products, and remedies as they surface. Also, I will post on how we create a vibrant Second Adulthood and grow into the elders we wish to become. Posts will be at least once per month, sometimes more often as needed. As always, we welcome your thoughts, comments, insights, and questions. Women sharing wisdom, that’s what we are all about.

Stay tuned for our next post where I share the latest research on wine as a weight loss aid. No joke.

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