So this is menopause. You're 52 years old and have not had a period in a year. Somehow that seems good. You are still having some hot flashes, but overall they are not too bad. You wake up tired which carries over throughout the day. What worries you is this – your mother is 76. She just fell and broke her leg. Her doctor says s he has osteoporosis. What can you do to keep that from happening to you in the future?
Menopause refers to the permanent cessation of menstruation in a woman due to the ovaries' decreased production of estrogen and progesterone. It's designated as the time when there have been no menstrual periods for 12 consecutive months and represents the end of fertility. In some women, the decreased sex hormone production associated with menopause may be associated with symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal dryness, decreased libido, and trouble sleeping. Numerous people take Hormone Replacement Therapy for this problem, making it one of the most prescribed drugsin the United States, but don't like the side-effects of ovarian cancer. So what can people do who don't particularly want the risk of side-effects?
Tame Your 'Raging Hormones'
Thirty years ago, hormones were all the rage -- literally. In 1970, a prominent doctor and political adviser named Edgar Berman infuriated feminists when he made an outrageous statement: that women's "raging hormonal influences" should preclude them from holding positions of power.
Today, most people, and thankfully doctors, know better. In general, our bodies regulate these natural hormonal fluxes with precision and finesse. But because female brains are wired to be highly responsive to sex hormones, sometimes these vital hormones exert negative effects, dampening our moods, making us irritable, or sparking a case of the blues or, in rare cases, a serious mental disorder.
Two hormones made in the ovaries, estrogen and progesterone, help to keep a woman's monthly period going in a regular cycle. Together with progesterone, estrogen regulates the changes that occur with each monthly period and prepares the uterus for pregnancy. Prior to menopause, more than 90% of the estrogen in a woman's body is made by the ovaries. During menopause the ovaries tend to shut down. It is a natural part of aging, and occurs when the ovaries stop making hormones called estrogens. This causes estrogen levels to drop, and leads to the end of monthly menstual periods. This usually happen s between the ages of 45 and 60, but it can happen earlier. When this happens, the adrenal glands then take control and produce estrogen and progesterone in a slightly different form. The adrenals then become weak and exhausted from all of this extra work. This in turn will produce deficiencies in the body and symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats can occur. The adrenal gland gets burnt out with lack of sleep, alcohol, sugar and consuming too much caffeine anyway, so you can imagine how it can become further depleted during menopause. Fortunately Body Restoration Technique (BRT) can help restore adrenal function without giving a person hormones or surgery.
At menopause, hormone levels don't always decline uniformly. They alternately rise and fall again. Therefore it is important for you to tell your BRT practitioner your symptoms and when they occur at certain points in your cycle. This will give clues as to which hormone needs to be balan ced out. Body Restoration Technique (BRT) does an amazing job at placing these hormones in the proper balance. Without this proper balancing of your hormones: a change in ovarian hormone levels will affect the other glands in the body, which together make up the endocrine system. The endocrine system controls growth, metabolism and reproduction. This system must constantly readjust itself to work effectively. Ovarian hormones also affect all other tissues, including the breasts, vagina, bones, blood vessels, gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract, and skin.
Other organs (including the adrenal glands, liver, and kidneys) also make small amounts of estrogen. Because fat cells can also make small amounts of estrogen, women who are overweight when they are going through menopause may have fewer problems with hot flashes and osteoporosis (both of which are related to lack of estrogen).
Progesterone is another important female hormone. Like estrogen, most progesterone is made by the ovaries, with a smaller amount made by the adrenal glands. The job of progesterone is to:
- Stimulate the growth of a cushiony lining in the uterus where the fertilized egg can grow and develop into a baby
- Help the breast make milk
- Generally maintain pregnancy
As you can see, hormones are vitally important to human development and the maintenance of health across one's lifespan. They have an incredible influence on our body. Hormones are chemicals that are formed in glands and move through the blood to cause effects on other body organs. What happens when something interferes with the delivery of that message? (Endocrine Disruptor) . A signal doesn't arrive because it is blocked. One that was small becomes large. One that shouldn't have been there at all shows up nonetheless.
TURN DOWN THE HEAT ON HOT FLASHES You're a woman, 40 plus. You're sitting in your office, and suddenly you notice the room temperature feels just a bit too toasty, and you find yourself saying, "Is it hot in here or is it just me?" If you haven't yet reached menopause, but are approaching it, one of the things you may dread getting is hot flashes - the butt of jokes about women's change in life, yet no laughing matter for women who experience them.
Perimenopause is the time leading up to menopause. Menopause is when your periods stop, and your ovaries stop making estrogen. The average age of reaching menopause in the Western World is 51, but some women can reach it in their 30s and some in their 60s.
Signs of perimenopause:
Hot flashes/night sweats, Insomnia/fatigue, Changes in menstrual cycle, Mood swings/forgetfulness, Vagina l dryness/less interest in sex, Headaches, Urinary problems, Hot flashes herald the approach of menopause for more than 60% of women, Another common sign is very irregular menstrual periods, which may last longer or shorter, or come closer together or farther apart, depending on the woman.
What is a hot flash? Hot flashes are a result of a "thermo-regulatory glitch,". As estrogen levels fluctuate, the body's internal thermostat, the hypothalamus, sends heat surges through the body. Your face and neck may become flushed and red, and blotches may appear on your chest, back and arms. Sweating is very common. Hot flashes may also relate to other signs of perimenopause. If you have hot flashes at night, you may not be getting a good sleep, and that can lead to being tired and irritable. A hot flash can last a few moments, or as much as 30 minutes. Eighty percent of women with hot flashes report that they have them for 2 years or less, but some report having them for more than 5 years.
Menopause is dreaded by most women, and affects nearly all women in a negative way. Whether your symptoms are mild or severe they can drastically alter your lifestyle, mood, libido, weight, and overall enjoyment of life.
Menopause is a natural event, not a disease. But because women now live on average 20-40 yea rs after the end of the reproductive years, estrogen loss at menopause increases the risk of losing bone mass and developing heart disease in the years after menopause. Now it's time to take charge of your health and make some decisions.
Natural Alternatives to Reduce the Symptoms of Menopause
- Exercise. Good nutrition and regular physical exercise are thought to improve overall health. Some doctors feel these factors can also affect menopause. Aerobic and weight-bearing exercises are a powerful remedy for a host of menopause complaints, including hot flashes, joint pain, irritability, and sleep disturbances. Exercise also has been found to reduce the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis and weight gain.
- Avoid triggers. For some women, hot flashes are triggered by stress, caffeine, drinking alcohol, eating spicy foods or drinking or eating something very hot, like soup.
- Reduce stress. Try deep, slow abdominal breathing, meditation, yoga, massage, or a leisurely bath. Researchers have found that deep, slow breathing can reduce the effects of hot flashes in half, probably by calming the central nervous system.
- Avoid getting overheated . Dress in layers so you can remove them at the first sign of a flash. Drink a glass of cold water or juice at the onset of a flash. Use cotton sheets, lingerie and clothing that allows your skin to "breathe." Talk to your clinician about prescription drugs or "alternative" remedies. Some women also report that vitamin E helps, although this has not been scientifically proven.
- BRT TREATMENTS TO REDUCE SYMPTOMS OF MENOPAUSE Remove Endocrine Disruptors. The reproductive hormones are highly influenced by Endocrine Disruptors . Numerous studies have been done in wildlife that report these claims. Reporters Geoffrey Lean and Richard Sadler summarized data obtained by the British Environment Agency indicating "that half of all the male fish in lowland rivers are changing sex as a result of 'endocrine disruptors'." Studies on humans are now concluding that these hormone mimickers are also causing havoc to our delicate glands. Fortunately, with BRT, we are able to assist in ridding the body of these 'mimickers'.