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Menopause: Prepare for More Than Hot Flashes

Posted: 11/08/2012 6:30 pm

October was World Menopause Awareness Month put on by The International Menopause Society. This year's focus was on the health implications of menopausal weight gain. Did you find any enlightenment from the information made available? As the baby boomer generation ages, a large portion of North America's population is experiencing menopause.

I hear many women over 40 saying, "Oh, I am not in Menopause," which may very well be true. However, honey, you will be at some time after the age of 40 and you need to prepare as soon as possible for the symptoms, not only emotionally, but physically. This is not a scare tactic, simply a fact. Statistically, there were 477-million women going through menopause in 2005 and by the year 2025 The World Health Organization is estimating that 1.1-billion women worldwide will be age 50 or over and postmenopausal. WOW! Stats are showing that 80 per cent of these women will experience some form of symptoms, whether they be mild or severe.

So where are you in your menopausal journey?

Do you look in the mirror and see that you are aging? A few more wrinkles here and there? Are you feeling out of shape and experiencing aches and pains? Are you putting on weight? Are you lacking motivation and drive? Are you cranky, irritable and generally out of sorts with your husband and your kids? Do loud noises bother you? Does even the sound of your husband's voice make your skin crawl? Are you feeling lost in your relationship? Do you want to quit your job? If you are self-employed, have you lost hope for your business? Do you wake up in the morning feeling depressed, bloated, and tired? Are your hot flashes keeping you up at night? Are you wandering around the house at 3 a.m.? Are you feeling too old to make changes in your life? Are you feeling out of shape having aches and pains? Are you unable to control your eating habits?

Well, you are not alone and that should make you feel a little bit better. And, you are not going crazy, although at times it may seem as if you are. In order to change these things you need to work on changing your mind. Being able to quiet the menopausal messages you are feeding your brain will bring you clarity as to what you need to do to survive. Meditation is a wonderful tool to make this happen. The daily practice of Meditation for 20 minutes will allow you to see your life differently, rather than seeing the difficulties that you are experiencing, you will start to see the solutions and be able to build strategies to move into the life you deserve.

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  • Exercise

    <a href="http://skincarebyroxy.blogspot.com/2010/08/menopause-and-treatment.html">"Exercise is absolutely critical,"</a> says Susan Moores, a registered dietician. Exercise can be a powerful sleep aid, combating the sleep disturbances many women complain about. It has been shown to improve the whole gamut of menopause symptoms from hot flashes to mood swings. She says not to just focus on aerobic exercise, but also try strength training and relaxation techniques, such as <a href="http://body.aol.com/fitness/yoga" target="_hplink">yoga</a>.

  • Flaxseed

    "Flaxseed falls in the same camp as soy for the phytoestrogens," says Susan Moores, a registered dietician. One study by the Mayo Clinic found the incidence of hot flashes was reduced as much as 50 percent by consuming flaxseed. It is also thought to be very promising because, along with phytoestrogens, it also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which can aid in mood stabilization. According to <a href="http://body.aol.com/alternative-medicine/flaxseed" target="_hplink">A.D.A.M.</a>, an online health content provider, when compared to hormone replacement therapy, 40 grams of flaxseed was reported to be equally as effective in reducing hot flashes, vaginal dryness and mood disturbances.

  • Black Cohosh

    Two German studies have shown black cohosh to be effective in reducing hot flashes, according to <a href="http://body.aol.com/alternative-medicine/black-cohosh" target="_hplink">A.D.A.M.</a> One study in particular showed 80 percent of women saw a decrease in hot flashes while using black cohosh. However, no long-term studies have been done and there have been reports of side-effects including upset stomach and low blood pressure, caution the experts at <a href="http://body.aol.com/menopause/learn-about-it/treating-menopausal-symptoms/herbal-products" target="_hplink">Harvard Medical School</a>.

  • Natural Progesterone

    This over-the-counter cure uses progesterone or progesterone-like compounds as the active ingredient. "Natural progesterone is a hormone and it works," says <a href="http://www.everydayhealth.com/womens-health/specialist/marcie-richardson/index.aspx">Dr. Marcie Richardson,</a> obstetrician and gynecologist at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston. "Skin creams that contain extracts of Mexican wild yams have been widely promoted for natural menopause relief for years," says <a href="http://body.aol.com/menopause/learn-about-it/treating-menopausal-symptoms/over-the-counter-products" target="_hplink">Harvard Medical School</a>. However, because of variation among products and the individual nature of skin's responsiveness, this method is not recommended by the <a href="http://www.menopause.org/" target="_hplink">North American Menopause Society</a>, says Harvard. There's no safety data on this hormone, Dr. Richardson cautions. Learn more about the risks and benefits <a href="http://body.aol.com/menopause/learn-about-it/treating-menopausal-symptoms/over-the-counter-products" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Red Clover

    Red clover is often used to reduce vaginal dryness and decrease hot flashes. The effectiveness of red clover is thought to be due to a plant-chemical, isoflavones, which has an estrogen-like effect in the body. However, according to <a href="http://body.aol.com/menopause/learn-about-it/treating-menopausal-symptoms/herbal-products" target="_hplink">Harvard Medical School</a>, research results have been disappointing. Two studies published in the journal 'Menopause' found that women fared no better with red clover than a placebo for both hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Learn more about red clover <a href="http://body.aol.com/menopause/learn-about-it/treating-menopausal-symptoms/herbal-products" target="_hplink">here</a>.

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids

    Fish isn't just delicious; it contains a valuable ingredient that may help stabilize your mood swings too -- <a href="http://body.aol.com/alternative-medicine/omega-3-fatty-acids" target="_hplink">omega-3 fatty acids</a>. There have been some good studies to attest that omega-3 can help improve mood, says <a href="http://www.everydayhealth.com/womens-health/specialist/marcie-richardson/index.aspx">Dr. Marcie Richardson.</a> There's also growing research that omega-3 fatty acids help fight <a href="http://body.aol.com/condition-center/heart-disease" target="_hplink">heart disease</a>. The best way to add this key ingredient to your diet is by eating fatty fish like salmon, tuna and trout.

  • Acupuncture

    You wouldn't necessarily think that sticking needles in your body would be a helpful way to cure menopause symptoms, but when combined with other treatments, it can be helpful. Some controlled studies have shown some effectiveness in some woman for hot flashes, says <a href="http://www.everydayhealth.com/womens-health/specialist/marcie-richardson/index.aspx">Dr. Marcie Richardson.</a> According to <a href="http://body.aol.com/alternative-medicine/acupuncture" target="_hplink">A.D.A.M.</a>, "both the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health recognize that acupuncture can be a helpful part of a treatment plan" for many illnesses, including menopausal symptoms.

  • Vitamin E

    There has been a study, which showed a slight effect in decreasing hot flashes for women using vitamin E, says Dr. <a href="http://www.everydayhealth.com/womens-health/specialist/marcie-richardson/index.aspx">Marcie Richardson.</a> Along with reducing hot flashes vitamin E may carry with it extra benefits, such as fending off <a href="http://body.aol.com/conditions/age-related-macular-degeneration/topic-overview" target="_hplink">macular degeneration</a>, lowering blood pressure, and slowing the aging of cells and tissues according to <a href="http://body.aol.com/alternative-medicine/vitamin-e" target="_hplink">A.D.A.M</a>.

  • Cutting Down On Alcohol

    Who hasn't felt the negative effects of drinking too much alcohol, such as trouble sleeping or feeling flushed? This goes double for women during menopause. The thing about alcohol is: women metabolize it worse than men and we metabolize it worse as we age, says <a href="http://www.everydayhealth.com/womens-health/specialist/marcie-richardson/index.aspx">Dr. Marcie Richardson.</a> According to <a href="http://body.aol.com/menopause/learn-about-it/menopause-and-healthy-living/alcohol" target="_hplink">Harvard Medical School</a>, alcohol can act as a trigger for hot flashes. And if that wasn't enough to ward you off the bottle, studies show that consuming alcohol regularly ups your risk for other conditions like<a href="http://body.aol.com/condition-center/breast-cancer" target="_hplink"> breast cancer</a> and <a href="http://body.aol.com/condition-center/stroke" target="_hplink">stroke</a>.

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Not only that, meditation has health benefits too. A simple meditation exercise is to sit quietly and take a deep breath in through your nose and a deep breath out through your mouth. Do this 10 times. Then proceed to count from one to 10 and 10 to one in your mind. Do this until you start feeling calmer, more relaxed and the hot flashes start to subside. It may take only a few minutes for this to happen. To gain further benefits from meditation, consider talking to a meditation coach. Once you have changed your mind and start to see things differently, you will find that you have more focus, and you will be able to work on changing your body, adapt new eating habits and form an exercise plan that works for you.

Now comes the big one -- changing your life and being able to see with detachment what areas of your life you need to work on and what areas of your life you just need to let go of.
You may find that you need help with this because this can be one of the most difficult things to do. Letting go: of your inappropriate eating habits, of a job or business that is taking you nowhere, of resentment toward your husband and children and even letting go of some friendships all takes work. I guarantee that you can do it if you have the strength and desire to. Even though now it may be buried deep inside. Start digging, you will find the strength -- the strength to step into a new and rewarding phase of your life.

 

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