The change. That’s what most women call it. Those words are so daunting! In my head, I see a perfectly normal woman morphing into a wild beast, reminiscent of Jekyll and Hyde scenarios.
There she is, sitting on a lovely davenport, duvet swaddling her thighs. She reads a novel, as the moon slowly crests above a swaying tree, just beyond the bay window.
A soft breeze presses a few branches against the house, tapping the window gently. Abruptly, the lovely woman sits up. Her long mane of hair tussles and she begins to writhe in pain.
Falling from the couch onto a small rug, she shrieks! Her face contorts, and as she rises, the beast emerges! Menopause has BEGUN! Well, that’s what I see, when I hear someone say they are going through “the change”.
And quite honestly? When I hear some women describe menopause, this story may not be that far off!
Common symptoms of menopause include: hot flashes, night sweats, osteoporosis, dry skin, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, moodiness, reduced sex drive, or vaginal dryness, dryness or loss of scalp hair, insomnia and pain during intercourse.
Some people wake up with those hot flashes so severe that they are in a pool of sweat and feel as though they were “melting into the floor” as one of my friends describes. Some women have had to shower and change clothes in the middle of the night. Truly, maybe menopause IS that beast?
So, what is the formula to turn Hyde back into Jekyll? It is Estrogen therapy or Estrogen Progesterone therapy. The main caveat is that according to the American Cancer Society, the increased risk of cancer is pronounced.
Estrogen alone increases the likelihood of contracting cancer of the uterus, so Estrogen Progesterone therapy (EPT) is usually what is prescribed by doctors.
EPT increases the likelihood of developing breast cancer, dying from lung cancer (no increased risk to contract it, but increased risk of dying from it). “Women who took EPT had a lower risk of getting colorectal cancer at all, but the cancers they got were more advanced (more likely to have spread to lymph nodes or distant sites) than the cancers in the women not taking hormones.”
In addition to these issues, EPT has been known to cause:
- Pulmonary embolism, a blockage in one of the arteries in your lungs
- Deep vein thrombosis, a condition where blood clots form in veins deep within your body, often in your legs
- Heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease
When my doctor told me a few years ago that I would probably be going through menopause soon, as you can imagine, I panicked. A few months ago, I began to feel flush and slightly warm. It happened periodically. I started to suspect this might be hot flashes.
To my surprise, it was not uncomfortable at all. It was not even annoying. So, I called my Mom, who is a nurse practitioner and asked “Could it be? I mean, it isn’t anything like what my friends describe.”
She told me it could be the mildest case of hot flashes that she has ever seen. Ironically, a few days later, a girlfriend of mine asked if the nutrition shake we both use could be causing her menopause symptoms to be very mild. Thus began my research into nutrition and menopause. I will give you all I have.
Searching for natural alternatives, I’ve found a nutrition drink that has many adaptogenic herbs, fruits, and vegetables from around the world, and digestive enzymes that seem to be helping a lot of people.
I will talk about a few of the ingredients that I have found effective, included in my own nutritional supplement.
Now, I know there are a LOT of ingredients here and a great deal of information. If you are like me, you start to go cross-eyed when confronted with a list this long. I admit it.
I get lazy and don’t want to read it all. Just skim it, so you can get an idea of how much alternative medicine is available in plants. Then skip to the paragraph in bold.
However, for those of you who want as much information as possible, feel free to not only read what I’ve written but research it yourself.
Maca is a starchy tuber that looks like a radish. It grows high in the Andes. Maca has been widely used to relieve menopausal symptoms and to treat infertility and depression. No side effects of maca are known. It is thought to help with hot flashes.
Ginko biloba – Ginkgo can help improve memory capacity and support cognitive function. The leaves contain chemicals (flavonoids and terpenoids) containing powerful antioxidant properties.
Because antioxidants neutralize free radicals (damaging particles which the body produces naturally), we can boost circulation. This is good news for women during menopause because they are more likely to suffer from circulatory problems.
In my supplement, I am including the following antioxidants: Lun Hao Guo, Camu-Camu, Rose Hips, Acerola Cherry, Bilberry, Acai, Grape Seed, Green Tea, Pomegranate, Goji Berry.
Why do I include all of these ingredients?
Two words: Oxidative stress
Oxidative stress plays an integral part of the aging process! It results from the overproduction of free radicals. As the body ages, antioxidant levels decline, leaving the human body susceptible to a variety of age-related pathologies, such as non-alcoholic liver cirrhosis and atherosclerotic heart disease!
Friends, ANTIOXIDANTS are a woman’s BESTIE!
Flax – Substances called lignins in flaxseed are important modulators of hormone metabolism. Studies have found that a higher intake of omega 3 fatty acids and alpha-linoleic acid (found in flaxseed) is linked to less severe menopausal symptoms.
Since weight gain is an issue during menopause, Matcha may be helpful – matcha may boost your metabolism during moderate-intensity exercise, thus enhancing weight loss.
For the digestive issues – Amylase, Yacon Root, Lactobacillus Sporogenes, Papain, Lactase, Lipase, Protease, Bromelain, Cellulase – helps increase nutrition absorption, promotes regularity, and improves digestion.
Ashwagandha – an Ayurvedic herb designed to help with adrenal fatigue, hormone balancing, and improving a range of menopausal symptoms including hot flashes and mood swings.
Support the adrenals with Astragalus, Maca, Rhodiola, and Ashwagandha, to combat fatigue
The ability to handle stress is greatly impaired during menopause, leading to fatigue. Have you ever heard of CORDYCEPS? Think medicinal mushroom.
Cordyceps is shown to help the body produce and balance cortisol and other stress hormones (many Chinese herbs have been used for a very long time for Relief from Peri- and Postmenopausal Symptoms) It helps to balance and diminishes depressive moods.
It soothes, relaxes and regulates and stimulates the functions of the adrenal gland. While we are chatting about mushrooms, let’s not forget CHAGA!
No joke, Chaga may be an article all by itself. This potent mushroom could slow the aging process and is certainly a favorite of the stars. I suggest you research this mushroom thoroughly for more information. Our article is about helping with menopause symptoms.
Chaga has been believed to help almost any condition imaginable, and most alternative health practitioners agree. From bone loss to skin health, you will find this mushroom has a reason for its popularity in Hollywood.
REISHI. This medicinal mushroom is known in Asian medicine as “mushroom of eternal life”. It helps in vegetative dysregulation such as hot flashes, restlessness, and insomnia.
Now that we are chatting about Chinese medicine, trust they have had a great deal of experience helping the populace with medicinal herbs.
Let’s take Schisandra, for example. In traditional Chinese medicine, it has been used for thousands of years for memory improvement, kidney diseases, and even the common cold. Modern research has investigated its use in vascular diseases and Alzheimer’s disease. Schisandra should be added to the list of botanicals demonstrating some scientific efficacy for menopausal related hot flushes/ night sweats and heart palpitations.
Vit B12 – (specifically methylcobalamin form of Vitamin B12), which is quickly available for usage by the body. Vitamin B12 is important for energy production and works together with folate in the synthesis of DNA and red blood cells. It is also important for the nervous system. Women who are going through menopause may need more than the RDA.
The two ingredients that I do not use are Dong Quai and Black cohosh. Dong Quai has been used to treat menstrual cramps, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and menopausal symptoms. Black cohosh is a medicinal root used to treat hot flashes.
Friends, the onslaught of “The Beast” may be a challenge. However, I must encourage you to EMBRACE your new adventure! Find ways to celebrate your changes. We went through this crazy hormonal change at 13, and now, we are older, wiser, stronger.
Trust and believe that nature has provided tools at our disposal that will help our bodies overcome the struggle, and move to the next exploit with vigor and enthusiasm. We can tame The Beast!
(I spent a little time gathering information from my friends. They have described the use of the herbs below, explaining how they have helped them. Don’t worry. We’ve got this.)
Annie C. F – Well, I have a history of really intense horrible periods, and my mom had the same problem. In fact, she had a hysterectomy when she was my age, but I don’t want to go that route. My periods are getting further and further apart as I approach menopause, and when I do get them they last longer.
I have been on (My Nutrition Supplement) very consistently for a 5 1/2 years, except for those rare times when I happen to run out before my next shipment arrives. When I go without, I have miserable hot flashes. I turn bright red and feel like I’m going to melt all over the floor.
Another interesting side effect that has nothing to do with the girly issue is that my entire life ever since I was a toddler, I have been prone to fever blisters. They are embarrassing and uncomfortable. Well, I do not get them anymore! When I did some research on the subject, I think I may have narrowed it down to the Camu Camu.
Judy G – I haven’t written anything down for myself. I started it because I thought it would help me lose weight along with my exercise regimen plus I was feeling tired after my morning workout. I’ve been drinking it usually as my breakfast for over 5 years.
I haven’t lost weight from it, but I no longer feel sluggish after my morning workout. When I went on vacation, I didn’t take it with me. I was gone for about 5 days and felt sooo tired. I just wanted to nap. When I came home and got back into my regular routine of drinking my shake, I was all good again.
So I kept on it, and my boyfriend started drinking it as well. I just feel better. Now that I’m reaching menopause these questions just came up because I do not have the systems that my friends and family are. Maybe they are coming yet, but I just thought I’d put it out there. I didn’t have any health issues before, so I can’t relate to the other testimonials.
Darragh M. – I started noticeably going through menopause in 2014, at the age of 58. While I’d gone through a “false menopause” at a much earlier age, I noticed the symptoms this time were more severe.
I have always suffered from periodic insomnia. When true menopause kicked in, I started having hot flashes, usually late at night, that would keep me awake for hours. Sometimes they would wake me. I often woke drenched and had to shower and change the sheets before being able to sleep again.
My hair and fingernails became very dry and brittle also, and I started having to use more and more moisturizer to fight off wrinkles. While I have enough stress in my life that anxiety is hardly unusual, I was reasonably certain that some of the really awful times were related to the menopause.
Last year, I had about 4 months of being on (My Nutrition Supplement) regularly. During this time, I noticed that I was sleeping better, and my hair became soft and shiny again. My skin and nails visibly improved, much to my relief.
The only times I suffered from hot flashes were after having had more than a glass or two of red wine before bed. And I noticed that I was able to maintain a more positive outlook on life with less difficulty than previously.
The symptoms resumed after I’d been off (My Nutrition Supplement) for several weeks. Over time, however, the hot flashes have diminished. This year, I haven’t had any so that I may be passed that point. *Yea!*
Earlier this year, I was able to be on (My Nutrition Supplement) for 1 month. Toward the end of that time, I again noticed an improvement in my hair, skin, and sleep habits. I didn’t have hot flashes by that time, so can’t say if there was an improvement or not.
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