Friday, January 30, 2009
A friend found this online and sent it to me today. Seemed worthy of a posting. Personally I've never tried this product but I'd love to hear from anyone who has. It's by FemMEd and it's called Hormonal Balance.
Says its effective Solution For...
* Mood Swings
* Breast Tenderness
* Irregular Periods
Here is the manufactures description: (Note that I'm not endorsing this product, but merely putting it out there for information purposes).
Hormonal Balance is specially formulated to help relieve the symptoms associated with PMS and Pre-Menopause.
Suggested Usage: Adults – take 2 capsules twice daily on an empty stomach. If you suffer from gastrointestinal difficulties, take capsules with food, or as directed by your health care practitioner.
Caution: Do not take if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, or are taking prescription medications, consult a health care practitioner prior to use. Do not use with oral contraceptives.
Drug Interactions | FAQs | Product Information
(Serenoa repens berry)
(Silybum marianum seed)
(Scutellaria lateriflora herb)
(Rubus idaeus leaf extract, 4:1)
(Dioscorea composite root)
Saw Palmetto has been shown to improve reproductivity
Saw palmetto berries are a reproductive remedy for various male and female conditions, including atrophy of the breasts, dysmenorrheal, aphrodisiac and sexual vigor. Modern herbalists recognize the anabolic nutritive properties that extend beyond the limited view as a BPH remedy for men. Ellingwood and Lloyd. The American Materia Medica: Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy Eclectic Medical Pub. Portland Ore 1983 ed. Cincinnati; 1919. Felter, The Eclectic Materia Medica: Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Eclectic Med Pub, Portland, Oregon; 1985 ed. Cincinatti; 1922:628 Winston, David. Saw Palmetto for Men and Women. Storey Books, Pownal, Vt, 1999.
Chastetree Berry has been shown to reduce mood swings
Chastetree Berry shows efficacy in PMS and peri-menopausal conditions. It typically takes three menstrual cycles to achieve a stable situation. The herb shows efficacy in treating premenstrual and menopausal mood swings in DB PC human trials. Lauritzen et al, Phytomed 1997 4:3. Schildge, E. Rigelh Biol Umsch 1964 19:2. Dittmar et al, Therapiewoche Gynakol 1992:5. Peteres-Welte & Albrecht. Thera Gyna 1994:7. Christie et al, Eur J Herbal Medicine 1997:3. Berger et al, Arch Gynecol Obstet 2000:264.
Milk Thistle has been shown to inhibit ovarian and breast cancer growth
Silybin, a constituent of the seed, inhibited the growth of human ovarian and breast cancer cell lines in vitro. Scambia et al, Eur J Cancer 1996 32A:5.
Scullcap has been shown to reduce anxiety
Scullcap (S. laterifolia) contains scuttelarin and baicalin that bind to GABA receptors and have a calming influence. Hui-KwokMin et al, Planta Medica 2000 66:1. In a double blind, placebo controlled studies, the anxiety reducing effects of scullcap in human volunteers were noted. Wolfson et al, Altern Ther Health Med 2003 9:2. It also contains wogonin that inhibits tumors associated with estrogen positive and negative breast cancer cell lines, especially the more aggressive latter. Chung et al, Int J Cancer 2008 112:4.
Red Raspberry has been shown to reduce mid-cycle and excessive bleeding
Red Raspberry leaf contains sanquin H6, a condensed tannin that tones uterine tissue. It contains easily assimilated organic iron that helps reduce in between period and excessive menstrual bleeding. The leaf has a higher ORAC, or anti-oxidant value than the fruit. Wang et al, J Ag Food Chem 2000:48. Burn & Witchell, Lancet 1941 2:1-3
Wild Yam has been shown to relieve menstrual cramps
Wild Yam relieves dysmenorrhea, ovarian and uterine pain and cramping. The root contains steroidal saponins that may form diosgenin after interaction with bowel flora, but this is not proven.
These saponins or their metabolites may exert influence on estrogenic receptors of the hypothalamus. In pre-menopausal women, interactions with receptors in this gland or pituitary displace estrogen from receptors and block estrogen feedback. In turn, the body thinks the estrogen levels are lower than they really are and increases FSH and hence estrogen. In the low estrogen environment of peri-menopause, wild yam may help alleviate symptoms through the binding of steroidal compounds to vacant receptors in the hypothalamus. Estrogenic activity for wild yam has been shown in vitro, enhancing estradiol binding to estrogen receptors. Eagon et al, 91st Annual meeting of the Am Assoc for Cancer Research, San Francisco abstract 893, April 1-5 2000.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I watch City Line whenever I can. It's a talk show here in Toronto. They deal with a lot of women's issues. On there website they describe the differences between Menopause, Perimenopause and Induced menopause in a nice, straight forward, easy to understand way:
Menopause is a natural process that happens to every woman. It is neither an illness nor medical condition, basically a rite of passage for women alike. Menopause is the end of menstruation. Simply put menopause officially occurs when a women has not had her period for one full year. This is a natural aging process that occurs in women once her ovaries start to produce lower levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Furthermore she is no longer able to become pregnant. While menopause is different for every woman, the age range for experiencing it is between 42 years old and 56 years old. The average age is 52 years old.
Perimenopause, a less familiar term actually refers to the numerous years prior to menopause when a woman starts feeling the symptoms of the menopausal changeover. Most people use the term menopause to relate to the entire transition prior, during and after menopause has occurred.
While not every woman will experience all the signs of menopause, most will experience some of the signs. The most noticeable sign is the start of irregular periods. Other signs and symptoms may include:
Short-term memory problems
Urinary tract infections
The majority of the symptoms do disappear once menopause has completed.
It is interesting to note that women in different parts of the world experience different symptoms, perhaps induced by their diet, climate or simply genetics.
Induced Menopause is when a woman undergoes an immediate and premature menopause. This happens when her ovaries no longer produce the estrogen and progesterone hormones. Induced menopause can be caused by surgery removing your ovaries, chemotherapy, radiation treatment or ovarian malfunction. Often, women experiencing induced menopause have more severe menopausal symptoms. The truth of the matter is that it will affect all of us women at some point or another, and knowledge of course is the best defense to this natural phenomenon.
Monday, January 19, 2009
The Wisdom of Menopause
by Dr. Christiane Northrup.
I loooove this book and highly recommend it to everyone. Dr. Northrup has several books out on women's health. I admit I have almost all of them. I find them to be very inclusive. Always offering emotional as well as medical advice. This book tackles the perimenopausal stage and is worth a read. Here's the blurb about it:
New York Times Best Seller for more than 15 weeks...Over 1 million copies sold in 15 languages.
In The Wisdom of Menopause, updated and revised in 2006, Dr. Northrup dispels some popular misconceptions and explains why the second half of your life is designed to provide you with more pleasure, prosperity, and fulfillment than you have ever dreamed possible! According to Dr. Northrup, “the change” is not simply a collection of physical problems or hormonal swings that need to be “fixed,” but rather a mind-body revolution that brings the greatest opportunity for growth and happiness since adolescence.
This vitally important book examines the connection between menopause and a woman’s emotional and spiritual life. It stresses how the choices a woman makes at midlife—from the quality of her relationships to the quality of her diet—either secure her health and well-being for the rest of her life, or put her future at risk. Dr. Northrup draws on her own life-changing experiences as well as on many intimate case histories to explore the transformative power of these years. Readers will learn:
• How menopause literally rewires the brain, triggering a shift of priorities from nesting and caretaking to personal growth and equality.
• How to listen for the wake-up calls inherent in women’s cyclic nature, from PMS to SAD to menopausal symptoms.
• How the body adjusts naturally to changing hormones, and how to make personalized decisions about HRT and alternatives.
• How to rebalance metabolism shifts and prevent middle-age spread.
• How to deal with the myths and realities of sexual changes and appearance issues.
• How to achieve life-long cardiovascular health, as well as what the real indicators of cardiovascular disease are.
• How to prevent long-term health problems such as hormone-related cancers and memory loss.
• How to live with passion, joy, and vibrant health before, during, and well past menopause.
I'd also recommend checking out her website http://www.drnorthrup.com/index.php
She's quite an interesting woman and she speaks openly about her life, including her divorce and her own problems with fibroids and menopause.
Monday, January 12, 2009
This morning I got an email from my friend. She told me that Oprah will be talking about Perimenopause this week on her show. Apparently, like me, she realizes that this is something important for women 35 and up. So I'm happy to see that the Queen herself will be giving some much needed publicity to this topic. I plan to watch and I'll post whatever good stuff I find.
In the meantime, here is a bit of info from Oprah's website. She talked about Perimenopause hitting her years ago and describes how she realized what was happening to her.
Oprah's Own Story
My body sent me its first wake-up call more than a year ago, on an evening I'll never forget. One night last June, I—someone who has had every heart test known to womankind and has been repeatedly reassured that I have no blockages—awoke with my heart palpitating so intensely that it felt like it was going to beat right out of my chest. Pound! Pound! Pound! For the first time in my life, I thought I was about to die.
A doctor's visit confirmed what I'd already been told: I don't have heart disease. Over the next six months, my attempts to figure out what I did have led me to four more doctors—and not one could explain the palpitations. Then one morning when I was out running, I mentioned the palpitations to my trainer, Bob Greene.
"I think it's the big M," he said.
"The big M what?" I shot back.
"I think it's menopause," he said.
I stopped and stared at him. "Of course it's not menopause!" I said. "I'm still having my periods. Regular as rain!"
Like nearly every other woman in America, I believed that menopause would hit when my periods ended—that I'd suddenly wake up one day during my fifties in a fit of hot flashing. Yet over the next few days, Bob's words stayed with me: Could he be right? Of the five doctors I'd visited, two were female. Neither had asked whether I, then age 47, might be nearing one of the major markers of a woman's life. I finally put the question directly to my fifth doctor, a heart specialist: Could I be entering menopause? "Well, if it's menopause, ma'am," he said, chuckling, "you're definitely in the wrong place! I don't know a thing about that."
What happened next can only be called a miracle. A few days later, I was walking around the Harpo offices when I noticed a book called The Wisdom of Menopause. I opened it right to page 456, where I saw a subtitle that seemed to shout directly at me: "Palpitations: Your Heart's Wake-Up Call." I spotted a woman's story that sounded exactly like my own: "I am a 48-year-old female with no major health problems." Check. "My periods are still fairly regular." Check. "About a month ago...I started experiencing heart irregularities. I felt like my heart was skipping a beat and was going to beat out of my chest!" Double check. Then I saw the line that clarified everything: "There's no question that heart palpitations at menopause are related to changing hormones."
(Before you declare yourself perimenopausal—peri means near or around—hear this: A racing heart could be a symptom of a life-threatening condition, like heart disease. If you experience irregular heart rhythm, please get to a doctor right away.)
Shortly after my revelation, I made a call to the woman who wrote The Wisdom of Menopause—Christiane Northrup, M.D., an expert on holistic healing and women's health. Dr. Northrup says that perimenopause begins years before a woman's last period. It can start as early as 35 (yes, 35) and last anywhere from 5 to 13 years. In this country, the average age at which a woman has her final menstrual cycle is 51. And here's a kicker that'll keep you using birth control into your fifties: An entire year must pass after your final period before you can be certain that you've absolutely stopped producing eggs.
Here's what I realized after reading all 498 pages of The Wisdom of Menopause: Everything you've always known about taking care of yourself—getting adequate sleep, balancing your diet, drinking water, exercising regularly—comes into sharp focus during this phase. Perimenopause is your body's way of shifting your full attention back onto your well-being. "When you don't take care of your body in your twenties," Northrup says, "you can get away with it. But as you move toward your forties, your body says, 'If you keep this up, I'm gonna make you old—but if you stop now, you'll get a second chance.'"
At Dr. Northrup's suggestion, I cut out what I call the white stuff—high-glycemic-index foods such as potatoes, white rice, refined sugar and bread that throw my insulin level out of whack, cause weight gain, and trigger palpitations. I'd already cut out salt months before, believing that my racing heart might have been a symptom of high blood pressure. After just four days of swearing off the white stuff, my palpitations completely ended.
So many women I've talked to see menopause as an ending—a loss of youth, autonomy and vitality. But I've discovered that the approach of menopause is a knock at the door that can prompt you to finally create the life you've always wanted. This is your moment to reinvent yourself after years of focusing on the needs of everyone else—your mate, your children, your boss. It's your opportunity to get clear about what matters to you, and then to pursue that with all of your energy, time and talent.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
When I read this on the CEMCOR website, I almost had a heart attack! I'm not sayin which symptoms I have... I'm just sayin is all...
Women early in perimenopause may present with severe fatigue, sleep disturbances and other symptoms and commonly are diagnosed as having fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. Women with persistent heavy bleeding during early perimenopause include those with ineffectively treated anovulatory androgen excess since adolescence, who are overweight and who have had chronic anovulation without androgen excess. Women with anovulatory androgen excess or who have been inactive or overweight for many years may develop insulin resistance or frank Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.
Severe nausea may cause investigations for liver problems, severe migraine headaches cause evaluation for the possibility of a brain cancer and palpitations, hyperventilation and chest pressure investigations for heart disease. Increased abdominal cramps and varying bowel movements may lead to the diagnosis of spastic bowel disease. Sometimes women who wake fatigued or who have insomnia are investigated for sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome but more often are diagnosed with and treated for depression. Often anxiety or panic diseases are diagnosed in perimenopause.
I found these pdfs online. They are a simple way to track your symptoms. I've found it difficult to convince my family doctor that my symptoms are in line with those of perimenopause. Filling out a diary like this might give her evidence in the form of actual data - most doctors need it spelled out....
So, I entered my 30s aware that there would be some slight changes in store. Maybe I'll loose my tight 20-something body, a couple of grey hairs might appear, stuff like that. Those things did happen, along with a few others. A few freakin annoying others and I have finally put all the symptoms together and what did I get??? Peri-freakin-menopause, that's what!
What the hell is that, you may be asking? Well it's just a lovely nightmare that your mother never told you about because she probably never knew she had it at all.
Did you know that menopause is not just what happens in your 50s when you get hot flashes and stop getting your period? Oh no, my friends, it starts waaaay earlier... like after 30. Friggin hell!
Now, I'm so upset by this, that I can't possibly think clearly enough to give you an accurate description of perimenopause. So I'm going to quote the Mayo Clinic here:
"Perimenopause marks the interval in which your body begins its transition into menopause. Perimenopause encompasses the years leading up to menopause — anywhere from two to eight years — plus the first year after your final period. It's a natural part of aging that signals the ending of your reproductive years.
Your estrogen level rises and falls unevenly during perimenopause. Your menstrual cycles may lengthen or shorten, and you begin having menstrual cycles in which you don't ovulate. It's only during cycles when you do ovulate that you can become pregnant.
When perimenopause starts and how long it lasts varies. You'll probably notice signs of impending menopause, such as menstrual irregularity, sometime in your 40s. But some women notice changes as early as their mid-30s."
Ok, so I'm 38 now and I have to admit the onset of the symptoms has set in already. I also have a close friend who's going through the same thing. We talk about it regularly now and to me it seems a worthy subject for a blog.
Here's a run-down of the symptoms: (I got this from www.womenshealth.gov
* Changes in pattern of periods (can be shorter or longer, lighter or heavier, more or less time between periods)
* Hot flashes
* Night sweats, often followed by a chill
* Trouble sleeping through the night
* Vaginal dryness
* Mood changes, feeling crabby
* Trouble focusing, feeling mixed-up or confused
* Hair loss or thinning on your head, more hair growth on your face
I'm not going to tel you which symptoms I have. That's none of your beeswax!
However, if anyone out there feels like sharing with the class, I might start to open up a bit more.