The menopause is also known as the ‘change of life’ and is the end of menstruation. This means that a woman’s ovaries stop producing an egg every four weeks. She will no longer have a monthly period or be able to have children.
In the UK, the average age for a woman to reach the menopause is 52, although women can experience the menopause in their 30s or 40s.
If a woman experiences the menopause when she is under 45 years of age, it is known as a premature menopause.
Menstruation (monthly periods) can sometimes stop suddenly when you reach the menopause. However, it is more likely that your periods will become less frequent, with longer intervals in between each one before they stop altogether.
Women are frequently prescribed hormone replacement therapy (HRT) by their doctors but there are side effects association with this. They range in severity and can include: stroke gall bladder disease, liver tumours, fluid retention and weight gain, headaches, breast cancer, endometrial cancer and uterine fibroids.
The menopause can cause a wide range of physical and psychological symptoms. The first symptom is usually a change in the pattern of your monthly periods.
The start of the menopause is known as the peri-menopausal stage. During this time, you may have light or heavy periods.
The frequency of your periods may also be affected. You may have a period every two-three weeks, or you may not have one for months at a time.
Other menopausal symptoms include:
- hot flushes/flashes and night sweats
- loss of libido (sexual desire)
- vaginal dryness and pain, itching or discomfort during sex
- palpitations (changes in heart rate)
- mood changes, such as depression, anxiety or tiredness
- sleeping problems, such as insomnia
- urinary tract infections
Some women can enter the menopause suddenly rather than gradually and this will make the symptoms appear worse as they all come at once.
Your symptoms will usually last for two-five years before disappearing, although in some cases they can last longer. Vaginal symptoms, such as dryness, can sometimes persist and get worse as you get older.
Hot flushes/flashes and night sweats
A hot flush or flash is a sudden feeling of heat in your upper body, which can start in your face, neck or chest, before spreading upwards and downwards.
The skin on your face, neck and chest may become red and patchy and you may start to sweat. You may also feel a change in your heart rate. It may become very rapid, or it may be irregular and stronger than usual (palpitations).
Hot flushes or flashes that occur at night are called night sweats. Most hot flushes/flashes only last a few minutes and they are most common in the first year after your final period.
Many menopausal women have trouble sleeping due to night sweats, but sleep disturbances may also occur as a result of anxiety.
You may find that a lack of sleep makes you irritable and that you have problems with your short-term memory and ability to concentrate.
During the time leading up to the menopause, you may experience vaginal dryness, itching or discomfort. This can make sex difficult or painful (dyspareunia). These symptoms combined are known as vaginal atrophy.
About a third of women experience the symptoms of vaginal atrophy shortly after the menopause, with slightly more women having them later on. In some cases, vaginal atrophy can persist for more than 10 years after your final period.
If you have vaginal symptoms, it is likely that they will continue or get worse over time unless they are treated.
During the menopause, you are more likely to experience recurrent lower urinary tract infections, such as cystitis. You may also feel an urgent and frequent need to pass urine.
The menopause is part of the natural ageing process and is caused by a change in the balance of the body’s sex hormones.
When a woman reaches the menopause, oestrogen levels decrease, which causes the ovaries to stop producing an egg each month (ovulation). Oestrogen is the female sex hormone that regulates a woman’s periods.
Most women experience the menopause when they are 45-55 years of age. The average age for the menopause to occur is 52.
It is possible, though rare, for some women to experience the menopause before they reach 45 years of age. This is known as premature ovarian failure.
Premature ovarian failure can occur at any age and in many cases there is no cause.
However, not all women who experience premature menopause find their periods stop completely. A small number of women still have intermittent ovarian function, which means that their ovaries will occasionally release eggs and they may still be able to conceive.
Possible causes of premature ovarian failure include:
- surgery to remove ovaries or womb (hysterectomy)
- certain types of radiotherapy or chemotherapy
- in rare cases, some infections, such as tuberculosis, mumps, malaria, varicella (the virus that causes chickenpox and shingles) and shigella (a type of bacteria that causes dysentery)
- certain medical conditions, such as enzyme deficiencies, Down’s syndrome, Turner syndrome, Addison’s disease and hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland)
- Soy foods. The isoflavones in soy foods help balance hormone levels and have some estrogenic activity. There is on-going research about the safety and efficacy of isolated soy isoflavone supplements. While the initial results look promising, we currently recommend using natural soy foods rather than supplements. Choose from tofu, soy milk, roasted soy nuts or tempeh.
- Flaxseed. Substances called lignins in flaxseed are important modulators of hormone metabolism. Grind flaxseed daily in a coffee grinder at home and use 1 to 2 tablespoons a day.
It is important to not add further toxicity to your system so try to adhere to the following:
- Do not consume any artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda, NutraSweet or Aspartame
- Do not consume high fructose corn syrup or mono-sodium glutamate.
- Do not drink any carbonated beverages.
- Avoid all fast food restaurants.
- Avoid all canned food.
- Eliminate conventional dairy products. The best dairy products are raw, unpasteurised and homogenised dairy from grass fed cows. If this is unavailable, then buy organic dairy.
- Avoid conventional beef. The best beef is organic grass fed beef. The second best is organic meat; this includes beef, veal, lamb, chicken and turkey. Check out http://grasslandbeef.com.
- Take Vitamin D3 50,000-100,000 International Units a day for periods of 4 weeks at a time.
- Wholefood supplements are the best way of ensuring your nutritional needs are met. The best we know on the market is Kevin Trudeau’s “KT Daily” product. You can find more details here.
- Take an Omega 3 supplement:
- Vitamin E. A daily dose of 400 IUs of natural vitamin E (as mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols) can help alleviate symptoms of hot flashes in some menopausal women.
- B vitamins. This group of water-soluble vitamins may help women deal with the stress of menopausal symptoms.
- Evening primrose oil or black currant oil. These are sources of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid that can help influence prostaglandin synthesis and help moderate menopausal symptoms.
Prescription and non-prescription medication:
What non-prescription and prescription drugs are you taking? Your non-prescription and prescription are partially the reason that you have this illness or disease – you need to get off these medications but do so only under the guidance of a licensed health care practitioner.
We know that when the body is out of balance, energy doesn’t flow, leading blockages and eventually disease. Here are some things you can do to combat stress and restore balance:
- Go to a Dr Morter BEST (Bio-Energetic Synchronisation Technique) Practitioner.
- Sign up for Energetic Re-Balancing: 2 practitioners to consider are:
Stephen Lewis, founder of the Aim Program. Find out more by clicking here.
. Find out more by clicking here.
- Consider using Mary Millers Iching System Products – ichingsystemsinstruments.com
- Reiki healing is very powerful in releasing stress and emotional baggage. Find a practitioner here.
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) has had remarkable results in dissolving stress. Find a local practitioner here or go to www.thetappingsolution.com or www.tftrx.com
- Try Hypnotherapy to relax the mind. Find a practitioner here.
Traditional Chinese Medicine – Ancient Healing www.naturalcures.com/healthblog/traditional_chinese_ancient_healing.php
The best way to cleansing and purification of the body www.naturalcures.com/healthblog/54_the_best_way_to_cleansing_and_purification_of_the_body_110512.php
Mother Nature’s Natural Germ Fighters naturalhealthdossier.com/2012/03/mother-natures-natural-germ-fighters
Immune health NC_Newsletter_07-11.pdf
Squeaky Clean (Colonic Irrigation) www.naturalcures.com/healthblog/squeaky_clean.php
Heal Your Body and Raise Your Consciousness – Qigong NC_Newsletter_12-08.pdf
Health Care that Won’t Cost You a Single Penny – EFT NC_Newsletter_12-06.pdf
Become Master of Your Mind – taking charge of your reaction to stress NC_Newsletter_12-10.pdf
Jump for Joy – Rebounding is a great stress busting workout NC_Newsletter_12-10.pdf
Hypnotherapy for stress management – why it is so effective www.naturalcures.com/healthblog/hypnotherapy_for_stress.php
How to relieve the menopause with natural herbal remedies: www.ehow.com/video_6191279_relieve-menopause-herbal-remedies.html
EFT for treating disease www.garythink.com/eft/physicial.html
Early menopause linked to endocrine disrupting chemicals: www.menopause.org/for-women
Ease menopause with red clover: www.naturalnews.com/033896_menopausal_symptoms_red_clover.html
Avoiding cancer-causing hormone replacement therapy:www.naturalnews.com/036212_hormone_replacement_therapy_menopause_HRT.html
Black cohosh shown to ease symptoms of menopause: www.naturalnews.com/026403_black_cohosh_symptoms_menopause.html
Cookware can cause early menopause: www.naturalnews.com/031846_cookware_hormones.html
Menopausal women do not absorb enough Vitamin D: www.naturalnews.com/034207_vitamin_D_menopause.html
Further Information (links and books)
What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause (TM): The Breakthrough Book on Natural Hormone Balance by John R. Lee and Virginia Hopkins; Menopause Sucks: What to Do When Hot Flashes and Hormones Make You and Everyone Else Miserable by Joanne Kimes and Elaine Ambrose;
Natural Hormone Balance for Women: Look Younger, Feel Stronger, and Live Life with Exuberance by Uzzi Reiss and Martin Zucker;Natural Menopause Remedies: Which Drug-Free Cures Really Work by Nadine Taylor
Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food … A-To-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies) by Phyllis Balch
Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art by Kathi Keville and Mindi Green
Detox and revitalize by Susana L. Belen
The Secret Language of Your Body by Inna Segal
The Healing Herbs: The Ultimate Guide to the Curative Power of Nature’s Medicines by Michael Castleman and Prevention Magazine
Dr. Theresa Dale [email protected] – Hormones, HRT
Jennifer Stone [email protected] – Women’s issues
Andrea Butje | Aromahead [email protected] – Aromatherapy
Carrie Vitt [email protected] – Organic food recipes.
David Spector-NSR/USA [email protected] – Meditation, stress
Judith Hoad [email protected] – Herbalist.
Kath May [email protected] – Reiki, Tai Chi.
Lillian Bridges [email protected] – Chinese medicine, living naturally.
Monika [email protected] – Aromatherapy.
Rakesh [email protected] – Ayurvedic practitioner.