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Menopause (Posted On: Saturday, February 23, 2008)

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Well here it is---the long awaited follow-up to my Perimenopause article thank you for your requests and your patience- life is wonderfully busy for me.  In fact I was realizing that before Menopause I felt like I was a caterpillar; knowing that there was more to life than just crawling from one day to the next - and now after my transformation I feel like I could fly. 


And believe me I wanted this bad enough to endure losing everything to find myself - a beautiful Monarch - having flown over a whole ocean of pain to a point of peace and happiness!

I cried as I wrote that since I truly didn’t believe in myself till recently. I have always been a people pleaser and that goes hand in hand with being co-dependent—but thanks to Menopause being such a driving force mentally and physically; I have reached this natural milestone in every women’s life being authentic—cause it will drive you crazy if you are anything but!!!!


As a Nutritionist I was able to stay away from any kind of medication in order to travel through Menopause (meaning you have a been a whole year with no menstrual period) - I know the journey can be long and frustrating and that once your period stops it doesn’t mean that life with hormones is a smooth ride. I hope you will read my Perimenopause article before this as I deal with the roller-coaster of hormones that would take a scientist to figure out since they can change from moment to moment.


In the wonderful booklet by Lorna VanDerHaeghe she tells us that when our ovaries stop producing estrogen, our adrenals are supposed to kick in and provide us with the estrogen we need. Our fat cells also produce estrogen and so does our uterus. Then our liver processes and packages those hormones and the thyroid hormones play their role. In my case this was what didn’t work for it and me and it was a long year of multiple hot flashing (they sure didn’t feel like power-surges—am I right ladies??) until I corrected the problem with Thyrosense by Ms. Van DeHaeghe.


The problem often is that the adrenals have been working overtime in most of us, so when they are called on to help during menopause they are too exhausted to do their job—sound familiar? For those of you who can get to sleep but wake up a few hours later; unable to return to sleep, it is a sign that your adrenals need help (see my list of tips for healing) since this can promote long term insomnia. Another complication can be that the liver is congested and those who have extreme symptoms often need to address this situation (again see my following recommendations):


When your thyroid is under active (see Perimenopause for the temperature test for this) they can cause severe hot flashing, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and previously flooding, with irregular periods.


Hormone Replacement Therapy or HRT was originally developed to halt the symptoms of menopause but it has become the panacea for many other problems with very little testing until now, and we have learned the hard way that it has increased our chance of stroke by 41%, 29% for heart attack, doubled the risk of blood clots, 22 % increase in cardiovascular disease and a 26% increase in invasive breast cancer!


The clinical studies were halted because the results were so seriously detrimental to the health of the women involved in the tests using small doses of Premarin along with synthetic progesterone. Not only were the women developing dense breast tissue, but also they were exhibiting symptoms of early dementia. Hopefully we will learn from these studies and it won’t be swept under the rug when our daughters become our age.


Since there are now over 5 million women reaching their menopausal years there are wonderful new studies being conducted on the benefits of eating a whole food, plant-based diet and lifestyle, and consuming the right supplements and herbs that will balance our fluctuating hormones.


Healthy Nutritional Healing Tips:


·         Normalize your bodies’ pH (dis-ease grows in acidity) by eliminating processed meats, skin of fowl, fried foods, pasteurized dairy products, alcohol, refined sugar, spicy foods, and common table salt (if it sounds too difficult contact me and I will show you how it can be done easily and deliciously!).


·         Replace the healing alkalinity by using Herbemare (can be bought at health food stores—great for thyroid) and Sea Salt, eating lots of vegetables and fruits, beans and lentils, whole grains,  (be careful if wheat is an issue) raw nuts, and wild sea fish at least 3 times a week (also good for thyroid) and drink lots of good quality (not tap) water.


The following supplementation can be helpful:


Note:  Please read Perimenopause for more information especially about taking a good quality, absorbable multi vitamin / mineral along with the essential fatty acids, Omega 3-6-9).


·         Vitamin E (400 IU) with selenium has a normalizing effect on estrogen levels - if you are drinking chlorinated tap water you need more of this. Vitamin E is good for hot flashes, breast tenderness, muscle cramps and vaginal dryness.


·         Vitamin C with bioflavanoids (1000 mgs. AM & PM) helps to diminish hot flashes and night sweats, leg cramps and helps to prevent osteoporosis.


·         Vitamin B complex (I take 150mgs daily) has a calming effect. It helps your body deal with stress and depression and you can feel it replenishing the adrenals!  It counteracts fatigue, irritability, cravings for sweets (sometimes), fluid retention and headaches.


·         Calcium/Magnesium (1500/750 mgs) is important to maintain hormonal balance through menopause. It is also helpful for cramping, headaches, insomnia, and anxiety.


·         Milk Thistle/Dandelion (liquid is best) combination is wonderful for cleansing the overtaxed liver. Zinc also activates liver enzymes and helps boost energy.


There are so many wonderful products for stress now we each need to take time to spend with the helpful staff at the health food stores to find out which ones are best. I found that Tranquil Sleep by Natural Factors at night and L-Theanine by NAKA during the day are what really work well for me, along with my B-Complex.  But supplements can only help so far, as you really need to reduce the stress in your life. 


Start by looking after yourself, meditating, having a massage monthly, doing yoga, and exercising regularly. This is one place I am falling behind and I know it’s just a matter of putting it in a place of importance.


Here comes the really difficult part though - being authentic requires a level of honesty with yourself that when ever you feel something isn’t right; or you have crossed over that balance into feeling overwhelmed by life, you say NO. I have truly found that if it ain’t good for momma, it ain’t good for anyone around her!


So keep loving yourself by doing one thing a day you love to do, tell your loved ones that you “need” extra love, attention and HELP!


Something that I am told regularly by my clients is that they feel they are on the road to health by coming to see me, a Nutritionist, by starting a new way of looking at food and at themselves. You truly are “ what you eat and what you think”


Take care and don’t hesitate to e-mail me @ or call 705.443.8140.




Barb Andrews,

Registered Holistic Nutritionist

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