Want to reduce symptoms of the menopause, while tackling signs of ageing at the same time? <Thought so> We hear from restorative health and bioidentical HRT advocate and author of The Menopause Cure: Hormonal Health, Jill D. Davey on how to do just that.
There are many poor quality supplements on the marketplace and they simply do not work. The hormones in your body need to be balanced to keep the menopause in check, so you can avoid all those uncomfortable and life-destroying symptoms while slowing the ageing process and keeping those devastating age-related diseases at bay. Bioidentical hormones are natural and an exact match of the hormones we produce in the body, unlike the hormones used in conventional medicine, such as Prempro, which can cause side-effects including an increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease and stroke, and an increased risk of blood clots. Bioidentical hormones do NOT carry this risk.
Plastics contain weak synthetic oestrogen-like agents (such as bisphenol A). Their oestrogen-like activity makes them a hormone disruptor which can affect how oestrogens and other hormones act in the body, by blocking or mimicking them, throwing the body's hormonal balance off course. This may cause an 'oestrogen dominance effect' which can provoke oestrogen-sensitive cancers such as breast, uterine and endometrial cancers, along with endometriosis and fibroid cysts.
Restore your oestrogens, progesterone and testosterone levels. Women have testosterone too, albeit at lower levels and ratios than men, and it plays an important role in sex drive as well as protecting the heart, brain and bones. Oestrogens and progesterone prepare the lining of the uterus for pregnancy and maintain the growth of the female reproductive tissues. In menopause, both these female hormones decline quite drastically, so are unable to maintain a healthy reproductive system any longer which leads to issues such as vaginal atrophy (painful sex), bladder weakness, thrush and urinary tract infections. Restoring these missing hormones with bioidentical hormones (as opposed to synthetic hormone) means you can avoid all these problems, regain your sex drive and your lust for life.
If you want your skin to look younger, stay away from anti-ageing products that are petroleum-based or contain mineral oil. A natural mix of topical bioidentical oestriol (a type of oestrogen) and antioxidants will protect the skin from ageing, improve elasticity and firmness, and decrease wrinkle depth and pore size from 61% to 100%.
Other nutrients that are important for youthful skin are alpha lipoic acid, coenzyme Q-10, DMAE, DHEA, pomegranate seed oil extract, red tea extract and vitamin E.
A balanced diet of organic or locally-grown foods with the right amount of fat, protein and carbohydrate is a wonderful way to start. Adding phytoestrogens (found in plants like licquorice, soybeans and alfalfa) in small amounts is another good strategy as they block the stronger, bad forms of oestrogens that may cause cancer. High quality omega 3 oil is far more beneficial than fish oil, and although flax and hemp are good plant-based omega 3, they are not a substitute for animal-based omega 3 fats.
Women who move little and eat a lot have much higher oestrogen levels, and when the ratios between oestrogens and progesterone are out, we get a phenomenon known as 'oestrogen dominance'.
This means many modern women will need to change their lifestyle to protect against diabetes and various cancers. Just eating a little less and moving a bit more could help substantially.
Maintaining the correct weight can be difficult for adults of all ages, but 90% of women gain weight between the ages of 35 to 55 due to fluctuations in hormone levels. Hormones and weight gain go hand in hand, especially when there is cortisol dominance or too little progesterone, testosterone or oestrogen. Although exercise, nutrition and lifestyle changes definitely help regulate and balance certain hormones, restoring your hormones (and therefore balancing body physiology) at menopause is vital to successfully maintaining a healthy weight.
Vitamin D is produced naturally when you expose your skin to sunlight. Optimised vitamin D levels may help to decrease the risk of at least 16 different types of cancer, including lung, ovarian, breast, prostate, pancreatic, and skin cancers, while suboptimal levels are also linked to diabetes, depression, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, osteoarthritis, Parkinson's disease, PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), lupus and high blood pressure to name a few. 40 minutes of sunlight exposure is the ideal way to optimise vitamin D levels, but in colder climates the next best thing is a good quality supplement.
Our body requires a continual supply of water to enable it to 'clean out' all the waste filtration systems nature has designed to keep the body free from toxins and in a healthy state. The liver, kidneys and blood all require fresh, filtered water to cleanse the body from the toxic exposure we face every day. Toxins that leach from plastic bottles, tap water that is filled with by-products from chlorination, or contaminated by pesticides or hormones make the body work twice as hard at detoxification.
Oestrogens and toxins can easily be absorbed through the skin so you should also consider putting a filter in your shower - they can be bought quite cheaply and fitted to most existing systems, and you will notice a visible difference in your skin and hair.
Work, health, family, money and emotional issues, as well as the rush of everyday life can cause stress which blunts hormone production and will cause cortisol levels to rise and hormonal imbalances to occur. Long-term or chronic stress is linked to serious emotional and physical impairments like heart disease, depression, high blood pressure, obesity and Alzheimer's. Try to control these stressors by taking a hot bath, having a massage, eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep - just dedicating time to yourself can really help with stress reduction.
No matter where you're at on the menopause timeline, start making changes today. Adjust your diet to eat whole, real foods rather than processed meals. Take up exercise, think positive and smile a lot to keep stress at healthy levels while keeping motivated. Last but certainly not least, keep your hormones in balance, as life will be so much easier once you develop positive and healthy habits for life.
Read more from Jill D. Davey about the menopause here.
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