Menopause, or the “change of life,” is a natural process that occurs in most women between the ages of 38-60, and is perhaps the most dreaded time of her life. The ability to bear children ends, and this can be an emotionally devastating blow to a woman’s self-image and sense of femininity. This loss, combined with the pressures of our “youth-oriented” culture can make this transition even more difficult.
Social scientists have shown that a woman’s mental attitude at menopause is strongly influenced by cultural expectations and societal support for her changing role. In many societies, menopause is a time of praise and reward. The woman is applauded for her past role of a mother or active participant in the community and is given the new role of an influential matriarch in an extended family or community network.
Our society, on the other hand, pities maturity in women. There are many unspoken implications of a woman’s loss of sexual desire and appeal to the opposite sex. During this time of great emotional turmoil, many physical changes and discomforts may be present which only add to a woman’s feelings of self-doubt and anxiety that menopause is “the beginning of the end.”
At puberty, the female body begins a cycle of preparing for possible conception about every 28 days (on the average). This process is regulated by a continual change of balance between the hormones estrogen and progesterone. As these hormones begin to diminish, the body experiences a shift in balance and prepares for a new phase known as menopause (meno meaning month and pause meaning cessation). So, menopause is a perfectly natural, normal state.
Nature designed the system to protect the woman. When a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery can no longer be assured, she is deprived of the ability to become pregnant. The ovaries stop ovulation and become less-active in producing sex hormones. So, menstruation eventually stops (this process can be immediate or could take several months of erratic periods). Along with these changes, the blood level of estrogen goes down which is the main cause of menopausal problems.
A Nutritional Support Program for Mature Women
Natural Changes [Glandular]. Around the age of 50, many women experience menopause and its symptoms due to a natural decrease in hormone levels. Natural Changes combines our most popular nutritional supplements for mature women into easy-to-use packets. The finest herbs, essential fatty acids and antioxidant nutrients nourish the body naturally to help cope with these changes.
Natural Changes contains a unique combination of nutrients to gently replenish the body's supply of essential hormones and health-balancing compounds that are used by the female glandular system during natural changes.
Each packet of Natural Changes contain:
C-X (2) capsules designed to provide herbal support for reproductive glands of mature women.
Wild Yam & Chaste Tree (1 capsule) historically used by women during menopause.
Super GLA (1 capsule) provides essential Omega 3/6/9 fatty acids, that support the female reproductive system.
Skeletal Strength and Nutri-Calm (1 tablet each) designed to support healthy bones and a stressed nervous system.
The most common complaint of women experiencing menopause is hot flashes, which usually involves the face, neck, and in many cases, the upper portion of the chest. All of these sensitive skin areas can turn bright red and are often accompanied by the sensation of heat and suffocation. These “flashes” can occur as often as 20 times a day and equally as many times during the night. Following these hot flashes, many woman go through a series of “sweats.” These can be very embarrassing and have the potential of completely drenching a woman in perspiration so that a complete change of clothes is required. Either of these irritations drive women to look for open windows or doors, even in the chill of winter.
Other symptoms of menopause include: dizziness, headaches, shortness of breath, palpitations of the heart, anxiety, and depression. When these symptoms present themselves, most American women run to their doctor, and the average doctor will immediately prescribe estrogen therapy for the remainder of the woman’s life. If she protests this course of action, the doctor will usually tell her that she will shrivel up like a prune, and that her bones will lose mass, shrink, and osteoporosis will take hold of her body. These are some serious problems to consider, but what about the risks of estrogen therapy? Estrogen Therapy
There are two types of estrogen used.
The first is called diethylstilbestroltype synthetic estrogen (commonly known as the contraceptive pill).
The second type is considered a “natural” form of estrogen that is taken from a pregnant mare’s urine and is called Premarin.
In whatever form, this type of estrogen therapy should be considered unnecessary and potentially destructive to a woman’s body. There are many risks and side effects that accompany this drug, and it is a dangerous way of trying to interfere with the normal process of menopause.
“Long term use of estrogens increases cancer risk by fourteen fold.” According to the studies done at the University of Washington, and the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Los Angeles, women who use either of these two types of estrogen therapy for over five years, increased their risk of developing cancer of the uterus by up to fourteen fold. Their reports went on to say that there is no scientific evidence to justify use of estrogen therapy for menopausal psychological and emotional problems. The drug cannot slow the aging process, or restore youth and vitality.
What does estrogen do?
“Estrogen” is a broad term, and classifies several hormones that are secreted by the ovaries. They are vital to the proper development of secondary sex characteristics. In a mature woman, they are essential for normal functioning of the genital system.
Some important roles of estrogen involve their relationship to other glands in the body. They maintain balance by stimulating or withholding certain functions of other glands by internal secretions. When the ovaries lose control, some of the other hormones may begin to over-compensate.
But the body seems to be prepared for everything by having a back-up plan ready to take over in a crisis. In the case of menopause, the adrenal glands begin to produce a hormone similar to estrogen when the ovaries cease to function. This hormone performs all the same functions as estrogen except that of preparing the body for conception.
As previously discussed, the adrenals are prepared to take over when the ovaries lose their ability to produce sufficient amounts of estrogen to take care of the body’s needs. But, in western cultures, women almost universally suffer from adrenal hypofunction. This can be explained best by describing the daily work load of the adrenals. They are the “flight or fight” center of the body that responds to every stimulus we receive from our environments. They also perform a major role in determining the body’s sense of “well-being”, as well as controlling blood sugar levels in the body. Every time we become upset or stressed, the adrenals immediately go into action by secreting hormones to protect you from any danger or harm.
In our culture, we believe that the adrenals should be able to take abuse indefinitely. Our high-stressed life-style, poor exercise and nutritional practices, combined with unbelievable sugar consumption make us highly prone to adrenal exhaustion.
Of all of the abuses listed above, refined sugar consumption is the most exhausting. Surprise!! Sugar creates an imbalance in the body which the adrenals are constantly being called-upon to remedy.
Daily intake of refined sugars requires the adrenals to secrete the necessary hormone to convert the storage sugar (glycogen) into fuel (glucose). So, if the adrenals are already overworked, and the ovaries begin to lose their ability to produce estrogen, it is highly unlikely that the adrenals will be able to produce the small, but necessary amounts of estrogen to sustain the body. This is when the typical symptoms of menopause begin to appear.
The mineral Potassium, provides excellent support to the adrenals while helping control sodium levels in the body. Of all the studies performed on menopausal women, vitamin E stands above the rest in its ability to help woman find relief from many of the distressing symptoms of menopause, including: hot flashes, heart palpitations, insomnia, high blood pressure, dizziness, nervousness, and fatigue. The minimum dose seems to be 800 I.U.s per day til the symptoms subside, then gradually lowering the dose to a standard dose found in most vitamin/mineral supplements.
When the ovaries and the adrenals just don’t produce enough of the estrogen hormone, Black Cohosh or the combination C-X will help strengthen the body’s ability to generate this hormone. As a word of caution, though, taking too much Black Cohosh can cause migraine headaches among other problems, so seek out a qualified practitioner who can help you determine your specific needs.
Going through menopause
According to Let’s Live/ March 1982, many women have successfully postponed going through menopause by using this recipe: (For best results, use powdered herbs)
4 TBS Black Cohosh root
2 TBS Blue Cohosh
2 TBS Squaw Vine (from Pure Herbs, Ltd.- Ask us we can get it for you)
2 TBS Licorice root
2 TBS Damiana
2 TBS Uva Ursi
Stir well before using. Use one teaspoonful of the above mixture per cupful of heated water several times a week, combined with daily doses of vitamin E.
In conclusion, menopause does not have to be something to dread, but instead, it can be a glorious experience. Remember to exercise on a regular basis (at a level appropriate for you), eat sensibly, and supplement your diet with herbs, and take time to think about who you are, and the wonderful things you’ve done, and set goals for the things you want to accomplish in the future.