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May 2015

Menopause in the Ancient World

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The ancient world is where we can find the origin of the word menopause. To give a brief summary from the article “Origin of the World Menopause, ” the ancient Greek roots of the term menopause are: “men” + “pauein.” The word “men” means month which is closely related to word for moon “mene” because the months were measured by the moon. The word “pauein” means to cause to cease or stop. So the Greek term pauein from which the word “pause” is derived actually does mean to stop rather than pause. But there is more to this story than menopause having Greek roots.

Even before the age of hormone therapy and menopause supplements, there was an awareness of menopause in the ancient Greek world. There is not a lot of literature on this issue probably because fewer women lived to the age of menopause, non-fertile women were probably not as inspiring to ancient Greek men, menopause not being considered disease, and the general disinterest in women. However, there is a little bit known about the Ancient Greek views.

While the average age of death in ancient Greece is not known, based on skeletal analysis 50% of women died by the age of about 34. Seeing as the average age of menopause is 51 years old, we can surmise that menopause not as many women went through menopause back in those times. In contrast to modern times, the life expectancy of women was less than those of men.

There was a general belief that the female body was inferior to the male body which reflected attitudes that women are inferior to men (go figure why women did not live as long). In most every society fertility is highly valued. Thus a fertile woman was more valued than a non-fertile one, but less valued than a male. So under these conditions it is no surprise that menopause was not a huge topic of conversation in Ancient Greek times. However, we do know a little.

Aristotle reports in the History of Animals 585b that women stopped menstruating around age 40 and some were fertile up to age 50. This is a surprising accurate assessment of menopause although today we have the average closer to 50. Neither Aristotle nor Hippocrates suggest reasons for why women go through menopause. However, they suggest women do longer have enough sustenance to sustain menstruation. Additionally menopausal women were seen to become drier or colder. This is ironic given today that women are said to go through hot flashes and night sweats- making them both wetter and colder in a sense (albeit the Greeks were right in the sense that vaginal dryness is an issue). Overall, the Greeks did not know or appreciate menopause the way it is today, but it is interesting to know their views.

Interestingly enough, the ancient Greeks did not see menopause as an abnormal condition or disease. Today while some may argue it is, the FDA for example would argue that menopause is a natural condition just like the Greeks would.

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Jul 2014

Mood and Menopause

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Many women are familiar with changes in mood due to premenstrual syndrome or PMS and later become really familiar with mood changes during menopause. Fortunately, there are supplements for menopause and natural menopause treatment for these fluctuations in mood. Before going into that, it is important to first understand why a woman’s mood changes so that you can better understand natural menopause treatment options.

Supplements for menopause claim to fix mood, but what exactly is mood? Menopause is marked by a giant decrease in estrogen. This hormone apparently affects a woman’s emotions and can leave her affected by feelings of irritability and sadness. There is an element of anxiety and fatigue for many women as well. So if you are experiencing these symptoms around menopausal age 45-55, then it may be menopause and you should double check with your doctor just in case it is depression.

Now, MenoSupp has great mood changing properties and if you have mood changes related to menopause, it is a great herbal supplement for menopause. But there are also things you can do for yourself and your mood. The first thing you should try is exercise. While it has not been traditionally linked to decrease hot flashes, and should be generally avoided at night because it can actually lead to night sweats if done too late, exercise is great for mood because it releases endorphins in your body that actually make you feel good. Also, exercise helps increase muscle mass and bone mass which are both things you lose as you start to age.

Healthy eating is also encouraged. The wrong foods can trigger hot flashes like spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol. Conversely foods like salmon, and even frozen bananas can increase mood. Studies suggest that bananas can actually improve serotonin levels. What’s really interesting is that eating healthy food that encourages weight loss can help your mood as well. Increase weight is actually associated with an increase in menopause symptoms.

Another thing you can do is get back in touch with friends, family, or join your local community center. Studies show that getting together and talking in a group has deeply healing psychological properties. So, just by talking and relating to other women about your symptoms you can help deeply affect your mood.

Finally, a good nights rest is extremely important. Not getting adequate sleep hurt anyone’s mood with or without menopause. However, not getting enough sleep when you’re in menopause also causes your hormones to become more irregular and so it also messes up your mood which may also mess up your sleep as part of a vicious cycle.

It is important to keep in my that as your bodies chemistry changes, your brain has to constantly re-shift itself to keep up with these changes so be forgiving with yourself and try not to take your moods too personally.

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Jul 2014

Surgical Menopause and Natural Menopause Treatments

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Women who have had their ovaries removed or have had an oophorectomy may wonder what their natural menopause treatments options are They may wonder whether herbal remedies for hot flashes apply to them, whether they will be effective, and so forth. Well, for those of you are not sure, the answer is maybe. You see, even if herbal remedies for hot flashes are effective, if you have had your ovaries removed at a young enough age, hormone replacement or HRT may actually be good for you despite the many, many health risks. Before going further, I should note that the decisions you make after your oophorectomy can have serious consequences on your future health and you should always consult with your doctor. That said, this article is meant to give you some information so you know what to expect and to help you make an informed decision.

Getting an oophorectomy at a young age (generally younger than 50) means your estrogen levels have dropped prematurely (the expected time being natural menopause- the natural age of menopause usually occurs at age 51). Researchers have discovered that there is a higher risk of heart disease for women that have had their ovaries removed prior to natural menopause. Estrogen may be beneficial to the inner layer of artery wall by helping to keep blood vessels flexible so that they loosen up and expand to accommodate blood flow. However, this is just a theory and even the American Heart Association recommends against it for postmenopausal women because some studies have shown it does not reduce the risk of heart conditions or stroke.

Additionally, having the operation at a young age can double the risk of Parkinson’s. There is information suggesting that estrogen shields the brain from damage that could lead to motor skill impediments, Dr. Rocca said. “There is biological evidence from animal studies that estrogen is protective for the specific part of the brain that is involved in controlling movements.” However, the risk of Parkinson’s is very slim and some doctors assert that there is not enough data to prescribe hormones despite the reduced risk of Parkinson’s.

Another consideration for young people is that reduced estrogen is traditionally associated with osteoporosis and HRT has shown to help slow down this process.

On the flip side, if you are 50 or older when you have done this operation there are many, many considerations weighing against hormone therapy. For starters, HRT has many annoying side effects like swollen and painful breasts, headaches, and nausea. But it does not stop there, HRT has some really dangerous side effects like increased risk for stroke, ovarian cancer, blood clots, heart attacks and breast cancer. The amount of increase of the risk can be significant, but the matter is still being researched. Generally, HRT is not recommended unless you have severe symptoms.

If you are over the age of 50, and have had your ovaries removed, trying a natural menopause supplement is a good option instead of diving into HRT because of the reduced risk of these side effects and a good probably that they will reduce your symptoms. At a certain age, having surgical menopause is very similar to regular menopause and thus the solutions are very similar.

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