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17

Apr 2014

Natural Remedies for Menopause

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Currently menopause has no cure so the best women can do is look for menopause remedies. Fortunately, there are plenty of menopause remedies out there for women. When looking for natural remedies for menopause there is one overarching principle to keep in mind: menopause symptoms are not usually dangerous so the name of the game is about feeling better. Of course there are exceptions, but of the common symptoms (hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and vaginal dryness) the only potentially dangerous symptom is mood swings because it can lead to depression in which case you should consult a doctor. Also, menopause symptoms generally pass as your body gets used to the hormone changes.

Hot flashes are the most common symptom of menopause. Hot flashes are brief sensations of heat usually in the face or upper body that last from 30 seconds to a minute or two. Two very easy and simple remedies for hot flashes are a handheld fan and a spray bottle. A handheld fan is a surprisingly effective and simple remedy because you can use it to cool off the area that is bothering you the most. Also, because it is a small, a handheld fan can be taken with you anywhere you go. A spray bottle is another good solution, particularly at home (it might look a bit odd to your coworkers if you are spraying yourself on the neck in the middle of the day). The spray bottle can be even more effective if you put a few mint leaves inside as it adds to the cooling effect. Dressing in layers can also be helpful because when a hot flash occurs you can take off the layer put it back on when the hot flash subsides. Sometimes, drinking a cold drink when during the onset of a hot flash can also help

There are other remedies for hot flashes that can actually help prevent them instead of making them more bearable. One of the big ones is diet. Certain foods are prone to inducing hot flashes. These include spicy foods, foods with caffeine, and foods with alcohol. Surprisingly, a warm beverage like tea can actually induce a hot flash but increasing your body temperature which in turn makes your body more prone to hot flashes. Smoking is also known to increase hot flashes.

While you may be skeptical about acupuncture, it may be worth a shot as a clinical trial on 53 women shows it may be effective in preventing hot flashes. In fact they actually found that after 10 weeks estrogen levels were significantly higher in the women that were receiving acupuncture as opposed to the placebo.

Night sweats and hot flashes are essentially the same thing. The difference is that night sweats are hot flashes that happen at night and are accompanied by sweating. These can be quite common because estrogen levels tend to drop at night. Night sweats can be generally avoided in some intuitive ways and some not so intuitive. Most people know that hot weather or an over-heated bedroom can cause night sweats, or that having excessive blankets can cause them. However, there are less obvious ways to alleviate them such as not exercising before bedtime or making sure the room you sleep in is not too warm.

Vaginal dryness is a very common problem during menopause. It can cause women to stop having sex which is one of the worst things to do at this critical point in life. In fact, women who have sex in midlife have a much better sex life for the rest of their lives! So what can you do? To begin with, use a trusted brand of over the counter lubricant. If you do not like synthetic lubricants, you can also try coconut oil (but be careful it can wear down a condom). Also, it helps to change the way you have sex. Try more kissing and fondling rather than direct vaginal intercourse.
The last but definitely not least thing you can do is try MenoSupp! MenoSupp helps with all these symptoms and more. You have really nothing to lose as you can send it back at any time for up to 90 days.
We wish you the best with your journey.

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27

Mar 2014

Menopause in Animals

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Menopause is stage that women go through where they are no longer able to reproduce. This time is associated with a host of uncomfortable symptoms like hot flashes and mood changes. In the animal kingdom menopause is not very common. But before you throw your pet turtle out the window out of spite, consider this- some animals like the Pacific salmon have no post-reproductive life meaning that they literally die after the cannot reproduce anymore and most animals die shortly after they lost the ability to reproduce. So with this perspective, perhaps menopause in humans is not the end of the world (unlike the poor Pacific salmon). But back to the subject at hand, what is the deal with animals and menopause?

Humans are the most predisposed species toward menopause. The vast majority of the animal kingdom does not get menopause. Some sources say that only other species that get menopause are killer whales and pilot whales. Menopause is less famously found in some species of fish, bird, and primates as well as elephants, opossums, and lab mice. It is interesting to study menopause in killer whales and pilot whales because unlike primates they live a long time after they are no longer able to reproduce. So where apes generally do not live long after menopause, a killer whale can live 40 years after menopause and a pilot whale can live 30 years after menopause. Since their life spans are closer to humans, they are more interesting to study. However, it is inaccurate to say that the other species listed above do not go through menopause because while there is no definitive definition of menopause, most agree it simply “the permanent cessation of ovulation” meaning the period where animals stop ovulating. The animals above do in fact stop ovulating at some point and thus go through menopause as well.

Ok, so we have determined that animals technically do go through menopause, but do they feel symptoms like humans? We do not know, because these symptoms are very difficult to measure and generally studies on menopause require people reporting the severity and number of hot flashes. With animals such as whales we like the requisite physiological knowledge to determine whether they have hot flashes.

There is an interesting question of why animals go through menopause to begin with. From an evolutionary perspective all species have evolved to successfully transmit their genes by reproducing. If the species is not successfully transmitting its genes, then it means that the species is going to disappear. No longer being able to reproduce seems like it goes against evolution because without reproduction there is no transmission of genes to the next generation which makes menopause a bit of puzzle. A common answer to this riddle is that older females go through menopause to protect the interests of their children and grandchildren. As animals get older the risks associated with childbirth increase. So while propagating your genes directly through reproduction is good, if you and your child die in the child birth process nothing is accomplished. So instead, it may be more beneficial to protect your genes by protecting and nurturing your grandchildren and the children you already have. In the killer whale population, one killer whale will go off to mate in another pod, but immediately return to their original pod. A killer whale’s pod is a family unit. So by staying alive longer and not risking death by giving birth, the menopausal whale can look after its pod family and thereby protect the genes it has already propagated.

So to recap, most animals do not go through menopause. This is probably because their post-reproductive life spans are very short i.e.- the time they live after menopause. For the species that do, menopause may be nature’s way of ensuring grandma does looks after the offspring she has rather than risk dying by trying to have more!

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17

Mar 2014

The Cause of Menopause

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So a lot of women begin noticing a host of physical and emotional changes around age 50. At some point most of these women hopefully understand that they are not losing their minds, but they are in fact going through. Menopause is a natural transitional period for women, the FDA does not consider menopause a disease and rightfully so. While all women do not have symptoms of menopause, all women go through menopause. The more common symptoms of menopause are not generally considered dangerous, but they are uncomfortable. The purpose of this article is to understand, biologically, what is going on inside a woman’s body when menopause occurs. First here is some background.

The word “menopaus [1]” comes from the Greek words men (month) pausis[2] (stop or end). The term refers to end of the menstrual or “monthly” cycle in women. Menopause is formally said to begin at the end of the last menstrual cycle. The average age of menopause is 51 in Western countries. The main factors that determine the end of menstrual cycle and the onset of menopause are the health of a woman’s ovarian tissue and the availability of functioning eggs. The availability of functioning eggs and the state of the ovarian tissue naturally decline due to age. The ovaries play a major role in a woman’s estrogen levels so when they stop their primary functions, estrogen levels drop causing the various physical and psychological symptoms connected to menopause. To really understand menopause it is necessary to learn more about the connection between the ovaries and estrogen.

Inside the ovaries are hollow balls of cells called follicles which are responsible for estrogen production. Each follicle houses an immature egg (oocyte) in the center. During menstruation a hormone called follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) signals the follicles to begin maturing. As these follicles mature they release estrogen into the body to prepare the uterus for pregnancy. After about a week, all but one follicle stop maturing. The maturing follicle releases a surge of estrogen which causes the brain to release luteinizing hormone which causes the follicle to grow rapidly until it releases the egg into the fallopian tube and eventually the egg reaches the uterus ready to be inseminated.

As women age they lose eggs and ovarian follicles that were responsible for estrogen production. Although estrogen continues to be produced in other tissues, notably in bone, blood vessels and even in the brain. The decrease in the production of estrogen is responsible for menopausal symptoms. The most common of which is the hot flash. The second most common symptom is the night sweat which is essentially an intense hot flash that occurs during your sleep. Anyway, scientists are not sure why, but the loss of estrogen causes the perception of increased heat in the body which causes a rush of blood to the surface of your skin so that it can be cooled off by the outside temperatures. This initial rush of blood is a hot flash.

The theory I described above is assuming the “hour glass” way of looking at menopause. The analogy relates a woman’s eggs to an hour glass filled with sand, once it is turned over, the sand starts slowly dumping to the bottom until there is nothing left. But, this may not be the way menopause actually works. Scientist’s took the tissue from the ovary of mice that were going through menopause and attached them to the tissue of young and wild mice. Something amazing then happened. The cells from the mouse with the menopausal ovary started to produce eggs again. This is great news for older women, because they do not run out of eggs, but rather their eggs go into a period of inactivity. Theoretically this works in humans too! So if a woman with a menopausal ovary is exposed to tissue of a young-adult ovary, the menopausal ovary will, almost magically, start producing eggs again.

So now we know that menopause is not caused by simply running out of eggs. Menopause is a biological condition that stems from the inactivity of the ovaries in particular the follicles that are responsible for so much of a woman’s estrogen production. When the estrogen is not being regularly produced as the body was used to for the previous 40 or so years, woman start experiencing symptoms.

[1] Menopause (n.)
1852 (from 1845 as a French word in English), from French ménopause, from medical Latin menopausis, from Greek men (genitive menos) “month” (see moon (n.)) + pausis “a cessation, a pause,” from pauein “to cause to cease” (see pause (n.)). Earlier it was change of life. (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=menopause)
[2] Derived from the Greek word pauein, παύειν (to stop (transitively or intransitively); restrain, quit, desist, come to an end)

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