Menopause Resources

We’re genuinely eager to share what we’ve learned about the science of women with all women. We’re forward-thinking, hopeful and believe that for women in menopause knowledge is power and when we all have that knowledge, together we can do some pretty incredible things.
We’re genuinely eager to share what we’ve learned about the science of women with all women. We’re forward-thinking, hopeful and believe that for women in menopause knowledge is power and when we all have that knowledge, together we can do some pretty incredible things.

Anti-Flash Iced Teas

4 brewable botanicals with natural cooling powers    Maybe hormone-related body changes have got you exercising more this summer. Maybe you’re sleeping less too, between warmer weather and night sweats. In the meantime, the sun has got your car, your house and your workplace heating up to sauna-like conditions. Summer still means fun…it’s just that now, it also means more hot flashes. So when you reach for a cold drink, try one that’s got some extra cooling magic. Our ancestors used these gifts from nature to make it through menopause. Now it’s our turn. Sage (Salvia Officinalis) Drinking sage iced tea has been passed down by herbalists from generation to generation as a great escape from summer hot flashes. In Germany, it’s the go-to for both men and women to counteract excessive sweating. In the Native American tradition, this herb is also ritually burned to clear away bad juju. How to drink it: Steep one tablespoon of dried sage in one cup of hot water for 15 minutes or longer to make a tea. Strain it, cool it, and drink up to three cups a day. (It’s also nice to put it in a spray bottle and spritz it on your neck. )  Passionflower  (Passiflora incarnata) Named for the resemblance its unique, feathery flower bears to the legendary crown of thorns, passionflower has been keeping women’s bodies and spirits cool for centuries. You can find passion tea on the market, but it’s also easy to grow. We like to brew up a fresh batch of the dried leaves, squeeze in a bit of the fruit for flavor, and enjoy our own passion blend over ice. How to drink it: There are several makers of organic teas that offer passionflower. If you have your own vine, place a teaspoon of dried leaves in a strainer or tea infuser, and add 8 ounces of hot water. Steep for 5 minutes and pour over ice.  Hibiscus (Hibiscus Sabdariffa L.) We menopausers are always looking for ways to cool off a facial flush, and the hot pink iced tea you can make from a hibiscus plant is right on our wavelength. Grab a few teabags and steep them in a pitcher, or if you have a plant growing in your garden and you’re not using chemical pesticides or fertilizers, you can pick your own flowers, dry them in the sun for a few days, and then use about 2 teaspoons of your harvest for every standard teapot full of water. The brilliant color of this tea in a glass is so pretty, it’ll make you feel good even before you take your first sip.   Kava (Piper methysticum)   South Pacific Islanders have been relaxing over cups of cold kava for more than three centuries. Since the 1700s, when Captain Cook’s botanist identified it and gave it a Latin name, clued-in Westerners have known kava as an all around cooling tonic for the body, mind and spirit. How to drink it: Brew a commercial kava tea hot (Yogi Tea has a nice one) and then pour it over ice. Or place 2 tablespoons of kava powder in a muslin bag and place it in a cup or a glass. Then add 8 oz of water and steep for 4 minutes.  Kava can be sort of bitter, so its fans often add honey, lemon, cinnamon or coconut milk, or brew it with fruit juice instead of water.
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The Stages of Menopause: When it Begins, and What to Expect

In this day of endless information and communication, it is puzzling that women are often unprepared for menopause -- the unpleasantness of the symptoms, the disruption to our lives, or the psychological impact of realizing we’re approaching “the change.”  The transition won’t be half as daunting if you have a good idea where you are on in your menopause transition, and what to expect as you move through the stages of menopause. Knowing which stage of menopause you are in will help you not only understand and be better prepared for the physiological changes and symptoms you may experience, but even more important, will shine a light on the options that are available to you at each stage for symptom relief. Okay, so what are the stages of menopause? Menopause, as it is commonly referred to, is the natural process a woman’s body undergoes as her ovaries gradually produce less estrogen and eventually stop releasing eggs. But menopause doesn’t happen all at once. It is a gradual transition that takes place over a period of years and happens in distinct stages. It starts with perimenopause as estrogen production begins to rise and fall unevenly and your periods become irregular. Once you’ve gone a full year without a menstrual cycle, you’ve officially hit menopause, which technically last only a single day, after which you are postmenopausal. Let’s take a closer look at each stage in greater detail. Stage 1: Perimenopause Perimenopause is the stage leading up to menopause proper that can last anywhere from one to seven years. During perimenopause, estrogen production fluctuates and the first signs of menopause begin to appear. Your symptoms could include: ·         Irregular menstrual cycles ·         Hot flashes ·         Mood swings ·         Sleep disturbances ·         Vaginal dryness Most women begin seeing signs of perimenopause in their 40s, but it’s not uncommon for women to see signs of early menopause (premature menopause) in their 30s as well. Many women have no idea perimenopause is even a thing until they’re in it. There are a couple of reasons for this. For one, perimenopause and menopause too often get lumped in together. But, even more so, we simply don’t talk enough about either stage. There is an alarming lack of conversation around menopause altogether, which leads to confusion. As a result, most of us just aren’t prepared when we enter perimenopause, so here’s everything you need to know. The prefix “peri” means “around” or “near.” So, perimenopause pretty much means, “near menopause.” As the name implies, it’s the stage just before a woman enters menopause proper and stops having periods altogether. But, the name is also a bit deceptive, because it’s actually during perimenopause that we start experiencing many (maybe all) of the symptoms classically associated with menopause. This is because your body is in hormonal upheaval during perimenopause, and estrogen levels, in particular, fluctuate wildly. Estrogen is one of the body’s great multitaskers, assisting with numerous important physiological functions. Your heart, bones, brain, bladder, vagina, and colon all have estrogen receptors and rely on this hard-working hormone to do their jobs effectively. When your estrogen levels drop during perimenopause, it can disrupt many aspects of your health and well-being. These disruptions can appear as menopause symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, reduced libido, anxiety, mood swings, forgetfulness, brittle bones, muscles aches, and joint pains. Your body also may change in noticeable ways, such as thinning hair, weight gain (especially around the middle), and sagging skin. How long does perimenopause last? Perimenopause usually starts in our forties and can last anywhere from a few years to a decade, but for most women will last between four to eight years. However, some women start perimenopause much earlier, in their thirties. How do you know if you’re perimenopausal? The first sign of perimenopause is usually an irregular or unpredictable menstrual cycle. You may skip cycles, then, a few months later, get your period again. You may have two periods in a single month, have periods that last longer, have heavier or lighter flows, or constant spotting. What’s the difference between perimenopause and menopause? One big, big difference between perimenopause and menopause is that, during perimenopause, you are still menstruating, meaning you can still become pregnant. In fact, perimenopausal women are second only to teens in unexpected pregnancies, possibly because erratic cycles give women a mistaken belief that they aren’t fertile enough to conceive, so perimenopausal women have to remain vigilant about birth control. The other major difference is that your body is still producing its own estrogen and progesterone. The problem is that it’s not producing these hormones as steadily or reliably as before, and levels can fluctuate wildly, making you feel like you’re riding a hormonal roller coaster. What can I do to relieve my symptoms? Because your body is still producing its own hormones during perimenopause, hormone replacement is not an option for dealing with symptoms during this stage, so you may want to explore diet and lifestyle interventions as well as nonprescription remedies such as supplements, and speak with your doctor about other prescription options such as low-dose birth control pills and antidepressants that have been shown to reduce hot flashes and other menopause symptoms. Dealing with perimenopause symptoms Diet and lifestyle interventions Reduce stress as much as possible Avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and caffeine If you smoke, quit Strive to maintain a healthy weight Try controlled-breathing and self-calming exercises like yoga Some women also find a measure of relief in eating estrogenic foods, including soy products such as soy nuts, edamame and tofu, as well as yams, flaxseeds and other plants that contain phytoestrogens. Estrogenic foods contain compounds like soy isoflavones. Daidzein, a soy isoflavone, is changed by gut bacteria into S-equol, a compound that is structurally similar to estrogen and mimics some (but not all) of its actions in the body, helping to reduce hot flash symptoms. (S-equol is not estrogen or a hormone.) Nonprescription supplements Since only about 20-30 percent of women in the U.S. can metabolize soy foods in a way that utilizes the S-equol, (and production depends on how much soy you actually intake in your diet) some women find taking an S-equol supplement helpful* to reduce hot flashes. Prescription medications Doctors will sometimes prescribe a form of low-dose birth control that evens out estrogen and progesterone levels to help perimenopausal women manage their symptoms Another (non-hormonal) prescription option is antidepressants that have been shown to help alleviate a range of perimenopause symptoms, from the obvious (anxiety and mood swings) to the not-so-obvious (hot flashes and night sweats) Stage 2: Menopause Once your body has gone a full 12 months without a period, you’ve reached menopause. During this time, your ovaries stop releasing eggs and your estrogen levels remain low, leading to a wide range of symptoms that could include: ·         Hot flashes ·         Muscle aches & joint pains ·         Mood swings ·         Sleep disturbances ·         Weight gain Now we’ve arrived at the Big Show: menopause proper. Strictly speaking, menopause means “the end of the period.” From a medical standpoint, a woman is considered to have reached menopause only when she has gone twelve months in a row without a period. So, menopause begins immediately after you’ve had your last menstrual cycle. Most women enter natural menopause in their early fifties, though the transition can happen anywhere between the ages of forty and the late fifties. There are exceptions, of course. Some women will experience premature menopause, meaning they stop menstruating before the age of forty. And women who’ve had their ovaries removed surgically are said to have surgical menopause, because their bodies have stopped producing estrogen and progesterone. Menopause technically lasts only one day ― the very first day after you haven’t had a period for one full year. Before that day, you are perimenopausal, and after you’re postmenopausal. But, for the sake of simplicity, let’s look at this another way ― menopause is the period of time after you stop having periods but continue having symptoms such as hot flashes, sleep disturbances, aches and pains, vaginal dryness, and mood swings. But, wait ― if the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause are basically the same, does it really matter which stage of menopause you’re in? After all, a hot flash is a hot flash, right? Actually, it matters very much. Menopause is physiologically very different from perimenopause. The major difference being that our bodies no longer make estrogen or progesterone. So, while your symptoms may be similar, your options for symptom relief are different. Most importantly, once you reach menopause proper, you are eligible for hormone therapy, unless you have a personal or medical issue that makes taking hormones too risky, such as liver disease, blood-clotting disorder, a history of heart attack or breast cancer. Stage 3: Post-menopause There’s good news and bad news for postmenopausal women ― but mostly good news. During the years after menopause, most women see a reduction in their hot flashes, mood swings, and sleep disturbances, along with general improvement in mood and mental clarity. Post-menopause does, however, come with its own health challenges. Signs of postmenopausal health risks can be tough to spot, but because the body’s estrogen levels remain low, there are several new health conditions women in post-menopause need to be aware of, including: ·         Increased risk of heart disease ·         Increased risk of osteoporosis Menopause is technically only one day of a woman’s life. The day she hits one full year without a period is the day she reaches menopause. After that, she is postmenopausal. Once you stop having periods, and as long as you no longer have periods, you are postmenopausal. So, unless you spontaneously (and miraculously) begin menstruating again, you will be postmenopausal for the rest of your life (just to clarify, so you don’t have a panic attack about your periods returning: This scenario is medically impossible and has never happened). You may continue to have some menopause symptom, but they should become less frequent, less intense, less disruptive to your life. Hormone levels will decline to a steady level, and your body will eventually reach a new hormonal balance.  
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Mind Over Matter in a Flash

Cool your inner summer heat with meditation and breathwork   We hear stories of yogis who can regulate their body temperatures through meditation, and breathing exercises called pranayama. More and more, Westerners are picking up on these ancient techniques, and researchers have been wondering whether or not they work for women with hot flashes. Good news: clinical trials show that they do! These practices are easy, free, and available to anyone willing to give them a try. So why not sit down, close your eyes, and see if you can cool down your own hot flashes and anxiety, too? Turn on the air Pranayama is the ancient yogic practice of using your breath to enhance your health. Specific breathing exercises have been passed down through the generations for practically every physical issue. Here are a few we pulled from the sacred archives for you. Sheetali Pranayama has been practiced for centuries because of its power to cool your core body temperature and calm stress. Here’s how you do it: Sit in a comfortable position, preferably with your back straight. Close your eyes and allow your body to relax. Bring the sides of your tongue up, rolling it into a tube shape. Stick the end of your tongue out just past your pursed lips. Take a long inhalation through your rolled tongue, as though you’re sipping the air through a straw. Notice the cool sensation of the airflow over your tongue Pull your tongue back in and close your mouth. Exhale through your nose Repeat 7-15 times When you’re through, take one long, deep breath in and out through your nostrils. If you’re in a hurry, here are a couple of other simple pranic practices you can use to breathe yourself cooler in a flash: Simple cooling breath: Inhale through closed teeth and open lips. Exhale through your nose. Repeat several times. Left nostril breathing: Close off the right nostril with your thumb and breathe gently in and out through the left nostril only. Pause briefly after each inhalation and each exhalation. Repeat several times. Breathwork + Meditation While pranayama is a precise practice of controlling the breath, breathwork exercises are designed to release control and set your mind on a new journey.   Breathwork and meditation coach Jenna Reiss works privately with clients and facilitates women’s circles, using a 2-step technique is designed to create different reactions within your body that change its temperature by releasing certain forms of energy, such as those associated with past trauma. While her personal guidance is an integral part of her complete program, Jenna encourages women to try this technique on their own for cooling hot flashes and calming menopause related anxiety: Lie down in a comfortable position. Take one breath into the belly through an open mouth Without exhaling, take a second breath into the upper chest through your still open mouth Repeat for at least 2 minutes. (FYI, Jenna says the magic happens at the 15 minute mark.) When you finish the exercise, return to your normal breathing pattern and rest for at least five minutes. “The magic happens at the 15 minute mark,” Jenna says. “And if you really want to cool off, try splashing your skin with water and meditating while wet!” If you’re one of the many people who find it difficult to meditate on your own, Jenna offers an online audioguide.  Mindfulness Meditation The power of mind over the matter of hot flashes is real, and studies show how meditation can significantly reduce the amount women are bothered by hot flashes and night sweats. By focusing on what’s happening inside you physically, emotionally and mentally, you become aware the differences between thoughts, feelings, and sensations. This allows you to react more thoughtfully and calmly to situations in your life. Fitness and Meditation teacher Amber Susa, owner of Allomi studio in Redondo Beach, CA recommends closing your eyes and envisioning yourself in an environment that makes you feel cool, and experiencing it with all five senses. For example: Imagine yourself sitting at the edge of the ocean Feel the cool breeze on your face, and the mist from the water on your skin, and imagine the feeling of the breeze flowing over it Hear the sounds of the water as the tide comes in and out Smell the salty air, and taste the drops of salt water that touch your mouth as the waves approach and recede. As you splash the water on your arms and your face, you feel relieved and healed Focus on a calming phrase (mantra) such as “I am in control. My body is my ally. I’m connected to my body and I feel coolness within,” and repeat it mentally. Do a search on YouTube and you’ll find guided meditations specifically for hot flashes and night sweats. You can also try a meditation app like Headspace, or Clarity which is designed specifically for women dealing with menopause. “Mindfulness meditation not only helps you control inner heat, it also helps you stay calm, Amber says.“ When there’s overheating there's anxiety. You panic because you have no control and that makes it worse. When you trust the rhythms of the body and its natural intelligence, you just feel better all around.   Sood, R, Sood, A, Wolf, SL, Linquist, BM, Liu, H, Sloan, JA, Satele, DV, Loprinzi, CL, Barton DL, Paced breathing compared with usual breathing for hot flashes.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30868921 Carson, James W. Carson Kimberly M, Porter, Laura S. Keefe, Francis J, Seewaldt, Victoria L Yoga of Awareness program for menopausal symptoms in breast cancer survivors: results from a randomized trial https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00520-009-0587-5 Kozhevnikov M, Elliott J, Shephard J, Gramann K (2013) Neurocognitive and Somatic Components of Temperature Increases during g-Tummo Meditation: Legend and Reality. PLoS ONE 8(3): e58244. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0058244 Carmody JF, Crawford S, Salmoirago-Blotcher E, Leung K, Churchill L, Olendzki N. Mindfulness training for coping with hot flashes: results of a randomized trial. Menopause. 2011;18(6):611–620. doi:10.1097/gme.0b013e318204a05c Avis N; Legault, C; Russell, G;Weaver, K; Danhauer, S  A Pilot Study of Integral Yoga for Menopausal Hot Flashes 2015  doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000191
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5 WAYS TO BEAT THE HEAT WITH SMARTS & STYLE

Summer can be hot enough without hot flashes, and when you add them to the mix, it can feel downright sweltering. But with a few smart and stylish habit changes, you can find yourself cooler and just might discover a new favorite workout routine or wardrobe addition. Check out our five simple ways to stay cool during the hottest days of the year. 1. Slip Into Something Breathable When it comes to summer fashion, you can stay looking hot, but dress cool. Free-flowing styles made from breathable fabrics are a good place to start. So, for summer staples like tanks, T-shirts, and sundresses, shop for cotton options. However, if a cotton sundress is a little too casual for an event like a wedding or a summer night out, slip into a more refined linen dress, which is not only a cool option but classic one. Accessorize it with a belt of your choice for a breezy, beautiful look. Also, be sure to round out your wardrobe rotation with other pieces like chiffon broomstick skirts, balloon-sleeve blouses, and crochet tops for a look that’s both on trend and temperature-friendly. 2. Switch to Water Workouts If the summer heat is making you feel sluggish and not motivated to work out and sweat even more than you already are, try switching up your workouts to incorporate some pool time. Not only will the cool water feel great, but swimming laps and other water workouts can provide both a cardio workout and resistance training that’s great for bone health. 3. Grab a Cool-Me-Down Pick-Me-Up If you need a cup of hot coffee or tea to get going in the morning or pick you up in the afternoon, you could find that it not only peps you up but heats you up too. However, by switching to a glass of smooth and refreshing cold brew coffee or iced tea, you can keep your daily ritual and keep your cool. It’s simple to make a week’s worth of either cold brew coffee or iced tea and keep it cold and ready in your fridge. And for an extra cool sip, try making ice cubes out of your brew. That way when the summer heat starts to melt your ice, your drink won’t get watered down. Just remember to keep an eye on your caffeine intake—cold brew coffee often contains more caffeine than regular coffee. 4. Make the Bed You Want to Lie  Just because the sun goes down doesn’t mean the heat does. For a cool, comfortable night of sleep, make your bed with breathable cotton sheets and for extra heat relief try a cooling gel mattress cover and pillow. If you have a ceiling fan in your room, set it to rotate counter-clockwise to blow cool air down on you. And if you don’t have a ceiling fan, you can create a cooling crosswind by directing a fan to blow out of a room or window, with another fan across the room directing air toward the first fan. 5. Get to the Pulse Points For a more direct way to cool down quickly, try cooling your body at your pulse points, where your blood vessels are closest to your skin. You’ll find them on your ankles, neck, elbows, and the backs of your knees.1 Apply a cool, damp cloth or a cold compress to one or more of these points, and you’ll be able to bring down your internal temperature more effectively. Sources 1Nursecore. Keeping Cool This Summer. Version current 10 August 2012. Internet: http://www.nursecore.com/2012/08/keeping-cool-this-summer/ (accessed 12 December 2018).
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