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					nature&health. special report tips for menopause.

Feel like you’re on a hormonal rollercoaster? Naturopath Louise O’Connor shows
you how to make sense of your ups and downs – and beat the menopause blues.

The dynamic interplay of hormones
keeps you feeling young and vibrant
– or not, as the case may be. As a
woman, your hormone levels begin to
change around your mid 30s: both
progesterone and oestrogens levels
start to decline, progesterone more
rapidly. Menopausal symptoms may
continue through to your late 40s
or early 50s if there is an imbalance
of oestrogens and progesterone
(see “Know Your Hormones”).

Thrive through menopause
                                               The investigators concluded that
                                             HRT’s adverse effects outweighed its
                                             benefits. In 2005 The World Health
                                             Organisation’s International Agency
                                             for Research and Cancer (IARC)
                                             classified menopausal therapy as
                                             “carcinogenic to humans”.2
                                               As a naturopath, I recommend
                                             that my clients restore their
                                             hormones to the level nature
                                             intended, not replace them with
                                             synthetic substitutes that pose
                                             risks. Hormone balance is your
                                             body’s natural, healthy state. When
                                                                                      Take The TesT
                                                                                      Women have an innate wisdom
                                                                                      about their own bodies and are
                                                                                      keenly aware when their hormones
                                                                                      are out of sync. When testing, it is
                                                                                      impossible to consider one hormone
                                                                                      in isolation. Your hormones are
                                                                                      inter-connected so it makes sense to
                                                                                      do a complete assessment. In my
                                                                                      experience, a non-invasive saliva
                                                                                      hormone test is an accurate way to
                                                                                      gain an insight into what is really
                                                                                      going on. Testing provides a clear
Menopause is an important life               menopausal symptoms do strike,           picture of the hormones that are
transition for women. However, it is         safe and effective natural remedies      active in your body and quickly
also a time when hormone                     can restore this balance.                identifies a potential imbalance.
fluctuations can cause fatigue,                                                       My recommended women’s wellness
mood disorders, insomnia, hot                Natural medicine can help                test includes seven hormones:
flushes, vaginal dryness, or                 1. Ageing. Diet directly impacts         progesterone,
decreased interest in sex.                   hormone balance. Conventionally          testosterone,
  For decades hormone replacement            produced foods contain ingredients       Dhea, cortisol,
therapy (HRT) was regarded as first          that disrupt hormones and accelerate     and the three
                                                                                      forms of
                                                                                                                                  IllustratIon: JIm tsInganos

line treatment to protect women from         ageing. The top five toxic ingredients
ageing. Along with HRT came the              that I think all women should avoid      oestrogen.
notion that menopause is a ‘disease’         are: sugars, ‘plastic’ trans fats,       knowing your
with symptoms that can be fixed              caffeine, vegetable oils (canola and     levels will
with synthetic hormones. In 2002,            soy oil) and dangerous artificial        help you take
concerns were raised about HRT               sweeteners. Choose healthy foods and     steps to regain
with the publication of the Women’s          exercise regularly to create healing     hormone control.
Health Initiative (WHI) study.1              and harmony.

64/ nature&health.                                                                                         february_march 2010.                                 nature&health. /65
nature&health. special report tips for menopause.                                                                                                                                                                    nature&health. special report tips for menopause.

 heLP, I’M LOsING MY haIR!                                                        2. Blood sugar imbalances. Reduced             perimenopause and are strongly               appetite regulation, and sleep.12             ReFeReNCes
                                                                                  blood sugar control is associated with         associated with the use of sleeping          GABA is your major anti-anxiety                01. Canfell, k, Banks e, Moa aM, Beral V.
 as oestrogen drops, you may notice thinning hair. hair loss is also associated
                                                                                  the development of obesity, diabetes,          medications, which can have adverse          brain chemical that puts the brakes                Decrease in breast cancer incidence
 with some medical conditions, drugs or stress. It is vital to check for                                                                                                                                                         following a rapid fall in use of hormone
                                                                                  and cancer. Chromium is a trace                effects.9 Melatonin regulates your           on stress; PharmaGABA® is an                       replacement therapy in australia.
 hypothyroidism (an under-active thyroid); new research shows that thyroid
                                                                                  mineral that can assist healthy blood          biological clock naturally.                  all-natural stress aid that reduces                Med J Aust. 2008 Jun 2;188(11):641-4.
 hormones activate hair follicles to geånerate new growth and prevent                                                                                                                                                        02. Cogliano V, Grosse Y, Baan R, et al.
                                                                                  sugar metabolism. You may also find              In supplemental form it assists            anxiety.                                           Carcinogenicity of combined oestrogen-
 premature greying.7 hypothyroidism affects more women than men. It leads to
                                                                                  that it reduces persistent sugar               restorative sleep. It is also important                                                         progestagen contraceptives and
 fatigue, foggy thinking, hair loss and depression. symptoms of an under-active                                                                                                                                                  menopausal treatment. Lancet Oncol. 2005
                                                                                  cravings and helps you lose weight.            to eliminate sources of caffeine, like       10. Osteoporosis. Oestrogens protect               aug;6(8):552-3.
 thyroid are often overlooked in menopause.
                                                                                  When you eat sugar-laden foods the             coffee and soft drinks.                   against bone loss so HRT is often                 03. su kP, huang sY, Chiu CC, et al. Omega-3
                                                                                  sugar is stored as body fat if it cannot                                                 touted to treat menopausal bone loss.                 fatty acids in major depressive disorder.

kNOW YOUR hORMONes                                                                be burned for energy.                          7. Immune health. Vitamin D3 is in        However, do the benefits outweigh
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 a preliminary double-blind, placebo-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 controlled trial. Eur.Neuropsychopharmacol.
 Pregnenolone is the true ‘mother hormone’ and sits at the top of the hormone                                                    the spotlight for healthy ageing as it    the risks? Bone loss is accelerated by                2003;13(4):267-271.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             04. Ross BM, seguin J, sieswerda Le.
 cascade. Pregnenolone converts through to dehydroepiandrosterone (Dhea),         3. Depression. Fish oils are the ideal         safeguards against inappropriate cell     acidic foods like alcohol, soft drinks,               Omega-3 fatty acids as treatments for
 progesterone, testosterone and the three forms of oestrogen. each hormone        source of essential ‘good fats’, the           division of ageing cells. Vitamin D       tea, coffee and a high protein diet.                  mental illness: which disorder and which
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 fatty acid? Lipids Health Dis. 2007 sep
 is interrelated, ruling unique biological activity. The hormones governing       omega-3 oils which keep cholesterol            expert Dr Cedric Garland of                  Save bone strength naturally by                    18;6:21.
 women’s health are the oestrogens, progesterone and testosterone.                in check, reduce inflammation, keep            Moores Cancer Center,                                eating a low acid diet high            05. schulz V. Clinical trials with hypericum
                                                                                  your brain sharp and relieve                   University of California,                                 in plant-based foods,                 extracts in patients with depression--
    Oestrogens include oestradiol (e2), oestrone (e1) and oestriol (e3).                                                                                                                                                         results, comparisons, conclusions for
 Oestradiol is the most                                                                    depression.3,4 St Johns wort          San Diego says,                      In many                 and performing                     therapy with antidepressant drugs.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Phytomedicine. 2002 Jul;9(5):468-74.
 potent and protects                                                                          (Hypericum perforatum)             “No other method                                              regular weight-
 against osteoporosis                                                                         is prized worldwide as a           to prevent cancer                   cultures                    bearing exercise.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             06. Brown RP, Gerbarg PL, Ramazanov Z.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Rhodiola rosea: a phytomedicinal
 and heart disease.                                                                           natural medicine to treat          has been identified        menopause is viewed                                                  overview. Herbalgram 2002;56:40–52.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             07. Beek N, Bodo e, kromminga a, et al.
 In menopause, the                                                                            mild to moderate                   that has such a            as an important rite of               11. Stress. Stress             Thyroid hormones Directly alter human
 ovaries slow oestradiol                                                                     depression. Studies show            powerful impact.”10                                              signals your                   hair Follicle Functions: anagen
 production and oestrone                                                                    that St. John’s wort                 A study in                  passage, one where                   adrenal glands to              Prolongation and stimulation of Both hair
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Matrix keratinocyte Proliferation and hair
 becomes the principal                                                                     preparations may be just as           Nutrition Research            women’s wisdom                    pump out cortisol,              Pigmentation. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008
 oestrogen. Oestrone is the                                                               effective as antidepressant            has shown that                   is honoured.                  the ‘fight-or-flight’
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             08. Pearson NJ, Johnson LL, Nahin RL.
 form that is most stimulating                                                          medications.5 Rhodiola                   women lacking D3 are                                         hormone. Rehmannia                 Insomnia, Trouble sleeping, and
 to breast tissue and the reason                                                      (Rhodiola rosea) has been used             more likely to die from                                    (Rehmannia glutinosa)                Complementary and alternative Medicine:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 analysis of the 2002 National health
 why women’s risk of breast                                                         for centuries in Russia and                  heart disease and cancer.11                           is the supreme adrenal                    Interview survey Data. Archives of Internal
 cancer peaks at this time.                                                            Scandinavia to boost energy and           Supplemental D3 can raise levels               tonic to combat stress. Withania                 Medicine, 2006; 166:1775-1782.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             09. Byles Je, Mishra GD, harris Ma, et al.
 Oestriol is protective and is                                                          treat nervous disorders.6                in those who are at risk of a             (Withania somnifera) has long been                    The problems of sleep for older women:
 thought to be anti-                                                                                                             deficiency.                               used by Ayurvedic practitioners as a                  changes in health outcomes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Age Ageing.2003 Mar;32(2):154-63.
 carcinogenic. Testosterone                                                             4. Fatigue. A high potency                                                         rejuvenating tonic. It is an
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             10. The Vitamin D Council. http://www.
 gives women mental                                                                     women’s multivitamin mineral             8. Low libido. Reduced testosterone       adaptogenic herb that improves your                   vitamindcouncil.org/. accessed
 sharpness, energy and boosts                                                          supplement is especially                  and oestrogen conspire to dampen          ability to deal with stress. Exercise,                september 2009.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             11. semba RD, houston Dk, Ferrucci L, et al.
 sex drive.                                                                          important. Look for one high in B           your sexual desire. There is the          meditation and yoga are also                          Low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D
    Oestrogen decline:                                                            vitamins that provide energy. This             added problem of vaginal dryness          powerful antidotes.                                   concentrations are associated with greater
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 all-cause mortality in older community-
 Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring                                           acts as a nutritional insurance policy,        which causes painful intercourse.                                                               dwelling women. Nutr Res. 2009
 oestrogen-like compounds that bind to                                            topping up what may be missing in              Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is an             12. Weight gain. Women often report                   aug;29(8):525-30.
                                                                                  your daily diet. Add magnesium and             ancient Peruvian superfood that has       that with menopause they gain                     12. Poldinger W, Calanchini B, schwarz W.
 oestrogen receptors and act in a similar                                                                                                                                                                                        a Functional-Dimensional approach to
 way to oestrogens. Plants rich in                                                coenzyme Q10 to support nervous                a reputation for being a natural          apple-shaped weight. If you exercise                  Depression: serotonin Deficiency as a
                                                                                  system function.                               aphrodisiac. Acupuncture also helps       regularly, eat a healthy diet, and still              Target syndrome in a Comparison of
 phytoestrogens may relieve                                                                                                                                                                                                      5-hydroxytryptophan and Fluvoxamine.
 menopausal symptoms. Black cohosh                                                                                               build vitality: this ancient therapy      struggle to lose weight, a hormone                    Psychopathology. 1991;24:53-81.
 (Cimicifuga racemosa), red clover                                                5. Hot flushes. The cooling and                facilitates the opening of blocked        imbalance may be setting you up for an            13. Osmers R, Friede M, Liske e, et al. efficacy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 and safety of isopropanolic black cohosh
 (Trifolium pratense), soy isoflavones (Glycine max) and wild yam (Dioscorea      calming properties of traditional              energy channels, allowing chi (life       ongoing cycle of weight gain. A natural               extract for climacteric symptoms. Obstet
 villosa) are prominent phytoestrogens. Black cohosh provides broad support       herbs like sage (Salvia officinalis),          force energy) to flow freely.             health practitioner can guide you to                  Gynecol. 2005 May;105(5 Pt 1):1074-83.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             14. Uebelhack R, Blohmer JU, Graubaum hJ,
 for hot flushes, profuse sweating, insomnia, and anxiety.13,14 according to a    dong quai (Angelica polymorpha)                                                          real solutions to shed the weight.                    et al. Black cohosh and st. John’s wort for
 new meta-analysis, soy and red clover isoflavones offer real relief to post      and shatavari (Asparagus lucidus)              9. Mood swings. Mood swings are                                                                 climacteric complaints: a randomized trial.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Obstet Gynecol. 2006 Feb;107(2 Pt 1):247-55.
 menopausal women and pose no safety issues.15                                    reduce hot flushes and night sweats.           often encountered with fluctuating                  LOUIse O’CONNOR is a leading
                                                                                                                                                                                     naturopath who writes and               15. Tempfer CB, Froese G, heinze G, et al.
    Oestrogen dominance: Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a naturally occurring                                                         hormone levels. 5-hydroxytryptophan                                                             side effects of Phytoestrogens:
                                                                                                                                                                                     educates on women’s natural
 phytonutrient found in cruciferous vegetables. scientists have demonstrated      6. Insomnia. Lack of sleep is linked to        (5-HTP) is a direct precursor to                    health. Visit her at www.healthy-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 a Meta-analysis of Randomized Trials.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Am J Med. 2009 Oct. 122. 10, 939-946.

 DIM’s ability to promote greater breakdown and clearance of oestrogens to        hypertension, obesity, anxiety and             serotonin, your ‘feel good’ brain                   hormone-balance.com.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             16. sarkar Fh, Li Y. harnessing the fruits of
 reduce symptoms of oestrogen dominance. New research is investigating the        depression.8 Further, insomnia and             chemical. Supplemental 5-HTP                                                                    nature for the development of multi-
                                                                                                                                                                                  WhaT DO YOU ThINk? share your                  targeted cancer therapeutics. Cancer Treat
 role of bioavailable DIM in serious breast disease.16                            interrupted sleep patterns are                 boosts natural serotonin production              opinions and experiences on this topic.        Rev. 2009 aug 4. [epub ahead of print]
                                                                                  especially common during                       to have positive effects on emotions,            email editor@natureandhealth.com.au

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