When we are young, we can’t wait to reach that time of life when our monthly “curse” (as some term it) is over with, we can start thinking in terms of retiring in the next decade or so, and life taking on a more calm, wizened pace. But then when we get there, well, it isn’t quite what we thought. Symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, emotional instability and even moodiness, reduced desire for sex, vaginal dryness, irregular periods, heavier periods, trouble sleeping, forgetfulness, and an increase of health issues, all seem to combine against us and threaten to steal the very joy out of this time of life.
Is there anything we can do about it, or are we just stuck with this lot in life? Yes, and no. Yes, there are many things we can do to try to mitigate many of these symptoms, so, therefore, you are not just stuck with this lot in life!
Start with the simple things: sugar frequently will trigger hot flashes. Test it out. Go 2 weeks without sugar, then eat one of your favorite sugary “treats”. For many, it is a real eye-opener. Other triggers include hot foods and drink, especially coffee, tea (especially caffeinated), soups, alcohol (especially wine), spicy foods, smoking, heat (hot showers, sauna’s, blow dryers, heaters, hot weather), excess activity like exercise and stress. The more of the above you can eliminate, the better.
Helpful foods include eating healthy fats, especially avocado, high fat fish, raw nuts, butter, olive oil, coconut oil and other healthy fats. Make sure you avoid the bad vegetable, soy, canola, margarine and other hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. Many vegetables and fruits are helpful for balancing estrogens, but be cautious if you have or have had estrogen-dependent cancer. Cruciferous, green leafy veggies and root veggies are all good vegetables. Avoid soy, even though it has estrogen-enhancing qualities.
Stress is a big trigger. Stress releases hormones that can cause an imbalance in sex hormones and make your peri-menopausal and menopausal symptoms worse. Relaxation techniques, meditation, yoga, tai chi or qi gong are all helpful activities to keep stress manageable. Don’t forget to take care of your adrenal glands as they are critical to your response to stress.
Using treatment methodologies that enhance your body’s ability to manage stress and help hormonal balance is pretty important for many reasons at this time of life. Acupuncture is an effective means of balancing hormones. In a Menopause issue in June 2016 entitled “Acupuncture in Menopause (AIM) study: A Pragmatic, Randomized Control Trial”, it concluded: “We found that a course of acupuncture treatments was associated with significant reduction in VMS [of menopause], and several quality-of-life measures, compared with no acupuncture, and that clinical benefits persisted for at least 6 months beyond the end of treatment.”
You don’t have to live with menopausal symptoms. These are just a few examples of what you can do. To learn more, attend our upcoming webinar: Menopause, PMS and Other Hormonal Imbalances, Wednesday, March 10th 7:30pm. Register here: http://bit.ly/hormoneclass2021
©2021 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.