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Author Topic: A different approach perhaps  (Read 7781 times)

honeybun

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A different approach perhaps
« on: November 16, 2015, 04:46:58 PM »

I read this today and found it really interesting


Balance Your Hormones
by: Valencia Porter, M.D., M.P.H., FACN
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For the past few years, hormone replacement therapy has become a well-publicized and highly debated topic, and many women are looking for natural alternatives to “standard” hormone therapy. In the reproductive years, varying cycles of estrogen and progesterone, as well as their effects on neurotransmitters, lead many women to experience mood swings, painful cramps, bloating, and more than 100 other less-than-pleasant symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome). For perimenopausal women, fluctuations in these same hormones can contribute to hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, and weight gain. These hormonal fluctuations may go on for years before finally dipping down to post-menopausal levels.

With conventional treatment, women with PMS may end up taking a multitude of medicines, one for each symptom, often with incomplete relief. Women going through menopause might also take the symptom management approach or decide to restore their estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone levels through hormone replacement therapy (HRT).


What Are Bio-identical Hormones?
Bio-identical hormones are those which are identical in molecular structure to the hormones that women make in their bodies. Other than in a woman's body, these hormones are not found in nature and therefore must be synthesized in a laboratory, typically from extracts of soy or yams. FDA-approved bio-identical hormones are available; however, these preparations may also be compounded individually.

In contrast, although standard or conventional hormones such as Premarin come from a natural source (the urine of a pregnant mare), they are not bio-identical and are metabolized into various forms of estrogen other than estradiol, the predominant form of estrogen that declines in menopause. So far, scientific studies have not found that using bio-identical HRT offers any health advantages over standard HRT.

An Alternative to Hormone Replacement
While I believe that HRT using bio-identical hormones and other medications may be extremely useful for women whose lives are deeply disrupted by menopausal symptoms or PMS, I have found that taking an Ayurvedic approach aimed at restoring balance in the whole body eliminates, or at least greatly reduces, the need for a pharmaceutical approach.  Symptoms of discomfort are our body's way of communicating to us. Instead of simply masking the symptoms with hormonal treatment or medication, it's important to listen to what the underlying message may be and address any underlying imbalances. The time of perimenopause and menopause is not only a transition from the physiology of the reproductive years, but also an opening to address the deeper meaning of life and spirit.

Many of my patients have found that certain lifestyle changes and simple techniques such as the ones below have allowed them to balance their hormones and reclaim health.

Eat your broccoli. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kohlrabi contain a substance called indole-3-carbinol (I3C), which is metabolized in the body to produce diindolylmethane (DIM). Both of these substances help modulate estrogens and have been shown to have some anti-cancer effects, particularly for breast cancer.
Maintain a healthy weight. Excessive adipose (fat) tissue can act as an endocrine organ, producing more estrogen in the body. By maintaining a healthy weight, your body is not stimulated to overproduce certain hormones.
Include phytoestrogens in your diet. Found in soy foods, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, bean sprouts, and legumes such as garbanzo beans and peas, phytoestrogens are plant-based substances that can help balance your hormones naturally.
Although there has been some controversy in the media over the consumption of soy, I do not know of any scientific studies showing that eating soy-containing foods is harmful. My view is that consuming small amounts of soy in the diet can be beneficial. However, I would advise against taking phytoestrogens such as soy as supplements as we do not know enough about the effects of taking these compounds in high doses. Also, I caution against eating processed soy products and soy additives in many foods, but instead encourage the use of traditional soy foods such as tofu, edamame, tempeh, miso, and soy sauce.  Make sure they are organic and non-GMO.

If you have known thyroid disease, I would also caution against eating foods that contain phytoestrogens raw as goitrogens in these foods may interfere with thyroid function. Cooking does neutralize this effect, but avoid consumption within two hours of taking any thyroid medication.

Consider the use of herbal remedies. In my practice, the Ayurvedic herb shatavari has been useful for both menopausal hot flashes and PMS associated with irritability and mood swings. Other herbal remedies have also proven helpful for both physical and psychological symptoms. As each individual is different, always speak with a trained practitioner before using herbal remedies.
Breathe deeply. Doing fifteen  minutes of deep belly breathing twice daily has been shown in several clinical trials to decrease hot flashes and night sweats as well as improve a woman's sense of well-being. In addition, I encourage women (and men) to learn a mind-quieting technique such as Primordial Sound Meditation, which helps decrease stress hormones and allows the body to function more efficiently.
Addressing lifestyle including diet, physical activity and stress management as well as gaining support from practitioners and loved ones is an excellent start.  In addition to helping with hormonal balance, these mind-body techniques to bring about balance create a greater sense of wellbeing and ultimately optimum health.


Any thoughts ladies.

Even for those on HRT this article could be useful.


Honeybun
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« Last Edit: November 16, 2015, 04:57:07 PM by honeybun »
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ancient runner

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Re: A different approach perhaps
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2015, 04:52:37 PM »

All sounds sensible - anything there on VA? I live in hope...
PS - this isn't meant to sound snippy - I am genuinely puzzled by the phrase "balancing your hormones" - balancing with what? What does it mean? I often get emails promising ways of balancing them and have visions of circus performers. ;D
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honeybun

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Re: A different approach perhaps
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2015, 04:55:09 PM »

 ;D

Perhaps stopping the big dips that meno brings and keeping things more even.

Honeybun
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CLKD

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Re: A different approach perhaps
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2015, 04:57:20 PM »

Also - I was supposed to feed my dog a 'balanced diet', well dogs don't get a balanced diet in the wild  :D

Does she mean 'pack choy' (sp won't do Pak!) oh did then  ::) - I love my greens including sprouts  :-* ……….
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Changes can be scarey, even when we want them!

Hurdity

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Re: A different approach perhaps
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2015, 05:20:23 PM »

As I mentioned recently on another post (the one about "the point of this thread") and always harping on about - dietary and lifestyle measures should be looked at and improved as a general health issue by anyone at any age but especially women approaching menopause - not instead of or as an alternative to HRT necessarily but to ensure our bodies are in the best possible state at this time of our lives. This is well recognised by the medical professions too and also advised on this site!!!

Great to attend to our diet and brassicas I know have all sorts of goodies in them, as have a lot of other foods. Far better to make improvements to diet as she suggests than taking lots of supplements.

I quite agree with you ancient runner - I am suspicious of anything that says it is good for menopausal symptoms because it balances the hormones - the only thing that balances the hormones are - guess what - hormones !!!  ;D .  I always want to say - come on what do you mean? What's the mechanism - where's the evidence?

She is completely wrong and out of date about the bio-identical hormones though - but this is an American article and probably written some time ago because it refers to Premarin as being standard HRT, and also that there is no evidence that bio-identical hormones are no healthier than what she calls standard HRT ( ie Premarin). Because it's American she is probably referring to BHRT which we don't really have in this country - so I would disregard that part of the article.

Anyway great dietary and lifestyle advice. She doesn't mention exercise, but does mention relaxation and reducing stress which has to be good :)

Hurdity x
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ancient runner

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Re: A different approach perhaps
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2015, 05:36:44 PM »

Great - I eat all of those. I'd be interested in knowing more about why it is said that Japanese women don't appear to suffer menopausal symptoms as many Western women do - is it high levels of soy in the diet? Has any research been done on it??
Also
Did anyone spot that story a couple of weeks ago which suggested that women doing reasonably vigorous exercise did not seem to have particularly severe flushes? I have noticed, I think, that if I'm running (shuffling??) regularly I have less of a problem. Wonder if getting hot and sweaty regularly for a reason helps your body not get too frantic about fluctuations in temperature?
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Dorothy

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Re: A different approach perhaps
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2015, 05:37:22 PM »

I've certainly found that diet changes can even out symptoms so they are not so extreme.  Also, 'listening' to my body regarding what to eat, what to do.

I'd be interested to know how this lady would advise avoiding/treating VA, but perhaps this is what she means when she says:  "While I believe that HRT using bio-identical hormones and other medications may be extremely useful for women whose lives are deeply disrupted by menopausal symptoms or PMS, I have found that taking an Ayurvedic approach aimed at restoring balance in the whole body eliminates, or at least greatly reduces, the need for a pharmaceutical approach."  Maybe VA is what she means by deeply disrupting symptoms?  I found all my other symptoms were eased in some way by diet, herbal treatments, lifestyle changes etc but Ovestin was the only thing that gave relief 'below'.
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Some days I have mood swings; other days, I have the whole mood playground.

Autumn

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Re: A different approach perhaps
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2015, 06:30:06 PM »

Good article - and where she says that we need to 'listen' to our bodies is so right. Also, look at what you are craving as it's you body's way of letting you know what it needs - with chocolate it's not just fat and sugar as there are often trace minerals that it's trying to get - or energy.

Diet is very important and I know that coffee always made me have a hot flush - within 20 seconds of my first sip! So I'd make sure I was in a t shirt before I drank my one a day! ;D

I've read that Japanese women don't have such a problem with menopause (and breast cancer) because they don't have a lot of meat and dairy in their diets and eat lots of fish and tofu.

Thanks for sharing.xx
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BrightLight

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Re: A different approach perhaps
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2015, 06:47:19 PM »

My approach is definately holistic. I've said it before that this doesn't always mean avoiding medical treatment or only using 'natural' remedies.  For me, it means looking at the whole person, the whole lifestyle.  When natural health articles or practitioners use a sweeping statement like 'balances hormones' I think it is confusing - what I think natural therapies and lifestyle adjustments can do is help the body adjust and cope with the hormonal imbalance.  So perhaps it can lessen the imbalance somewhat but ultimately this process in our lives is about diminishing hormones - the aim, for me, is to ride this out with the least discomfort as possible.

There really is so much at play in our bodies at this time and there are literally hundreds of variables that are at play.  By that I mean, you may well not have enough vitamin d which results in x,y or z and the next week you might get some water retention due to, who knows what. So this advise to look at general diet and lifestyle changes that are known to improve health and wellbeing in general are great.

The more we can stay healthy, I believe the less symptomatic we will be with menopausal changes.  It's my experience that some of the things I am experiencing are things I have always had 'trouble' with, only they are worse, so perhaps we all just have a tendancy towards things ?  Then there are the researched effects of lower hormonal levels on things like joints and there are lifestyle changes for those.  What I am trying to say, is that if we use a holistic approach to menopause I really think we need to see it as general changes to lifestyle to use more natural things full stop, not just the odd cup of green tea or some soya ;)

It really has to be consistent in my opinion.  I have accupunture every month and I know that it helps me in all sorts of ways to manage the ups, downs and changes I am experiencing.

As for particular remedies for things, sometimes we need to look at other body systems, not just the hormonal ones.  For instance, hot flashes can sometimes be related to gut health and histamine response; gut health is related to hormonal levels..........so sometimes a good probiotic and changes in diet will help some women.  It's the same for bloating and VA I believe.  The internal balance of acid/alkaline and all sorts of other things is changing as hormone levels fluctuate and decline.  The adrenal system is effected too.  Both these things can be addressed with relaxation, keeping up a good diet, excercise and staying hydrated.

To be honest it's a complicated business but I think the main thing if you choose not to take HRT is to ease your body through these changes, be kind and know that you are adjusting in a major way ;)

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Autumn

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Re: A different approach perhaps
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2015, 06:53:58 PM »

My approach is definately holistic. I've said it before that this doesn't always mean avoiding medical treatment or only using 'natural' remedies.  For me, it means looking at the whole person, the whole lifestyle.  When natural health articles or practitioners use a sweeping statement like 'balances hormones' I think it is confusing - what I think natural therapies and lifestyle adjustments can do is help the body adjust and cope with the hormonal imbalance.  So perhaps it can lessen the imbalance somewhat but ultimately this process in our lives is about diminishing hormones - the aim, for me, is to ride this out with the least discomfort as possible.

There really is so much at play in our bodies at this time and there are literally hundreds of variables that are at play.  By that I mean, you may well not have enough vitamin d which results in x,y or z and the next week you might get some water retention due to, who knows what. So this advise to look at general diet and lifestyle changes that are known to improve health and wellbeing in general are great.

The more we can stay healthy, I believe the less symptomatic we will be with menopausal changes.  It's my experience that some of the things I am experiencing are things I have always had 'trouble' with, only they are worse, so perhaps we all just have a tendancy towards things ?  Then there are the researched effects of lower hormonal levels on things like joints and there are lifestyle changes for those.  What I am trying to say, is that if we use a holistic approach to menopause I really think we need to see it as general changes to lifestyle to use more natural things full stop, not just the odd cup of green tea or some soya ;)

It really has to be consistent in my opinion.  I have accupunture every month and I know that it helps me in all sorts of ways to manage the ups, downs and changes I am experiencing.

As for particular remedies for things, sometimes we need to look at other body systems, not just the hormonal ones.  For instance, hot flashes can sometimes be related to gut health and histamine response; gut health is related to hormonal levels..........so sometimes a good probiotic and changes in diet will help some women.  It's the same for bloating and VA I believe.  The internal balance of acid/alkaline and all sorts of other things is changing as hormone levels fluctuate and decline.  The adrenal system is effected too.  Both these things can be addressed with relaxation, keeping up a good diet, excercise and staying hydrated.

To be honest it's a complicated business but I think the main thing if you choose not to take HRT is to ease your body through these changes, be kind and know that you are adjusting in a major way ;)

Absolutely!! :)
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CLKD

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Re: A different approach perhaps
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2015, 07:13:10 PM »

What a pity that, having listened to our bodies, the medical profession don't take on board what we know!  ::)

We are what we eat.  I've believed that for years.  I think that because Asian peoples don't have as much 'junk' food in their diets until more recently, as well as having soya-based recipes, means that they haven't had as many health difficulties as 'we' in the West.

Soya doesn't suit everyone  ::) but eating lots of fruit and veg. won't do any harm (except aiding the means of flying a kite  ;)).  My diet has altered over the years for various reasons.  As children we walked everywhere and had regular PE sessions throughout School.  Sharing experiences too helps!
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Changes can be scarey, even when we want them!

SadLynda

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Re: A different approach perhaps
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2015, 11:54:36 AM »

Great post.

Brightlight - loved reading that, totally agree about the acupuncture I did great on it - sadly now cannot afford the monthly top up :(

Having tried most of the alternatives have to say nothing has helped with the VA for me.
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If you are not happy with your GP change, it is your right and it is your health and happiness that counts.

Night_Owl

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Re: A different approach perhaps
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2015, 12:32:41 PM »

"The more we can stay healthy, I believe the less symptomatic we will be with menopausal changes.  It's my experience that some of the things I am experiencing are things I have always had 'trouble' with, only they are worse, so perhaps we all just have a tendancy towards things?"

BrightLight, this is such a good point -  and so relevant to meno and one we should perhaps all bear in mind.  It seems that without the protective effect of a estrogen and the change in hormone profile, any particular existing weaknesses become more troublesome.  Lifestyle/diet/stress plays a huge part - however some women are just luckier than others in what genes they've inherited and they seem resilient and able to stay well regardless of meno.


J x
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Oct 2018   **came off all HRT**
Age 58, early-ish meno @ 44
Highly progesterone intolerant and migraineur
Past regime: Panay, Long Cycle
Estraderm 25 patch twice weekly
Utrogestan 100mg x 10 nights, v-route, 6 weekly
Vagifem 3 times weekly
Ovestin cream sparingly
Yearly endo scan

babyjane

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Re: A different approach perhaps
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2015, 03:17:23 PM »

when I overdo the sugar or caffeine my flushes and sweats return along with a general feeling of malaise.  If I stay away from added refined sugars, cakes, biscuits, desserts etc I can be free of most menopause symptoms all day now  :)
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SadLynda

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Re: A different approach perhaps
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2015, 05:24:47 PM »

oh dear, met up with my old friend today and demolished the biggest cream cake you have ever seen, it did have strawberries too ::) followed by a creamy hot chocolate.

This is not my usual diet - if I am suffering later or tomorrow I better shut up 8)

I am just reading through a new book DH got for the 'juicer' called 'Juice Master' got some great sounding healthy juices in it, and better still are the 'flavoured water' which is not so much of the fruits topped up with water and a dash of lemon.
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If you are not happy with your GP change, it is your right and it is your health and happiness that counts.
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