Things Are Changing
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Green Health
a column by Trilby Sedlacek, AHG, appearing regularly in The Stone Path

Things Are Changing: Minimizing Peri-menopausal Symptoms

Now that the largest generation in American history has spent the past few years turning 50, you might say that menopause has gotten "trendy." If nothing else, itís certainly coming up in conversation a lot more often as thousands of the 75 million Baby Boomers turn 50 every day. Female Boomers are watching their bodies develop "minds of their own" as all sorts of new symptoms come and go. They are seeking out information and techniques to cope with this major change. (Just when we were finally getting comfortable with our cycles, Arrgh!)

Does any of this sound familiar? Your periods are becoming less regular. Youíre moody when you have never been moody before. You take off your cardigan when nobody else in the room seems warm. You have migraine headaches. Your breasts feel tender. Your interest in sex has changed. You crave carbohydrates/chocolate/alcohol. You just want to be left alone.

Welcome to peri-menopause. The technical definition of menopause is the cessation of menses for 12 months. All the symptoms leading up to that (night sweats, hot flashes, flooding, etc.) are all peri-menopause and symptoms can start as early as 35.

What can you do about it?

  • Hurry up and get as much calcium in your body as possible. If you have been drinking soda or coffee (caffeine leaches calcium from the bones) instead of herbal tea or milk, you will be short on calcium and vulnerable to injuries in coming years.
     
  • Put on a few pounds. Symptoms of menopause tend to be most severe in very slender women because fat cells help take over estrogen production to some degree. If you canít bear to do that, at least quit trying to lose weight because your body needs the extra fat.
     
  • Tonify your entire system (hopefully with herbs & nutrition). In addition to the rotation of red clover, oat straw and nettle tea, there is an herb for every symptom. For example, chaste tree berry helps with hot flashes.
     
  • Eat high quality snacks like organic cheese, carrots and yogurt dip or organic nuts.

Peri-menopausal symptoms change rapidly. Our bodies are literally going through a metamorphosis. Our livers have to deal with the up and down of the estrogen production as our bodies attempt to stop itís monthly cycling. Just like itís opposite, puberty, none of this happens overnight and we will live through it; it is not a disease. This is the period where single herbs work wonders depending on how well you match them with the symptoms. Below are a few of my favorite allies.

    • Chaste Tree Berry or Vitex - as stated above seems to work well with the PMS type symptoms associated with out-of-whack progesterone, tender breasts, break-outs, mood shifts.
       
    • Motherwort - especially useful for anxiety and mood swings as well as hot flashes. Strengthens the heart.
       
    • Wild Yam - contrary to popular belief this herb does not contain progesterone; however it is useful for digestive upsets that come with peri-menopause
       
    • Skullcap Herb - restless legs and subsequent sleeplessness are always a possible symptom; this herb can help reduce the severity.

I have developed a menopause formula, a combination of herbs in capsule form. It works well with most women once they are actually in menopause but for the peri-menopausal woman it takes a little more individualization to hit upon the correct herbs to use. I know that these simple herbal supplements along with a few self-loving behaviors like long walks, Aromatherapy baths, and reading self-awareness/health books will make this time of life so much more enjoyable. In fact, it may be the best time of your life as you reclaim your body and your health for now and your future.

Green blessings,

Trilby

"Things Are Changing: Minimizing Peri-menopausal Symptoms,"  Trilby Sedlacek, AHG, from The Stone Path and the Green Health Archives

 

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