A friend recently commented that the type of resources available to women living in rural areas are very different than those available to women living in urban areas. Hence, the ability to access alternative medicine practitioners or even find trusted sources of information really depends on where you live.
This has been borne out by results of a study conducted earlier this year among 25 menopausal women living in rural areas of Nova Scotia. Participants described a need to understand the intensity of their symptoms but often found it difficult to sift through “excessive and conflicting” information on the web. This was further compounded by the lack of trusting relationships with healthcare providers due to their scarcity and also, the fact that local facilities failed to retain good people.
So, who should you turn to when available information is seemingly overwhelming and inconsistent, and medical expertise is unavailable?
The researchers explain that women who participated in this study drew heavily on shared experiences and the ability to communicate freely and openly with women who were going through similar things. More often than not, they continuously sought validation from their peers to avoid feeling confused and alone. And found that a great way to deal menopause was through humour.
Whether a woman resides in rural Nova Scotia or New York City, a sense of community, mixed with open communication and a little bit of humour, can go a long way.Read More
Does menopause make you stupid? Or worse than stupid; i.e. what my ex and I used to call “doopid.”
In my battle against the bulge, my quest against cellulite, my desire to appear younger…well, I guess that I fell for the hype. I bought a new firming gel with “intelligent ingredients,” i.e. they utilize a breakthrough process to reduce the appearance of cellulite dimples. Touting itself as a “firmaceutical,” this gel evidently interacts with the skin’s surface to target the underlying causes of cellulite. AND IT’S ONLY $3.95 (to cover shipping).
Yet, here’s the rub (no pun intended)!. I received the product and then read the fine print. I get to try it for 30 days, after which time, I will be billed the discounted price of $89.95 and then $44.97 per month thereafter. And, it comes with special supplements to boots the product’s effectiveness. WHAT?! If, during the 30-day period, I don’t see any changes; well, I can return the unused portion.
Sigh. Am I really that doopid? I’m in advertising. I write medical copy. I report on medical studies. Heck, I have spent years educating doctors on diseases. And yet, the promise of smoother, dimple-free skin got me hook, line and sinker.
Are extreme mood swings that occur primarily in perimenopausal women solely the result of fluctuating and declining ovarian hormones?
Experts disagree over the cause of mood issues during the menopause, and raise questions about the role of co-stressors, such as empty nest syndrome, aging, work, assessment and expectations about goals and achievements, and of course, vasomotor symptoms and associated problems (e.g. hot flashes/night sweats/sleep disturbances/cycle changes, etc).
Of late, a lot of attention has been focused on the link between depression and menopause. Yet, research suggests that a history of PMS and depression earlier in life as well as other psyschosocial and cultural factors, actually account for depressed mood and depression among menopausal women. Other study findings have shown that PMS and perceived stress are significantly linked to irritability and mood swings.
The good news is that across the board, studies show that mood disturbances tend to diminish as one moves through the menopause. However, what should you do when the blues/anger/irritability/fatigue/crying spells hit?
In previous posts, I’ve discussed the potential benefits of exercise, meditation, red wine (!) and St. John’s wort. I’ve also run across a few things written about the benefits of phytoestrogens (plant-like compounds that act in the body like estrogen). However, presently, a preponderance of evidence appears to support a greater role for phytoestrogens for bone and heart than for mental health. I’m committed to searching the literature for additional interventions but in the interim, I welcome your feedback and personal experiences.Read More
I realized that this blog has gotten a bit serious lately. So time to add some levity because afterall, if you can’t laugh in the midst of this interesting joke that life is playing on us all, well…
I ran across this great Op/Ed piece that ran in the New York Times a little over a year ago. It is written by Elizabeth Hayt, and really focuses on the power of communication and community. I encourage you to visit Elizabeth’s blog and read it!Read More
The GPS certainly comes in handy when you’re in unfamiliar territory. But what happens if the territory changes suddenly, new streets replace old, and you’re unable to turn around?
Before menopause, women are protected from conditions such as heart disease, heart attack and stroke but lose this protection afterward.
Missouri University scientists believe that they’ve uncovered one of the reasons why: the body’s natural adaptation to a loss of estrogen. They say that animal study findings suggest that the vascular system depends on estrogen to maintain the status quo. With a decline in estrogen production, the body loses its ability to regulate and maintain blood vessels the old way, and adapts by creating new “side streets” of vessels. Women have are at increased risk for developing disease in these new vessels with symptoms that are subtler and harder to identify.
Study co-author Virginia Huxley, a professor at the Missouri University’s School of Medicine, likens blood vessels to highways that transport oxygen and other nutrients. She says that these roads are ‘ever changing’ after estrogen production halts. Importantly, the research team believes that adding estrogen to a system that has learned to adapt without it can upset the transition and lead to complications. This may be why HRT after menopause is counterintuitive and downright dangerous.Read More