“I imagine my husband will walk in one day and find a pile of ash on the floor where I’d been sitting.”
“I know what you mean,” said the other woman, “it’s like an intense heat that surges from your belly.”
“Yes,” they all agreed, “sometimes it feels like you’ll just go up in flames.”
“Well, that’s something to look forward to,” they wink at me, chuckling conspiratorially.
Surely, I thought, there’s a way to avoid spontaneous human combustion when I get to that age.
So with a few years up my sleeve yet, I turned to Jo, our discussion group’s health mentor for advice about minimising or eliminating the inevitable onset of hot flushes, hormonal imbalances and erratic emotions.
10 health tips for menopausal women
1. Maca powder
The Incan super food has been used for many years to help:
• Balance the adrenal glands,
• Balance male and female hormone levels, for both men and women,
• Improve energy levels.
Maca powder really needs to be organic, authentic and grown at the correct altitude.
Dosage is about half to one teaspoon per day. Some people require more, but the minimum to be useful is half a teaspoon. Mix in a glass of water or in a protein shake.
2. Essential oils
• Geranium oil is a mood balancer,
• Clary sage regulates hormone levels in the body,
• Lavender calms and relaxes the mind and muscles,
• Cypress improves all things vascular in the body, helps with body fluid and the heart.
• Chamomile (blue) or Roman Chamomile can also be included; it’s good for relaxing and sleep and has a great calming effect.
To make a blend:
• Use organic, therapeutic quality essential oils.
• Mix them in a base of organic vegetable oil (available at supermarkets and not too expensive) such as avocado, macadamia, olive, almond etc.
• A suggested blend is:
20 drops lavender
15 drops geranium
15 drops clary sage
12 drops cypress
Mix with 100ml of vegetable carrier oil in an amber or blue glass bottle. Empty, sterile bottles are usually available at a chemist for a couple of dollars. Store the blend in glass (never plastic), in a cool dark place.
Rub 5-10ml each day into soft parts of your body, such as inside your upper arms, thighs, belly, buttocks etc, rotating through different body parts each day. This works gradually over a couple of weeks and in most cases improves the longer you’ve been applying the blend.
Be aware that essential oils are potent and can cause allergic skin reactions so do a trial patch first if you suspect you’re overly sensitive to them.
Always apply the essential oils diluted in a carrier oil, never neat.
Stay away from grains, starches and sugars, according to Christiane Northrup, the world’s leading authority in the field of women’s health and all things menopausal.
That means avoid all sugar (no juices, limited fruit, no soft drinks or sugar added to tea/coffee, sweets of any kind) potatoes, bread, rice (yes even brown) and pasta.
Go easy on corn and corn products, sweet potatoes and legumes.
4. Food storage
Store food in glass, not plastics, to avoid chemicals leaching into your food, which interfere with oestrogen production in your body. Everyone should do this, not just menopausal women. What you do in your 20s and 30s does have an effect later, so be aware.
Drink 1 litre of water for every 25kg of body weight, preferably filtered, chlorine and fluoride-free. All chemicals are best avoided.
Do some research:
• How to alkalise your blood and avoid acid build up in your body,
• Learn what foods promote alkalinity,
• Which water filters provide the right alkalinity for humans, and so on.
Acidity in your body adds to inflammation, general pain and suffering. Alcohol and coffee are two of the main offenders (sigh… editor’s note).
None is best… sorry! (Jo’s note, not mine).
It stifles the liver which is the main chemical factory/distributor of hormones around the body. Sluggish livers create nasty hormone problems.
It improves happy hormones in the brain and makes you feel good. Weight bearing exercise helps prevent brittle bones. Exercise that makes you puff neutralises cortisol (the stress hormone in the body and the one that creates that belly fat you love). Excess cortisol is a general nuisance to your hormone balance.
9. Organic flaxseed oil
Take a minimum of 2g a day to keep the omega oils in your body at a good level. Read up on why omega oils are necessary for your body. You’ll be amazed! They’re better than fish oil. Flaxseed has no mercury or heavy metals that can often be found in fish oil.
Great for stress and keeping your joints lubricated.
Care for the menopausal soul
1. Creative expression
Women need to create; it’s a natural thing for them. Channelling creative energy is important; otherwise it builds up and stagnates in the body, particularly around the lower abdomen and pelvis, which isn’t good for the uterus and ovaries.
So do something you love and is creatively satisfying and fulfilling, such as dancing, singing, art, gardening etc.
2. Relaxation and meditation
It calms the mind, sorts crazy thinking often brought on by hormones, calms the body and helps balance that stress hormone, cortisol. Make time for yourself away from distractions such as people, electronics and artificial energy sources. Connect with the natural world, preferably alone.
3. Avoid negativity and drama
Practice recognising it and steering clear of it. They cause stress which is detrimental to hormone balance. Turn off the news, depressing songs, TV violence and other negativity that sneakily filters into your subconscious like subliminal viruses. Read uplifting literature.
Connect with other people and practice the art of intimacy, the non-sexual variety. According to some of the latest research, it seems that isolation is a factor in some age-related mental health issues. That's a good reason to make positive, drama-free friendships that are fun!
Oh, did we mention sex? It’s wonderful for creating those happy hormones in your body, connecting with a significant other and practising intimacy. It’s great for your body and soul when practised in a mature way with love.
Oh dear, I've got some major lifestyle changes to make! How are you coping with the lead up to, or after effects of, the Change of Life?
Guest contributor: Jo Degaura is an energy medicine practitioner based on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast and a regular advisor to our menopause discussion group. She encourages women to research the above tips and find the combination that works for you. A sustained practice is necessary as hormones can take up to three months to be affected by a healthier routine.
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I acknowledge the traditional Custodians of the land on which I work and live, the Gubbi Gubbi / Kabi Kabi and Joondoburri people, and recognise their continuing connection to land, the waters and sky. I pay my respect to them and their cultures; and to Elders past, present and emerging.
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