The Menopause

The menopause is another very important rite of passage. No comparable phenomenon takes place in a man’s body. Men can remain fertile throughout their lives, and although testosterone levels drop they continue to produce viable new sperm. The menopause is a good time to pause, to rest for a moment and re-examine your values, to enjoy your accomplishments and most of all to love and appreciate female processes. It is a beginning an ending; time for looking forward, not one of sadness or regret; a time for a renewal, not for a fear of ageing. Paavo Airola puts it beautifully:

Menopause is a divinely designed phase in a woman’s life, with the purpose of liberating her from duties as pro-creator with God and giving her time for self-improvement, for the perfection of her human and divine characteristics, and her spiritual growth.

Actually the first signs of ageing begin long before the meno pause. The lenses of the eyes begin to deteriorate at the age of ten. Hearing the upper frequencies starts to become more difficult at the same age. Certainly the body’s ability to repair itself is declining by the age of forty, and at this time the pressure of weight on the spinal column begins to take its toll, actually decreasing height; but bones can be strengthened and their shrinkage stopped by exercise. The thyroid shrinks, slowing down metabolic rate and signalling a subsequent decline in other hormones.

Within the first two years of the menopause three quarters of ovarian oestrogen production is lost, but some of the ovaries’ work is taken over by the adrenals. If the adrenals have been exhausted by an overactive sympathetic nervous system, poor nutrition or a malfunctioning liver or heart, they are incapable of taking on this extra workload. So healthy adrenal glands are a prerequisite to a comfortable menopause and the formula on   will help here.

The good news is that intelligence and memory remain intact, and that many of the other symptoms of ageing can be alleviated, slowed or checked by a superabundance of vitamins, minerals and enzymes in a particularly conscientious diet. This includes the rigorous avoidance of anything with chemicals in it, as well a meat, tea and coffee, and sugar, and extreme moderation with alcohol. Fertile eggs, yoghurt and buttermilk should be the nearest you get to an animal.

Eating less and, particularly, fasting actively slow down the aging process and accelerate the repair processes in the body. I undertake one long fast yearly, usually a three-week one, and several shorter ones of 4-7 days and they are times of self pleasuring I keenly anticipate.

Natural hormones are abundantly available in certain foods and herbs. Never forget the importance of adequate rest and correct breathing-one of the most vital women lever met was an eighty-year-old yoga teacher who swore by her “vitamins of the air! Yoga itself helps to keep the body supple. Stiffness and pain are not natural concomitants of ageing. When I was in China I saw sixty- and seventy-year-old women practising t’ai chi with a grace, suppleness and beauty that would have shamed many of our degenerate thirty-year-olds.

Avoiding Hormone Replacement Therapy

Too many of my patients come to me believing that their meno pausal discomforts can be relieved by synthetic oestrogen and find, to their disappointment, that the moment that they stop taking it the symptoms reassert themselves in no uncertain terms. This is because hormone replacement therapy is too often used prophylactically to prevent symptoms. The truth is that really healthy women seldom experience menopausal difficulties. So the secret of a trouble-free menopause is to get yourself into really good shape well before it starts. this country oestrogen and progestogen are prescribed in a pattern that mimics a woman’s hormonal output during uhe

menopausal cycle, but synthetic oestrogen increases the need for vitamin E, and even Premarin, fondly billed as the ‘natural form of oestrogen (preSumably because it is collected from the urine of mares) is just as capable of causing dangerous blood clots as the synthetic oestrogen. Gallstones are much more common among women who take hormone replacement therapy, and it is defi nitely not advisable for those with high blood pressure, a past history of thrombosis of any kind, diabetes, or chronic liver discase, or for smokers or those with a family history of heart

disease. I feel very strongly that man made chemicals are bad for the body and this includes synthetic hormones. Foods which are particularly rich in natural hormones include seeds and sprouted seeds, wholegrains, royal jelly, bee pollen, bananas, carrots, potatoes, apples, cherries, plums and garlic.

Wholegrain porridge

This is a delicious hormone-rich way to start the day which insures maximum food value because the grains are pre-soaked and only subjected to low heat and therefore retain their entire nutritional value, unlike the ground-up grains you use for baking,

Early in the evening fill a wide-necked thermos flask one third full with whole buckwheat, whole millet, whole wheat, whole oats or whole barley. Fill the rest of the flask with boiling water. Seal. Shake and leave overnight. When you open the flask the next morning the grains will have popped open and be softly chewy and very tasty. Serve with a little unsalted butter, together with honey, maple syrup, ginger or cinnamon, and add pre-soaked dried fruit or a well-ripened banana. Sprinkle in equal parts of sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds. Do not let the temperature exceed 130°F (54″C). If you want to find out just how ‘live’ the grain still is, save a little and watch it sprout.

Estrogen-rich formula Equal parts of:

false unicorn

liquorice blessed thistle

raspberry

 

wild yam

sage lady’s slipper

pasque-flower elderflowers lobeli

Alternatively use the formula  . Take two size ‘o capsules of the finely powdered herbs with a cup of sarsaparilla tea with cach meal. Both these formulae will help after hysterectomy and are generally beneficial throughout the menopause.

Hot Flushes

During a hot flush the skin is suddenly suffused with blood and turns bright red, inducing sweating and heat. It helps to wear layers of clothing so that you can peel a few off if a flush overwhelms you. It seems that a certain level of oestrogen must be present in the blood for hot flushes to occur because flushes are rare in pre-menopausal women and even more so in post menopausal ones. This “flushing band’ is narrower in some women than others but most women experience it, even if only for a few months. In some it goes on for years, and when it happens at night, enforcing several changes of bedding, it can be particularly miserable experience.

Take the following formula on the days hot flushes occur and revert to the one  on the other days.

2 parts rosemary

1 part spearmint 1 part mugwort

1 part St John’s wort

part vervain

part false unicorn

Take one size ‘0’ capsule of the finely powdered herbs every two hours with sips of sage tea. Also take hand baths made With equal parts of mistletoe leaves, sage, hawthorn and vine leaves.

 Night Sweats

A very simple but effective solution that I have found to work extremely well with my own patients is 3 drops of essential oil of sage taken with honey and hot water just before bed.

Excessively Heavy Periods

The normal course of the menopause is for menstruation to become erratic with longer and longer gaps between periods, or simply for periods to become lighter and shorter until they eventually stop. Sometimes menstruation will stop suddenly once

and for all but this is very rare. Please note that it is never normal to have frequent heavy periods or to pass blood clots during the menopause. Pain, spotting in-between periods and after love-making are equally unacceptable. In an emergency if you are haemorrhaging, use a warm infusion of cayenne as a douche and put 1 teaspoon cayenne in a cup of warm water, drinking it quickly. But consult your doctor immediately.

Vaginal Changes

The inside of the vagina is lined with flattened mucous epithelial cells, some thirty deep, that are continually shed, rather like skin cells. In the case of the vagina, harmless resident bacteria help decompose the cell detritus and in doing so manufacture lactic acid, which protects the vagina against harmful bacteria. Hence the vagina is generally able to look after itself without much conscious help.

But as oestrogen levels fall the vagina changes dramatically. The cells of the lining thin, dry out and are unable to fend off invading bacteria, so offensive vaginal discharges are much more common during the menopause and afterwards. The subsequent pain with love-making can naturally put a woman off sex. The synthetic hormone creams do nothing to restore the vagina to its former state, and remember that such creams are casily absorbed into the bloodstream. Vitamin E taken internally and used externally in vaginal boluses (using cocoa butter as a base) helps, as does KY jelly or saliva.

The good news is that frequent intercourse keeps the vagina youthful. It seems lubrication has much less to do with the intensity of stimulation than with its duration, so if you find yourself getting into difficul ties, share this invaluable piece of information with your partner. However, experimenting with such advice must be done gently. In the post-menopausal woman whose clitoris is relatively more CYanOsis because of labial atrophy, this exquisitely sensitive area will become more vulnerable to direct stimulation during inter course. Any stimulation which is too intense far from beine exciting can be distressing and painful.

Sexual Response in the Menopause

Vaginal lubrication may wane but your ability to respond during

love-making certainly does not. Some women, freed from the risks of getting pregnant, profess to enjoy sex even more. It may take longer to reach the plateau phase of sexual excitement but this applies equally to men. The signs of a plateau phase dwindle. The labia minora do not darken so much, and the labia majora are less inclined to swell, but the clitoral response remains as vigorous as ever. The intensity and duration of orgasm tend to decrease but the ability to have multiple orgasms continues. So overall if your sex life was enjoyable before the menopause it will probably continue to be so afterwards – particularly if your partner is able to prolong and enhance foreplay.

Prolapse of the Uterus

This generally happens because of problems during delivery – cither the delivery is too rapid or the second stage of labour is too prolonged. Stretching and tearing can occur either way, or it be caused by forceps delivery if forceps are used when the baby’s head is still very high. Less commonly, strenuous physical activity can result in a prolapse.

Initial symptoms are a feeling of dragging down in the pelvis backache; incontinence on coughing, laughing, sneezing or jump ing; an uncomfortable feeling during love-making because of the

pressure from organs bearing downwards; and lack of vaginal tone. The exercises as will maintaining a

normal weight.

Herbal injection for prolapse

You will need to administer this while lying on a slant board with a pillow placed underneath the hips to raise them. Alternatively, it you are really fit you can hold the liquid while in a shoulder stand

Make a decoction of:

6 parts oak barn

6 parts comfrey root 4 parts yellow dock

3 parts lady’s mantle

3 parts marshmallow root 1 part St John’s wort

1 part nettles

Strain thoroughly. Gool. On rising in the morning inject V- cup of the decoction into the vagina with a douche kit  and hold it for 5-10 minutes. Expel it. Repeat before retiring. Also drink a wineglassful of the decoction morning and evening with meals. If the prolapse is very severe, inject the same amount into the rectum immediately after the vaginal injection and hold both simultaneously for the same length of time. This treatment needs to be kept up faithfully for many months before you can expect any improvement.

Depression

The bedrock of depression is a feeling of not being in control of one’s life, a sense of powerlessness. The problem is that society sets women up for depression by straitjacketing many of them into the role of wife and mother. Very few women even today are completely financially independent. As they grow older they tend to become more dependent if not on their husbands then on their children, not simply for money but for companionship, care in ill health and transportation. Add to this physical problems during the menopause, some of which can be quite debilitating, and it is not surprising that depression is often exacerbated at this time of life.

Physical exercise helps, as does a close examination of one’s attitude towards ageing and towards one’s place in society, I often cite to patients who need steering in the right direction the example of my favourite adopted aunt. As her children left ho and her husband became increasingly immersed in his own burgeoning career she could have sat at home moping and feeling useless. Instead she pushed herself against the system that com ditioned her to see herself in terms of marriage, children and housekeeping and carved out a new role for herself by going back to school and working her way right through from ‘O levels to a teaching qualification. She is now a very expert and fulfilled remedial teacher. And she looks more lively and more beautiful

than I remember her twenty years ago. The following nervine formula is helpful. Equal parts of:

rosemary

blue vervain

raspberry hops

valerian lady’s-slipper

Take one size ‘o’ capsule of the finely powdered herbs every waking hour as needed, and once the worst of the depression over reduce the dose to the two capsules three times daily with meals.