Welcome to Hot Flash
It's been a busy week, running around preparing new materials for you which I will be using over the next few months. The team and I have been working hard producing new films, presentations and new courses which I will talk about more in the coming weeks, here in the newsletter and in our exclusive Facebook group.
Thank you for your feedback and questions following the first two newsletters. I have received many questions from you this week regarding anxiety about going on holiday. I know that it can be a difficult time, especially worrying about your body and how it's not how it used to look. Being positive can really help – take a look at my blog from earlier last month for some advice. Please keep the questions coming.elcome to week 2 of my newsletter Hot Flash.
This week, I'm talking about the importance of being fully informed before having a radical hysterectomy, as so many women are being advised to do.
I am also talking about how a 'drop of the hard stuff' won't hurt but how you need to be mindful of keeping alcohol intake to a minimum during menopause as it can have knock on effects on the body as well as helping you to pile on the pounds. Happy reading!
Why are ovaries being removed as a preventative measure and not testicles?
If I hear about one more woman in her early 40’s being advised to have her disease-free ovaries removed as a preventative measure I think I might scream with frustration. Men wouldn’t dream of having their healthy testicles removed in case of an unlikely future event. Why then are medical experts advising women to take such radical steps?
Women suffering with heavy bleeding, who elect to have their uterus removed as a remedy are often told they might as well get their ovaries removed at the same time. The reasoning is that it will save them having their ovaries removed in the future if they get ovarian cancer.
Whilst ovarian cancer is a horrendous disease, and one which claimed my mother’s life, women who have the BRACA gene have an increased risk. There are approximately 7500 new cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed each year in the UK from a pool of over 32 million women. If you have the BRACA gene, or a family history of oestrogen dependent cancer, you should consider having your ovaries removed. Otherwise, our ovaries are an essential part of our womanhood and should be preserved as Mother Nature intended until they naturally cease functioning because they keep us healthy.
The main reasons to retain our ovaries, apart from the fact that they define our feminine characteristics, is that they protect us from heart disease, bone loss and dementia. Having your ovaries removed unnecessarily, and prematurely, may give you zero chance of getting ovarian cancer but it certainly opens up several huge cans of worms. For one, a woman in her forties who has undergone what’s known as a radical hysterectomy, the removal of her uterus, cervix and ovaries, will almost certainly be given long-term hormone replacement therapy. That’s all very well if it suits her and she isn’t one of the many women who experience significant side effects. So often women put weight on when taking HRT. The study we undertook on women taking HRT at the Natural Health Advisory Service, showed that women gained an average of 18 pounds in weight in the first year. And some women feel exceedingly unwell on it.
I guess I don't see the women in my clinics who are happy about having had their ovaries removed. I only see those who feel bitterly cheated that they were not better informed prior to the operation and wish more than anything that they could turn the clock back. They feel robbed of their libido and like an alien has possessed their own body.
There are many cases where younger women are being offered a radical hysterectomy as a cure for their premenstrual syndrome which is totally unacceptable. Whilst PMS can feel like a curse, bringing a whole host of symptoms including depression, anxiety, mood changes, food cravings and loss of libido for almost half the month, the truth is that these symptoms can be addressed without drugs or hormones too.
From extensive research undertaken at the Advisory Service over the years we found that low levels of nutrients were often the underlying cause to PMS. In our studies between 50 – 80 percent of women had low levels of magnesium and nutrients like B vitamins, zinc, iron, essential fatty acids, vitamin D and calcium. I have been helping women overcome their PMS more years than over the menopause. When you correct nutrient levels, clean up the diet and undertake some regular exercise it has an amazing effect. Over 94 percent of the patients who followed our programme for four months felt symptom-free.
Although there are times when a radical hysterectomy may be a lifesaver, as in the case of uterine or ovarian cancer, in my experience it is often performed without giving the woman sufficient information with which to make an informed decision.
I believe that everyone should have choices about important decisions they make in life and just need to be fully informed. Therein lies the problem.
The adverse effects of excessive alcohol consumption on postmenopausal women is in the news this week. A study published in Menopause, the Journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) on over 2000 post-menopausal Korean women showed that drinking alcohol increased loss of muscle mass and strength which affects balance and agility. The women with a high alcohol consumption were four times more likely to develop these problems. Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, executive director of NAMS says "With this study suggesting that more muscle loss leads to sarcopenia (the loss of muscle mass and strength) and other studies suggesting that even one drink of alcohol may increase the risk of breast cancer, postmenopausal women should limit their alcohol intake."
The study suggests that these findings might be a cause for taking hormone therapy to boost oestrogen levels, but they overlook the fact that you can do a similar job with foods rich in phytoestrogen, which is structurally so similar to our own oestrogen. Soy, edamame beans and flaxseeds all contain good amounts of naturally occurring oestrogen. The study points out that regular exercise also helps to build muscle mass. We know from other research that alcohol brings on flushes and knocks out most nutrients. Maryon’s verdict: keeping fit will allow you to consume a moderate amount of alcohol without experiencing adverse change in your muscle mass.
1. Yu-Jin Kwon, Hyoung-Ji Lim, Yong-Jae Lee, Hye-Sun Lee, John A. Linton, Jae Woo Lee, Hee-Taik Kang. Associations between high-risk alcohol consumption and sarcopenia among postmenopausal women. Menopause, 2017; 1 DOI: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000879
Hot Flash Top Tip
Easing the aches and pains at midlife:
- Consume at least two servings of oily fish each week such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines or Pilchards.
- Do some regular exercise including gentle stretching and yoga.
- Try taking Glucosamine and Chondroitin which help to lubricate your joints and get your doctor to measure you Vitamin D levels as a deficiency can make you feel tired and achy.