I was asked this week to describe the typical woman that I specialise in helping. It actually stopped me in my tracks as I have never been asked this question before during my 30 year career. Whilst I acknowledge each woman’s suffering, I usually place my focus firmly on the solution to help overcome their symptoms, rather than dwelling the horror of each individual situation.
When I really started thinking about the answer it hit me like a ton of bricks that millions of women are in a really bad place, often for much of their adult life. And both the medical profession and the media practically ignore the fact, or at best glosses over it. To say the very least it was a sobering exercise that left me feeling a mixture of emotions ranging from anger, disbelief, frustration and devastation.
My audience is made up of mostly women. To date, they have been mainly women in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s with hormone issues, although I have advised girls in their teens and 20’s as well as women in the 60’s and 70’s. They often feel at their wits end and a shadow of their former selves. They have usually tried all sorts of self-help approaches and even medication from their doctor, but nothing has really worked.
The symptoms they suffer are usually moderate to severe and completely change the colour of the lenses through which they see the world. They often feel like they are clinging on by their finger nails and that I am their last resort.
Large numbers of PMS suffers report suffering extreme symptoms including feeling suicidal, violent and aggressive, overwhelmed by deep depression on some days. From midlife, many are unable to sleep because they are regularly drowned in sweat in the night, more than embarrassed by their incessant hot flushes during the day, and mortified by their vaginal dryness making personal relationships a nightmare.
Dealing with the symptoms
Whether they are suffering from PMS, peri-menopause, menopause, post-menopause, they are overwhelmed on many days of the month by their raging hormones or stress related symptoms. They feel moody, irritable, and anxious, with nervous tension. Their self-perception is diminished and they no longer recognise themselves in the mirror. Their relationships are adversely affected. Sometimes they alienate their partner and children, if they have them, and describe themselves as Jekyll and Hyde.
Most of my audience don’t feel sexy anymore, at least for part of the month if they are pre-menstrual, and as much as every day of their lives if they are menopausal. Some say they prefer chocolate to sex and they wouldn't care if they were never touched again. Many of them give into food cravings, particularly chocolate, sometimes consuming more than three or four bars of chocolate each day. They have often gained weight as a result and feel nervous that their partner may feel neglected and grow tired of their lust less relationship.
As well as hormonal symptoms, many of them experience bowel problems including constipation or Irritable Bowel Syndrome and they probably feel tired, find it hard to sleep well and sometimes notice their skin is dull, their hair thin and lifeless and their nails split and brittle.
A percentage of the women of childbearing age I encounter suffering with PMS, many also suffer from endometriosis, have ovarian cysts, fibroids as well as period pains. In addition to being wives, partners and lovers, they are also often mothers, many having to work and juggle their lives and sometimes they are carers for older relatives.
The natural approach
My deep frustration stems from the fact that these women are suffering needlessly as the vast majority of these symptoms can be managed completely naturally once a woman learns how to meet her needs at her particular life stage. The programme we pioneered at the Natural Health Advisory Service shows in numerous studies that over ninety percent of both PMS and menopause sufferers were symptom-free within four to six months. But instead of being given sound advice they are either given a cocktail of anti-depressants and hormones or left alone, in hormone hell, to fend for themselves.
Beat the Menopause Naturally Facebook Group
I need to give this situation more thought, but in the meantime, I’ve decided to offer live sessions in our Beat the Menopause Naturally Facebook Group where I can at least answer some of their questions and useful, scientifically-based information from my books is available on my website. I know that’s a drop in the ocean, but at least it’s a start.
If when you read this you recognise yourself my heart goes out to you. Feel encouraged that there is a light at the end of the tunnel as it’s possible to be symptom-free and feel better than you can remember in a matter of months. Don’t feel alone as you are suffering along with millions of other women around the world. Just know you can get better and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Learn how to navigate through menopauseIf hot flushes, night sweats, weight gain, loss of libido, insomnia, anxiety and/or depression dominate your days, join Maryon Stewart's virtual menopause class to learn about your body and how to get your symptoms under control naturally.
What's her secret? (It's more than skin deep...)If you want to look great and feel even better, you must get back into good nutritional shape.How? Successful followers of Maryon Stewart's programmes take multivitamin Fema 45+ every day.
You are not alone in your menopause journey
So many women feel alone and isolated when the dreaded midlife symptoms descend upon them. But that needn’t be the case. Millions of women experience these symptoms everyday in every walk of life, making them one of many ‘sisters’ suffering from the same symptoms simultaneously.
By 2020 it is estimated that there will be 1 billion women going through the menopause across the world. Almost three-quarters of menopausal women report symptoms of hot flushes or night sweats and often experience these symptoms for a decade or longer unless they learn how to switch them off.
The other day I wrote down on a piece of paper the word S.W.I.T.C.H. Since this is about midlife, I wanted each letter in this word to represent what can happen to you at this time of life.
S: Stressed because many people feel stressed about the changes and symptoms they experience during menopause
W: Washed out because women lack energy and feel completely depleted
I: Irritable because changing levels of oestrogen in the body during menopause can affect your mood and increase irritability
T: Tired and not feeling at the top of your game. Maybe you can't sleep at night and you wake up early in the morning feeling nervous making it difficult to concentrate
C: Confused because many women find they are unable to concentrate and feel like they've got brain fog and even experience memory loss
H: Hormone havoc because we all know during this time our hormones are all over the place, you can't really tell what's going on as you just feel like the victim of your hormones.
Unfortunately a large portion of women buy into the idea that this is how their life is going to be from now on with no possibility of feeling good again. But I know from women who have gone through my programmes, that this assumption just isn’t true.
Using the same word again, here are the positive outcomes that happen to patients on my programmes.
S: Sexy and serene because you can get your sexy back again
W: Wise because you've got so much more knowledge about the way you are feeling and how you can feel good again
I: Intuitive because you're learning to listen to your body
T: Trusting because you lose the sense of feeling like an alien and learn to trust your body, hormones and emotions again
C: Calm and collected instead of feeling hot and bothered and awake half the night H: Happy hormones again now that you're back in the driving seat
If I told you that in a few months you could be feeling serene, sexy, wise, intuitive, trusting, calm with harmonious hormones and completely symptom free, wouldn’t you want that? Wouldn’t any woman in her right mind? Yet, so many of us are left feeling stressed, washed out, tired, irritable, confused and horrendously hormonal, clinging on by our fingernails at midlife, wondering what hit them, with the distinct impression that this is the beginning of the end. Conflicting advice, information overload and using Dr Google often make it incredibly difficult to know where to start, and who to believe.
I can assure you it doesn’t have to be that way...
The natural menopause approach
In the 21st Century there is no need to suffer at the time of the menopause. There are effective solutions that can be tailored to individual taste, lifestyle and budget. That’s why I have developed a scientifically based, non-drug, natural approach to menopause pioneered by my team at the Natural Health Advisory Service. I use this approach as the foundation for all of my programmes, which have helped literally tens of thousands of women all over the world. In fact, over ninety per cent of women on my programmes report being symptom-free within five months! Are you ready to join the ranks?
Why my programme instead of HRT?
Hormone replacement therapy tends to be the one-stop solution for many practising medical professionals and the populace at large. I come across this belief everyday - even in my private Facebook group. Why? I view it as a combination of things such as the lack of knowledge or training (as in the case of medical professionals) regarding menopause; the hope of a one pill cure-all that can fix every issue in an unreal expectation for many women; and the misinformation of science behind HRT versus the natural menopause solution.
In a March 2016 article appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine titled "Menopause Management - Getting Clinical Care Back on Track," the author stated that many of today's health care providers lack training and the basic understanding of menopause management. Most cannot adequately prescribe treatment options for their patients. This leads women, who are desperate for a solution, to try untested and non-scientifically based alternative treatments that render little or no results and may even compound their symptoms.
I have also discovered over the course of my work with menopausal women, that a substantial number have been misdiagnosed or attributed their symptoms to some other type of malady instead of the menopause. This lack of understanding of what’s going on in their bodies can have detrimental effects to both their physical and mental health. That’s why I am a firm believer in educating women about menopause. Armed with knowledge, women can make informed decisions on what course of action to take in order to reclaim their wellbeing.
The magic pill syndrome
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could swallow a pill and all of your menopause symptoms would disappear at the blink of an eye! Although most of us realise there is no such thing as a “magic pill”, I have observed that about half of the women I come in contact with, assume that if they just changed one aspect of their life (e.g. diet, exercise or supplements), that somehow their symptoms will go away.
Again this is where educating yourself about the menopause and your body factors in. I like to refer to my approach as a pie. You need to get a taste of all the pieces for it work. Once everything is balanced, you will gradually see the changes until all of your symptoms are gone.
Although HRT still appears to be the treatment of choice for physicians or clinicians due it’s touted safety, current research has muddied the waters.
For example, a study published in Neurology Journal last year reported HRT potentially decreases the risk of dementia in women. On the surface that sounds like a compelling argument to encourage women to take hormones to manage their menopause. After further probing, I discovered that these findings only related to HRT patches. Those on oral HRT had a greater rate of decline in whole brain volume and white matter lesions were also detected in the oral therapy group. The lesions not only persisted during the active part of the study but didn’t appear to correct themselves after the study. To my horror, I learned that these same lesions are associated with an increased risk of stroke, dementia, and death.
Another study on over two thousand women concluded that the proportion of participants with depressive mood and suicidal thoughts was significantly higher in the HRT group. More than ten years of HRT treatment, for example, was linked with a doubling of suicidal thoughts when comparing the hormone users with women who hadn’t taken hormones to manage their menopause.
As a far as I am concerned HRT should be a last resort. With the availability of natural alternatives, it is possible to relieve your menopause symptoms before considering HRT. By making the right changes in diet, lifestyle and taking properly science-based supplements, you can manage your menopause symptoms and have the tools to protect your health later in life.
My natural menopause approach
Although you may be one of those women who live in dread of the certain aspects of your midlife journey, one common thread I have noticed in my patients is renewed zest for life. The resurgence of happy hormones help encourage healthier living with improved self-esteem, allowing my patients to feel better than they can ever remember.
In addition, my natural menopause approach relies on medical based research to ensure that you get back into good nutritional shape. Adding phytoestrogen rich foods into your diet fools your body into thinking there is naturally occurring oestrogen again.
This is achieved by ensuring you have a balanced diet rich in phytoestrogens, regular exercise, taking clinically tested supplements and reserving time for formal relaxation every day.
Where to do I start?
Step 1: Learn more about menopause and my natural menopause approach. Join me for my virtual class.
Step 2: Find out more about the programmes I offer.
- Free self help: Search my blog or read through my symptoms and case studies. Join my private Facebook group. You can also subscribe to my weekly Hot Flash newsletter. You may also be interested in subscribing to my YouTube Channel.
- Managed self-help: 14 Day Menopause Empowerment Programme. This web-based self-help programme takes you through the steps to recovery with daily videos and written materials giving you advice about controlling your symptoms. PLUS DAILY REMINDERS AND ONLINE tools to keep you on track.
- Step-by-step guided instruction: 6 Week Cruising Through The Menopause Boot Camp. The web-based hands-on programme includes step-by-step instructions, videos, written materials, online tracking tools, assessments, active customer support and a custom programme tailored specifically for you by Maryon Stewart.
- One-to-one consultation: contact [email protected] form more information. Use [1-2-1] in subject line.
Step 3: Sign up for my free offerings or one of my programmes.
Step 4: Continue your programme, stay informed and keep in tune with your body!
Listen to my Menopause Weekly Wisdom Video, where I discuss the Menopause Mindset as part of the midlife switch journey.
Supplements of the week
This week’s recommended supplements include Lamberts Fema 45+, a excellent all around multivitamin to help with menopause symptoms. This week I also have had several questions pertaining to sleep disturbances. A good supplement for this is Schwabe Pharma Valerian NiteHerb.
Fema 45+ https://bit.ly/2UCbf32
Lamberts Fema 45+ tablets are a blend of 28 nutrients recommended for women going through the menopause. Particularly aimed at supporting long term bone health, as well as alleviating side effects of hormone changes during menopause.
- Contains excellent levels of B vitamins.
- With calcium, magnesium and vitamin D for bone health.
- High levels of vitamin E, for skin and hair health.
More and more women are choosing to use vitamins and dietary supplements to help them manage their menopause symptoms. In fact, 48% of women in one survey said they regularly used vitamins to help them cope with symptoms of menopause. Lamberts Fema 45+ provides 28 nutrients at relevant levels including the trace minerals and plenty of antioxidants. It also provides good levels of magnesium and calcium, as well as vitamins D and K to reflect the current thinking on bone health. B vitamins are known to contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.
Valerian NiteHerb https://bit.ly/2SAze0I
- A traditional herbal medicinal product
- Contains valerian root extract
- For the temporary relief of sleep disturbances
- Schwabe Pharma NiteHerb contains 150mg of valerian root extract.
Valerian root is a traditional herbal medicinal product used for the temporary relief of sleep disturbances due to symptoms of mild anxiety exclusively based on traditional use only.