The menopause can occur at any time from a woman's thirties right through to her sixties and well beyond. The definition of the menopause - also called the change - is defined as the end of the last menstrual period. That's the definition, but it means different things to different women. Some suffer night sweats, mood swings, weight gain and stress incontinence. For too many, it can mean the end of their love life.
Because oestrogen levels become lower, one of the 'symptoms' of the menopause is a reduction in natural vaginal lubrication. This can cause personal dryness and discomfort and, consequently, make penetrative sex uncomfortable. But the menopause doesn't have to put an end to your love of life - or your lovelife.
How Sylk can help
Because Sylk so closely matches your own natural vaginal secretions, it can be used as a personal lubricant in all situations, including during lovemaking. Nature's lubricant, Sylk makes intimacy more comfortable and enjoyable.
There are solutions to many menopausal symptoms. The advice of health professionals can go a long way to alleviate these problems. But for the problem of vaginal dryness - and the consequent, further-reaching effects - there's only one answer. Sylk. Sylk is safe, easy to use and one application can quickly end vaginal dryness and help make lovemaking the pleasurable experience that women want.
Ways to enjoy a healthy menopause
Menopause indicates a termination of the menstrual cycle, a state that normally occurs between the ages of 45-55, although it can start earlier in thin women and be delayed in overweight ones. A woman may be defined as having reached menopause after she has stopped experiencing a menstrual cycle for one year. Menopause may result in insomnia, poor memory, anxiety, hot flushes, lack of libido and depression.
Menopausal changes normally start slowly – a stage known as peri-menopause. During this time the production of oestrogen and progesterone declines gradually and the ovaries eventually stop responding to hormonal signals from the brain.
Two hormone levels are usually analysed by means of a blood test to indicate how close a woman is to the menopause – the FSH- Follicle-stimulation hormone and the LH- Luteinising hormone. As their levels rise, the oestrogen declines (LH rises more slowly than FSH). However, there are other tests to indicate menopause such as vaginal walls, which will look thinner and drier and sometimes bleed.
It is difficult to tell, even with tests, if a woman is menopausal and symptoms are important in this case. A menstrual diary would be of great help.
Problems that can occur during the menopause
Hot flushes are one of the most common symptoms found in menopausal women and studies have shown that about 40% of women experience them. The severity of hot flushes can vary from one woman to another. Some experience passing spells of feeling a little hot or sweaty, whilst others suffer with heavy perspiration, have palpitations and go red in the face.
Others may experience headaches, fatigue, chills, nausea and dizziness but in most cases the symptoms fade away after one year, as the body adapts itself to the change of hormone levels.
Stress, anxiety, tiredness or even a mild emotional response may bring the hot flushes on, as there is an association between the nervous system, body heat and emotions.
Hot flushes are often more severe in very thin women, probably because body fat is an alternative source of oestrogen.
Ways to help yourself
Natural therapists view menopause as a normal transition. The menarche, menstruation and menopause are seen as normal phases that affect women in their passage through life, and may need supportive treatment. Rather than encouraging mid-life women to believe they have a disease, natural therapists encourage menopausal women to adopt positive lifestyle changes, good eating patterns and a positive attitude to this phase.
Exercise is recommended, such as a brisk daily walk over rough ground, which helps to stimulate stronger bone formation. Exercise is an important factor in reducing the risk of osteoporosis developing, as it strengthens and increases bone mass in postmenopausal patients.
One of the most important dietary recommendations for menopausal women is to reduce the intake of animal protein (meat, dairy products etc) and increase plant food intake. Fruit and vegetables provide a protective effect in the body against the development of degenerative disorders such as breast cancer, heart disease, arthritis etc.
Other types of food that are also recommend are foods high in phytoestrogens, e.g. linseed and linseed oil, alfalfa, nuts, whole grains, fennel, celery and parsley. It is thought that a high intake of these phytoestrogens is why in some cultures, such as in Japan, women have less menopausal symptoms. Phytoestrogens have also been shown to have anti-cancer effects.
Phytoestrogens are food compounds that are capable of fitting into oestrogen receptors in the body. This effect is fifty times weaker than the body’s oestrogen, therefore it can produce a balancing effect, because when oestrogen levels are naturally low in the body (as with menopausal women) then phytoestrogens will have an oestrogenic effect, as they will fill otherwise empty receptors. In contrast, if oestrogen levels are naturally high in the body, phytoestrogens locking into receptors will compete with the body’s own stronger oestrogen, thus reducing oestrogen stimulation.
Because of this balancing effect, this makes consumption of phytoestrogens a recommendation for conditions such as oestrogen deficiency (e.g. menopause). Phytoestrogens, besides being able to reduce the risk of menopausal symptoms and cancer, also protect against other degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
Relaxation techniques such as meditation, which can reduce stress levels, are a simple way of promoting a good night’s sleep. The use of a herbal anti-depressant such as Hypericum (St John’s Wort) may also help those suffering from insomnia.
The herbal approach to treatment is to balance the hormones with herbs that have oestrogen modulating effects in the body, reduce inflammation (useful for arthritis and hot flushes), reduce heart palpitations and hot flushes, with specific nervine, anti-depressant effects for symptoms of stress/depression, and improve liver function to aid correct breakdown of hormones.