Why Dental Checks In Menopause Are Vital

May 31, 2011 by  
Filed under Health, Womens Health

When I was a girl, it was not unusual to see women in their 50s and above with false teeth — and if you want to avoid that fate then you need to take preventive action now.

There’s a lot of attention paid now to the whiteness of our teeth and how brilliant our smile is and frankly false teeth are not something anyone willingly seeks out. The expertise and technology of dentistry has improved hugely so that a full set of false teeth is less common than it used to be but there is a new warning for women who want to retain their own teeth throughout their life.

According to a new study from the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and the Cleveland Clinic it appears that brushing, flossing and two checkups a year may not be enough to prevent tooth loss in postmenopausal women. The researchers found that two groups of postmenopausal had abnormally high levels of dental plaque, a film of bacteria, bacterial waste and food particles that sticks to teeth.

All of these women had carried out the standard advice on taking care of their teeth: brushing twice a day, flossing and having two dental checkups a year. In fact, in my experience, that is more than the average woman undertakes but it seems that even all of that was not sufficient to keep plaque in check.

Because plaque sticks to be teeth, it sets in motion the conditions that cause gum disease. This in turn is a process that can erode the sockets that anchor teeth and lead to tooth loss. There are some sensible precautions that you can take to avoid losing your teeth at or after the menopause, the first is never to finish any meal with a sweet or sugary substance without cleaning your teeth immediately afterwards.

The recommendation is that you actually increase your checkups to at least four a year and to make sure that they include deep periodontal cleaning to control plaque. Then you can happily smile your way through the menopause.

Maca for Menopause

March 14, 2011 by  
Filed under Health, Natural Medicine, Womens Health

Lucky women, usually vegetarians and the stress-free, find that they can sail through menopause but for many women there are unwanted and unwelcome side effects. Hot flashes for example are the bane of many women’s lives at this time and I wrote a whole report on how to alleviate them so a new product that can help is always welcome.

Maca comes from Peru and is an amazing superfood that was first used by the Inca more than 2000 years ago for energy and endurance. Cultivated for thousands of years at elevations over 14,000 feet, no other food plant on earth can survive the extreme weather conditions and intensive sunlight that this amazing super food grows in. The rich soil located at these high plateaus accounts for the high levels of trace minerals found in Maca and it is still in widespread use as a medicine and energy giving herb throughout Peru today.

Creative Nature’s Maca Root Powder, or Lepidum meyenii to give it its botanical name, is known as the Peruvian miracle herb and is actually a rare member of the radish family. Used by people as diverse as professional athletes and the elderly, among its health claims are that it helps people recover from depression, addictions, traumas, or disease as well as boosting energy.

Maca root increases energy, enhances stamina, mental clarity and athletic endurance and for women its potential balancing effect on the endocrine system alleviates menstrual symptoms and is also also high in calcium which is known to promote healthy bone formation. Maca contains substantial amounts of essential nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, Vitamin B1, B2, B12, C, E, Riboflavin, thiamine, ascorbic acid and essential fatty acids. It is also rich in sterols, alkaloids, tannins and saponins.

Whatever your menopausal, or non-menopausal, symptoms it would be worth giving Creative Nature’s Maca Root Powder a trial to see if it helps with hot flashes and palpitations as well as increasing energy levels. I would certainly be interested to hear what results you experience with it.

Try It For Less!
Creative Nature’s Maca root powder can be added to smoothies, soups, or taken in capsule form. If you have any trouble locating it then visit the website at www.creative-nature.co.uk/maca.html and they are offering Healthy News readers a 10% discount on any of the healthy products on their website – just type in the code HEALTHANDWELLNESS if you order.

Menopause Misery? Have a nice cup of tea

November 10, 2010 by  
Filed under featured, Health

I know it is the general British solution for all problems but it seems that there is a specific blend that may help reduce the physical effects of the menopause.

Before you reach for the box of your favourite supermarket premium blend, let me tell you that this tea is rather special. It is an organically steamed blend of Sencha, Wuyi Cliff Oolong and Puerh black and green teas and even just being able to pronounce those will make you feel immediately better.

Women have been drinking it to help improve menopause symptoms and this specific blend, known as Tava Tea, also claims to promote well-being and soothe aches and pains.  The tea’s all natural ingredients increase the metabolism and reduce food cravings to fight weight gain, something which is common during times of heightened hormonal activity.

Regular users claim it does help them lose weight, decrease their hot flushes and give a greater sense of well-being. Dr Tim Thurlings, who developed the tea’s unique blend, says that by simply drinking a few cups of the tea a day users can expect to lose between 2-4lbs week. Sounds a little unlikely to me unless it’s also balanced with a sensible diet but he also claims that the tea helps reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of developing some forms of lung cancer so you’re getting overall health benefits as well as a nice refreshing cuppa! As it also contains polyphenols it theoretically could help fight the aging process too but I wouldn’t want to guarantee that the.

It is certainly a great deal more expensive than any ordinary tea, but as one teabag makes up to 8 pots (full instructions with each box) and you get all those health benefits it may well be worth it. I know many women who can’t put a price on being able to reduce their hot flushes so if this interests you it can only be bought online so visit www.tavavtea.co.uk

High Fat Diet Linked to Strokes in Post Menopausal Women

March 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Health


This information comes from the US, but it is likely to be highly relevant for all women on a western diet. Before menopause, women have a lower risk of stroke compared to men of similar age, but this situation reverses after menopause and women with a high fat intake at this point in their lives have a 40 percent higher incidence of clot-caused strokes than women on a low fat diet.

This finding was reported at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2010 and the warning bell is for women having more than 7 grams a day of trans fats, mostly found in processed, baked and fried foods.

Ischemic strokes are caused by blockages in blood vessels in or leading to the brain and the researchers reported positive associations between total fat intake and ischemic stroke incidence and between trans fat intake and ischemic stroke incidence. We know from previous studies shows that different types of fat have different effects on the incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD), with trans fat being identified as a risk factor but those were small scale studies. This one involved 87,230 post-menopausal women ages 50 to 79 who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Observational Study, by answering a food frequency questionnaire when they entered the study and were then followed for an average of 7.6 years.

During that time, 1,049 ischemic strokes occurred and the researchers looked for links between dietary fat intake of all types (saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat and trans fat) and ischemic strokes and covered all health variables including physical activity, drug use, smoking, alcohol and hormone therapy. The top 25% of women had an average total fat intake of 86 grams a day and the lowest 25% consumed just 26 grams a day. With a 40% risk of stroke at the top end of fat intake it makes sense to monitor fat intake, and particularly trans fats to keep their levels down.

If you are not sure of how much fat a day you take in, there is a handy way to determine it and the example below is based on the average amount that a woman needs which is a total of 2,000 calories a day, but you can be more accurate by exactly working out your daily calorie intake.

1. Take the number of calories you eat each day and multiply it by 30 percent (.30). For example: 2,000 calories x .30 = 600 calories from fat

2. Divide your answer by 9 because there are 9 calories in each gram of fat. This will give you the number of grams of fat per day that should be your goal.

600 ÷ 9 = 65 grams

You can use a calculator if you need to I certainly did!

Oh Really?


Procter & Gamble may be a household name for washing powder, but they also have a pharmaceutical arm that has just joined with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to produce a finding that will leave you as amazed as I was – not!

One of the often reported effects of the menopause is a loss of libido. When my good friend Dr Shirley Bond and I were giving workshops on coping with menopause this often came up in the discussion. We found women fell into two camps: they were worried by it, or delighted with it – unfortunately low libido is also associated with depression so it’s hard to sort out if it is the menopause or another life challenging situation that is causing it.

This new report was found in the official journal of the International Society of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (I often find the longer the name the less valuable the information, or is that just me?) and states at length what I just mentioned in the last sentence of the previous paragraph. Obviously brevity doesn’t bring a handsome research grant – where am I going wrong? The researchers ‘discovered’ that women with a low libido suffered physical symptoms and memory problems as well as depression. Lack of a fulfilling sex life could depress anyone, and those ‘senior moments’ are not an exclusively female characteristic in my experience. Being depressed just by itself can, and does, manifest all the same symptoms that they are describing in their report.

The research was done by phone over 1000 women in the USA by asking them to undertake a quality of life study. The women were asked about their levels of sexual desire and feelings of physical and emotional well-being or distress. Sadly they didn’t phone me, and I would hazard a guess that if they phoned women during the world cup or while trying to get dinner ready then they would have got some interesting results that weren’t necessarily typical of that woman’s everyday experience. Amazingly the women who had a low libido were more likely to be depressed and to express dissatisfaction with their home lives and their sexual partners. Having a low libido and an unsatisfactory partner can depress anyone but I am not convinced it is solely applicable to menopausal women as I said before.

Still I am sure there is another research project already under way to investigate my theory, and if you want to give your libido a boost and avoid all those symptoms, then I suggest you go to it in any way that works for you – I expect consumption of George Clooney DVD’s and boxes of chocolate to soar.

Feeling the heat in cancer treatment and menopause

October 7, 2008 by  
Filed under Natural Medicine, Womens Health

Hot flushes are the bane of many menopausal women’s existence, but they also commonly occur in breast cancer patients who have treatment-related vasomotor symptoms. This is when there is an increase or decrease in the diameter of a blood vessel, which can regulate the amount of blood travelling to a particular body part.

Hot flushes or night sweats that result from the sudden opening of the blood vessels close to the skin, usually due to hormonal fluctuation, can be very uncomfortable- whatever their cause. There are a couple of natural alternatives that can be an effective alternative to drug therapy with fewer side effects.

The first is acupuncture, as was reported at the recent meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology. The women in their study had reported a minimum of 14 hot flushes a week, and half the group had twice weekly acupuncture treatments weekly for the first four weeks, followed by weekly sessions during the final eight weeks. The other half of the group were given drugs to control the flushes and received the standard daily dose usually given to manage vasomotor symptoms.

The study found that not only was acupuncture effective in reducing or eliminating the hot flushes, but it had no adverse effects. What did surprise them was that the therapeutic effects of acupuncture persisted long after the treatment. To quote them:

“Women who took the drug therapy started to have an increase in the number and intensity of hot flushes within two weeks of discontinuing the drug therapy, whereas women who had acupuncture didn’t start to have an increase in the number or severity of hot flushes for 14 or 15 weeks after discontinuing therapy.” They also observed that the acupuncture group not only reported no treatment-related side effects, but said they had improvement in energy, clarity of thought, sexual desire, and overall sense of well-being

Herbal Remidies to Tame Flushes and Night Sweats

Herbs have long been used in many cultures to help with hormonal disturbance and one of the oldest in use is sage. An Australian study in 2005 found that it reduced severe hot flushes by 60% – that’s worth trying isn’t it?

To make sage tea, take ten fresh leaves, or one and a half teaspoons of dried sage if you can’t get fresh leaves. Pour hot (not quite boiling) water over the leaves and add a spoon or two of honey to sweeten it. That way you get some B vitamins to help lift your mood as well! Let it cool slightly and drink about an hour before you go to bed.

Another popular herb for hot flushes and night sweats is black cohosh. In my experience this seems to work well for some women – but I would have to say not for all but dong quai seems more effective for the majority. A comparative study between HRT and dong quai, done in 2003, showed a huge 30% reduction in hot flushes after a month. The suggested dosage for hot flushes is 600mg a day, BUT there is however a strong contra-indication if you are taking medication such as warfarin, as dong quai is known to act as a blood thinner. Hot flushes seem to be variable from woman to woman so you may have to do a bit of experimenting to see what works, and when you are reduced to sleeping naked in a cast iron bath to cool down – and yes that is the voice of personal experience speaking – then you don’t always feel that patient! If trying individual herbs doesn’t work for you then try one of the combinations that several supplement companies make – and also watch to see if you have any triggers for your flushes. Stress can be a major one, as can certain things like coffee – might be worth keeping a food and mood diary to see if you can pin it down.

Postponing a family? New menopause predictor

May 7, 2008 by  
Filed under Sexual Health, Womens Health

Today, many couples often postpone having children until after age 30, although many do not realise that a woman’s fertility is linked to her menopause and some women are sterile as early as their thirties, according to a report in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism by Dr. van Disseldorp of the University Medical Centre, at Utrecht in The Netherlands. It is clear that knowing when menopause may occur could greatly affect their decision on when to start a family, and now there is new research to show that a easy-to-measure hormone may be a better predictor of menopause than actual chronological age.

Women are born with all of the eggs that they will ever have, and they lose them throughout life until menopause, when none are left. The Utrecht study has revealed that the age when menopause begins might be easily predicted by a hormone correlated to the number of antral follicles in the ovaries. Antral follicles are small, about 2-8 mm in diameter, but they can be seen, measured and counted with ultrasound.

As women age they have less eggs remaining, and therefore they have less antral follicles visible on ultrasound. The researchers in Utrecht took this a stage further and looked at the levels of the anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), which is closely correlated with the number of antral follicles. So a simple blood test for this hormone can accurately predict the age of onset of menopause. The average age in the West is 51, but women planning on a late family may want to have a more accurate assessment before leaving it to chance.