In 2020, more than 50 million women are going through menopause in the United States, and it’s estimated that one billion women around the world will be experiencing menopause globally by 2025. And while more than 75% of these women will experience symptoms for a decade or longer — issues like hot flashes, mood swings, difficulty concentrating, sleep problems, and loss of sex drive — 55% won’t do anything to try to alleviate them.
In Manage Your Menopause Naturally: The Six-Week Guide to Calming Hot Flashes & Night Sweats, Getting Your Sex Drive Back, Sharpening Memory & Reclaiming Well-Being, published by New World Library, the world-renowned healthcare expert and author Maryon Stewart shares with us the secrets to managing menopause naturally and outlines a comprehensive six-week natural menopause solution.
Retailing Insight: Why do women get symptoms during perimenopause and menopause?
Maryon Stewart: There are two main underlying causes of symptoms at the time of the menopause. We know that billions of women around the world have low levels of important nutrients that affect brain chemistry and hormone function, and this gets progressively worse as we age. In addition, as we enter perimenopause and head for menopause itself, we have very little estrogen in our system as the ovaries have finished their mission.
RI: What percent of women suffer from menopause symptoms and how long do they last for?
MS: It’s thought that 80% of women suffer with symptoms at the time of the menopause and they can last for 10 years or more. Perimenopause is the eight years leading up to menopause. The menopause is the first anniversary of your last period, and post-menopause is the rest of your life.
RI: What advice do you have to offer women who are having hot flashes?
MS: It’s possible to turn off hot flashes completely and fool the brain into thinking we have normal circulating estrogen again. We need to learn to fill the hormone receptors in our cells with naturally occurring estrogen, little and often, restoring our hormone balance and effectively turning back our biological clock. In addition to controlling hot flashes and night sweats, satisfying these receptors also helps to keep our hair and nails in good shape and has even been shown in clinical trials to decrease the depth of our wrinkles.
RI: Is there anything that can be done about the loss of libido that happens during menopause and will it return on its own once menopause is over?
MS: The good news is that it is possible to reclaim your mojo at menopause. Women are running on empty when they get to midlife. Their nutrient levels are often at an all-time low and they have low levels of circulating estrogen. In our relationship survey, 75% of women reported having low libido and over 50% were suffering with vaginal dryness which made penetrative sex painful. Libido won’t magically return after menopause because our ovaries are never going to work again. However, if we learn to have what I call a ‘midlife refuel’, it’s possible to restore the vaginal tissues as well as lubrication and those tingly feelings we had before menopause to be restored. Women go on to have great sex again after menopause, which has many health and emotional benefits.
RI: What are some of the lesser know symptoms of menopause?
MS: As women enter perimenopause, they often don’t realize that their inability to sleep well, their increased levels of anxiety, aches and pains, extreme fatigue, and brain fog that make it hard to retain thoughts are associated with menopause. Mostly they feel too young to have reached menopause, so it doesn’t really occur to them or most of their doctors. They stay silent and feel isolated and scared.
RI: What do women need to know about the connection between their diet and menopause symptoms?
MS: Good nutrition is essential for all women around the time of the menopause because what we eat plays a big part in health and hormone function. Research indicates that hormonal balance can be affected by the levels of nutrients in our body, as well as the amount of fat and fiber in our diet.
One key nutrient to include is magnesium, which we found to be in short supply in 50-80% of women. When taken together with other essential nutrients, such as B vitamins, vitamin D, calcium, zinc, and fatty acids, it has shown a positive influence on brain chemistry and hormone function. Good sources of magnesium include fresh fruit and vegetables, especially green ones.
Essential fatty acids like those found in vegetable oils and oily fish, like salmon, also play a big role in hormone health. Those who consumed a diet rich in omega-3s had less mood swings, better libido, and far more energy.
RI: Regular exercise is one of the recommendations you make in your book. Why is that important?
MS: Exercise is very important at this time of your life as your metabolism (the rate at which your body burns calories) tends to slow down as you get older. When you were young, you could probably eat what you liked without gaining much weight, but now you only have to look at a doughnut to pile on the pounds, especially around the middle.
Exercise helps in several ways. Firstly, you burn calories while you’re doing it, and it can also increase your metabolic rate for up to 24-hours afterwards. Plus, it helps to oxygenate the brain making us more alert and releases endorphins, the hormones that make us feel good. Active women tend to suffer less from menopausal symptoms. Sustained, regular aerobic exercise, such as swimming, walking, cycling and running, tend to work best.
RI: You also recommend that women do some kind of a relaxation session daily. Can you give us an example or two of what that might look like?
MS: Being able to be still, experience gratitude, and appreciate beauty in our surroundings is Mother Nature’s gift to us. We can all do it and it costs nothing, and it pays huge dividends because 20 minutes of formal relaxation per day has been shown to reduce hot flashes by more than 50%. When we are feeling stressed and wound up, relaxation may not come easy or we often feel that there is no spare time. Relaxation rests our brain, making it more efficient and rest gives us an energy boost. Two recent studies show that mindfulness and related cognitive therapies can help with depression and hot flashes. Another report suggests that mindfulness is particularly helpful in addressing insomnia.
RI: What do you most hope women will take away from your book Manage Your Menopause Naturally?
MS: I hope it gives them hope above everything else! I am amazed, frustrated, and angry that women are still in the dark, fending for themselves, with so little direction at such a crucial time in their lives — especially when many of us have busy and challenging work and home lives. Manage Your Menopause Naturally contains all the science-based secrets and tools and gives step-by-step instructions on how to manage symptoms during perimenopause and menopause. By following the recommendations, women understand what’s going on in their bodies as well as how to reclaim their wellbeing without having to resort to drugs or hormones.
MANAGE YOUR MENOPAUSE NATURALLY
The Six-Week Guide to Calming Hot Flashes & Night Sweats, Getting Your Sex Drive Back, Sharpening Memory & Reclaiming Well-Being
Published by New World Library
ISBN: 9781608686827 I Pages 312 I Price $17.95