BY TAWNYA RITCO, RHN
While some women float through the menopausal years relatively carefree, with little in the way of hormonal disruptions, others find it very challenging and in some cases debilitating. That’s why managing menopause is one of the most important issues for women in their transitional years. Ideally, this is done naturally, with women following a three-pronged approach designed to manage menopause effectively and reduce or even eliminate many of the common symptoms and effects of this hormonal shift.
The Context: Change of Life
We have two significant shifts in life: teenage puberty and the changes leading into menopause. Although these are certainly natural transitions in life, the challenge arises when our bodies have difficulty adapting to fluctuating hormones. Menopausal symptoms can range from hot flashes, night sweats, headaches, irritability, vaginal dryness and sleeplessness…and unfortunately, that’s just to name a few.
How a woman transitions during her perimenopausal years leading into menopause – the phase in life that is marked by one year without menses — depends on a number of factors, from her genetics and diet to overall lifestyle.
A contributing factor that adds to the challenge is stress and this has only become exacerbated for modern day women who have made multi-tasking their middle name. It is not uncommon in this digital world for our boundaries to be consistently blurred. Women are finding that ideal balance — between the never-ending to do list, career, family, social life and other daily expectations — doesn’t always come easy. If you are feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone in that regard.
Recognizing Your Personal Stress Triggers
So the question becomes how does stress play into the equation when it comes to menopause? First, it is important to recognize that as we enter into the period of perimenopause leading up to menopause, our ovaries slow down and produce less progesterone, testosterone and estrogen. This forces our adrenal glands into a taxing back-up role. This is why protracted levels of stress in a woman’s younger years can potentially contribute to a more difficult time transitioning into menopause.
If your current stress level is high or you experienced chronic stress when you were younger, your adrenal glands may not be functioning optimally. This is often when those nasty menopause symptoms rear their ugly head. The good news is that there are things that you can do for a more graceful transition.
Positive Lifestyle Solutions
The first step is making some lifestyle adjustments to help eliminate the extra stressors that can tax your adrenals over time. What are your personal stress triggers and how can they be eliminated? Do you have coping strategies in place to help mitigate the impacts of stress? For some a walk in nature, yoga, meditation or mindfulness, diaphragmatic breathing can help bring the body into a more parasympathetic state (rest and digest) as opposed to relying on the sympathetic system (fight and flight) commonly associated with our stress response.
Are we fueling our body with whole food nutrition? Eliminating or reducing too much coffee and alcohol, white sugar and other stimulants helps reduce the extra pressure.
Working in tandem with nutrition and lifestyle adjustments, supplementation can play a key role in providing additional support during this pivotal time in life. When it comes to supplementation, among the leading natural supplements is PURICA Rebalance Menopause Relief, a blend of three medicinal mushrooms and three herbs that work synergistically to support the whole body by naturally rebalancing your hormones.
Headlining the blend of medicinal mushrooms in PURICA Rebalance is Chaga, which helps relieve stress, promotes youthfulness of the skin, hair and nails, and perhaps most important, increases energy.
Certified organic PURICA Lion’s Mane is a mushroom powerhouse that is included to help improve cognition and memory and has the added benefit of helping digestion. Meanwhile the third mushroom ingredient – Cordyceps – helps enhance vitality and energy and increases libido while providing all important support for the adrenals. It also increases the immune response.
PURICA Rebalance also includes a blend of herbs such as Giant Angelica, Sok-Dan and Wilfords Cynanchum. It is present in this menopause relief product as a proprietary blend of three hot water extracts known as EstroG-100 clinically proven to reduce the symptoms of hot flashes, night sweats, nervousness, occasional sleeplessness and mood swings.
Following this three pronged approach of healthy dietary changes, lifestyle adjustments to manage stress and supplementation on the strength of natural products such as PURICA Rebalance, we can significantly help smooth the transition to embrace this new chapter in life. And who wouldn’t want a smoother landing at this time in life?
BY TAWNYA RITCO, R.H.N
The two walnut-size glands that sit just above each kidney are the unsung heroes of the human body. Our adrenal glands work as batteries to energize our body. Although they secrete adrenalin and other hormones that play a number of essential physiological processes in our body, they are most commonly associated with their ability to help us deal with stress.
The adrenal glands are crucial to our overall health and taking good care of them throughout our life is essential as they also work as our back up sex hormones, a role which becomes even more important as we age. In addition, they help manage our blood sugar, regulating metabolism and controlling blood pressure.
So the three big questions are: How do these dynamos work? How do we know when they are not functioning? And how can we take care of them?
How do our adrenal glands work?
The fact is, we are all subject to stress in our lives and our bodies are hard-wired with what is known as the “fight or flight” stress response. Think of it like pressing the gas pedal on your car. When there is a perceived threat, the hypothalamus sends a signal to the adrenal glands (via the pituitary gland). This causes them to release hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. It’s what allows us to spring into action with a burst of energy during times of emergency. For many of us, the challenge to our health arises when we are faced with “chronic stress” for protracted periods of time. Sadly, with modern-day living, this scenario is all too common.
Adrenaline and cortisol are released whether we are undergoing acute stress — such as a death in the family, a divorce, surgery and other forms of trauma — or simply dealing with low-grade stressors such as traffic jams, work deadlines, expectations from family and friends, environmental stressors, or even worrying excessively or just feeling irritated. Over time, the constant secretion of these key hormones can cause the adrenals to become stressed to the point of exhaustion. The result: Adrenal exhaustion.
Symptoms of weakened adrenals
Knowing when you’re adrenal “batteries” are low and needing a boost has become more important than ever before. Weakened adrenals can manifest themselves through fatigue and lack or energy, insomnia, irritability, cravings, weight gain and ultimately a weakened immune system. You might find your capacity to deal with workloads has decreased and your overall tolerance to stress and capacity to handling it is much lower than it once was. People often describe what they feel as an overall unwell feeling. For some, just having enough energy to get through the day is a challenge. It’s clear that prolonged stress plays havoc on the body and can potentially create a myriad of issues that can elevate anxiety and potentially affect our working memory.
Recognizing our own self-imposed stress triggers is a huge step towards managing, reducing and possibly eliminating them from our lives. Some of the most effective stress management and lifestyle strategies include diaphragmatic breathing — also known as belly breathing. Walks in nature, meditation and laughing have all been shown to have positive effects on calming the sympathetic system (the fight or flight response) and activating our parasympathetic system (rest and digest).
The role of adaptogens in supporting our adrenals
That’s where adaptogens come into play in mitigating the effects of protracted stress. They are a group of specialized substances that help normalize the body’s response to stress and rebalance the hypothalamic, pituitary, adrenal axis (HPA), which is the body’s central stress response system. Adaptogens such as those found in PURICA Vitality Adrenal Support can literally help revitalize our adrenals and increase our capacity to manage the inevitable stressors that have become synonymous with daily living.
Inspired by the principles of Chinese, Tibetan and Ayurvedic medicine, PURICA Vitality is a powerful combination of two certified organic micronized medicinal mushrooms (Chaga and Cordyceps) and the herb ashwaghanda. This powerful blend calms and restores balance within our overworked adrenal glands, enabling them to better deal with the impacts of stress. Especially when used in conjunction with some of the stress management techniques outlined above, it is one of the ways we can replenish the adrenal “batteries” and maintain the kind of energy we need to make the most of our lives, whether at work or at play.