Tag Archives: Menopause

Managing Menopause: A Three-Pronged Approach

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.

Nutrition

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.

Supplementation

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?

Tawnya Ritco, R.H.N., is Director of Education for PURICA and promotes natural health education and finds inspiration in the connection between nutrition, lifestyle, and vitality.

Restorative Sleep as Stress Relief

Tawnya Ritco
Registered holistic nutritionist

The saying “let’s sleep on it” is a staple for everyone from those making complex and high stakes decisions to those wondering what colour of paint would work best in the living room.

Most of us have thought it would be best to “sleep on it” before giving an immediate response on the basic questions of day-to-day life?

This is more than just a saying. The fact is we rely on sleep for clarity of mind and to recharge our bodies. It’s easy to understand why we’ll make better decisions with a clear mind and a rested body.

At the other end of the spectrum, the odd night of restless, broken or insufficient sleep is inevitable. The key is to avoid a chronic deficit, one that starts to impact our overall ability to function at an optimal level, leaving us fatigued — and often quite irritable.  

The relationship between sub-optimal sleep and stress for women is one of the big talking points among health care practitioners and researchers. It can be compounded during perimenopause (the period leading into menopause) when fluctuating hormones can certainly play a role in throwing our systems off.

I’m sure most would suggest that the night sweats commonly associated with perimenopause and menopause do not make for a comfortable sleep! Moreover, a perpetual state of worrying can exacerbate a sleeping issue.

So what can we do about it?  The goal is to find ways to relax and calm the mind; to incorporate into our lives some of the simple steps we can take to promote restful sleep.

How much sleep?

  • Most of us require 7-9 hours of sleep per night;
  • If life commitments make it impossible to get 7-9 consecutive hours of sleep at night, look for ways to take cat naps from time to time, as needed. Even a 20-minute cat nap can help balance the hormonal flux we go through during perimenopause and menopause, especially if you’re not getting the sleep required for your body.

When?

  • Ideally be in bed by 10:00 p.m.;
  • Research shows that for most people (those not working night shifts), the hours between 10:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. are the key restorative hours of sleep. That’s when the brain does most of its repair work. Get most of those “optimal” four hours as part of your seven to nine per night and you’re going to make the most of the rejuvenation and renewal that sleep can ring. Getting to bed after midnight on a regular basis will deprive us of the best hours of restorative sleep.

What can you do to best prepare for sleep?

  • What you do each day can often determine how well you sleep that night. Getting regular exercise – even brisk walks daily – can help set the stage for good sleep;
  • Yoga or other forms of stretching can help to relax the body. Yin yoga, for example, could be part of your evening regimen, either at a yoga studio or at home. It involves deep tissue stretching and long, meditative holds of postures designed to calm the mind and body;
  • Slow deep breathing can positively affect our parasympathetic nervous system resulting in relaxation. How many of us can relate to sighing after we have been relieved of a stressful situation? Focus on calming the breath.
  • Eliminate or reduce stimulates such as alcohol, caffeine and sugar from your diet, especially in the evening;
  • Do not eat three hours before bed; if you need to snack keep it light, ideally vegetables;
  • Recreate your environment: Turn your bedroom into a sanctuary; start by removing clutter and electronic devices from the room;
  • Refrain from using electronic devices, such as cell phones or laptops, at least one hour before your bed time. Even though many of us have been conditioned to do it, watching television immediately before bed is not the best preparation for sleep;
  • Dimming the lights and playing soft music for 30 minutes before bed can prepare us to transition into a restful state, which in turn helps us transition to restorative sleep;
  • A guided meditation or soundtrack of ocean waves, running creeks or rain water for 15 to 30 minutes before sleep can also serve as great transitions from the stress of our work and personal commitments to a good night’s sleep;
  • Sleep in complete darkness: This increases our natural production of melatonin, which is essential in regulating sleep. Blinds and curtains are typically enough to do the trick but some find a sleeping mask can do the trick!

How do we manage tossing and turning?

We’ve all had nights when we can’t seem to fall asleep or we can’t help but toss or turn or we get locked into the worrying modes that keep us awake.

How do you reset when the same thoughts keep recirculating in your mind? Have you often noticed when we worry, we’re often thinking about the same issue over and over again? Finding a way to set these worries aside and “organize your mind” can help reduce the number of nights we lose sleep to tossing and turning and insomnia.

  • Journaling before bed can help clear the mind of lingering emotions or thoughts of the day;
  • Thinking about tomorrow? Write a list of what is on your mind and then commit to putting it aside until the morning when you are feeling refreshed.

Natural supplementation

When the underlying issue of our sleep breakdowns or deprivation is hormonal, as in the case of Menopause in women; supplementation can provide additional and often beneficial support. As a hormone balancing formula, PURICA Menopause Relief works to naturally, safely and effectively balance hormones, thereby providing relief for common symptoms associated with menopause, such hot flashes and night sweats. The natural supplement also increases energy, regulates mood and supports the body and mind in dealing with stress. To learn more visit: www.puricameno.com

The bottom line is finding the right sleeping regime that “works for you” and committing to it. Good sleep is arguably the best ally in stress relief and it’s worth doing the things that can help you get the most of a good night’s sleep.

An advocate of whole foods, supplements and healthy lifestyles, Tawnya Ritco is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and product specialist for PURICA. Follow her on Twitter at @Tawnya_PURICA and follow PURICA at @puricawellness.

* Always consult your physician or naturopath if you believe there may be additional underlying conditions affecting the quality and quantity of your sleep, including but not limited to sleep apnea.

A note on vegan and vegetarian options: At PURICA, we’re committed to empowering you with the best in whole foods, supplements and positive lifestyle solutions. We support all athletes and active living people whatever your dietary preferences, although we will always do our part to raise awareness about the benefits of vegetarian or vegan options.

Powerful relief for hot flashes

At a fairly early age, I was in menopause. The hot flashes I was suffering were debilitating. There were so many in a 24 hour period that they were affecting, work, life and love. I couldn’t go out without carrying a towel to manage the sweats. Sleep was impossible.

I tried every documented natural remedy, as I did not want to go the DRUG route. ….Evening Primrose, Black Cohosh, Chinese Herbal concoctions, Acupuncture. At one point, so frustrated with life, I even tried a drug; an anti-depressant that my GP said helped with the hot flashes. Nothing worked! Continue reading

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