Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Life Can Be Exhausting!

March is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness month... and let’s face it, just saying the name is enough to make you tired. CFS affects between 1 and 4 million Americans annually, most of them women. CFS can be a truly debilitating problem that also bears a difficult and embarrassing stigma.

It can also be hell just trying to figure out what’s wrong!

Primary signs and symptoms include:

Loss of memory or concentration
Sore throat
Painful and mildly enlarged lymph nodes in your neck or armpits
Unexplained muscle soreness
Pain that moves from one joint to another without swelling or redness
Headache of a new type, pattern or severity
Sleep disturbance
Extreme exhaustion lasting more than 24 hours after physical or mental
Exercise

The definition of CFS is based on the fact that the above symptoms are “not caused by other known medical conditions,” but exactly what that means seems to be up for grabs. A person meets the diagnostic criteria of chronic fatigue syndrome when unexplained persistent fatigue occurs for six months or more along with at least four of the eight primary signs and symptoms.

Additional signs and symptoms of CFS include:

Abdominal pain
Allergies
Bloating
Chest pain
Chronic cough
Diarrhea
Dizziness, balance problems or fainting
Dry mouth
Earache
Irregular heartbeat
Jaw pain
Morning stiffness
Nausea
Chills and night sweats
Psychological problems (depression, irritability, or panic attacks)
Sensitivity to noise
Shortness of breath
Tingling sensations
Visual disturbances (blurring, sensitivity, eye pain and dry eyes)
Weight loss or gain

Any of this sounding familiar?

You don’t have to be afflicted with CFS to feel a constant crashing feeling of fatigue, or the kinds of symptoms listed above. In fact, it’s been shown that many times women in the midst of perimenopause are misdiagnosed with CFS because menopausal fatigue symptoms and the additional effects of menopausal hormone disruption and imbalance can often be just as confusing, frustrating, and debilitating as CFS.

Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of hormonal imbalance, affecting perhaps 80% of women in perimenopause and menopause. Many women attribute it to age, as though it were inevitable. Many are told, “Well, what do you expect, you’re no spring chicken!” The reality is that it has nothing to do with age, it has to do with hormones.

Estrogen hormones regulate the level of cortisol (the hormone responsible for tiredness). If estrogen level drops, cortisol will be uncontrolled leading to crashing fatigue. This is why maintaining a balanced hormonal level is so important for avoiding and controlling crashing fatigue.

Many women who experience fatigue also complain of night sweats disrupting their sleep, emotional agitation causing insomnia, as well as the headaches, heart palpitations, and nausea that are the often constant companions of the perimenopausal woman. It’s no wonder you need a nap!

So what can be done about all this?

Well... what the MenoMavens believe in is a system of natural supplements that provide a non-pharmaceutical, non-invasive, carefully researched and formulated approach to working with the body to bring your life into better balance with more calm, greater rest, and the ability to get back to your life.

Some of the ingredients we picked for the Menopaused System are:

• Melatonin is known as a pervasive and powerful antioxidant. Melatonin's role in regulating sleep-wake cycles (circadian rhythms) is well documented. In addition to being a renowned sleep aid, it reportedly prevents depression associated with menopause, and is an effective treatment for migraines and cluster headaches.  

• L-theanine is an amino acid most notably known for influencing mental and physical relaxation without inducing drowsiness. Clinical studies show it increases brain serotonin, dopamine and GABA levels that produces a deeply relaxing effect, reduces stress and anxiety.
 
• Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant containing curcumin, which is reported to have the ability to block inflammation, purify blood and improve heart health. It reportedly balances estrogen in combination with Soy Isoflavones and Quercitin.

• Valerian is an herb with historical use as a sedative, migraine treatment and pain reliever. It has been widely studied in its use as a sleep aid, with beneficial reduction with restlessness and anxiety.

• Motherwort is an herb that has been used for many years for the treatment of symptoms associated with reduced estrogen production. It is reported to have benefit in reducing hot flashes, relieves nervousness, anxiety, depression.

Taking care of yourself... eating and drinking right, resting as much as you can, getting aerobic exercise (even just a short walk), and that simple mental practice called giving yourself a break will go a long way as well.

You can find all of these ingredients in our Menopaused System, created by menopausal women (us) for menopausal women (you). Why not check it out right now?

Its also important to remember that your doctor can help. Be sure to inform him or her of all the symptoms you are experiencing and ask questions... LOTS of questions.

The simple fact of the matter is that menopause is hard, and we will keep seeking new ways to make it just a little bit easier and passing the info on to you.

I don't know about you... but frankly, after all that... I could use a nap!

Friday, March 6, 2009

CELEBRATE International Women's Day!!!

Sunday March 8 marks the celebration of International Women’s Day The MenoMavens want to raise a cheer!

Most people don’t realize it, but International Women’s Day is almost 100 years old. The very first International Women's Day was launched on March 19, 1911, one year after Clara Zetkin (Leader of the 'Women's Office' for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) proposed it at the second International Women’s Conference in Copenhagen in 1910. To the disbelief of many, the success of the first International Women's Day in 1911 exceeded all expectations. Meetings were organized in small towns and villages, and meeting halls were packed so full that male workers were asked to give up their places for the women. Men stayed at home with their children for a change, as their wives went to meetings.

In 1913 International Women's Day was transferred to March 8 and that date has remained the global date for International Women's Day ever since. Another thing that many people don’t realize is that, unlike most holidays and celebrations of this type, International Women’s Day is truly celebrated WORLDWIDE. It’s even celebrated with a national holiday in China, Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

It’s a day to address the concerns and the needs of women, facing issues as diverse as poverty, violence, economic equality, and health care. It’s also a day to simply celebrate the gift and the glory of women all over the world.

Frankly… I find the whole thing VERY exciting! The spirit of those first women at the International Women’s Conference is truly inspiring. Women all over the world stood up for the right to vote, the right to equality and the right to free choice. Those women are the mothers and grandmothers of all of us. Because of them we have the opportunities to live the lives we live.

It is because of them that we can even write and speak about the kinds of things that we write and speak about here on our blog. It is because of them that we could even dream of creating something to help women like The Menopaused System.

And it is because of us that our daughters and grand daughters will have even bigger choices, greater chances, and better lives than we do.

So CELEBRATE International Women’s Day! CELEBRATE WOMEN!

Friday, February 6, 2009

National Wear Red Day

It's National Wear Red Day – A day intended to raise the awareness of Women's Heart Disease.

At Heart of Health we want women to know as much as possible about all the things that affect our health, and THIS IS A BIGGIE! Believe it or not, Heart Disease is the Number One Killer of Women.

An astonishing 80 percent of women ages 40 to 60 have at least one risk factor for heart disease. Having one or more risk factors dramatically increases a woman’s chance of developing heart disease because risk factors tend to worsen each other’s effects. In fact, according to research compiled by the NHLBI, having just one risk factor doubles your chance of developing heart disease. Eating right and exercise are obviously two of the most important things you can do to lower dietary and exercise risk factors, but it is equally as important – in fact it is VITAL – that you do what you can to reduce EACH AND EVERY RISK FACTOR when dealing with heart disease.

For more information on the risk factors for heart disease as well as ways to address the problem and raise awareness, you can go to the website of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).

According to information available at the site, Hormone Replacement Therapy is a very serious risk factor and should be looked at very closely. According to information on the Institute website, “Menopausal hormone therapy was once thought to lower the risk of heart attack and stroke for women with heart disease. But research now shows that women with heart disease should not take it. Menopausal hormone therapy can involve the use of estrogen alone or estrogen plus progestin. For women with heart disease, estrogen alone will not prevent heart attacks, and estrogen plus progestin increases the risk for heart attack during the first few years of use. Estrogen plus progestin also increases the risk for blood clots, stroke, and breast cancer.”

There’s more there... and you can and should take the opportunity to read it for yourself.

What WE want you to know is that the MenoMavens take this issue VERY seriously. That’s one of the primary reasons we began doing our original research that eventually led to the development of The Menopaused System.

The Menopaused System is an ALL NATURAL NON-HORMONAL approach to hormone balancing and menopause relief. A system which not only avoids the dangers of increased risk that HRT poses, but also provides help in REDUCING RISK FACTORS FOR HEART DISEASE.

These ingredients include:

Soy Isoflavones, which represent the most investigated subgroup of phytoestrogens. Numerous scientific studies have enumerated the benefits of Soy Isoflavones, and there is significant evidence that soy isoflavones protect bone strength, lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol, thereby significantly supporting heart health. In addition soy isoflavones bring relief of hot flashes and night sweats, reduction of headaches, and enhancement of brain function.

Quercitin is an antioxidant known to significantly decrease inflammation. It posseses anti-aging and heart health benefits, and is known to support hormone balance in conjunction with Soy Isoflavones and Turmeric. It has potent antioxidant properties and may have additional positive effects in relieving allergy symptoms, enhancing brain activity and relieving inflammatory conditions.

Another powerful antioxidant, Turmeric, contains curcumin, which is reported to have the ability to block inflammation, purify blood and improve heart health. It reportedly balances estrogen in combination with Soy Isoflavones and Quercitin.

Melatonin, which is found in all living creatures, is known as a pervasive and extremely powerful antioxidant. Melatonin's role in regulating sleep-wake cycles is well documented, but, in addition, studies report many benefits including reduced risk of heart disease, and immune function improvement.

As we mentioned above, seeking to address ALL of the risk factors for women’s heart disease is vital to the fight against this NUMBER ONE KILLER OF WOMEN.

THIS is the reason we do what we do.

THIS is the reason we hope you will join us in observing Wear Red Day.

THIS is the reason we hope you will try The Menopaused System.

Here’s to Your Heart!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

There are other things you can do...

With just seven words, Dr. Christiane Northrup concluded a conversation last week on The Oprah Show by expanding the discussion well beyond anything that had taken place up to that point. Unfortunately... that's where the show ended.

While the renewed conversation on HRT and BHRT is filling up the airwaves and the internet it also seems to be filling up the brain capacity of women like us. Most women seem to be saying five words...

WILL SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME!?

The first thing to remember in the process of making a decision about HRT is that you have options. The pharmaceutical industry’s attempt to suggest that you need, can or even want to turn back time is simply their attempt at narrowing your focus at a time when your best options are made manifest by widening that focus.

The fact is, as we talked about last week, whether "Bio-identical" or not, HRT is HRT is HRT and there are plenty of women (the two of us among them) who feel that the narrowing of the discussion, and the seeming insistence that the only thing to do is to take hormones is a hearkening back to another time in women's history; a time that we do not necessarily want to return to.
----------------------------------------------------
Better Living Through Chemistry…
We've Heard This One Before!

-----------------------------------------------------

In 1966 Dr, Robert Wilson authored the book “Feminine Forever” and therein painted a graphic – and rather depressing – picture of the post-menopausal woman’s downhill slide into a sexless, arid and prunelike existence. Kind of like the witch in Hansel & Gretel, hanging out by the path and waiting to bake up a new batch of kiddy cookies. As an alternative he proposed a seemingly miraculous estrogen treatment that he suggested would keep women moist, youthful, sexual, and desirable in later life. With a set of black and white choices like that, what woman could possibly refuse Wilson’s miracle cure for menopause?

Dr. Wilson’s plan… was a hit!

The problem is… Dr. Wilson’s plan wasn’t all it was cracked up to be (gee… what a surprise!) and as sales of Premarin - a drug derived from the urine of pregnant mares, and the first estrogen drug to be mass marketed – soared, women began to find that the promised feminine nirvana of lifelong fecundity wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

First of all… Who wants to be all that fecund anyway!?

Secondly, and more importantly, as the 70s rolled on, study after study began to show up demonstrating that taking estrogen resulted in a huge (sometimes up to four times) increase in uterine cancer. At the same time, the birth control pill – the other estrogen heavy “miracle drug” – was showing up in studies as a source of increased risk for stroke, pulmonary embolism, and heart attack.

Being “Feminine Forever” was starting to look like a death sentence.

The trump card in the Battle of HRT came in 2002 when a Women’s Health Initiative study was canceled by the National Institute of Health because those on active treatment had an increased risk for breast cancer in excess of the safety threshold and had an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. The ultimate point here was not that there was an enormous danger, but rather that while the absolute risks associated with active treatment in the WHI study were small, they outweighed the even smaller benefits.

----------------------------------------------------
To E or Not To E… That Is The Question
----------------------------------------------------

Okay… so by now you’re standing like Hamlet on the wall of his beach house in Denmark going, “yeah yeah… right right, so what do I do now?”

The real point is that after several decades of medical attempts to convince women that menopause was everything from a grave disease that could be cured with pharmaceuticals to the end of feminine life as we know it, we finally know the truth – the truth our bodies knew all along – there is no miracle cure, no magic bullet, no female medical Nirvana.

----------------------------------------------------
Your (Not So) Secret Garden
----------------------------------------------------

When considering natural alternatives (or supplements) to pharmaceutical HRT, it is important to understand that alternative treatments aren’t simply a different type of hormone treatment, they are a whole different way of looking at, and dealing with, the issue.

First of all, herbal “alternatives” aren’t really alternative at all. For thousands of years, long before pharmaceutical researchers began experimenting with chemistry and genetics, women were going to the woods and fields to find the comforting and healing plants that could enhance the comfort and health of their families and themselves. These women knew intuitively what recent scientific investigation has confirmed, that plants contain an amazing array of ingredients – essential fatty acids, phytoestrogens, and antioxidants among them – which taken individually and in combination serve to relieve perimenopausal symptoms of every type, from hot flashes and insomnia to headaches, depression and irregular cycles.

Secondly, the basic approach of pharmaceutical treatment is to pick a symptom and attack it (it’s a very masculine approach to a feminine issue). Herbal treatments typically follow a more wholistic approach, blending complimentary combinations of ingredients in order to balance the various parts of the system simultaneously.

Instead of a singular focus on estrogen to relieve hot flashes and insomnia, an alternative approach might combine soy isoflavones for estrogen support, black cohosh to reduce hot flashes and night sweats, and wild yam for hormone balancing and bone strengthening.

Thirdly, alternative approaches to perimenopausal relief don’t just stop with a pill.

A “natural approach” to menopause includes a look at diet and exercise as vital elements in a systemic approach to healthy living. Wild Yam can help strengthen the bone matrix to help prevent osteoporosis, and weight-bearing exercise builds additional strength and support over time. Melatonin will assist with sleep, while meditation and yoga help to relax the body and the mind making sleep easier and more restful. Damiana can be used to heighten sexual desire, while conversation and exploration with your partner adds a positive and explorational dynamic.

All these things work together and, when considering alternative treatments, it’s important to remember that every woman’s menopausal experience is unique. Unlike the cookie-cutter nature of much pharmaceutical medicine, a natural approach of symptom relief seeks to find the balancing wisdom that we already hold in our bodies and in our collective unconscious, ancient wisdom that we can all gain access to if we will only allow it to rise.

These are just SOME of the "other things" that Dr. Northrup (one of our great SHEroes) was referring to when she uttered those seven words on Oprah.

This is what we need to be talking about.

And we are... Right here.

You can also find out more by checking out the MenoMavens Menopause Manual, from which a few of the above comments were adapted.

We also hope you will take a look at the system we developed because of our own struggle with these issues. The Menopaused System is a balanced TRULY NATURAL approach that can relieve your menopausal symptoms without the potentially dangerous and heavy handed approach of traditional HRT pharmaceuticals.

Finally... please leave your comments at this blog or email us at support@menopausedsystem.com

There are other things you can do... We'd like to help you find them.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Empress IS Dressed...
But She's Missing Some Buttons

Lately there’s been a lot of discussion about the “return of HRT” as if it ever really went away. At the same time, Oprah has come on board with a major push for what are known as Bio-Identical Hormones. This is a good thing. The more information we can get, the better off we are and The MenoMavens are BIG fans of Oprah.

However, a lot of confusion remains. After a recent Oprah show, the blogs at Oprah dot com have gone crazy with women who are confused, frustrated, and angry about being confused, frustrated and angry.

The reality is that there is a whole lot of confusion and very little clarity in the area of hormones (whether “bio-identical” or not) and even Lisa Sanders, MD, a clinical instructor at Yale University School of Medicine, and one of the doctors quoted on the Oprah website makes the comment, “All of this focus on estrogen may be a bit misplaced." As she continues her comment, she puts her finger right on the center of the problem, "Women exist in an incredibly complicated hormonal milieu during menopause. Estrogen declines, but so does testosterone, which is why libido goes down. We're also losing hormones that we really don't know much about, and we haven't asked the questions."

So… who is asking the questions?

And are they getting the right... or for that matter, any... answers?

On top of that, what aren’t you being told at all?

--------------------------------------------------------------
A Rose by any other name still has thorns
--------------------------------------------------------------

Admittedly, the commonplace HRT protocols, as well as newer developments with bio-identical hormones, are working for many women, but what about those other women? Women who - either because of breast, uterine, and cervical cancer concerns, or simply because they are uncomfortable with manufactured pharmaceuticals and corporate pharmacological processes - want a TRULY NATURAL PRODUCT.

Well... no matter what they choose to call it, you’re not going to find answers regarding wholistic and natural approaches to hormone balancing and symptom relief at the doors of the big companies... or in the halls of corporate pharmaceutical science. There’s too much money to be made, and too much truth to hide.

Instead... you’re going to find it in nature, and that’s the one thing they aren’t talking much about in the discussions around HRT and BHRT.

---------------------------------------------------------------
You Say Tomato… I Say Tomahto… NOT!
---------------------------------------------------------------

Here’s the BIG SCOOP! You may think that “bio-identical” means natural, but it doesn’t.

Read that again... and S-L-O-W-L-Y...

Bio-identical hormones are NOT a NATURAL PRODUCT.

Instead, just like the more commonplace HRT, they are synthesized in a laboratory. There is a difference in the source of the chemicals. Bio-identicals come from plants rather than horses, but the process, and many of the issues, are the same for both.

Such products are synthesized in the laboratory the same way traditional HRT products are created. The only difference is the source of the chemicals that are being synthesized.

This is the reason you’ve been hearing a lot of grumbling about which one is which and whether it matters or not.

At Heart of Health, Inc. we have created a truly 100% NATURAL product. Many of the natural hormone sources like wild yam and soy isoflavones are incorporated into our Menopaused a.m. and p.m. products. To this we have added a carefully researched and selected collection of herbal ingredients like Black Cohosh, Chaste Tree Berry, and Motherwort that have been used for centuries to help relieve menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and insomnia. In addition, we’ve included both 5-HTP and GABA to help with some of the your frustrating brain symptoms like depression, memory loss and brain freeze.

----------------------------------------------------------------
A Balanced and Systematic Approach
----------------------------------------------------------------

What all this means is that The Menopaused System is exactly that… It’s a SYSTEM. A system that is designed to work with your body, in a truly organic manner, to relieve your symptoms, balance your hormones, and ease you through the menopausal process without the bumps and grinds of high stakes hormonal therapy.

A TRULY WHOLE BODY APPROACH to Menopausal Symptom RELIEF.

So that’s the difference between us and them.

We think we have found the best approach and a lot of women seem to agree with us.

At the same time we are VERY much aware of the fact that one little blog entry is not going to clear up the issue (although we wish it could) so we've created a new e-book that we are extremely proud of to address some more of the issues that women are having.

You can get your copy of the book for just $6.95 at http://www.menopausedsystem.com/book.htm.

We spent a lot of time and money developing this book (as we did with the development of our products) but we are offering it at this low low price because we want to get the information out into the world and we think that once you read some of what we've been digging into for the last ten years, you'll come back to investigate some of the other products we have to offer.

It's called The MenoMavens' Menopause Manual and it's easy to read, deeply informative, and even a lot of fun.

But don't take our word for it.... you should really check it out for yourself.

And in the meantime... why not join our conversation by leaving a comment right here on the blog.

What are YOU confused about?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Finding Your Menopausal Balance

Do you remember that old 70s song "Tightrope" by Leon Russell? The singer is "up on a tightwire, one side's ice and one is fire" and you get the distinct impression that despite the precarious nature of this basic reality, he's pretty much not coming down. Why?

Because, "the wire seems to be the only place for me."

The thing that's always hooked me about that song is that you can't ever really tell whether the singer WANTS to come down or not.

I know exactly how that feels, and I'm betting that you do to.

For those of us moving through the process of menopause this tightrope experience is a daily reality. It can be the back and forth jump between hot flashes and chills, or the craziness of keeping mental track of our car keys, check book, and calendar. It can be the challenge of dealing with teenagers on one side and our aging parents on the other, or the battle between work and rest (especially when you spend half the night tossing and turning tangled up in drenched sheets).

So, back to the Tightrope... The simple fact of life is that everyone, in one way or another, is that guy or girl on the tightrope. Perhaps that's one of the reasons tightrope walkers are so exciting to watch in real life.

The tightrope experience is especially relevant to those of us going through "the change."

Like the tightrope walker, the key to making it from one end to the other is BALANCE.

• BALANCE in relationships - We need to take time for ourselves, and time for others (notice which one I put first?).

• BALANCE in life - All work and no play makes Jackie a dull Maven... Come on girls, it's party time!

• BALANCE in nutrition - I know... those $1.00 cheeseburgers are hard to pass up when you're starving and on the run, but...

• BALANCE in bed - Sleeping's good... but then what?

• BALANCE your hormones - A great deal of what you need can come from proper attention to natural hormonal balance.

So... what's the edge of your tightrope?

And how do YOU plan to keep your BALANCE?

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's That Time Again!


Okay... Here we go... Like going to a theme park with your kids (or grandkids) it's time to get off one ride and onto another one. But when you consider the alternative, it's not such a bad deal... is it?

The coolest thing about New Year is that it provides us with an opportunity to time travel... backwards and forwards; a chance to look at where we've been and where we want to go.

For us MenoMavens, where we've been is through an incredibly exciting year of new endeavors, new projects and - most of all - new friends... YOU!

Both of us are incredibly grateful for the opportunity that's been handed to us with the development of Heart of Health, Inc. The opportunity to meet women - both in person and through the web - who, like us, have lived exciting, creative, and interesting lives and are now experiencing this new time known as menopause. Women who are starting off again on new paths and new journeys.

Seriously... there's nothing better.

Where we're going is into a future of exciting opportunities that have only just begun. We look forward to meeting more and more of you and we look forward to continuing to provide the best possible products to help women move into this new phase of life with grace, goodness, and gratitude.

New Years is also the time of resolutions. We vow to lose weight, exercise more, get a better handle on time, and make personal changes, job changes, and life changes.

Obviously, it's an artificial line that we create, but it's a helpful line nonetheless.

So.... What are your resolutions for 2009?

Weight?
Time?
Kids?
Grandkids?
Travel?
Work?
Money?
Love?

For us, our biggest New Year's Resolution is to see that everything (and we really do mean everything) that we do at Heart of Health is dedicated to our primary goal of providing the most up to date, informative, and healthy products possible to help women (like us... like you) to make incredibly positive changes in their mid-life lives.

Like we keep saying... We Are Here For You!

Happy New Year!