Monday, March 26, 2012

Peri-menopause | Night Sweats and Insomnia Irritating the Heck out of You? 10 Easy Tips to Help!

Night sweats and insomnia irritating the heck out of you?  Well, you are not alone. The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) reports that an estimated 6,000 US women reach menopause each day, which translates to over 2 million women every year. Most of which, will experience the irritating and frustrating menopausal symptoms or night sweats and insomnia. Another strange symptom may be cold feet.  Why?

Well, it’s simple really. It’s because of all the hormonal changes occurring in the body during peri-menopause and menopause and these changes effect the hypothalamus.  The hypothalamus is the gland in the brain responsible for heat regulation.  Under normal hormonal conditions, the hypothalamus regulates body heat according to the surroundings. If it is hot outside, it prompts the body to release heat, and if it is cold outside, it prompts the body to retain heat.

It is the declining levels of the estrogen hormones related to menopause that are responsible for the malfunction of the hypothalamus. This, in turn, detects the increased body temperature, releases chemicals causing the blood vessels in the skin to dilate allowing heat to be released. These changes in the hormone levels signal the hypothalamus to start overproducing heat. It is this overproduction of heat that causes the cold feet, night sweats and sleeplessness.

Insomnia is the inability fall asleep, stay asleep or sleep through the night. During perimenopause in particular, women can wake up in the early hours and find it difficult to get back to sleep. This sleeplessness can often be accompanied with night sweats and cold feet. 

Night sweats can wake you up in the middle of the night feeling cold and clammy and with the sheets drenched in sweat, often with the feeling that your heart is about to pound out of your chest. It can be difficult to cool down, calm down and get comfortable again, and it is also difficult not to be irritated and frustrated by the interruption to a good night's sleep. The stress of not sleeping further adds to the inability to fall back to sleep creating a vicious cycle.

According to JoAnn Manson, MD, MPH, PhD, an endocrinologist and professor of women's health at Harvard Medical School, about 80 percent of women in menopause experience some hot flashes and night sweats. She adds, "Of those women, 15 to 20 percent will have symptoms severe enough to warrant medication if they want it."

10 Easy Tips
  • Keep a regular schedule. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps regulate the body, which can help improve the ability to sleep better.
  • Give yourself some "wind-down" time before you go to bed. Take a half-hour or so before bedtime to relax! 
  • Try a relaxing bath or warm shower before bedtime. This first causes the body temperature to rise then go back down to normal, which can help induce the feeling of sleepiness.
  • Try some deep breathing or relaxation exercises before going to bed. Just a few minutes can quiet the thoughts and stresses of the day making it easier to fall asleep.
  • Cool bedroom. A cooler bedroom will support deeper, more restful sleep. Plus, the cooling effect of the fan helps alleviate the discomfort of night sweats.
  • No stimulants. Stay away from stimulants like caffeine or nicotine for several hours before bedtime. These stimulants rev up the body and interfere with your body’s sleep mode.
  • No nightcap.  An alcoholic "nightcap" may hurt more than it will help. Alcohol might make you feel drowsy at first, but it interferes with the body’s ability to sleep soundly.
  • Relaxing drink. Try drinking a cup of chamomile or sleepy time tea in the evening, instead of an alcoholic nightcap. It’s calming, soothing and will help the body relax and sleep better.
  • Eating habits. Avoid eating too late in the evening or right before bed.  Also avoid hard-to-digest foods several hours before bedtime. Foods like onions, beans, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, protein and spicy foods might disturb sleep.
  • Exercise every day. Just thirty minutes of exercise daily can help your body de-stress, but don’t exercise before bed. Some research indicates that increasing cardio-respiratory fitness, including walking and yoga, could be a way to reduce menopausal symptoms. One study found, for example, that women who engaged in regular physical activity had fewer and less severe night sweats.
Consider a natural course. Study results have been mixed about alternative remedies for menopause, but many menopausal and peri-menopausal women have found great relief from symptoms using herbs and supplements such as black cohosh. Black cohosh, which is extracted from the root of a native North American plant (Cimicifuga racemosa), and is reported to help alleviate both the physical and emotional effects of menopause. Some studies show a short-term improvement in hot flashes and night sweats, while others show no change at all. Another study found that menopausal women dealing with mild night sweats found relief from dang kuei (also known as dong quai or angelica sinensis) a Chinese herbal remedy that includes dang kuei, a popular herb from the celery family that is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine for gynecological symptoms.

In Health,
Naturally Botanicals Team

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Stevie Nicks and Menopause

Today's quote: 
"Rock and menopause do not mix. It is not good, it sucks and every day I fight it to the death, or, at the very least, not let it take me over."
- Stevie Nicks

Or, if you need a little help...

In Health,
Naturally Botanicals

Friday, March 16, 2012

Perimenopause | Weight Gain and Hot Flashes

Perimenopause, What is going on?

Hot Flashes
This is probably the most talked about and most commonly acknowledged symptom of menopause, and the most unpleasant along with night sweats. Hot flashes are sudden feelings of warmth, which are usually most intense over the face, neck and chest. It's a rather strange sensation of internal intensifying heat, that randomly peaks and then subsides. The skin may redden, just as if you were blushing. Hot flashes can also cause profuse sweating and may leave you chilled. The exact cause of hot flashes isn't known, but the signs and symptoms point to factors affecting the function of your body's thermostat — the hypothalamus. This area at the base of your brain regulates body temperature and other basic processes. Lowered levels of estrogen confuse the hypothalamus, causing it to inappropriately sense that the body is overheating. This provokes an internal chain of reactions that women experience as hot flashes. The estrogen reduction you experience during menopause may disrupt hypothalamic function, leading to hot flashes.

Weight Gain
This is probably the most loathed perimenopausal symptom. As many women enter perimenopause or approach menopause, they find themselves experiencing unexplained weight gain — especially around the waists and hips — despite their best attempts to diet. Often the methods of weight management that worked for them for years are suddenly ineffective. In fact, weight gain in the abdomen is one of the most common complaints of perimenopausal women.

Estrogen is stored in fat cells, and when you enter menopause, your body responds by holding on to fat cells in an effort to boost the lagging estrogen levels. It then becomes tougher to lose fat and much easier to keep the pounds on. Also as estrogen levels drop, your level of androgens increases in relation to the estrogen. Unopposed by the higher levels of estrogen your body used to have, the androgens produce male characteristics -- in this case, the shift in body fat from your hips, thighs and buttocks to your midsection, resulting in the "apple" shape that is more common in men and in postmenopausal women Low progesterone levels (which in relation to estrogen is popularly called "estrogen dominance") also cause a number of side effects including increased bloating and water retention -- not be actual fat, but can makes you look and feel heavier. It can also cause blood sugar fluctuations -- which can increase your appetite and slow your metabolism.

What to do?
Coping with weight gain,
hot flashes, night sweats and the resulting lack of sleep and is no picnic. Often women are tired.  They get frustrated and are not sure what's going on in their bodies.  "Am I ever going to fit back into my favorite jeans?"  "Will I ever lose this weight?"  "I'm so tired!" "Will I ever get a good night's sleep?"

There’s no need to suffer through these symptoms unnecessarily.  Now, you have a clearer understanding of the physical causes for these changes, you can make informed and empowered choices to support your body with these symptoms and help your ability to function better in life. You can chose to address the situation naturally and nutritionally and get back to feeling like your old self again. Like most health challenges the basics apply here too. Reduced intake or no coffee and alcohol, eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, and exercise even though your energy and enthusiasm may be low. Also, try to keep to a regular sleep schedule by going to bed at the same time each night and allowing enough time to get a full eight hours of restful and restorative sleep.

There are also highly effective herbal supplements designed specifically for women's health and menopause that you may find will help you through this time.  Many women have resorted to natural remedies for relief.  And, of course, the most well renowned is Black Cohosh, which is great, but it’s not enough on this own.  Perimenopause and menopause is a multi-platform issue requiring a multi-platform solution.  More than one single herb is required to balance all these symptoms. 

In Health,
Naturally Botanicals Team

Monday, March 12, 2012

Perimenopause | What Happened to Me?

I used to be ambitious, focused and energetic.
What happened?

Menopause is the period of time when a woman stops having her monthly period and experiences symptoms related to the lack of estrogen production. By definition, a woman is in menopause after her periods have stopped for one year. It is a normal part of aging and marks the end of a woman's reproductive years.

The drop in estrogen levels during perimenopause and menopause triggers physical changes such as weight gain, hot flashes as well as many emotional changes -- such as depression, apathy anxiety and changes in memory. Like any other point in a woman’s life, there is a relationship between hormone levels and these physical and emotional symptoms. 

This one is sneaky. Sometimes it is assumed that hot flashes are the first true sign of perimenopause, but many women experience anxiety long before hot flashes set in. Anxiety can be the first sign of perimenopausal hormone transitions, but many women do not connect a rise in anxiety levels to the physical changes caused by changing estrogen levels. Perimenopause can be an added stressor to an already stressful overly busy life, and hormonal imbalances can adversely affect your nerves, mood and mental function. Anxiety can shake your very core and reduce your self confidence. Many women begin to feel lost and confused with a strange lack of confidence in themselves.

You may found yourself feeling apathetic, a little bit down, unable to "pick yourself up," or you might even feel depressed. Well, you're not going crazy. There a simple biological changes occurring during perimenopause that contribute to feelings. There is a connection between the hormonal changes during perimenopause and depression, affecting the way you feel. The imbalanced ratio of the hormones estrogen and progesterone can be the physical basis for depression. The estrogen dominance so common in perimenopause can exacerbate symptoms of depression and apathy.

Finding yourself not remembering appointments, someone's name, or recalling something that is and has been very important to you?  Well, you are not losing your mind. The same is true here as with anxiety and depression.  The changes in estrogen levels during perimenopause are creating the impaired memory function.  Supplementation is important here.  B vitamins and essential fatty acids are known for their brain-helping properties, but at this time you may find that some additional help with an herbal supplement is helpful.

What to do
Once you have a clearer understanding of the physical causes for these changes, you can make informed and empowered choices to support your body with these symptoms and help your ability to function better in life. You can chose to address the situation naturally and nutritionally and get back to feeling like your old self again. Like most health challenges the basics apply here too. Reduced intake or no coffee and alcohol, eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, and exercise even though your energy and enthusiasm may be low. There are also highly effective herbal supplements designed specifically for women's health and menopause that you may find will help you through this time.

In Health,
Naturally Botanicals Team

Friday, March 9, 2012

Giving Back to Make a Difference

Giving Back by Supporting Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution

Naturally Botanicals is conscious of the health challenges created by current food trends and lifestyle, especially in children. That's why we are doing our part to support healthy choices, healthy adults and kids by supporting organizations with the power and passion to effect long-term positive health changes, with a primary focus on children's health. A portion of every purchase made through is donated to Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and Dr. Oz's HealthCorps

Naturally Botanicals is excited to be part of the solution by supporting these action-oriented, health focused organizations. Please join us

In Health,
Naturally Botanicals Team

Thursday, March 8, 2012

5 Things to Know About Menopause

Menopause: Are You Going Through it?
During Menopause, a woman's periods will eventually stop and she will no longer be able to get pregnant. Sometimes the periods stop slowly, while other times the period stops quickly. If a woman has not had her period for a year, menopause is considered complete. Menopause is a natural event that usually happens between the ages o 45 to 55. During menopause, the ovaries will no longer produce eggs and they will also produce less progesterone and estrogen. Changes in these hormone levels are the cause of menopause symptoms.

Symptoms of Menopause:
The symptoms of menopause will vary. The symptoms could last for more than five years. Some women may have it worse than others. If a woman has surgical menopause, the symptoms can be more severe. During menopause, the first thing you may notice is how your periods are changing. Some women could have irregular periods for one to three years before they stop, often accompanied with clotting and cramping.

Common symptoms of menopause:
•    Changes in menstrual periods
•    Night sweats
•    Insomnia
•    Hot flashes
•    Weight gain
•    Mood swings
•    Depression or apathy
•    Anxiety or irritability
•    Forgetfulness
•    Heart pounding
•    No interest in sex
•    Urine leakage
•    Headaches
•    Joint aches
•    Vaginal infections
•    Vaginal dryness

If you are having trouble trying to determine if you are going through menopause or not, there are tests available. The tests will show changes in hormone levels (if there are any). Your doctor will run some tests in order to determine if you are close to going through menopause.

Tests that the doctor may do include:

•    FSH
•    LH
•    Estradiol

A decrease in estrogen is going to cause the lining of the vagina to change, so the health care provider will likely do a pelvic examination. After the first couple of years of your last period, bone loss may increase, so the doctor may also schedule a bone density test.

Treatment & Remedies:

Obviously, this can all be a bit daunting and most women want to do something to circumvent all these irritating and often debilitating symptoms. And, the good news is you have options.

There are various types of treatments available for menopause. The treatment you need to select will depend on a variety of things, including your overall health, the symptoms you are having and your preference. If you choose the traditional medical approach, treatment may include hormone therapy or a change in your lifestyle.

Many choose natural treatments for menopause as a more healthful supportive approach, such as Female Menopause by Naturally Botanicals. This is a natural herbal support for all of those annoying menopause symptoms, including hot flashes. Many individuals prefer natural treatment because it is healthy for their body and there are not as many, if any, side effects. Click here to explore your options.

In Health,
Naturally Botanicals Team

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Menopausal "Crazy Woman"?

Today's quote: 
"Menopause is a perfectly natural process. As family members and friends recognize that this is a normal process and learn about the normal, natural symptoms, they will then treat the woman like she's normal and natural rather than a crazy woman."
- Pamela Boggs

Or, if you need a little help...

In Health,

Naturally Botanicals

Monday, March 5, 2012

4 Things to Know About Perimenopause

What is perimenopause?
Perimenopause is that time in a woman's life, often referred to as “the change of life” when hormonal changes begin, which usually occurs between age 35 and menopause (menopause normally begins around 48-52). Menopause is simply defined as no menstrual cycle for at least one year.  Perimenopause is that period in time prior to that.  Early perimenopause is defined as a change in the menstrual cycle length of more than seven days. Late perimenopause is characterized by two or more missed periods and an interval of 60 days or more between periods. Perimenopause is usually easily recognized due to all the symptoms and noticeable physical and emotional changes that occur. 

So biologically, what’s happening?

Essentially, perimenopause is the wind down of a woman’s reproductive system from child-bearing to non-child-bearing. Perimenopause is the stage of a woman’s reproductive life that begins eight to ten years before menopause, when the ovaries gradually begin to produce less and less estrogen. With less estrogen, biological changes become noticeable.  Perimenopause lasts up until menopause, the point when the ovaries stop releasing eggs and menstrual cycles cease. In the last one to two years of perimenopause, the decrease in estrogen accelerates. At this stage, many changes occur in a woman’s body and many women experience the recognizable symptoms of menopause.

What are the symptoms?

Here’s something interesting. The symptoms of perimenopause are the same as menopause. The only difference is, during perimenopause the menstrual cycle is still active and in menopause menses has stopped.  Both phases have the same symptoms: headaches, memory loss, depression, anxiety, night sweats, hot flashes, weight gain, insomnia, heart palpitations, fatigue, urinary problems, vaginal dryness, and bone loss. The only difference is that periods still occur during perimenopause (irregularly). In the menopausal phase it is often noted that the symptoms begin to lessen and/or disappear.

What to do?
Coping with apathy, depression, anxiety, lack of sleep and hot flashes is no picnic. Often women are confused with what is going on in their bodies and they begin to question themselves and their self confidence. Am I losing my mind?  Is this memory loss permanent? Will I ever feel motivated again? How am I ever going to cope with these awful symptoms and manage my life? There’s no need to suffer through these symptoms unnecessarily.  Many women have resorted to natural remedies for relief.  And, of course, the most well renowned is Black Cohosh, which is great, but it’s not enough on this own.  Perimenopause and menopause is a multi-platform issue requiring a multi-platform solution.  More than one single herb is required to balance all these symptoms.  Click here to take a look. Questions? Send us an email.

In Health,
Naturally Botanicals Team

Saturday, March 3, 2012

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In Health,
Naturally Botanicals Team 

Friday, March 2, 2012

For All You Hot Women

Menopause is the theme for this month.  Many of us suffer in silence with the symptoms of menopause, like anxiety, depression, apathy, memory loss, decreased confidence, hot flashes, night sweats and sleeplessness to name a few.  We get so confused about what is going on with us and what is happening in our bodies. We begin to question ourselves and wonder if we are loosing our minds, if this is going to be permanent, or even worse, if these conditions are going to worsen.

So, this month we will focus on helpful information, tips and natural ways to lessen these sometimes debilitating symptoms of menopause and help us cope with life easier.  One of the most well reputed and well studied natural herbal compounds used specifically for menopause is Black Cohosh. There is, of course, much more than just one herb to discuss. We will cover more information throughout the month and we will also clear up the any misunderstandings about menopause versus peri-menopause.

First, start by taking a deep breathe, let it out and know you are not alone (there's an estimated 50 million menopausal women in the US), and no, you are not going insane. 

In Health,
Naturally Botanicals team