Hello Fabulous over 40s! It truly is a wonderful time to be alive, but there are some changes that we may begin to recognize as women get older. These are caused by a drop in certain in hormone levels. Particularly of Estrogen. No one explained to me that these symptoms of hormone drops can happen… But Sometimes it takes experience for you to really understand how your body will be affected… Because Everyone is different, you may or may not have any of these symptoms!
Perimenopause and menopause are something we do not seem to learn about until it is present in our lives. Sometimes, we see the symptoms, and sometimes, we do not recognize them. After 40 or so, you can expect a drop in the hormone estrogen, which can change things up slightly.
Menopause is said to happen when you have not had a period for 12 months. Perimenopause is when that cycle begins with irregular periods and can indicate that menopause is near. However, menopause can be medically induced through an Oophorectomy or removal of ovaries that make the hormone estrogen. A Hysterectomy (removal of the uterus only) can also affect estrogen levels as there is less circulation to the ovaries when the uterus is removed.
Perimenopause and menopause happen when a decline in reproductive hormones can cause symptoms like disturbed sleep, tendonosis, dry skin, brittle hair, hot flashes and anxiety.
It is a popular thought that your 40s and beyond are the best years of your life. Ideally, you are settled in your work and personal life, but not just that; you have the benefits of experience and are not worried about other people and their problems. It is a superpower, but unfortunately, you are also more sore and stressed, and you must pay more attention to your psychological and physical health. You do not just "bounce back" as quickly as you used to, so your body needs more rest and care.
Your "Achilles heel" may literally be your Achilles heel, as tendons are affected by the estrogen reduction that begins in your 40s. The reduction in estrogen can decrease collagen synthesis and further degrade the tendon tissue. Also, when the hormone estrogen drops, you might experience osteoporosis, arthritis, and bursitis. Your joints can become more sensitive to age-related degeneration from injuries, changing hormones, and stress.
Massage is best known to help with anxiety that is associated with menopause. However, it is also shown to help with circulation and collagen synthesis, helping to keep your joints gently moving and lubricated.
Many women state that much of their physical pain is relieved with Hormone replacement therapy, but some herbs can boost the estrogen produced by your body and, in turn, reduce the inflammation and pain you are feeling. Remember that each person has their own physical needs, diet, and lifestyle; herbs and other medications do not work the same for everyone. We do know that we see positive results statistically when folks use certain herbs for symptoms of menopause.
Here are a few Herbs that have withstood the test of time to help control these menopausal symptoms.
Turmeric Curcuma longa: Turmeric is generally known for its powerful anti-inflammatory qualities, but it is The rhizomes of the plant that contain curcumin, which you will often find in capsules and other supplements. The powdered root is also used for culinary purposes, and you can find the famous "Golden Milk" recipes online or order Humboldt Herbals in-house Golden Milk here. Turmeric has a warming quality, so keep that in mind if you are experiencing hot flashes from spicy foods like ginger and pepper. Turmeric can decrease bloating, reduce joint swelling and stiffness, and prevent further degeneration of the joints from arthritis.
Maca Lepidium meyenii: Feeling like your libido could use a boost of energy? Maca has been used by the people of the Andes Mountains in Peru for thousands of years as a food source. Maca has been shown to help with energy, libido, and fertility rates. Maca has sometimes been nicknamed "Peruvian Ginseng" because of these qualities. Maca Is available in Capsules and Powders. You can easily add Maca powder to smoothies, energy bars, hot cereal, and more.
Evening Primrose: Oenothera biennis, Taken internally, is said to help with certain symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, dry skin, night sweats, breast pain, and irritability. Evening primrose has very high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids; taking these can increase the production of the body's prostaglandins, which is also said to decrease inflammation. Topically, it is said to help with skin elasticity and can prevent acne and eczema. (Prostaglandins are hormone-like substances that affect bodily functions, including inflammation.)
Dong Quai angelica sinensis is an herb with highly active phytoestrogens, exerting some estrogenic activity. Dong Quai is helpful in both high and low estrogen as the phytoestrogen of dong quai can fill receptor sites in individuals with high estrogen levels, occupying those receptors. It would be best to speak to a Herbalist with focused experience in treating menopausal symptoms before using this herb.
Red Clover: Trifolium pratense This lovely flower is found all over and is easily identified. It is a gentle lymphatic that is rich in vitamins and minerals. Red clover can be taken daily as a nourishing tonic. Red clover can help the body detoxify and eliminate and is Helpful for the elasticity of the skin and arteries; red clover also helps increase circulation to the brain and can relieve migraine symptoms. It is a beautiful herb to add to your favorite tea blend.
Physical Pain In Women who have had children or surgical procedures like Hysterectomy can affect your energy. Physical trauma can cause energy to become stagnant or can create a weak flow of energy. It is likely if there is a hysterectomy there was already trauma at the site. Trauma can lead to Energy Stagnation. As we get older it takes longer to heal, the physical and emotional body, our energy can become “tired” as we get older.
Think of your energy like a river, it is flowing fast and free at first, but as the fall comes, you see leaves and debris fall into it and this can cause a blockage in the river. And if you have a beaver , watch out. That thing gets busy! Now you might have a full on dam, it's likely you at the very least have leaves that are causing a disruption in the flow, and those can be cleaned out with gentle herbs like red clover, with manual type massage (like what I offer here) , and gentle movement like walking or stretching.
Abdominal Massage after hysterectomy
You would not do this when you still have stitches dissolving or a wound that can open. Energy work is Ok. Usually it takes 8 weeks after surgery for wounds to heal. You can begin massage at the site when the wound is completely closed. It is helpful for a full body massage at this time as well, since you will be detoxifying from the surgical procedure and needing to get your body back into the flow once again. After surgery you can start to feel like your river has now become a bog, and it is important to take care of your body through diet and use of herbs to get that water connected and flowing again. It takes time so be patient with yourself.
Topical ways to reduce inflammation and/or help with scarring and healing:
Castor oil: If I had a dollar for every time I heard a newbie to natural products mention “I Put a drop of castor oil in my belly button and it changed my life!”, in some version or another I’d be a millionaire. Truth is, I love castor oil. It is drawing as a topical and soothing to inflammation. For menopausal symptoms it can help reduce constipation and encourage detoxification. A little goes a long way, so just keep that in mind. Castor oil can reduce beta-glucuronidase. Higher levels of beta-glucuronidase may be associated with an imbalanced intestinal microbiota profile, as well as higher circulating estrogens and lower fecal excretion of estrogens in premenopausal women.
Irish Moss is a fabulous plant from the sea that can help with boosting your iodine levels and helping to support estrogen levels. It can be taken internally and applied externally as it will heal and soothe the skin, promote regeneration of tissues and is a plant based way to help build collagen in your body. Here is a recipe for a Belly wrap and a way to take the gel internally as well. If you don't like the idea of something slimy on your belly, just follow the recipe below but do not strain the irish moss from the liquid and keep it refrigerated so you can take it by the spoonful every day.
Irish Moss Sauce
4 ounces sea moss rinsed.
8 ounces warm water (or marshmallow root tea)
Let this soak overnight, in the morning place this in a blender and blend.
Strain and drink the liquid one shot at a time. The left over liquid can be placed in the refrigerator. and reserve the bulk material to apply topically as described below:
Apply this mixture directly to the body abdomen and wrap in muslin cloth or similar fabric.
Apply a hot water bottle on top if needed, and relax with the wrap on for at least 20 minutes. If you have a tendency for hot flashes I would avoid using heat.
More wonderful ways to help with symptoms of hormone changes would be to try these different creams.
Wild Yam Cream: A topical way to get needed phyto-estrogens into the bloodstream and relieve symptoms of menopause.
Phytoestrogen Cream : Contains plant compounds that mimic the effects of estrogen in weak doses. They can help balance the powerful effects of too much or too little estrogen
No matter where you are in time, or how your body reacts to changes in environment or from the inside, we all have the potential to help ease our own suffering and inspire healing in ourselves and others with the power of plants and healing touch.