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Eileen's Menopause Blog

"I am happy to pass on my personal knowledge and experiences to help those who are still unsure of what is happening to them."

When I realised that I was slowly approaching ‘that age’ I decided I wanted to know as much as possible about the menopause, I wanted to know what physical and emotional changes were likely to occur and what could be done naturally to control or reduce them. I spent several years reading and researching as much material as I could.

This helped me tremendously going through the menopause as I could almost anticipate symptoms depending on how my life was going at the time. This also allowed me to make the necessary lifestyle and dietary changes to ward off the symptoms. So I am here today happy to pass on my personal knowledge and experiences to help those who are still unsure of what is happening to them.


A.Vogel’s Menopause Mondays: Allergies? Hayfever? Could menopause be the reason?

by Eileen, on 30 May 2016, A.Vogel's Menopause Mondays

In this week’s A.Vogel’s Menopause Mondays I talk about why some women have been contacting me lately to ask if the menopause can cause hayfever. I explain why menopause and hayfever can sometimes go hand in hand, especially if you have never had allergies before. I also recommend simple ways to ease allergy/menopause symptoms such as itchy skin and dry eyes.


Video transcript:

Hello and welcome to another edition of A.Vogel’s Menopause Mondays. Now, here in the UK, we’re right in the middle of the hayfever season, and a number of women have actually contacted me. They’ve discovered that they have got hayfever and they’ve never had it in their life before, and they are actually wondering if hayfever can be a symptom of the menopause.

Hayfever symptoms

Now, hayfever can cause symptoms, such as dry eyes, runny eyes, itchy eyes. It can cause sneezing, blocked nose, runny nose. You can get sinus problems. You can actually end up with itchy skin as well. So, these do sound a little bit like menopause symptoms, and many of them I have actually talked before, but they’re all bunched together.

Can menopause cause hayfever?

Now, can the menopause cause hayfever? The answer is a little bit yes and no. So I’ll try and explain. We know that when we go through the menopause that the hormonal changes can put a huge amount of pressure on our body. It can affect our nervous system, and don’t we know it? It can affect our digestion. I was just talking about that last week. It can affect our sleep. Now, between hot flushes, night sweats, restless legs, and the fact that oestrogen can actually weaken our whole sleep pattern just on its own. We also get a lot of fatigue.

What do these things all add up to?

Stress

Well, if we look at stress, a lot of stress, ongoing stress can affect our immune system. Our digestion problems, it will affect our absorption. If we are not nutritionally up-to-date, if you like, then poor nutrition can actually affect our immune system as well. We actually need lots more during the menopause just to keep our bodies actually going.

Sleep & Fatigue

We know that sleep, as I mentioned before, is a big issue, and research has actually shown that sleep can weaken our immune system. Fatigue itself, if we get it ongoing, it can just grind us down. That whole situation can weaken our immune system as well. So having a particularly weak immune system right in the middle of the menopause can actually make you prone to things, such as hayfever. So this is the reason a lot of women are actually getting hayfever in the menopause. It’s not the menopause itself that’s causing the hayfever, but the fact that all these symptoms are actually weakening our immune system.

Colds and Flu

Some women actually find that they become more prone to colds and flu. Some people will get things like allergic rhinitis all year round or they become far more sensitive to things like fumes, like perfume and paint. Even you can become sensitive to clothes as well. I know I find that going through the menopause, I love pure wool jumpers, and I just couldn’t wear them because they made my skin so very, very itchy.

What can you do to help?

Diet

So, what can you do to either prevent yourself from getting these allergies or just to help to strengthen your immune system a little bit? Well, most important thing as usual is diet, a really good varied diet that will give you lots of good nutrients that your body will absolutely love.

Water

Remember the water. Dehydration makes us much more susceptible to itchy skin and other allergies and rashes as well. So the water as usual, really, really important.

Rest and relaxation

Get plenty of rest and relaxation. The menopause puts an awful lot of pressure on our whole body generally, and we need that rest in order to recuperate and to re-energize as well. All these things and anything else that you do that’s really positive will have a good effect on your immune system.

Natural remedies to help

There are also natural remedies for hayfever and allergies. We do something called Pollinosan Hayfever Tablets. These are great because there are no contraindications with other medication, they don’t make you drowsy, and you can take them with HRT and contraceptives as well. Now, if your eyes are particularly bothering you, we have a natural eye drop that you can actually use if you’ve got contact lenses as well. If you’re one of these ladies that tend to get a lot of itchy skin or rashes, you can actually look either at the herb nettle or just make sure that you’re having a couple of cups of nettle tea a day in your diet. And vitamin C is great. If you’re looking for a natural antihistamine, then vitamin C taken little and often can be really, really beneficial.

Pollen App

Now, for those of you in the UK, we actually have a pollen app that gives you a five-day forecast for the pollen count in your local area. All you need to do is go onto the hayfever page on the website and you can download that for free.

So I hope this has given you a little bit of an idea of how important it is to look after your immune system in the menopause. I look forward to seeing you next week for another edition of A.Vogel’s Menopause Mondays.

 

A.Vogel’s Menopause Mondays: Friendly bacteria & how it helps the menopause

by Eileen, on 23 May 2016, A.Vogel's Menopause Mondays

In this week’s A.Vogel’s Menopause Mondays I talk about the importance of friendly bacteria in your gut and how it can help with hormonal control during the menopause. I also look at simple things which can impact your friendly bacteria and what you can do to support it.


Video transcript:

Hello and welcome to another edition of A.Vogel’s Menopause Mondays. Now, over the weeks, I’ve mentioned in a lot of the video blogs about your friendly bacteria and how important they are for your health. I thought that I would take this opportunity to go into this in just a little bit more detail to give you a good idea of just how really important they are. Continue reading >

A.Vogel’s Menopause Mondays: Is Menopause causing your Digestive Problems?

by Eileen, on 16 May 2016, A.Vogel's Menopause Mondays, Digestion

In this week’s A.Vogel’s Menopause Mondays I answer a question from a viewer who would like to know if the menopause could be reason behind her indigestion and acid reflux problems. I explain why the menopause can negatively impact your digestive system and offer my advice on what you can do to help yourself.

Video transcript:

Hello, and welcome to another edition of A.Vogel’s Menopause Mondays. I have one of our viewer’s questions today. It is quite a complex situation, so there’s just the one. This is from Sally who’s 49, and she’s saying, “I have recently started to get bad indigestion and acid reflux. I’ve not changed my diet so I don’t understand why this is happening. Could it be due to the menopause?”

The answer is yes, it can. It can certainly be a big contributory factor. And what we have discovered is that indigestion and gastric reflux is actually one of the really common symptoms of the menopause. An awful lot of women are actually getting this.

Falling oestrogen and your digestion

Now, the main culprit is your falling oestrogen. That can actually affect your digestion. It can slow your digestion down. Low oestrogen can sometimes also affect the production of acid in your stomach causing low acid which can cause indigestion and gastric reflux as well.

Stress and your digestion

The other main issue with this is stress. And as I’ve said before, we’re all busy people. Most of us will get stress during the menopause, and our nervous system is actually pulled into the whole menopause picture whether it actually likes it or not. What happens is our nervous system becomes much more sensitive to all sorts of situations that go on during the day. It becomes much more reactive to things that it would never have bothered with beforehand. So our nervous system can actually start triggering…We can just have been a little bit late for work, we could have missed the bus, we could not find our car keys. These little things which maybe a few years ago wouldn’t have bothered us, now actually start to trigger a nervous system response.

And we’ve all heard of flight or fight, haven’t we? What happens in these instances when this reaction is triggered, one of the things that it does is it actually switches your digestive system off. And if you are getting these episodes on a daily basis, which most of us do during the menopause, then our digestive system can be switched on and off, and on and off, and on and off a good number of times on a daily basis. And this is really going to interfere with our digestion at all stages. So it’s going to cause things like indigestion, gastric reflux. It’s going to cause bloating. It’s also going to cause constipation as well.

Simple eating tips for improving your digestion

So what we need to do is look at ways that we can actually address this. So the main tips for this are…they’re really simple is sit down properly when you’re eating a meal. I have spoken about this before. If we sit down at our desk, if we’re sitting down in front of the TV, then we actually constrict the stomach. It doesn’t work particularly well, and everything will just start to ferment for a long time there as well.

It’s important to eat really slowly and to chew your food really well. And our digestion expert, Alison, actually recommends that you chew each mouthful 20 times. Now, “Why 20 times?” You may well ask. You will actually find if you do that that your food will be broken down really nicely and the stomach will be able to cope with this an awful lot easier.

Also, sit for at least 10 minutes after you have finished eating. Because what do we do? We eat our food, the next minute we’re jumping up. We’re running around. We’re thinking about what we’re going to do next. That will trigger your nervous system. So for an awful lot of people jumping up straight away is actually going to stop stomach digestion practically before you’ve even finished eating. So it’s very, very important to have this little bit of relaxation time as well.

The other very important thing is please don’t drink lots with your meals. We’re all in the habit of having a cup of tea or a big glass of juice or a glass of wine with our evening meal. And too much liquid will actually dilute your digestive juices and that can start to cause fermentation in the stomach as well. And all this fermentation just builds up pressure and gives you the gastric reflux and all that indigestion as well.

Digestion remedies

You can also look at remedies for digestion. There’s a lovely digestive remedy called Centaurium, and it’s a bitter. And bitters, which you take maybe 10 – 15 minutes before you sit down to eat, actually helps to get the whole digestive system ready for your meal. And this can be a real boon when you’re suffering from indigestion and gastric reflux as well.

If you feel you’re really stressed if you think that your nervous system is really overreacting to everything at the moment, you can look at stress remedies such as Passiflora, such as AvenaCalm or your Stress Relief Daytime as well.

Medication & your digestion

Now, there’s just one other thing that I would like to talk about here. As I mentioned before, indigestion seems to be a very, very common menopausal symptom at the minute. What’s happening is that an awful lot of women are getting these problems. They’re not associating them with menopause. They’re going to the doctor and the doctor is actually giving them stomach medication. Now, some of these stomach medications are called proton pump inhibitors. They’re medication such as omeprazole. What they actually do is they actually suppress the production of stomach acid which is great at the time because it stops the acid reflux and all these very distressing symptoms.

But one of the other things that they do is that they are known to inhibit the breakdown and absorption of both calcium and magnesium. Those of you who’ve been watching for a while, you will know just how important these minerals are during the menopause. Remember, low magnesium can give you mood swings. It can give you anxiety, panic attacks, palpitations, muscle aches and pains, nerve pain, joint aches. And magnesium is vital to take calcium to your bones. So if you’re low in both magnesium and calcium, that can actually have an impact on your bone health as well.

Check the patient information leaflet!

So all I would say here is that if you are on this particular type of medication, check the patient information leaflet just to see if any of the symptoms that you’re getting in the menopause may actually be associated with the medication rather than the actual menopause itself. This is true with all medication. So all of you out there who’re on prescribed medication…And most of us if we get something from the doctor, we don’t bother to read the leaflet in the box. It just goes straight into the bin. So it’s really important that if you’re on any medication, you read the leaflet just to see if any of the symptoms you are getting might be associated with the medication.

And it’s amazing how many women are actually contacting us now. And when we find out what the medication they’re on, and we actually check the list, we find that sometimes what they’re experiencing isn’t really menopausal at all. If that’s the case, please do go back to your doctor and have a chat to them about it as well.

Now, hopefully, this will have given you a little bit of help with any indigestion. If you do get this particular symptom, try some of these regular tips and see how you get on during the week. And I look forward to seeing you for another edition of A.Vogel’s Menopause Mondays.

 

A.Vogel’s Menopause Mondays: Support your liver for a better menopause

by Eileen, on 9 May 2016, A.Vogel's Menopause Mondays

In this week’s A.Vogel’s Menopause Mondays I explain why good liver function is so important during the menopause and I recommend what you can do to support your liver.

Video transcript:

Hello, and welcome to another edition of A.Vogel’s Menopause Mondays. Now, how is your liver doing? I bet you’re sitting there thinking, “What on earth does the liver have to do with the menopause?” Well, actually it can have quite a lot to do with the menopause and the types of symptoms that you’re actually getting. And Alfred Vogel, the renowned naturopath who founded Bioforce, actually believed that the liver was the regulator of your health. And your day-to-day health would depend on how efficiently your liver was running. Continue reading >

A.Vogel’s Menopause Mondays: Is your antiperspirant causing or making your hot flushes worse?

by Eileen, on 2 May 2016, A.Vogel's Menopause Mondays, Skin care

In this week’s A.Vogel’s Menopause Mondays I look at why a simple everyday thing like putting on your antiperspirant could be triggering or making your hot flushes worse! Crazy as this may sound, watch or read on to find out why…

Video transcript:

Hello and welcome to another addition of A.Vogel’s Menopause Mondays and I’ve got a good one for you this week. It’s only a theory but a very interesting one though. Continue reading >