Diet for the Estrogen-Deficient Slow Processor

Thursday, April 14, 2011 by Susan Lark
If you are an estrogen deficient–slow processor, you tend to have greater reserves of alkaline minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc within your cells, tissues, and bones. Slow processors also have the body and hormonal makeup to be able to handle an acidic diet that is rich in red meat and dairy, but these foods lack the essential nutrients that all women need to maintain optimal health. For this reason, estrogen deficient–slow processors are best served by following a diet that is both highly acidic and nutrient-rich. This includes the following foods:

• High-fiber foods such as buckwheat and flaxseed
• Citrus fruits (oranges, limes, lemons, and grapefruit), berries, and pineapple
• All vegetables, especially sauerkraut, spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, asparagus, and broccoli
• Free-range poultry
• Wild fish such as salmon, mackerel, trout, and tuna
• Free-range beef and lamb, as well as game meats like venison and buffalo
• Soy and soy-based foods
• Vinegar
• Raw nuts (almonds, walnuts)
• Heating spices such as turmeric (curry), ginger, cayenne pepper, chili powder and pepper, cumin, cloves, and cinnamon

By following this diet, slow processors are able to regain their energy and zest for life, reduce joint pain, and stabilize their female hormone levels. Not to mention, eating a healthy diet provides menopause relief from symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.

High-Dose Hormone Replacement Therapy--Still Being Prescribed?!

Thursday, March 17, 2011 by Susan Lark

According to a study that appeared online December 2, 2010 in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society states that many doctors are still prescribing high doses of conventional hormone replacement therapy for menopause hot flashes, night sweats, and insomnia, even though the risks have been thoroughly proven and documented, and even though lower dose hormones are effective in alleviating these menopause symptoms.

I find this news so upsetting, considering how dangerous convention hormone replacement therapy has been proven to be--greatly increasing the risk of diseases like breast cancer and cardiovascular disease, to name just a few.

If you are one of those women still taking conventional hormone replacement to find menopause relief, please talk to your doctor about cutting back or stopping altogether. You can find many, many safe, suitable natural therapies for your  menopause symptoms throughout my blog.

And for more information on female hormones and natural menopause relief, please visit my Web site.

Menopause Hot Flashes--Good for the Heart?

Thursday, March 10, 2011 by Susan Lark
A recent study published in the journal Menopause claims that those debilitating menopause hot flashes that so many women suffer from can actually protect the heart!

More than 60,000 postmenopausal women were studied, and researchers found that those who suffered from menopause hot flashes early on were 17% less likely to have a stroke, and 11% less likely to have heart disease or a heart-related illness. And, women who did not have menopause hot flashes until later in menopause were at a 32% higher risk of heart attack!

So, while menopause symptoms can be quite bothersome, this research might be a sliver of positive news for you if you suffer from hot flashes or night sweats!

Spice It Up for Menopause Relief

Thursday, March 3, 2011 by Susan Lark

Curcumin, the therapeutic agent in the culinary herb turmeric, has long been known to have amazing health benefits, including anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects. And recently, researchers identified a powerful phytoestrogen in curcumin called diarylheptanoid. Studies show that it interacts with estrogen receptors and has estrogen-like benefits that help to reverse, among other symptoms, the perimenopause symptom of vaginal dryness. 

One very easy way you can increase your curcumin intake is to start using turmeric as a culinary spice in your cooking. For example, whisk a teaspoon into a pint of homemade salad dressing, or stir a teaspoon into a pan of risotto or into any savory sauce or gravy. In addition to its earthy flavor and health benefits, turmeric adds a bright yellow color to your food.

However, for consistent therapeutic results, I recommend supplementing with 1,000 mg of curcumin daily, taken with food.

For other tips of how to reduce the bothersome effects of menopause, visit my Web site.

Suffer from Urinary Incontinence? Check Your Meds!

Saturday, February 26, 2011 by Susan Lark

Did you know that certain medications are notorious for promoting urinary incontinence--an effect of menopause that effects millions of women?

Talk to your physician or pharmacist to find out if any of your medications may be contributing to this troublesome menopause symptom. If so, find out whether there are alternatives.

A few incontinence-promoting drugs include antidepressants such as amitriptyline (Elavil) and venlafaxine (Effexor); antihistamines such as Benadryl; antipsychotics such as haloperidol (Haldol); and calcium channel blockers such as verapamil (Calan) and nifedipine (Procardia).

You can find a much more complete list in a book called 20 Common Problems in Women’s Health Care by Mindy Smith, M.D. and Leslie A. Shimp, Pharm. D.

For more information on menopause symptoms and how to find natural menopause relief, visit my Web site.

Acupressure to Boost Your Sex Drive

Thursday, February 17, 2011 by Susan Lark
This acupressure exercise helps to stimulate sexual desire, which often wanes as a result of menopause and menopause symptoms. The exercise uses a knotted hand towel to put pressure on hard-to-reach areas of the back. Place the knotted towel on these points while your two hands are on the other points I am going to describe.

1. Lie on the floor with your knees bent. Place the knotted towel under your right shoulder blade. Then place your left foot on your right knee.
2. Make a fist with your left hand and place it under your back, under the right part of your waist.
3. With your right hand, hold your inner left thigh.
4. Hold this position for one to three minutes.

For more information on natural menopause relief, visit my Web site.

Acupressure for Menopause Relief

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 by Susan Lark
I hear from my patients time and time again how much acupressure helps to relieve their menopause symptoms. So this week I'd like to share a few more acupressure exercises for menopause relief--targeting problems like lack of sex drive and vaginal dryness/atrophy.

Vaginal dryness is a common menopause complaint. It can lead to painful sex and loss of sex drive. Try this acupressure exercise to help alleviate vaginal dryness/atrophy.

1. Sit on the floor with your knees bent.
2. Extend your right leg out in front of you. 
3. With your right hand, place your pointer and middle fingers in the middle of the sole of your foot. Hold this point for one to three minutes.
4. Do this same exercise with your left leg/foot. 

For more information on natural options for menopause relief, visit my Web site.

Hormone Replacement Therapy Settlement

Thursday, February 10, 2011 by Susan Lark
A while ago, I wrote about and linked to an article that discussed tactics Wyeth (a division of the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer) used to market its conventional hormone replacement therapy drug Prempro, even though executives were aware of the risks associated with hormone replacement, like breast cancer.

To follow up on this, yesterday, a report came out saying that Pfizer is paying $330 million to settle 2,200 claims from women who blamed Prempro for their breast cancer. This amounts to about $150,000 per person--WAY less than the costs they incurred during their cancer treatments, I'm sure.

I cannot reiterate enough the dangers associated with conventional hormone replacement. Protect your heart, protect your breasts, and protect your overall health by exploring the many natural therapies for hot flashes, night sweats, and other menopause symptoms that I discuss throughout my blog.

And for more information about natural menopause relief, visit my Web site.

Say No to Antidepressants for Hot Flashes

Tuesday, January 25, 2011 by Susan Lark
I've been seeing a lot of stories in the news lately touting the use of antidepressants for the treatment menopause hot flashes. A recently conducted study showed that taking the antidepressant Lexapro for eight weeks dropped the number of menopause hot flashes in women from about 10 a day to an average of just over five a day.

I find it troubling that antidepressants could now be the recommended treatment-du-jour for menopause hot flashes. A decade ago, conventional hormone replacement therapy was the standard treatment, and that supposedly "safe" protocol turned out to be an indescribable health disaster for millions of women. And it's well-known that antidepressants do have side effects, including weight gain, insomnia, and sexual dysfunction--which also happen to be common menopause symptoms, too! So, while you may have fewer hot flashes when taking an antidepressant, you will likely experience other unpleasant symptoms that could make other aspects of your life challenging.

I urge you to try one or more of the many NATURAL menopause hot flash solutions I have discussed throughout my blog, including black cohosh, soy, and vitamin E.

And to get more tips on menopause relief, visit my Web site.

Hormone Replacement Therapy: The Bad News Continues

Friday, October 22, 2010 by Susan Lark
Conventional hormone replacement therapy--specifically the brand Prempro--was in the news again this week. Follow-up studies published in the latest edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association have found that Prempro increased women's risk of breast cancer, and these cancers were more likely to spread to the lymph nodes. Even worse, researchers found that the women who took Prempro were more likely to die of breast cancer.

This is disturbing news indeed--but definitely not surprising at all. I've discussed the dangers of conventional hormone replacement therapy many times in my newsletter, and Kimberly and I have written about it here on my blog. If you are currently taking hormone replacement therapy to ease your hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and other menopause symptoms, I strongly encourage you to look into more natural methods for menopause relief. Simply search through this blog to read about the many safe, natural options available to you. And to learn more on how to achieve menopause relief safely and naturally, visit my Web site.

Red Light for Estrogen Dominance

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 by Susan Lark
I love red light therapy for a wide variety of conditions, including migraines, acute and chronic pain, fatigue, lymphedema, cancer, and the reduction of the appearance of scars.
Red light is absorbed into your body through your eyes and skin. When various wavelengths of red light penetrate into your body, they stimulate energy production in the cells' mitochondria--the energy-producing powerhouses of the cells. This enables the energy from food to be released and trapped as high-energy bonds called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is found in all of our cells and releases energy needed to fuel nearly all chemical reactions in the body. Thus, red light therapy helps your body create energy, vitality, and stamina so that every tissue and organ system works more efficiently.

If you suffer from estrogen dominance, the excess estrogen likely causes you to have a slower, more sluggish metabolism. You also might have excess weight, fluid retention, PMS symptoms, fibroids, and irregular periods. Red light therapy is very useful for estrogen dominance, due to its heating and contracting effects on the body that cause the heart and pulse to speed up and the body to get rid of excess fluids through urination. 

ne of my all-time favorite red light therapy devices is the X-Light the Chee Energy Company. Use as directed. And for more information on estrogen dominance and menopause relief, visit my Web site.

Acupuncture for Estrogen Dominance

Monday, September 13, 2010 by Susan Lark
I've written many times about acupressure for menopause relief and for balancing estrogen levels in women who have estrogen dominance. But acupressure's "cousin," acupuncture, is equally effective for these things--especially for estrogen dominance. 

According to a study from the Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics, acupuncture was highly effective in significantly reducing a wide variety of estrogen dominance and PMS symptoms, including anxiety, insomnia, headaches, nausea, and gastrointestinal complaints.

To find a skilled, certified acupuncturist, visit the Acufinder acupuncture referral service. And to learn more about how to naturally reduce menopause symptoms and balance estrogen levels, visit my Web site.

Yoga Help for Hot Flashes

Friday, September 10, 2010 by Kimberly Day
If you are looking for menopause relief, especially help for hot flashes and menopause-related anxiety, then the Pump exercise is just what the doctor ordered. This exercise also strengthens the back and abdominal muscles.
  • Lie down and press the small of your back into the floor. This allows you to use your abdominal muscles without straining your lower back.
  • Keep your back flat on the floor and let the rest of your body remain relaxed.
  • Slowly raise your right leg while breathing in. Make a conscious effort to move slowly. Imagine your leg is being pulled up smoothly by a spring.
  • Hold for a few breaths; exhale as you lower your leg.
  • Repeat this exercise on your left side.
  • Repeat entire sequence, alternating legs, 5–10 times.

For more information on female hormones and other health concerns, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

September is Menopause Awareness Month

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 by Susan Lark

Believe it or not, September has been named National Menopause Awareness Month!

While I can appreciate that medical professionals and national health organizations are addressing the very real effects of menopause that so many women deal with every day, the fact remains that menopause is not a disease. It is a very natural progression that occurs in every woman's life.  Yes, menopause symptoms can be difficult--and for some women, even unbearable--to live with. This is why I devote my practice, my supplement line, my newsletter and books, and even this blog to helping women find safe, effective, all-natural menopause relief every day. I hope I'm able to help you live the most vibrant life possible, and thanks for reading and supporting my efforts!

To learn more about menopause symptom relief, visit my Web site.

Understanding Yoga

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 by Kimberly Day
September is National Yoga Month, so to honor this amazing practice, I will feature a variety of yoga exercises and/or poses that help to ease a variety of health concerns.

Let’s start with a basic understanding of the different types of yoga you may see offered at your local gym or yoga studio.
  • Hatha—the basis for most other forms of yoga. It is usually slower and geared toward those new to the practice.
  • Iyengar—uses props, such as straps, blocks, blankets, etc.
  • Ashtanga—involves synchronizing breath with movement. It is usually a pretty quick-paced practice.
  • Anusara—built on impeccable alignment, which in turn helps develop the flexibility and muscle tone to support flawless body mechanics.
  • Bikram, or hot, yoga—the teacher turns up the heat up in the room during the practice.
  • Power yoga—more of a gym workout than a discipline. It's usually a combination of Ashtanga and Bikram yogas.

Depending on your hormone profile (i.e. do you have estrogen dominance, are you in premenopause, or do you suffer from menopause symptoms), you will want to choose your yoga practice carefully.

Women with estrogen dominance should opt for faster, hotter, more aerobic forms of yoga, such as ashtanga, bikram or hot yoga, and power yoga. Women looking for menopause relief are better suited to the slower, cooler forms like hatha, iyengar, and anusara yoga.

For more information on female hormones and other health concerns, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Dairy Affects Estrogen Levels

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 by Kimberly Day
Whether you have estrogen dominance or are looking for menopause relief, eliminating dairy can help.

Dairy products are one of the primary sources of food allergies in the standard American diet. Symptoms include fatigue, depression, bloating, intestinal gas, bowel changes, wheezing, nasal congestion, and frequent colds.

If you have estrogen dominance, dairy can also make your PMS symptoms worse, and weaken your adrenal glands over time, greatly increasing your susceptibility to stress. Also, the high saturated fat content of many dairy products is a risk factor for excess estrogen levels in the body. Unhealthy, anaerobic bacteria in the intestinal tract actually convert metabolites of estrogen into forms of free estrogen that can be reabsorbed from the digestive tract back into the body. This elevates your body’s estrogen levels, which can aggravate conditions such as fibroids and endometriosis.

Women suffering from menopause symptoms may also notice that dairy causes anxiety, irritability, depression or mood swings, insomnia, fatigue, dizziness, confusion and disorientation, headaches, and joint pain.

Even if you are not allergic to dairy products, they can be difficult for many women to digest. Plus, the artificial hormones, as well as the pesticides used in livestock feed, make cow’s milk an unhealthy choice.

For more information on foods that affect estrogen levels and other hormone issues, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Conventional Hormone Replacement Therapy and Strokes?

Saturday, August 21, 2010 by Susan Lark

Did you know that taking conventional hormone replacement therapy increases your risk for stroke?  In fact, preliminary studies show that in younger females, estrogen actually protects brain tissue traumatized by stroke, but after menopause estrogen becomes neurotoxic: It takes the area of the brain damaged by stroke and actually enlarges it.

It is important to remember that conventional hormone replacement therapy does not cure menopause symptoms, it only postpones them. For the majority of women, menopause symptoms come back when they discontinue hormone therapy, whether they quit cold-turkey or gradually wean off. But alternative therapies, such as supplements and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, actually target the causative hormonal imbalance, rather than the symptoms.

Review all my menopause-related entries in this blog, and my Web site, for more information about natural solutions for menopause relief.

Help for a Little-Discussed Effect of Menopause

Wednesday, August 18, 2010 by Susan Lark

Vaginal dryness and loss of tone in the vagina are some effects of menopause that many women don't like to take about. In fact, a reader of my newsletter recently wrote in asking for my opinions on vaginal rejuvenation, which is a procedure that surgically tightens up the vaginal muscles to enhance sexual pleasure.

It is true that vaginal muscles can become stretched after birthing babies, and also due to age and fluctuating estrogen levels. However, libido and sexual pleasure are influenced by many factors, not just the "tightness" of the vagina. If you feel you need to enhance your sexual pleasure, I suggest trying natural methods first before resorting to risky surgeries like vaginal rejuvenation.

Some of the best nutrients to try include Mucuna pruriens, a concentrated natural form of L-dopa (300 mg per day in capsule form, standardized to 60 mg L-dopa; L-arginine (500 mg one to three times daily); and maca (2 to 10 grams per day). 

To learn more about how to achieve menopause relief naturally, visit my Web site.

#3 Food for Menopause Relief

Friday, August 6, 2010 by Susan Lark
#3 Food for Menopause Relief: Fish and Flax

Fish and flax both contain high amounts of essential fatty acids (EFAs), particularly omega-3 EFAs.

Besides relieving tissue dryness, EFAs are also needed by the body as precursors for the production of important hormone-like chemicals called prostaglandins. The proper balance of prostaglandins can play a major role in relieving and preventing many diseases that occur in the postmenopausal years.

The healthiest types of fish to eat are salmon, trout, tuna, and mackerel. I also recommend using ground flaxseed (4-6 Tbsp. per day) on top of salads, in smoothies, or sprinkled over your meals.

For more information on diet and what foods provide the best menopause relief, visit my Website

Hormone Replacement Therapy Dangers

Friday, August 6, 2010 by Kimberly Day
Reports on the risks associated with conventional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) have filled medical journals for more than 20 years. There was clear evidence that conventional HRT use increased a woman’s risk for heart disease and breast cancer. And yet, many physicians were still insisting on prescribing conventional hormone replacement therapy. And many women were still taking it. But the summer of 2002 forever removed the curtain of doubt surrounding the dangers of HRT.

On July 17, 2002, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported on the findings from one part of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), an 8.5 year project funded by the National Institutes of Health. The WHI involved 161,809 postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 and 79, and outlined the benefits and risks of a variety of treatments designed to lower the incidences of several diseases, including heart disease, breast and colon cancer, and fractures in postmenopausal women. Of this group, 16,608 women who were healthy and had an intact uterus participated in one part of the WHI, which tested the effectiveness of estrogen/progestin therapy.

According to the findings, women taking estrogen/progestin for five years or more had an increased risk for blood clots, coronary heart disease (CHD), strokes, and breast cancer. The researchers concluded, "The results indicate that this regimen should not be initiated or continued for primary prevention of CHD."

The data indicated that if 10,000 women took the drugs for a year and 10,000 did not, women in the first group would have eight more cases of invasive breast cancer, seven more heart attacks, eight more strokes, and 18 more instances of blood clots.

In fact, researchers felt so strongly about the negative implications of long-term combined hormone replacement therapy, especially the unacceptably high risk for breast cancer, that they ended the study three years early! Participants were contacted and instructed to stop taking the drug—immediately.

The Research is Clear

The research leaves no room for doubt about conventional hormone replacement therapy and its negative effects on women’s health.
  • It does not reduce a woman's risk of heart disease. While it can improve HDL and LDL cholesterol levels, these improvements are not associated with fewer heart attacks or other heart problems.
  • It increases a woman’s risk of heart attack, stroke, and blood clots.
  • It does not reverse pre-existing heart disease.
  • It raises levels of C-reactive protein, an indicator of inflammation that is a strong predictor of a future heart attack.
  • It increases the risk of invasive breast cancer.
  • It increases the likelihood of an abnormal mammogram after just one year of use.
  • It increases risk of gallbladder disease by 40 percent.

Where Do We Go From Here?

While many physicians and researchers are still hoarding the "fool's gold" known as hormone replacement therapy, complementary medicine is busily mining the mother lode of real gold—and women are taking notice.

Large numbers of American women are either abandoning their hormone replacement therapy or deciding to never start taking it. Many are rejecting physicians unfamiliar with or unsympathetic to natural health supports. They are also realizing the power and wisdom of using natural medicines and herbal remedies for easing menopausal discomforts, and are very interested in natural solutions for heart disease and osteoporosis.

Before changing your hormone replacement therapy regimen, be sure to discuss your plans with your physician. Chances are, you will be able to eliminate your conventional hormone replacement therapy or dramatically reduce the dose you require for symptomatic relief. Either way, you win: Recent research indicates that breast cancer risk returns to normal within a few years of stopping HRT, and it's likely that lower-dose HRT has less of an adverse impact on estrogen-positive breast cancer risk.

For more information about hormone replacement therapy and for a variety of natural hormone replacement therapy options, visit Dr. Lark's Web site.