Health, Naturally! – October 2015 – Sarah Greenhalgh
Rites of Passage
As you may be aware we have just experienced a total lunar eclipse also defined as a Super Moon as it was at its closest point to the earth. Some say that such eclipses are times of major shifts that bring endings to certain aspects of our lives, in preparation for new beginnings. A beautiful image that links well to the topic of the month –
Rites of Passage – Crossing a threshold that separates or distinguish boundaries, points of transformation in life where crises may occur. But such new beginnings are perceived by different societies in different ways, for our own peace of mind we need to embrace the challenge of exploring new horizons towards greater wisdom.
Described later as the mystical 12 but for now considering them on a physical level these stages are affected by hormones. From the stage of pubescence to motherhood and then menopause Lara Briden, a Naturopath has some illuminating tips on managing and balancing your hormones.
She explains that the road to progesterone is hard but exceptionally beneficial as it is your calming, soothing, happiness hormone. It acts like a neurotransmitter that promotes serenity and sleep. It boosts thyroid and metabolism. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and makes your hair grow thick and adds shine. The only way to make this hormone naturally is to ovulate every month or to be pregnant. The process of ovulation requires high energy and high amounts of nutrients including magnesium, selenium, iodine and zinc. Without a naturopath to guide you always consider types of food to boost your trace elements as too many supplements can be hazardous. As discussed previously, consider your stress levels too as this on a long term basis can cause a depletion in progesterone production.
In another article Lara picks up on Oestrogen and how advantageous it can be not to have too much of this hormone. It causes premenstrual irritability, suppressed thyroid function and an increased risk of breast cancer. Considerations that could lead to an overabundance include: a natural excess in early teenage years but this usually settles down within the first few, the hormonal birth control pill contains a form of oestrogen much stronger than the natural one made by the body.
In Perimenopausal women, the levels can swing erratically in both directions leading to hot flushes and insomnia due to a deficiency of oestrogen then breast pain and mood swings within only a few days where suddenly there is an excess. Progesterone helps to balance but at this stage its production is falling too. Lara recommends keeping a healthy body weight as within greater areas of adipose tissue an additional oestrogen hormone is produced; reduce alcohol to ensure natural detoxification of the hormone otherwise it can be reabsorbed back into circulation leading to a build-up. Fresh vegetables and an avoidance of inflammatory food such as diary can also help to keep the balance of hormones in check.
Change is the essence of life.
Be willing to surrender what you are
For what you could become. (Reinhold Niebuhr)
To menopause, this stage of life can be a source of enlightenment. Theorists have described a cycle with 12 points of focus within our physical and spiritual evolution including ‘Reconnection with the Feminine bringing ego redefinition and illumination, with a deep sense of your own truth, maturity and refinement from around mid-forties’. Dr Spiezia from Inlight Organics describes how it is important for women to understand and accept this rite of passage as they move from a state of giving out (looking after the needs of others) to one of looking inwards in rediscovering their own needs and true self.
Finally back to a highly recommended new form of help to recapture your ‘va-va vroom’ during menopause; naturally. A writer, Jeanette Winterson wrote in the Guardian about finding Dr Marion Gluck a world pioneer in the prescription and preparation of Bio-identical hormone treatment for women and men.
Gluck explained that for women the ratio of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone is crucial – but that ratio changes as we do, according to our age and fertility. “Women didn’t used to live much past the menopause – let alone be starting an active and productive second life, as many women do once their children are grown-up. We are asking a huge amount of our bodies, even when they are perfectly well.”
Jeanette was put on a low dose of all three hormones and found dramatic changes within a few weeks. Her blood test just before writing the article, showed her hormones were fluctuating within an optimum range and she was feeling at home in her body once more.