August 15, 2013

A Message for All Baby Boomer Women.

As I’ve been scrolling through piles of notes for countless interviews I’m conducting with several well-known professionals in the areas of women’s health, I find that this is a critical time for baby boomer women.

Women born between 1946-1964 are listening up to what their needs are, and more importantly, are doing something about it.

The change of life, or “shift,” as some call it, brings forth the most natural state of living ever thought possible. It’s not rocket science at all. It’s more of a whole body approach to living your best life, and making choices that reflect who you are. A baby boomer woman is now ready to live her most honest life based on all her own lifestyle choices.

“Women are getting naked,” as one hormone specialist recently said. Not in the physical sense, per se, but in allowing their truths to shine and just be real. The baby boomer years provide that feeling for all older women. It’s liberating at best.

Whether at the beginning stages of menopause and all the symptoms associated with this change in life, or several years past the discomfort of menopause, baby boomer women have been gracefully staking their claims in this world. There is no settling. It’s about time to uncover your own truth, and stop giving so much, despite being conditioned to that all your life. Menopause gives you that opportunity.

As silly as it seems to be dwelling on this phase in life, it’s even more alarming that some baby boomer women just aren’t getting it. All that alcohol, processed sugar, spicy foods, and caffeine will accelerate the aging process and send you running to your next Botox appointment. Over the course of the years it is apparent that these negative choices will add unnecessary years to your life and create more stress in the body. And, that is the bottom line (and the root) of all the irritability, insomnia, low libido, sweaty nights, and hot flashes—not paying attention to the stress factors affecting our lives.

The number one cause of unwanted menopausal symptoms is stress. Manage the stress, and your days of not desiring your partner can go bye-bye. Those high levels of stress are precursors to cancers as well. Breast and gallbladder cancer, even heart disease, rank high on the list for baby boomer women. Because the diet and exercise equation is so primary, it is crucial to explore the underlying causes first, before opting for synthetic drugs. The core issue lies in how much stress if affecting our lives.

I wrote an article last year on menopause and how it’s sort of a taboo subject to talk about. Well, that time has passed, and the reason is women are flocking to their physicians to understand what the heck is happening to their bodies. It is so individualized, that there is no one remedy for the masses. What I do know, and through my own investigative journalism (as some like to call it) is that the following supplements do help and are recommended:

1. Black Cohosh

This North American root of the black cohosh plant has been shown to alleviate so many symptoms of women going through menopause. Headaches, vaginal dryness, mood changes, night sweats, heart palpitations, hot flashes, sleep problems. Trust me, this is no picnic for the baby boomer woman, yet black cohosh can be a mild salvation.

2. Evening primrose oil

A plant native to Europe and North America. I actually had several of these beauties when I lived in Boulder, and didn’t think twice of the benefits at that time. But, I also wasn’t in my 50s, so simply fertilizing and watering the gorgeous flower sufficed at that time. Evening primrose is an omega-6 essential fatty acid that aids in breast health, menstrual cramps, and menopausal symptoms. For the estrogen-dominant baby boomer woman, evening primrose can be beneficial in alleviating the onset of breast cancer. Research is still out, but it’s certainly hopeful.

3. Rhodiola rosea

This plant grows in the colder regions of the world, such as the Arctic, Central Asia and North America. Taken in supplement form, it helps with mood swings, anxiety (keep that stress down!), bacterial infections, and treating cancer. Depression and fatigue rank highest on the list for reasons to take rhodiola, and baby boomer women know these symptoms all too well.

4. Siberian Ginseng 

Commonly referred to as Eleuthero, this herb combats lethargy, fatigue, and helps with stamina. And, we all understand how that can affect the “change of life.” This magical plant increases endurance and resilience to environmental stresses, and is available in tincture or pill form. Dr. Weil touts Siberian Ginseng as an excellent remedy for overall energy. In the case of baby boomer women, we are definitely in need of combating fatigue.

5. B Vitamins  

Everyday stress can contribute to midlife problems and deplete your body of various B Vitamins. The changes that your body are going through leave you feeling tired and somewhat irritable. B-complex to the rescue! The B Vitamins can boost your energy levels and have your body running efficiently. Understanding that the vitamins that are part of the B-complex are all necessary for converting carbohydrates, fats and proteins from your diet into forms of energy that your cells can use. Since the drop in your hormones (estrogen and progesterone) causes so many side effects, the B Vitamins can certainly help with forgetfulness and fatigue. As a baby boomer woman, remembering where I put things leaves me feeling somewhat frustrated and impatient.  But, taking a B-complex has seemingly helped with that dilemma.

This is a time in a woman’s life that can be so incredibly interesting. I say that with a bit of a smirk, as learning new approaches to dealing with changes in my own body has peaked my curiosity, as well as given me all sorts of reasons to express my new found excitement with what works and what doesn’t. The key is to know and trust your physician. They have your medical history, your family history, and will guide you into the best options for your own physical needs. Consult with them yearly, and your changing body will be in good hands.

Yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, cardiovascular activity (include impact and weighted movements for the bones) done on a weekly basis will be your salvation. I would even suggest, based on my conversations with alternative medical practitioners, that a few acupuncture sessions here and there will help tremendously with stress and other symptoms that might crop up during the baby boomer years.

As Dawn Cutillo, author of “The Hormone Shift” so eloquently stated “it’s almost like going back to nature. Lower the stress hormones and rearrange the progesterone, then everything balances out on their own”.

Makes sense to me.


references:  www.WebMd.com, www.mayoclinic.com, www.acog.org

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