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A Positive Change! Research on Menopause -- Part Two

Copyright © 1997 by The Family - June 1997


Understanding Menopause!       2
       Hot Flashes       2
       Note from Mama: Remember to Take It to the Lord in Prayer!       3
       Irregular Bleeding       5
       Vaginal Dryness       7
       Weight Gain and Changes in Body Shape       8
       Changes in Skin and Hair       8
       Sleeplessness       9
       Mood Swings and Depression       11
       A Note about the Adrenals       12
       Osteoporosis       13
       Conception During Menopause       14
       Sex after Menopause       14
       Note from Mama: On Enjoying Sex!       15
Menopause in the News       17
       Natural Ways to Help Menopausal Women       17
       Menopause       17
       About the History of Hormone Replacement Therapy       19
       Estrogen Dilemma       19
       The Big Pro: Estrogen and Sex       20
       Soy Be It! -- The Beans-menopause Connection       22
       Info on Natural Progesterone       22
What about Natural Forms of Estrogen and Progesterone? (Prophecy)       23

Dear Family,
       God bless you! In the first FSM on menopause (FSM 314), we shared some longer System articles with general, basic facts and recommendations. In this issue are bits and pieces of information gathered from pamphlets and books sent to WS, and compiled by topic. Although some of it is duplication, we found it interesting and helpful to see how numerous authors write about menopause -- with a consensus on some points, and differences on other points.
       Thank the Lord we have His guidance and His personal loving voice to help each of us know how to approach this stage of life, and what will help each of us the most. Best of all, we have His healing touch, His comfort, and the strength that His love gives! Please don't forget to read and study the menopause prophecies in GN 738 and 739 -- His Word for you! God bless you!
       Love, Your WS Family

Understanding Menopause!
From Midlife: Developmental and Clinical Issues, Brunner/Mazel, New York
       Menopause is said to cause so many problems for women at midlife that its advent is universally dreaded. Latest studies indicate, however, that menopause has been much maligned. Menopause is not a contributing factor to many of the common mid-life dysfunctions, reveals a survey of women between the ages of 43 and 53.
       True, menopause can be a difficult time. It's a particularly troublesome time for women with low self-esteem. It is an undeniable sign of aging in a culture in which the young are held in high regard. But the anticipation of menopause has proven to be more destructive than the experience. Most postmenopausal women agree that the condition is controllable. That's especially so for those who have supportive families and friends. ({\ul \i Note from Chloe}: Thank the Lord for the support of our wonderful Family! I found that it was humbling to ask for prayer for menopause problems, but when I did, the Lord came through and relieved them, plus others were also then aware of what I was going through, which was a blessing. While in the System most people turn to a mate or husband for needed support, as a single person in the Family, I could always find someone to pray for me, which made me so thankful for my sweet brothers and sisters.)

From Menopause*
       * We apologize for incomplete source listings in some of the following excerpts.

       It was once believed that hot flashes were caused by psychological factors. We now know that they are triggered by the same pituitary hormones that send signals to the ovaries. The hot flashes occur because the pituitary gland begins to put out large amounts of hormones in an attempt to get the ovaries to make more estrogen. The pituitary tends to release hormones in intermittent "bursts" instead of an even flow. The hot flashes happen after these bursts.
       Hot flashes may be one of the first menopausal symptoms a woman notices. They can occur even before periods stop, because the production of estrogen at this time can be very erratic, and the level of the estrogen in the bloodstream may intermittently fall to low levels.
       Hot flashes are not themselves dangerous in any way. But their repeated occurrence during the day can interfere with a woman's comfort and confidence, and they can be a serious cause of sleep disturbance at night. The chronic loss of sleep that results from repeated hot flashes at night can result in severe fatigue, difficulty in concentrating, and irritability the following day.

* * *

Note from Mama: Remember to Take It to the Lord in Prayer!

       When it seems that you may be experiencing menopause symptoms, and you feel more tired, drained, moody, or the changes in your body are otherwise difficult, it's very good to ask for prayer, as the Lord can help make things go so much better. Of course, it's all in His hands, and if, in His love, He is working in our lives and knows that we need to experience the symptoms for one reason or another, then that's up to Him; He knows best. But if we pray, He can certainly diminish any troublesome symptoms, and/or make them easier to bear. Women have testified how, after we put them on the prayer list for menopause symptoms, the Lord lightened their hot flashes, mood swings, or sleeping problems. We always have His healing touch, and even if the symptoms continue for some reason after we've prayed, we can have the comfort of knowing He is right there with us, holding us in His arms, and giving us His love and help through it all.

* * *

From Change of Life
       Some women note a feeling of suffocation or shortness of breath when they are having a flash. They may also experience one or more of the following: palpitations, nausea, weakness, fatigue, dizziness, headaches, formication (a feeling that insects are crawling across your skin) and numbness or tingling in the fingers or toes.
       Palpitations are probably the most alarming symptom. A woman's heart may pound so violently that she is sure she is having a heart attack. If you experience palpitations with hot flashes it is probably nothing to worry about. You may consult with your doctor to rule out circulatory problems. And you might also benefit from cutting down or eliminating stimulants such as coffee, tea, caffeinated soft drinks, and chocolate.

Everyone Is Different
From Change of Life
       It's impossible to predict whether or not a woman will have hot flashes, or if she does, how mild or severe they may be.
       "One of my co-workers had the hot flashes terribly. She said to me, `Wait till you have to go through it.' I was horrified at the thought. But when I got the flashes, they were really very mild. They lasted two years and then were over. I guess everyone is different, and you can't let other people's stories frighten you." -- Age fifty-four.
       "I get warm, but not soaked. Sometimes I'm not even sure if I'm really having one or not. Occasionally, I'm a little warm in the middle of the night. By nature I'm always cold -- with icy feet and hands -- so this is new to me." -- Age fifty-five.
       "I can just be sitting there and it happens all of a sudden. The heat rises from my neck up. I never feel dizzy or have palpitations. For three years I had them about ten times a day. I would wake up nights and pull my covers off and then pull them back on again five minutes later. Insomnia was never any problem. The flashes seemed to come in cycles. I sometimes went weeks without, then I'd get them ten times a day a few days in a row. It was uncomfortable, but no great bother. I'm almost completely through with them now. I still get one occasionally." -- Age fifty-five.

Some Simple Remedies to Control the Discomfort of Hot Flashes

From The Practical Encyclopedia of Natural Healing
       According to Rosetta Reitz, author of Menopause -- A Positive Approach (Penguin Books, 1979) hot flashes can be greatly helped by supplemental vitamin E. In the course of putting her book together, Ms. Reitz talked to hundreds of women about menopause. "Many women," she writes, "have found relief in two days from taking 800 IU of vitamin E complex, also known as mixed tocopherols. I have seen flashes disappear completely when the vitamin E is also accompanied by 2,000 to 3,000 milligrams of vitamin C (taken at intervals throughout the day) and with 1,000 milligrams (also at intervals) of calcium. When the flashes have subsided, usually after a week, the women reduce the vitamin E intake to 400 IU."

From Homemakers, May 1993
       Vitamin E: Start with 400 IUs daily. You can increase the dosage up to 1,600 IUs. Take it at whatever time of day suits you. Don't use vitamin E if you have high blood pressure.

From Dealing with the Discomforts of Menopause, Tribune Media Services, Inc., 1993
       [EDITED: "To alleviate hot flashes without hormone replacement therapy"] you might try increasing the amount of activity in your life (some people call it exercise). Menopausal women who are physically active complain of severe hot flashes only about half as often as women who are less energetic.
       Be aware that not all flushing may be the result of your menopause. It is easy to point the finger of suspicion at mid-life hormonal changes when you have reached the age of menopause. But in some cases the flushes are the result of foods, nitrites or even a modest intake of alcohol. By keeping track of the events that immediately precede your episodes of flushing, a pattern may be seen that could be the indication that other factors are at work, that require change to reduce your discomfort.

From Menopause
       * A cold drink is helpful at the first sign of a flush. For night sweats, keep a thermos of ice water or an ice pack handy.

       * A hand fan is easily carried for use as an instant "cooler."
       * A cool shower at bedtime can help prevent night sweats.
       * Cotton sheets and cotton lingerie breathe and allow perspiration to escape.
       * Dress in layers so you can remove clothing discreetly.
       * Try to avoid situations that produce hot flashes. These include tense situations, hot weather sunning, spicy foods, gulping your meals, or alcoholic beverages.
       * Keep your weight down; slender women seem to have a little less trouble with hot flashes. ({\ul \i Note from Chloe}: You may recall that an earlier source said thin women may have more trouble with hot flashes, so here is an example of a divergence of opinion by the experts. But apparently both these conclusions were drawn from observations and anecdotal evidence so there is no way to say who is right and who is wrong. There is a reason why women with a little fat on them might not experience as severe symptoms: Fat cells produce and store a hormone that is {\ul \i simila}r to estrogen. Therefore women with a little fat on their bones have benefits of similar to added estrogen. -- Finally a good use for fat! However, if overweight, the good effects may be lost as general health can decline, and therefore the body's ability to cope with a hot flash can be lessened.)
       * Exercising regularly and keeping yourself in excellent physical condition may help you weather the hot flashes better. From regular vigorous exercise your body learns to cope with heat.

From Change of Life
       * Some feel prompt relief when they cool their cheeks off. Splash cool water on your face or dip a cloth into cold water and apply.
       * Cool, moving air on your skin can also bring relief. Try to position yourself near a window or vent so that you can cool yourself off quickly.
       * Above all, try to remain calm. Try not to get excited, as anything that makes your temperature go up will increase the hot flash.

From Menopause
       Menstrual periods begin to take on many different patterns around the time of menopause, because the amount of estrogen produced by the ovaries can fluctuate significantly. Also, ovulation no longer occurs as regularly as before. As a result, the periods may be closer together or further apart, heavier or lighter, longer or shorter. One or more periods may be skipped.
       The level of estrogen may fall gradually, rapidly, or intermittently. If the estrogen level is erratic, there will be erratic bleeding. A large supply of estrogen will cause continuous or heavy bleeding.
       Lack of ovulation is another normal cause of irregular periods. This, too, can result in heavier bleeding than normal, since progesterone is no longer present to temper the effect of estrogen on the lining of the uterus.
       In many women, as ovulation becomes erratic, the length of the menstrual cycle changes. In some, it shortens to a pattern of twenty-one-day cycles, while in others the period may be thirty-five to forty days apart. Many women start to spot before or after each period. The overwhelming majority of these changes are normal responses to the hormonal changes that are taking place at this time and require no [EDITED: "medical"] treatment.
       Treatment may be necessary if the bleeding is extremely heavy or if the spotting occurs unpredictably between periods or persists for a long time. Though rare, inflammation, tumors, and other disorders can cause abnormal bleeding.

From Menopause Naturally, by Sadja Greenwood, M.D.
       By far the most common cause of irregular heavy bleeding among women in their late 40s is lack of ovulation and a resultant hormonal imbalance. When this situation occurs, the cause is usually the production of too much estrogen and too little progesterone. There are various reasons for the problem, including the natural process of aging. However, frequently factors such as excessive stress can make the situation worse.

From Homemakers
       [EDITED: "For heavy bleeding"] add iron-rich foods such as dark green vegetables, fish and chicken to your diet. Increase your intake of bioflavonoids. These substances, which are found in the inner skin of citrus fruits and in vegetables, facilitate the absorption of vitamin C and increase the strength of tiny blood vessels. An over-the-counter anti-inflammatory, such as Motrin, helps, as do antihistamines.

So Many Causes
From Women's Encyclopedia of Health and Emotional Healing by Denis Foley, Eileen Nechas, and the editors of Prevention Magazine.
       There are two groups of women who can almost expect to experience irregular periods -- young girls who are just starting to menstruate, and women approaching menopause. In both cases, the menstrual irregularities are usually related to ovulation, which may itself be irregular. "These are women at opposite ends of the spectrum of reproductive life," says Dr. Jill Rabin. "A young girl's ovaries are just starting to produce a mature egg each month. At that time, you may not ovulate every month so you may not have a period (ovulatory cycle) every month, or they may be irregular. You may not have regular periods when you don't have regular ovulation, which is true in the beginning and at the end of reproductive life."
       It's important, however, to see your doctor if your periods are absent, infrequent, particularly painful or accompanied by excessive bleeding. "Irregular periods or abnormal vaginal bleeding can be a sign of cancer of the lining of the uterus or the ovaries, and this becomes more worrisome as the woman gets older because the incidence of cancer increases with age," says Dr. Rabin.
       ({\ul \i Editor's note}: Some women in the Family have skipped periods when they move into a new Home or field, or when they experience an emotionally trying time. And if you approach the age of menopause, it is normal to skip periods, because your body is beginning to stop the entire process. Excessive bleeding or unusual pain can sometimes be a signal of something worse, but whatever your situation, hearing from the Lord will show you whether or not to consult a doctor for these irregularities. See "When Problems Become Serious," GN 739, ML #3128, par.44-50.)
       ({\ul \i Note from Chloe}: When I began to skip periods, I was relieved, because it confirmed to me that my hot flashes and night sweats were because of menopause. I began to make a chart of each month, showing whether I had a period and whether it was normal, heavy, light, or just spotting. Some months I experienced a normal period, then a week of spotting afterwards! Other months I had only three days of a light stain. After about three years of irregularities -- skipping sometimes and sometimes not, sometimes heavy bleeding, sometimes light -- my periods stopped altogether; I have now not had a period for a year and a half. Keeping a chart was a help to me, as it made me feel like I was getting somewhere. With each month I felt that I was closer to the completion of the process, plus I could keep track of excessive bleeding or any other problems.)
       There are other causes of abnormal bleeding as well. Fibroid tumors can cause abnormal vaginal bleeding -- particularly excessive bleeding -- as can benign ovarian masses or other benign problems in the lining of the uterus. Adenomyosis, which is the growth of endometrial tissue into the uterine wall, can cause excessive bleeding and is most often seen in women in their forties. Endometriosis can cause heavy bleeding as well as bleeding between ovulation and menstruation. You can have abnormal bleeding if you have a polyp in the uterus or cervix. Those are all functional problems, says Dr. Rabin.
       You also can have dysfunctional bleeding and irregular ovulation due to a problem that's not related to the reproductive system, says Dr. Rabin. Thyroid problems, diabetes and blood ailments such as sickle-cell anaemia and haemophilia can cause irregular menstrual bleeding. Hormone imbalances, which can have many causes, including pituitary tumors, can interfere with ovulation and cause excessive or irregular bleeding.
       Treatment varies according to the problem. There are a number of drugs, including hormone-based drugs such as oral contraceptives and antiprostaglandins, that can cut down on excessive blood flow. Oral contraceptives are often prescribed to regulate the menstrual cycle. Drugs that shrink fibroid tumors or surgery that either removes the tumors or the uterus (hysterectomy) will also relieve heavy menstrual bleeding if it's caused by uterine growths.
       One of the things your doctor will want to rule out -- especially if you have missed one period or more or have irregular ones -- is pregnancy, especially ectopic pregnancy, in which a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, a condition that can threaten both your fertility and your life. Abdominal pain is one of the early signs of ectopic pregnancy and should receive medical attention.

From Menopause, by Ciba
       A lack of estrogen causes the cervix to decrease in size and reduces the secretion of cervical mucus. As a result, the inner lining of the vagina may become dry and very thin, causing irritation, burning, and itching. Women often become limited in their sexual activity, not by their desires, but by the fact that the vagina is so dry and so irritated that sexual intercourse becomes painful and difficult.

From Menopause
       Studies show that 35% of all women suffer from this problem after menopause. Symptoms include itching and irritation, vaginal infections, pain during intercourse, and a sense of chronic discomfort even when not sexually active.
       Vaginal dryness is also related to estrogen deficiency. When estrogen levels remain low for prolonged periods of time, the blood flow to the vagina decreases, and vaginal tissues may become thinner, drier, and more susceptible to injury or infection. If this happens, sexual intercourse can cause discomfort and minor bleeding or spotting.
       There are simple, non-medical measures that can reduce the problems associated with vaginal dryness:
       * Avoid irritating drying soaps, bubble-bath preparations, and fragranced items in your bath water.

       * Wear loose-fitting clothing around your crotch.
       * Avoid douching unless required as treatment for infection.
       * Engage in adequate foreplay prior to intercourse to increase vaginal secretions.
       If necessary, use water-soluble jelly on the outside and inside of your vagina to combat dryness and to make sexual intercourse more pleasant.

From Homemakers
       Here are some natural remedies Dr. Carolyn DeMarco [EDITED: "author of Take Charge of Your Body"] recommends to alleviate symptoms of vaginal dryness:
       * Vitamin E: Use the same dosage as suggested for hot flashes (don't double the dose for two symptoms).

       * Vitamin C: Take 500 to 1,000 mg. three times daily.
       * Vitamin E or castor oil and vitamin E oil mixed. Insert in the vagina with an eye dropper or apply by hand.
       * Regular sex or masturbation.

From Menopause
       Some women assume they will gain weight after menopause. The tendency to gain weight is real, but it has nothing to do with menopause, and it affects men as well as women. As each year goes by, your metabolism slows slightly and your body burns fewer calories each day. If you continue to eat the same number of calories in the future as you ate in the past, you cannot help but gain weight.
       The problem of weight gain is made to appear worse than it really is because as estrogen levels decline, the body fat tends to shift slightly, from the breasts and hips to the abdomen and buttocks. These shifts in fat deposits tend to change the shape of your body away from the hourglass figure that our society has incorrectly associated with being feminine.
       You can overcome the problem of weight gain by eating more carefully and increasing your level of physical activity. Menopause is also a good time to redefine your values with respect to body shape and appearance, and to stop using unrealistic standards set by others. You must not allow yourself to be evaluated on such superficial qualities as your weight or your shape. If you allow these superficial measures to determine your self-worth, you are doomed to face a decline in self-worth at a time when, ironically, you truly approach your peak of maturity and experience.

From Menopause
       Changes in the skin mirror changes elsewhere in the body. The skin loses some of its elasticity; it becomes thinner, drier, paler; and dark spots begin to appear. To some extent, these changes are the normal consequences of aging and affect men as well as women.
       But the lowering of estrogen levels aggravates the problem further in women. Following are some things you can do to prevent wrinkling and drying of your skin and to slow the aging process:
       * Avoid weight fluctuations.

       * Avoid excessive sun exposure.
       * Use non-drying soaps.
       * Use moisturizers liberally.
       Generalized thinning of hair is another common mid-life change that is, at least in part, related to decreasing estrogen levels. Many women also notice an increase in body and facial hair. This occurs because estrogen is no longer present to counteract the effects of the small amounts of male-type hormones that are normally present in women throughout life.
       Following are simple things you can do to minimize the effect of aging and estrogen deficiency on hair:
       * Style your hair in ways that make it appear thicker than it really is.

       * Pluck stray hairs that appear around your face and neck.
       * If you have excessive hair on your upper lip, bleach it or use wax to remove it.

From Change of Life
       Don't get riled just because you get less than eight hours of sleep a night. Eight hours is an ideal figure. Some people do very nicely on four hours a night, while others feel groggy when they get fewer than nine. The key is not how many hours you sleep, but how you feel the next day.
       Recognize, too, that the amount and quality of sleep changes as we age. A newborn baby may sleep as many as fourteen to eighteen hours a day, but adults usually need no more than seven or eight hours. As we continue to age, our need for sleep decreases even further. Beginning at about 50, the sleep we do get is lighter than it was before.
       Sleep needs also change according to our physical health and mental outlook. We need less sleep when we are feeling fit and happy, but more during times of illness or distress.
       If you don't sleep well for a night or two, you'll be none the worse for wear in the long run. Observations of people who voluntarily stayed awake for several nights in a row show that one night of sound sleep can make up for the most severe sleep deprivation.
       The following tips should prove helpful in coping with insomnia:

       * Leave your worries outside of the bedroom door. Worries make poor bed companions. If you have pressing problems, set aside time earlier to think about them. The hour before bedtime should be reserved for unwinding. Soak in a hot bathtub, listen to soft music, read, or watch a relaxing program. Avoid activity that is unpleasant or overly stimulating.

       * Make sleep conditions comfortable. If you've got a dripping faucet that's driving you crazy, or the street lamp outside glares in your eyes each time you roll over to your right side, do something about it. If you can't change the environment, then ear plugs or eye masks may prove helpful. Sleep on a firm, comfortable mattress, and keep room temperature comfortably cool (between 62 and 66 degrees Fahrenheit, or 17 to 19 degrees Centigrade).

       * Try to consciously perform a set series of bedtime rituals each night. This will condition your body to sleep. Most people perform such rituals automatically, when they brush their teeth, set the clock, shut off the lights and pull down the covers.

       * Get sufficient exercise. Daily exercise makes for deeper sleep and gets rid of excess tension. The best time to exercise is in the afternoon or early evening. Early morning exercise gives your body too much time to bounce back and won't improve your sleep. Exercising too close to bedtime can be over-stimulating. The exceptions to this rule are lovemaking and masturbation, which seem to relieve tension and promote sleep.

       * Avoid evening stimulants. Some people develop an increased sensitivity to caffeine as they grow older. If you are having problems with insomnia, it's best to avoid caffeine-containing substances, especially during late afternoon and early evening hours. This includes coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate, and many soft drinks. Try substituting decaffeinated coffee or grain beverages, herbal teas, or carob products.

       * Try some sensible sleep remedies. An occasional glass of wine may help put you to sleep. In the long run, however, alcohol is a poor nightcap. Alcohol suppresses REM and delta sleep (the deeper, more rejuvenating sleep stages), so alcohol-induced slumber tends to be lighter and less refreshing. As with alcohol, sleep resulting from pills is lighter and more fragmented than normal, and may leave you groggy in the morning. With regular use, the body becomes dependent upon the pills, which are only effective for a short while and then the dosage has to be upped in order to get the same effect. If they are stopped, withdrawal effects may include sleeplessness, irritability, anxiety and vivid nightmares.
       Try topping the evening off with a glass of warm milk, which contains tryptophan -- a naturally occurring amino acid that induces sleep. Tryptophan is also found in meat, poultry, soybeans and dairy products, which explains why people so often feel sleepy after a large meal.
       A hot cup of herbal tea can be soothing before bedtime. Herbs such as chamomile, scullcap, valerian root, hops and passion flower are especially good for calming the nerves. Some women find peppermint tea to be relaxing. The smell of the herb hops can be sleep-inducing, and some can be tucked inside your pillow for a calmative effect.
       Have a cracker or slice of cheese with your milk or herbal tea. A light snack at bedtime seems to encourage sound sleep.

       * Use your bed for sleeping only. Activities that should be reserved for the bedroom are sleep and sex, not unpleasant or other stimulating activities.

       * Keep sleep habits regular. The longer the time interval before you go to bed, the easier it is to fall asleep. If you have a problem with insomnia, it's best to avoid daytime naps. ({\ul \i Editor's note}: On the other hand, some doctors recommend a daytime nap, if you find that you can't stay asleep for long periods of time at night. This wouldn't work well for outreachers or others who are out all day. Again, the solution depends on what fits with your ministry and your Home schedule. And it's wonderful that we can ask the Lord for His personal specific guidance on what to do when we're losing sleep at night.)
       Set your alarm clock for the same time each day, seven days a week, to help your body learn to feel tired at about the same time each night. And don't go to bed until you're really sleepy. Trying to sleep when your body is in full gear will only heighten your anxiety at bedtime.

       * If you're having trouble sleeping ... give yourself fifteen to twenty minutes to fall asleep. If this seems futile, get up and out of the bedroom and perform some low-keyed activity. Return to bed only when you feel sleepy, and repeat this procedure as many times as necessary.
       If you awaken in the night, try not to rouse yourself too much. In the case of night sweats, keep a fresh nightie at hand's reach so that you may change in the dark without having to get out of bed. Take a mental inventory of your muscles from toe to head, telling yourself that they are warm, heavy and so deeply relaxed that you cannot even move them. "I keep my clock facing to the wall," says one woman who has had a bout with night wakings. "That way I'm not tempted to glance at the clock and upset myself by seeing what time it is." If you do awaken fully and stay awake longer than fifteen or twenty minutes, go into another room and do some non-stimulating activity until you feel sleepy.
       ({\ul \i Note from Chloe}: I was getting desperate after experiencing hours of wakefulness night after night when it finally dawned on me that those times could be a wonderful opportunity to catch up on time with the Lord, and let Him speak to me through His Word or in His personal, loving whispers. When I looked at the wakeful periods positively, it changed them from being upsetting and draining, to being beautiful quiet times of reflection and fellowship with the Lord. I still pray to be able to have good rest, in order to prevent getting rundown, but when I am having sleep problems, I find it much easier to get back to sleep if I can relax and use the time awake positively. It was during these times awake in the night, in the still and quiet, that I began to use the gift of prophecy much more than I had before, and to hear from the Lord about specifics and personal situations, which was very encouraging.)
       Early risers sometimes confuse a decreased need for sleep with insomnia. If after five or six hours of sleep you awaken, rarin' to go, then that's probably all the sleep your body needs. There's no reason to continue lying there, forcing yourself to get extra hours of sleep. Instead, get up and start the day.
       Try not to worry yourself sick over lack of sleep. Your body knows when it's tired and will naturally give itself up to rest when you need it. No permanent harm will come to you from several nights of disturbed slumber.

From Managing Menopause by Earl Plunkett, M.D., and Charles Gold, M.D.
       Because menopausal symptoms often occur in combination, psychological reactions may be difficult to define. For example, if night sweats or frequent urination are keeping you awake, you will naturally complain of chronic fatigue and may become irritable.
       Actually, you are more likely to experience tiredness, nervousness, headaches, and depression before menopause, during the time when menstrual periods first become irregular. These changes seem to be a result of a general hormonal imbalance. After actual menopause some women report different complaints -- hot flashes, perspiration, insomnia, palpitations, and dizziness.

From The Mayo Clinic Family Health Book, IVI Publishing, Inc., 1993
       A small percentage of women develop emotional problems during menopause that seem to be linked to hormonal changes. However, the connection is difficult to prove or disprove because mid-life can be a difficult time for both women and men - children leave home; a spouse may die; parents may be in poor health or may die; it becomes harder to find a job. Any of these changes could trigger the kind of depression and anxiety that sometimes are associated with menopause.
       On the other hand, menopause can sometimes affect your physical and mental health in positive ways. For instance, if you have endometriosis [EDITED: "a condition that can cause painful periods"], the symptoms may disappear after menopause, and fibroids [EDITED: "benign tumors, usually in the uterus"] usually shrink. In addition, you no longer need to worry about becoming pregnant.

From "Ups and Downs during Menopause," Swiss Nature Doctor
       During the time of change of life practically every woman suffers to a certain degree from ebullition (boiling or turbulent emotions). At times a woman may be affected so strongly that her nerves and emotions are totally upset. It is important to take good care of the body during menopause. Excellent results are obtained by exercising regularly out of doors; activities such as hiking and the practice of taking deep breaths of fresh air are very beneficial.
       Certain physical applications may also contribute to improving the condition, namely, daily brush massages of stomach, back and legs and bi-weekly hip-baths with hay flower added to the water. Over-exerting oneself physically, as well as occupational strain should be avoided at all costs. In addition, one must learn to get along without coffee, tea, and alcoholic drinks.
       These precautionary measures make it easier to sleep at night and help to improve the overall condition.

From Homemakers
       Following are some natural remedies for mood swings, irritability and insomnia:
       Mega B-50 capsules: Take one or two with breakfast and one or two more with lunch, depending on how stressed you feel. Never take Mega B-50 at bedtime; it will keep you awake.
       Calcium/magnesium capsules: Take 500 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium and 500 to 800 milligrams of magnesium at bedtime on an empty stomach. Take the low-end dose if your diet is excellent and not too high in protein. If you have a poor diet or one that's high in protein, take the high-end dose. The capsules have a calming effect and will help you to sleep.
       Vitamin C: Take a capsule of 500 to 1,000 milligrams three times a day.
       Exercise is a great stress reducer.
       Avoid cigarettes, coffee, and excess alcohol. Also avoid sugar and junk food; they elevate your blood sugar level and you'll feel miserable when it comes down.
       Dr. Carolyn DeMarco says this is a time to pay a lot more attention to yourself. Read about menopause. Join a support group. Talk to other women. Allow yourself the time to unwind. Lower your risk of heart disease and osteoporosis by eating properly and exercising regularly. Be good to yourself.
       ({\ul \i Editor's note}: Don't forget to read the Lord's wonderful counsel about mood swings and depression in GN 738, ML #3127, par.63-87, and GN 739, ML #3128, par.18-34.)

* * *

A Note about the Adrenals [DELETED]
       Throughout life our adrenal glands help us cope with stress and maintain our resistance to disease. As estrogen from our ovaries begins to decline, our adrenal glands gradually take over until they become our major source of estrogen after menopause. This is accomplished by converting a secretion called "androstenedione" into "estrone" (a non-ovarian type of estrogen) in our blood and body fat. Exercising speeds this conversion process, and having a little fat on our bones makes it easier. While all living is stressful, we can make the adrenals' job easier by eating a healthy diet (including enough Vitamins C and B) and getting adequate exercise and rest. Also, you may want to try relaxation practices and other ways of minimizing the effects of stress.
       At this time in our lives, comfortable habits such as drinking coffee and alcohol and eating sweets may actually become additional stresses on the adrenals, especially since the protection once provided by ovarian estrogen to heart, digestive organs, lungs, bones, and skin must now come from the adrenals.
              -- From Before Menopause

       Modern high-speed lifestyles bombard the adrenals with constant stimulation, which puts more demand on them than in simpler, slower-paced times. Adrenal dysfunction can lead to a number of conditions described by women as being part of their menopausal experience, including depression, fatigue, circulatory imbalance (hot flashes), chills and flushing, abnormal perspiration, unpredictable mood swings, dry mouth, irritability, temporary hypertension (high blood pressure) and internal nervousness or tremors.
       Stressed adrenals can also play a role in the early morning sleep disturbances so many women experience during menopause. The adrenals may become hypersensitive to sound and react by sending a rush of adrenaline into the bloodstream in response to noises you are not even consciously aware of, such as birds beginning to sing, traffic starting up on the street, or a partner's snoring that you used to sleep through with ease.
       Once this cycle begins, these glands tend to overreact to even quieter sounds with additional bursts of adrenaline. This process may then incite the hypothalamus and trigger night sweats, disrupting sleep even further. Wearing foam earplugs to eliminate outside noises can reduce this response. A sleeping mask that blocks out light may also prove to be helpful.
       The average diet, which is high in refined sugars, stresses and weakens the adrenals further by requiring them to continually be activated to secrete a hormone which is necessary to convert the storage sugar, glycogen, into glucose, for fuel. A low-fat, high complex carbohydrate diet is recommended.
       Eliminating cookies, soft drinks, candy and cakes is another way of nurturing your adrenals. Stimulants including coffee, teas containing caffeine, chocolate, and alcohol need to be decreased or eliminated, as they create significant stress on the adrenal and pituitary glands, leading to more frequent and intense hot flashes, nervousness, and insomnia.
              -- From Menopause -- A Hot Subject, by Merri Lu Park

* * *

From Managing Menopause by Plunkett and Gold
       The medical name for this condition simply means porous bones, the result of a slow, insidious loss of calcium, the mineral responsible for strong bones. The term refers to the gradual thinning and porosity of bones that occur naturally in the aging process. Your bones reach their maximum strength at age 35. Everyone, male and female, experiences bone loss to some degree.
       After menopause the average North American woman will probably lose an inch and a half in height for each decade as the result of vertebral collapse. Women who run the highest risks are those who are thin, Caucasian or Oriental, have small frames, don't exercise, smoke cigarettes, and have a family history of osteoporosis.
       Both men and women lose bone mass as they get older, but the difference between them is the rate and amount of loss. By the time an average woman is 80 she will experience a 47% bone loss, compared with a man's loss of 14%. This is why when elderly people fall they often hurt themselves seriously.
       Although an essential nutrient, calcium is not popular in our diet. Dairy products including milk and cheese are a prime source of calcium, but some fad diets lead women to believe, erroneously, that all milk products are fattening. Studies show that even teenagers are deficient in calcium.
       A good guideline for adult women who are not pregnant is 700 mg of calcium daily, the equivalent of 2 and 1/2 cups of milk. But recent research has shown that not even this amount is enough to prevent bone loss. You should be consuming a daily minimum of 1,000 mg before menopause and at least 1,200 after. Most women consume only about 600 mg daily.
       Good sources of calcium are milk, yogurt, cheese and dark green vegetables such as broccoli. Aside from general healthful eating and living, exercise is the only way for you to significantly increase bone mass. Just as with muscles, stress on bones strengthens them. Studies have shown that women who exercised for one hour three times a week gained body calcium, while women who were inactive lost calcium.

From Menopause by Ciba
       To help maintain a healthy body -- one capable of easing the discomfort of menopause and the post-menopausal years -- women of all ages are encouraged to eat a well-balanced diet that is rich in calcium, enjoy a moderate amount of sunshine, avoid excessive alcohol intake, and exercise regularly.

From "Aging -- Learn to Enjoy the Inevitable," by Dr. Allan Bruckheim, Health Update
       The ovaries stop producing eggs during menopause, but it's not a sudden halt. Although menstruation may have become irregular, the ovaries may still produce a few eggs and may continue to do so for months after menstruation has stopped. It isn't completely unusual for a woman to have a "change of life" baby. For this reason, if you choose to use contraception, it should be continued for at least a year after your last period.

From The Mayo Clinic Family Health Book, IVI Publishing Inc., 1993
       One rule of thumb: If you had your last period when you were younger than 50 years, you should continue to use contraceptives (other than birth control pills) for two years after that; if you were older than 50 years, use contraceptives other than birth control pills for 12 months. ({\ul \i Editor's note}: We're not including these paragraphs to promote the use of contraception. But by this information you can see how long conception is possible, and that you may still be able to get pregnant for some time after your periods have ended.)

From "Aging -- Learn to Enjoy the Inevitable" by Bruckheim
       Robert Browning wrote: "Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be. -- The last of life, for which the first was made."
       Sex is an important part of life that age may gradually change. Our youth-oriented society tends to view sexual relationships as the territory of the young and ignores or derides the sexual functioning of older people. Many women once saw menopause as the end of their sexual functioning, and some men assumed that after a certain age their genitals would cease to function. Both of these ideas are silly myths.
       Most older people have satisfying sexual relationships until the end of their lives. This does not mean that an older man has the sexual stamina he had when he was 18, nor does it mean that a woman's sexual response is exactly the same. Men may take longer to achieve an erection. Women generally have less flexibility and lubrication in their vagina.
       Some disabilities may interfere with a fulfilling sexual life, but that doesn't mean these problems cannot be overcome. If arthritis makes certain sexual positions uncomfortable, try others. A heart attack may mean that sex should be curtailed during the recovery period, but it can usually be safely resumed after several weeks, depending on your doctor's advice. Heart attacks rarely occur during sexual activity, so put this worry from your mind.
       Essentially, you should think of sex as a healthy, normal part of your life, whatever your age.

* * *

Note from Mama: On Enjoying Sex!

              I certainly agree that aging need not affect enjoyment of sex, which is after all, a God-given pleasure and helps us draw closer to others, and even to Him! I pray none of you will worry that your sexual desire will wane, or fear that a lessening of interest or enjoyment is inevitable. If you do battle apprehension about this, please take this concern to the Lord, as He can help you and He can even overcome what could be a natural occurrence. He's all for sex, as we know, and I'm sure He will do everything to help His Family men and women maintain their desire for sex and do as much as possible to continue making it enjoyable. Many people enjoy sex just as much, if not more, as they grow older, as the article in Newsweek mentions below. And even if some men or women experience less desire for sex as they grow older, I don't think that means God's people will be affected by this as much as the rest of the world. Please refer to the prophecy on this topic, in FSM 316, page 16, where the Lord gives beautiful promises about sex, in view of many of us growing older. There's also an inspiring testimony about an older woman whose body was rejuvenated sexually, a fulfillment of the Lord's promises about the fountain of youth.

* * *

From "Sex Life after Menopause," Tribune Media Services, Inc., 1993
       An older woman can indeed have a wonderful, healthy sex life after menopause. Despite some physical changes, an older woman's sexual response cycle usually remains in good working order. Multiple orgasms can still be achieved, although in some cases the intensity and duration may be slightly less than in the pre-menopausal woman.
       The physical changes that might hamper sexual activity include atrophy of parts of the vagina, which increases the risk of trauma, infection and vaginitis. The pH factor rises and necessary secretions diminish. Elasticity is lessened in the vaginal wall, and the cervix shrinks. However, most women are still very capable of achieving sexual pleasure, and should consider it a healthy part of their lives.
       Another factor that may impede the sex life of an older woman includes the availability of an acceptable partner. Because women statistically live longer than men, many elderly women are either widowed or their husbands are seriously ill or disabled. The woman herself may have non-sexual physical ailments such as arthritis, neuromuscular disease, or osteoporosis, which can impair sexuality.
       The older woman may sink into depression because of her own or her partner's physical ailments and lose interest in activities that are pleasurable, such as sex. It is important for both older women and men to continue to develop hobbies, interests, friendships and loving relationships, so that their self-worth remains high and interest in their own sexuality will be maintained.

From Managing Menopause, by Plunkett and Gold
       In our society it often seems that sex is only for the young and attractive. Admittedly sexual interest and drive decline with age in both sexes and this can often lead to misunderstandings. Studies have shown that while women attribute the lack of sexual activity to lack of interest on the part of their husbands, men also assume the same thing of their wives.
       The beginning of menopause can provide a feeling of liberation for some women which may lead to an increased interest in sex. However, with other women, there is a decline in libido or sex drive. Whether these differences are hormonally determined is uncertain.
       Certainly there are real changes that come with aging. As skin sensitivity diminishes, foreplay with the breasts and nipples may lose some of its stimulating effect after menopause. Genital foreplay may also be uncomfortable. In an older woman the rate of lubrication may be slow, just as it takes longer for an older man to achieve an erection. However, many women unnecessarily avoid intercourse because of pain and anxiety; in some cases these problems could be alleviated by vaginal lubricants. There is no stigma to using artificial lubricants, and the application can prove enjoyable for both partners.
       Many men fear that when they are older they will fail sexually because of their own inadequacy. An older man may take longer to achieve ejaculation, or may not be able to, but it is not necessary to ejaculate every time intercourse takes place. Older men will not experience the pain that a younger man feels from the accumulation of blood in the testes. If a woman knows these facts she will make allowances for, rather than demands on, her partner.
       Certainly, any woman who experienced orgasms before menopause will continue to experience them after. The Kinsey Report showed that aging need not affect a woman's sexual capacity until much later in her life, particularly if regular sexual stimulation takes place.
       The impact of natural aging leaves some women prone to psychological reactions that can lead to sexual problems. At any age, sexual effectiveness can be reduced by doubts about performance. Most sexual problems of this nature could be avoided if men and women were better prepared for normal genital changes. Menopause is certainly no reason for healthy men and women to retire sexually.

* * *

Menopause in the News

Natural Ways to Help Menopausal Women
       SAN FRANCISCO (UPI) -- Taking synthetic hormones is not the only way to decrease the effects of menopause, doctors said in promoting natural alternatives they say reduce the risk of breast cancer associated with the more traditional therapy.
       Women should practice safer and more natural therapeutic alternatives that have such additional benefits as reducing the menopausal symptoms of depression, severe mood swings, hot flashes, and insomnia, said Dr. Sadja Greenwood, assistant clinical professor at UCSF.
       "At least 30 minutes a day of walking, dancing and strength training, combined with healthy eating, can reduce the risk of bone fractures and heart disease for most people."
       Mood, thinking and sexual behavior are influenced by the hormonal changes in the body at the time of menopause, said Dr. Robert Jaffe, director of the UCSF Endocrinology Center.
       Mood swings, hot flashes, and insomnia can be minimized by practicing self-calming techniques, such as slow abdominal breathing, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, and eating soyfoods and dairy products, Greenwood said.

Excerpts from Newsweek
       For generations menopause was something women themselves didn't want to discuss. Now The Change itself is undergoing a transition.
       Menopause is the subject of briskly selling books, the buzz of TV talk shows, and fodder for support groups, newsletters and posh luncheon gatherings.
       Part of the reason is sheer demographics: in the next two decades, nearly 40 million American women will pass through menopause. A century ago few women lived very long after their ovaries stopped functioning. Today most women have almost 30 years -- one third of their lives -- yet to live after the age of 50, and they are determined to make the best of them. Those now at or approaching menopause are also more vocal and visible than ever before. As Gail Sheehy writes in her new book, The Silent Passage: "In the next few years, the boardrooms of America are going to light up with hot flashes."
       But all the brave talk is exposing a tumult of conflicting emotions. Many women are still unsure of what to think and how much to say about their own menopausal symptoms in a culture that prizes youth too assiduously. Sheehy says, "I also noticed that women in their late 30s and early 40s are allergic to this subject. They are so afraid of their own aging." But others say there's nothing to discuss; they've been through it and it was no big deal.


       Many women argue that getting information from each other is better than the collection of uncertainties -- or just plain shrugs -- they have gotten from the medical establishment to date. Aging baby-boom women are certain to demand more studies. "Remember," says Dr. Florence Haseltine, director of the Center for Population Research at the National Institute of Children Health and Human Research in Bethesda, Md., "this was the generation who demanded that fathers be let into the delivery room, who began monitoring their own pregnancies."


       The first symptoms aren't always the telltale hot flashes or menstrual changes. Sometimes they are more subtle shifts in cognitive functions that can leave women doubting their competence, their confidence, and their very sanity. Judy Askew became forgetful and noticed joint pains, insomnia and migraine headaches when she was 47. She thought they were due to her high-stress job as an editor at a fast-paced management-consulting firm. She had no idea it was menopause -- but she did know she "could not put on hose and heels and go downtown every day." (Now 51, she switched to a lower-stress job and takes more care with her diet.)


       There is evidence that women who diet excessively to stay thin have a harder time with menopause. Part of that is biological: since estrogen is stored in fat cells, women who are a bit Rubenesque retain more of it than those still struggling into a size 6 as they turn 50.


       In her studies, University of Chicago behavioral scientist Bernice Neugarten found that 65 percent of women said menopause did nothing to cramp their sexuality; 17 percent said it left them with less sexual desire and 17 percent reported improved sex. Richard Carrol, a University of Chicago psychologist, says that 65 percent of women in their 70s are still sexually active.


       Sheehy says her husband (magazine editor Clay Felker) was extraordinarily supportive: "He asked what I was feeling like and he listened and he tried to find something in his experience that would match it, but he couldn't. He was also very encouraging about saying, `Don't try to demand as much of yourself as you always have. You don't have to be a world-beater every year of your life'."
       On speaking tours, Sheehy says she gives men a similar prescription when they wonder what to say to their wives: "Listen [DELETED] and if you ask `What's the matter?' and she says, `Nothing!' ask her again and say, `On a scale of one to ten, how do you feel today?' If she says, `Three and a half,' try to find it in your heart to say in some way, `I really love you,' because it's a very important time."


       Many men shift to a lower, more family-oriented gear in their 50s, says Northwestern University psychologist David Gutmann. "You see the opposite taking place in older women. They're getting a new dose of energy and vitality and self-assertiveness."
       Anthropologist Margaret Mead often referred to the "postmenopausal zest" (PMZ) women feel once they are through the unsettling transition phase. There are legions of women who hit their professional strides or forged new careers in their 50s. Even women who suffered terrible symptoms during menopause say they emerged on the other side with a new sense of purpose and vigor.


About the History of Hormone Replacement Therapy
Women with troublesome menopausal symptoms often take replacement hormones in pill form. At first the pills contained just the hormone estrogen. Sales peaked in the `60s and early `70s, boosted by a best-selling book, Feminine Forever, that claimed, without scientific proof, that estrogen could keep women young and attractive. By 1975 estrogen use had been linked to cancer of the uterus. Sales dropped, until it was discovered that by adding a synthetic progesterone to the regimen, monthly periods would resume, reducing the cancer risk. Sales recovered, but recent suggestions of an association between hormone therapy and the risk of breast cancer have caused many women to think again. Following are excerpts from a documentary about the controversy surrounding estrogen replacement therapy.

Estrogen Dilemma
Excerpts of a transcript sent to us of a TV interview on Prime Time Live, ABC news

       Sam Donaldson: The numbers are astonishing: There are 48 million women in the United States who have undergone menopause and by the year 2000 the number of women of the age of over 45 will nearly double. Many will be given a prescription for estrogen replacement. Just today the latest in a long line of studies suggested that taking estrogen may help prevent major illness later in life. But is anyone talking about the possible risks? Dr. Nancy Sniderman found a leader in women's health who is raising some serious questions.
       Nancy: You're looking at the number one most prescribed drug in America, the hormone estrogen in the form of a pill called Premarin. Forty-four million prescriptions were sold to menopausal and post-menopausal women last year.
       Doctor Susan Love: It's an experiment. We don't know yet what the long-term effects of taking these hormones are. We don't know what the benefits are.
       Nancy: Doctor Susan Love is a breast surgeon who has made a name for herself speaking out against the way the medical establishment treats women. She was among the first to decry the standard practice of radical mastectomy for breast cancer. And she was a driving force behind politicizing breast cancer to raise awareness and funding (Dr. Love shown with President Clinton). Last year she stepped down as head of UCLA's breast center in part to write a book about estrogen and other alternatives for menopause.
       Nancy: Is estrogen prescribed too often?
       Susan: Absolutely. I think that the current trend right now is unless you have a compelling reason not to, you should be on hormones for the rest of your life after 50. And I think it should be the absolute opposite.
       Nancy: A women's body stops producing estrogen at menopause. Estrogen pills, creams and patches are considered safe in the short term for symptoms like mood swings, hot flashes and vaginal dryness. New research suggests that long-term use of hormones may help osteoporosis, heart disease, and maybe even Alzheimer's. It's a tantalizing idea -- a drug that may actually stave off some of the effects of aging.
       Susan: If they can get every post-menopausal baby boomer on hormones for thirty years, can you imagine how much you can make?
       Nancy: Good business, Dr. Love says. But is it good medicine?
       Susan: I think people are seeing a big market and all of a sudden menopause is the newest disease and we're calling it "estrogen deficiency disease." Well, first of all we're not supposed to have estrogen our whole lives. Menopause is programmed in. You can't tell me that half of the population have a disease.
       Nancy: Doctors prescribed tranquilizers back in my mother's day, when menopause was called "The Change." Ads showed menopausal women in desperate straits. And later, in combination with estrogen, suggested treatment for "the symptoms that bother him most." In 1966 a revolutionary best seller called Feminine Forever encouraged women to take estrogen to escape "the horror of living decay." More recently ads for hormones showed "the estrogen deficient women," "the needless martyr," "the shape of things to come," and now the popular press calls it "the pill that keeps women young."
       Susan: What is this saying about women's bodies? It's saying that there is something wrong with them and we've got to change them, shape them, alter them. And I think that is very scary. This notion that we have to put everybody on drugs for the next thirty years, there's something crazy about that. [DELETED] I sort of feel like my role in life is to be a truth teller, and I think that women deserve to know. I don't know what the answers are. It may turn out that hormones are great prevention. We'll know that in another ten or 15 years. We don't know now.


       Nancy: Susan Love worries that women might be trading heart disease and osteoporosis in their 80s for breast cancer at 65. The few long-term studies done on estrogen and breast cancer are conflicting. But the largest study showed a 46% increase after more than ten years.
       Susan: I do think that there is an increased risk.
       Nancy: How much of a risk?
       Susan: The best we can tell now is between 30 and 50%. However, we are probably underestimating it.
       Nancy: For a group of 100 women 50 years old, 2.5 normally develop breast cancer. By the age of 60, a 30% increase translates into 3.3 women with breast cancer. By 70 that increase would be from 5.7 to 7.4 women, and over the rest of their lives the increase would be from 11.4 to 14.8 women.
       Doctor Wulf Utien: That's a slight increase in risk. Most epidemiologists don't call that significant, but we have to give that as the risk factor.
       Nancy: Doctor Wulf Utien is the director of obstetric and gynecology at the university hospitals of Cleveland and founder of the North American Menopause Society.
       Susan: Doctors will say take your estrogen, reduce your risk of heart attack. We haven't proven that it reduces the risk of heart attack. These studies on heart disease are what we call "observational studies," which mean they took women that were on hormones and they compared them to women that who weren't on hormones. The women on hormones had less heart disease. But they also had a higher socio-economic level, more likely to exercise, more likely to see a doctor, more likely to treat their high blood pressure and their high cholesterol than the women who weren't. So until you have a study that has the same number of couch potatoes in each group, you're not going to know whether it was the estrogen that's doing it or whether it's their lifestyle that's doing it.


       Susan: (Referring to soya products:) You have a bowl of this for breakfast and that's equal to a "Premarin" pill.
       Nancy: That's because soya products like these contain plant estrogens. Love says they may have the same beneficial effects and no harmful side effects. The problem is knowing how much estrogen is actually in a given product.
       Nancy: Is this how you are going to attack menopause?
       Susan: Yes. Running, eating better. Yes, I'm going to try to do it by lifestyle. If I need to do hormones for symptoms, I'll do it, but it's not my first choice. My first choice is to try to make my life healthier.
       Sam Donaldson: Doctor Love says that one course of action might be to wait until you reach the age of 65 or 70 and then assess your risk factors for osteoporosis and heart disease before taking estrogen for prevention.

* * *

The Big Pro: Estrogen and Sex

From Time Magazine, June, 1995
       ({\ul \i Editor's note}: Taking the hormone estrogen relieves many menopause symptoms, such as vaginal dryness and atrophy. Since these conditions can cause intercourse to be painful and unpleasant, many System women take estrogen to be able to enjoy sex. However, there are risks in taking estrogen. The {\ul \i proven} ones involve uterine cancer and tumors, while the {\ul \i likely} risks include gallstones, headaches and breast cancer. So there is a lot of controversy about the use of estrogen replacement therapy, even though the benefits are attractive. Thank the Lord we have His Word, counsel, and His help on controversial topics like this. Please see GN 738, ML #3127, par.88-136, as well as other articles later in this mag with more information on hormone replacement.)
       For the hormone-wary there are other measures [EDITED: "to relieve painful intercourse"]. Over-the-counter lubricants can make sex more comfortable, and nonprescription moisturizers like Replens or Gyne-Moistrin can help rehydrate dry tissues. One of the best things to keep the machinery humming is sex itself, says Dr. Wulf Utien, co-founder of the North American Menopause Society. As with aging muscles, bones, and brain cells, it's a matter of use it or lose it.

* * *

Soy Be It! -- The Beans-menopause Connection
Excerpts of an article by Janet Goshu and Ann Endo, The Daily Yomiuri, Japan
       Despite many points in its favor it has been reported in Britain that less than 10 percent of that nation's women start a course in HRT (hormone replacement therapy). The numbers are higher in the United States, where at any given time 25 percent of that nation's women at or past menopause are undergoing HRT. However, more than half quit within the first year.
       So if you are not convinced that tinkering with your natural hormone balance is a good idea, you are not alone There are alternatives between HRT and misery, though, and some answers may well lie here in Asia. In Japan, where even fewer women undergo HRT, menopausal distresses are less often reported. The Japan Health Handbook states that only 10 to 15 percent of Japanese women complain of "unmanageable" symptoms of menopause, compared to 25 percent of American women. Why? Is it simply a matter of perseverance? Maybe not entirely. Current thought is that cultural factors, especially diet, may make the passage through menopause easier for women in many parts of the world.
       We now know that soy products, a staple of the Asian diet, contain isoflavones, which are a natural plant form of estrogen. In regions where isoflavones are consumed in quantity, not only are there fewer reports of menopausal problems, but also fewer cases of heart disease and many forms of cancer -- great news for both men and women.
       Where are the isoflavones and how much do you need? Tofu is a great food source -- cholesterol-free, high in protein, and 35 milligrams of isoflavones in every half-cup. It is versatile in traditional Japanese cooking and can be added to Western dishes too.
       Another option is to follow the example of the "Breakfast Club" women and add soy protein powder to beverages, baked goods, sauces or whatever takes your fancy. "Protein powders" are widely available as aids for bodybuilding, weight loss, or general health. Soybean flakes can be found at some international supermarkets and be eaten as muesli or used when baking bread, making soufflés or preparing spaghetti sauce.
       If osteoporosis is your worry, then do aerobic exercises for 20 to 40 minutes three or four times a week to reduce bone loss, improve your cholesterol levels, help keep arteries unblocked, lift your spirits, and make it easier to sleep. Also, keep up your calcium and vitamin D intake, stop smoking, and if you have time while doing all that, get a pedometer and see if you can follow the recommended 10,000 steps a day.
       (Janet Goshu of England and Ann Endo of the United States are licensed nurses.)

Info on Natural Progesterone
       Material based on Natural Progesterone: The Multiple Roles of Remarkable Hormone, by John R. Lee, M.D., BLL Publishing
       ({\ul \i Editor's note}: Following is an article with information about natural progesterone. As the hormone balance fluctuates in a woman's body at mid-life, problems can sometimes be caused not only by the lack of the hormone estrogen, but also by a decrease in the hormone progesterone, or by having too much estrogen in relation to the progesterone. Some doctors suggest replacing the progesterone as the body's production tapers off. The natural progesterone cream being promoted in the booklet that the following excerpt was taken from may not be available in your area, or may be too expensive to use. Also, the caution to consult a health care provider shows that this cream should not be used immoderately. Please remember that any medication or remedy should be used very prayerfully and according to the Lord's leading, even natural ones.)
       The use of natural progesterone for menopausal symptoms: Natural progesterone cream helps with many of the symptoms of menopause. These same symptoms may occur after a hysterectomy and/or oopherectomy (removal of the ovaries).
       Women experience menopause differently. Some women need more natural progesterone than others. The correct amount of natural progesterone for one woman is not necessarily the right amount for another.
       Natural progesterone, made from naturally occurring plant sterols, has historically been produced from substances found in wild yam roots.
       To use the cream, massage it into your skin until it is noticeably absorbed. Some women notice results right away, for others it may take one to three months. It is absorbed into the skin and taken up by the fatty layer beneath. It is then transferred into the bloodstream where it circulates to progesterone receptor sites throughout the body. (Progesterone oil can be substituted for the cream or used in conjunction with the cream.)
       Use for premenstrual symptoms: If progesterone is deficient and/or estrogen is dominant, a woman most likely will experience symptoms such as water retention, breast soreness, migraines, mood swings, and cramping. Supplementing natural progesterone in a way that simulates the body's own cycle of progesterone helps bring the body back to its equilibrium, and thus decreases symptoms.
       Considerations: We encourage you to find a health care provider to work with you as you use natural progesterone. There have been reports of incidental spotting. Consult your health care worker if you experience persistent headaches or other progressive symptoms. [DELETED] [EDITED: "It"] can potentially increase thyroid activity. If you are taking thyroid supplements or medications, you should consult your health care provider and consider lowering the amount of thyroid supplements or medication you use. (End of articles.)


What about Natural Forms of Estrogen and Progesterone?
       QUESTION: It was very interesting to read what the Lord said about taking estrogen in the prophecy "Estrogen and the Jeweler's Showcase" (see GN 738, ML #3127, par.88-136), as well as to read the various articles about estrogen and progesterone in these FSMs on menopause. What I'm wondering is if the Lord was talking about all forms of estrogen in the prophecy, natural as well as pharmaceutical? Or was He referring only to the form of estrogen that is found in pills recommended by the medical establishment?

       ANSWER: We had the same question and asked the Lord to clarify this point. Here's His helpful answer, which is also good counsel for medicines and remedies in general.

       (Jesus speaking:) Most of the Family are not aware of natural estrogen and progesterone and if they were to look into estrogen at all, they would probably be referred to the estrogen/progesterone hormones recommended by the medical profession, which are not the natural substances found in plants such as the wild yam and others. So in the previous prophecies regarding this subject of estrogen, I was referring to the usual hormones that the medical profession recommends, for not many of them use natural estrogen. So the previous prophecies don't apply to natural estrogen.
       The difference is that natural estrogen or progesterone from plants is natural, and causes less harmful side effects to a woman's body when used with prayer and according to the guidelines provided. Any medicine or product that is chemical-based and does not have a natural base is foreign to the body and harder for the body to assimilate and use to do the job, and can often cause harmful side effects. But natural-based medicines or substances are more easily used by the body and accepted. They take a slower course and work more slowly in the body system and have less harmful side effects. So natural estrogen or progesterone would be more permissible, but must be used with prayer and faith and according to the guidelines recommended for the product. (End of prophecy.)

       We had further questions about chemical-based medicines and remedies based on natural foods. So we asked the Lord for further explanation, and He allowed Dr. George Washington Carver to speak to us! (See Good Thots, Vol.2, pg.1769.) He brought things down to earth a bit more, and made them more understandable. Here's what he said:

       (Dr. George Washington Carver speaking:) "You see, people divide up helps that they receive when they are sick into two groups -- medicinal (which they think of as chemicals) and natural (which they think of as herbs and food). You can look at it like this: There are some natural cures which are a great help because the Lord made them to be a help. For example, drinking cranberry juice [EDITED: "which is high in vitamin C"] helps cystitis, a urinary tract infection. But then taking vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid (which is a chemical) is also helpful.
       "But don't you find that ascorbic acid is harder on your system than cranberry juice? You can take a few tablets of ascorbic acid and get the runs, or get blisters on your mouth from having too much acid in your system. I suppose too much cranberry juice could make you sick too, but this is an example of where the chemical means to help your body can be potentially more dangerous than the natural.
       "So if your body has a need, if it is lacking something, why, you should try to find a natural way to replace that lack. Eating tofu is a marvelous help. It'll help you women at the age of menopause, and it's not even fattening! How about that! Ha, ha!
       "Well, I hope this little explanation helps. I sure love you, you're all wonderful girls. You're girls to me, because I'm up in years! I like this stage of my life, so the Lord let me have my choice, and remain as a grandfatherly-type person. And I'm mighty glad that He let me come and talk to you now. It's been a real pleasure. I love you! Bye bye!" (End of message from Dr. Carver.)


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