Menopause for men and women
Some people say that there is no male menopause, it‘s just aging, but the truth is that it doesn‘t matter what we call it, we still need to be aware of symptoms that can arise and how to treat them.
The symptom that is most common is an inflamed or infected prostate. This can cause a weak urine stream, more frequent urination, somethings pain, lowered or no sexual potency, memory loss, decreased self-esteem, sensitivity to environmental stimuli, anxiety, stress, hot flashes, increased heart rate, decreased sex drive, physical asthenia, depression and mood swings.
Hormonal changes happen more slowly in males than in females. Around 30 years of age the testosterone production starts to slowly diminish, it isn’t until around 50 that men start to feel these changes. However it varies between individuals, some men feel the effects earlier or later, or even not at all. Then there are those who don’t want to admit that there are any changes.
If we compare the symptoms that arise during menopause in both sexes, excluding the ones that are specific to each sex, they are remarkably similar. Women also experience mood swings, hot flashes, memory loss, increased heart rate, decreased self-esteem, anxiety, depression and physical asthenia. Since the hormonal production decreases more rapidly in women these symptoms are usually worse and appear more dramatic. Decreased estrogen production lessens menstruation, the vaginal mucosa gets thinner and calcium absorption drops which can lead to osteoporosis.
It is mainly due to risks of osteoporosis that doctors focus so much on hormone replacement therapy, but nature can easily be used to help here, for instance the herb Horsetail can be supplemented. It transmutes other chemicals to form calcium (biological transmutation), i.e. 1 magnesium (24)2⁺ ion and one of oxygen (16)2⁻ ion forms a substance with the atomic mass 40, which is the atomic mass of calcium. This also happens if you transmute 1 silicon (28)+ ion and 1 carbon (12)-, forming a substance with the atomic number 40. Horsetail contains a lot of silicon, which strengthens all connective tissue, tendons, skin, hair and nails. Silicon is also helpful for women that have weak pelvic muscles, prevents arteriosclerosis and nourishes the tissue of the lungs. Not all of these symptoms can be contributed solely on decreased hormonal production, they can also be caused by social, mental and other physical attributes. Few people know that great herbs are available that combat the above mentioned symptoms.
Hormones have been used for male menopause, increasing energy and sexual potency, increasing bone and muscle mass and reduced depression. This has not been used much here in Iceland however.
Following are some great herbs that I have used for both male and female menopausal symptoms.
SAW PALMETTO (Serenoa repens): Has stimulating effects on the testes which in turn increases hormonal production. The herb is also strengthening for the prostate, reduces prostatitis and is suitable for both men and women. As far as I know no comprehensive researches have been carried out on Saw palmetto, the only data we have is its long clinical use and how well it works.
YARROW (Achillea millefolium): I use to strengthen veins and arteries which is often very helpful against impotence. Yarrow can also be used for varicose veins for both sexes.
HORSE CHESTNUTS (Aesculus hippocastanum): Are used in those cases were veins need to be strengthened in case of impotence. It contains the substance Aescin, which prevents the breakdown of the vascular strengthening hyaluronic acid, by the enzyme hyaluronidase. The herb can therefore also be used for varicose veins.
VERVAIN (Verbena officinalis): I use this for depression. Here I don’t have any comprehensive researches except long clinical use of the herb. This herb is thought to stimulate the mind by sharpening thoughts. It also stimulates the liver and it’s like that is part of the reason why this herb is so potent for depression.
ST JOHN’S WORT (Hypericum perforatum): Is very effective for women during menopause. It’s calming as well as being extremely nourishing for the nerves, making this herb excellent for depression, decreased self-esteem, sensitivities and stress. The chemical hypericin is the depression combating element of St John’s wort.
LADY’S MANTLE (Alchemilla vulgaris) and MOTHERWORT (Leonurus cardiac): I use for the hot flashes that are a common during menopause, since they work very well together but other similar herbs can also be used. Lady’s mantle is very effective against menorrhagia and irregular menstruation, both symptoms of menopause. It contains phytoestrogens which probably explains why it works so well for any hormonal imbalance or reduced hormonal production. Sage can also be used, except it’s inadvisable to use it for more than 4 weeks, with 3 months being the maximum for healthy individuals. The reason is Thujone, a chemical found in its essential oil, which irritates the kidneys after prolonged use. Sage also contains phytoestrogen and is therefore good for those irritating hot flashes.
OATS (Avena sativa): This is probably my favorite herb and I use it to nourish the whole nervous system. The active ingredients are glycosides but they are destroyed when boiled. It’s best to use whole oats and make a porridge to ensure some of the active ingredients are preserved. On the other hand oats are full of other good things like iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, zinc, vitamin B, silica and a very high ratio of protein and fats. This means that oats are packed with good nutrients that boost our system and make it easier for us to face the turmoil of daily life with its constant environmental stimuli. This means that both anxiety and depression diminish, self-confidence is enhanced and we become more adaptable to our surroundings. Oats can also increase male potency.
Keep in mind that herbs don’t move mountains but they strengthen and nourish the nervous system and by doing that they make us more active. They don’t accomplish things for us, that we do ourselves.
GINGER (Zingiber officinale): Ginger I use a lot to increase blood circulation, in both males and females. The ginger is dried and therefore it stimulates circulation, increasing body temperature without stimulating sweat formation. You only need a very small amount of ginger each time and if you have powdered ginger you only need a pinch for every cup of warm water.
GINKGO (Ginkgo biloba): A lot of people are familiar with this herb and I would like to talk a bit about it. It stimulates the whole circulatory system, especially the blood vessels of the head and brain and is therefore good for memory loss. Ginkgo also stimulates blood circulation in legs and feet. Here I would like to describe what this herb looks like. Its leaves are like a cross section of a brain, which should tell us a whole lot about the functionality of this herb.
CHASTEBERRY (Vitex agnus-castus): Has been used to balance the menstrual cycle, a little bit here in Iceland, but a lot overseas. It stimulates the pituitary gland and balances hormones. The pituitary gland sends a signal to the ovaries to increase estrogen production. This herb is very easy to use because you only have to take it once a day, as opposed to the other herbs I have mentioned, which need to be taken three times a day.
Following this list of beneficial herbs I would like to point out that the best method to deal with menopause is a preventative one. You should start early to strengthen your body and prepare it for the struggle against decreased hormonal production, starting as early as 20 even.
Strengthening methods are for instance:
1. Exercise. This is one of the most important factor if you want to keep your body healthy and in good shape. You need to choose an exercise that fits you personally. What can be good for one person is terrible for another. An example of exercises are: walking, swimming, running, golf, aerobics and cycling.
Researches show that exercise helps to maintain bone calcium levels, reduce hot flashes that occur during menopause and increase general well-being. Women that have exercised regularly during their lifetime are less likely to suffer from symptoms that accompany menopause.
2. Diet. The best advice concerning diet is to cook your own meals from scratch as much as you can. It’s also advisable to eat a variety of foods to get as many nutrients as you can from your diet, as well as eating regularly. Porridge is a classic and very good since it contains phytoestrogen, which can also be found in fennel, celery, parsley, nuts, seeds, apples, alfalfa and soy products.
3. Positive attitude. Your attitude plays a crucial role when it comes to your health. A lot of methods and tools are available to calm and enhance your mind. You can for instance listen to music, exercise, go for a relaxing walk or do yoga.
4. Supplements. These are primarily for those with a lack of appetite or those who lack variety in their diet. Vitamins are ingested to strengthen particular organs or body systems, e.g. zinc for the prostate and vitamin E to strengthen the vascular system and is good for both genders. Vitamin E also stimulates the vaginal mucosa.
Recommendations: Keep your mind active by reading and doing all manner of thought provoking processes. By doing that you can prevent cognitive impairments as you age.
REMEMBER THAT IT IS NEVER TO LATE TO START ENHANCING YOUR BODY AND MIND. GOOD LUCK!