Monthly Archives: February 2011

How To Feel Sexy During Menopause

by Staness Jonekos, co-author of The Menopause Makeover

The baby boomers may have been the generation of the sexual revolution, but for many slamming into menopause, sex is the last thing on their minds!  Both sexes can suffer from a declining libido as we age, but women don’t have a little blue pill to pop to get their mojo back. What’s a menopausal girl do to reignite the flame of desire?

After women pass through perimenopause into menopause, almost 50 percent are left with an unanticipated loss of libido and vaginal dryness.  Vaginal dryness can affect the libido.

Estrogen, important for maintaining vaginal health and lubrication, is the hormone that actually plumps up the cells in the vagina. When estrogen levels decline, the vaginal walls can become thinner, less elastic and dryer.

Not only does the physical act of intercourse become a challenge as a result of vaginal dryness, but the emotional dialogue that goes on in one’s head when lubrication no longer comes naturally, can increase stress levels for the woman and the man.  This double whammy can end in frustration and confusion.

Treatment Options

  • Bioadhesive lubricant, such as AstroGlide, can provide immediate relief.   Replens, a vaginal moisturizer, may be applied twice a week. Lubrication can offer vaginal protection and both are available over-the-counter.
  • If vaginal dryness is your only menopause symptom, you may consider using local estrogen treatment.
  • Low dose hormone therapy may bring relief.

It is important to discuss vaginal dryness with your doctor to confirm that you are not suffering from a vaginal infection.

Approximately 47 percent of women experience sexual difficulties, according to the National Health and Social Life Survey and the Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors, with a decrease of sexual desire being the most common.

Other aspects that may contribute to a declining libido are pain during intercourse, lack of sexual thoughts, aversion to sexual activity, lack of receptivity and relationship dissatisfaction.

Addressing the physical, emotional, and environmental changes that often accompany mid-life, can make a proper diagnosis challenging.

Factors that affect sexual health

  • Emotional: Feeling unattractive, being depressed, feeling tired, suffering from lack of sleep, moodiness, feeling isolated, not being happy
  • Fluctuating hormones
  • Medications:
    • Antidepressants
    • Mood stabilizers
    • Contraceptive drugs
    • Antihistamines
    • Sedatives
    • Antihypertensives
    • Blood pressure medications
  • Medical conditions:
    • Depression
    • Thyroid disease
    • Androgen insufficiency
    • Diabetes
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Neurological disorders
  • Cultural issues
  • Relationship satisfaction
  • Midlife stress:  career change, relationships, loss, divorce, caring for parents and financial concerns

If you are suffering from hot flashes and a poor self-image, combined with taking antidepressants and blood pressure medications, can be a recipe for a declining libido.

As many as half the patients who take SSRIs report some sexual dysfunction.

Per The North American Menopause Society (NAMS): “In contrast, the antidepressant bupropion (Wellbutrin), which works in a different way from SSRIs, was found to improve sexual functioning compared with placebo in a small study of nondepressed women and men with desire and arousal difficulties. This finding is interesting but requires more study to confirm it before bupropion should be used specifically for treating sexual problems.”

Once you find the culprit that kidnapped your mojo, you have options.

Managing a declining libido

  • Discuss options with your practitioner.  If fluctuating hormones are affecting your libido, there are therapies available.
  • Review current medications and medical conditions.
  • Talk to your partner
  • Consider counseling or sex therapy, or both
  • Adjust lovemaking activities: try warm baths before genital sexual activity, extend foreplay, incorporate massages, change your sexual routine, experiment with positions, discuss sexual fantasies
  • Use lubrication
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle, exercise most days of the week, and consume alcohol moderately
  • Commit to new stress-management practices, like acupuncture, biofeedback, yoga

When women notice that their sex drive is diminishing; many seek out a prescription from their doctor for a does of testosterone thinking it will fix the problem.

Dr. Wendy Klein, co-author of The Menopause Makeover, says  “The use of testosterone to treat a diminished libido is still controversial.  The FDA has not approved testosterone therapies for women suffering from a declining libido, but there have been preliminary scientific studies and extensive anecdotal reports that support the use of this therapy for improving the libido.”

A little compounded testosterone gel may be worth considering, but keep in mind that it has not been FDA-approved to treat a declining libido and long-term safety data is lacking.  Women who are on testosterone therapy should be monitored for increased lipids, excessive hair (hirsutism) and acne.

DHEA is another hormone that is often promoted as a libido booster.  When you purchase DHEA, it is a dietary supplement, not a drug that is regulated by the government.

Dr. Wendy Klein says, “If your DHEA level is tested and shown to be below normal, then it may be reasonable to take a supplemental dose of 25-50 mg daily.  However, if your DHEA level is normal, then there is no reason to take DHEA as a supplement.”

If you do decide to use an alternative therapy be sure to tell your healthcare provider so that he or she can be on the lookout for side effects and interactions.

Besides the effects of menopause, it is also normal for your libido to decline with age. Between the ages of 55 and 65 sexual activity slows for men and women, but don’t give up.

There are many benefits to having a healthy sex life:

  • Sex burns about 200 calories during 30 minutes of active sex.
  • Regular sex promotes circulation and lubrication.
  • Having sex three times a week can make you look and feel ten years younger, thus boosting self esteem.
  • Sex is the safest sport you’ll ever enjoy.
  • Sex releases endorphins into the bloodstream producing a sense of euphoria that can reduce depression.
  • Sex is a stress reliever. It is ten times more effective than Valium.
  • Sex can relieve headaches by releasing the tension that restricts blood vessels in the brain.
  • Sex is a natural antihistamine that can help with asthma and hay fever.
  • Sex can lower your cholesterol by tipping the HDL/LSL (good kind/bad kind) cholesterol balance towards the HDL (good) side.
  • Regular sex can boost estrogen levels. Estrogen keeps your hair shinny and skin smooth; helps reduce the chances of getting dermatitis, and rashes.
  • The actual sex act triggers the release of oxytocin that promotes more good feelings.
  • Sex can help you sleep better because the levels of oxytocin, a sleep-inducing hormone, can be five times higher than normal during love making.

Discussing your declining libido with your healthcare provider and partner is the first step to managing a healthy sex life. It is also a perfect time to build strong communication skills with your partner. The more your partner understands your menopausal journey the more supported you may feel.   If less sex is agreeable to you and your partner, enjoy other bonding activities.  Men may also notice changes that can affect their libido. Being able to discuss your libido will open the door for him to connect and communicate as well.

Going through menopause can be exhausting.  Feeling good about yourself when everything is changing, from your waistline to your sex life, can be challenging.  Often, nonhormonal options may rescue a lagging libido and spice up your sex life.

Once you have passed through the doors of perimenopause, feeling sexy is possible with proper management.  With continued interest, you can get your groove back and feel sexy during menopause and beyond.

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Posted in hormones, relationships, homepage

Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Chrissie from Williamsport, PA won this fabulous giveaway!

Celebrate YOU for Valentine’s Day

with a giveaway worth over $250!

Open Yellow Box

The Ultimate Makeover! Win a FREE copy!

The Menopause Makeover: The Ultimate Guide To Taking Control of Your Health and Beauty During Menopause.

Celebrate the NEW YOU in 8 easy steps in just 12 weeks!

Handmade SWEETS

by Pat Shepard, Two Sisters and The Other One.

Love the New YOU!  Pat and her sisters did it again!  Another fabulous gift loaded with EXOTIC sweet treats that are handmade and beautiful! This bundle of goodies will get you off to a good start:

“Roses and Chocolates – A Special Valentine Treat for you!”

This beautiful paper Rose covered box contains Truffles and Caramels.

  • “Hot Flash” – Hot Paprika Pepper Truffle
  • “Wisdom” – Sweet and Spicy Roobios Tea Truffle
  • “Spirit” – Matcha Green Tea Truffle
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This Red “paper” Rose Box is reusable and great for keeping future treasures!

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HOT FLASH HAVOC is enlightening, entertaining, humorous, profound, and is a crash-course in what you need to know about menopause. It has the power to be a life-changing experience for every woman in your life. Every woman over 30 needs to have this information. DVD is officially released February 1st!

Yummy and healthy gift compliments of our friend, Debi Talbert!

The Cookie That’s More Than A Cookie
Bite into an Appetizer Diet® Cookie and the first thing you notice, not surprisingly, is that the taste is delicious. But this is more than just a tasty snack. The Appetizer Diet® Cookie provides all the nutritional support, energy and fullness of traditional ‘sports bars’ with the added benefit of more fiber—which is an essential to weight management, well being, and overall good health.* The Appetizer Diet® Cookie contains both soluble and insoluble fiber.

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Say YES to Yes

Valentine’ Day is a time to show how much you love that special person in your life.

Yes® is a sensuous and original gift idea for you to share with your partner that will inspire and enhance your lovemaking – an intimate gift that you can discover together.  This award winning natural lubricant range is the only certified organic range of intimacy products in the world and promises pleasure, purity and performance.

!Limited intimate lubrication is a common problem for many menopausal women. Yes Pure Intimacy has the perfect solution – a sensuous, natural, discreet intimate lubricant range that is plant based, free from chemicals, glycerine and hormone mimics. Its purity is guaranteed as it is the only certified organic intimate lubricant in the world, combining the performance of an outstanding lubricant with that of a vaginal moisturizer.

Perimenopause Relief Kit

St Muireann recommends a genuine freshwater pearl necklace, a gourmet chocolate bar, and a good sexy novel to alleviate those pesky symptoms of menopause.  The beautiful, nearly-round 7mm genuine freshwater pearls are separated by tiny glass beads. Unlike pearls knoted on a string, this maintenance-free necklace will never need to be reknotted! Ladies, sit down with a glass of wine and a bar of good chocolate and take a break from those hot flashes and tears with this little gem, it’s a treat!

Hurry and enter today!

For a chance to win this fabulous collection of gifts:

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Contest Rules

Contest closes mid-night March 15, 2011!

March 16th one GRAND winner will be selected to win this pampering giveaway.

ONE grand prize winner to be announced by March 30, 2011.

Winner to provide a mailing address so the vendors can mail your prize.

Eligibility: Open only to permanent legal U.S. residents physically residing in the fifty (50) United States of America.

By registering, you will be agreeing that your registration and any other information collected in connection with the Contest may be used by Sponsor and may be shared with Sponsor’s affiliated business entities, and that you automatically opt-in to receive email, text messages or other communications from Sponsor. You may subsequently opt-out of the receipt of such email or communications by following the directions in the email, communications or by contacting Sponsor directly.

All registrations must include entrant’s valid email address. The email address provided by online entrants will be the identity of the entrant and, if selected for a prize, the identity of the winner. We expressly reserve the right to disqualify any entries that we believe in good faith are generated by an automated program or via scripts. By participating, all entrants agree to abide by these Official Contest Rules.

Decisions of the Sponsor are final and binding with respect to all matters related to the Contest. All prizes will be awarded. In no event shall the Sponsor be obligated to award more prizes than the number of prizes stated in these Official Contest Rules. All prizes won by minors will be awarded to their parents or legal guardians on their behalf. Please allow 6-8 weeks for prize delivery.

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Posted in Contests

Is perimenopause to blame for my kidney infection?

Expert: Wendy Klein, MD co-author of The Menopause Makeover

Dear Dr. Klein,

As you go through the change of life, is it normal for you to have an increase in bladder/urinary tract/kidney problems?

I had my first kidney infection in November. It was very painful and forced me to go to the ER. There was no warning and the symptoms hit me instantaneously. The doctors said it was a kidney infection and comes from a bladder infection left untreated. BUT I HAD NO SYMPTOMS.  They also said it comes from not drinking enough water or not going to the bathroom enough.  I work in an office, sitting all day for 8 hours.

I’m really baffled as to why I’m having urinary problems now, when nothing has changed in my lifestyle except the onset of perimenopause.

Answer: Many women have recurrent bladder infections, and, as you have already learned, untreated bladder infections can track up the urinary tract and lead to kidney infections. Not good. What you can do to prevent these –

1) Stay hydrated. Keep water with you at work & drink through the day.
2) Do not delay when you feel the need to urinate! Empty your bladder regularly and do not hold your urine.
3) If possible, empty your bladder after sex. Although difficult to prove, there is anecdotal evidence that urinating after sex may help to “wash away” bacteria.
4) Have a healthcare provider dipstick your urine at the first sign of problems to rule out an infection. If your bladder is infected, white blood cells will show up on your dipstick test, indicating a need for antibiotics. If there are no white blood cells, and you are having pain with urination, this may be a sign of low estrogen, which is easily treated with vaginal estrogen tablets or cream.

Also, if there is a history of diabetes in your family, have your blood sugar checked. New onset of recurring bladder or kidney infections can be a sign of diabetes.

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Posted in ask the expert

Red Quinoa Salad

By Pat Shepard
Two Sisters and The Other One

To prepare: Quinoa cooks just like rice. Use a rice cooker if available

1 cup Red Quinoa
2 cups water
1 Red Onion, sliced
1 T Olive Oil
1 Apple, diced
1 Celery Stalk, chopped
½ cup Dried Cranberries
½ cup Walnuts, chopped
¼ cup diced Gouda or crumbled Feta
A few good splashes of a very good Balsamic Vinegar

1.) Place quinoa and water in covered pot, Bring to boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until water is absorbed. Let cool.
2.) Saute sliced onion in olive oil over low heat until caramelized about 15 minutes.
3.) Mix together quinoa, onion, apple, celery, cranberries, walnuts and cheese.
4.) Splash with some good Balsamic Vinegar.

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Posted in salads