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Old 10-20-2011, 05:48 AM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: The Big Apple
Posts: 10,083

It's interesting how differently women experience this process. I'm 51, and this month officially marks one year without a period. I've always had a very high libido and only experienced a slight drop when I was on anti-depressants a few times over the last ten years or so. My menopausal experience included a very lo-o-ong peri-menopausal stage during which my periods were really out of whack and unpredictable, and then a year of hot flashes and that's it. My libido is back up to where it always was, and sometimes feels like it's sky-high, but it's hard for me to know what is a hormonal response and what is emotional/psychological, because my husband asked for a divorce and moved out about a year and a half ago, so it's been a tumultuous year after the "bottom dropped out" in my life.

Rootlet, if you and your wife are interested in an herbal or natural approach to menopause, I highly recommend Susun Weed's book "New Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way." Since you're Wiccan, you will probably glean a lot from her perspective. She's not just an herbalist; she's also a High Priestess of Dianic Wicca, a member of the Sisterhood of the Shields, and a Peace Elder. I'm more than a little proud that Susun added a chapter on thyroid health in her revision at my request (she sent me a free copy as thanks!). I'm not Wiccan, but back in the early to mid-90s, I apprenticed with another herbalist and took some workshops with Susun. She has an encyclopedic knowledge of herbal medicine in the Wise Woman tradition, and of women's processes.

I remember her saying once that the drop in certain hormones is balanced by a rise in others during menopause. In her book, she explains that, women have "too many" hormones during menopause, not too few. Progesterone decreases and estradiol stops, but baseline estrogen, LH (Luteinizing hormone), and FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) increase dramatically. Hot flashes are part of the process the body undergoes to handle such a flood of hormones. The liver is also taxed by this. She recommends phytoestrogenic plants (in whole form or herbal infusions/teas rather than supplements), to stimulate sex-hormone-binding globulin synthesis in the liver, (whatever that means) and bring about hormonal balance. She includes several pages of those types of foods, but they mostly consist of seaweeds, roots, seeds (including grains), buds (like artichokes), and berries. Susun says that some women find that eggs, meat, and butter (better if organic) do help women with menopausal symptoms. And a diet with whole grains, beans, and leafy greens also helps.

She says that menopausal change is a metamorphosis, or change at a cellular level, and each stage (premenopause, climacteric, and post-menopause) has its own special needs and offers different challenges. They also coincide with the stages of isolation, death, and rebirth/reintegration. It sounds like your wife is near the end of the climacteric if her hot flashes are subsiding. For this stage, she recommends frequent red clover or oatstraw (both available online or at herb/healthfood stores) infusions to replace depleted vitamins B & C, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and most trace minerals -- and Kundalini meditation.

Susun's chapter on sex is short but interesting. About libido, she says: "My Rx for low libido is seven orgasms a week, whether you feel like it or not. You can do one a day or all in one day. Continue for at least three months." LOL, she doesn't explain why she recommends this, but I guess after three months of that, libido returns!

This is only a tidbit, but I do think you will like the book.
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