Blog contributed by Nancy Peardon, Founder, Hot Flash Pillow, LLC
Empowering ourselves with good information in terms of self-care and stress management during menopause shouldn’t be underestimated. There’s so much hype out there aimed at women! My decline in estrogen, escalating hot flashes, and unexpected insomnia gave me all the motivation I needed to begin searching for answers. I recalled a Harvard Women’s Health report from 2008 touting a scientific study which discovered numbing a cluster of nerves in the neck worked to cure hot flashes. Last year, I used a twist on that science as the basis for creating Hot Flash Pillow, a small freezer-stored product which does everything I need it to do – safely. I was thrilled to discover that the steps I took to help myself really did work to relieve my hot flashes and insomnia. Talk about feeling empowered! I’m no longer stressed because of those symptoms. I’m much more comfortable, I sleep better, and I’ve found my smile again.
Still, my mind isn’t firing up the way it used to. I’ve opted out of using HRT, even though I realize a little estrogen would clear up my brain fog in a heartbeat. That’s because estrogen also affects the brain’s synapses, and synapses determine how fast the brain processes information. I’m painfully aware I don’t make the connections as easily as I used to, and thinking requires more energy, focus and determination. So, I do what I can do to keep my brain fog at a minimum. Good nutrition and an active body, combined with an active mind, are optimal for good brain health. I do my best to maintain a healthy brain by exercising daily and eating walnuts, blueberries, and wild salmon on a regular basis. I also take fish oil supplements and 2000 I.U. of Vitamin D daily.
Making the best of menopause has forced me to think creatively since estrogen is also responsible for things like our skin’s elasticity and our vaginal lubrication. Painful intercourse isn’t readily discussed by women, even though it frequently accompanies menopause. In lieu of estrogen, I’m drinking Oatstraw tea infusions because Oatstraw is touted as an excellent source of phytoestrogens. Surprisingly, Mother Nature’s remedy seems to be helping me tremendously. I consider going through this challenging, mystifying menopausal metamorphosis to be a fascinating rite of passage into the second half of my life. Women need to keep sharing with each other. We can inspire and support one another, empowering ourselves through this extraordinary life transition.