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women's health

32 articles in women's health

A Woman's World

Why Women Get Cellulite: A Deeper Look

To understand cellulite it is important to understand how your flesh is structured. Let's look at the deeper layers first. They are known as subcutaneous tissues. In your thighs, these are made up of three layers of fat with two planes of connective tissue and ground substance in between. This brings us to one of the interesting things about cellulite: It is almost always a female complaint. With a very few remarkable exceptions, men simply do not get it. In part this is hormonal. A woman's body is rich in female hormones such as oestrogen, which encourage the laying down of fat. (For years farmers injected oestrogen-like substances in cattle and chickens to fatten them rapidly for market.) This is also why cellulite tends first to appear during times of intense hormonal change such as puberty, pregnancy or when she goes onto a birth control pill. In part, however, cellulite is a woman's condition because the basic construction of subcutaneous tissue of the thigh differs in men and women. In women, the topmost subcutaneous layer is made up of what are termed large 'standing fat-cell chambers', which are separated by radial and arching dividing walls of connective tissue attached to the overlying tissue of the dermis or true skin. The uppermost part of the subcutaneous tissue of men is different. It is thinner, and there is a network of crisscrossing connective tissue walls which makes it harder for a man's body to lay down large fat cells and to trap stored wastes and water in the tissues. Also the corium - the connective tissue structure between the true skin and the deeper layers or hypodermis - is thicker in men than in women. You can check on these differences yourself by carrying out a 'pinch test'. It is only pinching the thighs of women that results in the 'mattress phenomenon' with its pitting, bulging and deformation of skin. Pinch the thighs of most men and you will get gentle skin folds or furrows, completely without bulges or pits. beware the ravages of time Age-related changes in women also encourage the build up of cellulite. For instance, as women get older, their skin gets progressively looser and thinner. This encourages the migration of fat cells into this layer. The connective tissue walls between the chambers of fat cells also get thinner allowing the fat-cell chambers to enlarge - a condition known as hypertrophy. This progressive thinning of connective tissue structures is another major factor in the development of cellulite and creates the granular texture and buckshot feel of much cellulite-riddled flesh. An examination of cellulite tissue under the microscope also reveals that a number of histological changes have taken place. They include a distension of the lymphatic vessels of the upper skin, for instance, and a decrease in the number of elastic fibers. The circulation of blood, too, has been slowed, and the connective fibers have undergone a sclerotic hardening, so that the fluids and the wastes they contain become trapped in an unpleasant network which pinches nerve endings (hence the pain in well developed cellulite) and create stasis in the tissue - rather like a polluted swamp - where energy exchange is reduced. The whole area takes on a deadened quality - a sure sign of poor body ecology.

The Best Is Yet To Come

Enter Menopause & Unleash Your Hero's Journey: Gifts of Turning 50

This is an interview I gave about what it means to turn 50 years old and the gifts that this process can bring. Tally: You’ve always said that turning 50 and entering menopause are great gifts, Leslie, What do you mean by this? TURNING 50 Leslie: Let me first be personal,Tally. My 50th birthday was the only birthday in my life that I cared about. It felt to me as though 50 was a watershed—the moment in time where I left behind my previous life in order to create a new life for myself. At that time I was writing my first novel, Ludwig: A Spiritual Thriller, about Beethoven. My eldest son, Branton, gave me an amazing birthday gift. What he did was lay aside two days for me and a dozen other people to celebrate, not just my birthday, but their own passages in their own lives. One of the things he did—he sent six bouquets of my favorite flowers—Oriental lilies—each containing a dozen lilies. Then on the Friday night there was a knock at the door. I opened the front door to find a woman with a violin in her hand. She said “Hello. We are a quartet from the Welsh National Opera, and we have come to play Beethoven’s late quartets for you.” Anyway, I had done a fast to celebrate my life-change at 50, basically. I wasn’t, at that time, entering menopause—it was about a year later that I did. Tally: Well my own experience of turning 50 was pretty bleak. I was already in the menopause. I felt horrible—tears all the time, hot flushes, insomnia. I felt very stressed by the whole thing. I also lost my waist for a while, which really upset me. So for me, it wasn’t a great experience. How could I make it a bit better? Leslie: I think you weren’t prepared for it, Tally. Menopause is the most important moment in a woman’s life, for a lot of reasons. My menopause was not easy in the beginning either. Why? Because I had been filled with the same kind of fear and nonsense that the media fills all of us with about menopause. You know the kind of stuff—“Oh my god, what if I have a hot flush when I’m in the boardroom?” and “You’ll get old and dry up if you don’t use HRT!” THE GIFTS OF MENOPAUSE Yet somewhere, deep inside, I sensed that the gifts of menopause might be the world’s best kept secret. Entering menopause, we venture through a gateway to enter into a sacred space that is brand new to our lives. We pass through this portal to claim the joy that every woman can feel, but has not yet known. As we stand at the brink of menopause, it feels as though only darkness lies beyond, lasting for the rest of our lives. This is true, but not in the way that most women believe. For having myself passed through that doorway into the realms beyond—20 years ago now—I discovered for myself something which women from all cultures have whispered to each other for thousands of years: Menopause is the most freeing passage a woman can make. HERO’S JOURNEY The transformation it can bring is rich and endless. Your life can become a journey in which you tap into your own individual power and freedom. For every woman it’s a voyage of discovery which, step by step, wants us to examine and discard misconceptions about ourselves and our lives, to get rid of the fear, and to come face to face with the implications of what this kind of female transformation means. The call to menopause, which each of us hears, comes in as many different forms as there are women to hear it. But whatever shape it takes, its purpose is the same. It’s asking us to leave behind the comfortable world of our ordinary existence and enter unfamiliar, yet sacred, territory. It’s asking each of us to set out on our own hero’s journey. Sometimes, this urges us to make an outer journey to a real place, find a new job, or leave behind a marriage that has outlived its usefulness. But for most of us, the journey takes place in our hearts, in our minds, in our spirits. What is wonderful, is this: however it happens, this journey takes a woman out of her ordinary world, and away from all of the outdated, false assumptions we carry about who we are. It takes us out of an experience of fear into one of strength; out of an experience of grief and regret towards the discovery of a new sense of purpose—from despair to hope. Now it’s time to recognize that all of the things that take place in a woman’s life—like what happened to you, Tally, with your hot flushes and “Oh my god, what’s happening to me?”—are fundamentally a call from your soul. It’s saying to you “You’ve lived a good life until now, you’ve cared for other people, you’ve been responsible and honorable in what you’re doing, but where is the essence of Tally?” Now’s the time for you to learn to live your life from the very core of your being? HERBAL SECRETS Let’s go back to those hot flushes. I have a very extraordinary point of view as far as they’re concerned. If you’re in a boardroom, you have a hot flush and it bothers the men who are with you, that’s their problem, not yours. Most men are scared to death of women in the menopause. They’re not aware of it, but the power that women access within themselves is phenomenal. On a practical level, hot flushes are easy things to deal with. Herbs like black cohosh—also known as black snakeroot, or sheng ma in Chinese medicine—and sage are great to support the process. Motherwort is absolutely marvelous for the menopause transition because it’s so comforting. When you mix together some of these herbs they work best. What I would never do is get into hormone replacement therapy. Menopause signals to us that it’s time to stop being the lover, the mother, the good employee—all of the things we grow up thinking we’re supposed to live up to—and just spend time being with yourself, in that inner place, discovering who you really are. When you do this, you find that even the physical experiences of menopause which are supposed to be negative are really a call from your soul, urging you to find out who you are, and begin to live out the fantastic power, energy, and freedom that menopause is offering. These are rewards of the natural menopause, and of the transformation that menopause can bring to a woman’s life if she’s willing to embrace it. Choose to answer the call, and your menopausal passage can become the most exciting hero’s journey anyone ever takes.

The Greatest Journey

Unlock the Hidden Magic of Menopause: Claim Your Treasures!

I have long been sure in every fiber of my being that the joys of menopause are the world's best kept secret. Like venturing through the gateway to enter an ancient temple, in order to claim that joy, a woman must be willing to pass beyond the monsters who guard its gate. As you stand at the brink of it, it can appear that only darkness, danger and decay lie beyond. And in a way this is true - although most certainly not in the way most women believe. For having myself passed through the doorway of menopause into the realms beyond—almost twenty years ago now—I am certain, as thousands of women from all cultures throughout history have whispered to each other, that menopause is the most exciting passage a woman ever makes. Of course nobody told me this beforehand. It was a secret I had to discover for myself. Like most modern women my head had been filled with the horrors of hot flushes, fainting spells and dry vaginas; with memories of my mother's tears shed over a wrinkle that appeared one day to mar her perfect face; with the prospect of enforced celibacy—after all, no man can feel lust for an old woman, or can he? It was partly by accident, I think, and partly because—despite good health and secure family circumstances—my own journey through menopause was not an easy one, that I discovered this secret, which throughout history women living in patriarchal cultures have guarded close to their hearts: The doorway of menopause which each of us is invited to pass through is a call to adventure. It connects the ordinary world in which we have been living to a numinous zone of magnified power. Within that zone are hidden treasures to match our wildest dreams. But, like every prize worth having, these riches can only be claimed and brought back if a woman is bold enough and persistent enough to answer the call. What is calling? Nothing less than her own soul. This call to adventure which a woman hears at menopause can arrive in as many different forms as there are women to hear it. But, whatever shape it takes, its purpose is the same. It is asking her—imploring her—to leave behind the comfortable world of her ordinary existence and for a time to venture into a challenging unfamiliar place. It is asking her to set out on her own hero's journey—a journey which is completely unique to her. Sometimes this entails making an outer journey to a real place, moving to a new job, or leaving behind a marriage which has outlived its usefulness. For many the journey takes place only in the mind, the heart and the spirit. Either way it is primarily an inner journey which takes a woman out of her ordinary world with all its ordinary assumptions to transform the way she thinks and lives—from weakness to strength, from grief to purpose, from despair to hope—and then brings her home again. So important do I feel the mysterious transformation that begins in a woman’s life as menopause approaches, that I would like to share with you some of the magic I and so many others have discovered in this extraordinary life-changing passage in future blogs. I hope you will join me.

What The Daily Mail Didn't Publish

Multi-Dadding: Overcoming Shockwaves and Controversy to Provide a Loving Home

London’s Daily Mail approached me a few weeks ago asking me to write a piece on what it’s like to have 4 children by 4 different men. The idea intrigued me so I did. The piece wasn’t published since, they said, “It’s not written in the Mail style.” This week we sent what I wrote to all lesliekenton.com newsletter subscribers. Since we had an overwhelmingly positive response to this piece, I decided to share it with you as well. (This is the first time we have ever done something like this.) I hope you will also enjoy reading it. It comes as a personal gift from me to you. Struggling to hold back the tears, my daughter’s voice on the crackly phone line was barely a whisper. “Mama, Dan died this morning,” she said. Dan Smith, biological father to my third child, Jesse, was much loved by all of my children. He had been seriously ill with a rare form of leukaemia. We knew he could die any moment. Still, the news that reached me at my Primrose Hill home that cold February morning in 2010 sent shock waves through me. “We’re already organising the funeral,” Susannah went on. “We want to play jazz music, tell fun stories about Dan and celebrate his life. Don’t worry about being 12,000 miles away, we’ll video all of it for you to watch later.” I would love to have been there to celebrate Dan’s life. It had been a good life. He was an honorable man—one who kept his promises. Dan had long adored each of my four children although only one of them was a child of his own body. Four years earlier, Dan had chosen to move to New Zealand to be near the children. Together they had searched for and found a house for him so that all of us—me included—could spend precious time with Dan and care for him so long as he lived. NOT THE MARRYING KIND I had met Dan 53 years earlier when I was seventeen years old. We became friends. Later, in my mid-twenties, we were briefly married. I was never much in favor of marriage, however. That’s probably why I chose to give birth to four children by four different men. Now I’m being called a trailblazer for what is becoming an increasingly popular brand of mothering, commonly referred to as ‘multi-dadding.’ I am supposed to be what is fashionably termed a ‘4x4.’ Mothering children by more than one man recently hit the headlines with the news that actress Kate Winslet is expecting her third child by her third husband, the rock star Ned Rocknroll. Kate, 37, has a 12-year-old daughter, Mia, with her first husband, Jim Threapleton, and a nine-year-old son, Joe, with her second husband, Sam Mendes. The former weather girl Ulrika Jonsson is a 4x4, and the late TV presenter Paula Yates was a 4x2. While supposedly gaining popularity, this style of mothering is still hugely controversial. I am told that the news that a woman has children by more than one man is still met with a mixture of horror and fascination. Maybe I’ve been lucky, but I have never had to deal with either of these attitudes. To tell the truth, I have never much cared what people think about me, how I chose to live my life or the way I have raised my children. Perhaps that’s a good thing, or maybe I am just naïve. One thing is for sure: I’ve always been one of those women so fertile that that a man could almost look at me and I’d get pregnant. I would never miscarry. I rode horses, went surfing and danced all night while pregnant and suffered no consequences. I am told that women like me are often looked upon as monstrously selfish, bad mothers. They are accused of being feckless for having multiple lovers and just plain wrong for not providing their children with a ‘traditional family setup.’ I’m sure some traditional families are genuinely wise, stable and happy. The parents love each other and care for their children with great devotion and joy. But, in my experience, such families are few and far between. KIDS MATTER MOST What matters most in child rearing is neither convention nor family labels. It is the children. Children brought up by a devoted single mother (or single father) who lovingly trusts their own parental instincts and forms honest relationships with each child in their care, thrive. I believe this is far better than desperately trying to hold on to a marriage that doesn’t work ‘for the children’s sake.’ What I find sad is the way an ordinary single woman—not a movie star or media giant—who has children by more than one man and has to bring them up by herself, earning a living and juggling the needs not only of her children but also increasingly of their fathers, doesn't get the attention, sympathy, or anywhere near the admiration she deserves. It’s a challenging job for any woman. I know, I’ve done it. I’ve raised four children all on my own, earned the money for our family, stayed up all night caring for them when they had measles, chicken pox or mumps, then got up the next morning to make breakfast and iron that school uniform about which I was told, “Mama...my teacher says it has to be perfect.” Many a time I worried where the money was coming from to pay for food that week. LION-HEARTED MOTHERHOOD I champion any woman making a life for the children she loves in this way. It is the child that matters most and his or her relationship to a mother, father, or a caring friend. Every woman has a powerful lion-hearted passion to care for and protect her children. Women should trust themselves, give thanks for such power and use it for the benefit of their children. Kids are notoriously smart. They know when they are being fed a line about what they are “supposed” to think and say. They easily distinguish between what’s real and what’s contrived. As parents, if we want to gain the respect of our children we must always tell them the truth and treat them with respect as well as demand that they respect us in return. As far as the fathers of our children are concerned, they deserve the same respect and honesty from a woman as the child does, whether or not she is married to them. I believe that each child needs to get to know its father in its own way and make its own judgements. MY OWN STORY I grew up in a wildly unconventional family of highly creative, unstable people. Until I was 5, I was raised by my maternal grandmother. Later I was raped by my father and had my brain fried with ECT in an attempt to make me forget all that had happened to me. I was always a tomboy. I hated dolls. I loved to climb trees and play football. Yet from 5 years old I was sure that I wanted to have children. When I told my grandmother my plan she said I would need to get married to have children. “What’s married?” I asked. “It’s when you wear a white dress and have a big beautiful cake and promise to love and obey a man,” she said. “Ugh, I’ll never do that,” I replied. “I hate cake.” In any case, I knew she was lying to me since none of our Siamese cats were married, but they gave birth to masses of kittens. At the age of 17, while in my Freshman year at Stanford University, I got pregnant by a 22 year old man named Peter Dau. I rang my father. “I’m pregnant,” I told him. “What are you going to do?” “Give birth and keep the baby.” “You can’t keep the baby unless you get married,” he said. Had I been a little more gutsy I would have told him to get stuffed. But at the age of 17, still wrestling with all that had happened to me in my own childhood, he wielded a lot of influence over me. So I agreed. Peter was all for the idea. Single-handedly I put together an all-white wedding for 250 people in the garden of our Beverley Hills home. I made the decision to wear black shoes under my white satin dress. I felt I was giving my life away by marrying Peter, but I was willing to make the sacrifice since I so wanted this child. As soon as Dan learned of the wedding, he sent me a beautiful sterling silver bowl as a present which I still have. My first son, Branton, was born six months later. When I held this tiny baby in my arms he taught me the most important lesson I ever learned: Love exists. It is simple, real and has nothing to do with highfalutin notions or flowery words. At the age of 18, I realized my life had found its purpose—to love and be loved. PREGNANT AGAIN A year later, Peter and I left California for New York where he was to attend medical school while I went to work as a model to help support us. At that time, Dan left his job as a journalist in Massachusetts and moved to New York to be near us. My marriage to Peter ended amicably three years later. It should never have happened in the first place. Three days after leaving Peter back in California, I stopped overnight at my father’s house in Beverley Hills on my way back to New York. Barry Comden, a man much older than I whom I had known since I was 14 but never had a sexual relationship with, discovered I was in town and came to see me. I made love to him once and knew immediately that I was pregnant again. Marry Barry? No way. I was determined not to make the same mistake twice. (Years later Barry would marry the actress Doris Day.) Nine months later my only daughter, Susannah, was born. It was then that a large tumor growing off of my right ovary was discovered. It had been hidden behind the baby during my pregnancy. It was dangerous and had to be surgically removed. HELP WHEN IT MATTERS Once again Dan appeared in my life. He had always insisted that he fell in love with me from the first day we met. He had written me letters every single day my first year at Stanford. I never answered any of them. I didn’t share his love and I didn’t want to lead him on. He had also sent me book after book which he thought I should read. I read them all and loved them. Dan had always been kind and generous to me. He was always keen to protect and care for me when I needed it. So, when I ended up penniless and alone with two children and in need of major surgery, he offered me a home. I accepted. For several months the four of us lived together in New York. Dan adored Branton and Susannah and treated them as if they were his own. I was longing to leave the United States. I wanted to live in Paris—a city I loved more than any other. Dan was able to arrange a job for himself there as a foreign correspondent. In early 1964 we went. Dan had repeatedly told me that he was sure we were meant to be together forever. I hoped that he was right and believed that if I tried hard enough to be a good wife I would learn to love him as he deserved. On July 29, 1964, we were married in Paris. Like every other man I have ever been close to, Dan knew long before we were married that my children would always come first. I had sat him down and told him that he would have to treat Susannah and Branton exactly the same as he would treat any child of his who might come along. He agreed. On June 12, 1965, Dan’s son Jesse was born. He was delighted. True to his word, never once did he favor Jesse over Branton and Susannah. This was great for all three children who came to know him well and to adore him. When presents were passed out, each child was equally favored. Dan belonged to all of them and they knew it. FATHERS, FATHERS Because Branton’s father lived in America and we lived in Europe, Branton did not see him again until he was 11. By that age I figured he was old enough to make the trip on his own and spend a week or two with Peter. Susannah was not really interested in her father—also in the United States—until she was about 17. She then went to Los Angeles to meet him. A good friendship developed between them which remained until Barry died. A non-traditional, unconventional family? Absolutely, but it worked because there was honesty and there was love—the two most important things in any family, anytime, anywhere. For five years I had told myself that, if only I could learn to love Dan more, then everything would be all right. But I couldn’t. And it wasn’t. Confused and disappointed, at the age of 27, I faced the fact that our marriage had failed. We moved to England and we separated. It was Easter. I went to a Buddhist monastery in Scotland to clear my head. Of course Dan grieved over the failure. But that never stopped him from being a welcome person in our family right up to his death. Years later he would marry Gerda Boyeson, a psychotherapist who died a few years before he did. BLESSED MEN The men who made my life rich after Dan and I divorced were, each in their own way, as special as he had been. Each accepted that my children came before all else in the world to me. I never compromised. I chose men, be they friends or lovers, who brought wonderful things to my children. No man ever came before my children. If any man didn’t understand and accept this, he had to go. One man whom I loved, Graham, taught my children to climb and sail and mountaineer. All my children forged deep bonds with Graham which have remained to this day. Another man, Garth, gave Branton, Susannah and Jesse his much cherished toy collection from his own childhood. Garth took us all on wonderful picnics, introduced us to hidden beaches, sang songs with us and blessed us with his unique brand of joy. Then there was David, a man with whom I lived with for 5 years in my late twenties. David constructed beautiful rooms for each of my children in the tiny house I had bought with the little money that my grandfather had left me, when Dan and I separated. David wrote and recorded songs for each of my children. That was 40 years ago. Last year, Susannah and her partner visited David and his wife in Barcelona where he now lives. AN UNCONVENTIONAL MOTHER Ironically, the only complaint I ever got from any of my children about my not being conventional enough was from Dan’s son Jesse. “Why aren’t you like other mothers?” Jesse asked one day when he was 7. “I don’t know, Jesse, what are other mothers like?” “Oh you know,” he said, “They’re fat and bake cookies.” Jesse even grumbled if, while I was waiting to pick him up from school, I sat on the playground swings. He was adamant that such behavior was not “proper” for his mother. Sixteen years after Jesse was born, I became pregnant for the last time by yet another special man—Paul. I announced my condition to 17 year old Susannah as we were all setting off for a six week holiday in Canada with Graham and his son Ruan. “I’m going to have a baby,” I told her. “Don’t worry Mama,” she laughed, “We’ll say it is mine!” FAMILY CELEBRATION In March of 1981, I gave birth to my fourth child, Aaron, at our home in Pembrokeshire. All three of my other children helped deliver him. While I was in labor, they prepared the most delicious lunch I have ever tasted from fruits and vegetables from the garden. I had insisted on giving birth naturally at home, not in some clinical, cold hospital. Jesse had been born via natural childbirth, at a clinique d’accouchement in Paris. After the experience of natural childbirth I swore if ever I had another child it would have to be this way. As for Dan, one way or another he was always close by. He knew David, Graham, Garth and every other man who was to play a role in my own life and my children’s lives. For many years he spent Christmases with us and with our other male friends when they were there. Dan loved to play saxophone at family gatherings. One year he dressed up as Santa Claus. Aaron, then 5 years old, was completely taken in by the costume and terrified when this rotund man belted out, “Ho, Ho, Ho, little boy, what do you want for Christmas?” It took a lot of reassurance from Aaron’s big brothers and sister to convince him that Santa was really ‘good old Dan.’ UNIQUE & INDEPENDENT As for my children, each of them is totally unique and highly independent. I have always fought hard to encourage them to trust themselves and listen to their own heart instead of doing or saying what the rest of the world tells kids they are supposed to do and say. After graduating with a first class degree from Lancaster University, Branton, now 53, developed a series of successful businesses. Susannah, 50, with whom I have written 5 books and done two television series, is a sought-after voice artist. Jesse, 48, is a highly skilled plastic surgeon. Jesse and I have also written a book together. Aaron, now 32, is a designer and filmmaker. He and I have worked together for the past four years developing Cura Romana—a spiritually based program for health, lasting weight loss and spiritual transformation. Branton and Jesse have been happily married for many years. Both have three children each. As for me, I am probably the world’s worst grandmother. I don't babysit, or do any of the things grandmothers are ‘supposed’ to do. (Including baking those cookies Jesse once complained about.) Why? I’m not sure. I guess because for forty-five years of my life I was a mother. I loved this more than all the books I’ve written, all the television programs I’ve devised and presented, all the workshops I’ve taught, and all the other things I’ve done and enjoyed. Right now, my life belongs to me alone. I love the freedom this brings me. I am passionate about being a catalyst in people’s lives, helping them realize their own magnificence and live out their potentials both for their own benefit and for the benefit of all. Who knows what exciting challenges lie before me. Bring them on!

5 Steps To An Ideal Menopause - Part 2

Unlock energy, freedom & clarity with natural menopause treatment: BHRT vs HRT

This is part two of natural menopause - if you have not done so yet, I suggest you read part one here "Beware Of HRT" Power, energy and freedom are the rewards of natural menopause. You can sidestep all those tears, misery, hot flashes and mood swings that are supposed to lie ahead—which we’re told can only be treated with HRT, using synthetic drugs. For more than 20 years, I’ve studied every aspect of menopause. I’ve even written two bestselling books about it. Let me be quite clear where I stand on the use of hormones issue. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is far and away your best choice as a means of preventing and clearing agonising female symptoms, whether connected with menstruation, perimenopause or menopause. STEP ONE—GET SAVVY First learn the difference between synthetic hormone replacement therapy, using drug-based HRT, and Bioidentical—natural—hormone treatments. Then act on what you learn. When the media, medical doctors and so-called “experts” tell you must take HRT, they are referring to synthetic hormones—drugs. This can be anything and everything from conjugated estrogens to estradiol, synthetic progesterone known as Progestin and all the rest. These pharmaceutical drugs can come in the form of tablets, injections, capsules, implants. or creams. When I write about bioidentical hormone replacement (BHRT)—also known as “hormone balance therapy”, I am talking about exact copies of the natural endogenous human hormones that exist in your body. These are duplicates of the natural biochemicals your body makes. BHRT comes as a single natural hormone—such as natural progesterone—or in a combination formula which includes naturally compounded biochemicals such as pregnenolone, DHEA, testosterone, progesterone, estriol or estradiol. It comes in any form from oral, cream, or pellet to injection. Synthetic hormones used in conventional HRT like progestin and ethinyl/setradiol cannot help protect your body from cancers, stroke, and heart disease as well as other diseases related to inflammation and early aging. Bioidentical hormones can. Bioidentical hormone therapy is a whole new paradigm in healing—as different as day and night from HRT synthetic hormones. Chronic inflammation in your body is both an effect and a cause of diseases associated with aging, including many other illnesses. Balancing and optimising your hormones naturally helps quell dangerous inflammation, especially if you are also getting good nutrition, taking the best nutritional supplements and getting regular exercise. This can bring you amazing improvements in your overall health and wellbeing physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. As world expert on bioidentical hormone replacement says, “We age because our hormones decline... our hormones don’t decline because we age.” Treating even minor hormone deficiencies can improve the quality of your life dramatically using bioidentical hormones most needed by your unique body—be they testosterone, DHEA, estrogens, pregnenolone, progesterone, vitamin D3, or melatonin. STEP TWO—FACE YOUR CHALLENGES BHRT can vastly improve the quality of a woman’s life so she has more vitality, better relationships and connections with people. A hormone deficiency in a woman’s body is no joke. Identified, addressed and treated, this can increase your focus and confidence, and bring you a more positive drive and outlook, as well as greater ability to discover and fulfill your life’s purposes. When your body is deficient in optimal hormone levels, here are some of the symptoms you can suffer as a result of hormone deficiency. Tender, swollen breasts sleep problems fibrocystic breasts mood swings hair loss frustration and anger depression brain fog anxiety excessive and/or breakthrough bleeding By treating or preventing these symptoms through the intelligent use of BHRT this can transform suffering into some great life benefits: healthy sleep better fat metabolism good muscle strength smoother younger looking skin improved metabolic rate becoming calm and confident enhanced fertility breast cancer protection, enhanced libido reduction in depression neuroprotection cardioprotection better energy levels STEP THREE—SHUN SYNTHETIC HRT If you are between the ages of 35 and 55, here are important truths you need to know. First, female suffering can often start long before you enter menopause—sometimes as long as 10 years before. Second, conventional guidance from your doctor in regard to helping you accomplish this is likely to be useless. Why? You see, most doctors know little or nothing about the benefits of bioidentical hormone therapy. This is often not their fault. They were never taught about BHRT in medical school. What they have been taught consists primarily of information from pharmaceutics companies whose purpose is to sell synthetic hormones in the form of drugs—HRT. Doctors are continually lobbied by Big Pharma, whose representatives visit them in their offices to tell them all about the “latest breakthrough” in new synthetic products designed to alleviate symptoms of everything from reflux to endometriosis. Try asking your doctor about bioidentical treatment. He is more than likely to reply with something like this: “It has never been proven that natural hormones work better than conventional drug-based HRT.” Doctors are busy people. Few have the time or take the trouble to research the latest studies which show that there can be serious consequences in putting women on longterm conventional HRT, such as increased risk of breast cancer. For example, when 80,377 postmenopausal women were put onto synthetic HRT then followed for 8 years, researchers discovered they had a 69% increased risk of getting breast cancer. Nor does the average doctor know that using natural progesterone plus estrogen eliminates this increased risk. It can also lead to a significant reduction in breast cancer. STEP FOUR—CHECK YOUR HORMONES It’s important to be clear that there are always risks using any hormones. Howewver the risks of not using the safe, natural hormones or trying to live with a hormone deficiency can be much greater. And, because of the power that multinational corporations now exert in an attempt to suppress use of natural medicines, so many bioidentical hormones—that even ten years ago were widely available—are no longer in many countries. This is a pity, especially when it comes to the use of the simplest, and in many ways most effective natural hormone of all—progesterone cream. In some countries, including the Unites States, it is still available without prescription. This is not the case in Britain, Australia, or New Zealand. Yet so useful is this particular bioidentical hormone that it is a great place to start if you are looking for help and want to explore for yourself what it can do for you. The good news is that, in most countries, there are some excellent women’s organizations that can help you find it. A typical 2 oz jar of natural progesterone cream, which contains between 900-1000 milligrams of this bioidentical progesterone, is available as a “cosmetic” and can be imported from another country as such. Good women’s organizations can also be useful if you want to locate a doctor who is savvy about bioidentical hormone therapy or if you want to have your hormone levels checked so you will know what, if any, specific natural hormones may be most appropriate for your body’s needs. Below, you will find connections you can make with responsible organizations that can help in various countries. Make use of them. STEP FIVE—YOUR NEXT MOVE A word of warning: In case you think that you can use hormones to solve every problem in your life, it’s time to think again. BHRT can indeed be enormously helpful in managing stress, weight gain, brain fog, and a hundred other female troubles, but it is by no means the total answer to high-level health and freedom from suffering. What else matters? Your deciding to eat only organic foods. Learn also how to make use of the incredible power that natural herbs and plants can bring for increasing energy, self-esteem, banishing hot flushes and overcoming menstrual, perimenopausal and menopausal issues. In two weeks I will be publishing a third newsletter to cover how you can benefit greatly in other natural ways. Look for it. Make use of the information you’ll find there. This will be your third step towards experiencing an ideal menopause, protecting yourself from early aging and learning how to look and feel your best no matter what your age. Don’t miss it! Meanwhile, check out these places for help and advice: *** WOMEN’S INTERNATIONAL PHARMACY www.womensinternational.com/ This is the organization I respect most. They can connect you with doctors trained in bioidentical hormone treatment, bring you access to effective hormone testing procedures, and about anything else you might want to know about the many forms of natural hormones and how to use them. NaturalMenopauseAdviceService www.nmas.org.uk/about.htm Natural Progesterone Advisory Service www.npis.info in the UK Natural Progesterone Advisory Network www.natural-progesterone-advisory-network.com in Australia Finally, if you want to make use of a natural progesterone cream on your own, in most countries in the world you can order one at very low cost from iHerb in the United States. These creams tend to be treated by customs as a “cosmetic” in most countries, so there is seldom any problem importing them to your country. This is an inexpensive and potentially powerful option for you to experiment with. Here’s the one I recommend: Source Naturals, Natural Progesterone Cream, 4 oz Source Naturals Natural Progesterone Cream features natural progesterone USP from soy. Our Progesterone Cream is guaranteed to contain 500 mg of progesterone per ounce and 22 mg per 1/4 teaspoon. Order Source Naturals, Natural Progesterone Cream from iherb NOTE: We have had a few comments and concerns over a note on the iherb website which states "This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer." This is a standard California piece of nonsense funded by Corporations. There is absolutely nothing to worry about. This is a wonderful and safe product. How to use it: Massage 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of cream twice daily into smooth skin areas such as the wrists, inner arms or thighs, throat, abdomen or chest. Premenopausal women use for 14 days prior to the first day of menstruation, discontinue and repeat. Menopausal and postmenopausal women use for 21 days, discontinue for 7 days and repeat. These are general recommendations only and may need to be modified for individual needs. Please consult your health care professional for specific situations.

Cancer - Have No Fear

Dangerous Radiation & Useless Advice: Ask the Experts How to Protect Yourself from Dying of Cancer

The word strikes fear into the heart of most women. The mainstream medical profession continues to insist that the only way for us to protect ourselves against death from breast, cervical and womb cancer is by getting regular mammograms and Pap smears. We are still being filled with fear by mainstream media and Big Pharma about the dangers of breast cancer, and treated to horror stories about brave women who have been cancer victims yet survived to tell the tale. Instead of empowering us so we can take action to make cancer's appearance in our own life unlikely, most of what we’re told about the illness fills us with so much fear that it makes it almost impossible to sort out facts from fantasies. Each woman responds to fear-mongering in a different way. Some keep booking regular appointments at “well women clinics.” Others bury their heads like ostriches, hoping that the cancer terror will pass them by. Whichever way you choose to view the threat of cancer—whether real or imagined—is disempowering. Even words used to describe someone who has the illness—a cancer victim—bestows upon the illness a power it does not deserve. USELESS ADVICE Ask the so-called experts how best to protect yourself from dying of cancer. They are likely to respond that early detection is the answer. The prevailing theory is that the earlier you detect cancers, the better your chances of survival. This is untrue. Breast cancers are diagnosed through a combination of sonograms, aspiration of lumps, physical exams, mammograms and surgical biopsy, where a piece of tissue from the breast is removed and examined under the microscope. Mammograms are x-rays taken of your breasts, used to diagnose breast cancer at its earliest appearance—supposedly before it can be felt by physical exam. This remains standard medical procedure in most countries. Interesting research first came to light as the result of the largest study of its kind ever carried out in Canada. The Canadian National Breast Screening Study followed the fate of 89,836 women between 40 and 49 for an eight year period, during which half of them were given mammograms every year to eighteen months while the other half were only examined physically. When all the results were tallied, researchers discovered that deaths from cancer in women who got regular mammograms were significantly higher than those who had no mammograms done. When results were published—which, incidentally, did not happen until a full four years after the study was completed—the NCI finally announced that the increase in death from breast cancer was 52 percent. In simple terms, you are half again as likely to die of cancer if you do have regular mammograms as if you do not. This report made the headlines, “Breast Scans Boost Risk of Cancer Death”, reported The Times. It then went on to explain that “Middle-aged women who have regular mammograms are more likely to die from breast cancer than women who are not screened, according to dramatic new research.” DANGEROUS RADIATION Mammography subjects you to powerful ionizing radiation which can cause cancer. One mammogram delivers the radiation equivalent of 1,000 chest x-rays into your body. Each year in the United States, an amazing 4 billion dollars is spent on over-diagnosis and false-positives in relation to mammography results. And the incidence of false positive results are known to be as high as 56% in a woman who has undergone 10 mammograms. Another very recent, massive study over 25 years concluded that mammograms have absolutely NO effect on mortality rates. The New York Times reported on it: "One of the largest and most meticulous studies of mammography ever done, involving 90,000 women and lasting a quarter­century, has added powerful new doubts about the value of the screening test for women of any age. It found that the death rates from breast cancer and from all causes were the same in women who got mammograms and those who did not. And the screening had harms: one in five cancers found with mammography and treated was NOT a threat to the woman's health and did not need treatment such as chemotherapy, surgery or radiation." EARLY DETECTION NONSENSE The second widespread notion about cancer is that the earlier it is detected and surgery performed, the better are a woman’s chances of survival. This too is untrue, as Petr Skrabanek reported some time ago in the British Medical Journal: "There is no evidence that early mastectomy affects survival. If the patients knew this, they would most likely refuse surgery". At the University of California in Berkeley, Professor Hardin Jones, whose expertise is in the areas of medical physics and physiology, had reported to the American Cancer Society some 20 years ago that every serious attempt to relate early treatment to survival has been unsuccessful. Jones studied many reports that looked at detection and survival and found that those subjects chosen for treatment for cancer tended to be patients who were considered capable of being cured by operations, while the inoperable or terminal patients tended to be lumped together as part of the untreated control groups. After making adjustments in the statistics to take this into account, Jones reported that "My studies have proven conclusively that untreated cancer victims actually live up to four times longer than treated individuals." Jones' investigations, like those of other researchers, continue to be ignored by Big Pharma and most of mainstream medicine and the media. MAMMOGRAM MIASMA Not only are mammograms not a cure-all for breast cancer, a “clean” mammogram is no real guarantee that you do not have a cancer developing. Mammograms are capable of missing its presence altogether. They are open to a great deal of confusion and interpretation, since reading them is not an exact science but an art dependent upon the competence and judgement of human beings. American specialist in internal medicine Dr H Gilbert Welch, a senior researcher at the Department of Veterans' Affairs in White River Junction Vermont, has looked carefully at the difficulties that go with the excessive diagnosis of diseases like breast cancer. He discovered that in women who die from other causes, an amazing 40 percent have had microscopic changes in their breasts. These are common lesions which show up on mammograms and there is no way in which any expert, no matter how skilled or highly experienced, is capable of knowing which of these will remain dormant and which may eventually turn into cancer. INACCURATE BIOPSIES Neither does a biopsy carried out after a “suspicious mammogram” improve survival rates from breast cancer. A biopsy entails cutting through the suspected lump and invading the protective pocket that helps keep a tumor from spreading, and as a result this very procedure designed to confirm the existence or non-existence of a cancerous lesion can actually encourage cancers present to metastasize—to spread to other parts of the body. German researchers who looked at the survival rates of patients with breast cancer discovered that those who had had biopsies died earlier than those who did not. Even biopsies done with a needle rather than a scalpel do not appear to be safe, quite apart from what the worry over waiting for results and the pain involved in the procedure can do by undermining a woman's immune system. George Crile Jr M.D., a Surgeon Emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic in the United States, says "It gives credence to what our patients already think and tell us—that cutting into cancer spreads it and makes it grow." BANISH YOUR FEAR It’s time we stopped falling victim to the pronouncements and procedures of high technology medical procedures as well as to cancer itself as a disease. The answer to its prevention lies mostly in our own hands. It depends largely on things we can do ourselves to change the way we eat, live and think—not in the hands of abstract medical theorizing and the fear-mongering which still too often accompanies it. As an editorial in The Lancet pointed out, "Some readers may be startled to learn that the overall mortality rate from carcinoma of the breast remains static. If one were to believe all the media hype, the triumphalism of the profession in the published research, and the almost weekly miracle breakthrough trumpeted by the cancer charities, one might be surprised that women are dying at all from this cancer." PAP-SMEAR SCARES The other common procedure to which we women are subjected is the Pap smear for diagnosing cervical abnormalities. Its name comes from a Dr George Papanicolaou, who developed the procedure almost three quarters of a century ago. It has since then been refined and is now used as a way of identifying “abnormal” (usually referred to as “pre-cancerous cells”) as early as possible. Using a simple instrument inserted into the vagina, a doctor scrapes away a sampling of cells from the squamocolumnar junction of the cervix just inside the cervical opening at the bottom of the womb. These are fixed on a slide with a chemical preservative and examined under the microscope by a technician or doctor used to reading them. Pap smears are frequently credited with some decline in the death rate for cervical cancer; however, they too can be highly unreliable and produce a number of both false-positives and false-negatives. There have still been no controlled randomized trials that prove that they actually save lives. When a trial was carried out in British Columbia, where mass screening by Pap smear had been carried out, deaths from cervical cancer did indeed drop: However, not a lot could be deduced from this fact, since they also dropped in the rest of Canada as well to just the same degree in areas where mass screening was not conducted. As Dr E Robin points out in his fascinating book Matters of Life and Death: Risks and Benefits of Medical Care, the Pap smear is not only one of the most common and popular laboratory tests, it is also one of the most unreliable. He writes about one study where two Pap smears were taken from the same women at the same time. An amazing two-thirds of the women's two tests showed different results. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS In the past five years, a great deal of information has come to light about how the way you eat and live either protects or predisposes you to cancer. Forward-thinking researchers are awakening to hormonal links in the development of breast and womb cancer and finding ways of using natural, bioidentical hormones to protect against it. In many ways even more exciting, a minority of savvy medical practitioners have begun to teach their patients that, above all else, to protect themselves from the illness we need to take responsibility for the kind of foods we eat. There is a lot to me said about how powerful this can be not only to protect yourself from cancer but from all of the common degenerative diseases as well as early ageing. Sounds too good to be true? It’s not. I’ll be writing specifically about this very soon.

What Every Women Wants

Unlock the Secret: What Does Every Woman Want?

Great stories carry hidden secrets that can transform a life. They bring us face-to-face with hidden truths that help free us from false beliefs and attitudes, self-criticism and negativity that crush us. Cultural conditioning has taught us to undervalue the wild creativity that lies within—that part of us which is instinctual, irrational, and full of passion. Conventional society is so frightened of these things that we have been taught to fear ourselves and to judge ourselves harshly. We swallow our anger even when it is righteous. We crush our wild nature and we see ourselves as ugly. Yet locked within what we most hate and fear lies the greatest power for true freedom. Today I’d like to share with you one of my favorite mythologies of self-discovery—as delightful and important for men as it is for women. Here’s how it goes: THE LOATHLY LADY One Christmastide Arthur rode out with his knights to hunt. By chance he became separated from his companions and found himself at the edge of a great brackish pond. There, a knight in black armour emerged from the shadows and challenged him to a fight. Arthur reached to draw his sword Excalibur and call on its power to protect him from all harm. Alas, he had come away from court without it. He could feel every ounce of strength drain away from his body in the presence of the dark and evil stranger who raised his sword and threatened to kill him. Being a responsible king, of course, Arthur told the dark knight he didn't think that killing him was such a great idea—he had a country to rule, after all, and knights to look after. Where would they be without him? The stranger, bored at the thought of such an easy kill, relented and replied, "OK, I won't kill you so long as you return to this place in three days with the answer to a riddle I shall give you. If you fail I shall remove your head in one fwll swoop." WHAT DOES SHE WANT Arthur agreed. He figured that given half a chance and a mug or two of fancy mead, his pals back at the castle would be sure to come up with something. The riddle the stranger posed was this: "What does every woman want?" So Arthur headed home to ask all of his knights and wise men to give him the answer. Everyone from Merlin to a goose girl he met along the road had a go. Each gave him a different answer: "A woman wants beauty," said one. "A woman wants power," said another, or fame, or jewels, or sanctity. None could agree. Time was running out. Finally, although he had done his best to hide from his beloved Guinevere the seriousness of the situation, the third morning arrived. Bound by his word of honor to the Black Knight, Arthur had to face the music. Along the road to the meeting at the brackish waters, Arthur came upon an old woman. She sat on a tree stump by the side of the road calling his name. Arthur dismounted and approached her with all the courtesy he could muster. For the closer he came, the more ghastly this old hag appeared. Although she was dressed in fine silk and wore magnificent jewels on her gnarled and twisted hands, she was unquestionably the most hideous thing he had ever seen—or dreamed of, for that matter. Her nose was like a pig's, her mouth was huge, toothless and dribbling. What hair remained on her head was greasy, and the skin all over her misshapen and bloated body was covered in oozing sores. COURTESY CHALLENGED Arthur swallowed hard, forcing himself not to have to look away. "My Lord," she said in a surprisingly gentle voice, "Why look you so dismayed?" Summoning up all his chivalrous training, Arthur apologized for his manner, trying to explain it away by telling her he was most unsettled at the prospect of returning to meet his death at the hand of an evil knight because he could not tell him the answer to the riddle, "What does every woman want?" "Ah," said the hag. "I can tell you that. But such knowledge cannot be given without payment." Arthur, hoping once again for a reprieve from death, replied, "Of course Madam, anything you desire shall be yours for the answer—even half my kingdom." IMPOSSIBLE REQUEST The Loathly Lady made Arthur bend down while she whispered a few words in his ear." The moment Arthur heard them, he knew his life and his kingdom had been saved. He was about to leap on his horse again and ride off to meet the stranger when she tugged on his cloak and said, "Now I want my reward." "Of course Madam, what is it that you want?" he asked. "I want to be the wife of your bravest knight and live at your court." Arthur, who only a moment before had felt his spirits soar, was plunged into the deepest despair. How could he possibly expect any knight to consent to marry such a hideous hag? And what would it be like to have to endure such ugliness every day at court? "But Madam, that is impossible!" he said. The words slipped through his lips before he could catch them. Aghast at his own lack of courtesy and agonized by having to ask any of his knights, Arthur said, "I beg your pardon, Madam. You are quite right. Come to court tomorrow. There waiting for you will be your future husband." So saying, he mounted his horse and rode off to meet the Black Knight to convey to him the answer to the riddle. When he got back to the castle, Arthur was distraught. The knights questioned him. He confessed that he had won his life from the Black Knight but then told them at what cost and reported his promise to the Loathly Lady. "My very honor is at stake," said Arthur, wringing his hands, "unless one of you will agree to wed her." His knights were horrified at the prospect and tried to avoid his gaze. But one—the youngest knight of all—Sir Gawain, the most courageous and purest of heart stood up. "Worry, not my liege," Gawain said, "I shall save you, I will marry the woman no matter what her mien." SELF-PROFESSED HERO Gawain did not have long before he rued his offer. The marriage was planned for the following morning and the hag arrived at court. When he looked upon her, even Gawain with all his chivalry did not know how he could go through with the ceremony. It demanded every ounce of his courage. Somehow he managed it. But things got worse. When the festivities were over, the couple were obliged to retire to their chamber for the night. Gawain, unable to face the hideousness of his wife, sat for long hours in their bedchamber with his back to the lady, writing at his desk and praying she would go to sleep without him. Was he to spend the rest of his life shackled to such a hideous monster? ENCHANTED WOMAN Long past midnight, as the candle burnt low, he felt a hand come to rest upon his shoulder. "Will you not come to bed now, my Lord?" a voice whispered from behind him. Shuddering with horror, Gawain mustered his courage to look at her. To his astonishment there stood not the ugly hag he had married but the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She had golden hair and ivory skin. "Why do you seem so surprised, My Lord?" she said to him. "I am indeed your wife. I was enchanted by a wicked magician. But now the enchantment is half broken by your having consented to marry me and so you see I stand before you now in my true form." Gawain could not believe his luck. "Half broken?" he asked. "Yes, my lord" was the reply. "Sadly I am only allowed to spend half the time in my true form. For the rest I must return to the shape of the same hag which this afternoon you married. And now you must choose, my Lord. Would you have me be my true self at night when we are alone together and the hag during daylight hours?" Gawain, whose mind was flooded with passion at the thought of her beauty filling his bed each night replied eagerly, "Yes, that is certainly how it must be." TEARS FOR FREEDOM In the eye of his beautiful lady appeared a tear. "But sir," she said, "Would you then have me suffer the humiliation of the court who cannot conceal their horror at my ugliness?" Now Gawain, if he was nothing else, was compassionate. He could not bear to bring this beautiful woman a tear of sorrow. "No, of course not," he replied. "It shall be the other way round, of course. You shall be my beautiful wife for the court during daylight hours and the hag at night." But this only made the lady weep the more. "Oh sir, would you then deny me forever the joy and pleasure of your embrace?" She asked. Poor Gawain, who after all was but a man (and man has never found it easy to deal with woman's grief) did not know what to do. After much thought he replied, "My lady, whatever choice I make will be the wrong one. It is therefore for you to choose which you prefer." At the sound of his words the Lady threw herself into his arms in glorious laughter. "In so saying, my Lord, you have given the right answer. You have bestowed upon me what every woman wants—her own way. The spell at last is broken. You will never have to look upon the hideous hag again. I am my true self and it belongs to you forever." Such is the power of accepting that which to ourselves is most loathsome. And such is the power of myth in reminding us of it.

Moon & Ovarian Cycle Rites

Unlock the Secrets of Women's Sacred Menses: A Journey of the Female Endocrine System

Quite literally, the menses is the period of waxing and waning between one new moon and the next. Once menstruation begins at puberty, which is a woman's first rite of passage, the ebbs and flows which her body goes through each month are the stuff of which the second movement in her life's hormonal symphony is made. This part of her life has one major goal - childbearing. Its success depends greatly upon the two major steroids - the oestrogens and progesterone - working in close communication with her body's major control centers, the pituitary and hypothalamus. Only since the late nineteenth century have women's menstrual cycles - the menses - been investigated scientifically. The name menses also comes from a Greek word - meaning `month'. It in turn is derived from an even older word meaning `moon'. master controls A neural nuclei in the limbic brain, the hypothalamus, is the control center for homeostasis. It balances and oversees biochemical and energetic changes throughout the body. The limbic system in which it sits is the most primitive part of the brain. It is the part which deals with emotions and with our sense of smell, with our passions, and with all the unconscious interfaces that take place between mind and body. The actions of the limbic lie beneath the level of the thinking mind. This is one of the reasons that the hypothalamus is often referred to as the `seat of emotions'. When excited, the hypothalamus triggers desire - for food, for water, for adventure, for sex. Its actions can also be influenced by inhibitory thought patterns. In a woman frightened of becoming pregnant, for instance, the fear itself - via the hypothalamus - can dampen sexual desire or even disrupt menstrual cycles so she remains barren. The hypothalamus also responds to alterations in the electric and magnetic fields of the earth and of moon, and to other planetary events, as well as to electromagnetic pollution in our environment and the positive stimulus of energy medicine. It reacts to bodily changes that take place as a result of meditation, and its activities are influenced by spiritual practices - which is a major reason why women who meditate regularly tend to develop greater emotional balance, as well as why repeated experiences of joy or stillness can dramatically improve various female complaints such as PMS and hot flushes in both menstruating and menopausal women. sacred cycles There are three main branches of the female endocrine system involved in menstruation. The first is the master gland, the hypothalamus. It releases gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH). The second is the anterior pituitary, which releases follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) - both of which are secreted in response to GnRH from the hypothalamus. The third is made up of the oestrogens and progesterone which, during a woman's non-pregnant childbearing years, are secreted by the ovaries in response to FSH and LH. It is the symphony of interactions and feedback mechanisms between these three branches that bring about the blood ritual of menstruation. All of the hormones released during a menstrual cycle are secreted not in a constant, steady way, but at dramatically different rates during different parts of the 28 day period; a cycle which like everything else in a natural world involves birth, maturation, and death, only to lead to new birth again - in this case, of the egg a woman's body produces. Menstruation itself is simply the elimination of the thickened blood and blood filled endometrium in the womb - the lining developed in preparation for a possible pregnancy. For when a pregnancy does not occur, this lining is shed at monthly intervals under the control of oestrogen and progesterone with a little help from their friends GnRH, FSH, and LH. When ovaries are not stimulated by the gonadotrophic hormones from the pituitary, they remain asleep, as they were during childhood and as they become again after menopause. For the first 8 to 11 days of the menstrual cycle, a woman's ovaries make lots of oestrogen. Within the ovary itself are little things called follicles - partially developed eggs. One of these will be released each month in hopes of meeting up with the sperm and creating an embryo. It is oestrogen which prepares the bloody lining of the uterus and causes the follicle to develop in the ovary, bringing it to the surface of the ovary and preparing for the release of one of the eggs. The word oestrogen, like the hormones produced in a woman's body which belong to this family - oestrone, oestradiol, and oestriol - comes from oestrus, a Greek word meaning `frenzy', `heat', or `fertility'. It is oestrogen which proliferates the changes that take place at puberty - the growth of breasts, the development of a girl's reproductive system, the reshaping of a woman's body. It also alters your vaginal secretions, making them more viscous and less watery, and it causes your body's temperature to rise at the time of ovulation, by about one degree. Each girl baby is born with all the primary follicles she will ever need. At the time of puberty, a girl's ovaries contain about 300,000 of these follicles. And while each woman only produces one or two fully developed eggs each month, somewhere between 100 and 300 follicles have to start developing in order for one to become fully grown, so a woman can lose between 100 to 300 follicles a month. However, since she started with 300,000, she will have enough to last all her reproductive life. On day one of each monthly cycle - that is, the day of the onset of menstruation - first the production of FSH and then of LH increases. This increase in hormones from the anterior pituitary triggers a group of ovarian follicles each month, causing accelerated growth in the cells surrounding them. As cells around the eggs grow, they secrete a follicular fluid which contains a high concentration of the oestrogen oestradiol to bring about many other changes, developing the potential of one of the follicles so that it becomes capable of being fertilized by the male sperm. It is not the oestradiol alone secreted by the follicle which brings about the maturation of the egg, however. Luteinizing hormone (LH) from the anterior pituitary continues to be secreted to help the process along until after a week or more, when one of the follicles outgrows all of the rest. This is the one that will become the female egg ready for impregnation. The remainder of the follicles now begin to involute. LH becomes particularly important at this stage in order for the final follicular growth to be completed and ovulation itself to occur - that is, the release of the egg into the fallopian tubes for its journey down into the uterus. So the rate of secretion of LH by the anterior pituitary increases markedly, rising 6 or 10 times then peaking about 18 hours before ovulation - the release of the egg into the fallopian tubes for its journey down into the uterus. The production of FSH also increases at this time, and these two hormones act together to cause a swelling of the follicle during several days before ovulation. Finally ovulation takes place usually around the fourteenth day, in the middle of your cycle. enter progesterone LH also alters the cells around the egg follicle, so that now they secrete less oestradiol, but progressively rising amounts of progesterone. This means that the rate of oestrogen secretion begins to fall about day thirteen, one day before ovulation occurs. But as small amounts of progesterone begin to be secreted, very rapid growth of the follicle takes place. Beginning with this secretion of progesterone, ovulation occurs too, triggered yet again by the luteinizing hormone from the anterior pituitary. During the first few hours after the ovum has been expelled from the follicle, more and more rapid physical and chemical changes take place to the egg in a process called luteinization. At this stage - known as the luteal stage of a woman's cycle - the follicle becomes known as the corpus luteum, or yellow body. The cells around the egg begin to secrete larger quantities of progesterone, as the level of oestrogen decreases. Some of the cells around the egg become much enlarged. They develop inclusions of lipids or fats which give them their distinctive yellow color. From now on, development becomes rapid until seven or eight days after ovulation, when it peaks. As soon as a follicle releases an egg, the ovary switches over from pumping out oestrogen to primarily making progesterone. Progesterone is only synthesized when you ovulate. In fact, ovulation changes the whole ball game. No longer is there a need for further build up of the womb lining. The challenge now is to hold on to the secretory endometrium, and to render it capable of nurturing a fertilized egg long enough for it to grow into a baby. That is progesterone's task. The progesterone released with the egg has a negative effect on the other ovary. Its release tells the other ovary: "Hey, we've got an egg out now, so you don't have to worry about producing any." For even though women have two ovaries, they usually produce only one egg a month. The business of fraternal twins - that is, both ovaries releasing an egg at the same time - only happens once every three hundred months, which is why fraternal twins are so rare. The corpus luteum, which forms each month, is a tiny organ with a huge capacity for hormone production. It releases large quantities of progesterone, plus some oestrogen, which cause a feedback decrease in the secretion of FSH and LH by the anterior pituitary, so that no new follicles begin to grow. But as soon as the corpus luteum degenerates at the end of its 12 day life - which is about the 26th day of the female sexual cycle - this lack of feedback triggers the anterior pituitary gland to secrete several times as much FSH, followed a few days later by more LH as well. This in turn stimulates the growth of new follicles to begin the next ovarian cycle. And at the same time, a fall in progesterone and in oestrogen secretion trigger menstruation. peaks and falls From day 1 until about day 13 of a woman's menstrual cycle, the level of progesterone in her body is very, very low. Yet the point at which a follicle is released, it continues to rise dramatically until day 21 to 23, at which point it begins to fall down again to its lowest level, as menstruation begins around day 28. In addition to maintaining the endometrium and shifting down activity in the other ovary, the progesterone provided each month travels to other parts of a woman's body to fulfill other roles. It protects her from the side-effects of oestrogen for one thing, helping to protect her from getting breast cancer, from retaining water and salt, from high blood pressure, and from becoming depressed. Progesterone also brings surges of libido. You still hear a few so called experts say that oestrogen increases libido. But think about it. Which hormone would you rely on for sex-drive - oestrogen, which is present before the egg is made, or progesterone, which comes after the egg is released and is ready for fertilization? Libido increases with progesterone surges. When this rhythmic cycling of oestrogen and progesterone during each lunar month gets out of sync (and many things in modern life can cause this) then all sorts of things can go wrong - from infertility to PMS, depression, bloating, endometriosis and fibroids. For the oestrogens and progesterone, each have their characteristic roles to play, and for a woman to be healthy they must balance each other. the last and the first So do all the other steroids: This group of hormones to which cortisol, aldosterone, progesterone, DHEA, testosterone and the oestrogens belong, is intimately involved in how you feel both physically and emotionally, as well as how rapidly your body ages. Steroids have a characteristic molecular structure which resembles cholesterol, from which they are all ultimately derived. Cholesterol is the vital fatty substance that has had such a bad press in recent years, but which is absolutely essential to life. Out of each steroid hormone made from cholesterol, yet another - and following that another - can be made in a knock-on effect. For instance, pregnenolone is the steroid manufactured directly from cholesterol. It in turn becomes a precursor to progesterone, as well as to other hormones. Natural steroid hormones such as progesterone, made by biosynthesis in your own body, have this remarkable capability to act as precursors. In other words they are capable of being turned into other hormones further down the pathways as and when your body needs them. Progesterone is mother of many other hormones. It can eventually be turned not only into various oestrogens, but also into cortisol - the anti-inflammatory hormone - and into other steroids such as corticosterone or aldosterone, with equally important jobs to do. All of these conversions happen through slight alterations in the shape of a molecule, thanks to the actions of enzymes, each of which carries out a specific task. But these conversions can only take place if the molecules on which the enzyme is acting "fit" precisely - both electromagnetically and stereochemically - into its structure. All of these changes which take place through the magic of enzymes occur in the presence of vitamin and mineral cofactors such as magnesium, zinc, and B6, which catalyze each enzyme reaction. They are all carefully modulated by elaborate feedback mechanisms as well. The names and chemical transformations from one steroid to another are not important to remember. What is important is that you get some sense of just how complex hormone synthesis and interactions can be, and how important it is to have sufficient cofactors as well as `primary' hormones, such as pregnalone and progesterone, to be able to synthesize others. A rich hormonal symphony? Immeasurably. Yet all this still does not even begin to take into account the myriad pathways by which these steroid hormones interact with other hormones, or master central mechanisms within the hypothalamus and pituitary, or psychoneuroimmunological pathways by which hormones effect our emotions, and emotions our hormones. sabotage It is in coming face to face with the rich textures of such hormonal symphonies that the synthetic progestagen drugs can come a cropper. When you look at the structures of their molecules, in every case you find that although they resemble your body's homemade hormones, their shapes have been altered slightly by adding extra atoms here or there at unusual positions. It is this that has enabled them to qualify as patentable drugs. However, unlike the natural hormones - which they attempt to mimic, and which not only fulfill their own functions by binding with their own receptor sites but also act as precursors for a myriad of other hormones with other important jobs to do - the progestagens are end-product molecules. They are also completely foreign to the living body. Unlike nature's own steroids they can also not be augmented or diminished as necessary to maintain balance, and to keep the body's hormonal symphony flowing smoothly. They also cannot easily be eliminated when their levels get too high. Although the synthetics can still bind with the receptor sites of the hormones they are made to mimic, they don't fit as well as the homemade steroids do into the enzymes meant to act upon them. This means they are not under the watchful eye and control of these enzymes, nor of the body's self-regulating capacities. Drug-based oestrogens and progestagens in contraceptives and HRT cocktails can significantly disrupt a woman's normal hormonal cycles by introducing foreign elements into her body. They also virtually wipe out the moon cycles to which a woman's natural fertility and spiritual balance are inexorably bound from puberty onwards. So although in the short term they may temporarily do a job such as provide birth control or quell heavy bleeding in a menopausal woman, in the long run they only sabotage hormone balance, by turning harmony into dissonance - a dissonance capable not only of causing disruptions in a woman's health and physical body, but also of creating emotional and spiritual confusion in her life. This, sadly, is not something you will find described in the Merck index that warns doctors of a drug's side-effects, however. For the spiritual aspects of health and healing tend to be all but forgotten in the linear thinking that underlies most twentieth century medicine. In the mechanistic western world of drug-based treatments, where we are trained to take a pill for whatever ails us, this concept can be a little strange for some women to grasp. Especially if they are well educated, intelligent, and if they have been urged from puberty to rely on oral contraceptives - even told they are irresponsible if they don't. Or if they have been filled with fear that if they don't take HRT as menopause approaches their life is going to fall apart. friends and lovers Quite apart from their biochemical actions, rather like people, hormones have characters with highly individual personalities. To the biochemist, the `personalities' of the oestrogens and progesterone will always remain a mystery. He is interested in nothing beyond their molecular configurations. But many women come to know these personalities well - by allowing intuition and instinct to be their teachers. When progesterone is surging through the body, a woman can feel high. Provided her body is producing enough of this steroid, she is likely to feel great. Your senses are keen when progesterone is running. Smells smell sweeter - or more horrible. Touching, sensing, tasting, hearing, are all richer experiences than usual. In the presence of progesterone, women have a desire to do something, to create something, to work in the garden, to dance or sing a song, or make love. Sometimes progesterone surges can feel like falling in love. They can bring feelings of balanced wellbeing together with excitement - a desire to explore new worlds, and to try new things. This can happen during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle after ovulation, when the follicle turns into the yellow body (or corpus luteum), but it becomes far more intense when you are pregnant. It is a high level of progesterone that makes a woman feel on top of the world during the last months of pregnancy. At this time the placenta churns out an amazing 300 to 400 milligrams of the steroid, while during the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle it will have only been producing 20 milligrams or so a day. I suspect that among those women who seem to get pregnant over and over and who so love the whole experience, you are likely to find high progesterone levels. You also find them in women who have trouble-free menstruation. Sadly the opposite is true too: When progesterone is low - as it is in a growing number of women now, who have been subjected to manufactured hormones and who, living in the polluted world, have become oestrogen dominant - women never seem to feel well even during pregnancy. Many have all sorts of troubles with their female organs and cycles including PMS - sometimes from puberty right through to death. when oestrogens flow The oestrogens have quite a different character. When oestrogens peak in the menstrual cycle just before the `fall' of ovulation, a woman feels less independent. She is more willing to adjust herself to the needs of others. She is more inclined to see herself in relation to men too instead of as a woman in her own right. When the oestrogens are running, women like to attract a mate not so much to draw him into her body as to comfort, admire and care for her. Her ovaries seem to be smiling - `whatever you want, I'm happy to give', they seem to say. A few women who by nature are high oestrogen producers feel quite dependent on others for approval, and for the definition of their being. While such an experience can be lovely and make a woman feel highly `feminine', it can also go too far. However, in these women, when menopause finally arrives and oestrogen levels drop dramatically, often they find to their surprise and delight that for the first time in their lives they begin to feel complete in themselves - as though they don't need anybody else to validate their lives. Provided they are otherwise well, menopause can be sheer joy in the sense of freedom it brings these women - that is, once they get over the shock of being such a `different person'. From a biological point of view, there are many important actions that progesterone and oestrogen exert upon the body and psyche. Since these are little known among women and doctors alike it is worth looking at a few: Effects of Progesterone Effects of Oestrogen Increases libido Decreases libido Prevents cancer of the womb Increases risk of womb cancer Protects against fibrocystic breast disease Stimulates breast cell activity Maintains the lining of the uterus Proliferates the lining of the uterus Stimulates the building of new bone Slows down the resorption of old bone Strengthens skin Thins skin Is a natural diuretic Encourages salt and water retention Brings antidepressant effects Can produce headaches and depression Encourages fat burning and the use of stored energy Lays down fat stores Normalizes blood clotting Increases blood clotting Concerned with the procreation and survival of the fetus Concerned with the development and release of the egg Precursor to important stress hormones End-molecule steroids The reproductive hormonal menstrual cycle of a woman between puberty and the menarche is a superbly ordered natural work of art. It becomes so much a part of our lives that unless we have some particular difficulties with PMS or fertility, we hardly give it any thought. Not, that is, until things begin to alter. Once they do begin - in most women sometime between the age of forty and fifty - they usually change gradually, until finally a woman senses that something deep in her being has shifted. Such feelings herald the coming of menopause - the third phase of a woman's life.

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana®

Fast, Healthy Weight Loss

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana® has proudly supported 20,000+ weight loss journeys over the past 16 years. With an overall average daily weight loss of 0.5 - 0.6 lb for women and 0.8 - 1.0 lb for men.

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 13th of June 2024 (updated every 12 hours)

-0.76 lb
for women
-0.81 lb
for men
-0.76 lb
for women
-0.81 lb
for men

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 13th of June 2024 (updated every 12 hours)

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