Sandra Chaloux

| 06/02/2017

Menopause Wisdom from Christiane Northrup, MD

Menopause Wisdom from Christiane Northrup, MD

I came across an entertaining and thought-provoking presentation by Dr. Christiane Northrup entitled Menopause and Beyond that I want to pass along. Dr. Northrup is a pioneer in mind-body medicine. I love her work. She covers a lot of ground in this presentation.

In this post, I want to share some highlights from her pearls of wisdom about women in Menopause. She starts by pointing out that the way to create vibrant health for midlife and beyond is by getting good information and running it by our inner guidance (our gut, the inner wisdom that each of us has). There is no one size fits all. I agree wholeheartedly.

If you are feeling like Menopause is doom or gloom, her presentation will amuse and inspire you. Beyond the hormonal challenges, Dr. Northrup describes Menopause as an exciting developmental stage designed to heal the unhealed parts of you. She reminds us that with menopause, like other things, there are no mistakes.

She says that midlife is the time to pay attention to those negative feelings or emotions (grief, fear, and despair) that come up because “they have important messages for you.” Instead of resisting these dark emotions, this is the time to work through them. Dr. Northrup cites the work of Miriam Greenspan and Healing Through the Dark Emotions and a beautiful quote from it:

“by befriending and mindfully surrendering to our most dreaded emotions, we discover the hearts native intelligence.” Contrary to what we have been taught, Greenspan explains that “The good news is that the dark emotions can serve as guides on this journey—when we know how to listen to them.” (a new must-read) Dr. Northrup says we can handle these emotions but first we must be willing to feel them.

Dr. Northrup says we need a change of heart (and to love our hearts) starting at Perimenopause. Perimenopause occurs between 40-52 (+ or – 5 years). Menopause is defined as your final menstrual Period (average age 52) –often defined as 1 year after your last period.

Cardiovascular disease claims more women’s lives than the next 6 causes of death combined (500,000 a year). (Note: We have written about this in our Healthy Heart, Healthy You posts)

The rate of chronic degenerative diseases increases at midlife such as heart disease, high blood pressure, dementia, diabetes, and arthritis, but these are not inevitable.

Dr. Northrup says we need to confront our “genetic determinism” because only 30% of our health outcomes are based on genetics and 70% are based on environmental factors. She cites some studies of identical twins (same DNA) with different health outcomes based on different environmental factors, that support this.

Dr. Northrup points out that environmental factors include our thoughts and emotions. Dr. Northrup suggests that our thoughts and emotions are the most important part of our environment because they lead to everything else.

She suggests that midlife is the time to reinvent yourself –not based on what other people think, but fueled instead from your soul, from Source energy. This is the time to do what you want to do.

Here are some of Dr. Northrup’s recommendations for taking care of your heart:

1. Know Your Numbers

Total Cholesterol/HDL ratio – should be less than 4

Blood Pressure

She points out that High Cholesterol is not a disease. 50% of heart attacks occur in women with normal cholesterol levels. She says that what causes heart disease is oxidized LDL and metabolic stressors.

2. Exercise – Increases Nitric Oxide in blood vessels –gives better blood flow through the heart

10,000 steps a day (difficult to get) –get a pedometer and start small and work your way up

3. Caregiving –where you include yourself in that care

When you don’t include yourself –you burn out.

Self-sacrifice (going along with someone else’s plan for you) increases your risk for heart attacks & everything else

4. Give up Perfect (house, office, and the expectations you have of others)

5. Reframe “Selfish” for self-care (selfish just means you include yourself)

Expect that you’ll feel guilty

Surround yourself with supportive girlfriends

Lose the friends that criticize you

6. Ask for help –“We’re here to serve, but not meant to be the main course.” Seek counsel, but you have to do the work.

Hot Flashes

Dr. Northrup said Omega 3 fat can reduce hot flashes by 44%. I tried this myself. Usually, I split the dose of my fish oil supplements –2 grams in the morning and 2 grams with dinner, and often feel hot flashes after breakfast and a cup of decaf. But yesterday, I tried taking my full daily dose of Omega 3 supplements all at once in the morning, and I didn’t have any hot flashes. Yay! Give it a try. (I take 4 grams of Omega 3 fish oil a day).

You can access Dr. Northrup’s Menopause and Beyond presentation by opting in at her website.

In my next post, I will summarize her recommendations about the midlife metabolic shift and our struggle to lose weight.

Leave a comment below and tell us about your most successful way to love your heart or deal with hot flashes?


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