• Perimenopause,  Sexuality

    Is it a Lube? Is it a Vaginal Moisturizer?

    Basic Definition A lubricant is a substance that lessens friction. They are used to make sexual activities (in particular vaginal and anal penetration) more comfortable and hopefully more pleasurable. We tend to use them when we want more lubrication than what our body’s own lubrication is providing. Which is pretty much everyone at one point or another or even often most of the time (like me for the past 20 years – yep, I need me lots of lube and have since my mid-twenties).  Sufficient vaginal lubrication is subjective, individual and not the signifier of sexual arousal that we have been taught to believe it is. Not at all in…

  • Perimenopause

    Estrogen, Vaginas & BV

    There is so much to know about how estrogen supports genitourinary health. For this blog entry my focus is on one of my favourite topics – estrogen and the vaginal microbiome (also known as the vaginal flora). During pre-menopause (your active reproductive years) estrogen causes the outer layer of vaginal cells to shed naturally. When they die off they release glycogen which converts to glucose (sugar). Lactobacillus (the “good” bacteria) coverts the glucose to lactic acid. This acid keeps pH levels in the healthy pre-menopause levels of 3.5 and 5. When estrogen starts to diminish this vaginal cell shedding process slows down and the lactobacillus starves. The bacterial balance is…

  • Perimenopause

    That Smell Down There & How To Get Rid Of It

    Bacterial Vaginosis & Perimenopause Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) can occur when the vaginal environment experiences a change in flora equilibrium – when healthy lactobacilli is diminished which then creates extra production of less desirable bacteria. This harmful bacteria produces enzymes that break down vaginal protein and causes an unpleasant discharge and odour. What researchers and doctors are discovering is that this change is often due to an increase in pH (normal levels are 3.5-5 on a scale of 0 to 14 – so low and acidic). An increase in pH can be caused by: menstruation (blood has a pH of 7.4), semen (ph of 7.1-8), perimenopause  and menopause (because when estrogen…

  • Perimenopause

    Why Do I Have Heavy Periods?

    Endometrial Hyperplasia During perimenopause you typically experience high levels of estrogen at the same time as lower levels of progesterone. It’s a bit later when estrogen begins to drop too and you are closer to a year without a period (that’s menopause). This high estrogen low progesterone state can cause Endometrial Hyperplasia (the excessive proliferation of the cells that line the uterus). Basically, the build up of your uterine lining (what you shed when you have your period). This condition can cause heavy and long periods and leave you at higher risk of uterine cancer. Heavy and long periods – I know them well. I’ve been dealing with them for…

  • Body & Wellness,  Perimenopause

    Cheap Effective Natural Ways To Deal With Period Cramps

    Fennel & Ginger For Cramps, Flow & PMS One of my favourite sources for nutrition research is Nutrition Facts. Dr. Greger’s non-commercial, nonprofit, science-based website that provides free daily updates on the latest in evidence-based nutrition. In reading up about the increased flow and PMS symptoms during early perimenopause I found this video on the benefits of fennel seeds and ginger. It’s been found that fennel seeds work as well as ibuprofen for reducing painful cramps (without the side effects and way cheaper too!) and 1/8 tsp three times a day of powdered ginger can cut menstrual bleeding in half. Ginger also improves PMS symptoms such as mood, physical and behavioural symptoms while…

  • Perimenopause,  Personal Journey

    My Perimenopause Journey

    When I was 11 years old I became obsessed with puberty and the transition to adulthood. I devoured every book and pamphlet on the subject. Thanks to the flowery text from feminine hygiene product companies I had high hopes for puberty. I thought it would lead me to an immediate state of confidence and equanimity. I was deeply disappointed. Instead, like most, my teen years were turbulent.  Pimples, growth spurts, allergies and so many feelings. Thank you hormones, you powerful substances produced by endocrine glands, for all that you did and continue to do to make life so confusing and exciting. I’ve come to appreciate my puberty experience so much more now that my…

  • Perimenopause

    Perimenopause – A Quick Definition

    This is mainly from The Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research at the University of British Columbia. It’s an incredible resource by the way— the most useful I’ve found so far. Perimenopause is the period of time before and for a year after the last menstrual period during which ovarian hormonal patterns, experiences and sociocultural roles change. The average age at which irregular cycles develop is about age 47. In CIS women with regular cycles perimenopause probably begins several years before that. It’s when the ovaries start are making fluctuating amounts of estrogen (often higher than before perimenopause) and lower amounts of progesterone. Like menopause, perimenopause is a normal…