Expert Advice on How to Get Ready for Early Menopause

Expert Advice on How to Get Ready for Early Menopause

Think you might be experiencing early menopause, or just want to be prepared for when the first hot flash strikes you? We’re here with Jolene Brighten, N. D. to talk about symptoms, prevention, and treatment for menopause.

When is menopause supposed to start?

Menopause begins when your menstrual cycle has been absent for at least a year. Your ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone – two hormones needed for fertility.

Typically, this stage launches itself for most women when they’re in their mid to late 40s. The average age is 51.

What are the symptoms of early menopause?

Although menopause usually begins in the late 40s, it can start much earlier. The first red flag of early menopause includes irregular periods, followed by low energy levels and difficulty sleeping. Symptoms can be vast and early menopause can make them feel even more intense. Women report experiencing

  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Having to urinate often
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Joint pain
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Mood swings

What causes early menopause?

According to Jolene, “anything that compromises your estrogen production or damages your ovaries could result in early menopause.” Her list of potential triggers includes

  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Adrenal Insufficiency
  • Infections including mumps and tuberculosis
  • Enzyme deficiencies
  • Metabolic syndromes
  • Early menarche (getting your first period before you turn 11)
  • Genetics (if your mom had early menopause, you probably will too)
  • Radiation and chemotherapy (these can be reversible and your ovary may resume ovulation and menstruation after one year of amenorrhea)

What can be done about early menopause?

If you believe you are going through menopause, visit your doctor! Find a specialist and work on creating a protocol together that’s right for you.

You may undergo a variety of different treatments to restore hormonal balance and reduce the miserable symptoms of menopause. However, your plan can be as simple as eliminating processed foods from your diet.

Jolene created a hormone reset program to help women kick-start their journeys to breaking free from unwanted symptoms. She also found these strategies to be effective in reducing or eliminating symptoms.

  1. Find a healthy weight and stick to it
  2. Consume a healthy diet
  3. Eat estrogen-replenishing foods
  4. Find an exercise plan and stick to it
  5. Manage stress
  6. Avoid smoking, alcohol, and caffeine
  7. Drink plenty of water
  8. Keep your brain active

Along with following these methods, Jolene suggests visiting a therapist may also be helpful in working through the physical and mental changes menopause can cause.

Menopause can be scary, but you don’t have to suffer through hot flashes and other uncomfortable symptoms. Consult with a specialist to get yourself the care you deserve!

Time’s Up for the ‘Biological Clock’

Time’s Up for the ‘Biological Clock’

How the ‘biological clock’ is slower than you think


Some say that couples should ideally conceive children before the age of 35, but the consequences of “geriatric pregnancy” are less severe than the general public might believe. Although both men and women have an age range in which they are statistically more likely to conceive children without birth defects, the term “biological clock” is more directed towards women.

The myth of the biological clock was popularized by Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen in his 1978 article “The Clock Is Ticking for the Career Woman.” The subject of his piece, Composite Woman, is a pretty, young professional who is preoccupied with the thought of starting a family before it’s “too late” (aka before she turns 35 and her ovaries explode–just kidding). Composite Woman characterizes Cohen’s generalization of career women, who are supposedly drawn to the traditional role of motherhood and grow anxious at the thought of not being able to fulfill it. Since the progression of women’s rights and societal norms, Cohen has acknowledged that the article wouldn’t be as accepted as it was back in 1978.

Back then, women were just beginning to transition into more professional and management roles. In politics, the conservative party framed their disapproval as concern, claiming that women were more unhappy and less able to deal with stress than men in similar positions. In media, female characters in books and movies were often only able to find fulfillment in a family. But what study says couples should have children before 35? And who says modern women are preoccupied with the biological clock?

One of the most quoted studies on female age and fertility concludes that the ability to conceive does drastically decline after 35, but what readers sometimes overlook is that:

  1. This study examines French birth records between 1670 to 1830 (a range that passes more than two centuries ago!).
  2. The authors never recorded other factors besides the woman’s age that may have contributed to the declining birth rates. Could it have been the man and not the woman who was the problem? Were there medical conditions involved? What about how active the couples were?

However, that study does hold a grain of truth. Though modern fertility studies have shown that fertility decreases with age, the percentages aren’t too different. A study on a sample size of about 800 European women found that with sex twice a week, 86% of 27-to 34-year-old women and 82% of 35-to 39-year-old women were able to conceive within the year. With a sample size of about 3000 women looking to conceive, another Danish study found that about 84% of 20-to 34-year-old women and 78% of 35-to 40-year-old women were able to get pregnant within the year. 

As for a woman’s unhappiness with the inability to conceive, there are few studies that have studied a career woman’s unhappiness in-depth. Furthermore, the sample size and the population of women who were involved in these studies are a bit too cherry-picked to be reliable. For example, a sample size of 23 women who all want to have families will likely have more concerns about fertility than a pool of “general” women–those who have thought about families and those who have not, and those from varying age groups and cultures.

Men are also affected by age-related fertility issues. It’s true that men could have children later than a woman because of the limit of menopause, but their fertility does decrease with age.

Having children before the age of 35 does reduce the likelihood of birth defects and raise the possibility of conception, but not as drastically as mainstream media publicizes. Though there’s some truth in the term “biological clock,” having children is not as urgent as people think and Composite Woman is about as mythical as the biological clock itself.

A New Drug Could Increase a Woman’s Fertility by Six Years

A New Drug Could Increase a Woman’s Fertility by Six Years

Researchers plan to make a drug that extends egg viability in worms usable for women hoping to extend their fertile windows

According to Coleen Murphy, a professor at Princeton University, “One of the most important characteristics of ageing is the loss of reproductive ability in mid-adulthood. As early as the mid-30’s, women start to experience declines in fertility, increased rates of miscarriage and maternal age-related birth defects. All of these problems are thought to be caused by declining egg quality, rather than a lack of eggs.” Luckily, researchers studying Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), which are microscopic worms, found a way to inhibit the production of low-quality eggs in them.

They were able to do this by extending the fertile window in C. elegans by a small percentage. They hope to apply this newfound ability to humans one day.

  • Scientists chose to study C. elegans due to the many genes they share with humans
  • A group of proteins called Cathepsin B proteases cause low-quality oocytes, which are known as unfertilized eggs
  • If this experiment is applied to humans, it could extend their fertility by 3 to 6 years

 

C. elegans

These microscopic worms are a popular model organism for research due to the variety of genes they share with humans, their short generation time, and high production of offspring. They are therefore one of the easier organisms to work with compared to pigs or mice. Certain types of longevity genes are shared by both humans and worms. Because of this, researchers chose this organism to use when experimenting on processes that may cut down on the production of low-quality eggs that occur as a result of ageing.

 

Cathepsin B proteases

These proteins lead to lower-quality oocytes, or unfertilised eggs, as a woman continues to age. They are found in both humans and C. elegans. During their experiments, researchers administered an inhibitor to halt Cathepsin B activity during the middle of a worm’s reproductive period. What resulted was an increase in the worm’s egg quality despite the late injection of the inhibitor. Another experiment knocked out the gene that produces Cathepsin B completely. This ended up extending the worms’ fertility by 10 percent.

 

Application for humans

According to Nicole Templeman, who works for Murphy’s lab, the experiment that successfully knocked out cathepsin B genes could create a “three- to a six-year extension of your reproductive period” if applied to humans. While the cathepsin B inhibitor is not ready to be used in humans, it will greatly benefit women hoping to bear children during the later years of their lives for whatever reasons they may have.

While the reproductive decline is a natural part of ageing, researchers lament that interventions to slow this loss of reproductive success are lacking. Luckily, this experiment is the first of many steps to address this issue.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth Joins the Growing List of Women Having Babies in Their Forties

Sen. Tammy Duckworth Joins the Growing List of Women Having Babies in Their Forties

 

Senator Tammy Duckworth

Sen. Duckworth is the first U.S. senator to have a baby while serving

The Democratic senator from Illinois is having a baby at 49 years old. This will be her second child. Nowadays, it has become more common for women her age to conceive a child.

  • In 2016, the percentage of women who have ever given birth was higher than it was ten years earlier.
  • In a way, the country’s fertile and business cycles are interrelated.
  • Chances of health complications for your baby increase as you grow older.

 

These older women are reversing a 40-year-old trend

According to a research study conducted by the Pew Research Center, 86% of women ages 40 to 44 were recorded to have been mothers in 2016, whereas only 80% of women in this age group had children back in 2006. “Not only are women more likely to be mothers than in the past, but they are having more children,” the report said.

One interesting statistic that the report found was that most women in this age group who have never married have still had a baby. There has been a rise in women who have never wed by the end of their childbearing years. Among them, a majority have at least one child.

 

The economy may be related to the rise and fall of birth rates

“The Great Recession intensified this shift toward later motherhood, which has been driven in the longer term by increases in educational attainment and women’s labor force participation, as well as delays in marriage,” said the Pew report. “Given these social and cultural shifts, it seems likely that the postponement of childbearing will continue.”

In terms of why women may wait to have children, one reason is that their desire to focus on their career. Also, houses are expensive, and couples are inclined to wait and save for a down payment before starting a family. Senator Duckworth herself wrote on Twitter that, “I’m hardly alone or unique as a working parent, and my daughter Abigail has only made me more committed to doing my job and standing up for hard-working families everywhere.”

 

There are health risks that come along with having a baby later in life

The chances of having a baby with Down Syndrome increase from 1 in 100 at age 40 to 1 in 30 at age 45. Mothers who give birth in their 40s also have a higher chance of having to go through C-sections because of complications, low birth weight, and stillborn babies. According to the Mayo Clinic, women are more likely to develop gestational diabetes and high blood pressure during pregnancy if they conceive after they are 35.

It is important to note that you are not alone if you decide to have a child at a later age. There are plenty of resources available to help you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your physician if you have any questions or concerns regarding your pregnancy.

Politics of the ‘Biological Clock’

Politics of the ‘Biological Clock’

 

‘All women want babies, and career women are unhappy with their “liberation” if it puts their traditional role of motherhood at risk.’ That was the message of “The Clock is Ticking for the Career Woman,” a March 16, 1978, Washington Post article that popularized the concept of the biological clock. The author was Richard Cohen, who is still a columnist with that paper (despite allegations of bullying and possible sexual harassment of a young female aide in the late 1990s and controversial racial remarks in more recent pieces).

In the article, Cohen opened with a description of “Composite Woman,” whose age is “something between 27 and 35” and as if reducing the individual experiences of half of the world’s population into one person wasn’t bad enough, he added: “She’s the pretty one .… Nice figure.” Her job is “wonderful,” and there’s a man in her life. But everything is not wonderful. She looks down and after Cohen assures her that she can talk to him privately, Composite Woman says, “I want to have a baby.” Later, Cohen claims to have gone “around, a busy-bee of a reporter, from woman to woman” and found the same stomach-churning anxiety they all felt about the possibility they might not have children one day.

In my opinion, the best thing to do with such a piece of writing is to forget it. We could probably do that, if it wasn’t for the fact that it was in this article that the term “biological clock” was born.

It’s important to consider Cohen’s piece in context. As Susan Faludi argued in her book Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, two things have frequently triggered backlashes against women’s rights: economic independence and increased control over our fertility. The 1970s seemed to be bringing both. While U.S. women have always worked, the 1970s brought a massive surge of women entering professional and management jobs. Between 1972 and 1985, the number of management roles occupied by women almost doubled, and the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade happened in 1973.

A conservative section of society didn’t like these changes, and a subtle but strong backlash took root. Their message hid under the guise of acting as concern for unhappy women; those unable to cope with stress, and female movie characters who found “fulfillment” only by giving up their careers. But what did it really come down to? The message that women should ‘get back into the kitchen.’ And Cohen’s article, whether he intended it as an act of misogyny or was simply carried along by the prevailing narrative, nicely fit that theme.

Nearly 40 years later, we still can’t get away from the notion of this biological clock. It persists even though there’s actually relatively little good research about this supposed ‘countdown.’

Real Housewife of Atlanta Kenya Moore Seeks IVF Treatments in Barbados

Real Housewife of Atlanta Kenya Moore Seeks IVF Treatments in Barbados

We’ve watched the drama unfold in the lavish lifestyle of Kenya Moore on The Real Housewives of Atlanta. After a recent quickie marriage and lots of off-camera secrets, Kenya Moore is wasting no time trying to get pregnant. Moore and her new husband Marc Daly have recently been spotted in the Barbados seeking fertility treatments – news exciting enough to make any Real Housewives fan squeal.

The Low-Down on Kenya Moore’s Recent Escapades

Drama both on and off the screen

While dating her ex-boyfriend – Matt Jordan – Kenya Moore was still actively trying to get pregnant. However, at 46-years-old this is often not an easy task, which is why Kenya and new husband Marc Daly have turned to IVF to conceive. A great amount of drama has surrounded Kenya Moore in her search for privacy during her quickie marriage and hoping to keep Daly out of the public eye, bringing to question what’s next for her on The Real Housewives of Atlanta.

Kenya and Marc Choose Barbados for their Fertility Treatments

Reports of the couple looking to start a family

After their private island ceremony, the newlyweds are wasting no time in trying to start a family. The two have been spotted in Barbados at the Barbados Fertility Centre. Why they are looking for IVF treatments in Barbados is still up for discussion, but sources suggest they may be seeking more off-camera privacy, or want fertility treatments at the lower costs offered in Barbados. It’s unclear whether Marc Daly will be staying in Barbados for the entirety of her treatment or whether he will be returning to the US.

Tension with RHOA Producers

Is Kenya Moore ready to give  it all up for the family of her dreams?

It has been reported the Real Housewives of Atlanta producers and Bravo have not been invited to film Moore’s recent marriage. As she shuts out the cameras for the personal time she seeks for her family planning, producers and fans worry that this could be the end of the road for this Real Housewife. However, it appears that Moore is excited to talk about her experience with IVF in the upcoming reunion show. And let’s face it – we’re all excited for a potential new baby on The Real Housewives of Atlanta, especially if it’s a Moore-Daly baby.

With family planning being such an exciting, emotional time, it’s important to respect the wishes of all couple trying to conceive – even if their entire lives appear to be in the public eye. For now, we wish Kenya Moore and Marc Daly the best of luck in their fertility journey, and look forward to sharing with them the excitement of a new baby.

The Truth about Older Mothers

The Truth about Older Mothers

Years of rumors, poor medical practices, and false information have led women to believe that having a child after the age of 30 would lead to birth defects and mental illnesses. But what if you aren’t ready? What if you want to wait? Maybe you haven’t found the right guy. Maybe you aren’t financially where you want to be. Professors, Doctors, and Psychologist discuss the benefits of waiting until you’re 30 in an article written by ScienceDaily. Mothers who wait are more likely to have smarter and better- behaved children.

Read more about the facts and discover the truth, here.

35 is the new 25?

35 is the new 25?

Honey, let’s wait.

The untold benefits about waiting until you’re ready.

It’s the thing to do

A paradigm shift is taking place in the developed world, couples are waiting to have children.

A study conducted by the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) from 2000 to 2014 showed that the average age for a mother increased from 24.9 to 26.3. This may not sound like a giant shift in age, but this study spans across all states, all ethnicities, and all religions. Directly displaying 3 large underlying factors:

  1. More educated women are waiting till they are established in their careers
  2. Sex education has influenced the way we conceive children
  3. Medical advancements have allowed women to choice when they want kids

Smarter Kids

The mothers maturity could be the number one influence when it comes to raising a kid.  Women who are waiting till their 30’s to have babies are more likely to have the advantage when compared to a younger mother. These  “advanced maternal mothers”, mothers ages 30+, are more likely to have the resources to better equip themselves, and the baby. According to Dr. Alice Goisis, a researcher at London School of Economics and Political Science, these mothers are more likely to take care themselves during pregnancy; being less likely to smoke, and more likely to breast-feed.

In a study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology looked at the cognitive abilities of children, born to mother around age 35-39, and found that they tested significantly better than those of children born to mothers of ages 25-29.

Possible reasons for this:

  • Change in parenting attitudes
  • Change in educational or socioeconomic levels
  • Better family support

“The mothers have more psychological flexibility, more cognitive flexibility, more ability to tolerate complex emotional stimuli from the children” said Tea Trillingsgaard, psychology professor at Aarhus University in Denmark.

The Dangers of Pregnancy after 35

The Dangers of Pregnancy after 35

As couples wait longer to have children, focusing on education and careers rather than family planning, it is not uncommon for women to delay pregnancy into their 30’s. Despite the rising age of first-time moms, fertility experts still warn of the dangers of women giving birth after age 35. As women age, not only does the opportunity to get pregnant decrease, women are more likely to suffer a miscarriage or have other pregnancy complications.

Learn more about the dangers of pregnancy after age 35 with the American Pregnancy Association and USA Today with this video.

Egg Cryopreservation: Make The Right Decision For You

Egg Cryopreservation: Make The Right Decision For You

Article by Dr. Carolyn Givens on egg cryopreservation and how it’s being used to extend the fertility window provided by Boss Magazine. 

One of the things those who work in technology, science, and modern business know is that everything is changing and nothing is static. Many of these changes will have significant impacts on our lives.

It is possible that the latest movement we are seeing in the reproductive medicine arena will have the greatest impact on working women and working couples since the introduction of birth control pills. This is the practice of freezing one’s eggs—oocyte cryopreservation—or embryos in order to preserve the ability to reproduce and delay childbearing to a later age.

Just this October, the National Center for Health Statistics—a division of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—released a report that during 2013 to 2015, approximately half of women between the ages of 15 and 44 expected to have at least one child in the future. The average number of children these women expected to have in the future was 2.2.

This statistic has increased by four percent since 2002. Considering that many educated and career-oriented women don’t even get married before age 35, how can women fit this expectation into their lives?

A Short History

IVF technology has finally caught up with the social revolution that started 50 years ago when women became able to control their fertility. Now, rather than reacting after the fact to the reality of the aging ovary, we are proactively trying to circumvent the evolutionary vestige of optimal reproduction in the teen years and stop the biological clock dead in its tracks.

The first successful pregnancy via oocyte cryopreservation was reported by Dr. Christopher Chen of Singapore in 1986; Dr. Lilia Kuleshova’s patient was the first to result in a live birth in 1999. From the mid-1970s to 2006, an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 successful human births resulted from the use of cryopreservation.

The egg freezing process takes patient commitment from home as well as a minor surgical procedure. The process requires two weeks of hormone injections, and two to three injections per day, culminating with a minor surgical procedure to collect the eggs. The in vitro lab personnel then freezes the eggs through fairly successful modern techniques.

Why Cryopreservation?

Cryopreservation was originally developed for women who had been diagnosed with cancer and wanted to have children after the cancer had been treated. If she had not yet begun chemotherapy or radiotherapy, her eggs could be collected and frozen for the chance at pregnancy post treatment.

In October 2012, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) lifted the experimental label from the technology for women with a medical need, citing success rates in live births as the reason. As such, several other groups of women are now able to use this method.

Today, there are several different groups of women that opt to use oocyte cryopreservation technology for the opportunity to get pregnant later down the line.

Some women in their 20s and 30s are not ready to be mothers, whether they have a partner or not. Around 80 percent of women working outside the home are interested in pursuing their careers before having children. 
The ability to freeze their eggs gives women the opportunity to wait to get pregnant until they are ready: when the right partner comes along, they are ready to take a small break from their career, or they have the desire to be a single mother. This option gives women peace of mind that if they want children in the future, it’s possible.

Many couples also pursue this avenue. Whether it’s wanting more time to be married without kids, time to travel, or work hard on careers, more couples are waiting longer to bring children into the family.

And there are a few companies in Silicon Valley that are honoring this want of their young female employees: Facebook, Google, and Apple are among a very few number of companies that will cover the cost of cryopreservation for their female employees.

The reason? Women were asking for the option. These companies see it as an opportunity to empower women to build their careers and then build their family on their own time, not on the time determined by a biological clock that might lessen a woman’s ability to participate in the workforce.

A Doctor’s Perspective

Many women coming in for egg freezing consultations say that they want the “insurance” of having frozen their eggs.  It is important for women to clearly understand the realities of what egg freezing is, and what it is not.

Currently, there is no test that can tell us if the unfertilized eggs are good or not. We can run blood tests and do ovarian ultrasounds, but they only tell us the quantity of eggs we might be able to capture right now and nothing about quality.

As it turns out, the quality of a woman’s eggs is best predicted by her age. That is because female age is highly correlated with the probabilities of an egg turning into an embryo that has normal chromosomes.

So, the younger women are when they freeze their eggs, the fewer eggs they will need in the future to have a family. But I still caution all my prospective elective fertility preservation patients that even a woman in her early 30s may not make good quality eggs. We won’t know that until she uses them in the future.

So why should a single 30-something woman consider undergoing two weeks of hormone injections, a surgical procedure, and the out-of-pocket cost of $12,000-$15,000?

There are alternatives: get pregnant now using an anonymous sperm donor and raise your child(ren) as a single mom, or wait for the perfect mate and then deal with the realities of getting pregnant or not at the time you both are ready.

Most women or couples decide on oocyte cryopreservation to expand their chances of being able to fulfill one of life’s overarching goals: to pass on one’s genes, to experience the deep love of a parent for a child, and to avoid having to suffer the pain of infertility to do so. With the egg freezing technology that exists today, this “peace of mind” is something that can be offered which did not exist before.

More Articles on Fertility Research: 

These Fertility Advancements Will Blow Your Mind

KNOWHEN Ovulation Kit Tests Fertility Via Saliva, Not Urine

IVF Success Rate Poised To Improve With New Research