Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Multitasking, menopause and stress

Just when you think your symptoms are over, no more hot flashes, night sweats or insomnia, something new pops up. Vaginal dryness, mood swings, adrenal fatigue, exhaustion....why does the Change have to last so long and take up so much of our energy?

Yesterday I was having an annual check-up with my G.P., (why are you so tired? she asked) and we started talking about multi-tasking and stress. Almost a year ago now, she had a heart attack - surprising for a healthy woman in her 50's who jogs daily. She was very lucky to completely recover. But she also has a very stressful job, working inside of a dysfunctional health care system and considers herself underpaid for the hours and heart she puts into her work. Ah, the heart ! She is wonderful doctor, encouraging, insightful, always ready to take a few minutes and ask how I am doing, how are my children, my husband, the big picture. Anyway, since her recuperation period, she is trying to learn to slow down, and even, imagine this, do one thing at a time. Instead of writing a prescription while talking on the phone, she is trying to focus on one task at a time.

As we hit menopause, our brains start crying out for help. Help with crossed wires, help with focus and concentration. Supplements may be one solution, but I think the best thing we can do is slow down and pace ourselves. Get out of the hurry-up habit, that in the end makes us less efficient as we correct the mistakes we made while rushing. How many emails have I sent off without the much needed attachment?

Well, here's an attachment right in the body of the text so you can't miss it - I just got Dr. Christiane Northrup's e-newsletter, and it had a bit of news about fish oil that caught my eye. I have some in my fridge, and maybe once a week I remember to take it. After reading this, I think I'll be reaching for it once a day. For my brain and my heart, I need to slow down, do one thing at a time, and take my fish oil capsules!

Fish Oil Cools Hot Tempers and Hot Flashes: excerpt from Dr. Christiane Northrup's e-newsletter
For years, the omega-3 fats found in fish oil have been shown to help postpartum women maintain a sunny disposition and also to modulate moods in more “mature” brains. Furthermore, research suggests that fish oil’s anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce the body’s negative response to psychological stress.

Some initial findings in a study done in Turin, Italy indicate that fish oil may be able to lessen the frequency and severity of hot flashes by 25 percent over 24 weeks. The Italian doctors believe that the fish oil helps modulate neurotransmitters in the brain regulating its activity and increasing the “feel good” hormone serotonin. While the evidence is not conclusive yet, noted author Barry Sears, M.D. suggests that these results may also be due to a reduction in inflammation caused by eicosanoids (a type of prostaglandin), which he believes contributes to hot flashes.

So there you have it, today's musings on fish oil, multi-tasking and menopause.

have a sunny disposition kind of day,


Beverly Keaton Smith said...

Hi Jenn, I too started taking fish oil after reading Ms. Northrup's latest newsletter. I'm taking it in liquid form. The taste is not too bad. I am enjoying your blog. I can relate to a lot that you write about. Happy Summer to you! ~Beverly

Anonymous said...

Stress management is a very important factor to improve short term memory loss. Stress causes the body to release a hormone called cortisole which blocks the memories from being registered. Since it is a known fact that all women going through early menopause have stress, it is essential to stay positive and stay stress free.