In this health video you will learn about the different myths of the menopause.
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Lyle Hurd: Welcome. We’re pleased to be visiting today with Dr. Sherrill Sellman. Dr. Sellman is the author of the two [international] best selling books What Women Must Know to Protect their Daughters from Breast Cancer and Hormone Heresy: What Women Must Know about their Hormones. Dr. Sellman, you concentrate on a number of myths in your book, Hormone Heresy, and would you be kind enough to explain to us the things that women really need to know? Dr. Sherrill Sellman: I’d be delighted. When I was investigating the whole story of women and their hormones, I really encountered lot information that actually quite shocked me. So, let’s being by looking at the myths, because unless women have truthful information, it’s really hard to make the best informed choices. There is so much misinformation around our own body and how it works and what happens as we go through our life cycle. So, the very first myth I’d like to start with is the perception that women’s bodies are innately flawed. When I was doing my research, I came across a quote by Hypocrites, the famous father of modern medicine. And Hypocrites said¬—he actually rhetorically asked the question, “What is woman?” And answered, “Disease”. So we have had a long history¬—I would say 2500 years, if not longer—of being perceived as having a body that was innately flawed, predisposing us to a range of illnesses and health problems and affecting our emotions and capacity to function and mental stability in the world. That was by far a profound belief that has actually drifted up into present time. It’s a myth that women are innately flawed. The truth is that women actually have a phenomenal body. We have this capacity to be healthy and vital—in fact, we live a much longer and healthier life than men—and our female nature in a sense predisposes us to have a greater sense of intuition, to have an ability to be much more attuned to ourselves—our inner selves, our outer world—and actually to remain healthy and vital through all stages of our life cycle. LH: Well, that’s pretty interesting. What are some of the myths over and above that? What about myths about our hormones and the things that women are all supposed to go through and suffer through? It’s a forgone conclusion. SS: Well, as we continue looking at the myths, one of the biggest myths around women and their hormones has to do with the menopausal woman. Now, we are told at menopause, it’s a downhill slide. Everything starts to fall to pieces; that we stop making our hormones, that the ovaries quit, we no longer produce estrogen, and basically, as one renowned author who perpetuated some very tragic myths around women has said, at menopause, the woman becomes the caricature of her former self. So women have carried this image that menopause is the beginning of the end of a fruitful, vital, healthy, juicy life. In fact, that is such a big myth. The fact is—the truth is—that menopause is actually a time when a woman moves into a greater experience of herself, her power; she actually has greater access to her inner wisdom, her intuition. She moves into really a time of owning her power and along with this myth around menopause, is the belief that instead of the decline—the prevailing belief that there is a decline—what we now know is that the body is exquisite in its ability to support a woman through all stages of her lifecycle. So, in fact, our ovaries don’t stop working at menopause. We don’t stop producing estrogen. What happens is that we are shifting to another cycle of our lives and this is our non-childbearing years—our ‘wise-woman’ years it’s called. Therefore, we reduce estrogen made by the ovaries by about 40-60%, but our ovaries really never stop producing estrogen; never stop producing hormones our entire lives. We also have back-up systems, so in the case of estrogen, our back-up system has to do with the adrenal glands, which help to make a bit of estrogen in our menopausal years. Then we have our fat cells.