Post image for Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid For Chronic Pain

If you are a woman in menopause and suffer with generalized achy muscles, bones and joints, unless you’ve been diagnosed with some sort of arthritis, or perhaps even Lupus or MS, chances are the likely culprit is chronic inflammation in the body.

Yes, it is true that arthritis, Lupus, and MS cause inflammation. But, there are other issues which can cause chronic inflammation which are not related to any of those conditions.

A diet too high in refined carbohydrates (i.e. white things) and sugars, and too low in omega-3 essential fatty acids for example, can cause inflammation in the body. Low estrogen levels, very common for women in menopause, and which usually correspond with low serotonin levels (an important neurotransmitter which regulates mood and pain receptors), can also contribute to generalized aches and pains.

Long-term stress can contribute to chronic inflammation due to high cortisol levels, a hormone released by the adrenal gland in response to stress. Women going through perimenopause often suffer with adrenal fatigue, and consequently, also have very high levels of cortisol in their bodies.

No matter the cause, chronic pain is debilitating. And if you are like me, and not comfortable with taking narcotics to treat the pain, it can be especially difficult. Earlier this year, I blogged about a book which I think has some excellent points and tips on dealing with chronic pain, The Mind-Body Mood Solution: The Breakthrough Drug Free Program for Lasting Relief from Depressionby Dr. Jeffrey Rossman, PhD.

Yes, it is a book on depression. But chronic pain and depression are closely linked, and depression among women in menopause is common as well. The book has excellent information on light exposure, exercise, and food choices to treat depression, which in turn helps treat chronic pain.  I’m also a strong proponent of yoga to help deal with aches and pains, and to reduce stress. I’ve blogged about Viniyoga techniques hereas well. I cannot recommend it enough for women in menopause.

And I recently ran across the anti-inflammatory food pyramid designed by one of my personal heroes, Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D.  I love it because it is reasonable and measured. I’m not a fan of extreme diets or health crazes which are heavy on one type of food, and negligent in others. I just cannot see how they work for any length of time. In my opinion, balance and moderation is the real key to health.

You can read here about the anti-inflammatory diet, why it works, and why we should all strive to eat that way. However, if like me, you have suffered with chronic pain for any length of time, I suspect you won’t need much convincing.  Especially if you’re not interested in taking drugs.

I definitely plan to incorporate it into my own life along with the Viniyoga I currently do, and the practices and tips I’ve learned from Dr. Rossman’s book this year as well. If you’ve heard of the anti-inflammatory food pyramid, or if you currently use it, I would love to hear your thoughts. Has it worked for you? Was it difficult to follow? Has it helped your chronic pain issues? Let me know!


Symptoms of Perimenopause Symptoms of Menopause

I thought it would be appropriate – and helpful – to follow up on a recent post I did on the difference between perimenopause and menopause and provide a list of the symptoms associated with each. Though the terms are often (and I’m guilty of the same) used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. Perimenopause is a transitional […]

November 17, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Perimenopause or Menopause? Get it Right!

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Sometimes I feel like going on a one-woman crusade to change the language we use when we talk about hormone imbalance – i.e.,perimenopause versus menopause. I will admit, I too am guilty of using these two words interchangeably. But the truth is, they are two entirely different experiences, and frankly, should not be discussed as if they are the […]

October 20, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

When Did Menopause Become a “Disease?”

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Menopause as a disease, or as it is often called by feminist scholars, “medicalized menopause” entered the medical lexicon in the 1930s and 1940s. Yes indeed, ladies. What was once thought of as a natural, biological process signaling to women the passage into mid-life, has become a “disease” thanks to one very small group of […]

August 30, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

What’s the Best Exercise for Bone Strength?

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This is not an article I have written.  However, it is an excellent article so I’m posting an excerpt and linking to the actual source at the NYT I’m not a sedentary person. In my 30s and 40s, I was a runner, and for decades, I played singles tennis three or more times a week. […]

August 8, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Sexuality in Menopause & Post Menopause Years

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There is absolutely no pun intended, but, my last post on loss of libido in menopause turned out to be one very “hot” topic. I posted it on my Facebook page and the ladies went wild. Some of them lamented the loss of their libido while others were just “fine and dandy” with not having sex post-menopause. Personally, as I always […]

July 26, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Transdermal Bioidentical Estradiol: Defending My Decision

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So, I figured I might have to defend my decision to consider using a transdermal bioidentical estradiol. But, I didn’t think it would happen so quickly. No sooner had I written my post last week, when I received an email (albeit a cheerful one) from a lady who identified herself as a “wellness coach.” She had […]

April 15, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Menopause: The Ultimate New Year

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Christmas is over and the New Year has finally rolled around again – my favorite part of the holiday season, actually. I see Christmas kind of like Mardi Gras, or bachelor and bachelorette parties.  The great, big, last hurray before you have to knock-off all those shenanigans and begin anew. For Mardi Gras loving Catholics, […]

December 27, 2012 CONTINUE READING →

Fibromyalgia & Menopause: Body Logic Responds

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Continuing with my discussion on fibromyalgia and menopause, I wanted to post the question I presented recently to Body LogicMD regarding the connection between menopause and fibromyalgia. Given that 80 to 95% of all fibromyalgia patients are women, according to the East Tennessee State University researchers, and that a large number of them are also […]

November 28, 2012 CONTINUE READING →

Menopause, Fibromyalgia & Me

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If you read my Healthline column, then you know I was recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia. If you don’t know what fibromyalgia is, well, you’re certainly not the only one. It’s one of those medical catch-all terms physicians use to define a collection of symptoms which can’t be clearly identified with something else like, MS (multiple […]

November 26, 2012 CONTINUE READING →

The Link Between Low Vitamin D & Chronic Pain

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My recent diagnosis of fibromyalgia is still sinking in.  Truth be told, I’m having a tough time embracing it as an “official medical condition” given that it’s loosely defined as a hodgepodge of this and that, with a little “psychiatric” undertones thrown in for good measure. But, make no mistake about it.  The aches and […]

November 18, 2012 CONTINUE READING →

Fibromyalgia & Menopause

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I received a diagnosis of fibromyalgia recently. I saw a Rheumatologist because I was convinced the symptoms which I have been exhibiting the last 18 months were an autoimmune system issue, and pointed to rheumatoid arthritis, aka, RA: nodes in my index finger joint; inflamed joint in my big toe; low grade fevers; debilitating fatigue; […]

November 12, 2012 CONTINUE READING →

Cigarette Smoking Linked to Early Onset of Menopause?

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As one who suffered greatly from her hormonal misery during perimenopause, I’m not so sure that reaching menopause at an earlier age is necessarily a bad thing. But considering some of the known health risks associated with menopause due to low estrogen levels, such as osteoporosis, and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, […]

April 25, 2012 CONTINUE READING →

Take Your Menopause to Work Day

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Today’s post is a guest post by Ellen Dolgen from When you enter perimenopause, every day is “Take Your Menopause to Work Day.” Menopause marks the complete cessation of the menstrual cycle for 12 consecutive months and is very often accompanied by unpleasant symptoms. Most are completely unaware that women may experience over 34 […]

April 19, 2012 CONTINUE READING →

Weight-Bearing Exercise & Post-Menopause

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With all that is said about hormone replacement therapy during perimenopause into menopause, most women do not realize or understand how important it is to care for their health post-menopause. Post-menopause, by definition, is the time beyond actual menopause. In other words, once you reach actual menopause – 12 consecutive months without a menstrual cycle […]

January 26, 2012 CONTINUE READING →

Perimenopause and Heart Disease

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Today’s post is a guest post from Long Island Heart Associates on an important subject for everyone.  But,  for women who have crossed-over into menopause, it is an especially important subject.  Be pro-active and take your health to heart, ladies! Perimenopause is the stage of your life before you begin to enter menopause, and may […]

October 23, 2011 CONTINUE READING →

Menopause Chit-Chat: Another Resource for You

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As a Health Care Consumer Advocate for women one of the things I want to do is to provide resources. Because, let’s face it, perimenopause ain’t no picnic – Just ask Debbie Lamedman. Navigating perimenopause is a challenge for all of us.  It’s especially difficult when there seems to be a impenetrable wall between you […]

April 20, 2011 CONTINUE READING →

Menopause Hormones & Your Bone Health

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Osteoporosis is a condition that most people, myself included, I’m afraid, often associate with old age.  Extreme old age. But if you are going through perimenopause, on your way to menopause, good bone health is definitely something you need to think about. Osteoporosis is a progressive problem.  Meaning, if left untreated, it progresses into something […]

February 7, 2011 CONTINUE READING →

Green Tea Weight Loss – Seriously?

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I’m going to come clean: I don’t really have weight issues. I mean, yeah, I’ve gained weight since I hit forty, had my third child and began perimenopause boot camp. But when you’re a former 5’10”, 133 lbs-at-top weight- skinny-minnie; and you worked incredibly hard to weigh that much, well, 159 lbs is not exactly […]

November 11, 2009 CONTINUE READING →