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Ask HER: Artificial Sweeteners, Supporting Mom Through Menopause & Natural Remedies for Migraines

Ask HER: Artificial Sweeteners, Supporting Mom Through Menopause & Natural Remedies for Migraines
It's YOUR time on HER Radio. Be a part of the show... make your comments and ask your questions by email, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . It's time to Ask HER. Today, on HER Radio you wanted to know:

Are artificial sweeteners bad for you?

You may have noticed that many health organizations are claiming how bad sugar is for your health. You might have started to buy diet drinks because of the zero calorie and zero sugar benefit. There are tons of artificial sweeteners such as Acesulfame potassium, saccharin, sucralose, neotame, and aspartame.

However, researchers are also noting that artificial sweeteners might not be that better for you. Many have criticized artificial sweeteners as the number-one cause for many health issues including weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer.

Instead of drinking the diet sodas, and eating foods with artificial sweeteners, you may want to just consider drinking water.

What can I do to support my mother through menopause?

Menopause occurs when your ovaries significantly decrease in the amount of estrogen production, the hormone that controls the reproductive cycle. During menopause, women may experience emotional highs and lows, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, hot flashes, anxiety, fatigue, weight gain, thinning hair, and dry skin.

Even though menopause is natural, some women may still have a hard time coping with the changes that are happening to her body.

If you've never experienced this or been around someone who has, one of the best things you could do is educate yourself on what is happening to her body, talk openly and honestly, be patient, offer to help in any way (even if it's just to listen), support her, and make any suggestions to her that might help her feel better.

What are some natural ways to deal with migraines?

Migraines are a form of a headache that causes intense throbbing throughout your head, while also inducing nausea, sensitivity to light, and occasional vomiting.

According to the American Migraine Foundation, 36 million Americans (12 percent of the population) suffer from migraines. Even though migraines could be eased with medication, you may want to try a few natural ways first.

Here are some natural ways to help ease your migraines: Butterbur, ginger, drinking more water, peppermint, magnesium, riboflavin, omega-3 fatty acids, head rubs, and acupuncture.

If you have a personal health question that you want answered, Pam and Michelle encourage you to send them in to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

RadioMD Presents:HER Radio | Original Air Date: April 16, 2015
Host: Michelle King Robson and Pam Peeke, MD

It's your time on HER Radio. Be a part of the show. Make your comments, ask your questions by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling 877-711-5211. Time to Ask HER.

PAM: Well, hello there. Look at this. We've got some questions for our Ask HER segment.

MICHELLE: Exciting.

PAM: Oh, yeah. We've been getting emails in and that's This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , so it's time to Ask HER. So, here's a question I thought was really cool. "Are artificial sweeteners bad for you?"

Heck, yeah. Okay. Let's move to the next question.

MICHELLE: That was easy.

PAM: I know. Seriously. You know all the answers to these things. You know, saccharin and aspartame. Don't even ask me. That stuff is just plain lethal.

MICHELLE: Don't ask HER. Don't ask you?

PAM: Don't ask HER, ask me. That's right. But, here's one. Splenda.


PAM: It's sitting around everywhere. You go to a Starbucks, whatever. And, it's actually called "sucralose", but here's the deal with this. What we found in science is that Splenda, or sucralose, right? It reacts in the body the same as refined sugar. So, it makes that insulin absolutely skyrocket and then it plummets and you know what it does? It just racks up that appetite for more sugary junk and food, in general. You just have this weird appetite and you think it's a hunger. It's not. So, I say, "No. No, no, no, no." What's the alternative? I always give you an alternative when I say "no" and that is, how about beautiful fruit-infused water? Just go to Bed, Bath & Beyond or somewhere. Cosco.

And, buy these wonderful either pitchers or decanters for nothing and then just slice up a bunch of beautiful fruit. Let it float there in nice, icy water and all day long, you have refreshing hydration without all this other bleh. So, that's it. What do you think, Michelle?

MICHELLE: I don't use artificial sweeteners. I never have. I think they taste awful. I know they're bad for you, but I think women need to look at, you know, no diet soda, drinking water, eating foods that don't have artificial sweetener so eating natural foods. And, the artificial sweeteners actually take your taste buds and they did a study on this, right? And so, when you start to eat natural fruits and vegetables, everything, it has a different taste to it. It doesn't taste as good.

PAM: Okay.

MICHELLE: And that's another thing to keep in mind. So, just drink lots of water and get away from it.

PAM: And, for sweetness, here's something that will work: Stevia. It's herbal.


PAM: Stop it. It's a wonderful herbal that doesn't play with your insulin. Alright. There's artificial sweeteners. So, what's the next question, Michelle?

MICHELLE: Oh, my gosh. The next question is my favorite question which is about menopause. So:"What can I do to support my mother through menopause?"

Well, your mother probably doesn't even know she's in menopause and you probably don't even know what menopause really is. So, it's such an interesting topic, Pam, because women are faced with this every single day and, of course, we're living longer and women are afraid of estrogen, for example, because they've heard so many bad studies, but women are going to experience menopause, highs and lows, sexual dysfunction, hot flashes, anxiety, weight gain, all the things that happened to me. Thinning hair and dry skin.

So, you're not going to be very happy at the end of the day when you're going through menopause. So, I think it's important for the family member to be very understanding, to educate themselves. There's a great book that I love to tell women to read. It's a bit clinical, but it does help tremendously and that's Screaming To Be Heard by Dr. Elizabeth Vliet and that really helps you because they're going to have to cope with this and how do you cope with it and how do they cope with it?

I know in my own case with my mom, I knew when she went off her estrogen patch. She wasn't the same. It changed her. And so I said, "Mom, did you go off your patch?" She said, "Yeah. Why did you ask?" I said, "Because you're not the same." It changed her personality. It also gave her joint pain and other things, so she went back on it and, sure enough, huge difference. So, I think it's an educational piece of it. I think for women who are going through menopause, they need to find a menopause specialist. Go to or a hormone specialist. That's the best way to handle this. Knowledge is power, again, in this case.

PAM: Oh, I love that whole issue. That's fabulous. Again, supporting your mother is, in every single way, be gentle, understanding, because this is a tough time.

Alright. Here's another question: "What are some natural ways of dealing with migraines?"

Hmm. Alright. So, let's just sort of dive right into this. Instead of popping all kinds of pills and back and forth, there's got to be another way because, you know, 36 million Americans—36 million Americans—that's 12% of the population, have migraines. They've been diagnosed with this. Instead of just, you know, the medication, what else can we do?

Well, there are some really simple things you can do. Let's start, you know, with just massage. You could do a really neat thing and that is check in with massage and make sure they're also working your head, rubbing your temples feels absolutely fabulous and, also, easing a lot of the tension and the muscles in your neck and the rest of it.

Meditation works like there's absolutely tomorrow and it helps to be able to give you that calm, especially when you're stressed and that often times is a trigger for migraine. How about some other things like herbals? Feverfew turns out to be quite effective in a lot of women, especially who have menopause. Making sure you have your appropriate amount of magnesium on board as well as that wonderful B vitamin, riboflavin.

That's cool. Did you know, Michelle, that sniffing peppermint—just sniffing it—you know, having some of that peppermint essence around, is also very helpful for people with migraines as well as making sure you're getting enough Omega 3 fatty acids. You know, you could get these not only from supplements, but also from having salmon and fish, Finally, acupuncture has been helpful for a lot of people, but, you know, when we were putting this together, that you also mentioned the whole issue about hormones.

MICHELLE: Exactly. Exactly.

PAM: What goes on? So, what's the deal? Share.

MICHELLE: Well, some women will start having migraines when they're young. You know, right around the time of their period. They'll stay with them forever and I had a friend of mine who actually suffered from migraines from the time she was 12 years old and they were debilitating, Pam. So debilitating, she couldn't get out of bed for days. She finally went to the right doctor and they discovered that she had a hormonal imbalance.

It actually ran in her family. Her mother suffered from the same thing and they never picked it up for her mother. So, as soon as they got her balanced, she had no more migraines and she had a life which was really, you know, for all those years, no one looked at her hormone levels to see if maybe it wasn't the imbalance that was occurring. That does happen. I've never suffered from migraines, thank goodness. I'm one of the few women that I know that hasn't.

PAM: Neither have I. I've never had them.

MICHELLE: But, you know, so many women have them. I think the other thing, too, to think about is Botox. Some of my girlfriends actually use Botox because of their neck. You know, women carry everything—the stress—in their neck or it's the abdomen, right? It's the gut or the neck and it gets so stiff and tight and it allows the muscles to relax. I know one girlfriend of mine who's doing that it and it has made a huge difference for her, so I think you've got your traditional treatments, your non, you may have to do a combination of both and women have to quit carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders.

PAM: Oh, I don't think there's any question about that and how absolutely well said.So, we've really been looking at the whole issue of three really great questions here. You know, artificial sweeteners, pitch 'em, honey! Menopause and beautiful words from Michelle about how to be supportive. Then, finally, natural ways of dealing with something that really afflicts so many women—migraines. Even though Michelle and I don't get them on a routine basis. I've never had one in my life—you've never had one.


PAM: You know something? We have great compassion for all of you out there who do.Thanks for your questions on HER Radio. Keep them coming! I'm Dr. Pam Peeke with Michelle King Robson.

MICHELLE: You're listening to HER Radio on RadioMD. Follow us on Twitter. Like us on Facebook. Ask us questions and stay well.