Menopause is very special period of life for women and this period could be different depending on lifestyle, habits, general illnesses, physical conditions, etc. Sometimes women need menopause treatment. During menopause many women have few symptoms (hot flashes, night sweats, skin changes, mood swings, weight gain, loss of concentration and memory) which women find troublesome but some women in menopause just notice few slight changes which have no impacts on their everyday lives.
In all cases women in menopause need special attention and special care which should insure normal comfortable life for women in menopause. What are our options for healthy normal menopause? In general there are just three options:
- Healthy Lifestyle during menopause,
- Natural Remedies for menopause,
- Medicine including Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).
MENOPAUSE & Healthy Lifestyle
General recommendations for menopause – wear layered cotton clothing, avoid coffee, alcohol, spicy foods and stress! Relaxation and deep, abdominal breathing (6-8 breaths per minute) have been shown to reduce hot flashes by about 40% when practiced as minimally as twice per day. Eliminate hot baths or showers before bedtime.
Medical statistic demonstrated the effectiveness of exercises during menopause. For example, regular aerobic exercises can reduce the severity of hot flashes in 55% of postmenopausal women. Regular weight-bearing exercise and strength training can also help maintain strong bones during menopause. In general weight control is very important during menopause.
Healthy and balanced diet is essential during menopause. Eating the “right” foods, those rich in vital nutrients, and taking a selection of herbs for menopause is a very effective menopause treatment and has been proven to reduce the risk of experiencing certain symptoms of menopause and helps maintain a healthy weight.
Menopause treatment – natural remedies
Black Cohosh for menopause
Black Cohosh (Cumicifuga racemosa) is one of the best-studied traditional herbs for menopause. Black Cohosh is a flowering plant that grows naturally in Eastern North America. It contains phytochemicals that are thought to relieve symptoms of menopause. Black Cohosh is believed to contain phytoestrogens, specifically isoflavones that bind to the estrogen receptors in women body.
These plant estrogens work very much like natural estrogen, helping to produce lubrication in vagina, regulating body temperature and supporting strength of bones. Some scientists discovered that Black Cohosh could implement positive actions/effects through direct influence at hypothalamus, which is located at the base of the brain. The hypothalamus regulates body temperature and hormone production, and may be the cause of many of the symptoms that come along with menopause.
Medical statistics proved that Black cohosh is a great reliever of many menopause symptoms including night sweats, anxiety, and depression. Effects of Black Cohosh include the reduction of severe hot flashes and night sweats that affect many women in menopause. Main positive action of the Black Cohosh is explained by the reduction of LH levels in women body which is associated with extreme temperature fluctuations.
According to recent studies about 80-85% of women taking the Black Cohosh supplement experienced an improvement in their hot flashes, night sweats and heart palpitations.
Black cohosh supplements can be taken up to two times a day for six months, but should not be taken for a longer period of time. Some rare side effects of Black Cohosh include headaches and mild stomach upset.
While any therapy that influences hormonal actions should be a concern, Black Cohosh does not appear to have estrogenic activity and thus may be safe for women with a personal or family history of breast cancer.
Dong Quai for menopause
Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis, Chinese Angelica, so called “female ginseng”) is an herb native to China and is used commonly in Eastern medicine and cooking. Dong Quai is well known both in China and the West for its ability to support and maintain the natural balance of female hormones. Dong Quai is seen as one of the foremost herbs in treating symptoms of menopause. Dong Quai contains phytoestrogens that bind to the estrogen receptors in women body, thereby increasing female body levels of estrogens. These increased estrogens reduce several menopausal symptoms. Dong Quai also contains Vitamins E, A and B12.
Dong Quai is well known product which provide a number of benefits to women in menopause. In particular, Dong Quai dilates body blood vessels and thereby increases the blood flow. Dong Quai can relieve hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Dong Quai can also regulate the level of estrogens which also assist in relieving menopause symptoms. It is well know that Dong Quai is a mild sedative that will help reduce mood swings and stress during menopause.
Some clinical studies show that women taking Dong Quai reported 25-35% decrease in the severity of menopause symptoms. Dong Quai is also thought to help prevent a variety of illnesses associated with menopause, including heart disease.
Recommended Dong Quai dose is 400-600 mg per day. The Dong Quai root can also be steeped in water to create a tea. Dong Quai is especially effective when used in combination with Black Cohosh.
Dong Quai is one of the herbs for menopause that should not be taken if a woman is experiencing heavy bleeding.
Maca Root for menopause treatment
The Maca Root has been used for centuries in South America, both by indigenous people and by the Spanish. Combined with food, the Maca Root was thought to be an aphrodisiac and people today still eat it for its sexual benefits. The Maca Root, which looks much like a radish, is also excellent at reducing the frequency and intensity of menopausal symptoms.
The Maca Root does not contain plant estrogens but, instead, is an adaptogen that is, it helps to balance out our body’s own existing hormone system and encourages the production of hormones. Maca Root also contains high levels of calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron as well as Vitamins B1, B2, B12, C, and E.
Maca Root is highly beneficial to women entering menopause because it encourages an increase and then a balance between estrogen and progesterone. This increase in estrogen helps especially to reduce hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Maca Root also helps to increase libido, restoring sex drive that was lost during menopause. Maca Root is also thought to help decrease the effects of memory loss and osteoporosis.
The daily recommended dose of Maca Root is about 850-900 mg. Maca Root can be taken in capsule form three times a day, preferably with meals, or it can be boiled and taken as a tea.
Red Clover for menopause treatment
Red Clover grows naturally in Europe and Asia and has been introduced into North America for grazing purposes. Red Clover also could be called cow clover, bee-bread and purple clover. Red Clover is known as a cure-all for menopause symptoms.
Red clover is one of the premium sources of phytoestrogens, plant estrogens that mimic the female sex hormone. These phytoestrogens help to increase the levels of estrogen in female bodies, thereby reducing menopausal symptoms. Red Clover also contains many vitamins and minerals including calcium, magnesium, niacin, potassium and Vitamin C.
Red clover can reduce menopause symptoms including hot flashes and mood swings. Scientific studies show that women who were taking a red clover supplement, reported a 45-50% decrease in their hot flashes over 8 weeks. Red Clover is also thought to be helpful in fighting osteoporosis during menopause. Because it contains high amounts of calcium, Red Clover may slow down or even prevent bone loss. Red Clover also increases the amount of high-density lipoprotein (so called “good cholesterol”) in the bloodstream. This has been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease in menopausal women.
Red Clover is usually taken in capsule form. To treat menopause symptoms, the recommended dosage is between 400 – 500 mg.
Soy for menopause treatment
Soy foods are recommended for women in menopause. The isoflavones in soy foods help balance hormone levels and have some estrogenic activity. There is ongoing research about the safety and efficacy of isolated soy isoflavone supplements. You can choose from tofu, soy milk, roasted soy nuts or tempeh.
Vitamins for menopause treatment
Vitamin E. A daily dose of 400 IUs of natural vitamin E (as mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols) can help alleviate symptoms of hot flashes in some menopausal women.
B vitamins. This group of water-soluble vitamins may help women deal with the stress of menopausal symptoms.
Evening primrose oil and black currant oil for menopause
Evening primrose oil or black currant oil. These are sources of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid that can help influence prostaglandin synthesis and help moderate menopausal symptoms.
(information used from http://www.epigee.org/menopause/herbs.html & from http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00700/menopause-symptoms)
Menopause treatment – medicine
Progesterone cream for menopause treatemnt
Natural progesterone cream can significantly reduced hot flashes – actually 2% progesterone skin cream works in about 85% of perimenopausal and menopausal women. A little as 1/4 tsp once per day can ease hot flashes. Make sure that you read the labels of natural progesterone cream products careful as there is great variability of progesterone content. Some creams contain less than 5 mg progesterone per ounce, whereas others contain more than 400 mg progesterone per ounce. This can be obtained over the counter or by prescription.
Menopause & Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
HRT is effective in treating several of the most common menopausal symptoms, including hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal symptoms and cystitis.HRT works by replacing oestrogen, which naturally begins to fall in the approach to menopause, causing menopausal symptoms.
HRT can be taken as a cream or gel, a tablet, a skin patch or an implant.
Tibolone for menopause treatment
Tibolone is a synthetic hormone that acts in the same way as HRT. It may be used as an alternative to combined HRT (which contains both oestrogen and progestogen) for post-menopausal women who want to end their periods. Tibolone is effective in treating menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats, and it can help prevent fractures of the spine. It may also improve sexual problems, such as a decreased sex drive.
Tibolone carries some small risks, including a small increased risk of breast cancer, cancer of the uterus and stroke. It is also not suitable for women over the age of 60.
Clonidine for menopause treatment
Clonidine is a medicine that was originally designed to treat high blood pressure, but it may also reduce hot flushes and night sweats in some women during menopause. It can sometimes cause unpleasant side effects including dry mouth, drowsiness, depression, constipation and fluid retention.
Medicine for osteoporosis
Bone is made of living tissue that renews itself continuously throughout life. But from midlife onwards this process slows and the skeleton loses bone mineral. At menopause the decrease in estrogen production can have a further marked effect on bone health, often leading to osteopenia and osteoporosis. There are ways of assessing bone mineral density and ways to offset bone loss (like using a natural progesterone cream).
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