Menopause occurs definitively when a woman ceases to experience her monthly menses. The ovaries cease releasing eggs and the cycle of preparing the womb to carry a child no longer occurs. A woman officially enters menopause 12 months after her last menstrual period.
The slow decline of reproductive hormones which typically occurs between a woman’s 40’s and 50’s leading up to this phase is called perimenopause. Generally, lay people lump all of the stages of “the change” together and refer to this period in a woman’s reproductive life cycle as menopause.
When women experience menopause and how they experience is linked to several factors.
• Their mother’s age when entering menopause gives a fair indication of when a woman will enter menopause.
• The age of other female relatives offers some indication as well.
• Lifestyle can also affect the onset of menopause; women who smoke and deal with chronically high levels of stress may be more likely to enter menopause early, prior to 40 years of age.
The average age for American women to enter menopause is approximately 51 years old. However, menopause can occur as late as 60 years old for some women.
Some women experience a broad range of symptoms, migraines, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and more when approaching menopause. Other women experience minimal symptoms during perimenopause and menopause.
Those women who do experience symptoms may be so effected that it can greatly diminish their overall wellbeing and quality of life. It is important to speak with your doctor to find all possible methods of alleviating such symptoms and to alos look to any and all natural therapy alterntives that can help bringh relief and blanace back to the body.
Natural Treatments For Menopausal Symptoms
The reason for menopausal symptoms, significant decreases in estrogen production, is also the cause. As the body begins the slow process of ending a woman’s reproductive cycle, hormones can fluctuate more than usual leading to hormonal imbalances.
According to WebMd, these imbalances, related to significant decreases in estrogen, are believed to be the primary cause of menopausal symptoms: night sweats, headaches, fuzzy thinking, irritability, painful intercourse related to vaginal dryness, generalized anxiety, urinary incontinence and weight gain. These symptoms can be managed and alleviated with lifestyle changes, dietary adjustments and supplementation.
Lifestyle Change Recommendations
Daily moderate to vigorous exercise helps manage stress, encourages the maintenance of bone density and keeps the heart healthy.
Diet and Nutrition
A healthy plant based diet low in saturated fats supports a healthy transition for menopausal women. As estrogen in the system decreases, menopausal women become more vulnerable to heart disease and bone loss. Menopausal women need to pay special attention to getting enough Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Calcium and Magnesium in their diet. Calcium, Vitamin D and Magnesium support bone health. Vitamin C aids in the absorption of Vitamin E, which prevents night sweats and hot flashes. Vitamin C also helps to keep capillaries strong.
Stress can exacerbate the symptoms associated with menopause. Menopausal women benefit from lowering stress levels and pursuing activities which allow them experience feelings of wellness and balance. Pleasant hobbies, gardening, dancing, journaling are simple ways to manage stress. Meditation, yoga and tai chi offer alternative forms of exercise and stress management for menopausal women as well.
Common Herbal Remedies
• Black Cohosh – Black Cohosh, an herbal phytoestrogen, mimics estrogen in the body and relieves the hot flashes and night sweats.
• Red Clover – Red clover contains isoflavones, another substance which acts like estrogen in the body. It also contains a spectrum of nutrients, Vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, chromium, niacin, thiamine, potassium and phosphorous, beneficial to menopausal women. These nutrients support bone health and a healthy metabolism. The isoflavones are credited with relieving hot flashes and night sweats, however according to the University of Maryland Medical Center website page discussing red clover the effectiveness of red clover is not supported by science.
There is no need to panic. The symptoms associated with menopause are possibilities not guarantees. A proactive and positive approach to this life phase may prevent the onset of many of these symptoms, or at the least, shorten their presence.
Each of these symptoms may be treated with natural remedies with varying degrees of success. Seek the support of your doctor, herbalist or nutritionist for recommendations specific to your needs.