How does Menopause happen?
The average age of menopause is around fifty years. The average age of perimenopause or the transition period from regular to irregular menses is around forty-seven, and the average length is four to five years. During perimenopause, the amount of ovarian eggs reaches very low levels. The menstrual cycle begins to change. The amount of follicle-stimulating hormone secreted from the adrenal gland increases, and ovulation becomes irregular. The ovarian production of estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone begins to decrease. Finally, ovulation ceases, and the reduced levels of estrogen are no longer sufficient to cause a buildup of the uterine lining.
Contrary to what some folks think, menopause is natural and normal. Many discussions about menopause and its related problems can make it sound like a disorder or a warning of impending fragility, disability, and even death.
Despite the fact that it's normal, menopause isn't an event to dismiss. A balanced approach is necessary. Menopause is the start of a new period of life; for many women, it'll be a time of empowerment, personal development, and positive, life-changing insights and conclusions. Having a proper understanding of menopause and an adequately informed and respectful health-care practitioner, most menopausal women can be happy and healthy.
Holistic and integrative practitioners tailor treatments and wellness plans to the specific needs of their customers. For menopause, they could provide many options that vary from minimal intervention into the most conventional pharmaceutical choice. A comprehensive evaluation--including medical history, physical examination, and laboratory and investigative tests--is imperative for determining a woman's risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease. All women should find a complete evaluation by a practitioner who's educated in organic, hormonal, and pharmaceutical non-hormonal choices. According to a woman's risk for osteoporosis and heart disease, as well as her present symptoms, experts can suggest a treatment plan which will incorporate at least one of the six treatment choices below.
Many changes accompany menopause. They range from moderate to severe and include insomnia, heart palpitations, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, depression, anxiety, decreased memory and concentration, acne, facial hair growth, vaginal dryness, diminished libido, urinary dysfunction, and irregular bleeding. Heart disease and osteoporosis are the two most serious problems related to menopause.
Whether to use natural remedies or traditional hormone replacement therapy or some combination of both, is a uniquely personal choice. A well-informed woman that has a caring, knowledgeable, and open-minded professional is in the best position to make proper decisions. As your feelings change over time regarding menopause, aging, and long-term health issues, you might choose to try something different to satisfy your changing needs.
For many perimenopausal women, including the diet, exercise, herbs, nutritional supplements, and natural progesterone creams described in this guide should alleviate menopausal symptoms. Women who don't find adequate relief from such therapies should see a certified primary-care physician who is rather educated in the assortment of hormone choices, both natural hormone formulas and conventional hormones.
Diet and Exercise: Love your veggies. The best therapeutic and preventative diet for many menopausal women is mainly vegetarian, using a tiny low-fat fish and milk. The diet should consist of low to moderate levels of protein, few fats, many leafy greens, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and a higher percentage of legumes.
- Eat more phytoestrogens. Research shows that soy reduces vaginal dryness and hot flashes. Additionally, it improves cholesterol ratios and seems to help slow bone loss. Soy isoflavones provide many health benefits for menopausal women.
One way to find these advantages is to add tofu, soy milk, roasted soy nuts, cooked legumes, and other soy foods in your daily diet. Supplements are another way. Both powders and capsules (great for adding to smoothies) can be found.
- Flaxseeds have a category of phytoestrogen compounds known as lignans. One tablespoon a day of flaxseed meal or bread added to smoothies or cereals may improve vaginal dryness for some women.
- Build bones. A diet for bone health incorporates fatty acids, ample soy foods, dark leafy green vegetables, and calcium. Soybeans, tofu, salmon, baked beans, sesame seeds, low-fat dairy products, and calcium-fortified foods are rich sources of calcium. Several dietary factors that might negatively contribute to the development of osteoporosis include inadequate calcium, vitamin D deficiency, higher phosphorus intake, higher animal protein consumption, and salt.
- Feed your bones and heart. The prevention of coronary disease is largely dependent on diet and lifestyle. Lowering the amount of dietary fat, especially animal fat and saturated fat, is the trick to a nutrient preventive approach to heart disease. Reducing the cholesterol level in your diet will lower the blood glucose in many individuals. Experts generally recommend reducing overall fat intake to under 30 percent of total calories.
-A diet high in cold-water fish like halibut, salmon, tuna, and sardines gives a superb source of omega-3 oils, which can be connected to the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Another way to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and lower cholesterol is to boost fiber intake. A diet that full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, and fish is low in fat but high in antioxidants and fiber; this mix prevents damage to the container walls.
- No obesity or heart disease prevention program is complete without regular exercise. Bone health depends upon resistance training, weight-bearing exercise, and consistency. A balanced preventative regimen for heart and bone health should include about half an hour of aerobic exercise four times per week and strength training twice per week.
Dietary supplements for menopause symptoms
Just a few supplements effectively heal menopause symptoms. These include bioflavonoids with vitamin C, vitamin E, and gamma-oryzanol.
- Vitamin E was first utilized in 1937 to control hot flashes, and lots of confirmatory studies followed. Research shows that it helps treat roughly 50 percent of postmenopausal women with atrophic vaginal tissue. About 400 IU of vitamin E daily is usually effective. Relief of hot flashes may take several weeks for many women; for vaginal dryness, you will need to keep taking vitamin E to keep the benefits.
- Bioflavonoids with vitamin C can also alleviate hot flashes. In one study, approximately 1,000 milligrams of bioflavonoids with 1,200 milligrams of vitamin C daily for four months relieved hot flashes in 53 percent of girls and decreased the frequency by 34 percent.
- Gamma-oryzanol is a chemical isolated from rice bran oil. One study has found it to be effective in relieving menopausal hot flashes. In the first study, women were given 300 mg per day for approximately one month. More than 67 percent of those women had a minimum of 50 percent improvement in their menopausal symptoms. In the latter study, 300 mg per day dose was successful in 85 percent of those menopausal women.
- Bone and heart supplements can provide significant protection during menopause. Calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D also have substantial research to reveal their ability to stop or slow bone loss--and in the case of vitamin D, decrease fracture prices. Boron and other trace minerals also have been studied for their positive effects on bone density, bone structure, or bone fragility.
Natural medicine is effective in preventing cardiovascular disease but also in healing and, in some instances reversing cardiovascular disease. A considerable body of research on fish oils, niacin, vitamins C and E, vitamins B6 and B12, potassium, Coenzyme Q10, folic acid, and pantetheine documents the ability of nutritional supplementation to reduce blood pressure, lower total cholesterol and triglycerides, prevent lipid oxidation and prevent platelets from aggregating.
Ayurvedic treatment of menopause: Ayurveda cites three significant reasons:
- As menopause is the transition from the Pitta period of life to the Vata stage, if a woman already has a major Pitta or Vata imbalance in the years prior to menopause, things will likely get worse through menopause, which can be a period when hormonal and other organic changes take place within the body.
- Another factor resulting in menopausal imbalances is that the accumulation of digestive impurities (ama) from the physiology. Ama blocks the channels that transfer nutrition to the cells and eliminate waste from the body and consequently contributes to menopausal issues.
- A third element is the misuse or overuse of the mind, body, emotions, or sensations. Essentially, this occurs when a woman strains her brain a great deal, is under too much continuing stress or pressure, or is performing work that's too"heavy" for her body, or is under tremendous emotional stress.
Ayurvedic dietary suggestions to manage menopause: Diet can be an essential instrument in menopause management. If you're prone to Pitta-based difficulties, such as hot flashes or excessive irritability, follow a Pitta-pacifying diet: avoid foods that are hot, like chilies, cayenne, and black mustard seed. Salty foods and foods that are sour, such as yogurt (unless it's diluted and sweetened in a beverage called lassi), and sour foods like ketchup, mustard, and other salad dressings and condiments made with vinegar should likewise be avoided. Spicy foods that are bitter, astringent, and sweet, because these are cooling to Pitta dosha. Bitter and astringent foods include most vegetables. Spicy foods include rice, cream and milk, sweet lassi, and wheat products. Sweet, succulent fruits such as pears and plums also pacify Pitta dosha. Cook with Pitta-reducing spices, such as cinnamon, coriander, cardamom, fennel, and smallish quantities of cumin seed.
How can Yoga help? Every woman's menopause is like a fingerprint--unique and private. And how she awakens and moves through this transition can transform her inner and outer experience. One way to look at menopause as a life transition is via the ashramas, the four phases of life, a concept found in Hindu philosophy. Originally meant for guys, a contemporary interpretation offers guidance for women. The four stages are
Student: (or kid ) learns about one's role in society
Householder: (adult) increases a household and/or makes a contribution to society through relationships, work, or volunteer efforts
Forest Dweller: (mid-life) starts the preparatory work for a personal or religious realization.
Renunciate: (senior years) may opt to turn these years into a concentrated chance for spiritual enlightenment and wisdom.
Generally speaking, the Forest Dweller stage appears perfectly timed for menopause, which may be regarded as moving away from a more active (rajasic) period of life toward a more contemplative (sattvic) one. However, as beautiful and religious as that sounds, there are challenges women may face. A daily routine of yoga adjusted for individual needs and skills can help women accept, integrate, recognize, and transform the menopause experience and the intense feelings of anxiety that may accompany it.
Botanical Medicines: Herbal therapies are excellent for relieving a broad assortment of menopausal symptoms. Hot flashes, sleeplessness, depression, mood swings, anxiety, vaginal dryness, and heart palpitations are a few of the symptoms that respond well to individual plant preparations and/or botanical mix formulations.
- Dong Quai, when researched alone, hasn't fared so well in the management of menopausal symptoms. But when studied in conjunction with four other herbs--motherwort, licorice, wild yam, and burdock root--this formulation reduced symptom severity in 100 percent of girls taking it, and 71 percent of women reported a decline in the overall number of symptoms.
- Red clover standardized extracts that contain as much as 40 milligrams of isoflavones are now available. Evidence is mixed as far as the effectiveness is concerned.
- Black cohosh was studied in many research designs. In one of the most prominent studies, published in 1982, roughly 80 percent of the women reported that a definite improvement in menopausal ailments like hot flashes, mood swings, and insomnia. After six to eight months, the complete disappearance of symptoms occurred in roughly 50 percent. Another study showed black cohosh was similar to estrogen in its capacity to improve moods and alleviate hot flashes, headaches, and heart palpitations. Many unique doses of black cohosh extract have been analyzed, ranging from 40 to 160 mg per day.
- Vitex, or chaste tree berry, stands on the peak of the list for handling abnormal menopausal bleeding. Whether the flow is infrequent or frequent, light or heavy, or short or long, bleeding abnormalities related to menopause may vary widely. Vitex enhances the incidence of ovulation and might lead to more regular menstrual cycles and much more normal blood circulation. It may also ease the transition to menopause with less irregular bleeding.
- Other herbs comprise St.-John's-wort for depression, kava extract for anxiety, valerian for sleep disturbance, and ginkgo for memory and concentration. Asian ginseng (P. ginseng) enhances the ability to cope with stressors, reduces fatigue, and treats atrophic vaginal changes because of a lack of estrogen. These herbs can be combined with different herbs and formulations, which are primarily for menopause.
Just like nutritional supplements, many herbal remedies have been adequately analyzed and used in clinical settings to deal with cardiovascular issues. Many plants have verified track records in this arena. They include guggulipid and ginger, which lower cholesterol, and garlic, which reduces both blood pressure and cholesterol. However, botanical remedies have never been analyzed for their ability to prevent or reverse osteoporosis.
Natural Hormones: Among the most significant areas of confusion in natural medicine, today is the topic of natural hormones. Natural hormones are described as those that are biochemically and molecularly identical to the human hormone type and that have been derived from plants. The hormones aren't found in the plants; they are manufactured from ingredients in plants.
Natural hormones can be made into formulas determined by a doctor and produced by a specially trained compounding pharmacist. They are biochemically identical to human progesterone, testosterone, estradiol, estrone, estriol, and DHEA). Based upon the dose and the formula, relief of symptoms and prevention of osteoporosis and heart disease can be like that from traditional hormone therapies.