|Easing menopause naturally
IF MENOPAUSE IS A NATURAL PHASE of womanhood, why not treat the symptoms the
natural way? Although some healthcare providers recommend hormone
replacement therapy (HRT) as the standard treatment for menopause, there
remains much controversy on the advantages and risks associated with the
If natural is the way you would like to go, here are seven alternatives
that are tried and proven by many women around the world:
TAKE MORE GOOD BACTERIA: To help with metabolism and utilization
of oestrogen during menopause, it is essential to have Lactobacillus
and Bifidus (good bacteria) cultures in our intestines. Some believe
these "good" bacteria help reduce the occurrence of yeast infections. You
can find a good dose of these helpful bacteria in various nutritional
formulas in the supermarket.
PUMP UP ON CERTAIN VITAMINS AND MINERALS: According to registered
pharmacist Steven D. Ottariano in his book, Medicinal Herbal Therapy: A
Pharmacist's Viewpoint, certain vitamins and minerals can be advantageous
for menopausal women. These include:
• Vitamin E (400-8001U daily) - helps reduce night sweats and hot flashes
• Vitamin C (1,000-2,000mg daily) - aids in the absorption of vitamin E
and decreases capillary fragility
• Calcium citrate (1,500mg daily) - helps circulate lipid concentrations
in postmenopausal women
• Magnesium (500-750mg daily) - aids in the proper absorption of calcium
WATCH YOUR DIET: Women who are entering the menopausal phase have
to monitor their fat intake, as due to the loss of oestrogen (a woman's
natural heart protection) her risk of heart disease will go up. This is why
every woman should limit her consumption of meats high in saturated fats
such as beef and chicken as these meats might reduce the body's ability to
Also avoid foods high in caffeine and carbonated beverages which contain
phosphorous and can elevate bone loss. Limit your intake of excessive sugary
foods as these restrict your liver's ability to metabolize oestrogen and
impairs the immune system.
Healthy foods include Soya which contains phytoestrogens. Grains, wheat,
brown rice, almonds, cashews, oats, tofu, and fresh fruits and vegetables
are also highly recommended for menopausal women.
GET PLENTY OF EXERCISE: This is probably the best way of
addressing menopausal symptoms, and every other physical problem known to
women. Regular exercise (at least three or four times a week) helps prevent
osteoporosis, heart disease and reduce the risk of many types of cancer. It
improves a woman's overall health and well-being throughout every phase of
NATURAL PROGESTERONE AND OESTROGEN: Many women count on
progesterone for effective menopausal symptom management. It is available in
the market in compounded prescriptions. Some women prefer using a cream
product over an oral form as the former method requires a lower dose
(because it does not have to be metabolized by the liver). Furthermore,
natural progesterone causes virtually no side effects. As for oestrogen
compounds, there are three types available by prescription from pharmacists
- Estrone, Estradiol and Estriol. Natural oestrogen compounds can contain a
combination of these three kinds of oestrogen.
The most common formulation is called Tri-oestrogen made up of 10 per
cent Estrone, 10 per cent Estradiol, and 80 per cent Estriol. A combination
of two types of oestrogen compounds is called Bi-oestrogen.
RED CLOVER ISOFLAVONE: Red clover isoflavone supplements have been
shown to have a significant positive effect on the rate of bone loss, boost
cardiovascular health, and may offer protection against breast cancer. The
findings is based on a research published in the September 2000 issue of the
Journal of the British Menopause Society.
Further evidence suggests that red clover reduces the occurrence of hot
flashes, one of the most common complaints of menopausal women.
BLACK COHOSH: In olden days, black cohosh was used by native
Americans to treat gynaecologic symptoms. Europeans have also used the herb
extract since the 19th Century. Its widespread use was based on observations
that black cohosh successfully relieved menopausal symptoms such as hot
flashes, night sweats, dizziness, fatigue and palpitations. Lately, clinical
studies have shown that it has beneficial effects on our bones too.
The health-promoting properties of black cohosh have been extensively
researched to demonstrate its safety and effectiveness. The extract is taken
from the root to produce standardized black cohosh formulations. Women can
now get the safe, clinically proven herbal supplement at any traditional
food, drug or mass retail store.
When taken according to proper directions, the supplement has little or
no side effects. Every woman should consult a doctor or a pharmacist before
she begins black cohosh supplementation.
All menopausal women are different, and it may take some time for you to
find the best form or combination of treatments to suit your needs. Again, a
healthy lifestyle can make a real difference to how you feel and prevent
some of the long-term effects of oestrogen deficiency (e.g. heart disease
Equally important too is having a positive outlook on life; to help you
cope with the changes in your body.