Menopause, the change of life, can occur at any age though the majority of women have it between the ages of 51 and 55. It is a gradual process that is brought about by the gradual lessening of the female hormones. Because the hormones regulate a lot of systems in the body beside reproduction, their reduction comes with a number of problems for women. Menopause is natural but it can cause a lot of discomfort. Luckily it can be managed and be smooth.
Signs and Symptoms that Indicate You are Menopausal
The most obvious sign that you are in menopause is that the menstrual cycles have ceased for 12 months. Before the cycles cease completely, a lot of other things happen in the body as the female hormones decline.
Irregular periods are the first sign that a woman is becoming menopausal.
Hot flushes are the commonest, the most frustrating and the most unpleasant symptom of menopause. The woman suffers from bouts of heat in the upper body that make her sweat many times during the day and during the night (night sweats).
Vaginal dryness is a good indicator that a woman is menopausal and it manifests as itching, dryness and discomfort during sex.
Osteoporosis as evidenced by severe back pain (due to collapsed vertebrae), stooped posture, and loss of height is common in menopausal women. The bones become very fragile and can easily break during bumps and falls.
Heart disease is highly associated with menopause, most likely due to insufficient estrogen in the body.
Fat distribution changes with fat moving more towards the abdomen, changing the shape.
Brain fog is also common, characterized by poor short term memory, low thinking abilities and going blank in the middle of the sentence.
Decreasing fertility is another sign that a woman is peri-menopausal. She can still conceive but the chances of getting pregnant are highly decreased due to decreased egg levels and low ovarian function.
Mood fluctuations, depression and anxiety are also common in women as the hormone levels drop.
Urinary incontinence can begin as the vagina and urethra lose their elasticity.
Thinning hair and dry skin also indicate menopause is imminent.
Insomnia and general disruption of the sleep pattern are caused by the night sweats.
How Doctors Manage the Signs and Symptoms of Menopause
Menopause is a normal process that all women go through as they cease being fertile. It is not a disease and for some women it is a smooth process and they never need medical help. However some women suffer from serious symptoms that affect their quality of life and they need medical help.
Doctors normally prescribe hormone replacement therapy to replace the declining hormones. It can be a patch on the skin that gradually releases estrogen and progestin. The doctor might also prescribe low-dose anti-depressants and a drug that treats hot flushes and one that treats the dry vagina.
Dietary Control of Signs and Symptoms of Menopause
Menopause is caused by the gradual reduction in the production of female hormones. It helps to be healthy before and during menopause so that you deal with only a few symptoms without dealing with illnesses as well. Therefore diet plays a role in that. It also helps to know which foods contain natural estrogens so that you can include them in your diet.
Eat plenty of organic fruits and vegetables that provide essential minerals (for good health) and fiber to keep you feeling full. This will help you to reduce accumulation of fat.
Include in your diet plenty of broccoli, kale and cabbage to get -3-carbinol, which naturally balances estrogen levels.
Eat fermented soy products because they contain a phytoestrogen that restores and balances hormones.
Eat nuts and seeds and cook with oils that are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids to promote smooth skin and protects the heart. Or take omega-3 in the form of supplements.
Eat foods that are full of probiotics, or take probiotic supplements, to improve production of hormones like insulin and leptin.
Drink at least 3 liters of water and teas per day. The skin suffers a lot due to dehydration as women lose a lot of water through hot flushes, leading to accelerated wrinkles. Try to reduce the intake of coffee because it is a diuretic, meaning that you will lose too much water through urination.
Dietary Supplements To Manage the Change of Life
Plants contain all the medicines that humans need. They have been effectively used for thousands of years for healing. By taking the right herbal supplements you can alleviate the symptoms.
Black cohosh and chasteberry will prevent hot flushes and night sweats.
American ginseng increases energy and sexual arousal. It also helps to relieve brain fog, hot flashes, fatigue, depression, and vaginal dryness.
John’s wort lowers anxiety and depression and stabilizes the moods, making the menopausal process easier. It also improves sleep and reduces inflammation.
Red clover reduces hot flashes, insomnia, weight gain, bone loss, heart problems, and arthritis which are caused by lack of estrogen.
Holy basil is an adaptogen herb that improves thyroid function, reduces brain cell degeneration, lowers cholesterol, reduces anxiety and depression, and stabilizes blood sugar and insulin levels.
Use Essential Oils to Manage Signs and Symptoms of Menopause
Essential oils have been used for thousands of years for healing. They contain the essence of plants in concentrated form so they are very powerful. If you apply them on your skin please dilute first with a base oil like coconut oil, olive oil or jojoba oil to prevent burns. Apply essential oils on top of your feet or at the back of the neck. The oils are absorbed by the skin and go straight into the blood.
Clary sage oil is very effective if you want to balance hormones. It relieves anxiety and hot flashes.
Roman chamomile oil reduces stress.
Peppermint oil cools down the body during hot flashes.
Thyme oil naturally balances hormones and thus reduces many symptoms.
If you are going through the change of life and your symptoms are uncomfortable, you can try a combination of diet and supplements or diet and essential oils to manage the symptoms. Otherwise see a doctor for hormone replacement therapy.