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Women Entering Menopause

New Center Addresses Unique Health Needs of Women Entering Menopause

Menopause can occur anywhere from age 40 through 60, with the average age being 50. It causes the ovaries to produce fewer hormones, particularly the major hormone estrogen, which is key to both a woman’s reproductive and overall health (click here for more information).

“With the decline in estrogen, we see women with a variety of symptoms, such as hot flashes, changes in cognition and moods, poor sleep, urogenital symptoms and difficulty in coping with life in general,” Soltes said. “Today we have a multitude of options, both hormonal and non-hormonal, to ease women through these years and help prevent long term health issues. –The Rush Midlife Center

Natural Remedies for Menopause Actually Work: Study

The researchers didn’t find any beneficial effect of Chinese medicinal herbs or black cohosh.

During menopause the sex hormone estrogen declines, which may be the reason why therapies using phytoestrogens appear to be effective against menopausal symptoms. Phytoestrogens connect with the receptors of estrogen, and therefore exert similar functions throughout the body, says the study’s leading scientist Dr. Taulant Muka, postdoctoral researcher at Erasmus University Medical Center.

Plant-based foods made from soybeans, like tofu, miso, tempeh and edamame, are rich in these soy isoflavones. “But when it comes to Western countries, the dietary intake of isoflavones is very small, around 2 mg per day,” Muka says, while women in Asian countries eat 25-50 mg per day. “What we found is most of the studies that have looked at isoflavones and menopausal symptoms had a dosage of 10-100 mg per day.”

More research is needed, especially the kind with a longer follow-up. Many of the studies kept track of women only for about 12-16 weeks, Muka says, and “we don’t know the long-term efficacy and safety.” Before adding these supplements, Muka recommends that women speak with their doctor and report any other medications they’re taking, since plant-based therapies used in combination with other treatments may have adverse effects.

“A healthy lifestyle is the backbone for easing menopausal symptoms and keeping you healthy in the long run,” Muka says.

Nutrition and Supplements – Herbs for Menopause 

Andrew Weil, M.D. (click here for more information)

The following natural remedies and menopause treatments, including herbs:

  • Soy foods. 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. While the initial results look promising, we currently recommend using natural soy foods rather than supplements. Choose from tofu, soy milk, roasted soy nuts or tempeh.
  • Substances called lignins in flaxseed are important modulators of hormone metabolism. Grind flaxseed daily in a coffee grinder at home and use 1 to 2 tablespoons a day.
  • Dong quaiDong quai (Angelica sinensis) is known both in China and the West for its ability to support and maintain the natural balance of female hormones. It does not have estrogenic activity. This is one of the herbs for menopause that should not be taken if a woman is experiencing heavy bleeding.
  • Black cohosh(Cumicifuga racemosa). One of the best-studied traditional herbs for menopause, black cohosh is used to help alleviate some symptoms of menopause and is considered an effective hot flash remedy. Black cohosh seems to work by supporting and maintaining hormonal levels, which may lessen the severity of hot flashes. Many women report that the herb works well but it isn’t effective for everyone. 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.
  • 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 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.

Credits and References

Dr. Well: https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/health-centers/women/menopause-symptoms-and-treatments

RUSH: https://www.rush.edu/news/press-releases/new-center-addresses-unique-health-needs-women-entering-menopause

Time [Health] http://time.com/4375286/natural-remedies-menopause

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