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Women experience a decrease in estrogen levels throughout all stages of menopause until eventually estrogen production stops all together. Fortunately, there are some natural alternatives out there for helping you with your symptoms. Here they are:
Take phytoestrogens, or plant-sourced estrogen-like replacements, to mimic the estrogen hormone lost during this stage of life. This helps ease the symptoms (link back to menopause symptoms blog) of menopause like hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
Plant estrogens include isoflavones, found in soybeans and soy products like tofu, and soymilk. Take these particular plant estrogens with care as too much isoflavones have been linked to the incidence of cancer. Truth is, doctors don’t know if phytoestrogens work like human estrogen, which may cause problems after menopause.
Nutritional Supplements and Herbs
Nutritional supplements and herbs taken for menopausal symptoms have a long history in women’s folk remedies. Here are a few:
- Black Cohosh is useful, in short periods of six months or less, for hot flashes and vaginal dryness. The health safety is not known when taking black cohosh for longer than six months, but side effects are rare.
- Evening Primrose Oil is another treatment for hot flashes. It does interact with medicines, so check before taking this botanical.
- Dong Quai is a Chinese medicinal herb taken for thousands of years for hot flashes and night sweats.
Check out other supplements and botanicals such as fish oil and omega 3 fatty acids, red clover tea, valerian root, ginkgo biloba, and ginseng, among others. Their effectiveness varies with each person, so try them and see which ones help you.
Enough cannot be said about the power of an active lifestyle and healthy diet. Eat more foods with natural, plant-based calcium, such as broccoli, to offset possible menopausal bone loss. Stay active and do weight bearing exercises to strengthen bones and tone muscles that naturally weaken as we age.
During perimenopause and menopause, your body is going through a natural stage of aging. You don’t have a disease or disability and you can go thru it on your own for the most part. Use the above-mentioned aids to ease your symptoms but remember you can’t stop them from happening entirely.
Finally, see menopause for what it is, the ending of your ability to reproduce is something to wrap your mind around and accept. It makes this time so much easier! The sooner you embrace the new phase the easier it will come! The stages of menopause can be trying and seem to last forever, but they do end. Sail through knowing there is lots of life left to live.
Note: these are opinions and not medical advice