CAUSES – Menopause is the state of an absence of menstrual periods. Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when the ovaries cease their normal function. Estrogen levels are decreased; which protect the bone. A woman can develop osteoporosis later in life when her ovaries do not produce adequate estrogen. Some symptoms of menopause are hot flashes and mood swings.
TREATMENT – Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or postmenopausal hormone therapy (PHT) consists of estrogens or a combination of estrogens and progesterone. Hormone therapy is used to control the symptoms of menopause related to declining estrogen levels such as hot flashes. Hormone therapy is available in oral or through a skin patch. Phytoestrogens have a chemical structure that is similar to the estrogens which is naturally produced by the body and is found in a variety of herbs and foods. Herbal Therapy – Black cohosh is an herbal preparation that is used for the relief of hot flashes. There are many supplements and substances that have been listed as “natural” treatments for symptoms of menopause, including Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) which contgain a form of phytoestrogen, or plant estrogen, and dong quai (Angelica sinensis). Estrogenic herbal creams may help relieve vaginal dryness and dry skin. Combinations of motherworth (Leonurus cardiaca), chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus), hawthorne (Craetegus oxyacantha), and other herbs may help with the rapid heartbeat that comes with hot flashes.
Nutrition and Diet – Eating foods high in plant estrogens may alleviate symptoms:
- Soy beans
- Lima beans
- Nuts and seeds
- Flaxseed oil
PREVENTION – By raising your calcium intake and exercising, you can avoid osteoporosis. Also, a daily consumption of vitamin E (400 to 800 IU) can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and hot flashes.