symptoms of menopause

The most common symptoms of menopause are hot flashes and night sweats. Other signs of menopause include vaginal dryness, lowered sexual drive, hair loss, weight gain, especially in the midsection, brittle hair and nails , dry skin , urinary incontinence , sleeping problems , moodiness, digestive problems , joint pain, osteoporosis , and depression.

How long does menopause last?

Menopause is not a disease but a natural phase all women go through. It is part of the aging process and begins when a woman is not longer fertile, usually after 12 months without a monthly period. How long menopause lasts differs among women. It usually lasts from 2 to 10 years and can be very difficult to cope with for some, while other women experience very few symptoms.

Menopause age can range from 40 up to the late 50's and is the result of the ovaries gradually failing to produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone, until levels become so low that they no longer stimulate the lining of the womb to produce monthly periods. This is a natural process that occurs when few egg cells are left in the ovaries.

How to ease the symptoms of menopause

Lifestyle changes :

  • Eat well balanced meals - Eat foods containing fresh ingredients. Avoid processed foods.
  • Exercise every day
  • Drink 8 glasses of water a day
  • Reduce stress
  • Get lots of rest
  • Look at the positive side - Menopause has its up side! No monthly periods, no PMS, and no need for contraception.
  • Avoid cigarettes, caffeine and alcohol- they aggravate all symptoms and increase the risk of health problems

Herbs and supplements:

  • Maca root - an herbal remedy that comes from the Peruvian maca plant. It has been popularly used in Peru for years and is said to provide a number of benefits including hormone balancing, increased energy and improved immune function.
  • Evening primrose oil, borage oil , black currant oil - there are conflicting opinions as to the effectiveness of these oils in relieving symptoms of menopause. What is known for sure is that they contain GLA, which is an essential fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory properties and is effective in preventing chronic conditions such as heart disease and arthritis. Side effects are rare, and include nausea, stomach aches and headache. Do not use if you have any type of blood disorder or take medications for schzophrenia or seizures.
  • Black cohosh - said to be very effective in improving symptoms associated with hot flashes. It should however, not be taken for longer than 6 months. Side effects include headaches and stomach aches.

Hormone Replacement Therapy:

    The most obvious and easiest method to treat menopause would seem to be to replace the hormones that are missing with synthetic hormones - Hormonal Replacement Therapy (HRT). And until about 10 years ago doctors recommended them routinely for menopausal women. But research showed that use of hormones for a long period of time can do more harm than good, increasing the chance of cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, and blood clots.

    Today, many health professionals believe that if taken in low doses for a limited period of time, HRT's can be safe for most women. But the decision remains with you. It's your body, so do the research. Weigh the pros and cons and decide if it's the right treatment for you, based on the severity of your symptoms, medical history, genetics and common sense.

Before using any herbs, supplements, or subscription drugs discuss all the possible side effects and warnings with your health care provider.

Do you feel like your hot flashes will never end?

If you continue to suffer from hot flashes, although you are postmenopausal, you are not alone.  Many women suffer for years and feel they are the only ones.  Below is an interesting article on the subject:

Hot flashes, night sweats may linger well into a woman’s sixties

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