Controlling Menopause Naturally



Menopause is the medical term used for the usual ending of female menstruation and fertility. The term is generally used for a process that can last for years. Peri-menopause is defined as the transitional period of the menopause process. When a woman have not had her menstrual period for a year, she is considered to be in post-menopausal. Menopause is a normal part of the aging process and during this the ovaries stop producing eggs and levels of the estrogen, the female sex hormone, declines. Usually the last menstrual period occurs in females between the ages of 40 and 50 and menopause is believed to complete when a year has passed without a menstrual period.

Some of the symptoms of menopause are hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence, sexual dysfunction, weight gain, joint pain and sleep and mood disturbances. The deficiency of estrogen in women may result into long-term health problems such as osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. There are various short and long term approaches that aids in controlling these symptoms. The best are preventive approaches that include diet and exercises.

Determining Menopause
An easy way to determine whether a woman is in menopause is to get a blood test or FSH test done. This test verifies if the pituitary gland considers that ovaries are not entirely functioning and consequently, is secreting “follicular stimulating hormone” or FSH. The higher the FSH level, the more likely a person is in menopause. If menopause is induced surgically, there is no requirement to take on any test, since that person is menopausal by definition and her FSH will be high.

Precautions

Stress - Stress and hormonal levels are intertwined; each affecting the other, therefore it is extremely important to understand your stressors realistically to manage them effectively. Whatever you do, don't worry and make plans to take care of your challenges.

Alcohol - Decreasing or eliminating alcohol from the diet can prove to be beneficial for menopausal women for several reasons. One such reason is alcohol consumption is associated to osteoporosis as alcohol obstructs the body's ability to build new bone. Alcohol can also be a trigger for hot flashes which is a common symptom of menopause. Additionally, alcohol is linked with sleeping trouble which is another ordinary challenge faced by women going through menopause.

Caffeine - Menopausal women should also shun or reduce on caffeine as consumption of caffeine at any time of the day can intervene with sleep. Caffeine is a common trigger of hot flashes and may also lead to night sweats. Consuming caffeine can also increase the risk of osteoporosis in women since caffeine instigates the body to liberate calcium.

Smoking - Menopause occurs earlier in women who are regular smokers. Avoiding or quitting this habit will lessen the chances for early menopause and adds to overall health betterment.

Unsafe Solutions to be Avoided

The conventional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) which was endorsed by science in earlier times is in fact dangerous. There are various claimed solutions which are now associated with cautionary note and need to be avoided:

Premarin - Premarin is an estrogen obtained from urine of pregnant mare. However, recent studies show that it is related with an augmented risk of heart disease.

Estrogen Therapy - Estrogen, which is obtained from Premarin, was known to be effective in fighting some menopausal symptoms however now it has been proved to have grave, negative side effects for example the increased risk of breast cancer and a raise in insulin levels.

Provera - This drug is an artificial form of progesterone, which perhaps makes it even more deadly than Premarin. Its proven negative side effects include clotting of blood.

Additionally, long-term usage studies have shown many other health drawbacks of HRT such as high blood pressure and vaginal bleeding. The incidents of breast cancer dropped considerably by 7 percent in just a year after millions of women stop taking hormone replacement therapy.

Boost your Estrogen levels Naturally

Phytoestrogens - Taking Phytoestreogens or plant-estrogens ahead of menopause can regulate daily levels of estrogen so that when menopause starts the drop in estrogen level will not be remarkable. Phytoestrogens are a type of hormone that can be found naturally in beans, alfalfa, licorice and other foods. Eating food rich in phytoestrogens may be a beneficial strategy for dealing with hot flashes. Flax seeds, soy products, sesame seeds and multigrain breads are all good sources of phytoestrogen.

Female Hormone Helping Herbs - Alfalfa leaves, Asparagus, Black cohosh, Blessed thistle, Bugleweed, Vitex, Dang-Quai, Hops, Motherwort, Red clover, Royal maca, Stinging nettle, Tribulus terrestris.

Note: Too much of anything can be bad and the same goes for too much phytoestrogen consumption which may cause tissue growth, making it unsafe for women who have previously had breast cancer. Make sure to consult a Naturopath before starting herbal supplement during Pregnancy.

Nutritional Support for Menopause

Calcium – According to the Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide, menopausal women requires 1,500 mg of calcium each day to maintain bone density. Estrogen prevents the occurrence of bone loss and declining levels of estrogen make a woman's body vulnerable to risk of osteoporosis or porous bones. Osteoporosis can consequentially results in an excessive number of bone fractures. Women can deal with their needs for calcium through a diet rich in green leafy vegetables that too contains fish, beans, nuts, sea vegetables and some dairy products. Consumption of low-fat milk, eggs and cheese are the best source of calcium. One cup of non-fat milk provides 306 mg of calcium, so drinking 4 cups aid in meeting daily suggested values.

Vitamin D – According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the sufficient levels of calcium only will not avert osteoporosis since vitamin D is requisite for the body to absorb and make use of calcium. With adequate exposure to sunlight, a woman's body can generate the amount of vitamin D required by her body however it depends upon the climatic condition in which she inhabits. So in certain regions where sun does not show up very often, exposure to sunlight for adequate intake of vitamin D may not be feasible. For the women living in such regions, other alternative is to take vitamin D supplements. It is recommended that women between the ages of 51 and 70 years should get 10 mcg of vitamin D each day. Natural sources of vitamin D are egg yolk, fatty fish, such as salmon and in liver products. Foods such as cereal and milk are often fortified with vitamin D too.

A Healthy Diet – After menopause, women are at a greater risk of cardiovascular disease and they are advised to consume a diet that is rich in vegetables, whole grains and fruit and low in sugars and saturated fats. This diet is also recommended as a measure to avoid hot flashes and the feelings of anxiousness or depression that at times come with menopause. A healthy diet during and before menopause can help women lessen the risk of grave health conditions such as heart disease and osteoporosis.

Fiber is known for its numerous health benefits including good heart health. During menopause, the danger for heart disease increases so a diet rich in fiber is frequently suggested. According to the American Medical Association, cholesterol levels sharply increase at the beginning of menopause, a grave risk for coronary heart disease. Women older than 50, are recommended to consume 21 g of fiber each day. Fiber-rich diets include fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and grains. Rich sources of fiber required for good heart health are whole grains, such as whole wheat bread, oatmeal and brown rice. One packet of instant oatmeal offers 2.8 g of fiber per serving. Eating other fiber-rich foods all through the day is required to meet the daily suggested quantity of 21 g. Spinach, celery, carrots, apples, mangoes and bananas are other healthy fiber-rich foods.

Omega-3 - Taking high quality, animal-based omega-3 fats help to survive the menopause symptoms. An easily available high quality animal-based omega-3 supplement, krill oil, can be very effective and advantageous. Intake of balanced omega-3 and omega-6 by eating foods rich in these oils can be beneficial.

Green Tea - Polyphenols are generally related with a decreased threat of heart disease and green tea contains polyphenols that can be extra effectual than those in red wine. A study reveals that green tea can also lessen the possibility of breast cancer in women under 50 and certain polyphenols have been exposed to possess some HRT (hormone replacement therapy) like benefits, without any negative side-effects.

Besides, only a few changes in diet and lifestyle can remarkably amend the effect on how menopause is experienced, especially if the changes are made at the “peri” stage.

Exercise

Women around menopause are often likely to put on more weight easily than before menopause. Increased weight also poses a risk of heart disease and high cholesterol. Exercising on daily basis will improve the quality of life and also promotes longer and healthier life. 30 minutes of medium intensity cardiovascular exercises only 4 times a week can aid in burning calories and lose of weight.

Strength training is a necessity for post-menopausal women. Building muscle aids in increasing bone density and creating strength around the joints. It also increases strength and endurance in the muscles and most prominently increases metabolism. Other alternative movement that significantly benefits in burning of calories is practicing yoga. Besides burning calories, they are effectual at alleviating stress and can also balance endocrine, hormonal and digestive systems. Although proper nutrition, cardio and strength training are all vital elements, alternative movement practices can boost the weight loss efforts and offer extra health benefits in post-menopausal years.

Note: Excessive/Strenuous exercise has been linked to a drop in estrogen levels. Make sure to consult the doctor for the exercise regimen.