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Natural Remedies for Coping with Menopause

Natural Remedies for Coping with Menopause

* Menopause Defined

Menopause is defined as the time in a woman's life when she has not menstruated for one year, indicating the end of fertility. Menopause typically occurs around the age of 50, but some women menstruate well into their 50s, while others experience menopause sometime in their mid-40s.

Perimenopause refers to the period of hormonal changes leading up to menopause; it can begin as early as the late 30's. Women in perimenopause may experience such symptoms as irregular periods and hot flashes.

Menopause is not a disease -- rather, it is a natural part of the aging process. The hormonal changes which accompany menopause are often responsible for a number of unpleasant physical symptoms, and women may experience some emotional distress as well.

However, it is important to remember that not all women have difficulty coping with the physical changes that occur during this time. Menopause does not signal an end to sexuality or femininity; in fact, many women embrace their new-found freedom from worries about becoming pregnant and the discomforts of menstruation.

For women who do experience uncomfortable symptoms during menopause, there are many options for treatment. While some women opt for hormone replacement therapy, a growing number of women are finding that lifestyle changes and natural remedies are highly effective in easing this mid-life transition.

* Causes of Menopause

As you approach middle age, your ovaries begin producing increasingly lower levels of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones that regulate menstruation and fertility. Fewer eggs are produced, and ovulation becomes less regular during this time.

Throughout this process, your periods may become unpredictable; eventually, your ovaries will shut down completely and menstruation will cease altogether.

Although some women menstruate every month until their final period, it is much more common to experience a gradual cessation of menstrual periods. This process can take several years, and it is not possible to predict which period will be your last.

* Symptoms of Menopause

Menopause symptoms vary from one individual to another; not all women experience the same indicators of the change of life, but the following are the most commonly recognizable signs:

- Irregular periods;
- Vaginal dryness;
- Hot flashes;
- Mood swings;
- Anxiety or depression;
- Sleep disturbances;
- Thinning hair;
- Increased abdominal fat;
- Decreasing fertility.

* Diagnosing Menopause

In the majority of cases, a description of the symptoms should be enough for your doctor to determine that you are going through the process of menopause.

Hormone tests can detect decreasing levels of estrogen and progesterone and confirm the diagnosis; in addition, hormone testing can rule out any other condition, such as impaired thyroid function (which can produce many of the same symptoms as menopause).

* Treating Menopause

In the past, many doctors treated women for menopause using hormone replacement therapy to replenish estrogen levels. However, amid increasing concerns about the dangers of hormone therapy (which include increased risks of heart disease and caner), women are more and more frequently turning to lifestyle adjustments and herbal remedies to treat their menopause symptoms.

- Lifestyle Changes and Home Remedies for Menopausal Women

Some simple adjustments in your day-to-day habits can alleviate many of the unpleasant symptoms and discomforts of menopause:

> Keep hot flashes under control. Dress in layers, so you can remove one or two when hot flashes strike. Exercise regularly, eat right, and try to identify and avoid things that cause them. Common triggers are alcoholic beverages, foods that are spicy, hot coffee or tea, hot rooms, and hot weather.

> Get plenty of sleep. Exercise during the day, but not too close to bedtime; this can increase melatonin levels necessary to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Avoid caffeinated beverages if you have trouble sleeping.

> Eat right. Good nutrition is more important than ever as you grow (gracefully) older, and getting plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lots of calcium can counteract many diseases associated with aging.

> Exercise regularly. Exercise reduces stress, helps to balance the neurotransmitters that regulate mood, controls hot flashes, and helps to prevent many age-related diseases. These include heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.

> Don't smoke. Smoking is never good for you. It increases stress levels, brings on hot flashes, and
contributes to heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis. It is never too late to quit smoking.

> Combat vaginal dryness and discomfort with over-the-counter lubricants.

* Herbal Remedies for Menopause

Herbal treatments and natural supplements can effectively ease menopause symptoms safely, without the health risks associated with conventional medications. Many effective natural menopause treatments contain one or more of these herbal extracts:

- Ginseng increases the production of estrogen and protects against hot flashes;
- Dong quai helps to maintain reproductive system function, boosts heart health, and increases the efficacy of other herbs;
- Damiana increases libido and calms hot flashes;
- Black cohosh is a natural pain reliever;
- Aloe gel relieves vaginal dryness naturally;
- Sarsaparilla improves sexual desire;
- Calendula relieves vaginal dryness
- St. John's Wort relieves mild depression.

In addition, many women find that soy products are extremely helpful in reducing hot flashes. Phytoestrogens are also helpful for relieving menopause symptoms, and they are often available in supplement form.

With herbal remedies and adjustments to your lifestyle, you can cope with menopause and enter the next phase of your life without undue distress or difficulty.

For more information on Menopause and natural hormone supplements visit http://www.HealthRemedies.com.

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