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Menopause

By Author: Sheeba Majmudar
Total Articles: 4

MENOPAUSE

WHAT IS MENOPAUSE ?
Just as aging is a natural physiological process, so is Menopause. It is the cessation of menstruation with an average age of onset being 50 years for females. Six to 12 months without a period is the common rule for diagnosing menopause. Some women may have some symptoms like hot flashes, dry vagina or frequent bladder infections, while others may enjoy a smooth transition into menopause.

IS MENOPAUSE A DEFICIENCY DISEASE?
Menopause is though to occur when there are no longer any eggs left in the ovaries. This results in a decrease in production of estrogen and progesterone, the two female hormones that maintain the menstrual cycle. It is still a natural physiological process that does not have to be treated as a disease requiring treatment.

MENOPAUSE - A SOCIO CULTURAL EVENT?
Cross cultural research indicates that the cultural view of menopause is directly related to the symptoms of menopause. What this means is that, if it is viewed in a positive light, it can become a symptom less passage! (as in the study of Mayan Indians). In contrast, the Western society that deems menopause negatively are the ones who also experience the symptoms. So the good news is that Your attitude counts!

HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is currently only being recommended for those with the risk of severe osteoporosis. Earlier, HRT was touted as the fountain of youth for all women, but numerous research found that HRT was linked to a number of side effects like depression, nausea, liver disorders etc. including certain cancers, risk of stroke, asthma and cardiovascular disease. Now estrogen is coupled with progesterone, which considerably reduces these risks, but is still not advised for those who experience menopause symptoms. The same benefits can be achieved through diet and lifestyle changes without the stigma and risks.


LIFESTYLE RECOMMENDATIONS

1. Exercise daily, as it reduces symptoms
2. Quit smoking as it can increase risk of early menopause
3. Cultivate a positive attitude towards menopause as it can make all the difference between being symptom less or not
4. Study alternative ways to control symptoms before opting for HRT
5. Manage stress through yoga, deep breathing, meditation etc.
6. Wear clothes made from natural fibers like cotton to prevent vaginal infections
7. Avoid antihistamines, alcohol, caffeine, diuretics which can aggravate vaginal dryness.
Ÿ
DIET DO’S
1. Do try and eat more plant based foods , especially fennel, parsley, soy, whole grains, alfalfa and apples as they contain high amounts of phytoestrogens which can help during menopause.
2. Reduce intake of saturated fats
3. Reduce intake of animal foods while increasing intake of fruits and vegetables for their antioxidants.
4. Do incorporate more nuts, seeds and flaxseed oil in your diet.

NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS
Individuals under a physician’s care should seek the advice of their physician before taking nutritional supplements or beginning a new exercise program.
Vitamin E: 800 IU / day until symptoms improve, then 400IU / day
Ÿ Hesperidin: 900 mg / day
Ÿ Vitamin C : 1,200 mg / day
Ÿ Rice Bran Oil (ferulic acid): 300 mg / day.

BOTANICAL MEDICINES
Licorice root (glycyrrhiza glabra): powdered extract 250-500mg
Ÿ Black Cohosh (cimicifuga racemosa): dry powdered extract 250-500mg
Ÿ Ginkgo Biloba: dry powdered extract 250-500mg
Ÿ Dong Quai (angelica sinensis) powdered root or as tea: 1-2g
The nutritional suggestions in this material are not offered to treat, mitigate or cure disease, and should not be used as a substitute for sound medical advice. This information is designed to be used in conjunction with the services of a trained, licensed healthcare practitioner.

REFERENCES
1. PIZZORNO, J. and MURRAY, M. Textbook of Natural Medicine. Pg 1319-1326, Churchill Luivingstone,2000
2. PHYSICIANS’ DESK REFERENCE - www.pdr.net

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