The process of natural decline in the reproductive hormones in the women body after reaching the age of late 40s or 50s is named as Menopause. In simple terms, it is a phase which says that the women can no longer bear kids. One of the major symptoms of menopause is having irregular menstrual cycle. The other symptoms differ in every human body, but commonly some of them are as follows:
- Hot Flashes – usually accompanied by sweating, hot flashes occur as a feeling of sudden hot feeling. Stress and sudden changes in the room temperature are considered as the major triggers for hot flashes.
- Irregular periods – The menstrual cycle becomes irregular and varies from being heavy, prolonged or very painful. It can also result in skipping of the cycle or spot blooding in certain cases.
- Breast Pain & Tenderness – When the female hormones become out of the balance around the time of menstruation, it results in severe pain or tenderness. It is advised to consult doctor if the pain persists from more than 2 months and is accompanied by discharge, lump or any other unusual symptom.
- Weight Gain – With the growing age, the physical activity itself comes down and added to the bucket menopause also results in the weight gain. Thus, to manage the same, there is a need to change the diet and exercise levels to remain healthy.
- Mood Swings, Sleep Disorders and Anxiety – Difficult to cope up sudden mood swings is something you get as a gift in menopause. Along with this comes the anxiety, irritability and sleep disorder.
- Fatigue – This is one of the most common symptoms also occurs due to weakness & tiredness in the body.
- Hair loss & Brittle Nails – Hair loss can be sudden or even gradual from the head as well as from the body. Nails say a lot about one’s body and health. During the menopause, nails get softer and break very often and even become brittle due to hormonal changes.
Most women do not need treatment for menopause, as their symptoms go away naturally. But some find the symptoms very uncomfortable and hence they opt for treatments. Here are some ways to deal with specific symptoms and what medication options are available:
Hormone replacement therapy: Estrogen therapy is often subscribed to resupply the body with the hormones it no longer produces. It helps to relieve menopausal hot flashes and prevents bones loss.
Vaginal estrogen: To relieve vaginal dryness, estrogen can be administered directly to the vagina using a vaginal cream or tablet. It can help relieve vaginal dryness, discomfort with intercourse and some urinary symptoms.
Gabapentin: Gabapentin is approved to treat seizures, but it has also shown to help reduce hot flashes. This drug is good for women who can’t use estrogen therapy [Ref] and those who have a migraine.
Lifestyle changes: A nutritious diet and exercising regularly will go a long way towards minimizing the symptoms of menopause. Also, quitting smoking and drinking will help to maintain a good health. Eat foods high in plant estrogens such as soy beans and soy milk. Raise your calcium intake to 1,500 mg a day.
Natural Ways to Treat Menopause
There are an array of natural remedies available to help women cope up with menopause. However, it is important to consult your doctor before consuming supplements or herbs. Some natural remedies are:
- Black Cohosh
- This herb has been backed by science for its possible effects on hot flashes. Black cohosh is derived from a plant in the buttercup family. You can take it in many forms: capsules, tablets, or mixed with water.
- Vitamin D
- It is often referred to as the sunshine vitamin, as our body produces it in response to sun exposure. Vitamin D deficiency may increase your risk of bone fractures, bone pain, and osteomalacia (softening of the bones). As women age, their ability to absorb this vitamin decreases, increasing their risk of bone density loss. So, it is essential to incorporate it into your diet.
- There have been cases of women finding relief from their menopause symptoms through acupuncture. Though many experts argue that acupuncture benefits are the result of the placebo effect, doctors say acupuncture is a reasonable alternative to hormone therapy for women suffering from menopausal depression and hot flashes. Some lifestyle changes too can help reduce hot flushes during menopause.
- Vitamin B-12
- Vitamin B-12 is a water-soluble vitamin found in many foods. It’s necessary for bone health. As you age, your body loses some ability to absorb Vitamin B-12, resulting in fatigue, weakness, constipation, numbness in hands and feet, and anxiety and depression. For more information on symptoms of anxiety and depression.