By Michael A. Smith, MDmenopause can include mood swings and night terrors, bouts of depression, sleep problems, loss of libido, weight gain, headaches, forgetfulness — the list goes on and on. And it doesn’t just affect you but the ones around you as well.
But here’s the good news. YES, there really is good news! Since the severity of menopause is tied to physical health — primarily the reduction in key hormones like estrogen and testosterone — we’re here to tell you there’s a natural, drug-free way to reduce the grief associated with your symptoms.
Vascular Instability Might Cause Hot FlashesHot flashes are one of the symptoms that might be due to vasomotor instability during menopause. Other possible symptoms reflecting this vascular issue include night sweats, anxiety and heart palpitations.
The theory goes like this: Hot flashes occur when shifts in hormone levels affect the circulation in such a way that it no longer has the smooth gentle tone that is required for optimal function of the nervous system and circulatory system. This loss of vascular tone might be associated with changes in your own internal thermostat.
So there are two basic approaches to correcting this: Estrogen hormone replacement or estrogen-like therapy. If you choose estrogen replacement, make sure you use only bio-identical estrogen. The non-bio-identical estrogens typically prescribed by doctors are associated with significant side effects.
For example, the Women's Health Initiative completed an ancillary study of the effects of non-bio-identical estrogen on cognition. What they found was that synthetic hormone therapy had a negative effect on cognition in older women.1
Estrogen-like therapy utilizes plant-based estrogens instead of hormones. Nutrients like soy, fibers called lignans and hops have all been shown to reduce the number of hot flashes. In one particular study, women taking lignans reported a 53% drop in hot flashes.2
Menopause & Psychological FactorsFor many women, the worst side effects of untreated menopause are the depression, the mental fatigue, memory loss, insomnia, and so on — all of which can be very debilitating. Supplementing with mood-enhancing nutrients can have a positive effect on women going through menopause.
The key is to take supplements that support healthy serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is the “feel good neurotransmitter.” The more of it your brain has, the better you’ll feel. Here’s what we suggest for maintaining healthy serotonin levels:
- Tryptophan — 500 to 1,000 mg per day, on an empty stomach. This is the precursor to serotonin.
- Saffron — 85 mg per day. This is thought to act like a serotonin reuptake inhibitor.
Other suggestions include green tea’s theanine, lemon balm, and for severe cases, lithium orotate, but talk to your doctor before taking any new supplement.
Menopause Can Cause Urinary IncontinenceLow estrogen results in urogenital atrophy — or vaginal thinning. Dryness, bleeding, itchiness and even urinary incontinence usually follow. So ultimately, menopause and vaginal thinning can create the perfect environment for bacterial infections.
We suggest supplementing not only with cranberry extract, but also with a hibiscus extract. The natural compounds in hibiscus complement the already well-documented efficacy of cranberry.3 In women suffering from more than 4 urinary tract infections (UTIs) per year, 200 mg of hibiscus per day reduced the reoccurrence of UTIs significantly.4
You probably want to avoid cranberry juice, however. The sugar in the juice can actually help unwanted bacteria grow. That’s not good.
We firmly believe that menopause is a new phase for women — full of life, productivity and promise. You don’t have to suffer. Give our suggestions a try.
By the way, if you have any suggestions for our readers, please share them in the comments below!
- JAMA. 2004; 291(24):2959-2968.
- Udani J, Hardy M. The effect of HMRlignan on mammalian lignan and estrogen metabolite levels in post-menopausal women: A randomized, double-blind, single dummy, parallel group, pilot study. Nov 6, 2007
- Phytomedicine. 2007;14(4):237-41.
- Available at: http://www.inpharm.cz/files/27/Studie_ucinnosti_extraktu.pdf
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