Menopause is a normal stage in a woman’s life.
It usually occurs between 45 and 55 years old and lasts a minimum of 7 years and for some many more.
75% of postmenopausal women experience hot flashes and night sweats.
It has been proven that the younger menopause begins, the longer its symptoms will last.
So let’s see what are the symptoms of menopause, how to relieve them medically and naturally to live this delicate period of life more serenely.
Rest assured, some women go through this transition without feeling the slightest change in their life and without suffering any inconvenience.
I wish you the best of luck.
What is menopause?
Menopause is that time in a woman’s life when the menstrual cycle disappears due to the decline of reproductive hormones.
It asserts itself completely in the total absence of menstruation over a period of 12 months.
Menopause is a natural biological phenomenon.
When does menopause occur?
It can occur before or after 40’s, more commonly after 50’s.
About 1% of women go through menopause before age 40 and 5% between 40 and 45 years old.
Menopause is a gradual process. It does not set in overnight but goes through a transition phase called perimenopause.
Perimenopause precedes menopause and translates differently for everyone.
As a rule, it starts 4 years before the last menstrual cycle but for a minority this transition even starts 10 years before menopause.
Signs of perimenopause
It is characterized by an irregular menstrual cycle resulting in periods that go away a month or more in a row and then reappear for a few months.
Blood flow may also be impaired, more abundant or almost nonexistent.
Causes of menopause
The main cause of menopause is the decline of female reproductive hormones.
The ovaries stop functioning and the chances of getting pregnant become nil.
The reproductive gland is found in the ovaries on either side of the uterus.
The ovaries produce estrogen, the female hormone, and egg cells.
An egg forms each month in the ovary in each cycle and then travels from the ovary to the uterus through the fallopian tube.
As we age, the ovaries produce less and less reproductive hormones.
This causes loss of active ovarian follicles which allow menstruation and therefore fertility.
Menopause is sometimes caused by the surgical removal of the ovaries or by an accidental cause.
Chemotherapy or radiation can also trigger it.
– Premature ovarian failure
It is characterized by a premature onset of menopause before the forties.
It can be caused by an autoimmune or genetic disease.
Symptoms of menopause
The first symptom of menopause is itchy vaginal dryness.
It is due to the thinning of the vaginal wall linked to the drop in estrogen levels.
Add to this:
- fatigue, exhaustion
- mood swings
- hair thinning or hair loss
- weight gain for some
- low libido
- sore and sensitive breasts
- hirsutism (neck, face, back, chest)
- hot flashes (sensation of intense heat that spreads violently to the head and chest, a vasomotor symptom)
- night sweats
Low estrogen levels during menopause lead to narrowing of the urethra, dryness and itching.
This phenomenon is often the cause of recurrent urinary tract infections and an increased urge to urinate.
How do you know if you are going through menopause?
There is no specific test to diagnose menopause.
However, your doctor may order a blood test to assess your follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels.
FSH helps control the menstrual cycle and egg production.
A high FSH, greater than 30ml, coupled with a missed period of at least 12 months confirms menopause.
It is recommended that you see your doctor if you are 45 years of age or younger and start to experience certain signs of menopause.
Conventional treatment for menopause
Hormone therapy (HRT) can be an effective way to treat symptoms, especially for women under the age of 60.
It significantly reduces certain inconveniences such as hot flashes or night sweats.
Certain medications may also be prescribed to counteract hair loss, insomnia, or vaginal dryness:
- sleeping pills to fight insomnia
- a minoxidil-based lotion to stimulate hair regrowth
- moisturizing and lubricating solutions for vaginal dryness (ospemifene for vaginal dryness and painful intercourse)
- selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), an antidepressant for hot flashes, depression and anxiety
- vitamin D
The doctor will also invite you to practice a sport for 20 to 30 minutes a day in order to maintain energy and muscle mass, ensure well being and improve mood.
The recommended sports are walking, jogging, cycling, yoga, high intensity exercises
The hormone treatment controversy
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is not indicated for all postmenopausal women.
It is initially contraindicated in cases of thrombosis or breast cancer.
But most women choose not to use it to protect themselves from potential harmful side effects.
Often prescribed to women with premature ovarian failure (menopause before 40’s), hormone replacement therapy is offered at a maximum dose to restore a normal level of estrogen when it is ordered in minimal dosage during the proven menopause.
However, this treatment presents risks of venous thromboembolism such as phlebitis or pulmonary embolism, a significant increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
In 2014, the french health authorities recommended to prescribe hormone replacement therapy only in the event of “troublesome symptoms affecting the quality of life of women” while insisting on “the need for a prescription at a minimum dose and for a limited duration … and an annual reassessment of the benefit-risk ratio of the treatment”.
Natural remedies for menopause
– Vitamin D for menopause
Contrary to popular belief, vitamin D is more of a hormone than a vitamin that benefits many organs.
In the context of menopause, this sun vitamin regulates moods, boosts energy and has anti-inflammatory properties.
The recommended dosage is 2 to 4000IU per day
– Magnesium glycinate
The most popular supplements are based on oxide or citrate, but magnesium glycinate or bisglycinate is more easily absorbed by the body.
For middle-aged women, magnesium is a very effective stimulant, tempering moods, regulating sleep, soothing migraines while protecting the digestive system.
The recommended dosage is 250 to 500mg
– Vitamin B Complex
Menopause very often leads to fatigue and the best way to fight it is to supplement yourself with vitamin B.
In this case, the most effective are vitamins B2, B6 and B12 but choosing a complex is easier.
The active form of folic acid is necessary to maintain psychological balance.
Simple supplements of folic acid do not provide this active form which fights mental fog, migraines and various mood disorders.
A dosage of 15mg / day is recommended
Iron is especially useful around perimenopause when the menstrual cycle becomes irregular and flow becomes more abundant.
It is therefore advisable to perform a blood test to assess the level of ferritin before supplementing.
This will let you know if you have possible anemia and if so, start treatment.
– Coenzyme Q10
The active form of coenzyme Q10, ubiquinol, can have a major impact in reducing the discomfort of menopause.
This period of life marks an increase in oxidation.
The administration of an antioxidant such as ubiquinol can significantly improve the general health, mood and skin of postmenopausal women.
A dosage of 100mg per day is recommended.
- For hot flashes
– Red clover
Red clover can really help slow hot flashes while regulating hormonal fluctuations.
It also helps maintain healthy bones.
Maca helps balance hormones and gives the body the ability to deal with all forms of stress.
It has been used for millennia in Peru to treat a variety of ailments.
Maca root is available in powder or capsules.
The powder dosage is 1.5 grams in premenopause, 2 to 3 grams in menopause to be diluted in a glass of water or fruit juice.
– Yam or wild yam
Yam or wild yam is a plant that promotes the production of progesterone and thus balances the hormonal balance.
It helps reduce hot flashes and night sweats.
Available in capsules and as an ointment more easily absorbed by the dermis.
Estrogen-like, officinal sage and clary sage are the herbs of choice for combating hot flashes and sweats.
Composed of flavonoids, phenols, terpenes and tannins, they are a concentrate of hormone regulating compounds.
Sage is also an energizing plant by its action on cortisol levels. It ensures the restoration of energy and better sleep.
It is important to only favor herbal tea or powder and consume 2 or 3 cups a day for 2 or 3 months.
Like you, I turned to soy, telling myself that it was estrogen-like. But …
It does not only have virtues and the use that is made of it here is not what is done there.
I let you discover why I don’t eat soy anymore
– Supplement for menopause
There are many dietary supplements available to alleviate the discomfort of menopause.
Each brings some elements to fight against hormonal imbalance, hot flashes, fatigue, depression.
It is difficult to direct you to a specific supplement because each one reacts in its own way depending on the components.
I still mention this Complete Multi-Symptoms I personally use.
Asia does not have menopause
There is reason to wonder when we know that only 10% of women in China, 17% in Singapore and 22% in Japan suffer hot flashes during menopause when 75% of Western women desperately seek remedies for relief.
Can we make a connection when we know that women in industrialized countries consume much more meat and four times more fat than Asian women?
A diet centered on rice and a quarter of fiber seems more suitable than a diet rich in meat and fat which considerably increases the rate of estrogen.
When Asians enter menopause, they seem more armed than Western women on this low-fat diet.
They naturally have a moderate estrogen level and are less impacted by the decline caused by menopause.
And indirectly, they are also not impacted by unpleasant effects like hot flashes, night sweats, depression or irritability.
Can we therefore wonder about the real impact of our diet on experiencing menopause without any unpleasant symptoms?
According to numerous studies conducted in different countries of the world, consuming animal products actually affects hormone levels and contributes to menopause problems.
With this in mind, it is advisable to set up a diet oriented towards fruits and vegetables very early on, preferably organic products to avoid insecticides, fungicides and pesticides and drastically limit meat.
Let me be clear, menopause has its cure but is not a disease.
It is only an evolution of being, but many women overcome physical, physiological and psychological changes perfectly.
Of course, it has its drawbacks, but it doesn’t prevent you from living your life to the fullest.
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