Over one billion women in the world are age 50 or older, with the average age of menopause being 51 1/2. When a woman reaches menopause, she arrives at a time of life with more freedoms. Its the end of her monthly menstrual bleeding, and the beginning of a time when her wisdom and experience can lead her to new and fulfilling horizons. One third of a womans life is lived after menopause.
However, for many women, the steep drop in estrogen and progesterone that ends the menstrual cycle can also lead to menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, migraine headaches, anxiety, fatigue, bone loss, and insomnia. This article brings to light new research on additional natural remedies that can ease menopause discomfort and support women in enjoying their liberty and creativity.
A hot flash, also called hot flush, is a sudden feeling of warmth and often a breakout of sweating in the upper half of the body. When they occur at night, they are called night sweats. Hot flashes are caused by a reduced function in the bodys temperature regulation, which is brought about by changing hormone levels. When estrogen in women, or testosterone in men is depleted, a rapid increase in skin temperature can occur due to dilatation (widening) of the skin blood vessels -- and it can become frequent. This process of blood vessel dilation is the bodys way to release the heat.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) drugs can provide some relief for hot flashes and night sweats, but at a considerable price. The Womens Health Initiative study, which followed 16,608 women being given hormone replacement therapy, discovered a high risk of breast cancer, coronary heart disease, and stroke from the use of these drugs.
One natural remedy proven in a research study to relieve hot flashes may come as a surprise to some, as it is such a well-known, widely used vitamin with many benefits. Its the famous vitamin C. The study was called Non-Hormonal Control of Vaso-Motor Flushing in Menopausal Patients, published in the journal: Chicago Medicine. Vasomotor refers to the nerves and muscles causing blood vessels to constrict or dilate. Extensive research indicates that vitamin C strengthens blood vessel membranes and acts as a potent antioxidant.
In the vitamin C study, A total of 94 patients were studied, all of who had reached menopause. They were given 200 milligrams of vitamin C and 200 milligrams of bioflavonoids six times daily. Therefore each subject received 1200 mg of both the bioflavonoids and vitamin C each day. The results: 67% of the subjects reported complete relief from hot flashes and 21% reported partial relief, giving this combination an overall 88% success rate.
And another remedy: Exercise may be one of the most effective ways to reduce both hot flashes as well as heart trouble. From the April 2007 issue of the Annals of Behavioral Medicine comes a study from Steriani Elavsky, a kinesiologist. Kinesiology is the study of human movement and motion. The study included 164 menopausal women in their 50s who were experiencing hot flashes and insomnia. They were put into three different groups walkers, yoga-doers and sedentary non-exercisers, and were studied for four months.
Elavsky concluded: "We found a significant association between changes in cardiorespiratory (heart and lung) fitness and changes in menopausal symptoms. Women who experienced decreases in menopausal symptoms in the study also experienced improvements in all positive mental health and quality-of-life outcomes."
Night sweats and hot flashes can become a form of insomnia in which a woman wakes up drenched in sweat and unable to sleep. Regarding mineral deficiency at the time of menopause, nutritionist Adelle Davis says, The amount of calcium in a womans blood parallels the activity of the ovaries. During the menopause, the lack of ovarian hormones (estrogen and progesterone) can cause severe calcium deficiency symptoms to occur, including irritability, hot flashes, night sweats, leg cramps, and insomnia. These problems can be easily overcome if the intakes of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D are all generously increased and are well absorbed.
Natural remedies continue to be a force to be reckoned with in our quest for good health at menopause and beyond.