Your husband jokes that instead of buying a wood stove, he is using you to heat the family room this winter. Rather than just saying you are not amused, you shoot him (“And justifiably so!” declares my wife).
Some may regard the discomfort of menopause, with the hot flashes and irritability alluded to in this joke, as a poor topic for humour. Remember that a women’s attitude during this significant “change of life” will impact the severity of her distress. Humour and a light-hearted approach help during this difficult time.
Menopause is not a disease and should not be regarded as such. It is a vital stage in the natural life process of a woman. However, menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety, depression, insomnia, memory loss, mood swings, nervousness, palpitations, reduced libido, vaginal dryness and weight gain are clearly the cause of discomfort and distress for many women.
At the same time, there is mounting evidence that Hormone Replacement Therapy, or HRT, is associated with an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancers for women. Because of this, more and more health professionals are cautioning women against this therapy. According to Andrew Weil, M.D., author of Natural Health, Natural Medicine, and teacher at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, Arizona, “You should avoid estrogen replacement altogether if you are at increased risk of cancer of the breast or reproductive system, including having a personal or family history of these cancers or ovarian cancer.”
Although still routinely prescribed by many doctors because HRT is also supposed to reduce the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, increasingly health professionals who are sympathetic to natural therapies are recommending supplements and herbs, rather than drugs, for menopause.
In addition to standard natural treatments such as the herbs black cohosh, chasteberry, wild yam root etc., there are several other supplements and nutrients that have proven very successful in the alleviation of menopausal symptoms.
- Vesicular fucus: Used primarily as a tonic for the thyroid gland, vesicular fucus or kelp, also improves the function of other glands associated with menopause. The fucus is mostly useful to prevent drying of the skin, the excess weight gain and fatigue that are related to menopause. This plant should be avoided in cases of hyperthyroidism (excessive secretion of the thyroid gland).
- Black cohosh extract (Actaea racemosa L.) has always been recognized for its important effect on body temperature, eliminating hot flashes and night sweats.
- Quickx extract (Vitex agnus-castus L.), also known as chaste tree or Agnus castus, helps to improve progesterone levels by influencing pituitary gland activity (conductor in the regulation of Glandular activity including the sexual glands), while helping to reduce facial hair in postmenopausal women. Its medicinal properties have been known for over 2000 years. The vitex contains a high flavonoid content which is an antioxidant favoring the elimination of fat in favor of energy production.
- Ashwagandha extract (Withania somnifera L.), also called Indian ginseng, is an adaptogenic plant widely used as a regenerative and tonic tonic for the nervous and emotional system. It works effectively in reducing anxiety disorders and stress level to provide calm and serenity. It is also indicated to help improve mental activity, libido, vitality and energy level.
- B-complex vitamins are essential for nourishing the nervous system, the central nervous system (memory, concentration, mood) and the glandular system, particularly the ovaries, the thyroid gland and the adrenal glands.
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine hydrochloride) Necessary for the proper functioning of the nervous system and muscles.
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) Plays a role in the transformation of simple foods (carbohydrates, fats, proteins) into energy. It intervenes in the metabolism of muscle repair.
- Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) Essential in the transformation of sex hormones and the production of neurotransmitters that are chemical messengers released by the brain (dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, etc.) to transmit information from one neuron to another .
- Vitamin B5 (calcium d-pantothenate) Works on the nervous system and on the adrenal glands.
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine HCL) Plays a role in the synthesis of certain neurotransmitters such as serotonin (hormone of happiness) and melatonin (sleep hormone). In this capacity, it participates in maintaining the psychic balance. Also, vitamin B6 prevents excessive secretion of prostaglandins and thus, it plays a role in relieving some physical pain. Prostaglandins are hormones that intervene in the process of inflammation.
- Vitamin C (in the form of calcium ascorbate and non-acidifying) is known for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-infectious action. It is also recognized as an antistress par excellence because it helps to support and tone the adrenal glands that secrete the sex hormones and stress hormones. So look for a supplement that contains the aforementioned ingredients to help you cope with the stress of menopause.
Look for a supplement containing the above ingredients to help you deal with the stress of menopause.
The Green Pharmacy, James A. Duke, Ph.D.
Prescription for Nutritional Healing, James F. Balch, M.D. & Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C.
Earl Mindell’s Supplement Bible, Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D.
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants, Andrew Chevalier
HerbWise: growing cooking wellbeing, Bruce Burnett, CH.