Every woman's reproductive years go out with nature's favorite ending: menopause. The reproductive years come to us courtesy of nature or God without any interference, so we may wonder why we need to treat the natural end of these years with hormones.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been the standard for treating menopause for many years, but some women (and their physicians) are concerned that the use of synthetic estrogen and progestin may increase a woman's risks for breast cancer and heart disease. More and more, women and their healthcare providers are thinking beyond such routine treatment and looking for other ways to get relief from menopausal symptoms. If you have experienced symptoms such as hot flashes, moodiness, and night sweats, you may want to try some of the following tips which may help to ease your discomfort:
*Use diet to control your symptoms of menopause. Avoid caffeine in large amounts. Stay away from fizzy beverages since the phosphorous they contain encourages bone loss. Limit the consumption of fatty meats and poultry since saturated fats gum up the works, making it hard for the body to metabolize whatever estrogen you still have. Too much sugar will have a similar effect by limiting the ability of the liver to metabolize estrogen and by impairing the immune system.
Do increase your consumption of foods containing phyoestrogens, such as soy. Here are some foods to be included in the healthy menopause diet: whole grains including oats, brown rice, and wheat; tofu; nuts like cashews and almonds; and fresh vegetables and fruits.
*A research trial published in the Journal of the British Menopause Society stated that isoflavone-rich red clover supplements can reduce the rate of bone loss, improve heart health, and may protect against endometrial and breast cancers. But the study also said that the isoflavones in red clover will cut down on the incidence of hot flashes, the most common of the vasomotor complaints reported by perimenopausal and menopausal women.
During one trial, participants used 40 mg. of Promensil, an over-the-counter dietary supplement containing red clover isoflavones, every day for eight weeks and experienced a 58% decrease in incidents of hot flashes while overall, the participants described a lessening in the severity of their night sweats.
*Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidus cultures contain beneficial intestinal bacteria. These bacteria serve an important role for women in menopause, and can help them metabolize estrogen and use it in a more efficient manner. Some women are convinced that taking these cultures can cut down on the number of yeast infections they experience. Women seem to be even more prone to these infections during their menopausal years. You can find these cultures in a variety of formulations at any drugstore and in better supermarkets and health food stores.