Natural Menopause Treatments

April 20, 2010

These days, women just aren't sure they want to use hormones to treat the symptoms of menopause. It just seems too risky. So many women are turning to more natural, gentle therapies to help them with symptoms like night sweats, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness.

Pharmacist Steven G. Ottariano wrote a book called Medicinal Herbal Therapy: A Pharmacist's Viewpoint in which he lists several vitamins, minerals, and herbs that may prove beneficial to women in menopause.

Hot Flashes

* Vitamin E—Ottariano says that a daily dose of 400-800 IU of vitamin E can help cut down on hot flashes and night sweats.

*Calcium—calcium is important to prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures. Ottariano recommends 1500 mg. of microcrystalline calcium hydroxyapatite calcium (MCHC) or calcium citrate which he says are better absorbed than calcium carbonate.

* Magnesium—500 mg.-750 mg. of magnesium every day is crucial for enhancing calcium absorption.

* Vitamin C—1,000 mg.-2,000 mg. of vitamin C taken every day will help with the absorption of vitamin E and will decrease the fragility of the capillaries.

Black Cohosh

*Black Cohosh—Take a dose of 20 mg.-60 mg. of Black Cohosh 3 times a day. Black Cohosh is a phytoestrogen that can help replenish stores of estrogen lost during the process of menopause. There are several Black Cohosh formulations on the market, including one called Remifemin. Note that plant-based estrogens seem to be less beneficial to women who experience surgical menopause as compared with women who experience natural menopause.

*Dong quai—take 500 mg.-1,000 mg. 2-3 times a day

*Evening Primrose Oil—500 mg. 3-4 times a day

*Ginseng—100 mg.-500 mg. 3 times a day

*Chasteberry (Vitex Agnus Castus)—175 mg. daily

Trial And Error

Using these supplements is a trial and error process. Your friend may swear by Evening Primrose Oil but perhaps it doesn't do a thing for you. You'll have to find the combination of supplements and herbal treatments that work for you alone. Make sure your doctor is aware of any and all supplements you add to your regimen, since some may interact with prescribed medications.

Aside from vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements, there are lifestyle changes you can make that will give you great benefit. The most important thing a woman in menopause can do for herself has nothing to do with supplements and herbs and everything to do with physical activity. That's right: regular exercise.

Exercise is the best thing you can do to improve your health at any age. During the menopausal years, regular physical activity (3 or 4 days a week) may reduce or even prevent bone loss. It can also reduce your risk for several types of cancer, not to mention heart disease. Get moving!

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