Posted before Dec-31-2007
According to many authors who consider menopause from the biological and medicinal point of view, the development in female body is nothing unusual. On the contrary, they deem this phenomenon as the most normal and simple chapter in every woman's life. These authors point out that like in puberty or teenage and childbirth, menopause is an absolutely usual transformation in a woman's life and should not be regarded as any kind of illness or malady. While many women experience painful signs of menopause, those belonging to developed societies and habituated to healthier living conditions do not encounter any such distress during the change. On the other hand, there are many authors who view menopause as a 'major alteration in life' and one of the most alarming experiences in a woman's life. Women who have suffered from prolonged periods of malnutrition and inadequate diet suffer the worst and most irritated symptoms of menopause.
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Talking about North America, where the culture is essentially youth-oriented, most people identify menopause as the 'beginning of the end' of a youthful life. During this crucial period, decreasing intensities of estrogen or lesser hormone secretion in the body are associated with emotional unsteadiness and petulance, hot flashes, night sweats and other physical disorders that may vary from the beginning of osteoporosis (a disease where bones become porous and fragile) to menopausal arthritis. In fact, there are numerous women who undergo a horrid time and sufferings when their menstruation cycle stops and their ovaries virtually become inactive. They also suffer from a mental block thinking that with the beginning of the menopause phase, their feminine sex appeal as well as youthful charisma too has vanished.
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Irrespective of the fact whether the apprehensions among the women entering the menopause phase are authentic or just make belief, the pharmaceutical companies have been quick to cash in on the situation. They have flooded the market with an assortment of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) drugs that claim to return the youthfulness and charm to these 'suffering women'. You will be surprised to known that among all such available HRT drugs, the commonly prescribed estrogen is Premarin. On an average 22 million women in the Unites States alone are prescribed Premarin every year! However, the most unfortunate thing about the drug is that it has numerous serious side effects such as bleeding, fluid withholding, extraction, softness of breast, and contractions in the abdomen, nervousness, tetchiness and many more. Paradoxically, in the very first place, the doctors prescribe estrogen to treat the same menopausal symptoms!
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Another bad news is the latest revelation that the use of such estrogen prescriptions has demonstrated an alarming rise in the risks of developing breast and uterine cancer. Unfortunately, despite such disastrous consequences, the pharmaceutical companies still continue to endorse the HRT drugs in a massive manner. In fact, a little over two decades ago, Dr. Sheldon H. Cherry of Mt. Sinai Medical School had unearthed the deep-rooted immoral practice of these pharmaceutical companies, most of who often do not even hesitate to play with people's lives. In the book titled 'The Menopause Myth' (published by Ballantine Books in 1976), Dr. Cherry observed that the random use of estrogen or hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is neither recommended nor desirable as it may well turn out to be a hazardous practice. Dr. Cherry further stated that several scientists are not in favor of the estrogen therapy as it is not of any use to remove wrinkles - a major sign of aging. Thus, it is needless to say that the estrogen therapy neither keeps women young nor put off the aging process in them, author had remarked.
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Often many people tend to forget that the hormones are manufactured by the nourishing substances contained in the food eaten by us. It is also important to note that nutrients are essential for the body to function healthily as well as to protect us from ailments and also offer curative measures. Moreover, it must be borne in mind that there is no ailment in our body that is caused owing to insufficiency of medicines. Hence, it is important to apply a nutritional approach to effectively alleviate the menopausal symptoms in any woman. There can be no medication better than the nature's gifts to get relief from the pain and worries related with the onset of menopause.
Therefore, it is best to initiate the treatment of menopausal symptoms by providing the body plenty of nutrients. This is possible if anyone takes on a healthy or wholesome diet comprising lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, uncooked nuts and seeds, entire grain baked foodstuff and pasta, salads topped with crude and freshly processed oils and other substances. At the same time, it is essentially to shun junk food, especially those containing white sugar and awful, synthetically hardened fats that are spoiled on coming in contact with heat through hydrogenation as well as refining. According to scientists and physicians, this is the most crucial aspect to keep the body functioning at the most advantageous level. Supplementing the diet with soy foods such as tempeh, tofu and miso is an excellent way to enhance the intake of nutrients by the body as these supply the body with phyto-estrogens ('phyto' denoting plant-based) that aid in controlling the intensity of the hormones.
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Studies conducted by scientists around the globe have all recommended that it is best to substitute the hormone replacement therapy (HRT) by utilizing vitamins, minerals and herbs. In fact, some nourishing substances as well as essential fatty acids particularly enhance the production or secretion of hormones in the body. It is important to note that a regular interaction goes on in our body between vitamins and hormones and the shortage of one may result into the dearth or disparity of the other.
It may be mentioned here that vitamin E increases estrogen production and has the potential to alleviate the disorders related to menopause within a few weeks of supplementing approximately 400 to 800 IU every day. On the other hand, B vitamins aid the liver to remove excess hormones from the body. To enable this process, physicians normally recommend taking 100 mg of B-complex one to thrice daily. In addition, vitamin C that comprises bioflavonoids helps in making the cell walls of the blood vessels and capillaries stronger. The usual dose of vitamin C recommended for this purpose is 1,500 mg every day.
Like vitamin E, vitamin A too increases estrogen production in menopausal women and it needs to be taken only following consultation with physicians. Even vitamin D is also useful for menopausal women as it helps in soaking up calcium from the foodstuff and helps in the prevention of osteoporosis. Hence, it is recommended that menopausal women whether suffering from osteoporosis or not should take approximately 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D every day. In addition, it has been found that the calcium content in the body gets exhausted during menopause and hence, take 1,000 mg of calcium along with 500 mg of magnesium to refill this deficiency.
In addition to the above mentioned nutritional intakes, physicians also recommend consumption of some essential fatty acids for menopausal women. These necessary fatty acids may be taken in as food as flax oil, hemp or pumpkin seed oil. Alternatively, they can be ingested as nutritional supplements. Another substance that is highly effectual in relieving menopausal disorders is gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) that is found in abundance in evening primrose oil. It may be mentioned here that most women use the evening primrose oil primarily to get rid of the menopausal symptoms.
Herbal medicines are highly effective in relieving the symptoms associated with menopause. They not only produce excellent results, but are available in varied forms and formulae largely depending on the preference of the different herbal medicine practitioners. Herbal medicine preparations are available in the health stores in the form of tea, tincture, tonics and capsules. What is important to note, though the products and forms may be many, most of these comprise one or more of the herbs effectual in alleviating menopausal problems. These beneficial herbs include black cohosh, dong quai, chaste tree berry, false unicorn root, motherwort and many others.
Owing to the estrogenic consequences, the black cohosh is the most commonly used herbal medication for treating the symptoms related to menopause. Black cohosh increases the production of estrogen (a steroid hormone produced in the ovaries) and is the most popular medication to ease menopausal uneasiness in Europe. Similar to black cohosh, licorice too possesses estrogenic effects and is effectual to treat adrenal gland deficiency. On the other hand, dong quai is basically a Chinese herb that is helpful in healing several female hormone problems.
The berries of the chaste tree are also useful in both invigorating as well as regularizing functions of the hormones. These berries are active on the pituitary glands (glands found at the base of the brain and are responsible for influencing growth). On the other hand, roots of the false unicorn arouse the hormones in the ovary. Normally, false unicorn roots are used together with other herbs like sarsaparilla, blessed thistle and red raspberry leaves to get rid of the symptoms associated with menopause. Tea prepared from the motherwort is also useful for menopausal women as it helps in reducing nervousness and fretfulness during this phase. The tea is also recommended to treat heart palpitations owing to practical nervous disorder during the menopause phase in women.
For this reason, the best thing to do is to ask the nutritional consultant at your nearby health store regarding the best combination of nutritional as well as herbal products that suit you best and alleviate your problems quickly.
As mentioned earlier, like puberty and child birth, menopause too is a normal process among the women. It is not a disorder or ailment, but just a transformation that comes to women with aging. During this period, the focus of the women shifts from raising children to promoting one's personal interests, enhancing contemplation as well as attaining intelligence and understanding. Although there are a few problems associated with the menopausal phase, if one comprehends and appreciates menopause appropriately, this period of life may truly become the most wonderful and fulfilling experience in a woman's life!