Menopause signifies the cessation of both menstruation and a woman’s reproductive capacity. Most symptoms accompanying menopause are a direct result of falling estrogen levels as the ovaries progressively shut down production. Eggs mature less regularly, and progesterone levels decrease. As a result, periods become more erratic and eventually cease.
Some 75% of women in the 45–55 year age group experience mild to severe menopausal symptoms including hot flushes, difficult periods, lethargy, insomnia, palpitations, headaches, deteriorating memory, osteoporosis, and thinning of the hair and skin. Psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, and irritability are also common. Lowered estrogen levels also contribute to symptoms such as vaginal dryness and reduced libido.
Alternative health practitioners attribute menopausal symptoms to falling hormone levels, failing adrenal glands, a poor diet, lack of exercise and the inability to deal with stress.
The treatment of menopausal symptoms is consequently aimed at both the hormonal/physical and mental/emotional level.
Vitamin C can help regulate heavy bleeding (particularly when combined with bioflavonoids), as does Vitamin A, zinc, iron, Vitamin B-complex and goldenseal.
A calcium-rich diet and adequate access to sunlight (for Vitamin D production) help to minimize the likelihood of osteoporosis.
Ostivone, a non-hormonal nutrient, has been shown in clinical trials to be able to increase bone mineral density and inhibit bone loss, thus combating osteoporosis.
Selenium may help to alleviate hot flushes and night sweats.
Linseed oil, evening primrose, Vitamin B-complex, and zinc are all excellent for improving skin tone, elasticity, and moisture.
Magnesium and Vitamin B supplementation has been found to improve emotional symptoms such as anxiety and irritability. Magnesium is also useful in the treatment of insomnia, as is valerian.
Lumpy, painful breasts respond well to Vitamin E, linseed oil, acidophilus, milk thistle, and Vitamin B-complex.
Co-enzyme Q10 and ginseng help boost energy levels and dispel lethargy.
Quercetin can assist in the alleviation of headaches and migraines, as can Vitamins C and E, and the herb skullcap.
Oats (as porridge or herbal preparation) tone the nervous system, and sage taken as a tea or in tablet form will stimulate estrogen levels and improve memory function. Valerian and ginseng will help with anxiety and tension which, combined with skullcap, will calm the nervous system.
One herb that has been used traditionally for its female hormone balancing properties is Vitex Agnes Castus. Recent scientific research had confirmed that the Vitex berry contains an aromatic oil that regulates hormone levels via its effect upon the pituitary gland. Taken during menopause, Vitex Agnes Castus has been found to reduce the incidence of hot flushes, limit fluid retention, prevent excess weight gain, and to alleviate the nervousness/anxiety/depression cycle so symptomatic of the cessation of the female menstrual cycle.
Motherwort is useful for palpitations which are commonly experienced due to falling estrogen levels.
Black Cohosh is also useful for regulating female hormones and helps to prevent night sweats and hot flushes. Other useful herbal remedies for these symptoms are licorice, alfalfa, and Dong Quai.
Gingko biloba can help with memory and concentration problems.
Natural progesterone cream has been found in clinical trials to be effective against both physical and emotional problems associated with menopause. Extensive research by Dr. John Lee and others have found that using natural progesterone cream assists in recreating the natural estrogen/