Kathleen Fry, MD
You might be surprised to learn that while you are still in the throes of motherhood-homework, car-pooling, and mounds of laundry-your body might already be preparing for menopause.Women can start to experience fluctuating hormones and symptoms of perimenopause (pre-menopause), including mood swings, irritability, and insomnia, as early as their thirties.
You might be surprised to learn that while you are still in the throes of motherhood–homework, car-pooling, and mounds of laundry–your body might already be preparing for menopause.Women can start to experience fluctuating hormones and symptoms of perimenopause (pre-menopause), including mood swings, irritability, and insomnia, as early as their thirties.
Women can start to experience fluctuating hormones and symptoms of perimenopause (pre-menopause), including mood swings, irritability, and insomnia, as early as their thirties. For many women, dealing with these symptoms adds an extra strain on an already over-filled schedule.
Mechanics of Menopause
When our ovaries produce less estrogen at perimenopause, our adrenal glands are supposed to pick up the slack. But, as a result of too much stress, adrenal gland exhaustion limits the gland’s ability to produce. Liver congestion caused by environmental toxins and chemicals in our foods as well as low thyroid function also affect the hormone balance. These wide swings in our hormone levels trigger the symptoms of menopause.
Because life’s demands don’t diminish as we age, we need safe, reliable methods of relieving menopausal symptoms. This is particularly important since findings of a 2002 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association conclusively proved an increased risk of breast cancer with hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Rather than replacing one set of concerns for another, opt for natural, herbal relief for menopausal complaints.
Many herbal remedies have been used for centuries to treat common symptoms. Black cohosh, for example, relieves hot flashes, depression, and vaginal dryness. Wild yam helps to relieve symptoms by supporting the adrenal gland and thyroid function. It is useful for fatigue, excessive sweating, and frequent urination as well as for helping to relieve spasms in the reproductive tract and gallbladder. Phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) like those found in red clover are also useful for helping to balance hormones.
Studies show that using these time-tested remedies in conjunction with some less familiar herbs might boost your relief from menopausal symptoms. Two unpublished open-label studies compared subjectively-reported results of a formula that included chaste tree berry, vervain, soy isoflavones, astragalus, sage, and motherwort along with red clover, black cohosh, and wild yam with a formula that did not have the additional ingredients.
Researchers included sage for its ability to alleviate sweating and hot flashes, and for its calming properties. Astragalus is known to promote heart health while also supporting the adrenal glands. Motherwort helps to relieve anxiety-induced insomnia, while vervain helps to ease tension. Participants who used the more comprehensive formula reported drastically diminished tiredness, absent-mindedness, and lack of energy versus the control group. Women also noted improved well-being, along with reduced hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and heart palpitations.
Exercise and eat properly, focusing on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein, and take advantage of the remarkable benefits of healing herbs. You’ll be well on your way toward hormonal balance.