Subduing the symptoms naturally
When our mothers and grandmothers whispered the words, "The Change, we could hear the capital letters. We could hear the dread in their voices. If we watched carefully, we could see them exchange knowing nods of sympathy and then quickly change the subject.
When our mothers and grandmothers whispered the words, “The Change,” we could hear the capital letters. We could hear the dread in their voices. If we watched carefully, we could see them exchange knowing nods of sympathy and then quickly change the subject.
“The Change” was a deep, dark mystery to these women, and largely ignored by medical science. Only with the advent of a generation of baby boomers who demanded answers and results, has menopause become the subject of an increasing body of medical research.
HRT is Not the Answer
In 2002 a large scientific study in the US, the Women’s Health Initiative, rocked the world of conventional medicine. The study showed that women who used equine-based
estrogen and synthetic progesterone hormone replacement therapies (HRT) increased their risk of a heart attack by 27 percent and risk of stroke by 38 percent. Women taking these drugs more than doubled their risk of blood clots.
If that wasn’t bad enough, later results of the study released in 2004 showed that the drugs increased the risk of dementia and other neurological diseases by a stunning 105 percent. Conventional HRT also increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 21 percent.
If you’ve suffered the common symptoms of menopause—annoying hot flashes, insomnia, night sweats, irritability, palpitations, headaches, and joint pain—take heart; there are gentle, natural, and effective ways to address the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. Consult your natural health practitioner for the remedies that are right for you.
Natural Remedies for Menopause
Black cohosh (Cimecifuga racemosa) Since it is so broadly effective, black cohosh is the first herbal remedy most women try. Black cohosh has been shown to be very effective in stopping hot flashes, but it’s also been shown to relieve fatigue, insomnia, irritability, mood swings, and night sweats. Recommended dosage: two 20-mg capsules or tablets daily.
Vitex or chaste tree berry (Vitex agnus-castus) Studies show chaste tree berry eases mood swings, relieves hot flashes, supports normal menstrual function, enhances skin health, and helps balance pituitary function. Recommended dosage: 6 to 80 mg daily in capsule form or 40 drops of liquid extract.
Soy isoflavones This rich source of plant estrogens is metabolized in your body without negative side effects. A recent Wake Forest University study suggests soy may help prevent breast cancer, and other research suggests it may reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Recommended dosage: at least 100 mg per day.
Red clover (Trifolium praetense) This familiar flower found in pastures everywhere is a rich source of isoflavones similar to those found in soy. It has been shown to help relieve hot flashes and may help with joint pain. Best of all, it helps protect against heart disease and osteoporosis. It may also be valuable in helping treat some types of nonhormonal cancers. Recommended dosage: 1 to 3 g daily.
Bioidentical hormone replacement These natural hormones, identical to those of a healthy 35-year-old woman, are available only with a doctor’s prescription. They have been scientifically proven to be safe and effective. Blood tests will help your doctor determine the correct dosage.