The transitions that take place in the female life cycle are rarely fun. Puberty is often signaled by uncontrollable tears and the inevitable upset of menstruation. However, as our society is generally moving towards open education regarding puberty, menopause remains somewhat taboo due to its negative associations with aging. Is there anything that can be done for menopause relief?
What is Menopause?
Before we get into effective menopause relief, it helps to start with the basics.
A woman is recognized as having fully entered the menopausal phase once she has gone twelve consecutive months without a menstrual cycle. This usually occurs at some point in her forties but varies based on the individual. Unfortunately, a number of uncomfortable symptoms may arise during this period of a woman’s life. This is due to the fact that her body’s production of estrogen will decrease significantly once she ceases to ovulate.
Why Estrogen is Important
Estrogen is the hormone responsible for female secondary sex characteristics and the reproductive cycle. The University of Rochester states that estrogen production is centered in the ovaries with secondary production occurring in the adrenal glands and fat cells.
Although estrogen is clearly important to the female reproductive cycles, it is important to both men and women for a variety of other reasons, including but not limited to:
- Cholesterol control
- Bone Health
- Mood Control
- Weight distribution
As a result, the loss of estrogen production after the onset of menopause does a lot more than simply stop menstruation.
Symptoms of Menopause
In women, many normal processes are helpfully regulated by estrogen. Dipping levels can result in a variety of symptoms according to American Nurse Today, including:
- Hot Flashes
- Bone Loss/ Osteoporosis
- Thinning Hair
- Unwanted Facial Hair
- Loss of Skin Elasticity
- Dry Skin
- Dry Eyes
- “Brain Fog”
- Mood Changes
- Weight Gain
- Vaginal Dryness
The list is long and largely unpleasant. Fortunately, there are several ways that you can combat the negative effects of menopause.
Five Paths to Menopause Relief
1. Calcium and Vitamin D
Both of these components are key to maintaining bone health after menopause. The University of Washington explains that, prior to menopause, estrogen’s primary role in bone health is the inhibition of bone resorption. Essentially, the hormone prevents your body from repurposing the calcium in your bones. Therefore, after menopause, your body is able to freely take minerals from your bones, causing bone loss. To prevent this, it is vital to keep your mineral and vitamin levels up, providing all that your body needs, so it won’t feel the need to take from the supply stored in your bones.
2. Diet and Exercise
Unfortunately, one of the most noticeable symptoms of menopause is weight gain, particularly around the stomach. Estrogen naturally distributes fat in women towards the hips and posterior, but this system breaks down after menopause. Most women find that they have to reduce their caloric intake and exercise more often to manage their weight after menopause.
3. Keep a Symptom Diary
Healthline suggests keeping a symptom diary to help you track your personal response to menopause. Every woman reacts a little differently based on her health history and the current condition of her body. Keeping a journal may help you to identify if you’re affected by common triggers. These include caffeine, alcohol, or spicy foods. A journal will also help your physician figure out what your most common symptoms are so they can help you put together a comprehensive menopause relief plan.
4. Have Some Hummus
Research has shown that women who ingest foods containing phytoestrogens experience fewer symptoms during menopause. Chickpeas, soy, and flaxseed are just a few excellent sources of phytoestrogens, so help yourself to some chickpea hummus for a snack or make a delicious fruit smoothie with soy milk and ground flaxseed.
5. Hormone Replacement Therapy
Your doctor will likely suggest HRT. According to the North American Menopause Society, natural HRT remains the most effective treatment for women suffering from the symptoms of menopause. As with all medical treatments, there are some risks that should be considered. Hormone Replacement Therapy LA encourages all potential patients to have a consultation with Dr. Nazarian to discuss treatment options and potential risks based on the patient’s individual background. Our personalized and empathetic approach to menopause therapy uses necessary lab results, pap smears, and breast examinations to create the best treatment plan for each patient, giving each woman a chance to enjoy each day symptom-free.