Although menopause is a natural part of the life cycle, it can be a difficult and challenging time for women and those who love them. Many women experience both physical and emotional changes during this time.
Hormonal fluctuations may result in hot flashes, lower libido, depression, anxiety and more.The good news is there are a variety of options available to help women manage these effects for an easier transition.
For centuries women in various cultures have relied on medicinal plants and herbs to address a number of health issues including menopause.
Night sweats and hot flashes: Many women find dealing with night sweats and hot flashes particularly troubling. They come on unexpectedly and may make professional and personal interactions difficult or uncomfortable. Worse still are night sweats which interrupt sleep robbing women of the rest needed to keep stress and anxiety at bay. Some women find relief through the use of blue cohosh or hawthorn.
Soy has also received attention for its ability to minimize hot flashes and night sweats; however there are some concerns about its interaction with the body’s estrogen and isn’t recommended for estrogen-dependent breast cancer survivors. The isoflavones in soy can also be found in other beans and are recommended for use for a maximum of two years.
Depression: Often women who are menopausal also have children who are growing up and they find their role in life altered. The changes in their body combined with those in their life naturally result in some grieving; however lasting sadness may be a sign of depression. Siberian ginseng, Ginko, Borage, and Lemon Balm have all proven effective in helping women overcome those down feelings.
Libido: The hormonal changes of menopause may lead to vaginal dryness as well as a lowered sexual drive. Aloe gel and Bayberry may help with dryness and itching while Sarsaparilla, Damiana, and Catuaba have been used by many women to restore sexual desire.
Some women find that these herbal remedies are enough to help them manage the physical and emotional changes associated with menopause; however some prefer alternative therapies alone or in conjunction with the use of herbals.
Acupuncture: Some women find the ancient practice of acupuncture beneficial in treating some of the symptoms associated with menopause including depression, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, and hot flashes.
Chiropractic: This safe and effective method of care during menopause has been helpful to man women. Chiropractic care helps improve the functioning of the nervous system which is intricately associated with the hormonal system. Many women find this gentle approach useful in relieving the headaches, stress, and body pains associated with menopause.
Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy
Bio-identical hormones, or natural hormone replacement therapy (NHRT), is being used to effectively treat a wide range of symptoms associated with menopause. These hormones are taken from plants or animals and then they are chemically altered in a laboratory so that they are molecularly identical to the hormones found in humans.
It is believed that these bio-identical hormones are then better received by the body; however there are many concerns regarding the use of NHRT including a strong connection with breast, ovarian, and uterine cancers.
Regardless of whether you choose herbal remedies, alternative therapies, or NHRT in managing the sometimes uncomfortable effects of menopause, talk with a trusted medical professional beforehand. In addition, always purchase herbals and supplements from a trusted source.
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