It’s dreaded by every woman beyond child-bearing years. Obviously there’s no cure. Menopause is an entirely natural process, like going through puberty when a woman develops breasts and begins her menstruation. Just as puberty reveals that a young woman is able to have children, menopause signifies the end of that part of a woman’s life cycle. Menopause is almost like puberty in reverse process.
Menopause’s arrival is made known it’s by the slowing and eventual ending of menstruation. Other signs are diminishment of breast size and density, and the body’s eradication of hormones linked with child bearing. It is accompanied by unpleasant symptoms such as vaginal dryness, hot flashes, insomnia, osteoporosis, night sweats, and erratic mood swings. Hormone replacement therapy, is often prescribed by gynecologists, however, the link of these medications to breast cancer is still the subject of debate.
So it is no wonder that today more and more women are choosing a natural remedy to ease the symptoms of menopause. One hundred years ago, women used Lydia Pinkham pills, a combination of vitamins and herbal substances, to make menopause easier. Today, if you reject take hormone replacement options, and after discussing with your physician, you may wish to try a natural remedy for menopause.
In traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda), Shatavari is a particularly useful treatment as a natural menopause remedy for hot flashes. Since it is a natural diuretic, Ayurveda practitioners recommend that women who use it fortify potassium intake to avoid becoming dehydrated by drinking orange juice and eating bananas.
Chinese natural healing uses an herb called Dong Quai to treat women’s health issues such as menopause symptom, menstrual cramps, and premenstrual symptoms. Even though its effectiveness has not been confirmed by the FDA, many women find it helpful and recommend it to other menopausal women.
Black Cohosh Root is a particularly popular natural menopause remedy. This herb was used in the original Lydia Pinkham tablets during the turn of the century. It’s a general tonic for menopause, relieving hot flashes, irritability, headaches, vaginal dryness and insomnia. It has few, if any, side effects and is tolerated well by most.
Two important cautions about Black Cohosh Root: it should not be confused with Blue Cohosh, a potentially harmful root that has no relation to Black Cohosh. Herbalists recommend that Black Cohosh Root be taken continuously for only six months.
Another favorite natural menopause remedy is Soy Isoflavones. This is a substance derived from soy beans and their by-products tofu and soy milk. Soy acts like a mild natural form of estrogen. It is found particularly useful by women who choose not to use prescription hormone replacement. Herbalists recommend eating soy-containing food rather than taking soy pills or capsules. Soy Isoflavones should not be used if you have a history of breast cancer.
Like Black Cohosh Root, Red Clover is a favorite herb for natural menopause remedy. Red Clover is particularly helpful for easing hot flashes. It may also lower cholesterol levels in post-menopausal women. As a mild form of estrogen, it should not be used by women who have a history or are at risk for breast cancer. Nor should it be combined with blood-thinning medications like Warfarin.
Lastly, gaining ground as natural menopause remedies are alfalfa leaves and seeds. Further research is needed on these plants, but it’s been established that alfalfa has an effect on the body similar to estrogen. Those with diabetes or an autoimmune disease such as fibromyalgia or lupus should avoid using alfalfa.
Natural menopause remedies are generally safe and non-toxic if used correctly and with the precautions noted. They are available in many major supermarkets, in natural health and food stores, and of course, on-line.