My Personal Experience with Menopause And A List Of Herbal Remedies For Menopause Symptoms

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What Supplements Are Effective For Menopause Symptoms? by awordlover

Many women have tried traditional medicine when facing overwhelming menopausal symptoms only to find that they come with a whole list of possible complications. In some cases, one has to take more medication to combat the side effects of the medication that was supposed to be helping their original symptoms.

This hub is offered as an alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy and other therapies as discussed on my hub: Personal Experience Of When I Went Through Change of Life, Otherwise Known as Menopause.

1. St. John's Wort - this is a well known herbal supplement many people use for mild depression. It comes in capsules, tablets, tea bags and tincture forms.

2. Vitamin A and Vitamin E, aloe vera, - recommended for vaginal dryness and to help retain overall skin tone. It comes in capsules and creams.

3. Dong quai - (the female ginseng) - Dong quai also reduces hot flashes, insomnia and blood pressure problems. It helps balance post-menopausal hormones. It comes in capsules, tea, extract, and tincture.

4. Black Cohosh - this is an herbal supplement that is popular outside the USA and now is widely used inside the USA for hot flashes. Long term use of this product for hot flashes has not been studied, but some medical authorities do not recommend taking Black Cohosh for longer than six months. It comes in capsules, tablets, tea and tincture. However, this is the one remedy I do use for relief of hot flashes and believe it is very effective with little or no side effects. Since my menopausal symptoms lasted more then just a few years, I used it for more than ten years even though the recommendation is only 6 months. I have suffered no ill side effects. This is just my experience with Black Cohosh and it is not to be considered as medical advice.

5. Ginseng and Ginseng Root - the root is taken as a stimulant to give mental and physical energy and is also used as an aphrodisiac. The root comes in dried form; ginseng comes in tablet, capsule and tea form.

Herbal Supplements

Do you currently take an herbal supplement for your menopausal symptoms?

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Phytoestrogens and Bioflavonoids

Phytoestrogens

Phytoestrogens are found in herbs and plants and are very similar to the type of estrogen the body manufactures. Examples of phytoestrogens are tofu, soybeans, soy nuts, and licorice.

Licorice comes in capsule, tea and dried form and is very useful for hot flashes, however it may raise blood pressure.

Alfalfa, oregon grape, dandelion root and red clover also help to fight hot flashes.

Wild yam imitates progesterone and is effective in cream form.

Bioflavinoids

Bioflavonoids are in foods that are high in Vitamin C, like broccoli, peppers, parsley, melons, citrus fruits, salad greens, melons, and berries.

Chammomile or valerian tea help with insomnia if you drink it one hour before bedtime.

Evening primrose, flaxseed and currant seed oil contain gamma-linolenic acid, which many women believe helps them deal with symptoms of menopause.

You can read more about botanicals here.

Hot Flashes?

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Hot Flashes - personal notes from awordlover

Hot flashes are the single most common complaint of menopausal women.

Mild flushing makes you feel somewhat warm, but not sweating.

Moderate flushing makes you function or sleep poorly.

Severe flushing will impact your quality of life, your sleep pattern, and can lead to sweats.

If you are experiencing frequent hot flashes, preplan what you are going to wear each day. You should dress like it is the middle of July so that the hot flashes don't turn into all-out sweats. Wear layers so you can peel them off gradually during the day when you experience discomfort. Layers help to control your body temperature and make clothing easier to remove.

Carry a portable fan or keep a full size fan in the main room of the house you use most of the time. Make use of your ceiling fans; if you don't have any, it is a good investment as hot flashes have been known to go on for years and years.

I used to use a small two inch ice pack wrapped in a washcloth placed in the front of my brassiere when I was working. Whether it was a busy night at work or not, I inevitably became overwhelmed with hot flashes or would break out in sweats. The ice pack, refilled over the 8 hour shift, kept my body temperature cool so that when I did experience flushing, it didn't bother me so much.

As I have mentioned in other hubs, sleeping can be a real challenge when you experience numerous hot flashes over the course of the day and night. While Black Cohosh is a good supplement for hot flashes, there is nothing like having a fan (or two or three!!) blowing on you while you sleep. In summer, utilize air conditioning as much as you need for comfort. In other seasons, strategically placed fans (oscillating or not) will have to do it for you.

Insomnia is characteristic of menopause and can actually add to your hot flashes. Getting comfortable in bed is half the battle toward sleep. Wear light or no nightwear, cotton t-shirt or nightgown is best. Avoid nylon, wool, flannel or synthetic fibers. Cotton or cotton polyester is best for keeping cool through the night.

Research has shown that hot flashes are triggered by stress, temperature changes, certain foods, and even certain medications. You can use moistened paper towels placed on pulse points to help reduce the effects of flushing when it happens. When out of the house (for example in a restaurant) an ice cube held at the wrists for 30 to 60 seconds is a quick fix.

My trick at home is to freeze used tea bags, wrap in moistened paper towel and place on pulse points when I am experiencing a severe hot flash. The coolness helps me ride it out more comfortably than if I just fanned myself.

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Sleeping or Insomnia

Hot flashes often go hand in hand with sleeplessness, waking you up multiple times during the night.

Some tips on preparing for sleep:

1. Don't exercise within two or three hours of going to sleep. Try to get your exercise out of the way in the morning or afternoon.

2. Meditation or yoga before bed is relaxing.

3. Avoid a nightcap. Alcohol is sedating but later when you are in a deep sleep, can wake you and cause you to be wired. Your night's sleep has just bit the dust.

4. Avoid caffeine (includes chocolate too). If you must drink a caffeinated product, do it early in the day so it is out of your system by bedtime.

5. Sleeping pills are very addicting and while they will help you get to sleep, it is not a permanent solution.

6. Drink an herbal tea, add a little milk to it because the tryptophan in milk can make you drowsy.

7. For any insomnia lasting more than two weeks, it is best to seek medical attention since lack of sleep can impact your functioning during the day. Instead of sleeping medication, perhaps you can be evaluated and treated for sleep apnea, unresolved stress or depression.

8. If hot flashes and night sweats are the reason for your insomnia, you might want to consider a short term of estrogen replacement therapy. If you don't want to take tablets or capsules, the creams and patches are quite effective.

9. If the reason for your insomnia is getting up and down to urinate, you might want to ask your physician for a urology consult for bladder function evaluation. If you get up to urinate and find yourself back in the bathroom within the hour, a few simple maneuvers described here can make all the difference. Please give it a try before starting a medication or before undergoing expensive and sometimes painful urology testing.

10. Seek counselling or a women's support group specializing in menopausal issues to network with other women on how they are dealing with their symptoms.

Sexual Dysfunction & Birth Control Issues - researched by awordlover

Even though you are entering a part of your life where birth control will have little impact on you, protection should always be uppermost in your mind. Protection will help you to stave off bladder and vaginal infections.

At the same time, vaginal dryness and atrophy will inhibit sexual function so that you may entertain using lubricants and other aids to help keep your sex life active.

Weight Gain, Hair and Skin Changes

Most women who go through menopause will gain weight especially around the midriff, which they affectionately refer to as a muffin top. If you exercised before menopause, there is no reason for you to ease up on exercise during menopause. It will keep your bones strong and your muscles toned.

Your chances of developing osteoporosis rise considerably once you begin menopause because your body will not get the steady supply of estrogen it was getting before. Estrogen protects your bone density, keeping them strong against breakage.

You will notice your skin going through certain changes as well. It may seem more prone to wrinkle and might become thinner under the eyes or on the hands and feet. Protect your skin at all costs.

Your skin is the protective covering of your body, guarding against infection and diseases. It is only as healthy as you are, so drink lots of water, stay out of the sun (or short periods with plenty of UV protection), get plenty of rest, don't smoke or drink alcohol, and exercise daily for at least 30 minutes.

Invest in a good skin cream for wrinkles and apply it daily and nightly, especially around the outer corners of the eyes and lips.

Make sure any hair loss is not part of another condition. Keep your hair well groomed and use a good conditioner. Splurge a little and color your hair, it helps strengthen the shaft and improves your overall opinion of yourself.

Body image is just as important to maintain as is watching your weight. In the end, if you don't feel good about yourself, how you look and feel, your feelings will contribute to stress, more intense menopausal symptoms and overall ill health.

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Final thoughts

I've included a lot of links as resources and further reading. I wish you well in your search for comfort in dealing with symptoms of menopause.

Published 12/20/2013

Rachael O'Halloran, for awordlover

Updated 2/7/2014 by Rachael O'Halloran to replace pixelated copyscape logos and to correct format issues.

© 2013 awordlover

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2 comments

DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Helpful tips here for this phase of life I am not yet that there but this hub tells me all I need to know thank you.


awordlover profile image

awordlover 2 years ago Author

Thank you for your visit and your comment.

R.

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