Aging Gracefully: Natural Remedies For Menopause Symptoms
Hot flashes, night sweats, insominia - these are all symptoms that frequently accompany menopause. Many women dread these negative side effects and turn to hormone replacement therapy as a means of lessening the discomfort. But, there are natural remedies out there, some of which have been reported to be quite effective. As always, check with your doctor prior to rying any suggested solution as side effects may result, particularly if you are already a precribed medication.
Natural Remedies for Menopause: Hot Flashes and Night Sweats
Hot flashes are a momentary sensation of heat that is sometimes accompanied by a red flushed face and sweating. Night sweats are an interupption of sleep which is often accompanied by a cold and clammy feeling, a pounding heart, and drenched sheets. These are the two most common complaint among menopausal women. Night sweats are believed to be casued by fluctuating estrogen levels in a woman's body. Though the exact cause of hot flashes is unknown, it is believed to be related to changes in fluctuating hormones and circulation. Some possible natural remedies for these two symptoms include:
- Soy - Soy contains a plant estrogen known as isoflavones. Some studies have shown it to be an effective way of reducing menopausal symptoms. Others, however, have provided that there is no benefit.
- Black Cohosh - Research regarding the use of black cohosh for the treatment of night sweats and hot flashes is mixed. Some report that it is effective in mild cases while others report no improvement at all. Also, black cohosh autoimmune hepatitis has been reported in rare cases .
- Red Clover - As another plant estrogen, red clover has been shown to be moderately effective when regards to hot flashes. Many women report it as highly effective.
- Ground Flaxseed or Flaxseed Oil - The omega-3 fatty acids and lignin in flaxseeds act as a plant estrogen which may be beneficial for some women. Studies have been mixed.
- Vitamin E - Applying vitamin E to the vagina area has been reported by many women to lessen hot flashes as well as help with vaginal dryness.
- Dong quai and chamomile - A combination of chamomile and dong quai has been shown to be quite effective with significant improvements in hot flashes.
Natural Remedies for Menopause: Insomnia
Lack of sleep is another frequently reported symptom of menopause. This may include having difficulty falling asleep, waking up too early, waking up frequently during the night, having a hard time getting back to sleep, and having a sleep cycle that is not refreshing. Some possible natural remedies for insomnia include:
- Melatonin - When used in small doses, melatonin is relatively safe and can help to regulate the sleep/wake cycle. It is not, however, recommended for long term use and should be discontinued after approximately two weeks. If your insomnia has not resolved in this timeframe, consult your doctor.
- Treating other symptoms - Many find that treating the other menopausal symptoms (such as night sweats and hot flashes) results in a natural resolution to their insomnia as well.
Menopause may be a natural consequence of aging, but it doesn't have to be unbearable. Again, consult with your physician prior to attempting any of the above named treatments. Together I am certain you can develop a plan to lessen those menopausal symptoms and improve quality of life.