Menopause making you miserable?

Cardiovascular disease used to be more prevalent in men, but recent statistics indicate that heart disease is the number-one killer in women. We know that a woman’s heart disease risk increases after menopause due to decreased levels of hormones.

Cardiovascular disease used to be more prevalent in men, but recent statistics indicate that heart disease is the number-one killer in women. We know that a woman’s heart disease risk increases after menopause due to decreased levels of hormones.

by Dr. Tracy Mageruss — 

Menopause is a normal part of healthy aging, but some of the associated symptoms can be very troubling. For example, are hot flashes and night sweats interfering with your ability to get a good night’s sleep? Is the sleep deprivation causing anxiety or irritability or making you lose focus?

Are all of these symptoms leading to a decrease in both libido and general enjoyment of life? If you answered, “yes” to any of these questions, you are not alone.

The good news is that lots of natural options are available to help women ease through the transition gracefully. Simple dietary changes can reduce the number of hot flashes, as well as help women achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Caffeine, sugar and commercially raised beef, pork and chicken all adversely affect the body’s ability to handle estrogen. Not only do these contribute to worsening hot flashes, but they also increase the risk of breast cancer. Foods like organic soy, brown rice, nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables should be included daily in the diet to counteract these risks.

An herb that boasts an excellent safety record, as well as being effective at controlling menopausal symptoms, is black cohosh, a phytoestrogen. This herb can be part of a non-hormonal treatment plan. The best effect occurs when the phytoestrogen herbs are combined with adrenal supportive herbs, such as Siberian ginseng, ashwaganda or maca.

Bio-identical hormone use is on the rise as women are asking for an alternative to Premarin® and synthetic progestins. Bio-identical hormones can be formulated specifically for the patient’s needs, and dosages can easily be adjusted. These hormones are made to exactly match the hormones that the woman’s body naturally produces. Lower amounts can be used, which can increase safety while still preventing hot flashes and night sweats, as well as keeping your skin looking young and healthy.

Cardiovascular disease used to be more prevalent in men, but recent statistics indicate that heart disease is the number-one killer in women. We know that a woman’s heart disease risk increases after menopause due to decreased levels of hormones. Maintaining a healthy weight, stress management and consistent exercise help to prevent heart attacks and strokes. A comprehensive menopausal treatment plan will include cardiovascular protection.

As you can see, many natural treatment options are available to treat menopausal symptoms and the increased risk for breast cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis. Realize that you do not need to suffer through sleepless nights or simply accept that your decreased vitality is a normal part of aging. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment plan, so it is important for you to talk with your doctor about which natural options are best for you.

Look and feel your best at any age — life is not over after menopause.

 

Tracy Mageruss is a naturopathic physician who specializes in treating menopausal women at the Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine Center. AIMcenterAZ.com or 602-265-1774.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 32, Number 2, April/May 2013.

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