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How to deal with the symptoms of menopause

Women’s health (circulation, hormones, menopause)

Menopause is not a disease, but a period characterised by a profound change.
As a matter of fact, in the past, to indicate this stage of life one used the term climacterium, from the Greek klimaktḗr-êros, which precisely means step, stage, difficult point.

A woman in this period can indeed be subject to various types of troubles, induced mainly by the decrease of oestrogens, such as:

  • hot flashes;
  • irritability;
  • migraine;
  • insomnia;
  • fatigue;
  • mood disorders;
  • weight gain.

One should also add that, once the "protective" action of oestrogens is over, the female body during menopause is also more exposed to different types of problems, such as disorders of the genitourinary system (cystitis etc.) and a reduced absorption capacity of calcium in the bones (osteoporosis).

Premenopausal and menopausal age

Menopause does not occur suddenly, but it is almost always preceded by the so-called perimenopausal period when alterations in a woman's typical menstrual cycle begin to occur.
At this stage, which precedes actual menopause and which may last 5 to 10 years, a woman’s period may be irregular (menstruation can occur with intervals of two months or more) due to a reduction in progesterone.
The real menopause coincides, however, with the end of the ovarian activity and, consequently, the end of menstruation, and can take place between 45 and 55 years of age.
The hormonal changes that characterise this stage of the female life bring about a number of changes that can affect not only the physical sphere, but also the emotional and social one.


Natural aids against menopausal symptoms

Some complaints that characterise menopause may affect a woman so much as to get her to change her habits and lifestyle.
However, there are natural aids that can effectively mitigate menopause symptoms and help women live this transition peacefully.

In this regard, in recent years they have highlighted the positive action of phytoestrogens, substances contained in some plants and able to carry out an "oestrogen-like" activity. Supplementing these substances is therefore useful for alleviating the hormonal imbalance that occurs during menopause and limiting the relevant complaints.

Among the plants richest in phytoestrogens, used in herbal medicine alone or combined with one another in the formulation of specific supplements, we remember:

For example, several studies have shown that soy phytoestrogens "improve the typical menopausal symptoms (reduce hot flashes, significantly more than placebo, diminish the typical menopause-related vaginal dryness, reduce high cholesterol, overweight, and the risk of cardiovascular disease)." (F. Firenzuoli, Le 100 erbe della salute, Milano, Tecniche Nuove 2000).

To mitigate the typical menopausal hot flashes in phytotherapy, one has often exploited the synergic action of the extract of sage, which, "due to its oestrogen-like action, is recommended in menopause, especially in the case of "hot flashes", vegetative dystonia and profuse night sweating. The antiperspirant action of sage appears to be due to a direct effect on the centre of sweat. " ( F. Perugini Billi, Manuale di fitoterapia, Edizioni Junior 2008).
Some food supplements designed to control menopausal symptoms, may also contain some vitamins useful in mitigating the sense of exhaustion, such as vitamin B12 and folic acid, as well as nutrients and vitamins that may promote the maintenance of normal bone, such as vitamin D and C, manganese and zinc.

 


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