Saturday, November 15, 2008

Natural Menopause without HRT

HRT, Hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings,& an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Read on to discover how you can make a smooth transition... Once treated by mainstream medicine as a disease, menopause is a normal transition in a woman’s life from an age of fertility to one of wisdom. Like anything important in a woman’s life, this transition can sometimes be a challenge. With the recent revelation that standard hormone replacement therapy for the relief of hot flashes caused a significant increase in the risk of cancer, a course of action for support during this transition can be confusing.But there are effective and safe alternatives to HRT with drugs. Clinically, menopause is complete when one year has passed since the cessation of menstruation. The perimenopausal period can last for several years. During this time women experience gradual cycle changes like more or less bleeding and variations in cycle length. Anemia can occur due to heavy menstrual bleeding. Another way to experience menopause is through the removal of the ovaries. Hormonal shifts during perimenopause or after ovary removal cause hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, low libido, urinary incontinence, dizziness, heart palpitations, headaches and mood swings. Factors that aggravate symptoms are poor diet, stress, alcohol, caffeine, tobacco and spices. Around menopause hormone release occurs sporadically and produces symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, low libido, urinary incontinence, dizziness, heart palpitations, headaches, irregular cycles, irregular bleeding and mood swings. Estrogen receptors are located on non-reproductive cells too. Therefore, menopause affects the aging of a women’s whole body. Skin cells need estrogen to stay smooth and moist. The thyroid gland uses estrogen to maintain body temperature. Proper bone formation requires estrogen. The arteries and heart require estrogen for maintaining their functioning. Progesterone and testosterone levels also decline in menopause. Progesterone has a calming affect on the brain and nervous system and menopausal women may suffer with anxiety, depression or other emotional concerns. Testosterone regulates the libido and contributes to a decrease in sex drive often reported by menopausal women. The typical perimenopausal symptoms are treated conventionally by synthetic hormone replacement of estrogen, progesterone and/or testosterone. It decreases perimenopausal symptoms and was also believed to protect against heart disease, bone loss and some cancers. Recently these benefits have been called into question. New research suggests that there may also be health risks associated with hormone replacement regardless of whether the source is synthetic or natural. Talk to a health professional about the benefits and drawbacks of hormone replacement. The relief of these symptoms and natural support for the increased risk of other health concerns aggravated by menopause should include some or all of the following: balancing of hormones (sex hormones as well as adrenal and thyroid hormones), reducing symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings, supporting bone health, and supporting heart health. Natural support of the menopausal woman involves supporting the whole body because at menopause women lose the protective effect of estrogen on the body. The skeletal and cardiovascular systems are especially susceptible to degeneration due to low estrogen levels. HORMONES: A DELICATE BALANCE Hormones are very powerful substances that regulate bodily functions and cause dramatic changes in our health. As estrogen levels decline and fluctuate during the perimenopausal and menopausal periods, the normal balance of this group of hormones is disrupted and typical menopausal symptoms result. Many herbs contain safe and naturally occurring estrogens and can be used as natural hormone replacement therapy without the side effects of conventional HRT. Some of these herbs include: Vitex, dong quai, black cohosh, damiana, soy extracts, licorice and others. Use standardized extract versions of these plants as they are stronger than the raw versions and contain a consistent amount of active ingredient. Progesterone levels can also be optimized with the essential fat supplements primrose oil or borage oil. Both of these contain the essential fat GLA which your body needs to produce progesterone. Both of these work well combined with vitamin E. An imbalance between estrogen and progesterone is largely the reason why women experience hot flashes and an increased risk of heart disease and osteoporosis. Click here to continue reading the rest of this article

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