Menopause Symptoms and Relief

Menopause encompasses more than a permanent absence of the monthly menstrual cycle; it includes a series of events and changes in the female human body. The ages at which these changes start to take place vary widely between women. Some women may begin menopause as early as their 30's, and symptoms may last well into one's 60's. Others may not begin menopause until they've reach their late 40's. Doctors have officially described menopause as the time period beginning 12 months after your last menstrual cycle.

Although its signs and symptoms may be uncomfortable, it is important to realize that menopause is not an illness or disease. It is a natural process related to physical, psychosocial, and hormonal changes that the body must go through. Women should not fear menopause as being the end of their sexuality or youth. Whereas historically very few women lived beyond the menopausal mark, in this day and age many women live at least half of their life after menopausal changes have taken place.

Nutritional supplements that may help with menopause

Studies have shown soybeans, which contain phytoestrogen compounds that are similar in structure to the make up of estrogen, to have a positive influence on the menstrual cycle of pre-menopausal women. And, although some research has reported the estrogenic properties of soy to be relatively faint, it has been observed that women living societies traditionally inclined to consume large amounts of soy products have a minimal occurrence of hot flashes throughout menopause.

In years past, the use of supplemental vitamin E was studied in relation to its effect on menopausal symptoms. The majority of the research found vitamin E to be beneficial; and now, many doctors are suggesting that menopausal women take a supplement containing 800 IU of vitamin E once a day for at least three months. If symptoms decrease and the supplements are deemed useful, the treatment can go on. Some studies have shown statistically substantial changes in menopausal women who were given a lower dose of vitamin E for a shorter amount of time; however, only minor clinical improvements were observed.

Herbal supplements that may help with menopause

The use of black cohosh as a treatment for women suffering from menopausal hot flashes is supported by numerous research studies. It has been found to be both effective and safe with many doctors recommending a dose of concentrated extract to be taken twice a day in the amount of 20mg. A dose of 2-4 ml of tincture taken three times a day has also proved beneficial.

Supporting Literature

Baird DD, Umbach DM, Landsedell L, et al. Dietary intervention study to assess estrogenicity of dietary soy among postmenopausal women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1995;80:1685-88.
Christy CJ. Vitamin E in menopause: Preliminary report of experimental and clinical study. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1945:50:84.
Liske E. Therapeutic efficacy and safety of Cimicifuga racemosa for gynecological disorders. Advances Therapy 1998;15:45-53.
Lieberman S. A review of the effectiveness of Cimicifuga racemosa (black cohosh) for the symptoms of menopause. J Womens Health 1998;7:525-9.
Cassidy A, Bingham S, Setchell KD. Biological effects of a diet of soy protein rich in isoflavones on the menstrual cycle of premenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr 1994;60:330-40.
Gozan HA. The use of vitamin E in treatment of the menopause. NY State J Med 1952;52:1289.
Knight DC, Eden JA. A review of the clinical effects of phytoestrogens. Obstet Gynecol 1996;87:895-903.
Perloff WH. Treatment of the menopause. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1949;58:684-94.