What Is It?
Simply put, menopause is the cessation of menstruation in older women, marked by the absence of menstruation for 12 months, usually occurring around the age of 50. It is preceded by a period of time called perimenopause where monthly menstruation may become irregular and, after the 12 month period where there has been no menstruation, it is referred to as postmenopause. Menopause is a normal physiological process. It is caused by the natural reduced production of estrogen and progesterone in the body. Unfortunately, modern society views menopause as a condition of deficiency and Western doctors have, for the most part, treated it as such. About 90% of Western women experience bothersome symptoms ranging from mild to severe including hot flashes, headaches, atrophic vaginitis, insomnia, frequent urinary tract infections, cold extremities, forgetfulness and an inability to concentrate. It is interesting to note that in societies where menopause is viewed as a positive event, women have very few, if any, menopausal symptoms or complaints. At Rose Nutrition Center, our view of menopause is that it is a rite-of-passage, a new beginning, and a completely natural process. We do not believe that hormone replacement therapy is warranted for the majority of women, but it is a personal decision that needs to be made by every woman for herself. The focus of the following information will be to provide support in as natural a way as possible.
- Limit fatty dairy products and meats, especially beef and pork.
- Reduce sugars and alcohol (makes hot flashes worse).
- Avoid caffeine (taxes adrenal glands which are the glands that take over production of estrogen after the ovaries have reduced production of estrogen).
- Eat cold water fish like salmon, halibut and tuna for essential fatty acids to reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Add phytoestrogen foods like soy foods ( miso, tofu, edemame), fennel, celery, parsley, flaxseed, oil, nuts and seeds. Avoid spicy foods to reduce hot flashes.
- Eat whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables to regulate estrogen levels and reduce mood swings.
- Eat calcium-rich foods like broccoli and non-fat yogurt.
- Eliminate carbonated drinks. They are loaded with phosphates that deplete calcium.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Exercise regularly (no less than 30 minutes three times a week). For optimal benefit, an exercise program needs to include cardiovascular activity in addition to some kind of stretching and strength training (yoga incorporates both strength and flexibility).
- Make sure you have some kind of stress management technique that you practice every day.
- Stop smoking.
- General : A good multi-vitamin/mineral supplement and a good antioxidant formula.
- Hot flashes : Vitamin E (800 IUs daily); black cohosh (2 mg of 27-deoxyacteine twice daily), evening primrose oil (1,300 mg three times daily), buplerum and peony combination (1,000 – 3,000 mg three times daily).
- Bone builders : Calcium/magnesium (1,000/600 mg daily); vitamin D (from sunlight); trace minerals.
- Sleep disturbances, depression and/or anxiety : Kava kava (150-210 mg of kavalactones one hour before bedtime); Melatonin (0.5 – 3.0 mg an hour before bedtime); valerian (150 – 300 mg of standardized to 0.8% valerenic acid at bedtime); 5-HTP (100 mg three times a day, increasing gradually over several months to 200 mg three times a day); St. John’s Wort (300 mg standardized to 0.3% hypericin three time a day).
- Memory/mental focus and/or clarity : Ginkgo biloba (40 – 80 mg three times a day); gotu kola (90 mg a day); DHA (100 – 200 mg a day)
Since there are several hormones that are rebalancing during this period, if the suggestions above don’t give enough relief from negative symptoms, you might consider seeing a qualified practitioner for a saliva test that can measure the amounts of each critical hormone and provide a guide for an individual program.
The nutritional suggestions in this material are not offered to treat, mitigate or cure disease, and should not be used as a substitute for sound medical advice. This information is designed to be used in conjunction with the services of a trained, licensed healthcare practitioner.