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Natural Strategies For Easing Menopause

Years ago women relied solely on hormone replacement therapy to relieve symptoms of menopause- hot flashes, sleep difficulties, anxiety, and mood swings. Visiting an arizona obgyn can help you with your symptoms.

But recently several large studies have shown a cause for concern with the use of hormone replacement therapy for menopause. Research shows women may have an increased risk of breast cancer, heart attack, and stroke.

The good news is there are some natural strategies you can use to decrease the symptoms of menopause without posing a risk to your health.

It’s NOT Just About The Estrogen…

Most women typically attribute menopause symptoms to the declining levels of estrogen and progesterone but poor nutrition and lifestyle habits can play a big role. An often overlooked factor is the overtaxing of the adrenal glands.

For women going through menopause, the adrenal glands are nature’s backup system. When the ovaries decrease production of estrogen and progesterone, the adrenal glands have the ability to produce hormones to compensate.

The problem is if the adrenals are over-worked due to stress, lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and other lifestyle factors, they’re not able to keep up. This causes a further imbalance in body chemistry which contributes to the uncomfortable symptoms associated with menopause. Listed below are the common symptoms and some natural solutions.

Hot Flashes

Research shows that up to 80% of women experience hot flashes during menopause. This is due to the changes in hormonal balances, primarily hormones that impact the hypothalamus- the gland responsible for controlling body temperature. Here are some things you can do to reduce hot flashes.

Consume flaxseed, garlic, onion, thyme, oregano, and sage

These foods have small amounts of phytoestrogens (plant based estrogens such as lignans and isoflavones that occur naturally in foods) which can help to restore hormone balances.

Cut down on caffeine

Caffeine stimulates the adrenal glands which causes a sharp rise and fall in blood sugar levels.

Insomnia

During menopause elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol can make it difficult to fall asleep and can trigger intermittent awakening throughout the night. Look to use some natural sleep aids to help counteract the effects of cortisol.

Wild Yam Cream

This cream is extracted from yams which contain a natural source of progesterone. Applying small amounts of wild yam cream daily may help to balance cortisol levels and improve sleep while reducing hot flashes and anxiety. Apply a small amount to the wrist, back of neck, and other areas where the skin is thinnest so the cream can be easily absorbed. Look to apply the cream before going to bed.

Magnesium

Levels of magnesium, a natural sleep aid, are depleted when you consume too much coffee, soda, alcohol, sugar or salt. Look to consume foods high in magnesium which include: fish, leafy green vegetables, nuts, and beans. For additional supplementation you can take 200-400 mg at bedtime.

Mood Swings

Minimizing caffeine and eating small supportive nutrition meals 4-5 times a day can go a long way towards minimizing the mood swings associated with menopause. The emotional and mental stress of menopause can lead to a vicious cycle in which stress depletes important mineral stores further taxing the adrenals.

Minerals depleted by stress include calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. To restore these minerals look to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and moderate amounts of whole grains.

Exercise

Without question one of the most important things you can do to combat menopausal symptoms is get on a regular exercise routine. While many women will commonly do cardiovascular exercise it’s extremely important to include resistance training. Regular resistance training (using free weights, machines, bands, etc) will help to restore hormone levels affected by menopause.

Bottom Line

Don’t wait for the symptoms of menopause to appear before taking measures to counteract them. Look to consume a supportive nutrition diet (4-5 small meals daily), complete resistance training 3 x week, cardiovascular exercise 5 x week, and use the strategies listed above to improve adrenal health.

Menopause is a complex series of hormonal changes the affect the entire endocrine system. Focusing just on estrogen and progesterone is flawed strategy because it leaves out the impact of cortisol and other hormones. Decreasing stress, exercising regularly (including resistance training), and eating a healthy diet is your best bet before considering hormone replacement therapy.

A great book I’d recommend is “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause” by John R. Lee MD and Virginia Hopkins. Click on the link above to read the comments and reviews from Amazon.

If you’d like to learn more about natural treatment for menopause and live in Charleston, I’d also highly recommend Dr. Craig Koniver of Primary Plus Medicine.

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts Personal Training Studios. You can receive a free, no-obligations trial of his Charleston personal training programs and experience the Shaping Concepts difference for yourself.

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Category: Hormones & Health.