It’s something all women will have to deal with at some point in their life. Commonly referred to as “the change”, menopause is the point in a woman’s life when her body starts to produce less estrogen and her menstrual cycle stops. Some of the most common symptoms associated with menopause include hot flashes, a decreased sex drive and bone loss.
While there are medical options available for bringing some menopause relief, Molly Maier, Senior Health & Wellness analyst for Mintel, a Chicago-based market research firm, says, “When women do treat these symptoms, some 55 percent turn to products that don’t require a prescription. The risks associated with menopausal hormone therapy have likely encouraged women to look to other sources for treatment.”
The Center for Disease Control reported that as of the 2000 census, there are 37.5 million women between the ages of 40 and 59, which is the age most woman experience menopause. That’s a lot of women suffering from hot flashes, night sweats, and bone loss, among other things. In this article I’m going to talk about some natural ways to find menopause relief, specifically for hot flashes, low sex drive and bone loss.
- Hot flashes
- St. John’s Wort – A 2010 double-blind study done in Iran wanted to test the use of St. John’s Wort in treating hot flashes resulting from menopause. The 100 participating women were given either St. John’s Wort or a placebo for 8 weeks. By the end of the study “the differences between groups were statistically significant.” The women receiving the St. John’s Wort reported a marked decrease in the severity, length and frequency of their hot flashes.
Omega 3 EFAs – Another double-blind study was done in Canada in 2009, this time testing the effect of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically E-EFA, on hot flashes due to menopause. This study also lasted 8 weeks with some participants receiving a placebo and others receiving ethyl-eicosapentaenoic acid. When the study concluded it was found that the number of hot flashes experienced per day “decreased significantly in the E-EPA group compared with the placebo group”
Soy Isoflavones – Another source of hot flash and menopause relief is Soy Isoflavones. In 2012 there was a review done of available studies of soy isofalvones and its affect on hot flashes. The reviewed studies tested the affect of isoflavones on the frequency, severity, or composite score (frequency × severity) of hot flashes in the participants when compared to participants given a placebo. The review concluded that the “ingestion of soy isoflavones for 6 weeks to 12 months significantly reduced the frequency of hot flashes compared with placebo.” Additionally they found that “isoflavones significantly reduced hot flash severity compared with placebo.”
Low sex drive Maca – There was a study done in Australia in 2008 testing the effect of Maca on menopausal symptoms. This study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial where the participants were given Maca for 6 weeks and a placebo for 6 weeks. At the end of the 12 week study they found that there was no change in actual hormone levels when taking the Maca or the placebo. However, using the Greene Climacteric Scale, they found that there was a “significant reduction in scores in the areas of psychological symptoms, including the subscales for stress and depression and sexual dysfunction after Maca consumption compared with both baseline and placebo.”
Bone loss Calcium and Vitamin D, Manganese – I think we all associate calcium, vitamin d and even manganese with healthy bones, but what about menopause relief? Bone loss increases as we age and becomes even more of a problem when women enter menopause due to a decrease in estrogen levels. A 30 month study looked at the effect of calcium supplementation (with vitamin d) on bone mineral density (BMD). Dietary amounts of calcium and vitamin d were taken into account when conducting this study. When the study ended they found that “the change in total BMD in the calcium group was significantly different from that in the placebo group.”
While there are other symptoms you may experience during menopause, these are a few of the major ones most ladies find themselves suffering from. Studies seem to point to the availability of natural remedies in finding menopause relief for those looking for help managing their symptoms. As always make sure to tell your doctor of any and all supplements, vitamins and herbs you may be taking to avoid possible interactions with any prescription medications.