Menopause Treatments Side Effects?

Herbal infusion fennel tea in glass cup or mug with dried fennel seeds and fennel bulbs. Alternative medicine background concept (Foeniculum vulgare)

Menopause sweats and hot flashes are among the first indications that you’re approaching menopause. You know that you are starting to approach menopause when you start to experience several important symptoms. These symptoms are your very best evidence that you’re beginning the transition from your reproductive years and you’ve entered perimenopause.

Menopause Symptoms

These symptoms mean that you’re now approaching menopause, the cessation of your menstrual periods. Transitioning into melancholy is a special experience for each girl. However similarities among women’s experiences permit the indicators of the transition to be categorized into 11 broad categories. These classes are used by researchers to examine menopausal symptoms.

They’re integrated into an assessment questionnaire known as the Menopausal Rating Scale (MRS). 11) muscle and joint complaints. Menopause sweats and other symptoms begin during perimenopause. Menopausal symptoms start with perimenopause which usually begins after age 40, but can begin as early as age 35.

Perimenopause

Perimenopause is the time period approaching menopause. At menopause (when your menstrual periods stop) your ovaries stop releasing eggs. The time from when you begin having menopausal symptoms until your periods stop can last as few as one to two decades, but for many women it lasts an average of five decades. The symptoms of menopause often intensify during the 2 decades immediately before menopause. This is when the fall in ovarian hormone secretion speeds upward.

Hot flashes and flashes are the most common and annoying criticism of women approaching menopause. They frequently begin as many as five years before periods stop and can last for another five years afterwards. Nearly 80% of women suffer hot flashes (HF) to some degree during the transition to menopause. 30% of girls report HF to be severe enough to interrupt their quality of life. In 10% of girls HF are experienced up to ten years after their menstrual periods stop. At the start, hot flashes often occur just before or during menstrual periods. They can range from mild, to severe and debilitating. They are frequently described as a sudden wave of heat going through the entire body, from the chest to the neck, scalp and face.

The skin of the neck and face can flush red. HF may also be experienced across the breasts, below the breasts, or as a surge of warmth over the whole body. The wave of warmth is usually followed sweating. This sweating can vary from mild perspiration to heavy sweating and chills. Intense hot flashes may also be associated with a racing heart, tingling in the palms, and nausea. Night sweats are an extension of hot flashes (HF), experienced at night when trying to sleep. At the culmination of a HF one starts to perspire. At night this is experienced as perspiration that may be so intense that you wakes up drenched in perspiration. These night time HF tend to interrupt sleep.

Sleep problems

Problems with sleeping is just another symptom of perimenopause and menopause, which might be a direct outcome of night sweats, sleep difficulties, fatigue and problems with memory. All these complaints are considered to be associated with declines in the ovarian hormones estrogen and progesterone. The severity of those complaints appears to be in direct proportion to the seriousness and frequency of hot flashes. Our present understanding is that menopause sweats and hot flashes are due to falling levels of estrogen.

Unfortunately hormone replacement therapy–replacing the estrogen which the ovaries aren’t producing –has potentially severe side effects. The two most dangerous are breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. Molecules resembling estrogen in structure and function are also found in nature.

Phytoestrogens

That’s to say these molecules are found in plants. The phytoestrogens found in plants aren’t all the same. The kind and amount varies from one species of plant to another. Some of them are soy (soy beans, soy products like tofu), red clover, kudzu, fennel, anise and black cohosh. Research findings on the efficacy of herbs containing phytoestrogens changes from herb to herb.

For example black cohosh is used widely for its supposed benefits. However while some research studies document its effectiveness, others obviously don’t. A current meta-analysis of the advantage of herbal remedies for relief of night sweats and hot flashes found that on average they supplied around 45% relief. One herbal treatment for hot flashes and flashes that researchers find more powerful than 45 percent is an extract of Siberian rhubarb root. Up to four clinical studies have demonstrated its benefits for virtually all menopausal complaints but especially hot flashes and night sweats.

One study found that Siberian rhubarb root infusion relieved hot flashes and sweats by 75 percent when compared with placebo. Hormone replacement therapy is no longer the choice of choice for relief of menopausal complaints. The risk factors associated with HRT are too good for it to be a casual choice. Yet menopause symptoms can be severe enough to interrupt quality of life, and thus must be addressed. It’s important to not forget that hormone replacement therapy is a misnomer.

Conclusion

What modern medicine calls for hormone replacement isn’t truly that. It’s replacing the body’s hormones with medication. In the event of estrogen from pregnant mare’s urine (Premarin) it’s replacing human estrogens with horse estrogens. No wonder that there are side effects. The advantages of genuine (bio-identical) hormone replacement therapy has not yet been explored by modern medicine. In the meantime menopause sweats and hot flashes can be effectively treated with some recently emerging herbal remedies.

 

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