Friday, October 31, 2008

Defining Menopause

There is a reason that menopause is often referred to as ?the change.? It is after all a huge change for a woman?s bodies that carries with it a powerful physical and psychological toll. Not only does it herald the end of menstrual cycles (a cause for some amount of cheering) it is also the harbinger of the end of youth or the onset of age, which results in some rather mixed emotions.

When the ovaries quite producing estrogen, the reproductive system begins to essentially close up shop. This process is what is considered menopause.

As your body adjusts to the changes taking places, it creates certain ?coping mechanisms? in order to process these changes in hormone levels. The coping mechanisms that your body creates are known as the symptoms of menopause. These symptoms include:

1) Hot flashes, sometimes accompanied by palpitations.

2) Extreme irritability, mood swings, depression, and inability to concentrate

3) Vaginal dryness and increasing urinary frequency accompanied by decreasing and erratic menstrual cycles.

So what is Menopause?

Technically, menopause is the term used to describe the ending of the monthly menstrual cycle. The process can last anywhere from six months to five years while one year is the common length of time. It is important to remember that the duration will vary between women. Another important thing to note is that menopause is not an illness or a disease but a natural progression in the cycle of life. Menopause can be surgically produced when the ovaries are removed during a hysterectomy.

When Does Menopause Occur?

The average age at which menopause occurs is 50.5 years, however some women enter into the process much earlier. Cancer sufferers and those who have received chemotherapy often experience an early onset of menopausal symptoms. Other things that can bring on early menopause include autoimmune disorders, thyroid disease, and diabetes mellitus. Early menopause is typically defined as menopause that occurs before the age of 40. The actual onset of premature menopause can be formally diagnosed through the measurements of certain hormones within the body.

One of the most common risks or problems associated with menopause is the increased loss of bone known as osteoporosis. Special care and attention should be paid, especially to women who are particularly vulnerable or at risk for developing this condition.

During the early stages of menopause, the hormones estrogen and progesterone lessen and menstrual cycles become increasingly irregular. Fertility and the ability to have children also tend to decrease during this process as well.

Some Common Treatments for Menopause are:

1) Hormone replacement therapy also known as HRT
2) Alternative therapies
3) Natural remedies
4) Lifestyle changes (fitness and dietary changes)
5) Nutritional supplements

It is important to note that according to a Women?s Health Initiative study, women who participate in HRT are at a much higher risk for certain diseases. It is vitally important that you discuss the risks and advantages involved in this type of therapy with your physician in order to make an informed decision.

Rob Buenaventura invites you to check out Here we provide a website on menopause symptoms and related common questions on menopause health. If you are suffering from profuse sweating during hot flashes, check out on some solutions.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Effective Menopause Hot Flash Remedy Comes From Plants

A hot flash remedy is not that hard to find, if you know where to look. Products that help menopause hot flash symptoms in some women may not help in others. So, here we look at several herbal remedies that may be beneficial. Because of the health risks associated with hormone replacement therapy, natural remedies are becoming increasingly popular. And, many of them can work.

Hot flashes, hot flushes and night sweats are three different names for the same physical reaction to decreasing levels of estrogen. They may begin years before actual menopause and last for several years afterwards. The frequency and severity varies from one woman to the next. Researchers often describe them as ?vasomotor? symptoms, because blood vessels and circulation are involved.

Typically the heat begins in a woman?s chest, travels up the neck to the face and head. When they occur at night, they may interrupt a woman?s sleep, increasing levels of fatigue and sometimes leading to insomnia. From the experiences of other women, we know that caffeine, alcohol, tobacco products and spicy foods can trigger them, as can anger, frustration and irritation. Regular exercise and drinking plenty of water seems to help.

The most commonly recommended hot flash remedy is black cohosh. More research has been done concerning the effectiveness and safety of black cohosh than on any of the other herbs that can help menopause hot flash symptoms. Some women using black cohosh report that it is 100% effective. But, if you have tried it and it doesn?t work for you, there are other alternatives.

Scientists are still unsure why black cohosh is such an effective hot flash remedy. Evaluations of the chemical compounds of other plants have revealed an estrogen-like substance, aptly named phytoestrogens. Black cohosh does not appear to contain phytoestrogens. It seems to affect other chemicals in a woman?s body. Phytoestrogens are believed to relieve menopause hot flash symptoms by replacing some of the estrogen lost as the ovaries stop functioning.

Isoflavones are one type of phytoestrogen. If you read the ingredients on a hot flash remedy, you may see ?soy isoflavones? or ?isoflavones from red clover?. Some researchers have been concerned that isoflavones or phytoestrogens could have the same side effects as synthetic estrogens used in hormone replacement therapy. So, here?s what we know about the risks associated with long term use of synthetic hormones.

We know that estrogen replacement therapy can cause endometrial cancer. The endometrium is the lining of the uterus and estrogen causes the lining to build up, which, without menstruation, frequently led to cancer. Thus, doctors would prescribe an estrogen-progesterone combination therapy. The progesterone would cause the lining to be shed each month, leading to a return of monthly periods, and decreasing the cancer risk. For years, this was believed to be a safe hot flash remedy.

As with many medical treatments, the risks turned up with long term use of this type of therapy. The Women?s Health Initiative recently concluded a seven year study of women using hormone replacement therapies of both types. The conclusion is that hormone replacement therapy of any type increases a woman?s risk for blood clots and stroke. Combination therapy, which was thought to be safer than estrogen only, increased the risk of heart disease and breast cancer, as well. An even longer study (more than twenty years) performed by Harvard scientists found that estrogen only increased breast cancer risks when used for more than 15 years. Typically a woman would not use hormone replacement therapy for menopause hot flash symptoms for that many years, but when the risks are blood clots, heart disease and stroke, even short term use is rarely recommended for mild to moderate menopausal symptoms.

While no long term studies have been conducted concerning women who use phytoestrogens or isoflavones to help relieve menopause hot flash symptoms, short term clinical studies have revealed their effectiveness, lack of side effects and safety. Even the idea that phytoestrogens, which are found in soy beans, a health food, might not be safe for long term use seems silly. People eat soy all of the time and have for many, many years.

Red clover is grown for animal feed. Native Americans used the flower for tea and chewed the leaves raw. Healers used it to treat liver ailments, gall bladder ailments, ulcers, diabetes, tonsillitis, internal cancer, appendicitis, headaches, as a hot flash remedy and to relieve other symptoms related to changing levels of hormones and aging.

Scientific research and the experiences of other women tell us that black cohosh can help relieve menopause hot flash symptoms. Laboratory tests have revealed that black cohosh has no effect on even estrogen sensitive cancer cell lines. If this hot flash remedy has not worked for you or if you have other concerning menopausal symptoms, then please visit the Menopause and PMS Guide to learn about safe and effective alternatives.

Patsy Hamilton was a health care professional for over twenty years before becoming a freelance writer. Currently she writes informational articles for the Menopause and PMS Guide. Read more at

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Weight Gain And Perimenopause

Weight gain and perimenopause are closely related because many women experience unexplained weight gain especially around the midsection as they enter perimenopause, or while they are approaching menopause. Weight gain in the abdominal region is the most common complaint of women entering perimenopause. Most members of the medical fraternity describe this weight gain as an unavoidable ?middle age spread.?

Women do not have to accept this as the doctors describe it. Weight gain may be brought about by the onset of menopause or during perimenopause, the many years of your exposure to toxins, and hormonal imbalance. The body?s natural ability to retain the estrogen-producing fat cells during perimenopause result in the extra weight gained during this time of life. However, it does not mean that this weight gain cannot be reversed.

Weight Gain: A Natural Phenomenon

Weight gain is only natural for women going through menopause or during perimenopause. The weight gain may be different in different individuals. However, there are some common factors responsible for the weight gain. The biofeedback of your body regulates your appetite, heat regulation, metabolism, detoxification, and digestion.

Any long or chronic disturbance to this system will cause a great increase in weight. Probably the most outstanding symptom of perimenopause is the craving for food apart from the usual hot flashes. The craving for food and the consumption thereof is the main cause for the increase in weight of perimenopause women.

Hormones and Body Chemistry Influence Weight Gain

There is a vital link between weight gained and insulin, metabolism, and body fat in women during perimenopause. Women should follow a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet to control the weight gain. This diet creates a resistance to insulin in the body over an extended period of time. This resistance to insulin causes the body to convert every calorie into fat; this happens while you are dieting. As the conversion happens, the body becomes very effective in processing calories which in turn avoid excessive fat.

Control Stress

Stress hormones add to the misery of women during perimenopause. Cortisol is a stress hormone that blocks weight loss very effectively. So, a woman going through a lot of stress during perimenopause will gain weight considerably. Diet, exercise, nutritional supplements, and relaxation should be the main course of life during perimenopause.

This should start typically at the age of 35 and is known as self-help or perimenopause management. If you feel that you are gaining weight after 30, eat a little less and exercise a bit more and do some yoga or meditation to maintain or manage the stress levels of the mind at lower levels than they are at the time and you will maintain your health and weight in better proportions than you can perceive.

It is important to have a planned diet for women during menopause. Visit our site to learn more about menopause treatment and understand the facts on menopause.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Menopause Depression

Women who are approaching the menopausal stage are at a higher risk for depression, and two current studies show strong evidence that hormonal changes may be at least partially to blame. Both studies followed women through menopausal transition called perimenopause. Women in the studies did not have history of depression but their risk of developing indicators of depression significantly increased during these years.

Depression is a disease that due to biological factors such as hormones in the brain, particularly serotonin, that regulate the mood. There are times that levels of serotonin may drop causing fluctuations in mood and severe episodes of depression. People who suffer from depression experience intense feelings of hopelessness, melancholy, and sadness for lingering periods of time, which is at least two weeks. This disease can lead to range of symptoms and can have terrible effects on a person?s life including isolation, physical ailments, and even suicide.

Menopause can set off feelings of sadness and episodes of depression in some women. It is said that anywhere between eight percent and fifteen percent of menopausal women experience some for of depression. Menopause depression causes are still on debate and has had theories and assumptions of why so many menopausal women experience mood disorders.

One theory of menopause depression is that the stress of menopause symptoms leads to depression. Some women find it hard to manage on their own symptoms of menopause as they already have to deal with work, family, finances, and friends, let alone the big physical change, causing the onset of depression.

Another theory on menopause depression connects the illness with irregular levels of hormones in the body. All through the menopausal stage, levels of progesterone, estrogen, and androgen are continuously changing. These hormones are believed to be associated with the mood centers in the brain. As hormones drop, mainly estrogen, a woman experience periods of sadness and hopelessness. A number of women experience severe drop in mood which results to depression.

Women in the stage of menopause have an increased risk of developing menopause depression if they have a history of mood disorders. Those who have been depressed before, particularly during their twenty?s, are more probable to see the depression reoccur. Those who have gone through surgical menopause are also at a higher risk of menopause depression. Surgery cause a significant drop in estrogen levels in addition to increased anxiety and symptoms. Women smokers, or have young children, or under a lot of stress, are more prone to develop some form of depression during this time.

Seeking help immediately when experiencing menopause depression is very much advised, there will be a number of alternatives available to help reduce the symptoms and assist in letting women get enjoyment out of life again. Menopause depression diagnosed is the first step to begin living a happy life after menopause.

Milos Pesic is a successful webmaster and owner of popular and comprehensive Overcome Depression blog. For more articles and resources on Depression related topics, visit his blog at:


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