Menopause is the ending of a woman's monthly menstrual periods and ovulation. It also signals other changes to the body and mind, brought on in part because the body begins producing smaller amounts of the hormones estrogen and progesterone (among others). The menopausal period is different for each individual woman. Menopause typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55.
Menopause is not a disease. It is a natural process in a woman's life. How a woman views this time of her life can have a lot to do with how frequent and severe her symptoms are. If menopause is viewed as the end of youth and sexuality, this time will be much more difficult than if it is viewed as the next, natural phase of life. With a proper diet, nutritional supplements, and exercise, most of the unpleasant side effects of menopause can be minimized, if not eliminated.
Although menopause is one of the greatest physical milestones in a woman's life, many women lack concrete information about what is taking place and what are their options. Here is all the information you need to make an intelligent decision.
Treatment for Menopausal Problems
The treatment of choice in Western Medicine for menopausal problems is Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).
The primary goals of estrogen replacement therapy are:
- To relieve symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and urinary problems.
- To help prevent osteoporosis.
- To help prevent atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease.
These goals are accomplished by restoring the level of estrogen in the patient to the premenopause levels.
Benefits of Harmone Replacement Theory
The use of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), is highly effective for improving the quality of life of women suffering from acute symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, increased fatigue and irritability, depression, skin changes, vaginal dryness and incontinence. HRT also provides some long-term protection against cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and colon cancer.
Side Effects of Harmone Replacement Theory
- Combats Osteoporosis's (Disease Prevention) :
Estrogen therapy is the most successful method of combating osteoporosis.
Long-term estrogen use (10 or more years) may be required to prevent postmenopausal bone loss. Estrogen helps bones absorb the calcium they need to stay strong.
Most bone is lost before menopause even begins. A low-fat, low-protein diet rich in fiber and green leafy vegetables, regular exercise, and the avoidance of smoking, alcohol, and carbonated beverages (high phosphate level in the carbonated drinks displaces calcium from bones) is the best strategy for maintaining healthy bones throughout the life cycle.
- Estrogen is an important hormone for maintaining female sexuality. The absence of it reduces sexuality whereas its presence enhances it. There are many ways in which estrogen can produce increased awareness, sensuality, desire, and enjoyment of sexual activity.
Many women who start on HRT ended up going off it a few months or a few years later because of the side effects.
- Breasts feel extremely sore
- Terrible headaches. To combat the headaches, they start taking medications that make them feel terribly tired.
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
- Fluid retention
Estrogen is known to stimulate the growth of the inner lining of the uterus (endometrium) that sheds during menstruation. This growth may continue uncontrollably, resulting in cancer. It is generally administered in small doses to minimize this complication. Generally, for women who have a uterus, a synthetic form of progesterone called progestin is added to estrogen to counteract estrogen's dangerous effect on the uterus. Progestin reduces the risk of cancer by causing monthly shedding of the endometrium.
The drawback to this approach is that menopausal women resume monthly bleeding. Other unpleasant side effects of progestin include breast tenderness, bloating, abdominal cramping, anxiety, irritability, and depression.