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Menopause Facts


menopause perimenopause femalesMenopause is a change in life phase that a woman goes through when the ovaries no longer produce eggs and the female hormone estrogen and progesterone. At this stage, the woman is no longer able to get pregnant and give birth. The menstruation stops completely.

However, it doesn't happen suddenly and it can take many years. During this transition period, women can experience perimenopause (also called premenopause) symptoms. These symptoms appear because of the imbalance in the production of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone by the ovaries.

The average age of menopause is 51 and perimenopause commonly starts in the mid 30's to the early 50's.

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Myths of menopause

Menopause is a disease. It is a natural state that all women will get into. The purpose of any treatment is to ease the symptoms during the transition period (perimenopause or premenopause stage).

You need to take prescription estrogen and or progesterone. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is one of many options and is not a requirement. Moreover, using estrogen has its risk such as breast cancer so it is not entirely free from dangerous side effects. First consider lifestyle changes and natural supplements to help ease the symptoms.

How long does menopause last?

how long does menopause last calendarMenopause is defined when a woman goes one year without having a menstrual period. However, many years before this period, a woman will experience peri- or pre-menopause symptoms.

Click here to get the one-minute answer to "How long does menopause last".

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Signs of early menopause (Perimenopause symptoms)

Here are the signs and symptoms that show up when a woman is going through perimenopause.
  • Mood changes or disturbances (anxiety, depression or irritability)
  • Hot flashes
  • Dryness in the vagina
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Menstruation changes
  • Night sweats
  • Weight gain
  • Fluid retention
  • Hair loss or thinning of hair
  • Loss of sex drive (low libido)
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Bladder infections
  • Incontinence
  • Fatigue
  • Foggy head
  • Memory problems or difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in skin quality
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Joint pains

After menopause, most women will not experience many or any of these symptoms.

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What alternative methods can also reduce premenopause symptoms?

Stress is one factor that can make premenopause symptoms much worst.

Find out all the ways to control and manage stress.

Meditation and yoga are techniques that are known to reduce stress. Acupuncture as well as massage therapy also promotes relaxation and reduces hot flashes.

Exercising regularly can cut down the symptoms of hot flashes. Clinical studies show this benefit. Moreover, exercise improves sleep, stabilizes mood swings, reduces heart disease and builds strong bones.

menopause lady and daughter natural remediesEnjoy life. Humour and laughter are truly the best medicine. When you are laughing, it's hard to be depressed. Movies, comedy shows and friends who are upbeat and funny are highly recommended.

Dress in layers. By wearing clothing in layers, you can take them off as needed to reduce the discomfort from hot flashes.

Stop smoking. Smoking makes hot flashes worst. It may cause or worsen depression, anxiety and irritability.

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How does menopause affect sex drive?

menopause female male natural remediesDuring the premenopause phase, women may experience reduced libido (sex drive). The reduction and fluctuation in female hormone production combined with symptoms such as mood swings and irritability can dampen sex drive.

There are many natural remedies that can help along with foods to eat to boost libido.

Moreover sexual intercourse can be uncomfortable both for the female and her partner when there is dryness in the vagina. Use of a vaginal lubricant will solve this problem.

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What is the best diet for menopause?

To reduce the severity of the premenopause symptoms here are some recommendations for the choice of foods.

Foods to eat more of

menopause perimenopause natural remediesInclude more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes in your diet. These food groups contain a rich source of essential vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. They will go a long way to improving heart health and reducing the risk of cancer.

Soy-based foods are a rich source of plant-based estrogen (isoflavones) that can reduce premenopause symptoms. Eat tofu. If you don't like tofu, try soy milk, soybeans, miso soup or soy nuts. You can even request your favourite latte to be made with soy milk at Starbucks!

Essential fatty acids found in fish oil, nuts, fish and seeds can contribute to improved skin and heart health. Moreover, essential fatty acids such as omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish oil) are proven to lower the risk of heart disease.

Flaxseed contains both a type of essential fatty acid (ALA) and lignans (a type of phytoestrogen) that can help with premenopause symptoms. It's also rich in fibre, helpful in promoting regular bowel movements, lowering high cholesterol and reducing the risk of colon and breast cancer.

It is known that Japanese women have less perimenopause symptoms, thanks their diet rich in soy and flaxseed products.

Foods to avoid

Avoid excessive amounts of caffeine and alcohol. They can aggravate hot flashes. Make sure you are aware of foods containing caffeine.

Cut back on saturate fats (for example red meat) to protect yourself against getting heart disease.  As well, avoid trans fat products such as processed and deep-fried foods. Avoid eating too much from "fast-foods" places.

Cut back or avoid drinking too much carbonated beverages as they can take calcium away from your body.

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Natural remedies for menopause

There are many herbs and natural remedies that are effective for treating various perimenopause symptoms. Prescription hormone replacement therapy (HRT) such as estrogens carries with it the risk of breast cancer and heart disease. We suggest using natural remedies first before considering prescription drug treatment options.

Get the full details and a list of herbs that you can use for premenopause symptoms in our article Natural Remedies for Menopause.

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Related Articles and Resource

Natural Remedies for Menopause

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Revised: January 10, 2011

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