Menopause --- Top 10 Symptoms
and Remedies
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Last updated February 2, 2017 (originally published February 14,
2013
)
By Alison Turner, Featured Columnist

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of
Doctors and Registered Nurses, Certified fitness trainers and
other members of our Editorial Board.]





Menopause is the cessation of periods, along with hormonal
changes that no longer allow a woman to get pregnant.  
Menopause usually occurs in women between the ages of 45
and 55, and the fun part is that every woman experiences
menopause differently.

How do you know if it’s really menopause?  For some stages
of the woman’s cycle, events are clear cut: we know on a
date certain when we get our first period, and we know on a
date certain when we have given birth.  

Menopause, however, may be harder to peg so concretely.
There is no date certain when menopause begins or when
the process of being menopausal is completed. Rather,
menopause occurs in stages, and is signaled by sometimes
vague symptoms which can mimic other medical conditions.  

Menopause “officially” occurs after a woman’s last period.
Unfortunately, the menopausal process generally begins with
a series of irregular periods, so that what may seem like your
last period may turn out not to be so, as you may discover
that menstruation occurs three months later.  

The National Institutes of Health advise that a woman can
only know for “sure” that she has reached menopause after
not menstruating for 12 months.  After these twelve months,
the woman is officially at “post-menopause,” and can no
longer become pregnant.

What are the symptoms of menopause and how can we
manage them?  Some women experience symptoms of
menopause for five years or more.  These symptoms of
menopause may include any combination of a pounding or
racing heart,
night sweats, skin flushing, sleep problems,
decreased interest in sex,
forgetfulness, headaches, and the
infamous
hot flash.   

Menopause marks the end of your ability to have children.
But it also marks the start of certain important changes in
your overall health. One key change is that, because
estrogen protects your heart, once your estrogen declines to
a lower level after menopause, you are at higher risk for
both
heart attack and stroke.

Menopause symptoms also include a number of changes that
are widely discussed and commiserated about among us
women but which, to date, have received scant research
attention. One such symptom is a cold nose, for example.  

Management of and treatment for menopause depends on
each woman’s symptoms, Common treatments include
hormone therapy , antidepressants, and various diet and
lifestyle changes.   

We've pulled together the following list of common and
uncommon signs of menopause, and remedies for the
symptoms based on medical studies:

































1.
Smoking Accelerates Onset of Menopause Symptoms.

Yeah,  yeah, do the laundry, feed the dog, make sure the
kids finish their homework, quit smoking.  By now we all
know it's what we're supposed to do, and ultimately what
we want to do, but for one reason or another it's hard to fit
"quit smoking" into our daily regime.  

Several research studies have confirmed that the more you
smoke, the earlier you will start menopause. A 2015 study
from a consortium of scientists (including Roswell Park
Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York and the University of
Buffalo) looked at health records of 93,676 women between
the ages of 50 and 79. They discovered a stepwise
relationship between the lifetime exposure to tobacco smoke
and the age of onset of menopause.

Research from other parts of the world also suggests that
the less women smoke now, the more likely they are to put
off the emotional and physical roller-coaster of menopause
-- at least for a few years.

In 2012, Lu Sun and other researchers from the Laboratory
of Molecular and Statistical Genetics at Hunan Normal
University in Changsha, China evaluated how smoking
affects the age of natural menopause in women.  Pooling the
data of 11 studies on the subject, the team found that
“smoking was significantly associated” with early natural
menopause, so that smoking is a “significant independent
factor” for early menopause.

If you want to put off sleep problems, decreased sex drive,
headaches, flushing, and the other symptoms of menopause
expressed above as long as possible, consider making your
current pack your last.

2.
Hot Flashes: Proven to Be Depressing.

Hot flashes, hot flushes, or, if you're savvy with the medical
terminology, "vasomotor symptoms," are one of the most
notorious of menopause symptoms.  Hot flashes are very
much what they sound like: sudden feelings of warmth that
may cause redness around the face, neck and chest.  These
sometimes-dramatic reminders of menopause occur from a
few times a week to several times a day, and interrupt the
sleep of some women.   

Hot flashes occur because of changes in the reproductive
hormones estradiol, FSH, and Inhibin b -- according to a
study from Philadelphia, these hormonal fluxes may be linked
with
depression.

In 2009, Dr. Ellen Freeman with the Department of
Obstetrics/Gynecology at the University of Pennsylvania
School of Medicine in Philadelphia  led a team in the
evaluation of how hot flashes are related to a depressed
mood during the menopausal transition.  

From a population-based cohort of women, 67% reported
hot flashes, 50% reported a depressed mood, and 41%
reported both symptoms.  Of those who reported both
symptoms, "depressed mood was more likely to precede hot
flashes."  The team concludes that "both hot flashes and
depressive symptoms occur early in the menopausal
transition in women with no previous experience of these
symptoms."

If you've just begun menopause, or know someone who
has, try to go easy on yourself/her: depression and hot
flashes at the same time are a lot to deal with.  Also, being
aware that depressed feelings may soon be followed by hot
flashes could help to take off some of that undesired
surprise element involved -- it's always better to feel
prepared for the changes in the body. (Read more about
foods that help to fight mild depression.)

Exercising can greatly help to relieve mild depression.
Exercising regularly and hard enough to elevate your heart
rate triggers the release of endorphins, your body's "feel
good" hormones. One study from Duke University in 2013
even found that exercising for 180 minutes a week was as
effective as anti-depressant medication (setraline) in treating
major depression disorder.

A word of caution. If you are depressed, you must always
follow your doctor's orders for medication and never
substitute any natural remedy. However, this Duke study
does suggest that exercise can be a helpful complement to
any medication you may be prescribed.


3.  
Eat  Soy for Fewer Hot Flashes.

For many women, estrogen is simply a word flung about as
often as the monthly visits: most of the time, it doesn't need
to be considered.  However, it seems that estrogen has a
relation not only with the human body, but also with plants.  
Soybeans, for example, are a source of isoflavones, which is
a plant-derived compound with "estrogenic activity."

Experts in Japan find that this plant-based source of
estrogen, soybeans, may help out middle-aged women going
through menopause, particularly in the realm of the
notorious hot flash.

In 2012, researchers at the National Institute of Health and
Nutrition in Tokyo, including Dr. Kyoko Taku  analyzed how
“extracted or synthesized soybean isoflavones” alleviated
hot flashes in women.  Systematically reviewing 17 trials
revealed that ingestion of soy isoflavones for 6 weeks to 12
months “significantly reduced the frequency” of hot flashes
by 20.6%, as well as reducing hot flash severity by over
26% when compared with placebo.  The team concludes that
soy isoflavone supplements are “significantly more effective
than placebo in reducing the frequency and severity of hot
flashes.”

If hot flashes make appearances in your nightmares, or if
they already make your waking day a living nightmare,
consider adding soybeans to your daily diet.  Other sources
of soy isoflavone, though not as powerful as soybeans,
include tempeh, miso, and tofu.

4.
A Cold Nose Is a Symptom of Menopause

Have you suddenly started to experience a cold nose? Many
women over the age of 45 do. And while many women who
have cold noses also stronly suspect that menopause may be
the cause, they often are told that the symptoms are
psychological, subjective perception and other similar
patronizing nonsense.

It turns out that there is fairly strong scientific evidence to
suggest a connection between the onset of menopause and
having a cold nose. The link i snot proven and , due to lack
of research studies in this area, we can only call it an
intriguing theory at the moment, but it is a logical connection
nonetheless.

Your nose is a complex body part that has several functions.
It is more than a conduit of air from the outside world into
your body.  Looked at clinically, your nose actually functions
as an air-conditioner. Some scientists in fact call it that. For
example, a 2004 study from the Department of
Otorhinolaryngology of The H. Sheba Medical Center in
Israel is entitled "Air Conditioning Characteristics of the
Human Nose".

Like any other air conditioner, your nose's job is to intake
air, make that air lose heat or do the reverse, and transfer
the conditioned air to some place else, in this case, to your
lungs.  Your nose takes cool air from the outside and is the
first human body part assigned the job of starting to warm
that air. But, as the cold air loses heat, it transfers some of
its coldness to the air conditioner itself --- your nose.

Where does menopause fit into all this? Well, your nose has
estrogen receptors. Your nose is actually fairly sensitive to
estrogen levels. For example, a 2011 study from the
Department of  Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery,
at the University Hospital Mannheim in Germany discovered
that patients who used an estrogen ointment in their nose
found that the cells of the inner nose were completely
changed.

How did estrogen change the nose cells? The nose cells
changed from being "cilial", meaning they had the tiny hairs
in the lining that help to manage air from the outside, to
being "squamous", meaning they were a single cell thick or
rather slick and flat. As the researchers concluded,
"estrogens induce a transformation of the ciliated columnar
into a keratinizing squamous epithelium."

Stepping back from this study, we can hazard a guess that
menopause might very well change the cells of our nose.
Menopause marks the point in our lives when our levels of
estrogen can fall markedly. It would be logical to expect that
sudden drops in estrogen would have
some effect, which
would be felt by
some women, in the nasal air-conditioning
capacity of the nose.

What can you do if you have a cold nose that you suspect is
menopause-related? If your doctor is prescribing hormonal
replacement therapy, then that therapy may re-balance your
estrogen levels and thus help normalize the interior
environment of your nose. There are also natural foods and
herb which help to encourage estrogen levels, among them
soy products. (Read more about
natural remedies for feeling
cold and for Raynaud's syndrome.)

5.
Hot Flashes Got You Down?  Try Taking a Day Off From
the Gym.

We've been told our entire lives that exercise is good for us
-- but recent research from the University of Maryland finds
that exercise could make life harder for women undergoing
menopause.

In 2009, William Romani with the Department of Physical
Therapy and Rehabilitation Science at the University of
Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore joined a team of
researchers  in examining how physical activity affected hot
flashes in over 600 women between the ages of 45 and 54.  
Results showed that “higher levels of physical activity were
significantly associated with increasing odds of moderate or
severe hot flashes.”

If you or someone you know is suffering from the hot
flashes of menopause, you may want to consider (or suggest
considering) a more relaxed exercise regime -- at least for a
few months.

6.
Sage: An Herb for the Wise in Menopause

Menopause is just a part of life for most women, right?  
Absolutely. However, that doesn't mean that women have to
suffer its symptoms, such as the mighty
hot flash, and
forego the natural treatments that grow all around them.  
According to Swiss researchers, for example, the herb sage
is just waiting to be plucked and consumed to help out
menopausal women.

In 2011, S, Bommer with A. Vogel Bioforce in Roggwil,
Switzerland, and colleagues  assessed how a preparation of
fresh sage treated “hot flushes and other menopausal
complaints.”  

71 patients who had been menopausal for at least 12
months, and with “at least five flushes daily,” were treated
with a tablet of fresh sage leaves every day for eight weeks.  

After four weeks of treatment, participants reported a 50%
decrease in “intensity-rated hot flushes,” and the “mean
total number of hot flushes per day decreased significantly
each week from week 1 to 8.” The team proudly concludes
that “a fresh sage preparation demonstrated clinical value in
the treatment of hot flushes and associated menopausal
symptoms.”

Next time you're wandering in a wild forest -- or your local
supermarket -- consider picking up some sage for that friend
of yours struggling with the hot flashes of menopause: why
not use what nature made? (Read more about
natural
remedies for hot flashes.)

Sage is a relatively easy herb to grow in your indoor or
outdoor garden, according to the
University of Nebraska,
provided that you use sandy soil and give your herb plenty
of sun.

7.  
Sleep Problems During -- and After -- Menopause.

Sometimes, physical hardships can only get better; other
times, age makes them worse.  Unfortunately, research from
Brazil suggests that the sleep problems associated with
menopause will most likely only get worse over time.

In 2008, Helena Hachul with the Department of
Psychobiology at the Center for Sleep Medicine at the
Federal University of Sao Paulo in Brazil  and other
researchers analyzed how sleep was affected differently in
women in early versus late post-menopause.  Data from
thirty women either recently post- menopause (5 years or
less), or late post-menopause (more than 5 years) was
gathered via questionnaires and a sleep study.  

Results showed that complaints during sleep included body
pain, teeth grinding, anxiety, and depression, and that
"these complaints were more frequent in the late post-
menopause group."  Interestingly, "complaints of memory
impairment" showed opposite results, so that women in the
early post-menopause group complained more frequently of
memory problems than did the others.

If you've gone through menopause in the past five years
and are having sleep problems, you may want to be thankful
for what you have --- it could only get worse.  Then again, it
seems it may be harder for you to remember these good,
relatively restful times.  Sigh. (Read more about
natural
remedies to help improve the quality of your sleep.)

8.
Menopause:  A Different Beast, Depending on Where you
Live.

Continue reading  page 1        page 2













































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Sage herb can help relieve
hot flash symptoms of
menopause.