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What do I need to know about Menopause?

By: Jill Muchmore

Menopause is a change in a woman’s body often occuring between the ages of 45 and 55 years of life. Menopause can be a natural process of aging or it can be medically induced by surgery.

When a woman’s ovaries stop releasing eggs along with the slowing down of producing estrogen, levels of progesterone change making her period irregular.

When you have missed 12 periods in a row this is considered menopause. Some women are greatly affected by menopause symptoms and others do not seem to be bothered at all.

Some of the most common menopause symptoms are hot flashes lasting 1 to 5 minutes, night sweats followed by chills, sleeping disturbance, mood swings and anxiety, hair loss, thinning, dull dry skin, vaginal dryness, and loss of sex drive.

Hot flashes can be triggered by hot beverages, spicy foods, alcohol, caffeine, hot weather or stress. Women should keep track of what triggers the hot flashes and avoid those things. Other ways to control hot flashes is to get regular exercise, practice relaxing techniques, dress in layers, and to keep a fan handy.

Sleeping is very important to most women. What you eat and drink can influence your sleep. You should avoid caffeine, alcohol and large meals within 4 hours of bedtime.

Regular exercise will help you sleep at night. However, it should be avoided right before bedtime. Other helpful techniques are to drink something warm before you go to bed and practice breathing and relaxation techniques while keeping a regular bedtime schedule.

Hormone replacement can improve the previous symptoms and can also improve on fibrocystic breasts, weight gain, depression, headaches, irritability, fluid retention, fatigue, memory loss and arthritis.

Synthetic hormones are not recommended because they can increase ones risk of heart disease, cancer, and blood clots. Bio-identical hormones that are made at a pharmacy and individualized to meet each specific patients needs are recommended.

The benefit of bio-identical hormones is also an improvement in cholesterol, sex drive, and hair/skin health. All hormones are not recommended in patients with a history of vaginal bleeding, any type of cancer, pregnancy, stroke or heart attack, blood clots, and liver disease.

Alternatives to prescription hormones to help with menopausal symptoms are low-dose antidepressants, gabapentin, clonidine, and some herbs such as black cohosh and soy.

Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy can be a much safer way to treat menopause symptoms. For more information about correcting hormone imbalance, visit http://www.bhrt-resource.com.

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