Change of Life
That period which marks the permanent cessation of menstrual activity. Usually occurs between 35 and 58 years of life. The menses may stop suddenly, there may be a decreased flow each month until there is a final cessation, or the interval between periods may be lengthened until complete cessation is accomplished. The point at which women stop ovulating.
Natural menopause will occur in 25% of women by age 47, in 50% by age 50, 75% by age 52, and in 95% by age 55.
The symptoms that may be associated with menopause begin soon following the cessation of ovarian function. This is true whether menopause occurs naturally, or is due to surgical removal of the ovaries, or due to failure of the pituitary gland to function. Symptoms that may last from a few months to years vary from being hardly noticeable to severe. Included are symptoms of vasomotor instability, nervousness, hot flashes, chills, excitability, fatigue, apathy, mental depression, crying following circumstances that would not normally cause that reaction, insomnia, palpitation, vertigo, headache, numbness, tingling, myalgia (tenderness or pain in the muscles), urinary disturbances such as frequency and incontinence, and various disorders of the gastrointestinal system.
Hot flashes, or hot flushes, may start with an aura followed by a feeling of discomfort in the abdominal area, perhaps a chill quickly followed by a felling of heat moving toward the head. Next the face becomes red, and sweating is followed by exhaustion. The cause, or causes, of hot flashes is not completely understood and is controversial.
The menopausal period affects each woman differently. Some start early, some start and stop, but most experience the change around the age of 50. Menopause usually lasts about 5 years. If one is hypoglycemic, the symptoms are often more pronounced. Stress puts a burden on the adrenal glands, causing them to overwork. The adrenals produce smaller amounts of the hormones needed to help reduce the side effects of menopause. The hypothalamus is the area of the brain that regulates the heat-producing mechanism of the body. Hot flashes can be the result of widespread blood vessel dilatation.
Herbal Medicine Formulas and Recipes
Enzymes with hydrochloric acids (HCL), taken with meals, aids digestion.
Lecithin, 1 capsule or tbsp. before meals, is important as an emulsifier for vitamin E.
Primrose oil, used as directed on the label, acts as a sedative and diuretic, is good for hot flashes, and is important for production of estrogen.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 50 mg. 3 times per day, helps minimize water retention and eases symptoms.
Pantothenic acid (B5), 100 mg. 3 times per day, is a powerful stress vitamin needed for adrenal function.
Vitamin E, 400-1,600 IU per day, increase slowly until hot flashes cease.
Calcium chelate, 2,000 mg. per day, relieves nervousness and irritability.
Magnesium chelate, 1,000 mg. per day.
Germanium, 60 mg. twice per day, aids in relieving discomfort and makes oxygen more available to tissues.
L-Arginine, 500 mg. twice per day, detoxifies the liver and ammonia.
L-lysine (amino acids), 500 mg. per day on an empty stomach, aids liver function.
Multiglandular, taken as directed on the label, is for hormonal stability.
Multivitamin and mineral complex, taken with meals, is needed in normal hormone production and function.
Potassium, 99 mg. per day, is important in severe hot flashes and heavy perspiring.
Selenium, 200 mcg. per day, is an important trace mineral linked to normal hormonal balance.
Vitamin B complex, 100 mg. 3 times per day.
Vitamin C, 3,000-10,000 mg. per day, for hot flashes.
- Bearded damsel
- Chaste tree
- Cohosh, black
- Dong quai
- False unicorn root
- Ginseng, Siberian
- Gotu kola
- Lady's mantle
- Lemon balm
- Life root
- Melilot, white and yellow
- Mistletoe, European
- Nettle, blind
- Orange flowers
- Primrose oil
- Rose hips
- St. John's wort, tea
- Shepherd's purse
- Squaw vine
- Valerian, fragrant
Avoid dairy products. Limit consumption to small amount of yogurt or buttermilk. Dairy products, sugar, and meat cause most hot flashes it is thought. Diet should consist of 50% raw foods and protein supplements (for low blood sugar). Do not eat any animal products except for whitefish, and eliminate caffeine from the diet. Add blackstrap molasses, broccoli, dandelion greens, kelp, salmon with bones, sardines, and low-fat yogurt to the diet.
Exercise is very important. Avoid stress when possible.
For itching in the vaginal area, use vitamin E cream, no fragrance added, or open a vitamin E capsule and apply.
When menopause begins, see a gynocologist for a thorough examination, to make sure that all the troublesome symptoms that crop up are completely normal for this stage of life and that no organic disease is present. Also ask the doctor about ways to alleviate or to eliminate the symptoms of hormonal change.
Hormone replacement as required is the only known treatment. However, the use of estrogen as a cure-all has been seriously questioned due to the possibility of undesired side effects. Estrogens may cause fluid retention and may increase the severity of asthma, heart disorders, kidney stones, epilepsy, or migraine headaches. Estrogen is important but there is a risk involved. Yearly pelvic examination to include Papanicoleou test (Pap smear) for cancer of the cervix.
Licorice stimulates estrogen production. Ginseng aids in relieving depression and in the production of estrogen. Gotu kola and dong quai relieve hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and depression.
Women with high blood pressure (hypertension) should not take any herbal preparation containing licorice.