Using Herbs for Hot Flashes

We’ve all heard the term “hot flashes”, unless we’ve lived under a rock, or are too young to pay attentino to such health woes. Hot flashes are typically associated with the period in life where a woman goes through what is called perimenopause, and then menopause.

This is the time of life for a woman where her menstrual cycle slows down, and eventually stops. There is also a profound hormonal shift in the body which lowers the levels of the signature female hormone estrogen in the body.

This dip in estrogen and subsequent increase of other hormones in the body causes several shifts that result in body changes which unfortunately involved discomfort and many times emotionally trying times. A big part of this landmark shift is something that has been medically and popularly coined as “hot flashes”. Hot flashes are pretty much exactly what they sound like.

They are periods of time, varying in their length, where the body suddenly feels extremely overheated. Have you ever been in a highly stressful situation, or been put on the spot? There is a high likelihood that you felt something like a hot flash, with instantaneous sweating, a possible feeling of nausea and the sense that your body was suddenly “on fire”.

The only problem is, menopausal and perimenopausal hot flashes tend to not only last longer and occur more frequently than the dubious uncomfortable situation we’ve all been in, and they also have some additional side effects that are even scarier if you’re not sure what’s happening to you. This is exactly the reason why so much attention has been focused on this symptom of menopause.

Women find this uncontrollable and unpredictable aspect of the life changing period to be alarming, and of course they seek ways to reduce them or even eliminate them.

There are some supplements on the market currently that are stocked on the shelves of popular drug stores and grocery stores, but what do they have in them that helps hot flashes, and can also aid in offsetting the other symptoms of menopause and the accompanying hormonal imbalance?

Many times the primary ingredient you will see in natural menopausal relief supplements are herbs and botanicals which contain a compound called soy, or soy isoflavones. These natural plant chemicals can gently mimic the effect of estrogen in a woman’s body, and can help to replenish the effects of this hormone in the female body.

This is the reason they are used in herbal medicine to help diminish or help eliminate hot flashes, as well as alleviate other unpleasant symptoms of menopause and perimenopause.

Along with soy, there are a variety of other estrogen-mimicking compounds that are found in nature’s herbs that are commonly used in modern day hormonal control supplements as well as dating back thousands of years for women who suffered from various side effects of estrogen deficiency.

Evening primrose oil is a very popular herb used to quell hot flashes. Evening primrose oil has long been used, sometimes in conjunction with other herbs, to remedy hot flashes by helping to restore balance in the body.

Menopause And Depression

Twice as many women are affected by depression than men with an increased risk of depression in women who have reached midlife. Menopause also seems to be a period where women are more susceptible to becoming depressed. Studies have revealed that menopause and depression occurs with more frequency during the transition to menopause. Notable is during this period there is a gradual decline in estrogen levels, where studies have shown changes in estrogen levels can be attributed to depression.

Symptoms of menopause and depression include two or more weeks where there is a loss of interest in pleasurable activities, sleep changes, Loss of energy and fatigue, trouble concentrating, changes in eating, mood changes, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, suicidal thoughts, restlessness and irritability. Many women think these symptoms are part of the getting older, these symptoms should not be mistaken as normal for getting older.

Untreated depression is dangerous and can lead to much more severe depression and possible physical problems. Some examples, depression has been linked to increase risk of heart attacks and studies have shown depression to cause a loss of bone density increasing the risk of women to suffer broken bones.

Fortunately depression is very treatable. Depression affects the thinking patterns in individuals and can cause an individual to believe that their condition is incurable causing a sense of hopelessness. Through getting treatment this type of thinking pattern will improve. There are various different types of treatment available for depression.

Medication for treatment for women with menopause and depression can be very effective, with newer antidepressants now available they are much more tolerable than the older antidepressants.

For women with menopause and depression studies have shown that Hormone Replacement Therapy where estrogen is used may help in early stages of menopause. However, estrogen used as an antidepressant has not been proven.

Therapy has proven to be very successful in treating women with menopause and depression. Therapy in conjunction with medications can prove to be very effective in the treatment as well. Medications can relieve the symptoms of depression and give the individual time to receive therapy to help change their thought patterns.

Other types of treatment can involve the use of herbs and dietary supplements. Women should make sure to make their physician aware of what they are using. This type of treatment is not controlled and there has been no known studies that have proven this type of treatment has any affect on menopause and depression.

Gaining Weight During Menopause – Important Things You May Not Know

Getting older might mean getting wiser but it doesn’t necessarily spare you the excess pounds. In fact, the closer we women get to menopause, the more our midsections wreck havoc on our figures, making it exceedingly difficult to lose weight. Even worse, it seems that with little or no prodding from us, it’s so easy to gain weight. More commonly known as menopause weight gain, this is caused by hormone changes, diet, lack of exercise and genetics.

The time leading right to the actual moment of menopause is fraught by so many inconveniences– not the least of which is hormonal changes that cause havoc on our body systems. Moreover, weight gain during menopause is also due to the fact that as people age, muscle mass naturally diminishes, contributing to the fat content in our bodies. When steps aren’t taken to reverse it (i.e. exercise and the proper diet), getting excess pounds here and there is inevitable. Genetic make up must not also be discounted when looking at the reasons behind menopause weight gain. If your mother naturally grew rounder as she grew older, then chances are you will also suffer the same fate– unless you take active steps to actually prevent that from happening. Stresses such as the death of a spouse or the leaving of children from the house can also contribute to weight gain.

Managing menopause weight gain is important because this condition signals increased levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides, increased blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. When these conditions are present, heart health becomes compromised. Moreover, this also increases cancer, particularly colon and breast, so it’s best to keep weight at healthy levels to lessen the risk. The question is: How is menopause weight gain managed?

Going back to basics of weight management always helps no matter what the age and fitness level. Exercise! Aerobic activities, such as brisk walking, easily burn more body fat to help you get back to your desired weight. You can even incorporate resistance training into your exercise routine two to three times a week to strengthen bones and tone muscles. Also, you can try a Yoga class. This will not only promote flexibility but increase bone mass and improve balance as well. A sensible eating routine that focuses more on fruits, vegetables and whole grains will not only cut down your caloric intake but will help sustain your energy levels all throughout the day. Go for lean sources of meat and always opt for low or nonfat sources of milk and cheese.

You must also modify your eating schedule such that you have something to eat two or three hours. Staggering your food intake this way keeps your metabolism humming and eliminates the need to overeat during meals. Finally, you must also have a supportive set of friends and family members who will stick with you throughout your good times and bad times. You can even ask your spouse or son or daughter to indulge in these exercises and diet plan together. Having someone with whom you can be accountable to will help you manage menopause weight gain.

Early Onset Menopause How do I Know if it Really is

Menopause is something that every woman is going to have to go through at some point in her life, but it can be especially difficult if you get it early on in life. Most women go through menopause in their forties, but these days there are some women who have the onset of menopause as early as their late twenties.

It is therefore very important that all women take the time to learn as much about the causes of early menopause and the symptoms of early onset menopause, as well as all the other details. This way they are going to be much more likely to be able to tell whether or not it is menopause that they are dealing with or something else.

Menopause can be challenging enough but when you dont even know what you are dealing with, it can be confusing and easy to get lost. There are a few ways that you can determine pretty much all on your own whether or not you are dealing with early onset menopause or if it is something else that you are going to have to see your doctor about.

Signs and Symptoms

More than anything, there are a few signs and symptoms which are closely associated with early onset menopause and which you are going to want to be aware of and watch out for. Remember, if you ever start experiencing these symptoms yourself, you are going to want to talk to your doctor and let them know that you think you have early onset menopause.

One of the most common symptoms that women going through early onset menopause experience is vaginal dryness. They start to notice that they do not have as much natural lubrication as they once did, and this can obviously cause problems in their sex life. This is one of the most noticeable symptoms that women experience.

Another symptom of early onset menopause is a cessation of the womans menstrual cycle. Often time women who start going through menopause at an especially early age first assume that they are pregnant, because their period is late and they are certainly not expecting for it to be menopause. Once your doctor rules out pregnancy however, their next guess will be that you are going through menopause. They will then be able to perform a few tests to figure out whether their assumption here is correct.

Male Menopause

There has been a lot of controversy about it in the past and no one can confirm or deny it but there is some strong evidence that men may also have changing hormones that are linked to menopause, just like women in peri menopause and menopause. Some doctors that were giving their male patients hormone replacement therapy for other reasons claimed that their patients found some relief to these symptoms of “male menopause.”

There is no technical label for male menopause so when men come to the doctor complaining of menopause related symptoms the doctors usually call it a testosterone decline and contribute it to the aging male. Men do experience a decline in the production of the male hormone testosterone with aging, but this also occurs with some disease states such as diabetes. The symptoms associated with this decline in testosterone are fatigue, weakness, depression, and sexual problems. The relationship of these symptoms to the decreased testosterone levels is still controversial.

With women, menopause represents a well-defined period in which hormone production stops completely, male hormone (testosterone) decline is a slower process. The testes, unlike the ovary, do not run out of the substance it needs to make testosterone. A healthy male may be able to make sperm well into his eighties or longer.

Minor changes can be seen in men as early as 45-50 years of age and much more commonly in men around the age of 70. To make the diagnosis, the doctor will perform a physical exam and ask about symptoms. He may order other diagnostic tests to rule out any medical problems that may be contributing to the condition. The doctor will then order a series of blood tests which may include several hormone levels, including a blood testosterone level.

If it is discovered that the testosterone levels are low, testosterone replacement therapy may help relieve such symptoms as loss of interest in sex (decreased libido), depression, and fatigue. Testosterone replacement therapy in men does have some potential risks and side effects. Replacing testosterone may worsen prostate cancer. Sometimes a doctor may also recommend certain lifestyle changes, such as a new diet or exercise program, or other medications, such as an antidepressant, to help with some of the symptoms of male menopause. While it is clear that there is no clear cut definition of male menopause, it is certain that many men do experience certain symptoms that are associated with it.