I have always been in pretty good health, so I was surprised one day when my doctor told me my blood pressure was a bit high. She told me to begin watching my salt intake, start exercising, and to try to relax. Well, I intended to follow her advice when I left her office, but the next day I was back to my same habits. I kept using the salt shaker and didn't begin an exercise routine like I had planned. When I went for my next check-up, she told me that my blood pressure was even higher and approaching a dangerous level. I had to begin a blood pressure medication to manage it. I wanted to create a blog to share my story and remind people to listen to their doctors' advice. If a few lifestyle changes can improve your health, then you should make them.
Menopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats can really get in the way of your daily life. But while hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, can help ease these symptoms, it is not for everyone. Your doctor may recommend against HRT if you are already at an increased risk of blood clots or cancer -- or you may experience side effects like nausea and weight gain that make you unwilling to continue HRT. Luckily, there are other ways to ease your menopause symptoms. Here's a look at some natural herbs and supplements that many women find helpful.
Flaxseeds are small, black seeds that you can easily stir into your oatmeal or smoothie. They contain phytoestrogens, which are plant forms of the female hormone, estrogen. These phytoestrogens attach themselves to some of the estrogen receptors in your body, stimulating the effects of estrogen to help ease menopause symptoms.
You may not notice a reduction in symptoms immediately upon adding flaxseed to your diet, but be patient, In one study, women who consumed the seeds daily for three months had significantly fewer menopause symptoms than those who received no treatment. This study gave each woman 5 grams of flaxseed per day -- which is about a 1/2 tablespoon.
Also known as black snakeroot, this herb has been used for centuries to ease menopause symptoms like cramping, vaginal dryness, and night sweats. In Germany, it is even sold as a prescription treatment! It's a very safe choice, especially if you've had bad reactions to HRT and other menopause treatments, as the only common side effect it causes is mild stomach discomfort.
Black cohosh is widely available in health food stores and pharmacies in the United States. Make sure you take it as directed on the label to avoid stomach discomfort and increase effectiveness.
That's right -- the vitamin E supplements you take for healthier nails and skin are also great for alleviating your menopause symptoms. Note that this treatment has not proven to be effective for every woman; studies suggest between 50 and 75% of women experience relief from menopause symptoms when taking vitamin E. The only way to know if it will work for you is to try -- and luckily vitamin E is very safe to take, so there's no reason not to try.
Researchers are not entirely sure how or why vitamin E helps fight menopause symptoms, but it is theorized that it helps promote the production of estrogen. Make sure the supplement you take contains d'alpha-tocopherol -- the most active form of vitamin E. Only take the amount recommended on the bottle, and allow about 6 weeks for the supplements to take effect.
Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil is widely available in health food stores as it is used to treat a wide array of conditions, from rheumatoid arthritis symptoms to high cholesterol. Many women have found that taking it daily helps ease menopause symptoms -- especially hot flashes. The oil is very high in gamma-linoleic acid, a fatty acid that may help stimulate your body to produce more estrogen.
For best results, aim to take between 2 and 8 grams of evening primrose oil per day. This amount has been used in several clinical studies without serious negative effects. Some women do experience mild nausea or headaches when taking evening primrose oil, so if you notice these symptoms, you may want to discontinue the supplement and try one of the other options on this list.
To learn more about these and other ways to ease menopause symptoms, speak with your OBGYN about menopause treatments.Share
8 February 2017