By Shawna Page, Founder and CEO of femMED
Yes, some women have an easier time with menopause than others, but does anyone get away scot-free? My mom and I have had several conversations on the topic – mostly me asking questions to avoid being ill prepared, ill-informed, or worse, misinformed! She did, however tell me that my grandmother was one of the lucky ones. She lost her period and that was that. No flashes, no night sweats, no weight gain, no mood swings, no anxiety, no hair loss, no fatigue, no itchy skin, no burning tongue, NO NOTHING! Well! This information came as a huge surprise to me and catapulted me into an extensive fact finding (more like fact proving) mission that occupied many hours of my days and now has become my lifelong work. Here’s what I know now:
Menopausal symptoms effects roughly 85% of women and to set the record straight, in all, there are 34 reported symptoms of menopause. Clearly the number of symptoms and the severity will be different among individual women, and also among women in different cultures and in different parts of the world. But women who have joined the sisterhood of menopause are not alone – For the next 20 years, an estimated 40 million North American female baby boomers will experience menopause, and women today are past the point of being told to “just suffer through it”.
Take control of it, before IT takes control of you.
Hurdles in patient-doctor dialogue, knowledge and information gaps and frustration with understanding treatment options could be preventing women from understanding and managing this very important transition of life. So how does one begin to take control? Well for starters, get educated. Take the time to read and understand the changes that your body is (or will be) going through. Generally people deal better with things that don’t come as a surprise. Don’t ignore “intuitive” treatments. Dress in layers, buy a small inexpensive hand held fan and turn down the furnace. Also avoid food s that are known to trigger a flash – like spicy foods, caffeine and alcohol. Add foods that contain “phytoestrogens” — like soy, flax, certain beans, peas and lentils – these may also help to reduce menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. It goes without saying that good nutrition and regular physical exercise is a critical component to improved overall health.
Having a positive mind-set has a lot to do with how well a woman adjusts to menopause. If it is viewed as a catastrophic end to youth, fertility and sexuality, it can cause major disruptions in one’s life, and force the temptation to “solve” the problem with treatment options that falsely promise eternal youth. There are many natural treatment options available. Look for supplements that are a comprehensive blend of ingredients which includes Black Cohosh and Dong Quai, both which have been shown to tremendously help reduce the symptoms of menopause. The risks and rewards of hormone replacement therapy should be carefully considered before undertaking this protocol. Many women do very well using a natural intervention for menopause treatment. If menopause is seen as the natural transition to the next phase of life, it can not only be readily accepted and more easily handled, but also a liberating rite of passage.