Signs and Symptoms of Menopause
Menopause is widely known as the permanent physiologic end of menstrual cycles as a result of declining ovarian functions.
During this period, the reproductive function progressively diminishes and ends.
Women often find that menopause causes a significant change in their life, since it marks the end of their ability to bear children and other physical changes.
This role change can be very dramatic and stressful to many women.
Due to hormonal changes, women may observe irregular menstruation, breast tenderness, and mood changes long before menopause occurs.
The hot or warm flushes and night sweats reported by some women are thought to be the result of hormonal changes and indicate vasomotor instability (changes in the diameter of blood vessels).
They may vary in greatness from a barely noticeable warm feeling to a feeling of extreme warmth accompanied by copious sweating, causing discomfort, insomnia and fatigue, and occasionally, embarrassment.
Other physical changes may include bone loss known as osteoporosis.
Causes of Menopause
The postmenopausal period is the time of life after menopause, beginning from about one year after menses stop.
Perimenopause is the period extending from the first signs of menopause - usually hot flashes, vaginal dryness, or irregular menses - to beyond the complete end of menses.
The age range at which menopause occurs is wide, between approximately 40 to 55 years.
It is said that both the age of menarche (a woman's first period) and the age of menopause are familial.
This means that if menarche occurred early in a mother, it will probably occur early in her daughter, and if menopause starts early in a mother, it may start early in her daughter.
The earlier the age of menarche, the earlier menopause tends to occur.
- Irregular Periods. Because of the wide hormonal changes that occur during your menopause, it may result to irregular periods before your periods stop altogether. During this time, your menstrual flow will be lighter or heavier than usual. The intervals between your periods will be shorter or longer. Moreover, you may experience spotting between your periods. In some cases, women have regular periods until their periods stop suddenly, and others have irregular periods for a long time until menopause occurs.
- Birth Control. Although you may be less fertile during the years just before the start of menopause, chances are you still continue to release eggs (ovulate) and you may become pregnant. If you wish not to become pregnant, it is advised that you continue to use birth control until the physician validates that you have reached menopause already or until you have not had a menstrual period for almost 12 months.
- Hot flashes. These are sudden periods of intense heat, sweating, and flushing. A hot flush usually begins in the chest and spreads out to the neck, face, and arms. 75-80% of women who are going through menopause will experience hot flashes. Hot flushes may occur as often as once an hour and can last from a few minutes to an hour. They may disrupt your sleep patterns during bed time. An interrupted sleep can lead to insomnia, fatigue, irritability, or inability to concentrate. Hot flashes usually stop within 1 or 2 years but may persist for several years. They are rarely noticed by others.
- Vaginal changes. Vaginal changes that occur during menopausal period include vaginal dryness which is caused by the loss of lubrication and moisture in the vagina; thinning of the vaginal walls and loss of elasticity in them. There is also shrinkage of the outer lips (labia) of the vagina. During sexual intercourse, these vaginal changes can lead to soreness and may also increase your risk for vaginal infections and urinary incontinence.
- Mood changes. The hormonal and physical changes of menopause can cause mood changes. Symptoms such as nervousness, lack of energy, insomnia, moodiness, or depression are common during this time.
Managing Menopause Symptoms
Keep a written record of your periods in case you need to discuss them with a health professional.
Hot flashes usually improve after 1 to 2 years. In the meantime:
- Keep your home and workplace cool, or use a fan. Try carrying a hand fan with you. A fan can give you a relief when your internal thermometer goes high. You can also purchase a personal battery-powered electric fan which comes in several models and gives off a stream of cooling air so that only you can feel it.
- Wear layers of loose clothing that can be easily removed. Wear natural fibres such as cotton and silk. The most efficient way to cope with hot flashes is to dress properly. In general, layers of loose clothing, such as blouses that button down the front, are better than turtlenecks, which can leave you trapped in a flash. If you plan your wardrobe right, you can use your layers to control your body temperature like a thermostat by taking off those layers when it gets too hot and by putting more of it when it gets too cold.
- Drinking cold beverages are better rather than hot ones. Also limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol. Alcohol, nicotine, spicy foods, caffeine, fatty foods, and chocolate can be a triggering factor for hot flashes. Individual triggers may also include certain kinds of cheese or certain flavorings.
- Relaxing is probably the most important coping technique for hot flashes. When dealing with hot flashes, try to keep the whole thing in your own point of view. When possible, getting up, moving around, shedding that extra layer of clothing, or taking a cold drink of water will break the cycle of flushing. Don't be panicked, instead, take all the time you need to suit your self and feel more comfortable even if it is a little disturbing. You can practice relaxation techniques such as yoga.
- Eating smaller, more frequent meals can help avoid the heat generated by your body in digesting large particles of food.
- Foods rich in Vitamin B6 and Vitamin E are found to be effective in decreasing hot flashes.
Use a water-soluble vaginal lubricant to relieve pain and discomfort during sexual intercourse. Vegetable oil will also work as well. Do not use Vaseline or other petroleum-based products.
The best thing you can do for yourself is realize that you are not alone. Tension and anxiety may make your symptoms worse. Discuss your symptoms with other women. Give yourself, and ask others for, abundant amounts of love, caring, and understanding. Try to develop a relaxed attitude regarding menopause. Relieve stress by exercising on a regular basis. Hormonal therapy may improve hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and mood changes, in addition to protecting you from osteoporosis. But also take note of the side effects and risks it can cause you.
Women are encouraged to decrease their fat and caloric intake and increase their intake of whole grains, fiber, fruit, and vegetables. Women of all ages tend to ingest less than the recommended amount of calcium. Thus, they should be encouraged to increase their intake of foods high in calcium (e.g., nonfat yogurt, green leafy vegetables, seafood, and calcium-fortified foods).
Home Remedies and Natural Cures for Menopause Treatment
Chasteberry as a Menopause Treatment
The chasteberry (also known as Agnus Castus) has been used for centuries as a tonic for general female health.
It is found to nourish the pituitary gland which is the control centre for balancing hormonal activity.
In particular, chasteberry has been found to treat menopause symptoms such as night sweats, hot flashes and fatigue.
A common suggestion is to take 20 to 40 mg of chasteberry extract once per day.
Menopause Treatment with Black Cohosh
root is one of the most widely used and studied natural alternatives to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).
Standardised extracts of of this root have been shown to produce better results in relieving hot flashes, vaginal thinning and dryness, depression, and anxiety when compared to standard HRT.
A common recommended daily intake of black cohosh for menopause treatment is 20mg per day.
Soy as a Natural Remedy for Menopause
Recent studies show that soy contains a substance called phytoestrogens, which are weak, estrogen-like plant-based compounds.
These phytoestrogens are more popularly known as isoflavones.
These soy isoflavones have been shown to ease menopausal symptoms in thousands of women.
To ensure you are getting adequate amounts of soy in your diet, it is suggested that a woman aim for 50–100 mg of soy per day.
This translates to two cups of soy milk (35–40 mg in one glass), a half cup of edamame (baby soybeans in a pod), or one cup of tofu (35 mg).
Just be sure to always choose organic soy products, as soy is one of the two most common genetically modified crops in the United States.
Hi i have just startead taking flashfighters .As like one person has said could i take 3 tablets at a time as i tend ti forget to take them at diffrant times of the day
I Was taking flashfighters from Holland and Barrett and found them brilliant. They have since discontinued them , I have now found them on a website Puritan United Kingdom so hopefully they are exactly the same
I used Flash Fighters from Holland and Barratt and they worked brilliantly, no more hot flushes, no more strange feelings in my stomach prior to the flush, I was able to sleep throughout the night and then they took them off the shelves and immediately all the symptoms returned. I've tried Flash Fighters from Puritan's Pride and although they basically have the same ingredients, they don't work so well for me and I'm struggling. Hope H & B restock their Flash Fighters.
I used flash fighters until H&B stopped selling them!
Now i am in a right state: I yo-yo between upset tummy/constipation, hot flushes, feel exhausted all the time, headaches, keep needing to go to the loo very frequently and more besides.
I have ordered mine from Puritans Pride and they are cheaper than H&B! Just the delivery time is sooo slow..
cant wait for them to arrive!
to all you flash fighter fans....how could H&B do it to us...i got my flash fighter from a web site called puritan's pride,they have offers on orders but be aware that altho it is a british based web site sometimes your products may come from further afield there for there will be a shipping charge and a customs fee this end if the uk warehouse is out of stock...but all in all i think that even with the charges i got a better deal......your loss H&B
Re Flash Fighters; I have also been using this product and have found it has 'calmed down' my irregular hormones where other supplements have failed. I went into H&B yesterday and was told that they have been recalled due to incorrect labels; however H&B do not know if they are going to be restocked or not- magic! Can anyone recommend an alternative or tell me what are the ingredients in FF? (I don't have any
packaging to check). Thanks :-)
Been using flash fighters and found them really good went to holland and barratt to get some more and was told them have been taken off shelf can anyone tell me why ?
I have just finished a bottle of flash fighters 100 in bottle x3 a day.They where brill i have only had 2 flushes in all that time,My husband and friends had noticed they had stopped i would sit in company glowing like a light bulb.Yesterday 19/2/13 i went to the docs to see if i was on the menopause i showed him the flash fighters and he said no good long term as they contain liquorice extract which he said you retain water.Its put me off and i loved them and they worked
I'm suffering premature ovarian failure or premature menopause. I find that the flash fighters have helped me with night sweats, hot flushes and itching. My blood pressure occasionally spikes not sure if that's due to the licorice or the menopause itself. I think you should check with your gp before taking them if you have high bp. I might take one a day and see if that makes a difference.
I had cervical cancer 10 years ago, had a hysterectomy then had to have chemo & radiotherapy which killed my ovaries. I took HRT for a while which didn't really do much for me and since coming off that have endured extreme hot flushes. I bought a jar of Flash Fighters and queried the use with my GP who very unhelpfully said I would have to check if it was ok for me to take with a pharmacist! Bit worried about taking them now having read all your blogs! Anyone any advice?
I have been taking flash fighters for nearly 8 months for the most unbearable hot flushes, I thought they would kick in after about 3 months, they have taken the edge of them but I still don't sleep at night and am still having the flushes, I never get my clothing right and I have a new job working In A clean room having to wear a hair net a hood a boiler suit and boots oh and rubber gloves, absolutely horrendous, really don't know if I can do it, who would be a woman.EEC33
I have taken a total of 3 Flash Fighters and stopped. I am suffering from really uncomfortable cramps - the need to go to the loo type - and have bled when I have been. Would this also be a side effect?
Have taken now for two weeks and feel great hot sweats stopped and sleeping all night I am getting pins and needles in my hands in morning not sure if this is related
just started flash fighters..only on day #3 and still having flashes, but i know to give it some time. i had the same question as a previous poster. 3/day...does this mean 1 tablet three times per day or 3 tablets at one time/ day. currently spacing them out thru the day, but when i get a flash, i am tempted to pop 3!
Hi all, had a hysterectomy earlier this year. Still have my overies. But in the last two months have started getting sweats by day and night. Also fining it very hard to sleep. ( mostly on and off). I started flash fighters a wk ago. I am also taking e.p.o.,fish oils, b-complex, pm phytogen complex, garlic and coq-10. I just wish i could get a good nights sleep. I hope the flash fighters will kick in soon.
My skin was also very itchy. I now moisturise twice a day with Aqueous. I add two tiny drops of bio oil, but I guess baby oil wuld do the same. This is a fabulous cream and very cheap to buy. I'ts worth a try. Good luck
Any remedy for itching due to menopause. For hot flushes i drink fresh beetroot juice. But now i have itching.I tired calamine lotion it relief for short period.
Ionly started flash fighters four days ago slept all night last night for the first time in a year
SHOULD I BE TAKING ONE THREE TIMES A DAY OR 3 AT THE SAME TIME? I AM TRYING TO TAKE ONE THREE TIMES A DAY BUT KEEP FORGETTING. 3 AT THE SAME TIME WOULD BE SO MUCH EASIER
do not take Flash Fighters!!! I took it for 6 months and it raised my blood pressure to ridicuously & dangerously high levels!!! Licorice at the level is not good for you!
I began taking flash fighters 3 weeks ago and I haven't had a hot flush since. I am sleeping normally and feel like I used to. The only thing is my breasts are very tender. The same level of tenderness I used to get just before a period. Has anyone else experienced this? I don't know if this is perhaps a side effect of flash fighters or simply just another phase of the menopause.
I agree with the last post. The Flash Fighter tablets are great. I didn't know you could get them in the UK but Holland & Barrett stock them. Give them a try. No need to keep on 3 a day after the first couple of weeks - try 2. Excellent product.
Unfortunately, I have suffered some adverse reactions to taking Flash Fighters. I suffer chronic sweats, which make me feel physically faint when they decide to stop (only for a while). I had to have emergency surgery for a large ovarian cyst to be removed and they took both Ovaries. I felt very ''odd'' for days taking the tablets at 2 a day. When I went to my GP my Blood Pressure was very high. I was told to stop taking them at once....3 days later and my BP is back to what is normally...Maybe I am one of the unlucky ones...so it's on with the Magnet and rubbing in the Progesterone cream in hope that something will work one day!!
I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.
I began having terrible hot flashes last September. I could look at the clock and they would be every 45 minutes and then once every other hour during the night. I wondered how some women can put up with this for several years.
A gal I work with told that she took an herbal supplement called Flash Fighters made by Vitamin World. she told me that it takes about 2 weeks for it to work, taking 3 a day. I wondered if it was really going to work then on the 10th day, they quit. I feel normal again!!!
I only take 2 a day now and only rarely do I feel any sort of faint hot flash. The gal at work said she still had hot flashes but they weren't as intense. I feel like I have been delivered completely!
It contains what I read online to take - Soy Concentrate, Black Cohosh Extract, Dong Quai, Licorice, and Vitex Extract.
I have never been into herbal things and most I feel are gimicks, but this really works. I have told others gals at church that I have seen fanning themselves.
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