Menopause is a dirty word. Many women dread going into their 50s as that means they will start having menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, poor sleep, mood swings, saggy skin and dry vagina, brain fog…etc. Sometimes the symptoms can be so bad that it even leads to depression and women quitting their jobs as they can’t manage their symptoms and it just goes into a downward decline.
In this article, I am going to list down the common symptoms of menopause and how women can deal with them.
- Hot flushes are a common symptom that indicates that estrogen levels are declining. Commonly they will come on at night and may affect sleep. Having a cooling pad on the bed may help to ease the hot flushes. Herbs like black cohosh, and red clover may be helpful to ease the symptoms. For very bad hot flashes, bioidentical hormone replacement is helpful to replace estrogen back to physiological levels.
- Poor sleep and frequent waking up at night is a common symptom among my patients and the magic hour is usually around 3-4 am. This is due to the decline in the other female hormone called progesterone. For women suffering from poor sleep, bioidentical replacement of the progesterone hormone usually helps my patients ease back to better sleep and feel calmer. Natural alternatives are wild yam and chaste berries to help improve progesterone levels.
- Mood swings with anxiety are another common symptom. Many women come to me with feelings of uncontrolled anxiety, and palpitations for no reason, which also affects their work and sleep. This is also due to a lack of progesterone which is a calming hormone and a natural neuroinhibitor. Lack of progesterone usually brings on feelings of uncontrolled anxiety and replacing the progesterone will bring on feelings of calm.
- Sagging and dry skin and vaginal dryness and pain come on during menopause due to the lack of estrogen causing tissues to be unable to deposit collagen and hence leading to the loss of volume in the face and breast tissues etc. The lack of estrogen which usually lubricates the vagina leads to complaints of vagina dryness and pain during intercourse. Topical estrogen creams or vaginal suppositories usually will help improve vagina dryness. Bioidentical estrogen replacement with collagen supplementation usually helps improve the skin turgor.
- Brain fog and memory loss by the 40s or 50s is due to the lack of estrogen causing “estrogen dementia”. Women usually find their memory loss or lack of concentration affecting their work which leads them to see the doctor. Taking certain brain-boosting supplements with ginkgo and phosphatidylserine may be helpful and bioidentical estrogen replacement will help replace estrogen in the brain to improve memory and other brain functions.
I have listed the top 5 common symptoms of menopause and there are ways to deal with them. “All is not lost” during menopause and I hope this article is informative to let women know that there is something they can do for the menopausal symptoms and they don’t have to “live with it” or keep quiet about them and suffer alone. Look for a good functional doctor to discuss the pros and cons of bioidentical hormone replacement that would benefit women suffering from the debilitating symptoms of menopause or even prevent these symptoms from getting worse and affecting their daily function. Menopause with the decline in estrogen can lead to “inflammaging” which is inflammation causing more aging effects. Take steps to prevent that and menopause will be an enjoyable next stage of the woman’s life and not a dreadful one.
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