Also known as:
Change of life, Climacteric, Hot flashes
Menopause is the cessation of the monthly female menstrual cycle. Women who have not had a menstrual period for a year are considered postmenopausal.
Most commonly, menopause takes place when a woman is in her late forties or early fifties. Women who have gone through menopause are no longer fertile. Menopause is not a disease and cannot be prevented. Many hormonal changes occur during menopause. Postmenopausal women are at higher risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, presumably because of a decrease in the production of estrogen or other hormones.
Several unpleasant symptoms may accompany menopause. Some, such as vaginal dryness, result from the lack of estrogen. Others, such as hot flashes and decreased sex drive, are caused by more complex hormonal changes. Some women experience depression, anxiety or insomnia during menopause.
Menopause is not a disease—it’s a natural part of life. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
- Eat soy and flaxseed
Make foods high in phytoestrogens, such as flaxseed, tofu, soy milk, tempeh and roasted soy nuts, a regular part of your diet
- Control symptoms with isoflavones
Supplements containing at least 80 to 100 mg a day of isoflavones from soy or red clover may help control symptoms
- Cool down with black cohosh
Some people have found 20 mg of a concentrated herbal extract twice a day relieves hot flashes
- Find relief with exercise
Even light aerobic activities can help reduce menopausal symptoms.
- Quit smoking
Smokers are more likely to experience hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.