Menopause Relief

Written by Sarah Provost
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Menopause relief is of primary importance to many women in their middle years. It's not an illness, but a rite of passage every woman goes through as she ages, when the body begins to reduce and finally eliminate fertility. As the ovaries reduce the amount of hormones they release, primarily estrogen, many physical--and often emotional--changes occur.

Menopause usually occurs naturally between the ages of 40 and 58; the average age is 51. Smokers may experience menopause a year or two earlier than nonsmokers, but the only other factor that appears to influence its onset is heredity. Heredity may also influence the presence and/or severity of symptoms.

Since menopause occurs as a result of aging, it is important to distinguish those symptoms that are actually a result of lowered estrogen levels from those that are simply age-related. Also, some diseases and conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, insomnia and high blood pressure, tend to develop later in life and are often mistakenly considered to be the result of menopause.

Menopause Relief: Hot Flashes

The most common problem, experienced by two-thirds of all menopausal women, is the onset of hot flashes--or as I prefer to call them, "power surges." Your face flushes, you sweat profusely, and you may feel like your heart is pounding. Most women experience hot flashes for two to five years; then they gradually disappear.

Since hot flashes can often be a result of stress or physical triggers, menopause relief can often be obtained by simple life-style changes. Dress in layers to avoid getting overheated, and avoid overly warm rooms. Sometimes even the heat of a hair dryer can trigger a hot flash. Anything that helps relieve stress, such as yoga, meditation, exercise or massage, will help reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes and provide menopause relief.

The only medication that is FDA approved for hot flashes is estrogen replacement. Estrogen should be used in the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time, to reduce chances of side effects. Many women feel they have received relief from herbal remedies such as black cohosh, but its usefulness has not been confirmed.

Menopause Relief Has a Psychological Component

Scientists are unclear about whether women experience menopause in ways similar to their mothers and sisters because of genetic predisposition or because they have a set of expectations regarding the event. If everyone in a woman's family has suffered from severe symptoms, she is likely to experience them too. Conversely, if menopause was no big problem for other members of her family, she may approach it with no expectation of problems. If nothing else, this might provide menopause relief by lowering the stress levels that can bring on symptoms.

Every woman experiences "the change of life" in her own individual way, and may need to try several methods to get menopause relief. There's a lot of information available, and new discoveries are appearing with increasing frequency. Perhaps the best method of obtaining menopause relief is by educating yourself.

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