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Perimenopause and Menopause Survival Kit

Menopause Survival Kit

For only $3.49 sign up for the MenopauseRx Menopause and Perimenopause Survival Kit to receive free products, educational materials and coupons to relieve menopause symptoms including a full sized sample of a Remifemin® black cohosh supplement.

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Natural Menopause Remedies

Menopause symptoms may begin several years before your periods actually end and last for several months or several years after that. Women usually notice the beginning of perimenopause symptoms in their 40’s and irregularities usually persist for approximately five years. The average age of actual menopause in the U.S. is around 51.   As women go through these steps, it is important to remember that the “change” called menopause is a natural, normal phase of female development. It is not a disease process. While we speak of symptoms and treatments, those are only comfortable terms to describe what you may be feeling and what you can do about it. While women may be scared and frustrated by what’s happening, they should not consider themselves sick as they go through this transition.   At the same time, women may have important questions about the effects of changing hormones on their body and about illnesses that may become more likely with increasing age.  Natural and complimentary products are widely used during the perimenopause and menopause transition, with varying degrees of clinical and/or safety data.  Below is a review of some of the most popular natural products used today.

 Read on for information about the most commonly used natural products during the menopause transition.

Black Cohosh is a member of the buttercup family and is a perennial plant that is native to North America.  Black cohosh is an herb sold as a dietary supplement in the United States that is used for hot flashes, night sweats and mild mood disturbances seen during the menopause. The mechanism of action is not completely understood. However, it does not appear to act on target tissues such as the uterine lining, thereby no increase in bleeding should be seen with its use.  Black Cohosh was previously believed to bind to the estrogen receptor and lower certain hormone levels. However, in recent studies, it has shown no estrogen binding or estrogen-like activities. This is important for women concerned about estrogen or estrogen-like remedies and supplements.  It has been used for decades in Germany to treat menopause symptoms. In fact, the German Commission E (equivalent to the US Food and Drug Administration) has done extensive testing under government supervision to determine the efficacy and safety of hundreds of herbal products. Black Cohosh has received an approval status by this Commission. This approval states that black cohosh is reasonably safe when used according to the dosage and helpful for premenstrual discomfort and menopause symptoms.

Chaste Tree Berry (Vitex agnus-castus) is a shrub of the Mediterranean region.  This natural herb has been used for years as a treatment for hormonal imbalances. Women have found it helpful for menstrual irregularities and PMS symptoms.  Chaste Tree Berry is a natural flavonoid that has a progesterone like effect. It is also effective in altering the neurotransmitters that modulate hormonal levels, such as dopamine, prolactin and neuroactive flavonoids. Through these actions, Chaste Tree Berry acts to regulate heavy menstrual flow due to insufficient progesterone production and alleviate mood changes associated with erratic hormone production. 
Numerous older studies in Germany have found Chaste Tree Berry or Vitex helpful for PMS. Reduction in headaches, breast tenderness, anxiety, bloating and fatigue were reported after approximately three months, with minimal side effects.

Dong Quai is a Chinese herb derived from the root of Angelica sinensis. It has been used in eastern medicinal practices for thousands of years as a treatment for female disorders such as menstrual cramps, premenstrual syndrome, and to relieve symptoms associated with menopause.  Few clinical studies have been done to document the positive claims about dong quai. In fact, a study from 1997 found dong quai not to be superior when compared to placebo for hot flash relief.

Red clover is a plant extract contains the plant estrogens formononetin, daidzein, biochanin, and genistein. Red clover is used to treat menopause symptoms.  A 16-week trial found a significant 50% reduction in hot flash incidence and 47% reduction in severity of hot flashes. Conversely, two other well-designed studies reported no significant benefit of red clover extract for hot flashes. Therefore, there is no convincing evidence that red clover extract is beneficial for menopause symptoms and more studies need to be done.

Valerian Root.  The Greek physician Dioscorides recommended valerian for a host of medical problems, including digestive problems, nausea, liver problems, and even urinary tract disorders. Use of valerian for insomnia and nervous conditions has been common for many centuries. By the eighteenth century, it was an accepted sedative and was also used for nervous disorders associated with a restless digestive tract.  The effects of valerian root in animal studies are sedative, anxiety relieving, and muscle relaxing. The main effect in humans is to reduce the time to sleep. It appears that prolongation of the neurotransmitter, GABA, may be responsible for its sedative actions. This also may explain how valerian helps people handle stress more effectively. Double-blind studies have found that valerian is more effective than placebo and as effective as standard sleep medications for people with insomnia. Generally, valerian makes sleep more restful as well as making the transition to sleep easier.  Valerian is approved by Germany’s Commission E for nervousness and insomnia.

  1. Kelly Bell
    August 13th, 2010 at 15:45 | #1

    Hello, I can’t begin to tell you how invaluable all this information has been to me. I would like to ask though do you know of any information on what men go through as they age & their hormone levels deplete? From my experience with my husband, it seems his doctor just wants to give him the medications out there for ED, and “Prozac”!!?? He took the Prozac for a while but he said it really made him feel much worse, and as for the medications for ED, this was not even the main issue nor was it the main symptom he is experiencing. Is there a “MaleMenopauseRx” or somthing similar website we can check out? Thanks, any and all information is greatly appreciated. I just can’t say enough good things about you folks & I am happy to see how many women are reading what you are putting out there for us. Sincerley, Kelly Bell (Scottdale, Pennsylvania)

  2. August 17th, 2010 at 09:41 | #2

    @Kelly Bell
    Thank you for your kind words. We have heard from numerous viewers about ‘male menopause’ and hormonal fluctuations that occur in men as they get older. Unfortunately, I am not aware of any particular web site that I have seen to refer you. However, it seems that a thorough evaluation by a competent health care provider, including a hormonal evaluation would be prudent for your husband.
    I hope this helps.

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