Menopause is a transition in a woman's life associated with a number of unpleasant symptoms. While many people blame hot flashes, night sweats, and other side effects on a lack of estrogen, all female hormones diminish at this time. Consequently, menopause treatment involves more than merely replacing estrogen.
By the time menstruation stops, levels of estrogen are diminished by 75 to 90 percent, testosterone has lessened by up to 50 percent, and the female body has essentially stopped producing progesterone. While hormone levels aren't entirely depleted, they fluctuate and vary from woman to woman. Fluctuations continue to cause uncomfortable symptoms, sometimes over several years.
Often referred to as the "female hormone," estrogen is made up of three hormones: estrone, estradiol, and estriol. After menopause, production of estrogen from the ovaries greatly diminishes causing symptoms like fatigue, headaches, hot flashes, joint pain, memory problems, and mood swings.
Working with estrogen, progesterone plays an important role in menstruation and pregnancy, which is why production is so low after menopause. Symptoms experienced with reductions in progesterone include anxiety, headaches, irregular heartbeat, mood swings, muscle weakness, and vaginal infections.
In women, testosterone helps play a part in sexual development, fertility, and maintenance of the reproductive system. Because levels are naturally low, many women do not notice when they drop during and after menopause. A reduction in testosterone can reduce sexual desire, libido, energy, and have negative effects on mood.
Natural Menopause Treatment
Healthy menopause treatment addresses all three of these diminishing hormones and more. Several natural methods help:
- Maca is an adaptogenic herb. While it does not contain hormones, it promotes a healthy endocrine system, which helps encourage hormonal balance.
- Studies show that bioidentical progesterone cream helps correct hormonal imbalances, which often eliminates or reduces hot flashes and other symptoms.
- Black cohosh is a phytoestrogen herb that resembles a weaker form of estradiol. One study of 704 women showed that black cohosh completely relieved menopausal symptoms in 49 percent of the subjects, and 37.8 percent of women experienced significant relief.
- Arginine is an essential amino acid that encourages blood vessel elasticity, which increases circulation and reduces hot flashes.
These methods make up just one facet of natural menopause treatment. A nutritious diet, getting adequate sleep, daily exercise, and other healthy lifestyle choices also contribute to a woman's wellbeing in menopause and beyond.