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'The change of life' or menopause may be a small bump in the road or something much more life altering for some women. Potential symptoms include hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, depression, weight gain, decreased coping ability as well as fatigue. Due to some of the unfavourable effects of HRT many women are looking for natural alternatives to assist with balancing their hormones and assisting a smooth transition into post-menopause. Herbs such as Shatavari, Sage & Black Cohosh are able to mitigate the effects of the oestrogen drop associated with menopause and so are extremely useful in the treatment of night sweats, hot flushes and vaginal dryness. St John's Wort, Passionflower & Zizyphus are often used to assist with regulating mood & improving sleep. B6 is an essential nutrient involved in hormone regulation.  Herbs of Gold Hot Flush Relief has some of these herbs in their menopause formula.

Nutra Life Sleep Well with Zizyphus contains a therapeutic dose of the herb Zizyphus which is specific for its cooling & calming properties; a perfect herb for those experiencing night sweats & insomnia. Zizyphus also supports the nervous system and is classified as an 'adaptogen' herb and so assists the body to deal with stressors - physical, mental or emotional. Coupled with herbs such as St John's Wort (found in Herbs of Gold Extra Strength St John's Wort 3600) these herbs improve mood & decrease stress levels; including 'me time' is also important to rejuvenate the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are responsible for our 'fight or flight' stress response and so are often 'overworked and underpaid' by the time menopause comes around. Including rituals such as a weekly relaxing bath using essential oils such as lavender or ylang ylang as well as Epsom salts to relax the muscles will balance the nervous system & decrease the stress put onto the adrenal glands; the Bush Flower Woman Essence is handy to keep in your handbag for times when symptoms such as teariness, moodiness or flushing flare up.
Adrenal support herbs in conjunction with liver support also improve the body's ability to cope with menopausal the change. Traditional Chinese formulas such as Fusion's Menopause Free and Fusion Liver Tonic work together to balance hormones as well as decrease symptoms.

Another consideration around the time of menopause is bone density. Post menopausal women are more prone to bone fractures and breaks as bone density decreases as estrogen levels fall; a good calcium supplement along with Vitamin D are essential to prevent bone fractures and maintain strong bone density.

Research Updates - June 6 2011

Carmignani, L et al (2010), ‘The effect of dietary soy supplementation compared to estrogen and placebo on menopausal symptoms: A randomized controlled trial’, Maturitas, Volume 67, Issue 3, pp: 262-269.

The role of soy and phytoestrogen in menopause has been a bit controversial. This is the most recent in a number of studies to assess the role of dietary soy in alleviation of menopausal symptoms. When the women in this trial included 2 portions/day of dietary soy supplementation powder containing 45 mg of isoflavone per portion they had beneficial results.

There was a significant improvement in hot flushes, muscle pain and vaginal dryness. The group taking the placebo did not have these results, but those on hormone therapy (HT) had similar improvements.

Interestingly, the soy supplement had a stronger effect than the HT on muscle pain and hot flushes, but a lesser effect on vaginal dryness.

The safest, most beneficial way to consume soy products seems to be in the way they were traditionally prepared – e.g. tempeh, tofu and miso.

Vive Health Naturopaths recommend the following products for Menopause:

Products Suggested Dosage
1. Herbs of Gold Hot Flush Relief (30 tabs, 60 Tabs) OR 1 tab 2-3 x a day with food.
2. Nutra Life Meno-Life Hot Flush Relief (30 Tabs) 1 tab with breakfast and 1 tablet before bedtime
2. Nutra Life Sleep Well with Zizyphus (30 Caps, 60 caps) 1 tab 30 min before bed, and 1 during night if insomnia strikes.
3. Magnesium Soak 2 cups in a warm bath 3 times a week.
4. Fusion Menopause Free (60 Tabs) 1 tab with breakfast, 1 with dinner.
5. Fusion Liver Tonic (30 tabs, 60 Tabs) 2 tab x 2 daily.
6. Remifemin (100 Tabs) 1-2 tab morning and night.
7. Herbs of Gold Extra Strength St John's Wort 3600 (30 Tabs) 1 tab with breakfast.
8. Herbs of Gold Memory & Cognition Gold (60 Tabs) 1 tab x 2 a day with food.
9. Ethical Nutrients High Strength Fish Oil Liquid (170ml, 280ml) 2.5ml with breakfast and 2.5ml with dinner.
9. Ethical Nutrients Hi-Strength Fish Oil Capsules (60 Caps, 120 Caps) 2 with breakfast and 2 with dinner..

NOTE: Consideration should always be given to individual requirements.  Please consider seeing a qualified practitioner before commencing a new treatment protocol or when combining supplements with pharmaceutical medication.

For more information on Menopause or to ask a Qualified Naturopath a question Click Here.

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