Menopause occurs in women around 50 years of age.

The length of time women experience symptoms varies widely, so does the severity of the symptoms and individuals ability to cope with the "change of life". Technically, menopause is the last menstrual period in a woman''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''s life but we commonly use the word to refer to the entire time that symptoms appear which can be anything up to 10-15 years. Symptoms include hot flushes, vaginal dryness or discomfort and increased risk of osteporosis. There are other conditions which often appear around the time of the menopause but they are not directly caused by menopause e.g. irritability, depression, lack of energy, headaches or migraine, incontinence, forgetfulness.

When a woman has reached the end of her reproductive life there is no need for the uterus to be prepared for pregnancy and the ovaries stop producing oestrogen. Oestrogen is a hormone, which maintains the female reproductive system (uterus, ovaries, and breasts).
Egg production reduces gradually over a number of years (called Premenopause) and this will cause a disruption to normal periods.
It seems this reduction in the bodies oestrogen at menopause is responsible for the above mentioned symptoms in some women. Many women will pass through the menopausal years with none of the above symptoms, while at the other end of the scale, some women suffer terribly with hot flushes and other nuisance symptoms. It has become common to hear of menopause refered to as "oestrogen deficiency" of "hormone deficiency" disease. It is not a disease, just a time when the body is adjusting to lower levels of hormones, just as puberty is a time of adjusting to higher hormone levels.

HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY(HRT)

In the last 20 years many women have been prescribed synthetic hormones to replace the naturally lower levels of hormones which occur around menopause. These hormones provided relief from symptoms such as hot flushes and help protect against accelerated loss of bone density. However, their use is still surrounded by controversy and looks to be responsible for
increased risk of breast cancer, blood clots and migraines.
Hot flushes are the most common uncomfortable symptom of menopause, Intense sweating and/or a flush in the upper chest, neck and face may last only a few minutes. They cause no long-term damage and usually last approximately two years. Naturally, some women may experience them for longer. Hot flushes tend to be worse at their onset. For most sufferers relief is provided by synthetic hormones, however for increasing numbers of women they would rather not expose themselves to the potential risks of synthetic hormones, while others just can''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''t tolerate HRT.

HERBAL ALTERNATIVES TO HRT

For women unable or unwilling to use synthetic hormones, there are viable herbal alternatives to use either alongside orthodox treatment or instead of. Most of these preparations contain phyto(plant) oestrogens which have oestrogenic activity in the body and help to balance the effects of lower oestrogen levels.Most available products contain combinations of the following ingredients. The product we recommend is Kate Frasers Herbal Relief Treatment which contains all four.
Wild Yam - contains saponin compounds, which can mimic oestrogenic action. Helps relieve hot flushes and vaginal dryness.
Black Cohosh - one of the most thoroughly researched herbs for menopause. It contains three different compounds which work to treat hot flushes, sweating, sleep disturbances, nervousness and depression.
Dong Quai- contains chemical compounds, which regulates the function of the uterus (womb). It also improves circulation, reduces high blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart disease, which usually rises after menopause.
St John''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''s Wort- well known herb for anxiety, stress and depression. Women who are prone to depression are also likely to suffer from it during menopause. Many factors may cause mild depression in menopause.

SUMMARY

For increasing numbers of women conventional hormone treatment is an unattractive option to relieve their symptoms.
If you are experiencing hot flushes or menstrual irregularities and if you are feeling a bit down as you approach "the change" why not give Herbal Relief Tablets a try? We have found results in our customers have been excellent.
Women have got a lot to offer at age 40-55 and are often reaching the peak of their career at that age…be aware that potent synthetic hormones or suffering in discomfort are not the only options.

For more information on use of herbs in menopause read Kate Fraser''''''''''''''''s book Positive Health in Menopause- Herbs For a Natural Change.