Menopause: Moods, Hot flashes and Dryness – Oh My!
A few years ago, the results of the Women’s Health Initiative sent women across the country to their medicine cabinets where they promptly grabbed their bottles or packets of hormones and threw them away – only to later experience some unpleasant effects.
Today we remain uncertain as to the absolute risk factors one may face when taking hormone replacement therapy or estrogen replacement therapy. While many women sail through menopause without a drop of sweat from a hot flash, others do experience varying degrees of discomfort.
In my practice, I often see women – sometimes as early as their late 30’s or early 40’s - who seek care with any degree of the following:
|Concerns regarding osteoporosis
|Fears about memory & dementia
Many women are leery of using “medication” to “treat” something considered a natural part of aging. However, they still wonder what they can do. More often than not – paying attention to dietary triggers (such as coffee), increasing ones physical activity, stress reduction techniques (such as visualizations) and acupuncture will often work wonders without taking anything extra.
For women with severe symptoms, who want something more, we explore options such as bio-identical hormones, and herbal products such as black cohosh, and traditional hormone therapy.
It’s important to understand that hormones are hormones regardless if they are bio-identical or not. These substances and indeed any herbal/nutritional product must always be used with caution – medications of any sort can be helpful as well as harmful.
As always, it’s recommended you discuss your concerns and options with your health care provider. While not all providers are aware of the many herbal and nutritional preparations available today, they can help you explore what to look for as well as what to avoid.
©2006 Barbara C Phillips, MN, NP
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