Menopause is that phase of a woman’s life when her ovaries are no longer releasing eggs for fertilization or producing the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. During peri-menopause, she still releases eggs, or ovulates, during some cycles. But during others, she may not ovulate at all and therefore may not produce as much progesterone. This causes wide fluctuations and imbalances in her hormone levels. As these hormones decline, menstrual periods first become irregular, and then finally stop.
When a woman has had no periods for 12 months or if a blood test shows her ovaries are not responding anymore, she is said to be in menopause.
- Black Cohosh helps reduce levels of LH (luteinizing hormone), a hormone that may contribute to hot flashes. Stimulates the adrenal glands to produce progesterone.
- Chasteberry (Vitex) may help with hot flashes. Chasteberry causes the release of progesterone, bringing it into balance with estrogen already in the system.
- Dong Quai has little effect on its own, but enhances chasteberry’s and black cohosh’s activity.
- Essential Fatty Acids found in Flaxseed, Evening Primrose, and Borage Oils help regulate hormone like chemicals called prostaglandins and help control irregular menstrual bleeding.
- Vitamin B6 helps the liver process estrogen, increases progesterone levels, and stimulates the production of serotonin. It works best during the second half of the menstrual cycle.
- Vitamin E improves the stability of blood vessels and seems to block the erratic dilation of the blood vessels responsible for hot flashes.
- Vitamin C AND Bioflavanoids slow the heavy menstrual bleeding often appearing in perimenopause. Bioflavonoids help relieve hot flashes and moodiness.
- Women who live in countries where soy is a staple suffer fewer hot flashes. Alternatives to soy foods are supplements containing soy isoflavones.
- Natural Progesterone acts to restore imbalances between estrogen and progesterone that can occur at peri-menopause.