5 Surprising Ways To Relieve Menopause

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The dreaded hot flashes of menopause are often more than just a nuisance; they can disrupt your life both day and night. While I have been fortunate to avoid these symptoms in my post-menopausal years, I’ve seen friends suffer tremendously. Each woman experiences menopause differently, commonly facing mood alterations, weight gain, and often some degree of insomnia, among other symptoms.

Poor adrenal function can exacerbate these menopausal symptoms, so maintaining adrenal health is crucial. Do you know if you have adrenal problems or not? You may be interested in reading, 4 Tests for Adrenal Fatigue.

Understanding Menopause Symptoms

Menopause symptoms vary significantly among women. One friend of mine has to carry a personal fan everywhere, while another feels as though she’s on fire, suffering from nightmares as well. These symptoms are not just physical; they often include emotional components such as irritability and mood swings, which can catapult you into a pro-inflammatory state with disrupted sleep cycles and an uncontrollable appetite.

Speaking of disrupted sleep, consider reading, 7 Common but Strange reasons for Insomnia.

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Common Treatments and New Insights

Traditionally, popular supplements for managing menopause symptoms have included black cohosh, flax seeds, soy-based supplements, alfalfa, and ginseng. Natural progesterone is also widely used, available in both over-the-counter creams and prescription forms. However, recent research has shed light on the role of serotonin—a key neurotransmitter known as one of our ‘happy’ brain chemicals.

Fluctuations and a general reduction in serotonin levels can significantly impact other hormones, including estrogen, and this imbalance may contribute to many menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and insomnia. Here’s more information on SEROTONIN. 

When serotonin levels are low, the brain is more susceptible to oxidative damage, which can lead to neuron death. This process not only triggers hot flashes and mood swings but also affects the sleep cycle and appetite regulation.

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Innovative Ways to Manage Menopause Based on Latest Research

Based on this new understanding, there are several innovative strategies you might consider, which should always be discussed with your healthcare provider:

  1. 5-HTP: This essential amino acid, derived from tryptophan (found in turkey, cheese, and nuts), is critical for serotonin production in your body. Adequate levels of serotonin can mitigate symptoms like hot flashes, irritability, and insomnia.Caution is advised, as combining 5-HTP with prescribed antidepressants can lead to Serotonin Syndrome. You may be interested in reading my article entitled, St. John’s Wort, Serotonin, And Depression.
  2. Melatonin: A byproduct of serotonin breakdown, melatonin is one of your natural sleep hormones and is also available as a supplement. It can extend sleep duration and acts as a strong antioxidant, reducing oxidative stress and associated inflammation. A Polish study in the journal Prz Menopauzalny (Menopausal Review) found that menopausal women taking 5mg of melatonin nightly for 24 weeks experienced better sleep and even weight loss.
  3. Resveratrol: Known for its phytoestrogen properties due to its structural similarity to 17 beta-estradiol (our natural estrogen), resveratrol can help alleviate hot flashes and support better sleep when taken at night.
  4. Vitamin E: This fat-soluble antioxidant helps quench oxidative stress caused by disrupted sleep and supports brain health. Opt for natural forms of vitamin E and avoid synthetic versions.
  5. Glycine: This amino acid can help you fall asleep faster by calming an overexcited nervous system. It is so effective at stabilizing brain cells that it is sometimes recommended for individuals with seizure disorders.

Adrenal Support and Future Considerations

Supporting adrenal health is essential, as healthier adrenal glands are often associated with fewer menopausal symptoms. This will be the topic of a future discussion, but for now, it’s important to recognize that menopause is not a disease. You are not alone in this journey; millions of women experience similar challenges.

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Final Thoughts

Today’s research suggests that deficiencies in serotonin may be behind the disruptive ‘power surges’ associated with menopause. While pharmaceuticals that alter serotonin levels might provide temporary relief, they could potentially cause long-term harm to your serotonin receptors. Therefore, supporting serotonin production naturally might be a safer and more sustainable approach. Always consult your practitioner(s) to tailor a treatment plan that’s right for you, potentially integrating my insights into a holistic approach to managing menopause symptoms.