With the aging of the “baby boomers,” more people will be experiencing perimenopause than ever before. Perimenopause is a period in a woman’s life that begins around 47.5 years of age as a result of declining ovarian function, and ends in ovarian failure.
Almost all women experience some symptoms and consequences of perimenopause. These include: changes in menstrual cycle, hot flashes, sleep disturbances, drenching sweats, vaginal dryness, vaginal, infections, bladder dysfunction, mood swings, infertility, decreased bone mass, and an increased risk for heart disease.
Hormone treatment to help perimenopausal symptoms varies from person to person. Low dose oral contraceptive pills, as well as other hormonal therapies, are available.
Perimenopause is the time to maintain or begin a healthy lifestyle. It is important to exercise, eat a low-fat diet, get disease screening tests, take calcium supplements, and include vitamins A, E, and C in your diet.
A variety of herbal therapies that can be used to help alleviate perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms. The authors examine their alleged healing powers, scientific evidence, adverse effects, and recommendations. The following drugs are discussed in relation to the specified symptoms:
Hot flushes, flashes, and sweats – black cohosh, dong quai, ginseng, gotu kola, licorice root, sage, and sarsaparilla
Menstrual irregularities – angelica, chaste tree, dandelion, fenugreek, and life root
Dyspareunia and vaginal and urinary complaints – agrimony, chaste tree, dong quai, and witch hazel
Insomnia, mood changes, memory and concentration difficulties – balm chamomile, damiana, ginkgo biloba, gotu kola, hops, passion flower, scullcap, and valerian
Changes in libido – chaste tree, damiana, ginseng, gotu kola, and sarsaparilla
Source: “Herbal Therapies for Perimenopausal and Menopausal Complaints.” By Debra Israel, Pharm.D., and Ellis Quinn Youngkin, Ph.D., R.N.C. The Journal of Human Pharmacology and Drug Therapy
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