Is it hot in here or is it just me? From brain fog and hot flashes to mood swings and sleeplessness, the symptoms of menopause can affect more than one million women each year.1
Although menopause is a natural changeover from a woman’s childbearing years to a life free from menstrual periods, for many the symptoms of this transition can make life seem like a never-ending rollercoaster.
The Symptoms and Health Risks of Menopause
As a woman nears midlife, her production of natural estrogen and progesterone starts to decline. This can result in the all-too-familiar peri-menopausal hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, forgetfulness, mood swings, anxiety, loss of libido, and vaginal dryness.2 But, as disconcerting and uncomfortable as these symptoms can be, the drop in these reproductive hormones can also have a serious impact on your health long after you’ve experienced your last period. These include:
- Heart disease. Before age 55, women have a lower risk of heart disease than men, primarily because estrogen helps keep blood vessels relaxed and fosters a healthy balance between good and bad cholesterol. But by age 70, women have about the same risk for heart disease as men of the same age.3
- Osteoporosis. Having less estrogen after menopause accelerates bone loss and puts you at greater risk for osteoporosis. One large study found that women who have severe hot flashes and night sweats during the years around menopause experience more bone loss and are at higher risk for hip fractures than women who do not have severe symptoms.4
- Lead poisoning. Because bone begins to break down more quickly after menopause, lead stored in the bone is more likely to be released into the blood. In fact, post-menopausal women can have blood lead levels 30 percent higher than before they reached menopause. This lead increases your risk for heart disease, kidney problems, and cognitive dysfunction.5
- Urinary incontinence. Since lower estrogen levels can weaken the urethra, about half of all postmenopausal women have trouble holding in their urine.6
Hormonal Support During “The Change”
While hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can relieve symptoms, it’s not without risk. According to The Cleveland Clinic, traditional HRT can increase systemic inflammation and the risk of breast and endometrial cancer. Long-term use can also leave you more vulnerable to cardiovascular disease.7 Fortunately, there are a number of all-natural things you can do to support your hormones and reduce the risk of future health problems.
1. Opt for foods rich in plant-based estrogens
Plant-based estrogens (isoflavones) like those in soy, chickpeas, lentils, fruits, and vegetables mimic the body’s own estrogen by binding to estrogen receptors. This in turn may reduce the risk of hormonal cancers.8 In one clinical trial, a daily dose of soy isoflavones was shown to significantly reduce hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and urinary problems in a group of perimenopausal and postmenopausal women.9 Limiting the amount of caffeine you consume and cutting back on spicy foods can also help make your hot flashes less severe. 7
2. Protect your heart and bones with exercise.
Studies show that aerobic and weight bearing exercise can strengthen both your heart and your bones.10,11 As a bonus, exercise can help lessen insomnia. Plus, working out can improve your mood and may help to relieve anxiety.12
3. If you smoke, quit!
If you smoke and are looking for yet one more reason to quit, studies show that women who smoke can go into menopause about a year earlier than nonsmokers. And for heavy smokers, it can accelerate the change by as much as two years earlier.13
4. Try these herbs to help rebalance Your reproductive hormones
Herbs have been used for centuries to relieve the symptoms of menopause. And modern research shows that our foremothers knew what they were doing. Kyolic Estro-Logic provides a proprietary blend of targeted herbs such as black cohosh, soy isoflavones, wild yam, sage, chaste berry, vervain, astragalus, and motherwort. Each of these herbs have been extensively researched for their ability to support hormonal balance and ease menopausal symptoms.14, 15
5. And don’t forget your supplements!
Since reproductive hormones also impact your heart and bones, it’s important to support healthy hormonal balance at every age and stage of life. But it’s especially crucial in the years leading up to and after menopause. Among the most important are the B vitamins, which support DNA repair and the creation of red blood cells, and regulate the nervous system. Studies show that a deficiency in this family of nutrients can have a negative impact on your bones, cardiovascular system, cognition, and mood.16 While all of the Bs matter, research reports that B6 and B12 may help reduce PMS symptoms, support healthy pregnancy, and reduce the risk of heart disease and cognitive decline in postmenopausal women. 16, 17, 18
But the B vitamins aren’t the only nutrients vital for a woman’s changing health. Adding an omega-3 supplement can help protect bones, brain, breasts, and heart while also reducing menstrual pain.19 Boosting your vitamin D and K2 levels can also help safeguard your bones and heart.20 To make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need, look for a comprehensive supplement like Kyolic Heart, Bone, & Immune Health that pairs these essentials with Aged Garlic Extract for whole body support.
Taking these steps to enhance your health and quality of life can help you stay healthy and vibrant from your 20s through menopause and beyond.
- Research explores the impact of menopause on women’s health and aging. NIH, National Institutes on Aging. 2022. https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/research-explores-impact-menopause-womens-health-and-aging
- Kalhan M. Prevalence of menopausal symptoms and its effect on quality of life among rural middle aged women (40–60 years) of Haryana, India. International Journal of Applied and Basic Medical Research. 2020;10(3):183-188.
- El Khoudary SR. Menopause transition and cardiovascular disease risk: implications for timing of early prevention: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2020;142(25):e506-e532.
- Crandall, C. Associations of menopausal vasomotor symptoms with fracture incidence. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism; 2015;100(2):524–534.
- Jackson LW. (2010). Association between bone turnover, micronutrient intake, and blood lead levels in pre-and postmenopausal women, NHANES 1999–2002. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2010;118(11):1590–1596.
- Kołodyńska G. Urinary incontinence in postmenopausal women – causes, symptoms, treatment. Prz Menopauzalny. 2019;18(1):46-50.
- Menopause. Cleveland Clinic. 2021. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21841-menopause
- Pabich M. Biological effect of soy isoflavones in the prevention of civilization diseases.Nutrients. 2019;11(7):1660.
- Ahsan M. The effect of soy isoflavones on the menopause rating scale scoring in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women: a pilot study.Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. 2017;11(9):FC13-FC16.
- Chrysant SG. The cardiometabolic benefits of exercise in postmenopausal women.Journal of Clinical Hypertension (Greenwich). 2020;22(9):1691-1693.
- Dalsky GP. Weight-bearing exercise training and lumbar bone mineral content in postmenopausal women. Annals of Internal Medicine. 1988;108(6):824-8.
- Zhao Y. Effects of aerobics training on anxiety, depression and sleep quality in perimenopausal women.Frontiers in Psychiatry. 2022;13:1025682.
- Whitcomb BW. Cigarette smoking and risk of early natural menopause.American Journal of Epidemiology. 2018;187(4):696-704.
- Kargozar R. A review of effective herbal medicines in controlling menopausal symptoms. Electronic Physician. 2017;9(11):5826-5833.
- Franco OH. Use of plant-based therapies and menopausal symptoms:a systematic review and meta-analysis. 2016;315(23):2554–2563.
- Milart P. Selected vitamins and quality of life in menopausal women. Menopause Review. 2018; 17(4): 175-179.
- Doll H. Pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and the premenstrual syndrome: a randomized crossover trial. Journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners. 1989;39(326):364-8.
- Al-Musharaf S. Prevalence and indicators of vitamin B12 insufficiency among young women of childbearing age.International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020;18(1):1.
- Bourre JM. Dietary omega-3 fatty acids for women. Biomedical Pharmacotherapy. 2007;61(2-3):105-12.
- Ushiroyama T. Effect of continuous therapy with vitamin K2 and vitamin D3 on bone mineral density and coagulofibrinolysis function in postmenopausal women. Maturitas. 2002;41:211-21.
This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.