They say age is just a number, but certain numbers in life are big milestones! When you gain a new decade, like turning 40 or 50, it’s time to celebrate. This also happens to be the time when women start to experience signs of menopause. Menopause is a normal change that comes with healthy aging, but sometimes it can feel like a lot. Fortunately, you can take steps to help yourself feel comfortable at this stage of life. Think of this blog as your menopause “Welcome Kit,” helping you to feel ready for the best you yet!
What is Menopause?
First, what is menopause anyway? In general, menopause is the transitional time in a woman’s life when her ovaries naturally stop producing estrogen and her menstrual periods end. Did you know that menopause is technically just on one day? Here’s how clinicians break down the stages of menopause:
Pre menopause or peri menopause: These are the years before actual menopause when estrogen production by the ovaries starts to vary. Peri menopause tends to begin in a woman in her 30s.
Menopause: This is the point that marks one year (12 consecutive months) since your last period. 51 is the average age for going through menopause naturally. (There are sometimes other reasons for menopause—talk to your healthcare professional if you have questions.)
Post menopause: This is any time after the point of menopause. At this stage, women no longer have periods, and their reproductive years are behind them. (If you’ve been taking a prenatal vitamin for years to prepare for possible pregnancy, this is a perfect time to switch to an everyday women’s multivitamin.)
In some ways, entering menopause is a similar experience to entering adolescence. Hormone levels shift. Your body changes in new and sometimes unexpected ways. The transition is sometimes overwhelming, and sometimes it has new benefits you hadn’t foreseen.
Peri menopause and menopause are considered normal parts of getting older. Many women do experience some symptoms during these years. According to the Office on Women’s Health, menopause symptoms can include:
- Menstrual cycle changes
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Sleep disturbances, like insomnia
- Mood changes
- Vaginal or urinary tract changes
Keep in mind that even if a woman doesn’t have noticeable menopause symptoms, her body is changing and adjusting to different levels of hormones than before. It’s a good idea to take extra care of bone health, heart health, and sexual health. Ask your healthcare professional for help.
Why Do Women Get Hot Flashes?
One of the most common symptoms of menopause is hot flashes (sometimes called hot flushes). Hot flashes are caused by changing hormone levels in the body and tend to take place in the years before and after menopause. According to the Mayo Clinic, hot flashes may be due to the body’s internal temperature system (controlled by the hypothalamus) becoming more sensitive. Hot flashes can occur a few times a month or even a few times a day.
What is it exactly? A hot flash is a sudden feeling of heat in the upper body and face. Redness or sweating may occur. You may feel a rapid heartbeat. A hot flash may last for around a minute or for several minutes. You might also feel chilly once the hot flash ends. Night sweats are essentially hot flashes that happen at night, and they can disrupt sleep.
Popular Remedies for Hot Flashes & More
So, you may wonder, “What helps hot flashes?” There are plenty of things to try! You might want to track your hot flashes to identify if certain things set them off, like your afternoon mug of hot tea, for example. Then, mix and match some of the following to find what works for you.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, or hot drinks, if these seem to bring on hot flashes for you.
- Be ready to be cool. Wear layers, use a fan, and drink cool beverages. If you experience night sweats, try these at bedtime.
- Take slow, deep breaths when you feel a hot flash coming on. Cultivating calm may help make it shorter.
- Be physically active. One study found that post-menopausal women who exercised regularly reported better quality of life. In general, adults should get 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week, plus muscle-strengthening activities on 2 days a week.
- Consider soy foods. It’s believed that soy products such as tofu and tempeh contain plant compounds (phytoestrogens) that may offer some balance as natural estrogen production declines. Some people consider soy one of the up-and-coming natural remedies without hormones for hot flashes (though more research is needed).
- Maintain a healthy weight. An analysis of postmenopausal women showed that healthy diet and modest weight loss helped reduce hot flashes.
There are also menopause medications and therapies that your healthcare professional may recommend. Work with them on the best plan for you—be vocal and ask questions! You deserve help with feeling comfortable.
What is Black Cohosh?
Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) is a member of the buttercup family. It is native to North America, and in the summertime it blooms in gorgeous, tall spikes of white flowers. Black Cohosh, also called snakeroot, has been used by generations of indigenous healers. Modern-day researchers agree that Black Cohosh extract appears to be helpful for women going through the transitional time of menopause. In particular, clinical studies show that Black Cohosh has promise for herbal hot flash relief and relieving night sweats, too.
Additional Benefits of Black Cohosh
Black Cohosh is one of the common herbs for hot flashes, but it can also be considered a good all-around ally during menopause, given that it’s been used for centuries for various symptoms. New Chapter®’s formula for pre- and post-menopause is Estrotone™, expertly formulated for women looking for herbal support and hormonal balance throughout this life stage. Concentrated herbal extracts, including Black Cohosh and Chaste Tree, deliver benefits before, during & post menopause.* The herbs for menopause in Estrotone have been carefully selected and combined to deliver a comprehensive herbal hormone support formula with NO hormones or estrogen.
The Bottom Line
Researchers are starting to pay more attention to helping women feel healthy, happy, and empowered throughout their lives, including in peri and post menopause. The idea of menopause and growing older definitely brings up a lot of feelings but know that it’s a normal part of human biology. Ask for help if menopause symptoms are affecting your quality of life. And you can take menopause as a perfect time to set yourself up well for many healthy years to come! New Chapter is here to help with your wellness needs throughout life, including with supplements like our one-daily Black Cohosh menopause blend, Estrotone.