What's going on in the body?
fain the middle of their lives hardly ever feel – the so-called middle generation, according to surveys, enjoys more extensive personal and financial freedoms than even their parents, for example. However, it is on average just between the 45th and 55th age of a woman that production by the body of progesterone, female sex hormone, and estrogen (estradiol, estrone and estriol) decreases slowly. This means that the cycle becomes irregular and that ovulation is becoming less common.
At the top of the video: these symptoms can occur during menopause!
This menopausal phase, which lasts several months to several years, is called "change" or "climate" and is experienced differently: while the symptoms of menopause are largely unknown in Asia, two-thirds of women in Western Europe suffer highs and lows of hormones – half of them strong.
Hot flashes, sleep disturbances and more
Main symptom: hot flashes. In addition, the climate is associated with sleep disturbances, mood swings, depression, cardiovascular problems, vaginal dryness and loss of libido. "However, these complaints are not necessarily related to hormonal change," says Andreas Lenhard, specialist in gynecology and obstetrics in Bad Segeberg. "Therefore, other physical and mental causes should be excluded."
Menopause is not a disease
Professor Kerstin Weidner, director of the clinic and polyclinic for psychotherapy and psychosomatic at the University Hospital of Dresden University, also recommends to closely examine the symptoms of menopause: after all, this phase of life often coincides with considerable family upheaval. "Children leave home, parents need care, relationships diverge," says the expert.
In addition, there would be the first signs of physical wear. In order to determine what supposed symptoms are actually due to hormonal changes, Weidner and his team interviewed about 2,500 women aged 14 to 95 in the menopause assessment scale, a questionnaire used to diagnose the symptoms of menopause. As a result, it was only in hot flushes that an agglomeration formed around the 50th anniversary. "Heart, joint and muscle problems have increased with age, vaginal dryness has reached its peak only during menopause," said Weidner.
For mental health issues such as sleep disorders or depression, the research team has not been able to establish dependence on age . "Of course, menopause still exists – just as there are currently hormone-sensitive women with severe symptoms," said the specialist. But no woman should be afraid of menopause or seek treatment for no particular reason – which she considers counterproductive: "Menopause is not a disease".
Help of the natural pharmacy
black cohosh (for example, "Remifemin") stimulates the production of endogenous estrogens, soybean and red clover (for example, in "Meno soy soy isoflavones two-core") contain isoflavones.
yam acts by the substance contained Diosgenin as progesterone.
Chaste Tree reduces prolactin release before menstruation and treats the cause of premenstrual syndrome and irregularities in the cycle.
wise helps fight against sweating in the presence of hot flashes, passionflower, lady's coat and St. John's wort that can counteract mood swings.
valerianHops and lavender (for example, "Lasea") help fight insomnia.
at calcium deficiency If supplements (such as "Calcium Verla") prevent osteoporosis, an association with vitamin D3 (for example, "Vigantol") may be helpful to allow the incorporation of calcium into the bones.
zinc (eg "Unizink 50"), biotin (e.g. "Bio-H-Tin") and selenium (e.g. "Cefasel 200 nutri") provide skin and hair from within.
collagen peptides and nutrients to drink (for example, "elastic") can reduce wrinkles and increase the elasticity of the skin.
It works without medication
Many women are similar and therefore prefer a hormone-free treatment when hot flushes and other ailments make life difficult during this time. The following strategies naturally help you feel good in your own body.
Put herbal supplements
"Herbal remedies can produce the same effects as with hormone replacement therapy – and without side effects," said Günther H. Heepen, a naturopath in Bamberg and author of the guide "Hormones Regulate Naturally", convinced. In the symptoms of menopause, he advises to determine the sex hormones that are progesterone, estradiol, estriol and testosterone to specifically treat: "Estradiol and progesterone are often lacking," Heepen said.
Because of his stress, he often observes a dominance of testosterone. Hormonal fluctuations can temporarily lead to very high levels of estrogen. "The important thing is that the ratio between hormones is correct," says the expert. Depending on the starting point, different types of regulating plant substances can be used:
Men's menopause – is it really that?
A male counterpart to menopause is what is called andropause. Also the "climacterium virile" is often the word. Both terms are disputed by the experts, as the testosterone level in men aged 40 years decreases on average by only one to two percent per year.
An association with health problems such as weight gain, porous bones, fatigue, hair loss or erectile dysfunction has not yet been clearly demonstrated by the studies.
So it makes sense to think about testosterone intake, it's usually to reduce stress, rich in nutrients and varied, to do sports regularly – and to cope with growing girth circumference: Because the tissue Abdominal fat produces estrogen. The sources of phytohormones active in androgens are ginseng and Scottish pine.
Their structure is so similar to the body's estrogens that they can cling to the proper hormone receptors. Flavonoids, lignans and indole carbinols are distinguished. Particularly preferred isoflavone soy and red clover preparations should be applied according to the recommendation of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. However, they should only be used for a short time and in a commercial dosage to avoid adverse effects on the uterus, breast and thyroid. Women with health problems in this area should not take isolated isoflavones.
Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs)
These are, for example, in black cohosh and Siberian rhubarb and cause in the woman's body an estrogen-like effect, without disrupting the hormonal balance. "The biggest benefits of SERMs are that they can not suppress the positive effects of estrogen and can be used in pre-existing conditions such as breast cancer," Heepen said. Several studies prove the success of treatment with black cohosh against hot flashes and sleep disorders. Who decides to, should talk to his doctor. Since improper use can also result in side effects, medical checkup is important.
This is for example in yam or chaste tree and that is the case. recommended for cycle disorders. Good to know: Some patients only respond to phytoestrogens when they take progesterone of plant origin.
What helps with hot flashes?
The best-known menopausal phenomenon is probably caused by a temporary disruption of the autonomic nervous system caused by hormonal fluctuations and adaptations: internal temperature control mistakenly registers a low body temperature, which widens the blood vessels. As a result, chest heat rises and spreads around the neck, arms, and face (or the whole body). The process usually only takes a few seconds or even minutes: the sweat dissipates, the skin turns red, the heart beats. Due to the cold evaporation, it can then lead to cold showers.
Smoking, alcohol, coffee, spicy dishes, stress, lack of exercise and being overweight can increase hot flashes. A log can provide information about possible triggers. Consolation: Sweating attacks are particularly common during the first or first two years of menopause, and then subside again.
Optimize the diet
Many women gain during menopause without eating more. "Calorie needs are decreasing from 200 to 400 kilocalories a day, mainly because the muscle is weakening," says gynecologist Lenhard. The insulin sensitivity of the body also decreases. Possible consequences: Fettpölsterchen on the belly, cravings and sweet. Constipation can also be hormonal. "Your body is showing you what you need now," says Lenhard, who offers cooking classes on the topic of "menopause" in addition to his hands-on experience.
His advice: "Colorful vegetables, cold or warm, should be the basis of every meal." Those who consistently follow this principle take fewer carbohydrates and provide enough nutrients and fiber to the body. "Water retention and hyperacidity go up, hot flashes go down," Lenhard promises. Many phytoestrogens, which are safe in this form, are found in broccoli, green cabbage and Brussels sprouts, beans, lentils, chickpeas, flax seeds, sesame seeds and seeds. pumpkin. There is a lot of herbal progesterone found in peas, cucumbers, carrots, squash, lentils, celery and tomatoes.
Herbs not only bring flavor to the plate, but also a healing power: "Chelim and sage, for example, stimulate intestinal activity," says Lenhard. The diet should be supplemented with proteins (eg fish, eggs, legumes, quark). "One and a half grams per kilogram of body weight covers the daily needs, which is important for maintaining the muscles," says the nutritionist.
As a supplier of fat, high quality vegetable oils are optimal. As estrogen also contributes to the formation of new bones, many women contract osteoporosis at menopause. "A mineral water containing calcium can prevent," says Lenhard. In addition, since pro-hormone colecalciferol regulates the metabolism of calcium and phosphate, vitamin D3 levels should be monitored.
What to do against vaginal dryness?
In postmenopausal surveys, one in two women or more suffers from vaginal dryness. Possible consequences: Burns, itching, increased infections and pain during intercourse. "The lower the level of estrogen, the more tissue in the vaginal area is dry and thin," says gynecologist Andreas Lenhard.
Moisturizing creams (such as "Vagisan"), gels containing hormones or vaginal suppositories can relieve symptoms.
Even a laser treatment is recently possible: "The vaginal mucosa is slightly injured during three short outpatient sessions to stimulate the regeneration process," said the expert. The desired result of the procedures (painless): the vaginal tissue is reformed, the mucous membrane thickens. "According to the studies, the success rate is 80%," says Lenhard. Cost: depending on the provider, between 200 and 400 euros. The result of the laser treatment should last at least three years. After one year, a recycling treatment is recommended.
Continue to advance
Regular physical activity relieves the symptoms of menopause – a 2016 study conducted by the Latin American Collaborative Climate Research Group with more than 6,000 official women aged 40 to 59: the subjects who were doing the same. Exercise at least three times a week for 30 minutes suffered much less frequently from symptoms such as hot flushes, sleep disturbances, and depressive moods than potatoes of the same age.
Exercise regulates the entire hormonal system, reduces the release of stress hormones such as cortisol and stimulates the production of endorphins. alleviate mood and reduce sensitivity to pain. "Taking 45 minutes three times a week is a good start," says Lenhard. If you bike without skipping stairs, you also incorporate many small exercise units into everyday life.
For more advanced sportsmen, joint-endurance sports such as Nordic walking or swimming are ideal. With strength training, women can fight against muscle and bone loss. Calorie-intensive fitness concepts (such as Aqua-Gym, Zumba) help reduce weight. Yoga, dancing and hiking are good for the soul. Incidentally, it's never too late to start exercising: Studies show that women who begin targeted training only after menopause benefit as much from their peers who have received comprehensive training. .
Bioidentical Hormones – The Natural Alternative?
Bioidentical hormones are largely identical in chemistry to the body's own structure but, like synthetic hormones, are produced at many stages of treatment. The starting substance is the active substance contained in the diosgenin of the yam. Proponents of bioidentical hormones assume that the known side effects of conventional hormonal preparations (eg, a slightly increased risk of breast cancer) by this form of administration are not to be feared – which, however, does not Is not scientifically proven. Since bioidentical hormones are manufactured individually and are not clinically tested end products, the risk of overdose or underdosing is higher.
MORE ABOUT "Bioidentical Hormones", VAK, 28 €
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Tips on menopause
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During menopause, the woman's body changes. Women can take good care of themselves during this process by ensuring a balanced diet. So, they absorb all the important vitamins and minerals to support their bodies. We show what women need to take into account.
Seek emotional support
In the climate, it's time to say goodbye: cycle, youth, fertility. The absence of this rule can be felt as a relief, but also as a loss, according to Professor Weidner: "Especially for women whose desire to have children has not come true, this phase can be very difficult . " If a postmenopausal woman is very afraid, By developing sleep disorders or depression, psychotherapy can help. For example, several studies indicate a good effectiveness of behavioral therapy. "Here, strategies are learned to evaluate negative thoughts in a new and more positive way," says Weidner. The first contact for mental problems may be a family doctor, a gynecologist or a psychosomatic.