Menopause is defined as the time when the menses stop for at least 12 consecutive months, usually occurring between ages 45 and 55. The average age of menopause in the United States is 51. Interestingly enough, although life expectancy has increased, the age of menopause has remained steady over the past few centuries.
The number of menopausal women is increasing with life expectancy as well, with approximately 6000 women reaching menopause EVERY day, and about 75% of women will experience some symptoms of menopause.
Many women seek alternative treatments for menopausal symptoms, such as valerian root, black cohosh, wild yam, meditation, yoga, and other supplements. If you do decide to try herbal medicine, be sure to talk to your practitioner. Although most of these supplements are safe to use, some of them may interact with your current medication regimen. Unfortunately, many herbal remedies lack hard data likely due to the varying strengths and dosages.
Other alternative methods to combat the symptoms of menopause have been proven with clinical data. For example, a journal article in Maturitas, June 2010, has proven acupuncture to be better than placebo in the treatment of hot flashes. Also, mind-body medicine such as meditation or focused exercise such as yoga can improve overall wellness.
Do remember during menopause that your vitamin requirements will change. Your calcium and vitamin D needs will especially increase. Make sure to add at least 800 mIU of Vitamin D and 2000IU of calcium daily.
Overall, menopause should not be seen as the end of womanhood, just another part of womanhood itself. It only gets better! Stay cool...