Hearing your mother’s account of menopause and watching her side effects take place can many times create a self-fulfilling prophecy, but before you think your menopausal experience will be all your own, keep an open mind that genetics may, to a certain degree, determine some factors associated with menopause.
Often beginning when a woman reaches her late forties or early fifties, menopause itself may take up to several years to complete and is comprised of several common symptoms as a result of decreased estrogen production. These symptoms include hot flashes, depression, mood swings, anxiety, headaches, insomnia and fatigue.
Is There a Genetic Link When It Comes to Symptoms?
Researchers tend to believe certain aspects of menopause may be associated with a genetic predisposition. This is particularly true in relation to the specific age range a woman might develop onset of the affliction. For example, if a woman became menopausal at an early age, the chances her daughter(s) may do so at a younger than normal age are increased. However, just because a woman experiences the problem at relatively the same age as her mother does not necessarily mean the severity and/or duration of the condition will be the same.
The Importance of External Factors
Many external issues may play a more significant role in determining the onset, severity and duration of most women’s symptoms. The type of lifestyle she leads can have an adverse impact upon this condition as well. Ladies who engage in activities detrimental to overall health, such as smoking, have been reported to experience earlier and more severe manifestations of the condition. In addition, women who are overweight and/or who do not receive adequate amounts of exercise may also be at risk for increased severity or a longer-than-usual duration. On occasion, specific illnesses such as autoimmune disorders (various thyroid diseases, diseases of hormonal glands, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus) can also precipitate a woman entering the pre-menopausal and/or menopausal stages.
Steps to Cope with Menopause
Whether you are concerned with genetic factors or lifestyle habits, fortunately, there are several steps pre-menopausal and/or menopausal women can employ to potentially either delay the onset of and/or lessen the condition’s manifestations. These steps include:
Consuming A Better Diet
Foods and beverages containing high contents of substances like sugar, caffeine and alcohol are believed to exacerbate symptoms of menopause. Medical professionals and nutritionists recommend limiting or eliminating products comprised of these chemicals and eating a more balanced diet highlighted by an increased intake of fruits and vegetables. Other dietary changes that can help with balance hormones from a loss of estrogen throughout menopause can be addressed with an estrogen-rich diet.
A scientific study suggested that women who received at least a half an hour of physical activity three or more times per week saw a decrease in the severity of their symptoms.
Use Natural Supplements
A number of symptoms are attributable to the body’s reduced production of estrogen. Certain natural herbal products contain hormone levels, natural remedies, and proper nutrient secretion, great enough to help limit manifestations.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
In women with severe symptoms, lost estrogen can be replaced using synthetic versions of estrogen. Replacement therapy may be administered through various different channels including pills, sprays, gels and injections. In addition, replacement therapy is believed to help prevent potentially serious post-menopausal health issues such as heart disease, bone weakening and dementia.
As nice as the results sound, however, long-term therapy has been associated with health risks of their own. Long-term hormone therapy has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and lung cancer (among other health risks). Those considering this form of treatment should receive a full evaluation from their doctors who can better determine of hormone therapy is the right course of action.
Even though many of these healthy habits that can aid in minimizing your menopausal discomfort have little to do with genetics, don’t be too closed off from learning from your mothers’ experiences anyway, she may have some helpful tips that will come in handy down the road.