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Female Health

The specific issues faced by women are generally linked to the fluctuations of the female sex hormones during the menstrual cycle (PMT and period pain) or those connected with stages of the reproductive life (fertility and menopause).

In general, the demands of the menstrual cycle on a woman’s health mean that she is potentially at risk from slight anaemia (or low in iron) due to heavy bleeding during her periods. In fact, being slightly iron deficient can make heavy bleeding worse, leading to a vicious cycle. Iron can be a little hard to digest and cause discomfort or nausea when taken, so if you experience these symptoms a “gentle” iron supplement is a good idea. It is also important to take Vitamin C alongside iron, to ensure that it is properly absorbed by the body. Tonics providing Iron with B vitamins are a palatable and easy way to give the body a boost during the menstrual cycle.

Menopause Support

The menopause is defined as the time in a woman’s life when she has had her last menstrual period. This means it can be quite difficult to know when the menopause actually takes place (the average age is 52), but the years or months leading up to it, known as the peri-menopause can also be a time of increasing menopausal symptoms. These include hot flushes (or hot flashes), where the body feels suddenly very hot, which can be upsetting and disconcerting in the daytime and interfere with sleep at night. The vaginal area can become dry and the tissue can become thinner and more fragile (atrophy) and this can lead to painful intercourse. Physically, the body can change shape and weight or weight distribution can change, while bones can become less strong (osteoporosis). Unsurprisingly, all of these changes can be hard to cope with and this, alongside hormonal effects, can lead to feelings of depression, anger, irritability and emotional upset. In the run up to the menopause, the menstrual cycle can become irregular. Some women find that periods become less frequent while others report that they happen more often.

 Nature’s answer to Menopausal symptoms

Most of the symptoms of the menopause are due to decreasing levels of the hormone oestrogen. Phyto-oestrogens are plant hormones which are very similar to human oestrogen and can take over from it to produce its effects to certain extent. Sage, Hops and Red clover are all herbs that contain phyto-oestrogens as well as products containing Soy which can be increased in the diet. Other herbs are helpful too: Black Cohosh has been found by many women to help improve mood and reduce hot flushes.

Because of changes in bone density, it is important to look after the health of bones and joints. Supplements of Vitamin D, Calcium and Magnesium are helpful here.

Menstrual pain and Pre-menstrual Tension (PMT)

The days leading up to periods can be a difficult time for women, who can suffer physical symptoms like skin problems and spots, breast pain or tender breasts, water retention, bloating, and sugar cravings. There can also be emotional symptoms, some women become irritable and more easily angry and upset and others find themselves tearful and depressed. All of this is caused by hormonal changes in the days before the period starts.

During the period, cramping muscular pain can be felt in the abdominal area and this can also affect the lower back and legs. This is caused by the uterus muscle going into spasm as the lining is shed and comes away.

Nature’s answer to Menstrual pain and Pre-menstrual Tension (PMT).

Making sure you are healthy helps to balance hormones naturally, so a good female multi-vitamin packed full of B-Vitamins is an excellent place to start. Herbs such as Vitex Agnus Castus and Black Cohosh can also help to balance sex hormones.

Herbs can also help with period pain, yarrow is a good one to try. A magnesium supplement can help reduce muscle cramps.