"Solutions for Seven Symptoms of Perimenopause" - from Discovery Health
So here's the advice in that article at WebMD http://my.webmd.com/content/dmk/dmk_article_1960983
boiled down to the useful bits:
Nonhormonal ways to reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease (percentage of risk reduction in parens):
aspirin, 325 mg/day (33%)
ideal body weight (45%)
regular exercise (45%)
stop smoking (50%)
1. Don't ignore other sources, e.g., thyroid and infections
2. Vitamin E, 400 IU, but it has to be d- not dl- (apparently, they're still testing this)
3. B vitamin complex
4. Clonidine--a antihypertension prescription medicine, decreases vasomotor symptoms by 50%, 0.05 to 0.1 mg once or twice a day or in a 0.1 mg patch. decreases the severity and frequency but doesn't eliminate them. But side effects of fatigue, dizziness, and low blood pressure.
5. Mixture of phenobarbital, ergotamine tartrate, and belladonna alkaloids. Side effects are dry mouth and potent sedating effects. can't take with glaucoma.
6. Megestrol acetate, synthetic progestin, can decrease vasomotor symptoms. Especially good for endometrial carcinoma patients. 20 mg once or twice a day. Weight gain though and PMS
7. Licorice root, an estrogen precursor, and sarsaparilla, a progestserone precursor, in combination. Licorice root can increase blood pressure.
Aside from the usual tricks:
1. Using a small pillow stuffed with dried female hops flowers
2. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) 400 mg of standardized tincture extract or 2.5 to 5.0 mg of solid extract at bedtime.
3. Trazodone 25 mg at bedtime.
4. Warm Ovaltine 30 min before bedtime--contains tryptophan, an amino acid that incraeses sleep.
1. antihistamines, decongestants, any drying drug make it worse.
2. perineal wash once a day--rinse the vulva with a quart of plain water--open labia with one hand and spray from a squirt bottle or pour it slowly from the corner of a square container.
3. Calendula, comfrey, or St. John's Wort creams may decrease the burning, itching. Once or twice a week externally.
4. Replens hydrates for 2-3 days.
5. Petroleum based products can foster infections so avoid them.
6. Naturapaths recommend olive oil, wheat germ oil, or sesame oil. A square quilted cotton makeup pad is soaked in one of these oils, squeezed out and inserted in the vagina over night once a week.
7. Vaginal itching can be eased with an oatmeal bath--cooked oatmeal placed in a strainer and held under the tap as the tub fills. Also can buy a natural colloidal oatmeal product.
8. Yogurt helps maintain vaginal pH. Acidophilus can be in capsules, but requires refrigeration to be active.
9. Chasteberry, as a tea, can revitalize vaginal tissue.
10. Zinc, 15 mg/day--also in wheat germ, seafood, meat, and oats.
11. Evening primrose oil (GLA) may help
1. low dose 2% testosterone cream, compounded by a pharmacist
2. don't take DHEA except under a doctor's supervision--side effects are liver problems and cholesterol problems.
3. Antispasmodics--oxybutynin or hyoscyamine (can't be taken by people with glaucoma) help with urge incontinence.
4. Low-dose tricyclic antidepressants such as imipramine can relieve nighttime urgency.
Skin and hair
drink a lot of water, at least 6-8oz glasses a day
Crying, dysphoria, depression
1. SSRIs for hormonally influenced depression
2. St. John's Wort with caution. blocks lots of other drugs.
Use it or lose it
Gingko biloba enhances circulation in the brain
1. Calcium citrate is less likely to cause gas or stomach problems
2. Weight-bearing exercise and strength and balance training
3. Folic acid, 800 mcg/d