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PEOPLE SOMETIMES REFER TO MENOPAUSE AS THE “CLIMACTERIC”, but for those unlucky enough to suffer menopausal symptoms, this “change of life” probably feels more like an anticlimax than a climax! While one in four women have no symptoms, or virtually no symptoms, two in four experience mild to moderate symptoms and one in four have severe problems. Symptoms are largely the result of hormonal changes, in particular the fall in oestrogen levels. They include hot flushes, bloating, sore breasts, insomnia, mood swings, vaginal dryness and urinary THE DOCTOR problems. Often, symptoms are short-lived and can be Dr Cindy Pan managed with lifestyle changes such as attention to diet, exercise and sleep. If symptoms are severe, your doctor may suggest medication, particularly hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Depending on your symptoms and medical history, HRT may include oestrogen, progesterone or testosterone in the form of tablets, patches, gels, implants, injections, creams or pessaries. In general, HRT is only recommended for short-term use – one to five years from the time of menopause onset. Long-term use may be associated with an increased risk of thrombosis and breast cancer in some women.

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Dr Cindy Pan has had over 10 years of clinical practice. Her books include Pandora’s Box: Lifting The Lid On Life’s Little Nasties (HarperCollins) and Playing Hard To Get (HarperCollins). She appears on television, lectures and speaks about all aspects of health, relationships and wellbeing.

MENOPAUSE CAN BE A CHALLENGING TIME for some women. One of the most important changes that occurs is reduced oestrogen levels, which produce a variety of symptoms. During and after menopause, women need to focus on supporting their hormonal levels. This can be achieved by taking herbal medicines such as black cohosh, lady’s mantle, wild yam and the ayurvedic herb, shatavari, or nutritional supplements such as calcium, vitamin D and E, magnesium and essential fatty acids (omega-3, 6 and 9). You can also try increasing THE NATUROPATH your food sources of phytosterols, which are found an tm in fermented soy (miso, tofu, tempeh), sprouts, ch He ah Le wholegrains and flaxseeds. Lifestyle strategies, such as weight-bearing exercise and increasing your exposure to sunshine, also help. You should also try to reduce your exposure to chemicals and toxins, such as toluene and phthalates. Toluene is found in nail polish. It interferes with the enzymes that enable oestrogen production and contributes to elevated cholesterol. Phthalates are found in plastics and have been shown to interfere with oestrogen production.

WINNER BEAUTY DIRECTOR’S CHOICE AWARD - New Woman Beauty Awards 2007 Voted ‘WORLD’S BEST NEW BEAUTY PRODUCT’ - Wallpaper* Awards, London 2006 WINNER CLEO BEST OF BEAUTY - Diamond Award Winner 2006

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Leah Hechtman is a naturopath and fertility specialist. She is a lecturer, author, researcher and industry consultant and has her own clinical practice in Sydney, NSW. She specialises in fertility, reproductive and psychological health. For more information visit

the body+soul team editor Cushla Chauhan ● deputy editor Nicola Conville ● art director Melinda Ayre senior designers Gail Adam, Christine Schiedel ● sub-editor Gina Flaxman our cover Austral advertising advertising manager Jodie Smith (02) 9288 8446 for reader enquiries phone (02) 9288 3320 or fax (02) 9288 2307 or email the body+soul team at

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