It’s known as the phase in which women experience the definitive end of menstruation, it’s a process that cannot be stopped, and each of us must adapt naturally to the internal changes taking place in our organism.
Reina Magdariaga Larduet
This stage of reproductive aging comes with many symptoms that affect women’s quality of life, with the average age of a woman’s last period being 51.
Faced with this reality, scientists around the world have carried out countless studies to alleviate the discomfort of this uncomfortable process, which is characterised by a lower production of feminine hormones, particularly oestrogen. In this sense, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is considered the most effective treatment for the majority of the symptoms associated with menopause.
Nonetheless, due to its side effects, HRT is not administered to many patients, who choose more natural alternatives, given the increased risk of breast cancer that comes with HRT.
One of these alternatives is fennel, an aromatic plant rich in phytoestrogen that is a safe and effective option for alleviating many of the associated symptoms, according to a study published in Menopause magazine that was carried out by Iranian researchers.
The 79 women that participated in the study, with ages ranging from 45 to 60, were administered capsules with 100 milligrams of fennel, – either Foeniculum vulgare Mill, sweet fennel, or a placebo – to take twice a day and for eight weeks.
Theresults showed that, by weeks four, eight and ten of the study, the treatment proved to be very effective in treating many symptoms, in particular hot flushes, insomnia, vaginal dryness and anxiety.
According to Joann Pinkerton, Director of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), this pilot study shows that on the Menopause Rating Scale, consuming fennel as a phytoestrogen twice a day improves symptoms of menopause when compared to a placebo. Pinkerton suggests that a bigger randomised trial is needed to determine the long-term benefits and safety profile of this therapeutic alternative.
Foeniculum vulgare or fennel
Fennel is the only species of the genus Foeniculum, which is found throughout temperate regions around the world. It is an aromatic plant that grows in the wild, and is cultivated for use in gastronomy.
For this purpose, the seeds, preferably dried, are used in a variety of foods such as pies, breads and cakes, as well as in cooking fish (mackerel, herring and salmon).
It also has healing properties that relieve the irritation of tired eyes and conjunctivitis.
A tablespoon of seeds is boiled for five minutes in 300 millilitres of water, which is then filtered, left to cool and used as an eyewash two or three times a day.
Given that increased longevity also prolongs menopause, experts recommend taking extra care of one’s health during this time in order to guarantee future quality of life.
Because of this, and through an agreement between the International Menopause Society (IMS) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), it has been decided to celebrate World Menopause Day every 18th October. (PL)
Photos: Pixabay – (Translated by Lucy Daghorn)