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Menopause symptom relief

Research shows some natural alternatives to hormone therapy are more effective than conjugated estrogen for relief of some of the symptoms of menopause, like vaginal dryness. This is good news for women who are looking for relief, without the common side effects of conjugated estrogens, like bloating, nausea, headache, fatigue, hair loss and nervousness, according to researchers.

While childbirth, immune disorders and even stress can lead to vaginal dryness, thinning and drying of the vaginal walls (vaginal atrophy) occurs most often when estrogen levels drop after menopause, and affects close to 50 per cent of postmenopausal women, according to a study in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Hyaluronic acid, a naturally-occurring sugar molecule found in the skin, connective tissue and eyes, has been found to be more effective for treating vaginal atrophy, vaginal dryness and itching, and even urinary incontinence, than conjugated estrogen therapy, a study in the International Journal of Community Based Nursing and Midwifery found.

In their 2016 randomized, clinically controlled study, researchers concluded both hyaluronic acid-based vaginal cream and conjugated estrogen relieved symptoms of vaginal atrophy, including dryness and itching. However, hyaluronic acid-based cream proved to be more effective at relieving symptoms than conjugated estrogen. Plus, only the hyaluronic acid group experienced urinary incontinence relief, they concluded.

Although the body produces hyaluronic acid, which functions to retain water and keep tissues moist, much like collagen and elastin, the amount of hyaluronic acid produced by the body decreases with age, which explains why symptoms like vaginal dryness are so prevalent among postmenopausal women.   

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