Maybe you’ve already gone through “the change”–a quaint throwback to the days of yore. Or, perhaps you’re smack in the middle of it right now. But if you’re not yet at the point when estrogen levels start to plummet, you might want to heed the words of Bette Davis in one of my favorite movies, All About Eve: “Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”
Except in this case, it’s far more than a night. It’s years. Several years, in fact.
Yep. It’s true. Perimenopause–the transition to menopause–usually starts in your 40s, and according to the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), the average woman doesn’t actually reach menopause until age 51. Long stretch, you say?
But, there’s some good news, too. Once you hit menopause, you are officially a postmenopausal woman–for the rest of your life.
If you were born after 1950, you will probably live well into your 80s or beyond, which means almost half your life will be spent as a postmenopausal woman.
Wait, there’s more, and it gets better! Whichever stage you’re in–peri, post or everything in-between–menopause can often cause some uncomfortable symptoms–hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, dryness just about everywhere, trouble sleeping, foggy brain–and usually the first line of defense is to go straight for the big guns: Hormone Replacement Therapy, or better known simply as HRT. But, as it turns out, HRT isn’t the only game in town. Far from it! Even though I cover quite a few terrific options in the chapter on menopause in my newest book, Love Your Age: The Small-Step Solution to a Better, Longer, Happier Life (National Geographic), there’s a new one that really deserves the attention of every woman over 40.
I recently had a chat with Dr. Margaret Nachtigall, a leading reproductive endocrinologist in NYC, whose practice is comprised primarily of women who are somewhere on the menopause spectrum. Dr. Nachtigall introduced me to a product that is fairly new to the USA, but has been successfully used by women in Israel and throughout Europe for many years, and she is a huge believer in what it can do for women who are experiencing the sometimes intolerable effects of menopause. It’s called Femarelle.
Here’s what it is, what it does, and why it works: Femarelle is an over-the-counter natural nutrition supplement extracted from soy and flax, made to mimic estrogen, in a class of therapeutic solutions called Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs). Dr. Nachtigall pointed out that even women who can’t ingest soy products can take Femarelle. Because it acts like estrogen and the body thinks it’s estrogen, it helps to alleviate some of the more common symptoms women have during the entire peri- to post-menopausal experience.
What’s the secret to the sauce? DT56A–a proprietary amino acid-rich natural compound derived from soy but without the isoflavones. DT56A is a SERM that acts like estrogen and helps to alleviate menopausal symptoms and improve bone health.
How long does it take to work? Studies showed that within 1 to 3 weeks, women reported feeling more energetic, experienced fewer mood swings, better sleep, a decrease in hot flashes and night sweats, and less vaginal dryness. But, it seems there is a bonus to this product that even the company behind Femarelle didn’t expect: many studies demonstrated an improvement in bone density, directly in bone cells. As a post-menopausal woman (ten years and counting) who has experienced a decrease in bone density over the years, this was particularly impressive to me.
When should I take it and for how long? Unlike HRT, which a woman should start taking at the onset of symptoms and stop when the worst of the symptoms are over, Femarelle was specifically created to be a regular part of women’s personal health and wellness program for the long haul, with each product (there are three) geared to women in their 40s, 50s, and 60+. Because there are no side effects, it can be taken for as long as you feel it’s working for you. Note: there are three different products — Rejuvenate, Recharge, and Unstoppable — each one geared to a specific age group and menopause symptoms. Check this out to figure out which one is best for you.
Because it is being recommended to me by someone I know and trust — Dr. Margaret Nachtigall — and it’s backed by no less than 19 studies, I bought some Recharge and will report back to you in three weeks on the effect it has on me. Based on everything I learned from my chat with Dr. Nachtigall, the scientific studies I researched, and the testimonials from other women, I expect that this product will deliver the goods, as promised.
If you’ve tried Femarelle, I’d love to hear from you! Tell us your experience in the comments section.