08 July, 2011
Does Taking Prenatal Vitamins Help Ease Menopause Symptoms?
Menopause is the transition a woman goes through as her monthly cycles begin to cease in response to decreased hormone production. Symptoms include irregular periods, hot flashes, dryness of vaginal membranes, decreased sex drive and diminished or absent fertility. Unfortunately, prenatal vitamins can't do anything to help ease these symptoms.
During menopause, your hormone levels begin to fall, causing an array of symptoms that many women find physically and psychologically uncomfortable. These symptoms don't last the remainder of your life; in general, you feel most uncomfortable during the year or so in which you are getting used to changing hormone levels. Still, the discomfort, sleep disturbance and hot flashes are often enough to cause women to look for ways to ease the symptoms.
Prenatal Vitamins and Misconceptions
Prenatal vitamins are commonly associated with health, fertility, and high energy because they're taken by women, who appear to be the picture of good health. However, the prenatal vitamins aren't causing women to have energy, glow and carry a baby to term; pregnancy hormones are. Even though it's common to think that you can get a pregnant woman's glow, energy and good health through using prenatal vitamins, there's no scientific support for this theory.
Prenatal Vitamin Ingredients
Prenatal vitamins are, in fact, very similar to regular daily multivitamins formulated for women. They contain the regular vitamins and minerals that you'd eat in food or take as supplements on a daily basis, and simply have added quantities of certain key nutrients that pregnant women need in particularly large amounts. Specifically, they're high in iron, which you need to help produce extra blood during pregnancy, and in folic acid, used to prevent early birth defects.
Though many women view menopause as a medical condition for which they need to seek treatment, it's actually a completely normal transition. Most importantly, the discomfort is temporary. Still, if you find that you're unwilling or unable to weather the symptoms of menopause without seeking medical aid, it's best to talk to a doctor about hormone replacement; this is a much more effective strategy for treating the symptoms of menopause than taking prenatal vitamins would be.
- MayoClinic.com: Menopause
- “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”; Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel; 2008
- toxawww/iStock/Getty Images