The menopause is often a difficult time for women yet some women seem to be lucky and just skip through it without too many problems. Are they lucky or are they doing things differently? Symptoms associated with the menopause include hot flushes, low sex drive, sleep problems as well as increased urinary tract infections, vaginal dryness and pain during sex. The way in which women perceive menopausal symptoms and distress can have a huge effect on quality of life and there is now an improved standard questionnaire that researchers use for measuring menopausal symptoms (Menopause-Quality Of Life Questionnaire). Some things, such as lack of exercise, being overweight and smoking, are known to aggravate menopausal symptoms. There are also differences in the severity of menopausal symptoms and the age at which menopause happens, based on ethnicity and cultural background as well as where a person lives. In Europe menopause is slightly later in the northern countries than in Mediterranean countries, North America is comparable to Europe but in South America the average age of menopause is earlier. Japan, China and other parts of Asia have slightly later menopause with Japan being the latest. With regard to symptoms such as hot flushes, vaginal dryness and sleep troubles, African Americans and Hispanics showed the highest rates with Japanese and Chinese Americans showing the lowest. A recent study carried out in a Korean hospital investigated the effects of neroli oil aromatherapy on the symptoms of menopause and stress as well as estrogen levels in menopausal women. The volunteers were given either a 0.1% or 0.5% neroli essential oil to inhale twice a day for 5 minutes over a period of 5 days. The results were compared to a control group that had been given almond oil. Both of the neroli oil groups had better blood pressure, pulse rate, cortisol (stress hormone) and estrogen levels than the controls. The research group concludes that aromatherapy using neroli oil helps relieve the symptoms of menopause, increases sex drive and reduces symptoms of stress in menopausal women.
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