Menopause is a physiological time in every woman's life that coincides with the end of her fertility. The transition from fertility to menopause begins approximately 4 years before the actual menopause. This transition period is also the one most characterized by the appearance of symptoms of various kinds, including hot flashes and night sweats, vaginal dryness and sleep disturbances and whose intensity varies from woman to woman.
In particular, hot flushes are the main vasomotor symptom, the main cause of which can be traced back to the irregularity of estrogen levels typical of this phase. They are generally described as a progressive sensation of heat that spreads throughout the upper part of the body. Each hot flash lasts about 1 to 5 minutes and may be accompanied by sweating and palpitations, often contributing to a state of anxiety and discomfort in the woman. In most women they tend to peak within 2-3 years of menopause and then gradually disappear.
Lycopene in the Management of Menopausal Symptoms
The interest of lycopene as a useful nutrient in the case of hot flashes due to menopause, is related to the fact that it has been shown that postmenopausal women who suffer from hot flashes, possess a lower plasma antioxidant activity and a higher concentration of oxidative stress, compared to those who do not suffer from hot flashes. Furthermore, results from a study of healthy postmenopausal women indicate that lycopene supplementation reduces oxidative stress-induced damage in vivo, suggesting that its intake may help improve menopause-related symptoms.
It should also be noted that the hormonal changes typical of the menopause period can expose women to a greater risk of developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease or osteoporosis. Also in this case lycopene could offer a valuable contribution in the prevention of these diseases. Read our in-depth articles on Lycopene and Heart and Lycopene and Osteoporosis.
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- Pinkerton JV, Stovall DW, Kightlinger RS. Advances in the treatment of menopausal symptoms. Womens Health (Lond Engl). 2009; 5:361-384.
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- Leal M, Díaz J, Serrano E, et al. Hormone replacement therapy for oxidative stress in postmenopausal women with hot flushes. Obstet Gynecol. 2000; 95(6 Pt 1):804-9.
- Zhao X, Aldini G, Johnson EJ, et al. Modification of lymphocyte DNA damage by carotenoid supplementation in postmenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006; 83:163-9.
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