May 14 is almost here. If your mother is in her 40s or 50s and you're looking to get her something unique - not the same old flowers-and-a-card routine - celebrate her and all she's done for you with the gift of good health.

These years are an important time in her life. Many changes will occur, some less welcome than others, including menopause. However, you can help her to view these changes as a reminder to take stock in her health now so you can both celebrate many more Mother's Days together.

Menopause

Women in their 40s and 50s may begin to experience the symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings. These are all side effects related to a decrease in the hormone estrogen, which can also have more long-term effects and put women at increased risk for osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer and other ailments.

The Women's Health Initiative study in 2002 revealed an association between hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) and increased risk for cardiovascular events and breast cancer. This unexpected outcome has changed physicians' and patients' attitudes toward conventional treatment methods and increased their interest in alternative options, and one in particular: red clover.

Natural Alternatives

Red clover is a phytoestrogen, or a plant-based compound that has estrogen-like effects and contains isoflavones. A number of clinical studies have shown that isoflavones derived from the red clover plant, marketed under the brand Promensil, safely and significantly decrease the number and severity of hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.

In a 2005 study in the journal Gynecological Endocrinology, researchers point out that, "interest in isoflavones present in red clover extracts is increasing among women and practitioners, and their positive effects are currently being supported by a growing body of evidence-based clinical research." Based on a randomized, double-blind, placebo-compared clinical trial, researchers found that "red clover isoflavone supplementation significantly decreased menopausal symptoms."

Treat Symptoms and More

But that's not all. In addition, the study noted that red clover decreases LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and improves arterial compliance, reducing stiffness - a predictor of increased risk for cardiovascular disease - and exerting a positive effect on blood pressure.

Similarly, other clinical studies have demonstrated red clover's safety record and effectiveness in addressing women's other health concerns: it helps increase bone density; It does not increase breast density, an indicator for increased risk of breast cancer; nor does it contribute to endometrial thickness, another risk factor for cancer.

Healthy Living

While natural supplements like Promensil might be part of the answer, women have to look at their health holistically. The onset of menopausal symptoms can act as a helpful reminder for women - and those close to them - to take inventory of their current lifestyle and develop healthy new habits that will enable them to lead long, enjoyable lives.

For more information on healthy living and a menopause treatment program that's right for a woman you love, have her speak with her doctor or nurse practitioner and visit www.promensil.com.

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