How DIM Can Help Relieve Hot flashes and Other Menopausal Symptoms
Growing up with five aunts that have all gone through menopause in the past 10 years or so, has absolutely terrified me of the process. At 25, I have some time to work with here, but after watching my aunts and how they essentially suffered through "the change" I couldn't see myself not trying any sort of treatment or medication to at least attempt to lessen the inevitable mood swings and hot flashes.
After some light Googling on how to relieve menopause symptoms, the obvious options came up - hormone treatments, oral medications, creams, ointments, etc., But with a little more digging, something called DIM came up. The more I looked into DIM and DIM supplements, the more it looked like a viable option for helping to relieve menopausal symptoms for women.
What is Menopause?
Menopause is described by the National Institutes on Aging as "a point in time 12 months after a woman's last period." Menopause occurs as women's ovaries naturally produce less estrogen and progesterone in preparation to stop releasing eggs. These hormones play a role in regulating menstruation and are also an indicator of fertility. Progesterone and estrogen levels typically start to decline as women approach their late thirties, according to the Mayo Clinic, but the true signs and symptoms of menopause typically begin to appear when women are in their early 40s to 50s.
It is important to note that while menopause is a naturally occurring process, women can enter menopause early due to surgical procedures such as bilateral oophorectomy (removal of both ovaries) or a total hysterectomy (removal of the cervix and uterus), cancer treatments, or hormonal disorders such as primary ovarian insufficiency.
There are technically three stages of menopause: perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. When we think of the women in our lives going through this process, we're inclined to link their symptoms to "going through menopause", when in reality they're most likely in the perimenopause stage and haven't fully entered menopause yet. Let me explain what these stages mean:
Perimenopause is the first step in the menopausal process and is the transitional period into menopause as ovaries begin to produce fewer and fewer hormones. Perimenopause tends to vary from woman to woman, with signs beginning to show anywhere from mid-thirties to mid-fifties and lasting anywhere from four to eight years (typically). As the body adjusts to fluctuating and changing hormone levels and attempts to re-balance hormones during perimenopause, women are more likely to experience these symptoms, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Keep in mind that menopausal symptoms can vary from person to person!
Irregular menstrual cycles, or skipping menstrual cycles entirely.
Periods that are heavier or lighter than usual.
Vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex.
Sleep problems or insomnia
Changes in mood like irritability, depression, or mood swings.
Thinning hair, and an increased amount of hair on the face
Menopause, as mentioned above, is the point in time where a woman has not had her period in 12 consecutive months. When women reach this stage, they are no longer able to have children, unlike the perimenopause stage where eggs can still be produced and released.
After menopause has occurred, women enter the final stage known as postmenopause. Once a woman is in postmenopause, they are in it for the rest of their lives. This not only means that they are unable to menstruate or have children, but their hormone levels will continue to remain low for the rest of their lives. While a majority of symptoms from the perimenopause stage are gone by postmenopause, some people still experience the side effects of having low estrogen levels and low progesterone levels.
Some women turn to their healthcare providers for hormone therapy, medications, or other treatments to help remedy some of their menopausal symptoms, while others opt to change their lifestyle to accommodate for the hormonal imbalances that can occur during this period, including adding a dietary supplement like DIM! You can also read more about Best Natural Supplements for Menopause Support.
DIM for Menopausal Symptoms
Before we can get into how DIM supplements can help make menopause a little easier, let's talk about what DIM even is and what it does to the body. DIM is short for diindolylmethane, which is a compound naturally found in cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower.
DIM works in our bodies (in both men and women!) as an "estrogen blocker", or an aromatase inhibitor. Aromatase inhibitors are often used in breast cancer treatments and prevent the aromatase enzyme from producing estrogen in the body. DIM has also been found to help balance hormones in the body by stimulating the production of a beneficial form of estrogen known as 2-hydroxyestrone, while also inhibiting the effects of 16 alpha-hydroxyestrone, which "has been linked to weight gain and an increased risk of some cancers," according to Healthline.
These benefits can extend to specifically help to relieve certain menopausal symptoms as well! Though more research is needed, DIM is thought by researchers to help reduce or lessen certain symptoms in menopausal women including weight gain, hormonal acne, and hot flashes.
What About The Risk Factors?
Generally speaking, if you are healthy, DIM is a safe supplement to add to your routine as it has been found to be non-toxic and with few side effects. The most commonly reported physical side effects of taking a DIM supplement have included darkening of the urine, an increase in bowel movements, headaches, and gas. Other, less common side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and skin rash.
However, certain individuals should NOT take DIM, as the compound does impact estrogen levels in the body. DO NOT add DIM to your routine if:
If you are breastfeeding, pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or if there is any chance that you could be pregnant
If you are undergoing hormone therapy or have been diagnosed with a hormone-sensitive condition such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids
If you are on a water pill or diuretic
Of course, always talk with your doctor or healthcare provider before adding any supplement to your routine!
How To Find The Right DIM Supplement For You!
While DIM is found in small amounts in certain veggies, many women opt for a DIM supplement to ensure they're getting enough of the compound into their diet to actually help relieve menopausal symptoms. 1 Body has developed their DIM supplement to contain a potent serving of diindolylmethane, that helps the body naturally regulate estrogen levels and helps relieve hot flashes, hormonal acne, weight gain, and more!
Plus, 1 Body's DIM formula contains other beneficial ingredients for women's health such as Vitamin B6, Vitamin D, Black Cohosh, Vitex agnus-castus, Sage Leaf Extract, Panax Ginseng, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola Extract 3% Salidroside, and Rhapontic Rhubarb in an easy to swallow vegan capsule! If you're not 100% satisfied, 1 Body will return your money within 90 days of purchase!