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Bone Health After Menopause

There Is No Japanese Word for "Hot Flashes"

It has long been known that menopause is much easier for Asian women than it is for most Westerners. In a 1983 study, hot flashes were reported by only about 10 percent of Japanese women at menopause, compared to about two-thirds of women in America and other Western countries.4 And bone strength is not assaulted to the extent it often is among Western women. Broken hips and spinal fractures are much less common.

The most likely explanation is this: throughout their lives, Western women consume much more meat and about four times as much fat as do women on Asian rice-based diets, and only one-quarter to one-half the fiber. For reasons that have never been completely clear, a high-fat, low-fiber diet causes a rise in estrogen levels. Women on higher-fat diets have measurably more estrogen activity than do those on low-fat diets. At menopause, the ovaries' production of estrogen comes to a halt. Those women who had been on high-fat diets then have a violent drop in estrogen levels. Asian women have lower levels of estrogen both before and after menopause, and the drop appears to be less dramatic. The resulting symptoms are much milder or even non-existent.

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While this information may not help women who have already reached menopause, it is worth taking into account by their pre-menopausal friends and daughters, who still have time to implement positive changes in their lifestyles.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this Website is provided for general informational purposes only. It should not be relied upon as medical advice.
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