7 Natural Alternatives to Treat Menopause SymptomsOn October 2, 2017 by Admin
According to its definition, menopause, is the absence of menstruation for 12 monthly cycles. The occurrence of menopause indicates the natural end of the reproductive life of a woman. The symptoms of it used to be commonly treated by hormone replacement therapy (HRT). However, due to the risks of breast cancer and heart disease that come along with such a therapy, more and more women around the world prefer alternative, natural ways to alleviate the discomfort caused by menopause.
The common symptoms that women experience during menopause include hot flashes, night sweats, as well as mood changes. Below, we recommend you various lifestyle and diet modifications you can make and natural treatments you can use to reduce the discomfort.
#1: Exercise Regularly
Physical activity is extremely important for overall health of a woman during her entire life. Thus, specialists recommend doing weight-bearing exercise regularly in order to decrease the risk of heart disease, diabetes and various types of cancer. Besides, it can help to prevent or reduce bone loss.
At least half an hour of moderately intensive exercise (including jogging, dancing, gardening or brisk walking) per week is essential for maintaining your well-being. The duration of exercise needed may vary depending on whether you are aiming to lose weight and how much you need to lose. In some cases, women may need to exercise during an hour and more, most days of the week, and follow a reduced-calorie diet, as well.
#2: Try Mind-Body Solutions
There are various mind-body practices that may help to reduce the unpleasant symptoms. For example, one of the studies from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) shows that hypnosis may be beneficial for women suffering from hot flashes.
Based on the findings of another NCCIH study, mindfulness meditation might also help with hot flashes, as well as improve sleep and reduce stress levels.
Such popular practices as yoga and acupuncture, however, were not shown to be effective against hot flashes, but they still may help with other symptoms.
#3: Modify Your Diet
Diet modification is one of the first things you should do to control your menopause-related symptoms.
Thus, reducing the amount of spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol you consume may help to alleviate the effects of hot flashes. Refusing from coffee and alcohol at night may naturally improve the sleeping problems. Another important aspect is having enough calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D in your regular meals, or taking corresponding dietary supplements.
Menopause reduces the levels of hormone estrogen in your body, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Therefore, elderly women are recommended to follow a special heart-healthy diet. Such a diet normally implies limiting the intake of saturated fats and completely refusing from trans-unsaturated fats.
Menopause is a common cause of weight gain in women. In order to maintain a healthy weight, you will need to watch the calories you eat, and try not to consume empty calories like refined sugar and refined carbohydrates.
So, what kind of food should you eat?
To start with, you will need to make sure you are getting enough phytoestrogens (plant-derived estrogens) that are found in soy, chickpeas, lentils and ground flaxseed. Although they are also available in the form of supplements, it is always better to choose natural food-sources.
In addition, your diet should include a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, oats, wheat, brown rice, tofu, almonds, cashews, etc., since these foods contain fiber and many other important nutrients.
#4: Make Sure to Get Enough Vitamins
Women older than 50 years need to take additional 1500 mg of calcium and at least 800 IU of Vitamin D3 daily in order to keep the bones healthy and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Besides, there is a study, according to which vitamin E can slightly contribute to reducing hot flashes. However, you have to keep in mind the potential risks associated with its overdose, including bleeding, strokes and heart failure.
#5: Consider Taking Probiotics
There are specialists who believe that such probiotics as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidus can help with metabolism and estrogen utilization processes in women during menopause. Besides, these bacteria are considered to help reduce the risk of yeast infections.
#6: Make a Research on Herbs and Supplements before Buying Them
Today, you can find a lot of supplements positioned as those for menopause symptoms. However, many of these supplements are just products of marketing, and hardly any of them are backed by a proper research.
The NCCIH has studied some of the most popular menopause supplements available on the market. The results are as follows.
Based on the findings, phytoestrogen supplements like red clover isoflavone do not provide any noticeable improvements in menopause symptoms. Flaxseed products were not shown effective against hot flashes either.
Generally, it is recommended to get phytoestrogens rather with foods, than by taking pills.
The research on the effectiveness of black cohosh against menopause symptoms has shown inconsistent results, and it is still not clear whether it works or not.
Note that black cohosh is contraindicated in people with liver problems.
DHEA (dehydroepiandrosteron) is a hormone which is naturally produced by the adrenal glands, and whose production also decreases as you get older. It is not known whether DHEA-containing supplements can help with menopausal symptoms.
The use of DHEA supplements may lead to liver damage, which is why it is not recommended in people suffering from liver diseases.
This is a Chinese medicinal herb that is considered to help with the symptoms of menopause. However, the efficiency of dong quai has not been proved by any scientific study.
This herb has been found to interact with the blood thinner warfarin (marketed as Coumadin).
There are also some other supplements available including primrose oil, ginseng, kava, melatonin, or wild yam. However, none of them has been proved to be effective, due to the lack of research. It is worth mentioning that such a supplement as kava can cause severe liver disease.
#7: Consult Your Doctor About Bioidentical Hormones
Compounding pharmacists can prepare individual natural estrogen or progesterone compounds. However, keep in mind that these bioidentical hormones were not shown to be more effective or safer than conventional hormone replacement therapy. Besides, the content of such compounds may vary from batch to batch.
The Bottom Line
More and more women are looking for natural ways to relieve the symptoms of menopause. However, natural is not a synonym of “safe” or “effective”, which means it is not always the best option. Marketing specialists easily make vague but catching promises, which in fact are not proved scientifically. Besides, some of these treatments may interfere with the other medications you are taking. Therefore, you should always consult your healthcare provider about any medication, supplement or other alternative treatment you are using or want to use.