Menopause Treatment Doesn’t have to Mean Hormone Replacement Therapy

Menopause, the cessation of the menstrual cycle, can be a stressful time for many women; of course, the horror stories of menopause don’t help matters in the least!

Stories of horrid hot flashes, mood swings, depression, thinning hair, weight gain, wrinkles and vaginal dryness scare women who reaching the age of menopause.

For many women, however, these symptoms are prove to be not as severe as what they’ve been told, and many of the symptoms are simply natural signs of aging. Menopause usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 52, although some women go through it much earlier and others in their late 50’s.

Stages of Menopause

Menopause actually consists of three stages:

  • Perimenopause, or the menopausal transition, is the first stage, when periods start to become irregular and may be lighter or heavier than normal, and shorter or longer than normal.
  • The second stage of menopause is termed just that – menopause, and it occurs when periods stop.
  • The third stage of menopause is referred to as post menopause. This occurs when a woman has gone a complete year without a period.

Menopause and Doctors

Many women who experience symptoms of menopause visit their doctors and are prescribed hormone replacement therapy, or HRT. Doctors rarely mention to their patients the fact that there are alternative therapies available.

Alternative Menopause Treatments

Some women, for either personal or health reasons, seek alternative menopause treatments. For those who prefer to treat the symptoms of menopause without hormone replacement therapy, consider the following advice:

1. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.

Hot flashes are often triggered by alcohol or caffeine. Try switching to decaf coffee and tea, and cut alcohol out altogether.

2. Dress for hot flashes.

Hot flashes occur because of low estrogen levels and are one of the most common and bothersome symptoms of menopause. Wear loose clothing and dress in layers that can be removed when a hot flash occurs.

3. Eat a healthy diet.

The diet of menopausal women should be balanced and low-fat. Menopausal women should consume less salt, as well as less animal protein. Animal proteins and salt cause the body to excrete excess calcium, which contributes to osteoporosis. Eat a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, grains and fish that is high in Omega 3, such as tuna or mackerel. These nutrients help the body deal with the symptoms of menopause.

Soy is also considered to be excellent for menopausal woman. Women who consume a diet rich in soy experience less bone fractures, lower rate of heart disease, and less change of developing endometrial or breast cancer.

4. Take a multivitamin.

Getting the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of nutrients will go a long way toward relieving the symptoms of menopause.

5. Exercise.

Exercise helps to relieve mood swings and depression. Exercise also fights fatigue, and helps to avoid weight gain; plus, it strengthens the bones.

6. Try an herbal remedy.

  • For fatigue, mix equal parts of oat straw, ginger, ginkgo balboa and Siberian ginseng.
  • For insomnia (often caused by hot flashes at night), try chamomile, valerian, catnip or hops.
  • For vaginal dryness, a mixture of black cohosh, false unicorn root, fennel, anise, dong quai and blessed thistle, taken on a regular basis, can help.
  • Licorice root extract has been found to be very useful at treating many of the symptoms of menopause.
  • For hot flashes, herbs such as evening primrose, black cohosh and red clover are the most recommended.

7. Consider acupuncture.

Many women find acupuncture relieves the symptoms of stress associated with menopause.

8. Take up yoga.

Yoga has been found to relieve hot flashes, improve bladder control and relieve stress.

While we’ve all heard the horror stories about menopause, it isn’t entirely bad. Women who reach menopause are free of menstrual cramps, free of the worry of an unwanted pregnancy, and free to live their own life, assuming their children have reached adulthood.

The menopause treatments mentioned above can provide relief for many of the symptoms of menopause. If hormone replacement is not the option for you, consider trying these alternative therapies.

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