Ah, menopause – it’s a natural part of life. One not all women have the privilege to reach. Despite this, no one can deny that this life achievement comes with aches and pains that push women to seek relief. In this guide, we’ll let you in on the natural menopause treatments that will work wonders for your health.
Are you in menopause?
When does menopause start? It will depend on many factors, such as personal and family medical histories. But generally, women in their late forties to early fifties step into menopausal transition and endure about seven years of climacteric.
There are women who enter early menopause and deal with it for longer. It can be a natural occurrence or maybe a side effect of medical treatments. Moreover, pain for those who had to go through surgically-induced menopause is usually more dire. It’s because the changes that should have been stretched over the years suddenly happened instead.
If you checked the calendar and you’ve been period-free for at least 12 months – congrats! You’re officially in the menopausal stage. There are still many challenges to face during this time. But if you’ve gone through 3,500 days of menstruating, you’ll surely overcome menopause. With the right help, of course.
What are the concerns during menopause?
Some of the common effects of menopause you may hear about include hot flashes, weight gain, and sleep disturbances. There are many other symptoms that accompany women on a daily and affect their quality of life. With the inconveniences that come with menopause, it’s not surprising that women on this life stage are always on the hunt for a helping hand.
What are the treatments for menopause?
Menopause doesn’t require any medical treatment. Why would it need any when it’s a natural phase of life? But still, many medical treatments are used to alleviate menopause symptoms. Usual prescriptions are as follows:
For reducing hot flashes or night sweats:
- Hormone (estrogen or estrogen plus progestin) therapy
- GABA or gabapentin
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
For vaginal discomfort and urinary issues:
- Vagial lubricants
- Vaginal moisturizers
- Vaginal estrogen
- Systemic estrogen
For depression, anxiety, or sudden mood changes:
For preventing bone loss:
- Parathyroid hormone
- Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs)
Is there a “best” menopause treatment?
Hormone Replacement Therapy or HRT (sometimes called Hormone Therapy (HT) or menopausal HT) aims to fill in the declining female hormones you lost over the years.
It’s considered an effective and safe treatment for most of those in the peri and menopausal stages. Note, “most,” and not “all.” There are still risks associated with HRT, and these dangers are usually something you discuss with your General Practitioner.
Does HRT work?
Yes. It’s also considered the most effective for controlling menopause symptoms. But it’s still not entirely risk-free. Some of these risks and side effects include:
- Increased risk of breast cancer
- Increased probability of blood clots
- Increased chances of incurring stroke, especially for those over 60
- Some suggest that it may increase dementia, although research is inconclusive
- Irregular spotting
- Monthly bleeding
- Breast tenderness
- Mood swings
- Skin irritation with creams and patches
- Fluid retention
- Migraine and headaches
- Skin discoloration
- Increased breast density
Who can’t use HRT?
Aside from its possible side effects, here are some people who couldn’t use HRT:
- Those with breast cancer
- Those with abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Those who have a blood clot history
- Those with heart disease
- Those prone to stroke
- Those who are pregnant
- Those with liver disease
- Those who smoke
Understanding how HRT works only answers one part of the equation. Those who are already using HRT may ask how to spot if HRT isn’t working or have doubts about it to even begin the treatment. If you’re a part of the latter group, then what HRT alternative is there for you?
7 Natural Menopause Treatments That Really Work
It’s true that research surrounding natural menopause treatments is still lacking. However, this doesn’t mean that you should avert them altogether. After all, before modern medicine today, ancient women have gone through menopause just fine.
Menopause is indeed a physical challenge. But it’s also emotionally and psychologically exhausting. It doesn’t only affect women; it spills over to their loved ones, friends, and colleagues. No amount of preparation can ready a woman for the litany of changes that she will face when menopause hits. When this time comes, her resilience and ability to reason will be critical to making her journey smoother.
When you reach the border between pre- and perimenopause (where most changes start happening), you may feel like you’re not yourself. Or maybe something just feels “off.” Talking about your internal struggles with someone who understands menopause and its nuances then becomes invaluable. It’s a natural treatment where someone knowledgeable reminds you that, hey, this transition is completely normal and it’s okay to feel like you’re not you sometimes.
On the same page is Cognitive Behavior Therapy or CBT. It’s a treatment approach backed by science that assists many in managing their mental well-being. CBT is vital in teaching healthy coping techniques to modify destructive thinking or behaviors. Although it’s generally associated with anxiety and depression, it’s also a popular choice to deal with other menopause issues.
Take Smith and Hunter’s Managing Hot Fushes with Group Cognitive Behaviour Therapy: An Evidence-based Treatment Manual for Health Professionals as an example. The book emphasizes the importance of reframing thoughts to handle hot flushes, a common issue for menopausal women. For instance, instead of “This will never end” or “I’m going to pass out,” clients are urged to think, “This will go away soon.”
Practice mindfulness and meditation
Mindfulness offers many benefits, including lowering blood pressure, relieving stress, and reducing chronic pain. For those dealing with “The Change of Life,” being mindful opens the gates to improving sleep, being less irritable, and defusing anxiety and depression.
Tai chi, yoga, or anything that has to do with meditation or paced breathing helps ease emotional tension and fatigue. The practice also clears the mind and anchors women who may feel confused during this transition.
Know what to eat and avoid
There isn’t much difference in what a woman can or cannot eat during the menopausal phase. This is versus her other life stages. Still, to control symptoms and make life easier, it’ll be best to fill her plate with foods that will serve her in the long run.
When out grocery shopping, choose foods rich in:
- Phytoestrogens to increase estrogen levels: tofu, flax seeds, almonds, nuts, wheat bran, garlic, dried fruits, berries, cruciferous vegs, red wine
- Calcium for bone health and blood clotting: yogurt, cheese, milk, seeds, leafy greens, sardines, canned salmon, rhubarb, figs
- Protein for more energy and strong bones: egg, pasta, quinoa, chicken/turkey breast, lean beef, cottage cheese, protein powder, peanut butter, Ezekiel bread
- Omega-3 fatty acids for stable moods and heart health: oysters, Brussels sprouts, anchovies, walnuts, chia seeds, seaweed, mangoes
Overall, a healthy, balanced meal plan is paramount.
Conversely, here are those you need to avoid:
- Foods that’ll make you gain weight: soda, fruit juice, alcohol, pizza, cereals, chocolate, ice cream, doughnuts, french fries, commercially processed foods
- Foods that trigger menopausal symptoms: These will depend on you, but they are mostly made up of high sugars and caffeine. To identify what your trigger foods are, note down what you eat and be mindful of what their effects are on you. Remove trigger foods and swap them with healthier options.
Vitamins won’t truly remove any menopause symptoms, but they improve quality of life as years add to our age.
- Vitamin A for improved immune system, eye health, and skin health.
- Vitamin B6 and B12 to fend off depression, boost energy, and improve cognitive abilities.
- Vitamin C to heal wounds and recover from colds faster. It’s also great for iron absorption, that’s important for energy and brain function.
- Vitamin D for strong muscles, blood sugar regulation, and calcium retention.
- Vitamin K for bone density and heavy period bleeding.
- Magnesium for heart and bone health, reduced joint pain, and increased metabolism.
Try CBD and natural menopause supplements
Although research on cannabidiol or CBD is still in its early stages, this cannabis’ active ingredient offers many benefits. For menopausal women undergoing transition, CBD can assuage muscle and joint pain. It can also improve sleep and mitigate anxiety.
Aside from being a natural menopause treatment, CBD products are relatively cheaper than HRT. Without insurance, HRT pills can cost up to £240 a month, pellets up to £1,400, and £4,800 for injectables. Even creams, gels, and HRT patches can cost up to £1,020.
Other usual supplements to stave off menopausal symptoms include black cohosh, red clover, St. John’s wort, and flaxseed oil. It’s still important to consult with a professional first before you try any supplement.
Looking for a safe, natural alternative? Try our daily menopause supplement now!
Do regular, appropriate exercise
There are only pros to doing exercise. You maintain your weight to avoid other medical conditions, build muscle to be more mobile, keep your bones healthy, and control your balance to prevent falls.
When choosing the exercise routine for yourself, be wary of any old and current injuries, including other nicks that you should consider. Remember that there’s an exercise for every fitness level. So don’t rush into doing high-impact activities when your body isn’t used to it just yet. If you can, go for 2-3x a week aerobics, do 1-2x resistance or strength training, and don’t forget your stretches for flexibility. If these seem overwhelming, opt for something fun like cycling, swimming, or dancing. Just walking is a good starting point, though. The goal is simply to keep your body moving.
You’ll realize exercise’s advantages with better sleep and better mood. Plus, these are just some of its positive effects.
Aim to have healthy sleeping habits
Poor sleeping hygiene heightens anxiety and leads to unbearable hot flashes. Bad-quality sleep can also cause memory loss and confusion. In worst cases, it can curtail one’s mental capacity. The negative influence of poor sleep even impacts women’s physical functions.
Thus, managing menopausal women’s sleep routine is crucial. Women at this life stage should develop a regular sleep schedule and follow a bedtime routine to prepare themselves for rest. To successfully do this, here are some tips that they can implement:
- Do not nap in the afternoon or any other time during the day. This is so the body’s ready to take a rest come night time.
- Have a warm bath an hour or two before sleeping. It will cool the body’s core temperature to signal to the internal clock that it’s time to rest. Taking a quick shower of at least 10 minutes is good enough. It’ll also relax the muscles and release any tension.
- Get rid of anything overly stimulating. It can be no screen time in bed or turning off the TV early. At least half an hour before hitting the sack, start powering the brain down. Do this by doing relaxing activities, like reading or meditating.
- Change the lights to soothing and warm colors like amber or red. Those close to the shade of red in the color spectrum prompt melatonin production. In case you wake up in the middle of the night, these lights will make falling back to sleep easier.
- Use a weighted blanket. It’s not only for better sleep but also to alleviate anxiety. A weighted blanket mimics a tight hug that boosts serotonin levels.
Consider relaxing massages
Stress is often the culprit to worse menopausal symptoms. An excellent way to fight it is via massages. Massages relax the body and the mind, which is critical for women who may feel powerless or overwhelmed during this critical life phase. Furthermore, deeply relaxing massages, like Swedish massage, stimulate blood circulation to keep the heart healthy and the brain sharp. It also reduces swelling and fluid retention.
The best natural menopause treatment goes to… all of the above.
You read that right – there isn’t just one remedy. It’s a combination of natural treatments for menopause that you have to inject into your lifestyle.If you’re prepping yourself for menopause or know someone who is, remember that manoeuvring through the changes during this time doesn’t automatically mean leaning on medical treatments. Often, the best way is the natural way. This holistic approach includes simple, inexpensive, and yet very effective natural menopause treatments and solutions to handle menopausal treatments.