You're not 16 anymore, and you're not quite 50, but your body is telling you you're getting close. If you've begun to experience menopause-like symptoms, such as hot flashes and irregular periods, you are most likely entering to the perimenopause phase of life. The downside includes erratic hormonal fluctuation, fatigue, lower sex drive, and breast tenderness, to name a few. While these symptoms may gradually creep into your life, there are many ways to lessen their severity.
Believe it or not, you can still get pregnant during perimenopause. However, the use of birth control pills is less for preventing pregnancy, and more for treating menopausal symptoms. Birth control is a known effective way to reduce harsh menopausal symptoms, including:
- Bone loss
- Painful periods
- Mood swings
With perimenopause comes a decrease in estrogen production and an increase in menopausal symptoms. Most birth controls are phasing out their seven-day inactive pills due to the severity of symptoms women experience without hormones for a week. Many pills offer a 24/4 regimen, meaning you only have to take four inactive pills instead of seven.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Currently the most effective option for relieving hot flashes and night sweats, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) comes in the form of a pill, cream, or patch. Although HRT is the only FDA-approved treatment for menopause symptoms, it is not free of risks. Studies suggest women can receive the same benefits by taking a lower dosage, reducing side effects.
What Is HRT?
HRT supplies the body with the estrogen and progestin that gets depleted by the ovaries during menopause. HRT introduces the missing hormones, allowing the body to stay balanced. You are able to choose between synthetic and natural hormone replacements.Is HRT Safe?
Is HRT Safe?
HRT is meant to be a short-term solution to menopausal symptoms. If you are in your 60s, it is generally not advised that you continue HRT, and instead consider other ways to reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack. Like any medication, HRT is not free of side effects. Blood clots, cancer, and heart disease are among the increased risks.
While HRT has proven efficient, it's not the right fit for every woman. It is important to inform your doctor of your family and personal medical history before proceeding with it.
Hormone-regulating supplements like Macafem reduce problems related to hormonal imbalance in women, thereby offering relief from menopause symptoms.
Phytoestrogens are estrogens that can be found in certain plant-based foods, like chickpeas, flaxseed, whole grains, and some fruits and vegetables. They also include compounds that are plant-derived with estrogenic properties. Studies conflict, however, on whether or not phytoestrogens reduce menopause symptoms.
Vitamin D is an important supplement, as it promotes healthy bone renewal and hormone balance. You can find vitamin D in such foods as tuna, salmon, some dairy products, and eggs.
Menopause is not a one-size-fits-all sort of thing. What works great for you may not do anything for your friend. Spend time researching treatments, find a good midlife doctor, and go from there. Also, a healthy diet and regular exercise play a huge role in overall health, especially during menopause.
- National Institutes of Health. (2011). Hormone therapy. Retrieved January 12, 2015, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/007111.htm
- Thacker, H. (2009) The Cleveland Clinic Guide to Menopause. New York: Kaplan Publishing, pp. 159-169, 195-197