Experienced by up to 70% of middle-aged women, menopause symptoms are connected to hormonal imbalance. Although the go-to treatment for many years has been hormone replacement therapy (HRT), potential side effects from these medications have led to reconsideration of how they are prescribed. Consequently, women are encouraged to approach their symptoms by combining healthy lifestyle habits with alternative medicine as a first recourse.
Continue reading to learn everything about the treatments for menopause symptoms so that you are better prepared to make the best decisions about your health during this essential life stage.
Three Approaches to Treating Menopause Symptoms
In the treatment of menopause symptoms, three tiers are typically considered: (1) Lifestyle Changes, (2) Alternative Medicine, and (3) Medications and Surgery. The general recommendation is that women begin with the first tier and move on to the others only if necessary.
1. Lifestyle Changes
While this approach requires the most self-discipline, it is risk-free and also benefits overall health in addition to helping with menopause symptoms. Fundamentally, a well-balanced diet and regular exercise, combined with techniques for stress reduction, such as yoga or meditation, can be great natural menopause treatments.
Diet, in particular, is key to relieving menopause symptoms. Studies have shown that a nutritious meal plan with proper hydration and balanced proportions of healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and lean protein can greatly reduce their severity.
Good food options for a menopause diet include, but are not limited to:
- Phytoestrogenic foods provide the body with plant-based estrogens, which mimic the function of estrogen in the body, thus relieving the symptoms of hormonal imbalance.
- Soy, flax, mung beans, alfalfa, yams, garlic, parsley, strawberries
- Calcium-rich foods can strengthen women's bones and reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis.
- Milk, yogurt, cheese, dark leafy greens, broccoli, salmon, sardines
- Vitamin D-rich foods help with calcium absorption and aid in preventing bone loss and fractures.
- Fatty fish: tuna, mackerel; egg yolks; cheese; beef liver
- B-vitamin foods might help alleviate mood swings and depression.
- Eggs, sunflower seeds, almond, spinach, barley
- Fiber-rich foods can not only relieve menopausal digestive problems and prevent weight gain, but also give the heart solid protection.
- Whole grains; legumes; fresh fruits and vegetables
The effects of exercise on managing menopause symptoms are many, such as preventing weight gain, slowing down bone loss, and improving circulation to combat tingling extremities and electric shocks. It can also increase the levels of mood-improving serotonin and endorphins to alleviate stress, anxiety, mood swings, irritability, and depression.
To reap the full benefits of exercise, menopausal women can consider the following recommendations:
Keeping up with at least 150 minutes of moderate level exercise per week, which boils down to about 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week.
Adding aerobic exercises, such as jogging, swimming, or biking, to their routine as they incorporate the entire body while strengthening the heart and helping in maintaining a healthy weight.
Including muscle-strengthening exercises, such as light weight lifting, pushups, squats, or resistance bands, in order to prevent muscle loss and build strong bones.
Giving yoga, tai chi, or Pilates a try to combine body training with deep breathing techniques for stress relief.
Avoiding strenuous and injury-prone sports, like heavy weight lifting, to prevent putting too much stress on the joints.
Other healthy habits that are beneficial in promoting overall wellness among women of all ages can be especially useful during the menopausal transition. They include:
Reducing stress through meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga have been found to relieve insomnia, anxiety, and loss of libido, all of which are common in menopause. Sleeping seven to eight hours is also essential.
Surrounding yourself with family and friends can have calming effects on one's mental health and help address issues, such as depression or irritability.
Because women often find it difficult to implement certain lifestyle changes, it is recommended to complement their efforts with alternative medicine to balance hormone levels safely and naturally.
Key Points to Remember
Simple lifestyle changes can go a long way in helping women relieve symptoms and get through menopause with more ease, including:
Wholesome Diet: Opting for a balanced, healthful meal plan full of phytoestrogens, fiber, and essential nutrients, like calcium, and vitamins B and D.
Regular Exercise: Keeping up with moderate-level workouts at least 150 minutes per week, like swimming or jogging.
Wholesome Habits: Focusing on stress relief with meditation or yoga, quitting smoking and alcohol, and finding support in friends and family.
2. Alternative Medicine
Alternative medicine incorporates the use of medicinal herbs and complementary treatments, such as aromatherapy, therapeutic massage, and biofeedback, to bring relief from menopause symptoms. Of the varied alternative treatments, the only type that can address menopausal hormone imbalance directly and relieve symptoms safely and effectively is certain herbal supplements.
Two types of herbal supplements are relevant in treating menopause symptoms: phytoestrogenic and hormone-regulating supplements.
These herbal supplements, made from black cohosh, dong quai, ginseng, and red clover, are rich in plant compounds that resemble estrogen and can function like the hormone in the body. By mimicking the body's estrogen, they help relieve most menopause symptoms. However, after an extended period of time, the body can grow accustomed to receiving outside estrogen and will make less of its own, potentially leading to a net decline in estrogen levels.
These supplements, such as Macafem, provide relief from bothersome menopause symptoms by providing nourishment to the endocrine glands and stimulating them to optimize their own hormone production. As such, the body produces estrogen, progesterone, and other hormones at the balanced levels it needs. Because these supplements do not contain synthetic estrogens, they are considered a safe and effective way to bring about hormonal balance.
From "Nature and Health Magazine," Dr. Chacon says:
"Macafem nutrients help restore natural hormones in women. Unlike hormone drugs, which are basically resumed in taking synthetic hormones, Macafem acts totally different in your body. It nourishes and stimulates your own natural hormone production by inducing the optimal functioning of the endocrine glands." Click on the following link to learn more about Macafem.
A combination of lifestyle changes and herbal supplements is often an effective and holistic route to take for easing most menopause symptoms. In some cases, however, symptoms may be severe, or they may not respond to natural approaches, thus necessitating the use of medications or surgery, despite the risks they carry.
Key Points to Remember
Alternative medicine can provide effective relief from menopause symptoms while causing little to no side effects. They include:
Phytoestrogenic herbal supplements, such as black cohosh, red clover, and dong quai, supply the body with plant compounds that mimic estrogen in the body and fill in the hormonal void behind menopause symptoms.
Hormone-balancing supplements, like Macafem, nourish the endocrine glands to optimize their own hormone production and ultimately relieve the symptoms of hormonal imbalance.
3. Medications & Surgery
Medications and surgical interventions for menopause symptoms often present the risk of side effects and tend to be more expensive than other approaches. It is, therefore, necessary to consult a physician for a full diagnosis and comprehensive information on the risks and benefits of various conventional treatments on a one-on-one basis.
Because medications to alleviate menopausal symptoms have different modes of actions, specific regimens might vary from woman to woman, depending on her individual medical needs. They most commonly consist of the following:
HRT was once the most common way to treat menopause symptoms. While it is very effective for certain symptoms, like hot flashes and vaginal dryness, it may not alleviate all menopause ailments. Additionally, it may increase the risk of some serious diseases, as revealed in the following clinical study.
In 1991, the National Institutes of Health began the Women's Health Initiative, the largest clinical trial ever performed in the U.S. The aim of the study was to evaluate the risks and benefits of HRT. However, the trial was cut short in 2002 after the data showed that synthetic hormones can increase a woman's risk of blood clots and stroke as well as breast and ovarian cancers. The results were subsequently published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Oral contraceptives are sometimes prescribed during the menopausal transition to ease hormonal fluctuations and manage irregular periods, hot flashes, and night sweats.
Other medications are tailored to specific symptoms. They might include antidepressants to relieve hot flashes, depression, and severe mood swings; antihistamines to help women cope with itchy skin and allergies; pain relievers to reduce muscle tension or joint pain; or sleeping aids for fatigue and sleeping problems, among others.
Surgery may sometimes be necessary in the case of severe menopause symptoms, although surgical interventions do not address their root cause, hormonal imbalance. Such instances include, but are not limited to:
- Uterine fibroids removal to manage irregular bleeding
- Hair transplants, scalp lifts, or laser therapy for hair loss
- Weight loss surgery for excessive menopausal weight gain
- Botox injections and sympathectomy to reduce changes in body odor
- Root canals, flap surgery, or jawbone grafts for advanced gum disease
Key Points to Remember
Conventional medicine can be helpful in relieving severe menopause symptoms when natural approaches have shown ineffective. Because of potential side effects, these treatment options should be used with caution as the last resort.
Medications for menopause symptoms include HRT; oral contraceptives; and other symptom-specific medications, like antidepressants, antihistamines, and more.
Surgery is performed to treat severe symptoms, and it might include uterine fibroids removal, hair transplants, weight loss surgery, and Botox injections, among others.
Being able to pass through this natural phase in women's lives without putting their bodies at risk of serious side effects from medications motivates women nowadays to search for relief for their symptoms in a combination of lifestyle changes and alternative treatments without the need for conventional approaches.
A Safe Way of Treating Menopause Symptoms
Eating a Healthy Diet Rich in:
- Vitamins B and D
Taking an Herbal Supplement:
- Black cohosh
- Dong quai
- Red clover
- Or Macafem
Maintaining Good Habits:
- Exercise at least 30 min a day, 5 times a week
- Improve sleep and reduce stress
- Quit smoking and avoid excess caffeine and alcohol