Alternatives for Treating Menopause
Many women reject the risks associated with hormone
replacement therapy to treat their menopause symptoms and instead seek relief
from alternative sources. As menopausal women face fluctuating levels of estrogen
and progesterone, they will likely experience symptoms including hot flashes,
insomnia, depression, breast pain, and mood swings.
Luckily, there’s an array of natural remedies available to
help you cope. Just make sure to speak with your doctor before you begin taking
any supplements or herbs.
Black cohosh is among the most popular and longest-studied
natural hot flash remedies for women who don’t want to turn to hormone
replacement or antidepressants to treat their menopause symptoms.
Black cohosh is derived from a plant in the buttercup
family, and it has been used for centuries. You can take black cohosh in many
forms: capsules, tablets, or mixed with water.
It is thought to behave similarly to serotonin in the brain.
This behavior includes easing feelings of depression and regulating body
temperature. Despite this, according to the National
Center on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), research
to date remains mixed. Overall, the effectiveness of black cohosh as a reliable
menopause treatment remains to be demonstrated.
Vitamin D is an essential building block for a healthy body.
It promotes healthy bone renewal, normal cell growth, and hormone balance,
which are all important for menopausal women. Vitamin D is often referred to as
the sunshine vitamin, as your body produces it in response to sun exposure.
As women age, their ability to absorb vitamin D decreases,
heightening their risk of bone density loss. This makes the need to incorporate
vitamin D into their diets that much more critical.
To get your recommended daily dose of 600 international units
(IU), step outside for a 15- to 20-minute walk. Be sure to wear sunscreen and a
hat to protect your skin. If it’s rainy or you can’t get outside, take the
sunshine vitamin in capsule form.
It’s also important to pile your plate high with foods
containing high vitamin D content. Such foods include sardines, tuna, wild
salmon, fortified dairy products, and eggs.
Many women find relief from their menopause symptoms through
acupuncture. Skeptics argue that acupuncture benefits are purely the result of
the placebo effect, but doctors confirm that acupuncture
is a reasonable alternative to hormone therapy for women suffering
from menopausal depression and hot flashes.
Many insurance plans cover acupuncture, among other
alternative treatments. Check your coverage before you make an appointment.
It’s time to jump on the mindfulness wagon if you haven’t
already. Mindful deep breathing such as that practiced during yoga and
meditation has a proven calming effect on the mind and can ease menopausal
anxiety and hot flashes.
As soon as you feel a hot flash coming on, prepare. Begin by
inhaling through your nose to the count of four. Hold your breath for seven
counts. Then, exhale completely through your mouth to a count of eight. This is
one breath. Try to complete this cycle two more times.
St. John’s Wort
Among the most popular herbs used in the United States, St. John’s
wort has long been an alternative treatment for menopausal mood swings,
improved sleep, relaxation, and reduced depression and anxiety. Derived from a
wild flowering plant called Hypericum perforatum, the
leaves and flowers are harvested and dried. They can then be brewed in a
tea or taken in a pill or liquid form. Make sure to ask your doctor before you
begin taking St. John’s wort, as it might interact with other medications. Scientific
studies affirm that while St. John’s wort is effective for treating
mild depression, it works no better than a placebo for treating severe
Ginseng is an herb used for its therapeutic health benefits
for as many as 5,000 years by the Chinese, Koreans, and Native Americans. It
may be used to treat menopausal symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, and stress
because it’s considered a “normalizer” and an “energizer.” You can take ginseng
in different forms including tea, powder, and extract.
Continual evidence supports the notion that yoga can help
relieve irritability and depression brought on by menopause. Women report that
yoga relaxation and stretching techniques help stabilize their moods while
improving their overall well being.
Try a gentle yoga class once or twice a week to get the most
benefits. Once you learn the basics, you can carve out some personal time to
practice in the comfort of your own home.
therapies may offer consumers solutions
to assist in treating menopausal symptoms. As with any treatment, it’s a good
idea to talk to your doctor first. This is especially true if you plan on
taking any herbs or supplements.
General health and fitness go a long way in reducing
symptoms. Therefore, stress reduction, exercise, and yoga can be helpful.