Vitamin D: Get Some Sun
Vitamin D is just as important as calcium for bone health. Without vitamin D, your body can’t absorb calcium. Most adults need 600 IU daily. Those 71 and older need 800 IU per day. Vitamin D is in many foods and supplements, but there’s another source: the sun.
Tip: You may have heard that your body produces vitamin D when exposed to sun. That’s true, but even small amounts of sun can lead to skin damage. It’s best to focus on food and use supplements if you don’t get enough in your diet.
Dhea: Hormone Of Youth
Natural levels of DHEA hormone drop in our bodies after age 30. Some small studies have found that DHEA supplements ease menopause symptoms such as low libido and hot flashes. The evidence is mixed. Other studies have found no benefit. There is some concern that long-term use or high doses of DHEA may raise the risk of breast cancer.
Eat Foods Rich In Calcium And Vitamin D
Hormonal changes during menopause can cause bones to weaken, increasing the risk of osteoporosis.
Calcium and vitamin D are linked to good bone health, so its important to get enough of these nutrients in your diet.
Adequate vitamin D intake in postmenopausal women is also associated with a lower risk of hip fractures due to weak bones (
Additionally, calcium-fortified foods are also good sources, including certain cereals, fruit juice or milk alternatives.
Sunlight is your main source of vitamin D, since your skin produces it when exposed to the sun. However, as you get older, your skin gets less efficient at making it.
If you arent out in the sun much or if you cover up your skin, either taking a supplement or increasing food sources of vitamin D may be important.
A diet rich in calcium and vitamin D is important to prevent the bone loss that can occur during menopause.
Also Check: Is Dizziness A Symptom Of Perimenopause
What Is Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy is a treatment for menopause symptoms. It involves taking synthetic hormones . HRT can involve taking estrogen alone or estrogen combined with another hormone, progestin. Some people have found that HRT can relieve menopause symptoms. These symptoms include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and some urinary problems. However, HRT is not for everyone. Recent studies suggest that for most people, the risks of using HRT may outweigh the benefits. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of HRT.
The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends against the use of combined estrogen and progestin for the prevention of chronic conditions in postmenopausal women. The AAFP also recommends against the use of estrogen for the prevention of chronic conditions in postmenopausal women who have had a hysterectomy.
According to the AAFP, This recommendation applies to postmenopausal women who are considering hormone replacement therapy for the primary prevention of chronic medical conditions. It does not apply to women who are considering hormone therapy for the management of menopausal symptoms, or to women who have had premature menopause , or surgical menopause.
Are You In Menopause
Menopause is technically defined as the point when youve gone 12 months without having a period . Most people in North America experience menopause between ages 40 and 58. But menopause-related hormone changes can begin as early as your 30s and 40s a time that is sometimes called perimenopause.
During perimenopause and menopause, you may notice some changes in the frequency and length of your periods. You may also have some mental and physical symptoms. When your periods stop, you have completed menopause. For many people, this is a process that can take several years.
There are a wide variety of symptoms that can occur during menopause. Hot flashes are especially common. Other symptoms include:
Dry skin, eyes, or mouth
Frequent urinary tract infections
Mood changes or anxiety
Poor concentration or brain fog
Theres no simple test to confirm whether you are in perimenopause or menopause. Some people choose to use at-home menopause test kits to measure their levels of follicle stimulating hormone . FSH is a hormone that encourages your ovaries to release eggs. During menopause, as your ovaries slow down and stop working, FSH levels in your body go up.
You May Like: Is Lightheadedness A Symptom Of Menopause
Natural Treatment For Menopause All You Need To Know
Recently Ive been delighted to see much more talk about menopause. It seems we really may be seeing the end of it being a taboo subject, which is fantastic. As we raise awareness, though, Ive noticed the majority of talk around helping women cope centers on HRT.
Since my early menopause at 41, Ive spent a decade researching all the ways in which women can be helped to vibrantly transition through menopause. Ive researched differences in menopause experiences across cultures and looked at reasons why in the West, especially the UK, we seem to suffer worst. Ive learnt a lot! Its important we have the full picture so we understand our options for natural treatment for menopause.
There are many diet, lifestyle and mindset changes we can proactively make that allow us to have a different experience of menopause and often a vastly improved one. Im not anti-HRT, far from it. I was advised to take HRT after an early menopause at least until normal menopause age of 51.
This was to protect my bones and heart from 10 years or less of estrogen than normal. You can read more about my early menopause experience here.
I took my BP meds at first but subsequently tried lifestyle changes to keep my BP normal. I take a similar approach to menopause. Only time will tell if Ive been successful in my efforts avoiding medication!
Home Remedies For Menopause Relief
Menopause is an important change in a womans life. In simple terms, it is the transition from a reproductive to a non-reproductive stage in life.
One reaches the menopause phase only after going one year without any menstrual periods.
Menopause is a natural process that occurs as the ovaries age and produce less reproductive hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
The average age that American women reach menopause is 52, but it can occur at any time between the ages of 45 and 58, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services .
While age is thought to be genetically determined, there are several factors that influence when a woman reaches menopause.
A 2011 study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology Clinics of North America reports that a number of factors are important determinants of the age at which natural menopause occurs.
Such factors include demographics, such as education, employment, and race/ethnicity menstrual and reproductive factors, such as parity and oral contraceptive use familial and genetic factors and lifestyle factors, such as smoking, weight, physical activity and diet .
As the body transitions through menopause, several symptoms can appear as a result of hormonal and other changes.
You wont necessarily experience all the symptoms. Its different for every woman. The symptoms may last anywhere from a few months to several years.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for menopause relief.
Also Check: Sweet Potatoes And Menopause
Alternative Treatments For Menopause
As an alternative treatment for menopause symptoms of the vagina, your doctor may prescribe a vaginalÃ cream to help stop the thinning of vaginal tissues and improve lubrication.There are estrogen-based creams and a non-estrogen cream called Intrarosa that reduces the severity of pain with intercourse as a result of thinning vaginal tissues.
Your diet can also help you get through menopause:
- Eat foods high in plant estrogens — such as soy beans and soy milk. Some research suggests soy may ease symptoms such as hot flashes. Other research shows it may raise the risk of cancer in women who have a uterus. Nuts and seeds, fennel, celery, parsley, and flaxseed oil may also help.
- Raise your calcium intake — to 1,000 to 1,500 mg a day — and do regular weight-bearing exercise to avoid osteoporosis and maintain general good health.
- An extract of black cohosh is thought to reduce symptoms without causing the problems associated with estrogen. However, this herbal supplement mayÃ cause side effects including stomach upset, cramping, and headaches. There is also some concern that black cohosh may be associated with liver damage.
It is important to understand that there is little scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness of these alternative treatments.
How To Balance Hormones Naturally
Lets start with how to achieve better hormonal balance naturally and then Ill also give some ideas on what you can do for specific symptoms.
1. Balance your blood sugar and sort out your diet. Start with what and how you eat. As Jackie Lynch writes in her book The Happy Menopause, the most fundamental component of good hormonal balance in midlife and beyond is making sure your blood sugar levels are as stable as they can be. As we go through the perimenopause years, estrogen decreases. But it doesnt go away completely.
The ovaries stop producing it, but its still made in our adipose tissue and by our adrenal glands. Its a weaker form of estrogen but still estrogen. The problem is that if were stressed and our bodies go into fight or flight mode, the adrenal glands prioritize production of our stress hormones in favor of estrogen. Then we get into trouble with menopause symptoms.
Stress can come in the form of bog standard emotional stress. Or it can be stress we put on our bodies, making them think they need to go into fight or flight mode by causing our blood sugar levels to be imbalanced. This happens either because we havent eaten when we should have, and blood sugar has dropped, or weve consumed the wrong thing that makes our blood sugar level spike.
So eating regularly and the right things becomes ever more important. Caffeine, alcohol, sugar and refined foods can all cause our blood sugar to spike and then plummet when their effects wears off.
Read Also: Dizzy Spells Menopause
Other Menopause Symptoms And Treatments
For most women, hot flashes and trouble sleeping are the biggest problems associated with menopause. But, some women have other symptoms, such as irritability and mood swings, anxiety and depression, headaches, and even heart palpitations. Many of these problems, like mood swings and depression, are often improved by getting a better night’s sleep. Discussing mood issues with your doctor can help you identify the cause, screen for severe depression, and choose the most appropriate intervention. For depression, your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant medication.
If you want to change your lifestyle to see if you can reduce your symptoms, or if you decide any of your symptoms are severe enough to need treatment, talk with your doctor.
Treatments For Menopausal Symptoms
There are several drug-free ways to reduce the impact of hot flushes and night sweats. These include:
- Counselling and psychological treatment such as cognitive behaviour therapy .
- Hypnosis may also be helpful.
- Some women also benefit from acupuncture.
Whilst paced breathing, exercise and relaxation programs may be helpful for your general physical and emotional health, they do not significantly reduce menopausal symptoms.
Non-hormonal drug treatments
Several prescription medications have been shown to reduce hot flushes and night sweats. Unfortunately, these do not improve vaginal dryness. Prescription medications for hot flushes and sweats include:
- certain antidepressants
- a drug called gabapentin
- a blood pressure medication called clonidine.
These drugs may reduce hot flushes and nights sweats from around 40-60 per cent . Using antidepressants and using treatments that improve sleep may also improve mood.
For more information see the fact sheet Treating hot flushes: An alternative to menopausal hormone therapy
Menopausal Hormone Therapy
Menopausal hormone therapy contains oestrogen to treat menopausal symptoms and may contain a progestogen to protect the lining of the uterus from cancer in women who have not had a hysterectomy. Menopausal hormone therapy is also known as hormone replacement therapy or hormone therapy .
See the fact sheet Menopausal Hormone Therapy for more information on:
Compounded or bioidentical hormone therapy
Lifestyle And Behavioural Modifications For Menopausal Symptoms
A healthy diet and lifestyle, incorporating exercise, lowers risk for many health problems associated with ageing, gives you more energy, and improves quality of life. A healthy lifestyle may reduce menopausal symptoms including hot flushes and sleep disturbance.
What Are Some Natural Remedies For Menopause Symptoms
Some women report relief for hot flashes and other menopause symptoms with complementary or alternative therapies. Talk to your doctor or nurse before taking any herbal or vitamin supplement. The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate supplements in the same way they regulate medicines. Many supplements can interfere with medicines and make them work incorrectly or not at all.
Some research studies show relief from premenstrual syndrome symptoms with these herbal supplements, but other studies do not. Many herbal supplements should not be used with other medicines. Some herbal supplements women use for menopause symptoms are:
Research continues on these and other alternative ways of relieving menopause. Talk to your doctor or nurse before trying natural remedies.
Recommended Reading: Can A Woman Lactate After Menopause
Red Clover: Popular But Unproven
Many women use red clover hoping that its natural plant estrogens will ease their menopause symptoms. So far, though, the research results have been mixed.
Despite early concern, recent studies have not shown an increase in uterine cancer when women took red clover for 3 months. But it’s always best to talk to your doctor if you’re concerned.
What Are The Treatments For Menopause
After menopause, hormone replacement therapy is often prescribed to resupply the body with the hormones it no longer produces. Discuss this with your doctor. As with any medication, there are risks and benefits, and women should decide if HRT is the right choice for them.
HRT typically consists of an estrogen/progestin supplement — usually given orally or through a skin patch or gel. Estrogen is the component that treats hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and osteoporosis .
Estrogen alone can increase the risk of endometrial or uterine cancer — since it stimulates cell growth — but progestin counteracts that risk. However, progestin and estrogen both have negative side effects like irregular bleeding, headaches, bloating, and breast swelling and pain. You may even develop an artificial monthly period, depending on the dosage you’re on.
Estrogen may be used alone in women who have had a hysterectomy.
Recently, research on HRT through the Women’s Health Initiative turned up some controversial findings: Heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, and breast cancer occurred more often in women taking combination HRT. Taking estrogen alone slightly increased the risk of stroke and blood clots and didn’t appear to increase or decrease the risk of heart disease. No increased risk of breast cancer was found for those women on estrogen-only therapy.
Read Also: Menopause Light Headed
Menopause Symptom: Hot Flashes
Hot flashes, also called hot flushes, are the most common menopause symptom. As many as three out of four women experience hot flashes. Some women begin having hot flashes before menopause, when they are still getting a period.
Hot flashes are a sudden feeling of heat in the upper part of your body. Your face and neck may become red. Red blotches may appear on your chest, back, and arms. You may also get heavy sweating during hot flashes or cold chills after the hot flashes. Some women get more cold chills than hot flashes.
Hot flashes are most common in women in the year before their period stops and in the year after their period stops. However, recent studies show that hot flashes can continue for up to 14 years after menopause., Doctors and researchers do not know why hot flashes are so common during menopause. There are medicines that can prevent some hot flashes, and there are ways you can try to manage hot flashes when they do happen.
Avoid Foods That Make Menopause Worse
Caffeine, alcohol, fatty meats, and sugary or spicy foods may trigger hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and other menopause symptoms. Everyone is unique when it comes to food intolerances, and different foods may affect women differently. One of the best ways to know what may be triggering your symptoms is to start an elimination diet such as Whole 30.
I recommend keeping a food journal to keep a record of how certain foods affect your personal symptoms. Its best to work closely with your doctor to help guide you through any dietary changes.
Recommended Reading: Are More Frequent Periods A Sign Of Menopause
Dong Quai: Empress Of The Herbs
Dong quai has been used in Chinese medicine as treatment for women’s health for thousands of years. But research in recent times hasn’t found evidence to back this up. One study of dong quai to determine its effects on hot flashes during menopause found no benefits. Because dong quai may have some risks, including cancer when taken long-term, check with a doctor before using it.
Complementary And Alternative Therapies
Complementary and alternative treatments, such as herbal remedies and bioidentical hormones, are not recommended for symptoms of the menopause. This is because it’s generally unclear how safe and effective they are.
Bioidentical hormones are not the same as body identical hormones. Body identical hormones, or micronised progesterone, can be prescribed to treat menopausal symptoms.
Some complementary and alternative therapies can also interact with other medicines and cause side effects.
Ask your GP or pharmacist for advice if you’re thinking about using a complementary therapy.
Page last reviewed: 29 August 2018 Next review due: 29 August 2021
Recommended Reading: Does The Texture Of Hair Change With Menopause