If you're going through menopause, you may be considering treatment alternatives to hormone replacement. While you should always discuss treatment options with your doctor, some research indicates that your risk of heart attacks, strokes and blood clots increase when you take hormones to treat menopause symptoms. Natural and herbal remedies may provide menopause relief, and these options may be less likely to cause serious side effects. You can also combine natural remedies with prescription medication.
Understanding Menopause Symptoms
There are many factors that affect your menopause age, but it can happen in your early 40s or as late as 55. Before you enter menopause, you'll experience perimenopause, which can cause irregular periods and hot flashes. For most women, perimenopause involves skipped periods and can last several years.
Once you've skipped your period for an entire year without any spotting, you'll officially be in menopause. You may experience signs of menopause that include hot flashes, mood changes, changes in sexual arousal and increases in forgetfulness . While you may wonder how long does menopause last, actual menopause only lasts 1 year. However, hot flashes can last a median of 10 years, while perimenopause lasts approximately 4 years.
If you see bleeding/spotting after you've officially entered menopause, it's important to visit a doctor because it could be a sign of cancer .
1. The Menopause Diet
To protect your bones during menopause, be sure to eat calcium- and vitamin D-rich foods. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables and other low-calorie foods will help you maintain your weight or achieve any necessary weight loss. If you can't get all the nutrients you need from the foods you eat, consider vitamins to meet your recommended daily allowance. You can also increase your intake of edamame, tofu and seitan to take advantage of soy isoflavones that mimic estrogen in your body.
2. Herbs for Menopause Hot Flashes
Black cohosh menopause studies indicate that it may positively impact night sweats and hot flashes. In addition to black cohosh, there is some evidence that red clover and dong quai might improve your menopause symptoms. Other women take wild yam as a menopause supplement because it is a natural source of estrogen.
3. Stress Management to Help with Menopause Weight Loss
Menopause can often trigger chronic stress, which can increase your risk of weight gain, depression, anxiety, heart disease and other problems. To address stress, try increasing your mind-body connection through meditation, deep breathing or positive thinking. You should also talk about your concerns with trusted friends, family members or a counselor.
4. Exercise and Sleep
To prevent hot flashes from interrupting your sleep, avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed. Exercising regularly will also help you stay asleep and will protect you from your increased risk of developing heart disease and osteoporosis . Exercise and meditation can also diminish hot flashes .
Clary sage (Salvia sclarea) and peppermint oil can be used to address hot flashes, while lavender and geranium oil may help you achieve better hormonal balance. Basil oil therapy may help increase your estrogen levels, improve your overall mood and diminish hot flashes. Finally, citrus oils may diminish menopause symptoms while increasing sexual arousal.
Before taking any herbal remedies for menopause or trying any other treatment, discuss your intentions with your doctor. These remedies, although completely natural, can be particularly potent and interact with other menopause treatments or medical conditions.