Menopause is a significant life change for every woman, with symptoms that can affect us physically and emotionally. So, other than standard hormone replacement therapy (HRT), what else can help to relieve these symptoms? The Women’s Health Book, by the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne, suggests that these seven natural remedies can help,
1. Reducing core body temperature
Hot weather can trigger hot flushes, which can also affect your sleep. See if you can keep yourself cool by using air-conditioning in the house, going swimming, and avoiding hot and spicy foods. A cool shower or bath can also help.
2. Relaxation and support groups
Stress and anxiety are known triggers for hot flushes. Counselling, being part of a support group and relaxation therapies can all help to reduce stress and, in turn, lower any chances of experiencing hot flushes.
3. Physical activity
Exercise can help by increasing your endorphin (feel good hormone) levels, which, as studies have found, can relieve and reduce the likelihood of experiencing menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes, sleep problems, depression and moodiness. Daily exercise is important, so try 30-minute moderate-intensity walks. Also, regular strength training can help reduce your risk of osteoporosis.
4. Yoga and meditation
Yoga and meditation seem to be helpful for many health ailments. For women with menopause, regularly performing these activities are said to reduce hot flushes and night sweats, and improve mood and concentration.
5. Nutrition and diet
Diet is important for minimising menopausal symptoms. You’re after a diet that’s high in fruits and vegetables, and very low in processed foods. Phytoestrogens, also known as plant oestrogens, are similar to oestrogen made by the body, and can help to alleviate symptoms.
Foods rich in phytoestrogens include soy-based foods (e.g. tofu, miso, soy milk), sprouts, sesame seeds (tahini), hummus, dried apricots and pistachios.
Getting vitamin D (safe sun exposure and/or supplements) is also essential for healthy bones.
6. Herbal remedies
They are many herbal remedies available that can help with menopausal symptoms. Some include black cohosh, St John’s wort and red clover. Speak to your health professional for advice on the best herbal remedy for your symptoms.
The results of research on the affects of acupuncture on menopausal symptoms are mixed. Despite this, acupuncture is becoming more common to help manage menopausal symptoms. The Women’s Health Book states that since this therapy is relatively safe, it is worth giving it a go to see whether it helps you.
Have you used any of these remedies to treat your menopausal symptoms? Which did you find the most helpful? What else have you tried that has worked?