Top 6 Natural Treatments for Menopause

How to Cope Naturally With The Change

Hot flashes, irritablility, fatigue, vaginal dryness.

Just hit you with a truck and get it over with already, right?

Menopause sucks, and traditional treatments seem almost worse than just dealing with it.

If you’re one of the millions of women who have decided to sweat it out (literally!) instead of taking hormones, or if HRT isn’t completely handling all of your symptoms, then I have some tips that will help you make it through menopause with your mind and your freedom still in tact.

  • Phytoestrogens – The reason that you’re having these symptoms to begin with is because your estrogen levels are all screwy. To be precise, they’re decreasing and when that happens, you get all kinds of awesome side effects like moodiness, fatigue, vaginal dryness, increased risk of a few different kinds of cancer, and breast tenderness.

    Phytoestrogens are plant substances that mimic the effects of estrogen, or at least that’s what many people think. Some foods high in isoflavones, the biggest family of phytoestrogens, include soy products. Crushed flaxseed, aka linseed, provides lignans, another family of phytoestrogens.

    Some newer research indicates that at lower levels, these chemicals really do work like estrogen and encourage uptake of estrogen by estrogen receptors but at high doses, they may actually BLOCK estrogen effects so talk to your D.O. about proper dosages.

    The bottom line is that some women swear by phytoestrogens, and some research indicates that they’re bunk. Actually, the research is just inconsistent. It does generally show that phytoestrogens offer some relief from hot flashes by decreasing either the number or the intensity of them.

    One important thing to keep in mind – increased levels of estrogen increase your risk of breast cancer. If phytoestrogens truly do increase estrogen levels, then you need to consider this.

  • Evening Primrose Oil – Used for centuries to help with breast pain and hot flashes, primrose oil used to be prescribed by doctors. Though no longer prescribed, it’s still readily available over-the-counter. Just so you know, it may cause nausea and diarrhea.

  • Sage – You can take this as a tea or as an extract and it really does seem to help with hot flashes. If you’re taking Tamoxifen or if you have high blood pressure, you need to use sage with caution!

  • St. John’s Wort – Known as the “Natural Prozac”, St. John’s Wort has become immensely popular for treatment of depression and other mood disoders. Because it offers all of the benefits of an anti-depressant without the addiction issues or horrible side effects, many people swear by it.

  • Exercise – Yeah, I know. Boring right? But exercise is crucial to getting through menopause with a healthy mental outlook and strong bones. It has both mental and physical benefits. The release of the “feel good” brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine are related to moderate exercise so your mood will be better.

    Exercise also keeps your muscular structure and thus your bone structure solid, and has actually been shown to prevent bone loss in menopausal and post-menopausal women so get your butt to the gym, or at least go for a walk 3 or 4 times per week. To get the most benefit though, you really need to do weight training.

  • Diet – What you eat while you’re going through menopause is extremely important and is probably the single biggest thing that you can actually control. You want to eat healthily because you’re going to gain weight easier, and you also want to make sure that you’re taking care of your bones because now is the time when you’re really at risk for bone loss.

    Calcium is crucial, but so is vitamin D, because your body can’t absorb calcium without it. You also need to make sure that you’re getting enough vitamin K, magnesium and boron. Talk to your doctor about your dietary needs and if necessary, get on a good multivitamin. Remember though that dietary calcium is used much more efficiently by your body and doesn’t place you at risk for kidney stones.

    Keep your sugar intake low because excess sugar inhibits your liver’s ability to process estrogen. Watch your caffeine intake and carbonated beverage intake because the phosphorus can increase bone loss.

There are many things that you can do to alleviate some of the symptoms of menopause, but these are a few suggestions. Basically, it’s gonna be a rough ride no matter how you slice it. The best thing to remember is that it’s not going to last forever, and there are things that you can do to make the ride a little smoother. You may also want to check out our article on hormone replacement therapy as well if you’re considering HRT. Good luck, and may you stay cool and comfortable!

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