Menopause: Alternatives for treatment

Menopause symptoms are usually treated with hormone replacement therapy. However, this form of treatment is rejected by many women due to the risks associated with it. Rather, they prefer treatment from alternative sources.

Because fluctuation in estrogen and progesterone levels are characteristic of menopause, women will likely experience symptoms such as depression, insomnia, hot flashes, mood swings and, breast pain. Fortunately, there is an array of natural remedies that can help the ladies cope. It is important that you get your doctor’s opinion before you begin taking any herb or supplement.

Menopause
Photo Credit: Vancouver Sun

Black cohosh

A lot of studies have been done on black cohosh and its role in relieving women of their menopausal symptoms.

Black cohosh is derived from the buttercup family. It has been used for many centuries. Black cohosh can be taken in many forms – tablets, capsules, or combined with water. Studies have shown that black cohosh has a similar mechanism of action like serotonin. Such include regulation of body temperature and antidepressant effects.

That notwithstanding, research remains mixed according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NNCIH). As a whole, the efficacy of black cohosh for the relief of menopause treatment remains mixed.

Vitamin D

The role of vitamin D in maintaining the health of the body cannot be overemphasized. Vitamin D plays essential roles in normal cell growth, hormone balance, and healthy bone renewal. All these are important for women experiencing menopause.

Vitamin D is gotten primarily from the sun, hence it is referred to as the sunshine vitamin.

As women get older, there is a decrease in their ability to absorb vitamin D, thus raising their risk of bone density loss. It is therefore important that the women incorporate vitamin D into their diets.

 To get your recommended daily dose (which is 600 international units), take a stroll outside for 15 to 20 minutes. Before going for the walk, be sure to have your hat and sunscreen on to protect your skin.

If you cannot go outside, or it is raining, then you may opt for the sunshine vitamin which is usually present in capsule form.

It is also important that load your diet with foods that have a rich content of vitamin D. Foods in this category include wild salmon, tuna, eggs, sardines, and fortified dairy products.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture provides relief for many women. Skeptics argue that the benefits from acupuncture are mainly the result of placebo effect. However, studies have shown that acupuncture might be a good alternative to hormone therapy for women experiencing hot flashes.

Acupuncture is covered by many insurance plans. If you intend using it, be sure to confirm your coverage.

Mindful breathing

Mindful breathing is practiced in mediation and yoga. It calms the mind and eases symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes and anxiety.

You should get yourself prepared once you feel the sensation of a hot flash. You can begin by inhaling through your nose to the count of four. Pause your breath while counting to seven. This is the first breath. Perform the same procedure another two times.

St. John’s wort

St. John’s wort has been used for quite some time in the United States, for the treatment of menopausal mood swings, relaxation, improved sleep, and reduced anxiety and depression. Gotten from the Hypericum perforatum, a wild flowering plant, the flowers and leaves are harvested and dried. They can then be taken in a pill form, as liquid, or brewed in a tea.

Studies have shown that while St. John’s wort is very effective in the treatment of mild depression, it is no better than a placebo when treating depression.

Users are advised to please consult their physician before they start the St. John’s wort therapy. Its side effects may be serious, especially when interacting with other medications.

Ginseng

Ginseng has been used for the past five thousand years, all thanks to its great therapeutic health benefits. It was first used by the Koreans, Chinese, and the Native Americans. It may be used for the treatment of menopausal symptoms of fatigue, stress, and anxiety.

Ginseng can be taken in powder, tea, and extract forms.

Yoga

Studies have shown that yoga helps to relieve the depression and irritability that is characteristic of menopause. Women report that yoga stretching and relaxation techniques help to stabilize their mood and well-being overall.

You can get the most benefits from a gentle yoga class taken once or twice weekly. Once you learn the fundamentals, then you may take some time out to practice within your own home.

The summary…

The therapies listed above may help consumers treat their menopause symptoms. However, it is important that you talk to your physician first. This is important especially if you intend taking any supplements or herbs.    

General health and fitness go a long way in reducing symptoms, so stress reduction, exercise, and yoga can be helpful.

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