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Is there a Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy?

HRT has had a bad press in recent years, although for many women it is the best way of managing the symptoms that come with the menopause. However, for other women natural alternatives and lifestyle changes can alleviate the symptoms and allow them to lead a normal life. It is certainly worth adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle in order to improve your health during the menopause and beyond. So which natural menopause treatments can help, and how?

Hydration

Staying well hydrated is important for anyone, but especially for menopausal women. If you have the typical symptom of hot flushes and night sweats, you will lose a lot of fluid. Dehydration can also cause anxiety, headaches, and a number of other symptoms that are similar to menopausal ones.

Sleep Schedule

Night sweats, a common symptom of menopause, will make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep and leave you tired during the day. Simple changes to your bedroom like using a fan or air conditioning and wearing lightweight nightclothes of natural fibres can help. You can also try sleeping in a separate room from your partner or using individual quilts instead of a double one, so that you can use a lighter one.

Diet

A healthy diet will also be beneficial to menopausal women and in the years leading up to it. She should ensure that she eats plenty of fruits and vegetables, and wholegrain bread, rice and pasta. Consume plenty of calcium-rich foods like dairy products and fish with bones, and iron-rich foods. Avoid a high consumption of fat and sugar, and watch your salt intake. Caffeine, spicy food and alcohol can be a problem during this time. There are some foods that are specifically believed to help during the menopause as they contain plant oestrogens, such as soya (try soya milk with added calcium or tofu), sunflower and other seeds, and green beans.

Exercise

Exercise can also help with the symptoms of menopause, by relieving stress and anxiety, and helping improve sleep patterns. One of the problems with menopause is that women often gain weight, especially around the waist, so regular exercise can avoid gaining too many pounds. It will also be beneficial in helping to keep the bones strong and avoid the osteoporosis common in later life.

Stress Management

Menopause means a number of physical changes as well as psychological, and women are often mentally unprepared for this new stage in their lives. It’s also common to fear the menopause and be upset by the realisation that your fertility is coming to an end. In addition, the reduced levels of oestrogen can cause you to become more stressed, as this hormone helps regulate the stress hormone cortisol. However, the menopause is not always as awful as women expect or are led to believe, and practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation will be useful ways of managing the stress and anxiety of this time.

Other Natural Remedies

The benefits of natural remedies are contentious. If you are unable or unwilling to take HRT, there are natural alternatives in the form of bioidentical hormones. These can be more closely tailored to the individual than HRT. Some women find natural remedies are very beneficial in treating menopausal symptoms; these include black cohosh, red clover and wild yam. However, natural remedies have unconfirmed effectiveness and can interact with other medication, so consult a doctor before taking them.

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