Menopause is a normal process in a woman’s body that signals the end of the ability to reproduce. Menopause comes with a lot of symptoms due to estrogen deficiency in the body. The main treatment regarding menopausal symptoms if hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT is often prescribed to resupply the body with the hormones it stopped producing. As with any other medication, there are risks and benefits of taking HRT, so you should always discuss with your doctor first if and which HRT is the right choice for you.
HRT is typically a combination of estrogen and progestin that is usually given orally or through a skin patch or gel. Estrogen helps keeps intact hot flashes and vaginal dryness, two of the most typical symptoms of menopause. However, estrogen alone can increase the risk of cancer, as it stimulates cell growth, but progestin counteracts the risk. Both hormones may have negative side effects such as irregular bleeding, headaches, bloating, and breast swelling. Women who have had a hysterectomy are recommended to use estrogen alone. All in all, combination and estrogen-only HRT are still very effective therapies for relieving menopause symptoms such as hot flashes. However, you should always check with your doctor first, because not all women are advised to take HRT, especially those who had breast or uterine cancer, blood clots, heart diseases, and others.
Apart from HRT, there are other ways to help you with menopausal symptoms. One of them is the nonhormonal therapy. If for some reason you are unable or simply do not want to take hormones, there are other forms of treatment prescribed to alleviate some of the menopausal symptoms.
One of the most common symptoms reported by women experiencing menopause, vaginal dryness without hot flashes, can be tackled by taking vaginal estrogen. Vaginal estrogen is a much lower dose of estrogen compared to the medications, and it comes in the form of a cream, tablet, or a ring that is placed in the vagina.
Other non-medical forms that can help you alleviate symptoms of menopause are yoga, meditation, deep breathing, and other relaxation techniques, as they are reported to reduce the stress of menopause. There are also a lot of plants and herbs such as black cohosh that is said to help with hot flashes, however, their effectiveness on relieving menopausal symptoms has not yet been scientifically proven. Always talk to your doctor about alternative treatment or any other kind of treatment for menopause, especially women who have had breast cancer, because taking them might increase the risk of reoccurrence.
Women who avoid taking estrogen have turned to other remedies. For example, soy contains high levels of estrogen-like compounds called phytoestrogens, which mimic women’s natural estrogen. However, you should still be careful as some studies suggest that high doses of soy may increase the risk of breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer. Women who go through menopause, often have mood changes that cause irritability, anxiety, fatigue, and blue moods. Thus, self-nurturing activities may all be helpful. A lot of women swear by over-the-counter products that you most probably already have at home, such as vitamin B6.
Another menopausal symptom is frequent urination. Luckily, there are strategies that help improve this bothering feeling. To keep your urine clear and pale yellow, try to drink a considerable amount of water, but not during the night. Also, you might want to stay away from highly acidic foods that might irritate the bladder lining, such as grapefruit, oranges, tomatoes, and coffee. Women have also found Kegel exercises to be helpful.
All in all, rather than relying on one particular coping mechanism, doctors recommend making sure that your overall well-being habits are healthy. And by healthy habits, it means following a healthy diet that is low on carbs but high on fiber and protein, with lots of fruits and vegetables included. Also, regularly exercising, quitting smoking, and following stress reduction techniques, are all said to help with relieving menopausal symptoms. Women who go through menopause with very few or light symptoms are either very very lucky, or they were in a very healthy place prior to entering menopause. This says everything about the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
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