With constant hormonal fluctuations and bodily changes, menopause can be a difficult transition for many women. Without warning, symptoms can change in intensity and frequency--even new ones can arise. Fortunately, there are many treatment options available to help women manage their symptoms.
Treatments that incorporate lifestyle changes involve women incorporating new habits or activities into - or eliminating detrimental ones from - their daily lives. While this may seem simple, this can be quite challenging, since it requires a great deal of self-discipline.
Lifestyle changes women can incorporate include:
- Practicing stress reduction techniques (e.g., reading, spending time with friends, “me” time, meditation)
- Eating a well-rounded, nutritious diet
- Exercising regularly
- Avoiding excessive caffeine or alcohol intake
- Quitting smoking
A number of alternative treatments are available for women who would like to use them alone or in combination with lifestyle changes. They are generally safe and effective for most women. Some alternative treatments include:
- Herbal remedies
Regarding herbal remedies, there are two kinds that can effectively treat menopause symptoms:
Phytoestrogenic supplements, such as black cohosh and dong quai, introduce plant compounds that mimic estrogen within the body to temporarily assuage symptoms due to dwindling estrogen. They are extremely effective in the short term, but lose their effectiveness over time.
Hormone-regulating supplements stimulate a woman's body to increase her natural hormone production, helping to balance out her body's estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels to alleviate menopause symptoms. These supplements are a safe and effective way to treat menopause symptoms.
Prescription medications, like hormone replacement therapy (HRT) pills, are very popular and are, by far, the most common menopause symptom treatment in the United States. HRT introduces synthetic estrogen into a woman's body to simulate her own estrogen. HRT is quite effective, but it has been associated with a dangerous increase in the risk of developing heart disease and breast cancer.
More Information on Treatments for Menopause
Women can do further research into the different types of treatment - from lifestyle adjustments to HRT to herbal supplements - and then discuss their findings and questions with a trusted doctor before choosing the most effective treatment or combination of treatments for their specific circumstances.