Menopause is a natural part of a woman’s life, usually occurs around age 50. Menopausal symptoms include hot flashes, mood swings, insomnia, and vaginal dryness. You may need to consider hormone therapy if your symptoms are severe, but if they’re mild or moderate there are non-hormonal and non-drug alternatives that you could use to provide some relief. Some of these remedies don’t meet the same quality standards as drugs, so it is best to speak to your physician before starting any new treatment.
Non-Hormonal and Drug-Free Therapy for Female Menopause: Exercise
Regular exercise can improve physical and mental health by reducing stress and improving one’s mood. Being active can help with some of the sleep problems that many menopausal women experience. Do at least 30 minutes of moderate activity per day. Avoid exercising close to bedtime for it can over-stimulate you and keep you up especially if you suffer from insomnia which is a common change in women with menopause.
Non-Hormonal and Drug-Free Therapy for Female Menopause: Cool Down
Stay cool to minimize the onset of hot flashes. Try to dress lightly, wear cotton to stay cool. Keep a fan on in your home and work place. If you have air conditioning, use it. Open the windows at night to let the fresh air in. Sleep in a cool room. Some use ice packs against pillows to lessen hot flashes. Use light bedding made of cotton and avoid using thick comforters and blankets. Avoid working outside in the garden when it is too hot. Drink lots of cold drink to help you cool down.
Non-Hormonal and Drug-Free Therapy for Female Menopause: Avoid Certain Foods and Drinks
Avoid eating or drinking hot or spicy foods, alcohol, or caffeine that can cause hot flashes. Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, meaning they remove water from the body. Being dehydrated can make you feel tired. Both alcohol and caffeine can disrupt sleep if you drink them too close to bedtime. This is the last thing you need if you are already having sleep problems due to night-sweats. Try to drink alcohol moderately and stay away from drinks with caffeine. Drink as much water as possible to stay hydrated.
Non-Hormonal and Drug-Free Therapy for Female Menopause: Relax
To lessen stress that causes mood swings, try to relax. It may be easier said than done, but once you get into the habit of taking deep breaths and avoiding confrontations you will not have to deal with dealing with anger brought about by mood swings. Join the yoga club or go outside and get some fresh air. Listen to a mellow music and turn off distractions to help you relax better at home and at work.
Non-Hormonal and Drug-Free Therapy for Female Menopause: Soy
Eat soy products such as soy milk and tofu to help ease mild hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. Soy contains phytoestrogens or estrogen-like compounds. Some evidence supports soy’s beneficial effects on menopause so it doesn’t hurt to give soy a try. If you are suffering of estrogen-dependent breast cancer, be cautious about your soy intake.
Non-Hormonal and Drug-Free Therapy for Female Menopause: Herbs
There are herbs that contain phytoestrogens – such as black cohosh, wild yam, dong quai, red clover, and valerian root that have helped with menopausal symptoms. Black cohosh is the most common herbs which can be purchased over-the-counter under the brand name Remifemin. Black cohosh has been helpful in dealing with hot flashes and mood swings. Studies of black cohosh’s effectiveness show mixed results and there are no long-term studies to base on. Some women also raised concern about whether the herb may cause liver problems, so precautions should be taken when taking this herb. Again, consult with your physician first before using this as therapy for menopause.
Non-Hormonal and Drug-Free Therapy for Female Menopause: Lubricants
Vaginal dryness is often an effect of menopause. Using a simple water-based vaginal lubricant, such as K-Y Jelly and Silk-E, during sex may help. You can also use a vaginal moisturizer like Replens, which can be purchased over the counter that can help with the dryness.