Menopause is a normal biological stage in a woman’s natural life cycle, no matter the meaning we associate with it. The unpleasant symptoms during the years leading up to it are caused by a decrease in estrogen production and vary to a degree. Since women can start experiencing it as early as their mid 40s, an age when they are still high in demand both at work and at home, the need for this transition to go along as smooth as possible has grown in the last decade.
In the recent past, the easier way to fight the symptoms of menopause was HRT (hormone replacement therapy). Even though highly effective, the negative side effects, such as breast or endometrial cancer, has led to a controlled regulation of these prescriptions. Therefore both women and doctors have taken another look at alternative medicine and the benefits it has to offer.
Here are five doctor-approved ways in which you can control the menopause symptoms with ease:
1. Phytoestrogens to ease hot flashes
More than 50% women complain about hot flashes and/or night sweats. These are the most common symptom with which patients present themselves, because their quality of life is drastically affected. Phytoestrogen is a form of estrogen found in many plants, for example soy. That is why women from Japan, where the soy sauce consumption is high, rarely suffer from these complaints during menopause. Phytoestrogens are the plant-based alternative to HRT and are available in many products such as syrups, pills and teas. The most common used plants are: black cohosh root, chasteberry tree, ginseng, red clover, ginkgo biloba.
2. Fight wrinkles with green tea
Low oestrogen levels lead to dry skin and thus to more wrinkles. Green tea is known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Face creams and masks with green tea improve skin elasticity and reduce sun damage. It is also effective against rosacea, a skin disease that might start to manifest at this age.
3. Better sex with hyaluronic acid
With menopause, a woman can finally enjoy sex without worrying about getting pregnant. That is why it seems quite unfair that some women experience painful intercourse due to vaginal dryness, another uncomfortable symptom. An alternative to the classic oestrogen cream are vaginal gels, creams or suppositories with hyaluronic acid. The skin regains elasticity without any hormonal effect.
4. Strengthen your bones with vitamin D and Calcium
Osteoporosis is common in older women and causes bones to fracture easier. This process happens over time, therefore we can prevent it if we begin to supplement with vitamin D and Calcium (vitamin D alone has no benefits).
5. Cut the coffee, leave out the wine
Coffee increases the occurrence of hot flashes, so you might want to switch to decaf or pick up early jogging or Yoga to get the day going. Sport facilitates the increase of bone mass, so add it to your lifestyle and also put that vitamin D and Calcium supplement to good use. Moderate wine consumption reduces the risk of heart disease, but it also aggravates night sweating, which in turn leads to having trouble sleeping.
The good news is that hot flashes and night sweating last only a couple of months or years!
For better or for worse, menopause is a normal part of womanhood. Just like puberty, it is marked by mood swings and the awareness that your body is changing without your will. At the end of the day all it matters is that you love the person you are turning into.
Before taking any plant-based therapy, a visit to your doctor, be it a general practitioner or gynaecologist, is recommended. According to your medical history, some products may not be compatible with your current medication.