Non Hormone Menopause Treatments - Is There Anything That Can Help?
Hormones may be the first thing you think of when it comes to reducing the symptoms of menopause. But what about non hormone menopause treatments?
Are there other things you can take that can make a difference in those bothersome hot flashes, lack of sleep, and vaginal dryness?
If you've always heard about the risks of hormones for menopause, what about non hormone menopause treatments? Aren't they just as effective and a lot less risky than taking hormones?
Herbs and vitamins?
Don't all those things have a big impact on menopause and its symptoms?
Is it really necessary to take hormones in order to relieve menopause?
Menopause Symptoms Can Be Hell
So many menopause symptoms can make your life completely miserable. In my experience as a pharmacist, counseling hundreds of women in menopause over the past 25 years, many of them are completely exhausted, not only from the hot flashes and night sweats, the vaginal dryness and painful intercourse, but also from sleeping only 2 or 3 hours almost every single night.
It's no wonder these women are a little out of sorts. They haven't slept for weeks . . . sometimes months. They're running on fumes in the energy department. They struggle with irritability and forgetfulness that makes them feel worse about themselves.
The exhaustion you may have experienced affects every single aspect of your life and makes all the other symptoms of menopause that much worse.
Hot flashes are definitely a major symptom for menopausal women. maybe you've struggled with them and haven't found anything that really makes much of a difference. You may have heard that hormones can help, but you'd like to try some other solutions first.
The good news about non hormone menopause treatments is that many of them can make a difference hot flashes.
Hot flashes and night sweats tend to get the most attention from media and people who haven't experienced menopause. It's definitely a big disruption to feel one coming on during an important meeting at work or out at a restaurant with friends. They can be embarrassing, claustrophobic, and frustrating.
Non Hormone Menopause Treatments
Herbal supplements are definitely worth a try.
- black cohosh
- dong quai
- evening primrose oil
- red clover
The good news is that these supplements are probably relatively safe. They may also have some ability to reduce hot flashes for some women, some of the time.
Exercise can make a dent in menopause symptoms. It can increase blood flow to areas that need it. Getting moving can increase the flow of endorphins and enkephalins, those are hormones that improve your mood, reduce pain and inflammation, and generally help give you a better outlook on life.
- riding a bike
- Zumba and other forms of aerobic exercise
- high intensity interval training (HIIT)
These can all increase the level of your endorphins and enkephalins. Whether you're in menopause or not, all these forms of exercise will lead to a greater sense of well-being, more muscle and bone strength, and less depression and anxiety. Weight loss may be a side effect of exercise, expecially when it's combined with strategic calorie reduction and adjusting your "macros," which are your carbohydrate, protein, and fat intake.
In menopause, many of these same benefits are going to come your way with exercise. In addition, you may have fewer hot flashes when you exercise regularly.
Side note: Vigorous exercise after you go into menopause, even 5 or more times a week, may not give you the weight loss results you once achieved. It's a lot harder to lose weight in menopause because your reduced hormone levels are causing your body to conserve fat instead of letting it go. That's why women over 50 get something called "visceral fat." Visceral fat is fat inside your abdomen, around your organs. It's closely associated with a bunch of serious health risks as you get older.
Changing your diet can help, especially with hot flashes.
Spicy foods may bring on hot flashes. Avoiding them can help reduce their severity and frequency.
Alcohol, especially red wine, may bring on hot flashes. As hard as giving it up may be for some women, it could help. Red wine also has several health benefits that may or may not outweight its ability to produce more hot flashes.
Non Hormone Menopause Treatments Won't Work For Everyone
These solutions probably aren't enough to solve menopause symptoms for everyone, though they may help. They won't solve all your menopause symptoms either. The reason they won't is very simple.
They Don't Get At The Root
Non hormone menopause treatments may help, especially with hot flashes for some women. But they can't solve the underlying problem that causes hot flashes or any of the other dozens of menopause symptoms.
The root cause of menopause is that your hormone factories have pretty much shut down for the day. Your body still makes a little bit of estradiol and progesterone, the main female hormones involved in reproduction and pregnancy, but there's not enough of them available to help you with most of the symptoms making your life miserable.
Non hormone menopause treatments don't touch your body's hormone levels. They can't solve the real problem.
They may mimic the way hormones work, especially in the case of soy phytoestrogens, plant-based chemicals that are "sort of" like estrogens and cause a few "estrogenic" effects.
Non hormone menopause treatments won't ever take away the fact that your hormones are gone. Only optimizing your hormones can do that. In order to optimize your hormones, you'll need to bring some in from the outside.
The Good News . . .
The good news is that there is a safe way to get those hormones back. By having your hormones optimized by a qualified hormone optimization expert, who really knows what to do to make sure they're at optimal levels, you can not only eliminate all your menopause symptoms ( not just hot flashes) and reduce your long-term health risks at the same time.
An expert in hormone optimization knows how to prescribe, monitor, and adjust your hormone levels so they're not too high or too low but just right.