The good news is that. while the menopause can be a time of dramatic shifts for your emotional and physical wellbeing, there’s lots of help on offer. When it comes to treatment, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, so consider all your options to see what works best for you.
Simple lifestyle changes can make a huge difference to menopausal symptoms. For some women, this will be enough to enable them cope with the changes that the menopause brings. For others, these can fit in well alongside medical treatment. Either way, it’s a good idea to start with some simple changes to your lifestyle to see how effective they are. When it comes to diet, there are many foods that help with menopause symptoms. Boost your bone health with food rich in magnesium and boron, including apples, pears, legumes and nuts. Phyto or plant oestrogens act in a similar way to oestrogen, helping to keep hormones in balance. Try to eat more soya milk and flour, linseeds, tofu, tempeh and miso. If your sleep is being affected, turn to our articles on foods to help aid sleep and natural home remedies for sleeplessness. Doing more exercise will not only help you stay in shape physically, it will also boost your mental health and help reduce the risks of cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease.
Head to your local chemist or health food shop and you may be surprised at how much is available to help you tackle your symptoms, from natural menopause supplements to lubricants to help with vaginal dryness. Popular remedies include black cohost and sage for hot flushes, St John’s Wort for low moods and anxiety and ginseng to improve sleep. Read our guide on supplements to relieve menopause symptoms for more detailed information on what’s available. It’s always a good idea to get medical advice before taking menopause supplements, especially if you’re also taking medication such as HRT.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is the conventional treatment for relieving menopause symptoms, and it’s proven to be very effective. It works by replacing hormones that are decreasing in your body as you approach the menopause. But there are a number of side effects that need to be considered. These include breast tenderness, headaches and vaginal bleeding, as well as more serious risks like increased risk of blood clots and breast cancer in some women. For these reasons, HRT isn’t for everyone. Some women are advised not to take it, and others prefer to avoid the risks. If your menopausal symptoms are affecting your quality of life, HRT could be a lifeline. Start by talking to your doctor and doing your own research so you can make an informed decision.
Alternative and complementary therapies
If you’re still unsure about HRT, non-prescribed treatments including herbal medicines and complementary therapies such as aromatherapy, acupressure or acupuncture are other options. Before trying these, be aware that the effects of these therapies are not well known. And, if you’re taking other medication it’s always advisable to talk to your doctor before trying anything new. For more advice about what’s on offer, read our guide on 6 ways to treat menopause symptoms without taking HRT.