“How do I treat menopause naturally?”
We hear this question at least a couple times everyday! Many women are fearful of taking hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms. This fear often stems from hearing about the Women’s Health Initiative Study released in the early 2000’s. The results suggested that hormones could increase the risk of heart disease and breast cancer. Sounds scary, right? No one wants to take pharmaceutical products to counter a natural process that may give you heart disease or cancer. So why are we even talking about this? Maybe we should just go home, shed some layers and and hot flash are way through then next few decades. We will all save some money on heating bills for sure.
This does not have to be the case. There are good safe options to treating many symptoms of menopause and perimenopause. This includes treating hot flashes as well as irritability, mood swings, disrupted sleep and other manifestations of the hormonal whirlwind that happens before, during and after, “the change.” Because these symptoms can be so long lasting and interfere with one’s sense of wellbeing, “How do I treat menopause naturally?” becomes the question on everyone’s mind.
First, we would say, you do not need to suffer, there are many options! Second, hormone replacement does play a safe role helping many women through the change.
Symptoms of fatigue, difficulty sleeping and hot flashes can cause even the most steady of us to the brink of insanity. Regular exercise can significantly help decrease hot flashes and improve a good night’s sleep. If you have low vitamin levels, such as vitamin D and iron levels, they can contribute to the exhaustion. Supplementing vitamin deficiency is a good place to start. Melatonin at bedtime, can also aid in catching some z’s.
Some women find relief from Black Cohosh. There is no evidence at this time showing the effectiveness of Black Cohosh but there are ongoing studies investigating the Black Cohosh properties. It is important to look for a USP or GMP certified supplement given that Black Cohosh is grown in the wild and is easy to misidentify. This supplement should also be avoided if you have any liver issues.
Flaxseed oil contains lignans which may help with menopausal symptoms including hot flashes. Studies are mixed. If you do want to try flaxseeds, it is easy to buy then at the grocery store and grind them up yourself in your coffee grinder to activate oils. Try sprinkling them on salads or adding them to granola or yogurt.
The properties in soy mimic estrogen which may improve hot flashes. Asian women have less symptoms of menopause and a high soy based diet may be the missing link. Women with a history of breast cancer should avoid soy. Also, those ladies on thyroid medication should not take soy products within 3 hours of thyroxine.
While there are many articles on the internet suggesting DHEA supplements to help with mood and low libido, we would caution against them. In our experience, since DHEA is a testosterone byproduct, it leads to unwanted hair in places you don’t want to see grow. We often see women in the office with thinning hair or increased hair loss because they are taking these supplements.
Another popular internet supplement is Dong Quai, a Chinese herb. This also may have long term risks including increased cancer risks. There is no evidence that it actually improves hot flashes.
At Vous, we strongly belief that women should not have to suffer through the change. Please have a conversation with your physician to learn more about traditional or alternative options to help keep you cool and restful. A personalized multivitamin is a great way to get the right vitamins for your personal needs.
Romy Block specializes in Endocrinology and Metabolism and is mother to three elementary age boys. Arielle Levitan is a Doctor of Internal Medicine with a special interest in Preventive Medicine and Women’s Health. She is a mother of three active adolescents. As professional women with active family lives, they recognize that people often neglect their own health needs and are uncertain about what vitamins to take. Each person is different in her diet, exercise and health history, and will benefit from different nutrients. After years of advising their patients about the proper vitamins to take, Drs. Block and Levitan created Vous Vitamin® to provide people everywhere with quality vitamins that are suited to their individual needs. They are authors of the award winning The Vitamin Solution: Two Doctors Clear Confusion About Vitamins and Your Health (She Writes Press, 2015).
The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products offered by Vous Vitamin® are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Nothing contained herein is intended to be a diagnosis or constitute medical advice. The symptoms described in this Blog may be a result of a serious medical condition which requires medical treatment. You should consult with your doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this Blog and before beginning any vitamin or supplement regimen.