There are several ways to ease the signs of menopause but it is a good idea to try natural ways before switching to medications.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on February 21, 2020. It has since been updated.
Menopause is one of the most transformative phases of a woman's life. Her body and mind go through a number of reactions and changes throughout this phase. It starts in the late 40s or early 50s and could go up to a few years.
Many women go through various treatments like estrogen therapy to ease the signs of menopause which include hot flashes, night sweats, obesity, memory problems, low sex drive, vaginal symptoms, etc., writes Mary Jane Brown, Ph.D. for Healthline. In addition, menopausal women are at a higher risk of several diseases including osteoporosis, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. But it is a good idea to try natural methods for relief before starting prescribed medications because they too have their side-effects. Having said that, natural does not necessarily mean risk-free but with an informed approach it can prove to be effective.
Here are a few natural methods that could give relief from signs of menopause.
Dryness is a common problem among menopausal women, this is most likely a consequence of low estrogen levels. This issue could be eased out by drinking enough water. Not only does water keep you hydrated but it also helps flush out toxins and could keep hot flashes at bay. Additionally, it reduces bloating caused by hormonal changes. Drinking water intermittently helps you stay full, thereby aiding weight loss and accelerating metabolism. As you start losing weight, your blood pressure will return to normal and the cholesterol levels will also be normalized. Brown suggests 8–12 glasses of water a day can help with these symptoms. She also recommends drinking 17 oz (500 ml) of water 30 minutes before a meal may lead you to consume 13% fewer calories during the meal.
Hormonal changes during menopause trigger a chain of disorders that could be regulated by a meticulously designed diet especially to relieve you from the distressing symptoms. Brown advises a Vitamin-D and calcium-rich diet that would help strengthen your bones as the chances of osteoporosis are high during this phase if you already don't have it. Dairy products like tofu, milk, and yogurt, make for a calcium-rich diet along with green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, etc. According to verywellhealth, red clover, soy, and whole grain oats help lower bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiac issues. Ginseng tea also is considered to be a reliever of these symptoms, specifically, insomnia. It helps you improve the quality and quantity of your sleep.
A study found that exercising three hours per week for one year improved physical and mental health and overall quality of life in a group of menopausal women. While it may not help in easing symptoms like hot flashes or night sweats, it could be beneficial for other symptoms. Exercise can help you maintain healthy body weight, decrease stress, improve metabolism, etc. Additionally, yoga could be instrumental in regulating your moods, restoring peace, and bringing mindfulness. Also, Kegel exercises could strengthen your pelvic and muscles.
A study concluded that diets high in refined carbs may increase the risk of depression in postmenopausal women. It could also cause sharp rises and falls in the blood sugar level that could leave you nauseated and irritated. On the other hand, processed food could prove to be detrimental to your bone health aggravating osteoporosis or increasing its chances.
As you follow a curated diet to ease the symptoms of menopause it is important that at no point you give a break to this ongoing procedure. When you are having calcium-rich and protein-rich diet an unexpected break could cause the entire process to reverse and in no time you will be back at square one. Not to mention, it would hinder your weight loss efforts and impact metabolism. A year-long weight management program for postmenopausal women found that skipping meals was associated with 4.3% less weight loss.
Speak to your doctor to understand if there are any risks in trying out these natural remedies so that you can rule out any other complications that might arise out of it.