Are you experiencing symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, sleeplessness, changes in your menstrual cycle, vaginal dryness, bone density loss, or emotional instability? If so, you’re probably looking to get some menopause relief in the best way possible A great way to get your symptoms of menopause under control is to visit Shenandoah Women’s Healthcare in Harrisonburg, VA, but there are some self-care options as well.
What Are the Best Options for Menopause Relief?
Visit a Doctor
The single best thing you can do for your menopause symptoms is to visit an experienced doctor who can diagnose your condition, often without testing, and help you prevent other conditions that are often connected to this time in your life. These conditions may include heart disease and osteoporosis, as your risk of developing these conditions increases with the changes in your hormones during menopause. Your doctor will also be able to tell you how best to treat your symptoms.
Before you visit your doctor, keep track of your symptoms, when they occur, and how often they occur so that your doctor can get a sense of what you are experiencing. You should also write down any medications and supplements that you are taking so that any symptoms you’re having can be ruled out as pertaining to them. Additionally, come prepared with any questions you have so you don’t forget to ask your doctor anything you have on your mind.
While seeing your doctor is the best option for menopause relief, there are many natural remedies available to treat the various symptoms of menopause as you work on the best and most lasting solution with your doctor.
You will want to verify that these are safe for you to use with your doctor and then try various remedies until you find one that works for you. Not every natural remedy will work the same for everyone, but most women are able to find at least one that is effective for them.
Hot flashes are one of the most commonly reported symptoms of menopause and are characterized as a sudden warmness in your upper body that can cause intense redness and sweating on the face, neck, and chest. They’re also often referred to as night sweats when they occur when you’re sleeping. If your body loses too much heat during these flashes, you might feel chilled afterward. It’s also possible that you’ll have a rapid heartbeat and feelings of anxiousness as well.
Some effective natural remedies for hot flashes include black cohosh, soy, ground flaxseed, flaxseed oil, vitamin E, red clover, dong quai, ginseng, kava, and evening primrose oil. Most are taken in pill form, but some are oils as well. Additionally, just grabbing a cold drink without caffeine or alcohol can cool your body down during a flash. Diuretics like caffeine can lead to dehydration, which may exacerbate hot flashes. Ice packs can also reduce the comfort related to this symptom.
Most of the insomnia related to menopause is due to hot flashes, so many of the above-mentioned remedies for hot flashes may help you sleep better, too. However, there are some additional natural sleep remedies that seem to be especially effective for women dealing with menopause. For example, 5-Hydroxytryptophan, or 5-HTP, is a natural compound found in the body as a byproduct of L-tryptophan. Our levels of 5-HTP, which helps produce serotonin and melatonin. appear to decline as we age.
Valerian and hops are two supplements usually found together that help boost GABA levels in menopausal women. GABA is a neurotransmitter that increases relaxation and helps with sleep. Valerian helps people fall asleep faster, improves sleep quality, and increases sleep amounts. Hops work in conjunction with valerian to reduce stress and anxiety. Exercise is also often recommended to enhance sleep in women experiencing menopause symptoms, as is meditation, which can calm the mind and increase relaxation.
This symptom of menopause can make sexual intercourse painful, but it can also be accompanied by itching and an increase in urinary frequency, which can also be uncomfortable and irritating. Black cohosh, vitamin E, and soy, which have already been mentioned as potential natural treatments for hot flashes, may also help relieve vaginal dryness as well. Therefore, if you’re looking to limit the number of supplements you’re taking, you might be able to treat both conditions with one product.
Other potential natural remedies for vaginal dryness include wild yam cream and kudzu, but most experts recommend treating this symptom with your diet. Stay hydrated and eat foods rich in protein. There’s also evidence that the fatty acids that come from foods like sunflower seeds, raw pumpkin, and fish are effective in treating vaginal dryness. Additionally, use a water-based lubricant during sexual intercourse to make it more comfortable. Prescription oral or topical medications may also be effective for some women.
Bone Density Loss
Some of the same treatments for hot flashes can be useful for bone density loss as well, including red clover, soy, and black cohosh, so again, you may want to combine products if you find a supplement effective for more than one symptom. However, bone density loss, or osteoporosis, can be treated by other natural remedies as well. Horsetail is a plant that can be consumed as a tea, herbal compress, or tincture and is thought to promote bone regeneration.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese treatment that involves inserting needles in strategic places on the body, and for bone loss, may stimulate the regrowth of bones. Melatonin has also recently been used to encourage bone cell growth. The single best action you can take to fight osteoporosis, though, is to increase the amount of calcium in your diet, whether through foods or supplements. Some physicians may also prescribe bisphosphonate medications to reduce the risk of fractures and stop bone loss.
Mood swings are another common complaint of women going through menopause, and there are plenty of natural remedies purported to offer menopause relief. St. John’s wort is one of the most popular natural remedies for mood swings and has been used for this purpose for decades as an alternative to prescription depression medication. Vitamin D, which may also be effective for osteoporosis, is considered a mood booster and is the vitamin you get from sitting in the sun.
Regular exercise is also recommended to help regulate emotions during menopause because activity releases endorphins in the body, which are responsible for helping you deal with stress and reducing feelings of pain. If you are continually depressed or anxious as you deal with menopause, you may need prescription medications that help mitigate these symptoms. However, talk with your physician about the potential side effects of these drugs, as they can sometimes make other symptoms of menopause worse.
Urinary Tract Infections
As hormone levels fluctuate during menopause, you may find yourself getting more urinary tract infections, or UTIs. The reasons for this are that the vaginal tissue thins, causing it to be more susceptible to infections, and difficulty with fully emptying your bladder, which can also lead to a higher risk of infection. As estrogen levels change, there will be more bacteria in your body that can trigger an infection. For some women, UTIs can become a chronic issue during menopause.
Antibiotics are typically prescribed to treat UTIs, but there are some things you can do to mitigate the risk of getting them. To begin with, be sure to stay hydrated to flush out the harmful bacteria from your urinary tract. Always urinate as soon as you feel the need, and allow your bladder to fully empty as much as you can. You may also be prescribed vaginal estrogen that helps regulate the hormone levels in your vagina to prevent UTIs.
High Blood Pressure
Following menopause, experts believe that blood pressure tends to increase because of the fluctuating hormone levels and the increase in BMI. The same advice given to women who have yet to enter menopause is recommended for women who are going through or have completed menopause. Namely, you should maintain a healthy weight, eat foods that are good for your heart, and exercise at least three times a week. Avoiding processed foods with lots of salt will also help.
If you smoke, it’s time to stop, since smoking is a major contributor to high blood pressure, and once you’ve entered menopause, you don’t want anything else to exacerbate the problem. Limiting your alcohol consumption will also keep your blood pressure as low as possible, along with managing stress. Therefore, the remedies for emotional instability will also indirectly help manage high blood pressure. There are also some prescription medications available to lower blood pressure if lifestyle changes are not enough.
Estrogen, which decreases significantly during menopause, is also responsible for stimulating oil and collagen production for your skin. As a result, you may notice that your skin becomes dry, itchy, and flaky. Eating foods high in vitamin C and sulfur can help replenish the amount of collagen in your body. These foods include strawberries, citrus fruits, and kale for vitamin C and broccoli, cauliflower, and arugula for sulfur. Bone broth is a natural source of collagen, so it’s also recommended.
While staying well-hydrated is also suggested to prevent dry skin during menopause, you may also want to have your thyroid checked as well. Thyroid issues can sometimes be missed because symptoms of an underperforming thyroid, like dry skin, can mimic menopause symptoms. Fatigue, chronic coldness, brittle fingernails, and brittle hair are also symptoms of hypothyroidism, so if these are a concern, let your physician know so they can take a blood sample to have your thyroid function tested.
Some women experience breast tenderness when they hit menopause, mostly because of fluctuating hormones and irregular menstrual cycles. Hot or cold compresses can help reduce the pain associated with this symptom, as can limiting caffeine and following a low-fat diet. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol, Advil, and Motrin can also provide relief, but check with your doctor to verify the amount you should take to prevent side effects like harm to the liver or kidneys.
Evening primrose and vitamin E, two supplements also recommended to help with hot flashes, can also alleviate breast pain, but if it’s severe, you may need the prescription drug Danazol, which is the only prescription medication approved to treat breast pain. There are some side effects to this drug, though, and will probably only be considered in extreme cases. Instead, your physician may adjust your hormone treatment or prescribe a topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication instead.
Where to Go From Here
Going through menopause can be difficult for many reasons, including the symptoms discussed here. Fortunately, there are many options for the treatment of these and other symptoms of menopause. Contact Shenandoah Women’s Healthcare in Harrisonburg, VA today to see how we can help you get through menopause with as few complications as possible.