A natural part of a woman’s life in her latter years, the menopause is a time when a woman’s oestrogen levels will decline, and she will no longer experience a monthly period. The fall in oestrogen levels will cause a number of symptoms to occur.
The severity and longevity of symptoms will vary from woman to woman. However, for those who do suffer from severe symptoms, there are several options that can help ease menopausal symptoms.
Simple lifestyle changes
According to experts, making lifestyle changes such as altering the diet can help minimise the severity of symptoms. Swapping foods high in sugar, fat and salt for foods with a lower salt, sugar and fat content is highly recommended. Foods that contain valuable nutrients, such as whole grains, oily fish, fruit and vegetables, as well as low fat foods containing calcium, can all help to alleviate menopause symptoms. Staying hydrated is another tip many experts agree on for helping a woman’s body function correctly. As dehydration can worsen symptoms of the menopause, an intake of regular fluids can greatly help.
Some foods such as soya, linseeds, sesame seeds and green beans contain phyto or plant oestrogens. A high intake of these foods may help to keep hormone levels in balance. As oestrogen is lost during the menopause, replenishing the body with this hormone can help to reduce and manage symptoms more effectively.
Increasing your physical activity to maintain muscle mass and bone strength is also strongly advised. A minimum of 2.5 hours a week is usually the recommendation. Along with traditional exercise, activities such as yoga and mediation have also been known to eliminate the discomforts linked with the menopause. A recent article suggests that exercises like yoga help to ‘regulate the hormones.’ As yoga has also been known to reduce a person’s blood pressure and promote better blood flow in the body, symptoms such as night sweats can largely be reduced.
Is medication required?
Not all women require treatment for managing the symptoms of menopause, however, if symptoms become bothersome, treatment is readily available in the form of hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Hormone replacement therapy helps to replenish the oestrogen lost during the menopause –alleviating symptoms as a result. Available in the form of gels, tablets, patches and implants, this form of treatment is regarded by medical experts as one of the most effective treatments for menopause symptoms. The HRT taken by women will differ depending on individual circumstances. For women who have undergone a hysterectomy (a surgical procedure that involves the removal of the womb), HRT that contains oestrogen only would be prescribed. However a woman who is experiencing menopausal symptoms and still has her womb intact, will likely be prescribed a combined HRT – containing both oestrogen and progestogen. For women with a history of breast cancer, it is usually advised not to take HRT, however a low dose can sometimes be prescribed.
Whichever option you decide on, it’s important to know that menopausal symptoms will eventually pass. However, talking to a health professional on how to manage these symptoms during this uncomfortable time can help you greatly.