We all know by now that menopause is a natural period in women’s lives. The monthly cycle will slowly come to an end and with that estrogen levels will decrease as well.
Some of us have severe symptoms from this change, but some have only mild symptoms. By symptoms I mean hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, waking during the night and mood swings and/or irritability. When women need help stabilizing these symptoms, they are usually given estrogen or progestin of some form.
Some women, however; do not prefer this type of treatment. They search for alternatives to the standard hormone treatment (HT). Most importantly, it is very important for you as the patient to talk to your doctor and come up with the best option for you. Your doctor will be glad to discuss the benefits as well as the risks of these alternative treatments.
Now, just what are these so-called alternatives to hormone treatment? First and foremost, no one can top just living a plain ol’ healthy lifestyle. You know, eating a well-balanced diet, exercising, no smoking, moderate alcohol/caffeine intake, as so advised by the Hormone Foundation. Next, why not try breathing exercises and acupuncture? This has reportedly helped many.
Then, there are prescription medications like Gabapentin, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). They are used to reduce the severity of hot flashes. Additionally, although there is no research to confirm this claim, some women say that their hot flashes are improved by using plant-based preparations like black cohosh or phyoestrogens.
For specific ailments such as vaginal dryness and painful intercourse, over-the-counter products (vaginal lubricants and moisturizers) have been successful. Want to preserve those healthy bones? Try 1200-1500 mg of calcium and 1,000 International Units of vitamin D – daily doses. Bisphosphonates are used for this same purpose too. Furthermore, selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) are used to guard against spine fractures and bone deteriation. This is a medication that acts like estrogen.