what is the best natural alternative to hrt
Perimenopausal symptoms got you down? What are the different treatment options?
There are many natural approaches for perimenopause and various forms of HRT that can be effective in managing symptoms. Read on to learn about various options for this time of transition.
If you are starting to experience symptoms of perimenopause, this article will lay out various options to help manage this transition. First, what is perimenopause? It is the time around when a woman is considered officially in menopause. This can be determined by altered levels of various hormones or, more simply, menopause is “official” when a woman has not had a period in a year. What are some of these symptoms? Hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats, anxiety, decreased bone mineral density, fatigue, insomnia, irritability, mood swings and low libido due to the decreased production of estrogen and progesterone. Some treatment approaches treat only certain symptoms. As always, speak to your primary care provider if you are experiencing health concerns. This article is meant for informational purposes only.
Seed cycling is a favorite natural remedy for perimenopause. It utilizes two sets of seeds (pumpkin and flax for two weeks and then sunflower and sesame for two weeks) to provide a gentle estrogen and progesterone boost. Check out my article from March 10th for more information about seed cycling. This approach provides a general hormonal boost so that it may benefit many of the perimenopausal symptoms.
Addressing adrenal health can be very beneficial in managing menopause. The adrenal glands regulate many processes in the body and are particularly run down by chronic stress. Supporting adrenal health helps make us more resilient in the face of stressful situations. A robust self-care routine is crucial for adrenal health – prioritizing “me time,” setting boundaries on your commitments, saying no, and taking time to rest all parts of this process. Certain herbal remedies called “Adaptogens” are also very helpful in supporting adrenal health. Homeopathic remedies have some promise in helping manage menopausal symptoms. There are several combination remedies designed to target the most common manifestations of the
What is a good natural hormone replacement?
The perimenopause transition
perimenopausal transition. These remedies do not work for everyone but they are very gentle, affordable and will not interact with medications or other supplements.
There is an emerging body of research on the benefits of different breathwork and bodywork traditions in helping with perimenopause. Qi gong, tai chi, breathing exercises, and yoga have shown some benefits for menopause. Mindfulness training like meditation is also a good option to help decrease the intensity of certain menopausal challenges. Movement and breathwork are beneficial for fatigue, hot flashes, mood swings, and irritability. Tai chi and strength training has been shown to help decrease bone mineral density loss associated with menopause. See my article from March 23rd about weight training in menopause for more details.
Certain natural remedies will target one particular symptom. An example of this would be vaginal suppositories for the vaginal dryness commonly associated with menopause. Due to the drop in estrogen production, women may also experience vaginal atrophy – or a thinning of the skin in the vaginal walls. This can cause pain or discomfort during intercourse and decreased libido. Vitamin E suppositories can be purchased for supporting the vaginal tissue. Women may also make homemade suppositories using natural ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, calendula, and vitamin E. For more severe vaginal dryness or atrophy, estrogen suppositories may be needed. This is considered a stronger intervention and requires a prescription from your doctor. But the benefit is that it delivers estrogen only to the local tissue, which typically does not have systemic effects on the body. It is one of the more gentle types of hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
HRT is another option for perimenopause. It is particularly useful for women experiencing severe symptoms. HRT encompasses many different possible interventions: estrogen suppositories, combination pills/patches/sprays and topical creams. Women need to speak with their doctor to understand the full risks and benefits of this type of treatment. HRT carries an increased risk of side effects, some of them serious. For a full discussion of the types of HRT, benefits and risks, refer to my March 1st article.
There are many options to manage perimenopausal symptoms. Knowledge is power, so arm yourself with a list of possibilities and then discuss those options with your primary care physician, OB/GYN, or a qualified natural healthcare provider. Many of these treatments can be used together to try a combination of different approaches to improve their quality of life and have a smoother transition into menopause.