When hot flashes, night sweats, or other pesky menopause symptoms start interfering with your quality of life, it’s time to get relief.
Many women turn to hormone replacement therapy once they hit the perimenopausal years. But you want options. You wonder if there’s a more natural approach that will give you the relief you need, without the medications?
We’ve got good news. There are many different ways to help your body transition gracefully through menopause, and conventional hormone replacement therapy is just one of them.
Let’s dive into the many different natural alternatives to hormone therapy drugs so you can find a menopause wellness plan that fits your unique lifestyle.
What is Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Hormone replacement therapy is the use of medications containing female hormones to combat symptoms of hormone imbalance, usually during menopause.
These medications help to replace the estrogen that your body stops making during menopause and alleviate the related symptoms (like hot flashes and vaginal dryness). Sometimes, hormone therapy is prescribed to prevent or manage osteoporosis.
There are two main types of hormone replacement therapy drugs: systemic hormone therapy and vaginal suppositories.
Systemic hormone therapy comes in oral pills, patches, gels, creams, and other forms to absorb estrogen into the body. This form is used to address a wide range of menopausal symptoms.
Vaginal products usually contain less estrogen and are targeted at treating conditions of the vaginal area or urinary tract (such as vaginal dryness, pain, or incontinence).
Conventional Hormone Replacement Therapy: The Pros and Cons
Hormone replacement therapy can offer significant relief from menopause symptoms, especially if they are interfering with your daily life. So, what’s the problem with taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT)?
While traditional HRT works wonders for some women, it leaves others with unwanted side effects. Common issues include bloating, indigestion, nausea, breast tenderness, swelling, leg cramps, headaches, and vaginal bleeding.
There are also some risks associated with using HRT to combat your symptoms, especially if you are prescribed a high dose or plan to use the medication for an extended period of time. Some studies show that HRT can increase the risk of breast or ovarian cancer. This risk is small, but something to consider when talking to your primary health care professional about starting HRT.
Another issue with HRT is that it acts as a hormone “band-aid,” rather than a treatment. When you stop taking the medications, it’s likely that the menopause symptoms will return.
Natural hormone replacement therapy alternatives work differently. Rather than cover up your symptoms, they help your body adapt to a new hormone balance. With this approach, your symptoms decline for good, and your body is better equipped to regulate itself in the future.
4 Natural Alternatives to Hormone Replacement Therapy
Are you looking for a natural way to balance your hormones in menopause, without taking medications? Or are you looking for holistic options to balance your current hormone replacement therapy protocol? If so, here are 4 of the best natural ways to bring your hormones back into a healthy balance:
Acupuncture is an ancient therapy that’s part of the larger holistic medical system of Traditional Chinese medicine. Acupuncture works by stimulating the body at key receptor sites known as acupoints to restore a harmonious balance in the body. It can be used for a wide range of conditions, including menopause symptoms and overall hormone balance.
Studies show that a few weeks of acupuncture treatments are an effective way to manage many different menopause symptoms including:
Beyond reducing your symptoms without hormone therapy, acupuncture also helps your body manage its own hormones and transition through menopause more gracefully. Interested in seeing how acupuncture can help you? At Moringa Natural Health Center, we offer customized acupuncture treatments that get to the root of health issues including hormone imbalances naturally. Schedule your consultation here.
2. Bio-identical hormone therapy
Did you know that your sex hormones are not only important for reproduction, but for several other body processes, too? Hormones like estrogen and progesterone preserve the integrity of the bones, muscles, hair, skin, and joints. They also help the cardiovascular system function properly and maintain optimal mental and emotional function.
During menopause, however, these sex hormones fluctuate and decline. While biomedicine’s answer is to replace these hormones with synthetic versions, bio-identical hormone therapy uses plant compounds to create hormone preparations that act similar to human hormones. This is a natural approach that works with your body as it adjusts to a new balance. Bio-identical hormone therapy also has far fewer side effects and risks than conventional HRT.
Bio-identical hormone therapy can help you overcome menopause symptoms due to hormone imbalances such as:
- Breast tenderness
- Irregular periods, or heavier/lighter menstrual period
- Hot flushes
- Night sweats and or cold flashes
- Vaginal dryness
- Discomfort during intercourse
- Difficulty sleeping
- Emotional changes (irritability, mood swings, mild depression)
Curious if bio-identical hormone therapy is right for you? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Fernandez to find out how bio-identical hormone replacement therapy can help.
3. Herbal supplements
Many women find menopause symptom relief from herbal medicine. While there is still much research to be done in this area, studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that the following herbs have a beneficial effect on balancing hormones in menopause:
May reduce the severity of hot flashes.
- Black Cohosh
May be effective in alleviating night sweats and hot flashes.
- Evening Primrose Oil
May reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes.
- Dang Gui (Dong Quai)
Known to improve vaginal dryness, mood swings, and hot flashes.
As with any new supplement or medication, it’s important to speak with a health professional before starting a new regimen. Contact us to learn more about using herbal supplements to manage your menopause symptoms.
4. Hormone-balancing diet
During your transition into menopause, it’s a good idea to eat foods that support a healthy hormone balance. This means eliminating foods that cause inflammation and instead focusing on foods full of nutrients.
Some foods can even mimic the effects of estrogen in the body to relieve menopausal symptoms. These plant compounds are called phytoestrogens. Incorporating foods with phytoestrogens into your diet can reduce the severity of menopausal symptoms and ease your body into better balance.
Certain fruits have phytoestrogen properties, like plum, pear, apple, grapes, and berries. These fruits have the added benefit of being high in antioxidants and water content, which reduce inflammation and promote healthy fluid balance in the body. Eating these regularly may improve hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
Like fruits, certain vegetables and legumes also have phytoestrogen compounds. Try to eat more beans, sprouts, cabbage, spinach, soybeans, grains, hops, garlic, and onions to relieve menopausal symptoms naturally.
- Healthy Fats
Healthy fats are essential to any wellness diet. But in menopause, these healthy fats are critical to minimizing symptoms and restoring balance. The omega-3 fatty acids, EPA, and DHA found in foods like fatty fish, flaxseeds, and nuts can help to ease hot flashes, improve sleep, and boost your mood.
Soy is a well-known phytoestrogen. It contains compounds (specifically soya isoflavones) that mimic estrogen in the body to reduce issues like hot flashes. Soy may also support bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Find it in tofu, soybeans, edamame, tempeh, miso, and natto.
Maca is a Peruvian vegetable from the same family as things like cabbage and broccoli. It has been touted as a tonic for issues like low libido, infertility, anxiety, depression, and symptoms of menopause. Add this superfood to smoothies, baked goods, and other recipes to improve your hormone levels naturally.
Find Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy at Moringa Natural Health Center
Menopause is a natural transition. But it doesn’t have to be a miserable one! With the right support, you can ease your body into this new phase without debilitating side effects.
If you are considering a natural approach to menopause symptom relief or want to balance your current hormone replacement therapy with holistic options, Moringa Natural Health Center can help. From acupuncture to nutrition counseling to bio-identical hormone therapy, our services give your body the support it needs to find balance.
Request an appointment to learn how we can help you stop irritating menopause symptoms and embrace hormone health from the root!
Dr. Lena Fernandez