Both perimenopause, in the years leading up to menopause, and menopause, when you stop getting your period permanently, can create many changes in a woman’s body. During perimenopause and menopause, fluctuating hormones or reduced production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone can cause symptoms that range in severity from mild to life-disturbing.
Often, when people talk about menopause symptoms, they lump together perimenopause and menopause.
Signs and Symptoms of Menopause
Menopause occurs after you stop getting your period for a full year. The years leading up to menopause are marked by irregular periods and symptoms such as:
- Mood swings
- Urinary incontinence
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness
- Sleep problems
- Weight gain
- Low libido
After menopause, these unwanted symptoms often persist, in some cases for a decade, but women are also at higher risk for developing osteoporosis, heart disease, and stroke.
Hormone-Free Solutions for Menopause Symptoms
Menopause affects everyone differently. Some women skate through it, suffering few symptoms. For others, symptoms can severely affect their quality of life. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a common treatment for menopause symptoms. There are many types of HRT, but they all come with health risks.
Hormone-free solutions are appealing because they’re not only risk-free but they can also improve your overall health. Some of these hormone-free solutions include:
Eating a healthy, balanced, and nutrient-rich diet can ease or prevent menopause symptoms such as weight gain and hot flashes. A healthy diet that includes calcium and high-fiber foods can also reduce your risk for health complications such as heart disease and osteoporosis.
Additionally, certain foods may trigger hot flashes or disturb your sleep, so keeping track of what they are and avoiding them can reduce those troublesome symptoms. Common trigger foods and beverages to avoid or reduce include:
- Caffeine in the afternoon
- Spicy foods
- High-sugar foods
Proper nutrition provides so many benefits that it’s a good idea even if you don’t suffer symptoms related to menopause.
Regular cardiovascular exercise such as brisk walking, biking, dancing, and swimming can help reduce mood swings, weight gain, and stress and improve sleep quality. Weight-bearing exercise also builds muscles and staves off bone and muscle loss, common symptoms of aging.
Although the benefits of acupuncture on menopause are not widely recognized, several studies have shown that acupuncture can reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes. Acupuncture may also help relieve emotional symptoms such as depression and anxiety.
Yoga is an ancient practice that has helped people all over the world reduce stress, improve flexibility, and combat a host of health issues. Studies show that those benefits extend to menopausal women. A regular yoga practice can help reduce hot flashes and night sweats, improve sleep quality, and stabilize your mood.
While research is mixed regarding the effectiveness of herbal remedies, certain herbs such as black cohosh, evening primrose oil, and ginseng may help some women reduce menopause symptoms. Consult with your doctor before you use herbal remedies. Even though they are natural and hormone-free, there are still risks associated with taking them, especially if you take medications.
MonaLisa Touch is a vaginal laser procedure that helps counter uncomfortable menopause symptoms such as vaginal dryness, painful sex, and incontinence. This highly effective treatment uses CO2 laser energy to boost collagen production, which helps improve the elasticity and circulation in your vaginal walls.
For more information on how to get hormone-free relief from unwanted menopause symptoms, call the providers at Park Avenue Women’s Center, or make an appointment online.