During the menopause, reproductive hormones (oestrogen and progesterone) are produced less, and as a result the menstrual cycle slows down and eventually ceases. It should be noted that the menopause is not a disease, but simply a natural progression of the female body as it advances in years. The aforementioned decline in the reproductive hormones is not sudden, but actually occurs over the course of many years, with changes becoming apparent gradually.
The conventional and accepted method normally prescribed by Western physicians to treat women entering the menopause is Hormone Replacement Therapy, and while HRT can be effective in diminishing the effects, it also comes with many potential side effects which can often be just as unpleasant as the menopausal symptoms.
Let us look at some of the downsides to HRT, and why many women would perhaps be better off considering some natural replacements for HRT.
Firstly, HRT does not stop the menopause, but instead simply postpones the symptoms somewhat. This means that when HRT is stopped, the hormonal changes that were previously occurring naturally are now happening much more rapidly and dramatically. Because of this, many women who have been using HRT and decided to stop, experience more intense symptoms. It is much easier for a woman in her fifties to cope with the gradual onset of the menopause, as opposed to a women in her sixties being hit with sudden and severe menopausal symptoms.
HRT has also been shown to be a catalyst for many other life threatening diseases. Recent studies have indicated that oestrogen only HRT can increase the likelihood of developing breast cancer by 30%, and that figure doubles when using combined HRT. It is for this reason that women who have previously undergone treatment for breast cancer are strongly advised not to use HRT as a means of treating menopausal symptoms.
While many women see HRT as a method of removing unpleasant and often painful symptoms, it has actually become apparent that HRT also causes many negative side effects of its own. Those women undertaking HRT should be prepared for depression, lethargy, breast tenderness, muscle cramps and migraines.
So, we have reached the point where some will be wondering what to do. What are some natural replacements for HRT? Well, luckily, modern scientific studies have afforded women a greater choice on how to cope with the menopause. There now exists many natural methods involving simple dietary and lifestyle changes that can diminish the negative effects of the menopause, and also boost you overall health and wellbeing.
With regards to diet, it is advised that women entering the menopause should eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, seafood, nuts and seeds while avoiding traditionally unhealthy snacks such as fast food and microwave dinners. Keep your food fresh and consider using herbs as a seasoning as opposed to salt.
Exercise should be undertaken everyday and is essential for maintaining a strong and healthy body. Issues such as weight gain, fatigue and cramps can all be greatly helped by taking part in some healthy activities. Moreover, it is widely believed that regular exercise can also diminish feelings of stress and depression, thus also leading to improved mental health.
Sleep and relaxation are also essential during the menopause, as it allows your body time to cope with all the hormonal changes. If sleeping becomes difficult, try to take a warm bath with a little lavender oil shortly before bedtime. In addition to this, make sure you have personal time each day to relax and enjoy a hobby such as reading, listening to music, walking or massage.
Finally, as an increasingly popular natural replacement for HRT, we have herbal remedies. If you choose a herbal remedy, such as Curcuma Comosa, that is 100% natural, and combine it with the exercise, relaxation methods and dietary changes, it will be just as effective as HRT and serves as an excellent alternative.