According to a State of Menopause survey, 78% of women say that severe symptoms from menopause have interfered with their daily lives. On top of that, 73% of women reported that they are not currently treating any of their symptoms.
While it may seem a little confusing, managing the symptoms of menopause can be achieved through various strategies and approaches. Whether you lean towards medical solutions or natural remedies, here are beneficial treatments and practices to help ease menopausal symptoms and improve your quality of life:
- Hormone replacement therapy (HRT): Dips in hormone levels can often be the underlying cause for most of the common symptoms experienced by menopausal women. Hormone replacement therapy, or menopausal hormone therapy, is commonly used to relieve menopausal symptoms and is the most effective treatment. It can help reduce hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and improve mood and sleep quality. However, hormone therapy is not suitable for everyone. It has been seen to have side effects of vaginal bleeding, breast tenderness, and can increase your risk of blood clots as well as stroke, so doctors usually try to prescribe the lowest dose of estrogen possible for the shortest period of time to mitigate these risks. it should be discussed with a healthcare professional to assess your individual circumstances.
- Lifestyle modifications: Many women find that their bodies go through quite a few changes during menopause including dry skin and hair, weight gain, fatigue, as well as an increased for risk of osteoporosis. Adopting healthy lifestyle habits can significantly help manage these physical symptoms. These include the tips mentioned in points 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.
- Eating a balanced diet: Consuming a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, minerals, and fatty acids can help prevent bone loss and improve your energy levels. Limit processed foods, sugary snacks, and foods high in saturated fats. Excess amounts of these foods can increase the intensity of hot flashes and night sweats.
- Regular exercise: Engage in regular physical activity, including aerobic exercises and strength training, to maintain a healthy weight, reduce hot flashes, improve mood, enhance overall well-being, as well as lower your risk of heart disease.
- Stress management: Practice stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or engaging in hobbies and activities you enjoy.
- Get enough sleep: Prioritise quality sleep by maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, and creating a comfortable sleep environment.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol: Reduce consumption of caffeine and alcohol, as they can trigger hot flashes, night sweats, and disrupt sleep.
- Herbal remedies: Some women find relief from menopause symptoms through herbal remedies such as black cohosh, red clover, dong quai, or evening primrose oil. However, the effectiveness of these remedies varies, and it's important to consult with a healthcare professional before using them.
- Vaginal moisturisers and lubricants: To alleviate vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex, over-the-counter vaginal creams or moisturisers can be used. They help increase lubrication and relieve dryness.
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of talk therapy that can help manage mood swings, irritability, and anxiety associated with menopause. It focuses on changing negative thought patterns and developing coping strategies.
- Low-dose antidepressants: With around 70% of women reporting that they experience some sort of mental health impact from menopause, some doctors will prescribe antidepressants to help with mood swings and depression. Clinical studies have shown that a specific type of antidepressant called selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can also be used to treat hot flashes in women who may not be able to use hormone therapy.
- Support groups and counselling: Joining support groups or seeking counselling can provide emotional support and guidance during the menopausal transition. Connecting with others who are experiencing similar challenges can be helpful.