Surviving Menopause: Treatments And Remedies

Menopause is just a fact of life, but many women are unprepared for the severity of the symptoms they face when it strikes, often in their forties and fifties. Although the hated hot flash has been a staple of situation comedies and bad jokes for decades, the harsh reality of this menopausal symptom along with other physical and emotional issues can make dealing with this period in your life challenging and frustrating. Fortunately, there are safe and effective treatments for menopausal symptoms that can help reduce the trauma of this natural part of aging. 

Hormone Treatments

Because menopause means that your body is producing very little estrogen, the hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal dryness and other physical issues can be treated with hormones. Although this treatment was the "gold standard" for many years, studies tying hormone therapy to an increased risk of breast cancer led doctors and their patients to call a halt to estrogen and progesterone therapy for a number of years. More recent studies have indicated that when used judiciously and in lower doses, hormone therapy (such as is offered by can be a safe way to ease the symptoms of menopause. Estrogen alone can raise your risk of uterine cancer, but that risk is neutralized when you take a combination of estrogen and progesterone. Using this therapy for under five years carries very little risk. If you use it for over five years, you have a slightly higher risk or stroke, breast cancer, and heart disease. Unfortunately, if you have had breast cancer, hormone therapy can trigger a recurrence. You will have to rely on non-hormonal therapies to ease your symptoms.   

Alternative Remedies

If you forgo hormone therapy, you can try alternative remedies. Proper nutrition and exercise can help reduce your symptoms by strengthening your general health and helping to relieve anxiety. Menopausal body changes can be stressful and uncomfortable. You may also find it difficult to sleep. A regular exercise routine can help with all of these problems and enable you to lose the excess weight that menopause often brings. Yoga is often recommended as a way to deal with the physical and mental issues that this life change brings. If you suffer from vaginal dryness, investing in a quality lubricant can relieve the discomfort and help you enjoy sexual activity again.

Menopause is not for the faint of heart, but you can find help. Hormone therapy is safe as long as you follow your doctor's instructions, but if you want to try "natural" remedies first, concentrate on your overall health. A fit body and calm mind are your best weapons to survive menopause.