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Ways to relieve the symptoms of menopause

Published: 05 Mar 2019

This week is our second instalment about the menopause. This time we are covering what you can do to help alleviate the symptoms.

As we mentioned before every woman will go through the menopause, yet everyone will have a different experience. Some women’s menopause will happen naturally, whereas others will be induced by chemo or cancer treatment.  Some women will suffer badly from symptoms, yet others experience no symptoms at all.  

We are all different - and what works for one person, may not work for another. So sometimes it’s a matter of trying things or combinations to see which works best for you. 

We’ve listed below some of the ways to help manage your symptoms.

Hormone Therapy (HT) or Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

If the cancer is not hormone related your doctor can usually prescribe HRT (hormone replacement treatment) to improve menopause symptoms and protect your heart and bones.  However, HRT is not generally recommended for women with breast cancer, and if you are already taking HRT when diagnosed you may be advised to stop.  

There are 2 types of HT; Estrogen Progestin Therapy (EPT) or Estrogen Therapy (ET)

HRT can be prescribed in a number of ways:

It is important to discuss all the pros and risk factors with your doctor and do your own research before deciding what to take. You will also need to be monitored and have follow-up checks.

Other prescribed medications

HRT isn’t your only option. If HRT isn’t right for you ask your doctor about other prescribed medications that may also help improve your symptoms.

Vitamins & minerals

If you have a healthy, well-balanced diet you should be giving your body all the nutrients it needs to stay topped up with good vitamins and minerals. However, this isn’t always the case as menopause can cause depletion of some vitamins and minerals even with a healthy diet.  Some people are pre-disposed to a lack of certain vitamins and minerals due through their ethnicity and genes and if you are unwell or undergoing treatment and your appetite isn’t what it should be then you may need to take supplements. Work with a doctor or other healthcare provider to make a treatment plan. They can help you assess your individual needs and risk level as well as advise you on dosage

Natural remedies

Herbal and plant extracts are known to have been used for many 100s years to help relieve symptoms – although research may not have proven herbal supplements to be effective some people swear by them. As with all therapies, there are some risks involved. Keep in mind that herbal supplements are not as closely regulated as prescription drugs and the amount of herbal product, quality, safety, and purity may vary between brands or even between batches of the same brand. Herbal therapies may also interact with prescription drugs, resulting in dramatic changes in the effect of the botanical, the drug, or both. To be safe, do your research and tell your healthcare medical team about all botanical therapies you are considering and always stop all herbal treatments at least 2 weeks before any planned surgery. 

Foods & Fluids – healthy eating

Drink water – keeping hydrated is very important in general. if you are having a flush, you’re probably sweating so drinks lots of water to replenish your stores and help regulate your internal temperature

Make sure you have a healthy balanced diet and if lacking in any key vitamins and minerals try to increase your consumption of foods containing the relevant sources

Exercise

Exercise as we know helps to keep you fit and healthy and is especially beneficial during menopause. Studies have shown that exercise on a regular basis can make bones and muscles stronger and help prevent bone loss. Weight-bearing exercises such as jogging, playing tennis, and dancing three to four times a week are best.

Also Try out Yoga and Tai Chi to help with flexibility and mindfulness practices. If you can’t manage weight bearing exercise because you’re not feeling up to it try other exercise such as swimming or, walking – it’s important to try to do whatever you feel you can manage.

Meditation

According to a new study by North American Menopause Society (NAMS), mindfulness practices, such as meditation, deep breathing and staying focused in the present, may help ease menopause symptoms like hot flashes and the stress that can accompany menopause

Acupuncture

Acupuncture can also be an effective way to deal with the symptoms of menopause. It has been shown to help menopausal symptoms, by balancing hormones, reducing hot flushes, insomnia and irritability and by inducing better sleep. 

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behaviour therapy is a proven approach that can be helpful for a range of menopausal health problems, including anxiety and stress, depressed mood, hot flushes and night sweats, sleep problems and fatigue

Other ways to help control symptoms

Next week in our third instalment we will be covering fertility and cancer treatment.


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