If you’re approaching menopause or are experiencing this eventful life change right now, there are now more alternative therapies than ever that can improve your symptoms and overall health during this time. Keep reading to learn about steps you should take before beginning alternative therapies, as well as a few different alternative therapies that can relieve your symptoms and help you feel your best.
Identify the Symptoms of Perimenopause and Menopause
Perimenopause is a transitional time when a woman’s body is progressing towards menopause or the point at which menstrual cycles completely stop. During perimenopause, a woman’s hormone levels and processes related to menstruation, bone density maintenance, and more start to decline. Symptoms vary widely but generally consist of irregular periods, hot flashes, weight gain, mood swings, and more.
To manage your perimenopausal/menopausal symptoms, document them as they occur. Keeping a log of your symptoms can help you and your healthcare provider understand what may worsen symptoms (i.e. caffeine can make hot flashes worse) and what may help relieve them (i.e. cutting down on caffeine).
Communicate with Your Women’s Healthcare Provider
This is what routine women’s wellness exams are for. Your doctor will ask you for key information about your menstrual cycles and any symptoms you may have, which is why keeping a log is quite helpful. Your physician may also request a blood draw to evaluate your hormone levels and other factors. Once your doctor has gathered all this information, they will determine the specific causes of your symptoms and prescribe integrative therapies (combining traditional and alternative medicine modalities) to balance your body’s natural physiological processes.
Take Advantage of Alternative Medicine Remedies
To feel your best during perimenopause and through menopause, your provider may recommend some of these alternative medicine approaches to symptom relief.
Decreasing estrogen levels during perimenopause and menopause can lead to vaginal dryness, resulting in painful intercourse. Use a water-based lubricant during sex or a vaginal moisturizer before sex to relieve dryness and discomfort during intercourse
Stress Reduction Techniques
Going through perimenopause or menopause and feeling your body change can be a stressful time for many women, and unfortunately, stress can make symptoms even worse. Stress-reduction techniques like deep breathing, massage, and progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce stress and even reduce symptoms of menopause.
Aim for 30 minutes of low-impact aerobic exercise a few days a week. Exercise builds cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, and bone density, all of which tend to decrease through perimenopause and menopause. Any kind of exercise is beneficial, whether it’s yoga, swimming, or simply walking around your neighborhood.
Physical activity is a mood stabilizer, too, as it results in the release of endorphins – the body’s natural“feel good” hormones – which increase feelings of happiness and well-being.
Black Cohosh, Vitamin D, and Other Supplements
The hallmark symptoms of menopause are hot flashes, sleep problems, irregular periods, and mood changes. Some studies have pointed to a few natural remedies for these symptoms.
Black cohosh is an herb extract that may help treat hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. You can also supplement your diet with increased amounts of legumes, flax seeds, and whole grains, all of which contain estrogen-like plant compounds that may soothe symptoms of menopause. Vitamins like calcium and vitamin D are also helpful to combat bone density loss and osteoporosis.
Discuss dietary supplementation with your women’s healthcare provider before you start to take them. Your provider will make sure the supplements do not interfere with medications you may be taking or other existing health conditions. Your pharmacist can also guide you on the right dosages.
EMU Health in Queens, NY
At EMU Health, we are pleased to offer comprehensive women’s health services to the Queens community, from annual exams to menopause symptoms treatment to cancer screenings.
Our physicians work hard to personalize care for each patient at every stage of life. We have two wonderful board-certified OB-GYNs on staff: Dr. Anna Barbieri, who specializes in woman’s health and integrative medicine, and Dr. David Smotkin, who specializes in general obstetrics/gynecology as well as caring for women with gynecologic cancer.
Together, our physicians and staff focus on preventive care and empowering women to understand their health so they can seek appropriate treatments when the needs arise.
To learn more about our women’s health services, please call us at (718) 850-4368 or request a visit here. We look forward to serving you!