Menopause is linked with difficult symptoms, such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, sleep problems, irritation, sexual dysfunction, forgetfulness, weight gain and other signs. According to the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), many women look for alternative and complementary menopause treatments to manage the symptoms.
Alternative treatments are usually used alone to treat menopause symptoms; whereas, complementary treatments are used along with traditional treatments, such as medication or surgery to treat the symptoms.
Read on to understand the different menopause treatments you can choose from other than the hormone therapy.
Different Alternative and Complementary Menopause Treatments
Vasomotor symptoms (VMS), such as hot flashes and night sweats are the primary symptoms of menopause. More than 80% of the menopausal women are affected by VMS. Women seek menopause treatments when the severity and frequency of VMS increases and interferes with their daily life. Hormone therapy is useful in easing menopause signs. But many women look for alternative therapies because of the health risks associated with hormone therapy.
- Hypnosis Therapy
In Randomised Controlled Trials (RCT), studies were conducted to show that hypnosis effectively reduced VMS symptoms in menopause women. The studies also showed that women reported better sleep and sexual function after hypnotherapy.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a time-limited psychological intervention that aims at changing the cognitive evaluations and behavioural preferences to treat the menopause symptoms. Studies have revealed that in some RCT cases, CBT has reduced hot flashes, night sweats, depression and other symptoms of menopause efficiently.
Education, relaxation, correct breathing technique, motivation and other strategies are used to improve your condition.
- Biofeedback and Relaxation Training
Studies showed that practising relaxation techniques, such as muscle relaxation, paced respiration, listening to relaxation audiotapes, and other training methods reduce menopausal symptoms.
For biofeedback, a device is used to monitor your bodily functions. The feedback recorded on this device is used to practice the relaxing techniques and control the stress response.
Researchers established that relaxation techniques can reduce the VSM symptoms and stress.
- Yoga for Menopause
Yoga involves several physical postures and bodily movements, conscious breathing and mindfulness that increases your awareness. Studies showed that yoga may be useful in reducing fatigue and other psychological symptoms of menopause.
Practice yoga as an effective menopause treatment to reduce mood swings, sleep disturbances, irritation and emotional confusion.
- Aromatherapy as Menopause Treatment
In aromatherapy or essential oil therapy, fragrant oils are naturally extracted from plants to treat numerous biological and psychological imbalances in the body. These scented oils are believed to ease menopausal symptoms, reduce anxiety and increase relaxation.
In acupuncture techniques, small needles are inserted into the skin at specific points called acupoints to relieve the problem.
RCTs were conducted to study the effect of acupuncture on menopausal symptoms. Some trials revealed that acupuncture may reduce hot flashes, night sweats and improve sleep.
Herbal Products, Vitamins and Supplements as Menopause Treatments
Other menopause treatments involve usage of herbal products, vitamins and supplements that can alleviate menopause symptoms. They are:
- Wild Yam
Wild yam, a tuber, is said to be an effective menopause treatment. The bulb and roots of wild yam are believed to have some compounds that act like oestrogen and progesterone hormones. However, clinical studies are yet to establish it as an effective treatment for menopause symptoms.
- Black Cohosh
According to the US NIH, Black Cohosh herb is found to naturally decrease sleep disturbances, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, heart palpitations, irritation and nervousness. Black cohosh may also reduce your blood pressure. So, be careful in you have low BP problem.
- Dong Quai
Dong Quai is a Chinese herb that acts like weak oestrogen and is believed to reduce menopausal hot flashes. This herb is also used with other herbs to treat reproductive problems in women. However, more studies are required before suggesting Dong Quai as a natural menopause treatment.
Maca, a South American plant, is known to balance hormonal levels in women, treat anaemia and infertility. Maca is found to have favourable effects on menopausal symptoms.
- Pollen Extract
A small RCT conducted on the efficacy of pollen extract, an extract made from flower pollen, have sufficiently shown a reduction in hot flashes. It also decreased fatigue, mood swings and VMS symptoms. In a controlled study, pollen extracts have improved the overall quality of women’s life.
Phytoestrogens, plant-originated compounds, commonly found in soy (isoflavones), flaxseed (lignans), red clover (isoflavones) and hops (Humulus lupulus) act like oestrogens and improve dwindling hormonal level in menopause. These naturally found phytoestrogens are used in many dietary supplements recommended as alternative menopause treatments. Femarelle is one of the most recommended supplements to relieve menopause symptoms.Inference:
Alternative and complementary menopause treatments are found to ease the symptoms in women. But the studies are conducted in a controlled manner and researchers insist on further studies to recommending these menopause treatments. Also, further evidence is required to understand the efficacy of these natural products without any side effects.
Therefore, consult with your doctor before choosing one of the menopause treatments for your case.