Hot flashes seem to be the most agonizing, if not most complained about symptom during menopause, or at least the one women care about the most. There are many other symptoms but none so visible. The most common symptoms of menopause are hot flashes, joint pain, sleep problems, night sweats, memory lapses, bone loss and weight gain. You may have read the post regarding bio identical hormone replacement and decided it’s not for you. What else can be done? I have compiled a list of the most popular remedies around.
Many researchers and doctors will say these are not proven methods or they just don’t work. However, there are many women that state these remedies worked for them. The remedies are based on doctor and patient experiences. What works for one woman may not work for another. This is a trial and error process to see what, if anything, works for you.
Black Cohosh– This is the most popular and talked about remedy. It boosts hormone production. It helps with depression, hot flashes, night sweats, arthritis, muscle pain and dryness. Take it 6 weeks on and 4 weeks off. Black Cohosh doesn’t act like estrogen on hormone sensitive tissue. Don’t take this if you are pregnant. Although, I’m not sure why you would be taking herbs for menopause symptoms if you were pregnant. Black Cohosh contains some salicylate, so use caution if on a blood thinner. There are also some reports of liver toxicity. It also may cause headaches. 20-40 mg 2x/day. Start low and increase as necessary. May lower blood pressure.
Phytoestrogens– Plant based. Causes estrogen-like biological activity and is structured similar to estradiol. Soy has the most powerful phytoestrogens followed by chickpeas and lentils (I try to stay away from soy as much as possible). It is also found in flaxseed. Use 1-2 T per day. Others sources are apples, basil, barley, green tea, licorice (may raise your blood pressure), corn, grains, fruits, and vegetables. It helps to stabilize mood, reduce hot flashes, night sweats and helps cognitive function.
Vitamin E– 400 iu 2x daily. Helps with hot flashes.
Chaste berry– 1-2 t per day. Rich in progesterone. Helps with depression, mood, headaches and hot flashes.
Strength training– Helps avoid bone loss. Just because you don’t feel it, doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Also helps with weight gain. We gain weight because we lose lean muscle mass and replace it with fat. Fat burns less calories than muscle.
Regular exercise– Helps with hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, sleeplessness, builds lean muscles, boosts metabolism, eases joint pain, promotes better rest and reduces anxiety.
Stay away from your triggers to avoid hot flashes– Examples are coffee, alcohol, smoking, sugar, stress, spicy food.
Dong Quai– phytoestrogen (moderates estrogen). Helps with depression, anxiety, insomnia, bloating, cramps and hot flashes. Don’t take if you have fibroids or have blood clotting problems.
Maca Root– Helps with depression, mood swings, and low libido.
Red Clover– Helps night sweats, hot flashes and mood swings. Estrogen-like compounds. May have harmful effects on hormone sensitive tissue. Others state no real risks.
Wild Yam– This is a precursor to progesterone. Helps promote balance to combat estrogen dominance. Helps with hot flashes, night sweats, joint pain, insomnia.
Keep blood sugar balanced. Some believe hot flashes can be caused by a drop in blood sugar.
Vitamin D– To prevent bone thinning. Recommend amount is 600 iu. I take 5000. Almost everyone is D3 deficient.
Acupuncture– For hot flashes and depression.
Some off label prescription drugs that work for hot flashes are blood pressure medicines, anti-depressants, and nerve pain medicines.
Smokers, sedentary and overweight people experience more hot flashes than others.
Always do your research before taking anything to check for drugs interactions.
Many menopause symptoms overlap with thyroid symptoms. Get your thyroid checked if you’re not sure.
Remember, you’re not locked into any decision. You can always change it up. This is a process of trial and error.
What natural remedies have you found helpful?
What have you tried that didn’t work?
Bender, Stephanie and Colbert, Treacy. End Your Menopause Misery.
Horn, Janet MD. The Smart Woman’s Guide to Midlife and Beyond.
Jonekos, Staness. The Menopause Makeover.
Ni, Maoshing Dr. Second Spring.