Healthy Lifestyle And Nutrition Versus Hormone Replacement Therapy
There are many ways to treat menopause and premenopausal symptoms. Some women will choose to see their doctor in order to begin taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
This is a form of treatment where estrogen and possibly progesterone are given to control the most common symptoms and signs of menopause, including hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, vaginal dryness, insomnia, and urinary tract symptoms.
Risks of Hormone Replacement Therapy
Some women are afraid to take hormone replacement therapy because of research that has indicated that some people are at an increased risk of heart disease and breast cancer if they take hormones such as estrogen or progesterone.
The research is based on many different studies but the biggest one was the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) that published results indicating that hormone replacement therapy increased heart disease risks.
The study was somewhat controversial because it primarily indicated a risk of heart disease occurring in women who were over the age of 65 years and who were overweight. These were women who already had an increased risk of heart disease based on their age and weight. Because the studies are controversial, you should consult with your doctor to be sure this treatment is right for you.
If you choose to take hormone replacement therapy, you should reevaluate its need every six months or so with your doctor. At some point, the hot flashes will be in control and you may decide it isn’t worth the risk of taking this type of medication.
Other women arbitrarily stop taking hormone replacement therapy at the age of 60 because they are already passed menopause and the risk of heart disease at that age is still very small.
Benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy
Nothing controls hot flashes and night sweats better than hormone replacement therapy. This type of therapy addresses all issues of menopause, including the symptoms you experience and the signs you don’t notice, such as bone loss after menopause.
There doesn’t appear to be much risk in taking the medication as long as you take it soon after you start having hot flashes and stop prior to the age of 60 years. This gives you many years free of symptoms and prevents bone loss associated with the coming of menopause.
Talk to your doctor if you are interested in this form of medical therapy for hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
Dietary Control Over Menopausal Symptoms
If you don’t think you are a good candidate for hormone replacement therapy or are afraid to take it, there are dietary measures you can undertake in order to lessen the hot flashes and control the other symptoms of menopause.
Dietary control over menopausal symptoms involves eating a healthy diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. This is also a diet that avoids eating processed foods as well as foods that are high in trans fats.
These foods can adversely affect your cholesterol levels and can cause you to have an increased risk of heart disease.
Foods that are high in phytoestrogens may also be able to help you control your menopausal symptoms. Phytoestrogens are plant-based foods that have substances in them that mimic the estrogen in your body.
Phytoestrogens can be found in foods like soy products. You can switch to soymilk and eat tofu or tempura that has estrogen mimickers in them.
They may be able to control your symptoms without having to take medications for hot flashes but are generally not too helpful if you have severe hot flashes or other severe side effects of menopause.
Exercise For Menopausal Symptoms
Good aerobic exercise can reduce the symptoms of menopause quite effectively. The type of exercise you want to engage in is called aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise involves doing things like swimming, jogging, cycling, or brisk walking. You can actually do any type of exercise that gets your heart rate going and increases your respiratory rate.
Things like golf and tennis can be counted as being aerobic activities you can do to decrease hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
You should aim to exercise at least 150 hours of exercise per week. This involves about thirty minutes of exercise on most days of the week. Some of the exercise can be anaerobic exercise as well.
Anaerobic exercise involves lifting weights or using weight machines you find at health clubs. You can do this about twice a week in order to keep your muscles and bones strong and to increase your muscle to fat ratio. This increases your metabolic rate so that you can lose weight without really trying because muscle burns more calories than fat.
Ideally, you should do both exercise and dietary measures if you want to reduce your risk of having menopausal symptoms. They will keep your weight down and will help reduce your risk of heart disease at the same time.