Try Lifestyle Changes and Supplements for Menopause First

The milestone of menopause is reached when a woman goes one year without a menstrual period. The average age for menopause is about 51 years, but it can occur naturally between ages 40 and 55. The decade or so before menopause is called perimenopause. During this time hormone levels fluctuate and the menstrual cycle becomes erratic, yet you may still be able to conceive.

Menopausal symptoms are caused primarily by an imbalance of the hormones estrogen, progesterone, and/or testosterone. High cortisol levels caused by stress can negatively impact these hormones as well. The severity and duration of symptoms experienced vary due to genetics, ethnicity, cultural factors, and even attitude. This is why some supplements for menopause may help since they contain herbs that can help to balance hormones naturally.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is no longer routinely recommended for women in menopause because several large studies have found that HRT can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and breast cancer. The benefits did not outweigh the risks. One study also found that estrogen caused cognitive decline and dementia in older women.

HRT is now used only for women experiencing severe symptoms that cannot be helped by other measures. When it is necessary, it should be used at the lowest dose for the shortest periods of time (less than five years).

Women who experience serious emotional symptoms are sometimes prescribed antidepressants and tranquilizers. However, there are many side effects with these drugs, and it is best to try natural methods first including lifestyle changes and supplements for menopause. Some lifestyle changes to make include:

1. Reduce stress: try meditation, yoga, and massage.

2. Get regular exercise and don’t smoke.

3. Eat a diet rich in soy foods, fish, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

4. Ensure adequate calcium intake or take a mineral supplement for bone health; consider fish oils for heart health.

5. Black cohosh and chasteberry, commonly found in supplements for menopause can help relieve symptoms.