Recently, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has caused an uproar in the health community. Studies have been published which suggest that HRT is linked to an increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and other serious health conditions. Fortunately, a variety of treatment options are available for menopausal women who are uncomfortable with these risks. Continue reading to learn more about these alternatives.
Why Is HRT Dangerous?
HRT works to curb menopausal symptoms by introducing synthetic hormones into the body to restore hormone balance. However, because these hormones are not naturally produced within the female body, they can cause serious side effects and increase the risk of certain diseases, especially when used long-term. Four popular alternatives to HRT are:
1. Regular Exercise
Exercise helps to restore hormone balance by encouraging blood circulation and increasing the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which regulates mood. Low-impact exercises like jogging or yoga are recommended for menopausal women.
2. Well-Balanced Diet
Choosing a diet that consists largely of foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids can help treat menopausal symptoms by encouraging natural production of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. The following foods are recommended to boost hormone production:
- Foods that increase estrogen: soy, apples, alfalfa, cherries, potatoes, rice, wheat, and yams.
- Foods that boost progesterone: avocados, nuts and seeds, olives, and oils.
- Foods that improve testosterone: fruits, salads, fish, poultry, nuts, and seeds.
Additionally, women should decrease consumption of oily, fried, or sugary foods.
3. Herbal Remedies
Herbal remedies are gaining popularity among menopausal women because they are generally considered a safe and natural alternative to pharmaceutical options like HRT. Most herbs used to treat menopausal symptoms contain phytoestrogens, plant-based estrogens that mimic the effects of estrogen when introduced into the female body. Thus, they can block estrogen production when levels are high and take the place of estrogen when levels are low. Popular herbs for menopause include black cohosh, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, red clover, and macafem.
4. Bioidentical Hormones
Bioidentical hormones are engineered in a laboratory setting to copy the effects of naturally occurring hormones. They are structurally identical to hormones that the body naturally produces, allowing them to mimic the effects of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. While they are extracted from yam and soybean plants, they are not natural hormones.
It is always best to consult your doctor before beginning treatment for your menopausal symptoms. He or she will be able to give you a detailed overview about how these treatments will affect your body and their possible side effects. Click on the following link to know more about alternatives to hormone replacement therapy.