Women seeking relief from menopause symptoms may turn to natural alternatives due concerns about the risks associated with HRT medication. Taking a hormone-free approach is becoming more popular among women who want to manage their symptoms safely and effectively.
Fortunately, in recent years, there has been a significant shift in how menopause is discussed in society, with more women sharing their experiences openly. This has helped to reduce the stigma associated with menopause and encouraged women to seek out the support and information they need to manage this natural transition.
Channel 4 documentary
Recently, Channel 4 aired a documentary titled "Sex, Mind and the Menopause," featuring Davina McCall as the presenter. The documentary highlighted the results of a survey involving more than 4000 women aged between 45 and 55, which revealed the impact of oestrogen depletion on women's mood and brain function during menopause.
Although "brain fog" has been associated with menopause for some time, it is less known that many women end up quitting their jobs due to this condition. It is also alarming that the highest rate of suicide among women is between the ages of 40 and 45, a period that often coincides with perimenopause.
As women navigate through the various stages of menopause, it is crucial that we pay attention to our bodies and familiarize ourselves with the signs and symptoms associated with changes. There are at least 48 known menopausal symptoms, any of which may be linked to perimenopause and post-menopause.
The most common menopause symptoms are:
- hot flushes.
- night sweats.
- vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex.
- difficulty sleeping.
- low mood or anxiety.
- reduced sex drive (libido)
- problems with memory and concentration.
Identifying the combination of menopausal symptoms that you are experiencing is crucial in determining where you are in your journey and which treatment options may be most effective in relieving those symptoms that hinder your ability to function and enjoy life. Therefore, it is essential to pay close attention to your body and seek medical advice if needed, to ensure that you find the best course of action for your unique situation.
Vaginal dryness is a common symptom experienced by menopausal women, yet it is not widely discussed, and many women are unaware of the natural alternatives available to alleviate this particular symptom.
According to surveys conducted by the BMS, over 50% of menopausal women have experienced vaginal dryness. This can lead to painful sex, decreased libido, and have a significant impact on relationships both in the short and long term. However, this percentage may be much higher, as many women suffer in silence due to embarrassment or a lack of education.
While women taking HRT in the form of a patch or gel may experience some relief from these symptoms, the first-line treatment for this uncomfortable symptom is a vaginal moisturizer for daily use and lubricants for sex.
So, where to start when looking for hormone-free solutions?
There is a vast range of supplements available in supermarkets and health stores, all claiming to alleviate menopause symptoms. However, research has proven that simple lifestyle changes such as following a healthy diet and regular exercise can help to alleviate these symptoms.
The NICE guidelines for menopause are based on thorough research and provide a good starting point for those seeking both hormonal and non-hormonal treatments.
Products to alleviate vaginal dryness
Vaginal moisturisers and lubricants for menopausal vaginal dryness are available both on prescription and over the counter. It is important to note that not all products are the same, and it is advisable to choose products containing natural ingredients. Water-based products should be pH-matched to the vagina, while oil-based lubricants (not compatible with condoms) should be made with natural plant-based oils instead of mineral oils, which are derived from petrochemicals and unsuitable for vaginal use. Further information on water and oil-based lubricants can be found here.
If non-hormonal approaches to alleviating menopausal vaginal symptoms are insufficient, your doctor may recommend vaginal oestrogen in the form of pessaries, cream, or an oestrogen ring, which is inserted into the vagina and replaced every 90 days. Many women use a combination of non-hormonal products and vaginal oestrogen, as the latter is usually prescribed for twice-weekly use.
Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD is the UK's foremost nutritionist specialising in women's health and has authored numerous books on natural solutions to women's hormonal conditions, including 'Natural Solutions to Menopause' https://www.marilynglenville.com/books/natural-solutions-to-menopause-book/.
It's important to keep in mind that there is no universal solution to menopause. Each woman's journey is unique and may require a combination of lifestyle changes and natural products to alleviate symptoms. It's important to stay up-to-date with the latest research and consult with a healthcare professional to find the best natural alternatives to HRT that will work for you and your body's individual needs.