Menopause Treatment Options
One of the most difficult decisions to make when experiencing menopause symptoms is whether to choose natural supplements vs hormone replacement therapy (HRT). There is a plethora of information on Dr Google and the pressure to make the right decision can be overwhelming.
Menopause can turn a woman’s world upside down. Hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings and loss of libido can make us feel desperate for solutions, but it is important we take time deciding what is right for us. Don’t let a ‘quick fix’ override your better judgement to do what is best long term without unwanted side effects.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUPPLEMENTS AND HRT?
- Supplements provide specific nutrients, herbs, vitamins, minerals, or amino acids to maintain, enhance and improve the healthy function of the human body by supporting its ability to create what it needs. They do not contain hormones.
- Hormone replacement therapy is medication that contains female hormones (estrogen, progestin, testosterone). You take the medication to replace the estrogen that your body stops making during menopause.
Supplements have a long history, with many menopause ingredients used safely for thousands of years by many cultures to support women’s health and wellbeing. Herbs like Sage, Ashwagandha, Lavender, Passionflower, Lemon Balm, Chinese Date and Motherwort are well loved ancient remedies that soothe a woman’s soul and restore balance when the body and mind needs calming.
Combining herbs with vitamins and minerals gives your body the tools it needs to restore harmony and reduce symptoms naturally while building strength and resilience. It is rare to hear about adverse reactions from taking natural supplements when taken correctly.
HOW COMMON ARE SIDE EFFECTS WITH HRT?
One of the most prescribed hormone replacements is Bijuva, a prescription medication that contains two hormones, an oestradiol, and a progesterone, used primarily to reduce moderate to severe hot flushes. Dosage is one capsule a day, but women should be warned about common side effects that can occur when taking synthetic hormones, including;
- New breast lumps
- Unusual vaginal bleeding
- Sudden new severe headaches
- Severe pains in your chest or legs with or without shortness of breath, weakness, and fatigue
All these side effects should be taken seriously, so it is understandable why women shy away from synthetic hormones and go in search of natural solutions. The history of HRT and its lingering connection to women’s cancers can be a red flag for many women to suffer in silence until a safer treatment presents itself.
When taking natural supplements, you should be aware that symptom relief can take a little longer. Response time will be dictated by the extent of symptoms, other underlying health issues and your current state of health.
Impatience for relief from menopausal symptoms should not be the driving factor that decides your path of treatment. Long term health outcomes that improve symptoms as well as overall health should be considered.
Always seek guidance from a qualified health practitioner who can help you weigh up the risk vs benefit of all options, so you can make the best decision with the best information available.
We may all be in this together, but we are all very different and nobody knows your body like you do!
Written by Mona Hecke
Mona Hecke is a degree qualified Naturopath, nutrition specialist and health and wellness writer.
With over 20 years in the health industry, beginning with a focus on children and families, and a bestselling book ‘The Lunchbox Revolution’, Mona is now empowering women through education and conversation to take action and embrace change. Gut health, mindfulness, nutrition, hormones, and menopause are the topics that women want and need to know to create their healthy future.
Mona holds certifications in Lifestyle Coaching, Kinesiology, holistic herbal medicine, and nutrition.
A recognised leader in the health industry, Mona’s strong social media presence and passion for influencing change will continue to be a catalyst for health reform for the benefit of every Australian.