Up until now, you may have felt like perimenopause and menopause were just annoyances to your lifestyle and that there was really nothing you could do about feeling…well miserable. You may have wanted to ignore it. You maybe even were uncomfortable talking about it because a) you really didn’t know what was going on and b) were told incorrect information by the media, friends or perhaps even your doctor.
I am hoping to open up your eyes and mind to a new way of looking at things. To have you start to consider this time of your life as an opportunity and a game-changing phase where you can truly re-map your wellness and your life. When you went through puberty, a lot changed, yes? Well, now perimenopause and menopause are changing the way you can approach your body, your health and your wellness.
In the first three parts of this series, we covered the stress connection, understanding perimenopause and menopause, and the tell-tale symptoms. So, you now know more about what is really going on. You can acknowledge it is nothing to ignore and is truly something to help you explore your “second half” of life.
Take Charge: Your Options for Relief
So now that you are up to the challenge, let’s outline your options for relief. There is so much out there in the marketplace, so many people making boatloads of money and worse yet, so many women still suffering in silence.
As I mentioned in Part 1, if you take away just one tidbit of wisdom from my series, it is that you should consult with a doctor who is a member of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS). They are the premier organization focused on support for perimenopause and menopause and many of the specialists have “hung their hat” from baby delivery so they can focus their vocation on supporting women like you and me who are no longer in the baby making phase (we are in the taking charge of our lives phase!)
Menopause Symptom Relief Research: The “All-Natural” Way
A huge percentage of women try natural methods to treat menopause symptoms, most notably hot flashes. Experts from NAMS recommend limiting your exploration into any nonhormonal method for three months. If it isn’t providing relief by then, it won’t at all.
“…50% to 80% of perimenopausal women try nonhormonal therapies for hot flashes, but without any real guidance on what works (and what doesn’t), women experiment with different products, often delaying their chance at finding effective treatment, wasting capital, or they suffer in silence.”
Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, MD OB/Gyn
NAMS released a study about the effectiveness of all nonhormonal methods and here is what they found:
Methods they found that can work:
- Weight loss in obese women has a good chance of improving symptoms
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)
- Clinical Hypnosis
- Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) – an injection into your cervical spine that has been seen to reduce hot flashes
Methods they found that sometimes work and sometimes don’t:
- 30% of women studied found relief from soy foods and supplements and acupuncture
Methods they found that do not work:
- Black cohosh – it is very popular yet not proven
In my next articles, I will outline the extensive research I have done around Hormone Therapy or “HRT” and diet and exercise approaches during this phase of your life. Hope you are enjoying theses pieces as much as I am enjoying writing them!