Menopausal women use non-medical approaches to treat their symptoms and want more support

In addition, one third of women thought that their GP was very supportive, however 34% wanted to have more support from them. One fifth of women wanted more support from their spouse or partner.

Moreover, the questionnaire found that women reported taking vitamins, minerals and supplements and herbal remedies rather than HRT, for example, 38% of postmenopausal women had used herbal remedies.

Dr Lisa Iversen, Academic Primary Care, Division of Applied Health Sciences, University of Aberdeen and co-author of the paper said:

Managing the Symptoms of Menopause
Throughout perimenopause and menopause, the levels of estrogen and progesterone in your body fluctuate as your ovaries try to keep up with your normal levels of hormone production. This fluctuation is what causes symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, sleep problems, bone loss, problems concentrating and others.

Hot Flashes

Phytoestrogens are plant-derived hormones that can partially reverse the hormonal changes that occur due to menopause. Black cohosh extract is perhaps the most well-studied in this category. Soy-based foods also contain high phytoestrogens, so eating lots of tofu and soy sauce can be helpful. Other supplements in this category include wild yam, dong quai, licorice, and red clover.

Exercise eases hot flashes by lowering the amount of circulating follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). Aim for at least 20 minutes, three times a week.

Acupuncture and acupressure have been shown to limit hot flashes for some women.

Loss of Libido

Non-medical treatment strategies like using erotic materials or lubricants, sensual massage, kegel exercises, or therapy can all be effective in increasing your libido.

Though not well studied, the herb yohimbine (yohimbe bark extract) is believed by some to increase vaginal blood flow and boost female libido.

Menopause often causes women’s bodies to stop producing testosterone, a hormone that is believed to be important in the formation of sexual desires and drive. To combat lowered testosterone in the body, testosterone replacement therapy is sometimes used to treat sexual arousal disorders. However, it can have serious side effects, so consult with your doctor.

“Our results provide a powerful reminder that the menopause is a time of life when women experience numerous symptoms, many of which are bothersome.

“We found that many women used non-medical approaches to help relieve the symptoms suggesting a large need for effective non-hormonal management options for menopausal women.”

John Thorp, BJOG Deputy-Editor-in-Chief added:

“The results of this questionnaire show that women during the menopause face many different symptoms and have different coping strategies.

“Support from healthcare workers as well as friends and family is important and women must talk to their GP if their symptoms are bothering them or affecting their day-to-day quality of life.

“As so many women use herbal remedies, it is important that they are tested for efficacy and safety to the same standard as hormone replacement therapy.”

Naomi Weston
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