5 ways to manage the menopause without HRT

The well-documented Hormonal Replacement Therapy (HRT) shortage has given many women reason to worry as this essential treatment helps to alleviate menopause symptoms such as hot flushes, low mood, anxiety and insomnia.

Whether you’re struggling with the perimenopause or menopause, we’re sharing five important ways to cope courtesy of Vitaminology – a health tech company reinventing how consumers discover and shop for vitamins helping them discover and compare the best supplements for them.

5 ways to cope and manage menopause without HRT

Adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle coupled with nutritional supplements or botanical therapies offer natural, yet effective strategies to help manage symptoms for many peri-menopausal or menopausal women. 

Eat a whole foods, balanced diet

… to help balance hormones. Avoid refined carbohydrates, sugars, processed foods and saturated fats. Opt for a wide variety of brightly coloured vegetables and fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds, good quality lean protein and healthy fats. Remember that spicy foods as well as alcohol and caffeine are triggers for hot flushes and night sweats. Eating oily fish 2-3 times a week (think SMASH – salmon, mackerel, anchovies and herring and sardines) will also help to support hormone balance.

Exercising regularly

…has so many benefits including our ability to cope with the menopause. It supports a healthy weight, cardiovascular function, improved sleep and the ability to cope with stress. Regular exercise doesn’t have to mean hours in the gym (although weight-bearing exercise is known to be extremely beneficial for bone growth and repair, reducing the risk of osteoporosis) so find something that fits into your lifestyle such as a yoga class or a long walk every day.

menopause without HRT

Keep stress at bay

…and promote calm using self-help techniques such as deep breathing, gentle exercise (ie, walking, Pilates, Yoga, Tai chi), meditation or journaling. Complementary therapies such as acupuncture may also be beneficial when coping with the menopause. A calmer mind will help to achieve a calmer body.

Sleep well

When we sleep our body uses this time to rejuvenate, so good quality sleep is vital when battling menopause symptoms. Try good sleep hygiene techniques such as switching off devices an hour before bedtime, reading or listening to music before going to sleep, taking a hot Epsom salt bath (contains magnesium to help relax the muscles and mind) to help get a good night’s rest. It is super beneficial to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, and sleep for 7-8 hours.

Consider supplementation

Sometimes in life, we need a little extra help – and this is no different when it comes to our health and wellbeing. There are number food supplements that can help with the perimenopause and menopause including multivitamins specifically formulated. In addition to these, a Vitamin B Complex will help to support energy, mood and brain function or try Vitamin E to relieve hot flushes and vaginal dryness.

Summary

Whether you are considering HRT or trying to find a suitable alternative, always discuss first with your GP who can advise you of the benefits and risks in your individual case. Consult with a registered Nutritional Therapist who can support you through the menopause with advice on diet, lifestyle and supplementation.

Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a balanced diet or healthy lifestyle.

References:

  • Cagnacci A, Venier M. The Controversial History of Hormone Replacement Therapy. Medicina (Kaunas). 2019;55(9):602. Published 2019 Sep 18. doi:10.3390/medicina55090602
  • Chen MN, Lin CC, Liu CF. Efficacy of phytoestrogens for menopausal symptoms: a meta-analysis and systematic review. Climacteric. 2015;18(2):260-269. doi:10.3109/13697137.2014.966241
  • Dunneram Y, Greenwood DC, Cade JE. Diet, menopause and the risk of ovarian, endometrial and breast cancer. Proc Nutr Soc. 2019;78(3):438-448. doi:10.1017/S0029665118002884
  • Gava G, Orsili I, Alvisi S, Mancini I, Seracchioli R, Meriggiola MC. Cognition, Mood and Sleep in Menopausal Transition: The Role of Menopause Hormone Therapy. Medicina (Kaunas). 2019;55(10):668. Published 2019 Oct 1. doi:10.3390/medicina55100668
  • Hill DA, Crider M, Hill SR. Hormone Therapy and Other Treatments for Symptoms of Menopause. Am Fam Physician. 2016;94(11):884-889.
  • Johnson A, Roberts L, Elkins G. Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Menopause. J Evid Based Integr Med. 2019;24:2515690X19829380. doi:10.1177/2515690X19829380
  • Joseph E. Pizzorno, Michael T. Murray, Herb Joiner-Bey, 53 – Menopause, Editor(s): Joseph E. Pizzorno, Michael T. Murray, Herb Joiner-Bey, The Clinician’s Handbook of Natural Medicine (Third Edition), Churchill Livingstone, 2016, Pages 624-647,ISBN 9780702055140.
  • Ko SH, Kim HS. Menopause-Associated Lipid Metabolic Disorders and Foods Beneficial for Postmenopausal Women. Nutrients. 2020;12(1):202. Published 2020 Jan 13. doi:10.3390/nu12010202
  • Larmo PS, Yang B, Hyssälä J, Kallio HP, Erkkola R. Effects of sea buckthorn oil intake on vaginal atrophy in postmenopausal women: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Maturitas. 2014;79(3):316-321. doi:10.1016/j.maturitas.2014.07.010
  • Lobo RA, Pickar JH, Stevenson JC, Mack WJ, Hodis HN. Back to the future: Hormone replacement therapy as part of a prevention strategy for women at the onset of menopause. Atherosclerosis. 2016;254:282-290. doi:10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2016.10.005
  • Rizzoli R, Bischoff-Ferrari H, Dawson-Hughes B, Weaver C. Nutrition and bone health in women after the menopause. Womens Health (Lond). 2014;10(6):599-608. doi:10.2217/whe.14.40

photos by wayhomestudio, valeria_aksakova, wirestock

8 thoughts on “5 ways to manage the menopause without HRT

  • I’ve got all this to look forward to in the future. I know my mum used to struggle with hot flushes when she went through her menopause. I’m not sure if she took HRT or not.

  • I’m honestly so scared of menopause as I’ve heard some real horror stories. I think diet is key to lessening the severity but it’s something that should be adopted early on, long before menopause even hits. Great helpful tips and insight here.

  • This is very helpful to those who are going through the phase of menopause! Very helpful and informative!

  • Thinking of menopausal stage makes me scared. Thank you for all the guide and tips.

  • I will be sure to pass these tips onto some of my friends that are going throught menopause. I will also be sure to look back at these tips when the time comes. Thanks for sharing!

  • My nan took HRT quite a long while back before anyone really knew the effects of it and she struggled to come off it. So this info is good to know for when the time comes for others going through the menopause x

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