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Hormone replacement therapy gives women going through menopause the option to replace hormones that the ovaries quit making. A woman’s ovaries make progesterone and estrogen as part of the menstrual cycle. Other hormones the ovaries make include androgens and testosterone. As a woman ages, hormone levels begin to decline and she will enter perimenopause, the years just prior to menopause.
What Is Menopause?
Menopause is a normal transition in life that all women will eventually go through. A female is born with a predetermined amount of eggs that are stored in her ovaries. Menopause occurs when the ovaries no longer release an egg each month and a woman’s menstrual cycle will cease. The average age for menopause is around 40 years old, but a woman can go through it earlier due to a hysterectomy, ovarian damage and chemotherapy.
Symptoms Of Menopause
There are many symptoms of menopause and these can include vaginal dryness, menstrual cycle irregularities, hot flashes, mood swings, and insomnia. The reason for these symptoms is because of fluctuating and declining hormonal levels. These changes signal the ovaries are losing the ability to manufacture eggs and hormones.
Often a woman will have a menstrual cycle in which no ovulation occurs and no progesterone is released. These types of changes can lead a woman to experience irregular menstrual cycles with heavy or abnormal bleeding, as a woman approaches menopause. When a woman enters menopause, the ovaries will stop making and releasing eggs every month and her periods will stop. Some women will find relief from menopause through using hormone replacement therapy (HRT), but others may wish to seek out natural alternatives to utilize.
What Are Some Natural Alternatives To HRT?
There are a number of different ways in which a woman can use natural alternatives to find alleviation of menopause symptoms. It is worth exploring some of the following options if you are a woman seeking relief from menopausal symptoms:
- Nutrition: there are a number of ways that dietary changes can improve menopause symptoms. Women should decrease their intake of refined and processed foods, while increasing their intake of whole, natural foods. Avoid fast food, foods that are highly processed or filled with artificial flavors and colors. In addition, limiting sugar, salt and saturated fats is also a good idea. Making these changes may result in increased energy, decreased hot flashes and lessened mood swings.
- Exercise: engaging in regular exercise will affect the hormone levels and chemicals a woman has in her body. It increases the level of endorphins which in turn triggers feelings of happiness. Research has also proven exercise to be an efficient treatment for mild to moderate depression and anxiety. Regular exercise is also effective for stabilizing blood sugar, boosting metabolism and improving sleep quality.