Lots of women for various reasons choose not to have HRT, or cannot have it due to an underlying health condition personally or in their family.
So what can you do to help yourself through the menopause?
This article talks about the alternative options:
This link tells you about non hormonal prescribed alternatives to HRT: https://www.menopausematters.co.uk/prescribed.php
These links tell you about lifestyle options and herbal preparations or “natural” options. NB. “natural” doesn’t always mean safe!
Other things you can do to maintain your health in the perimenopause
Maintain a healthy weight, or lose weight if you are overweight
Stop smoking – Smoking significantly increases the risk of heart disease & strokes, osteoporosis, most types of cancer, and many other diseases. Stopping smoking is one of the best things you can do to improve your future health.
Exercise – there are many beneficial effects to exercising. Particularly, regular exercise can help in reducing the impact of hot flushes and improve sleep. It can improve mood & reduce stress. It can also help to maintain a healthy weight, improve the health of your bones and joints and weight-bearing exercise can increase bone density which prevents fractures due to osteoporosis. It will reduce your risks of heart and cardiovascular disease.
Diet – controlling your cholesterol and triglycerides & eating a lower-glycaemic index diet can help to reduce the chances of developing heart disease, strokes and diabetes.
Reducing caffeine and alcohol intake – both these can contribute to poor sleep and also hot flushes / sweats, so reducing your intake can sometimes help your symptoms. Alcohol also increases your breast cancer risk.
Good “sleep hygiene” is important – maintain a regular sleep schedule, avoiding heavy evening meals, adjusting levels of light, noise, and temperature in the bedroom, and avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine.
Do pelvic floor exercises. These can improve urinary continence, help to prevent prolapse of the pelvic organs, and improve your sex life.
The vulva and vagina don’t cope well with soaps or foaming washes. Switch to an emollient for washing this area of the body. Hydromol ointment, cetraben, diprobase or any similar emollient (“medical moisturiser”) is perfect for this. Even products marketed as for feminine hygiene can be irritant or drying if they produce a foam.
Vaginal moisturisers & lubricants such as Hyalofemme, Replens, Yes, Sylk or others can be helpful.
Oral hygiene is important at the menopause, as gum disease can be more likely when oestrogen is lacking. Regular dental checks, flossing and brushing are important. Gum disease can increase the risk of heart disease, and osteoporosis can contribute to tooth loss.
Thanks to Dr Rachel Barnes for collating this information.