Menopause – Alternatives to HRT

Alternatives to HRT

Peri-menopause and menopause symptoms can be a real pain and can interfere with a woman’s daily life.

The bulk of the information on this page is from

Hormone therapy may not be the right choice for you. Some medical conditions may prevent you from safely being able to use hormone therapy or you may choose not to use that form of treatment for your own personal reasons.

Lifestyle changes

Changes to your lifestyle may help you relieve many of your symptoms without the need for HRT. These may include:

  • Weight loss
  • Exercise
  • Changing your environment (room temperature)
  • Avoiding foods that trigger symptoms
  • Dressing in light cotton and other natural fibres
  • Dressing in layers
  • Acupuncture
  • Meditation
  • Self-hypnosis
  • Yoga

Non-hormone replacement medications

  • Low dose antidepressants
  • Promensil
  • bisphosphonates, such as risedronate (Actonel, Atelvia) and zoledronic acid (Reclast)
  • elective oestrogen receptor modulators like raloxifene (Evista)
  • calcitonin (Fortical, Miacalcin)
  • denosumab (Prolia, Xgeva)
  • parathyroid hormone, such as teriparatide (Forteo)

Natural remedies

1 Ginseng

Ground ginseng root can be consumed as a tea or taken in a capsule form. It’s readily available in most drugstores, some supermarkets, and online. Ginseng has been used as a sedative in Asian countries for centuries. While there’s no evidence that ginseng can treat hot flashes, the soothing effects of ginseng have been found trusted Source to improve the quality and duration of your sleep.

2. Black cohosh

Black cohosh is an herb that is native to North America. The roots of black cohosh are ground into a dietary supplement. Black cohosh is one of the most popular natural remedies that women use for menopause symptoms. But there is conflicting evidence about how effective it is. At least one reviewTrusted Source of placebo-controlled studies involving black cohosh for menopause symptoms indicated that it helps with menopause symptoms.

3. Soy

Changing up your diet to include more soy products may ease your menopause symptoms. Soy contains a plant-based estrogen called isoflavones, so it can help you adjust to the smaller amounts of estrogen that your body is now producing. Hot flashes, night sweats, and even vaginal dryness may be improved by this remedy. Soybeans, edamame, tofu, and soy milk are the most direct ways to incorporate more soy in your diet. You can also purchase soybean extract to use for your symptoms.

4. Vitamin D

When your ovaries stop producing estrogen, you’re in a higher riskTrusted Source category for developing osteoporosis. Taking a vitamin D supplement might not improve hot flashes or vaginal dryness, but it will help make your bones strongerTrusted Source. Vitamin D also may boost your mood, which can help your self-perception and stabilize your emotions.

5. Wild yam

Wild yam is a botanical that has potential estrogenic activity. This means that wild yam supplements may mimic the effects of estrogen on your body. Researchers are calling for more studies into the way plant extracts like red yam may help women in perimenopause. Current researchTrusted Source indicates that wild yam is not as effective as other remedies. If you’d like to try wild yam, you can buy a cream to apply topically, or take the extract in pill form.

6. French maritime pine bark extract

Pine bark extract is also called Pycnogenol. It can be purchased online or at some health food stores. This extract is made up of plant-based hormones and organic chemicals called flavonoids. A studyTrusted Source found that taking Pycnogenol over the course of four weeks significantly improved hot flashes and other menopause symptoms.

7. Dong quai

Dong quai is a remedy from traditional Chinese medicine. The root of this plant is used as a tincture, an extract, and as a tea. The benefits of using dong quai for perimenopause are unclear. Though some women report feeling better after using it, a reviewTrusted Source of nonhormonal therapies for perimenopause indicated that dong quai had no effect on hot flashes and other symptoms. You can try dong quai by taking an herbal supplement or by drinking tea made from a dong quai tea bag.

Risks and complications

Be aware of any potential interactions of herbal supplements before you try any remedy. Soy products can interact with antidepressants and synthetic oestrogen, and may increase your risk of other health conditions. Ginseng can actually cause insomnia and headaches if you take too much of it.

If you feel the need to try natural remedies for your perimenopause symptoms, try one at a time. Don’t overwhelm your body when it’s already adjusting to a new normal balance of hormones.

Keep the lines of communication open with your doctor. If alternative medicine doesn’t keep your symptoms at bay, you may need to consider synthetic estrogen or more traditional menopause treatment.


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