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Alternatives to HRT
Women who experience menopausal symptoms often seek relief in ways other than hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Not all of the alternatives to HRT have been scientifically proven, but many women do find them helpful.
What you can do to help sleep troubles
- Exercise. Being active lowers stress and improves your overall well-being, which may help you sleep better.
- Try relaxation techniques. Deep breathing, massage or yoga may help reduce your stress levels.
- Sip chamomile tea or tea with valerian root at bedtime. Avoid caffeine and alcohol – they can make menopausal symptoms worse.
What you can do to control hot flashes
- Get as much exercise as you can.
- Choose light clothing and wear it in layers that can be removed.
What you can do to relieve vaginal dryness
- Use a water-soluble lubricant or moisturizer available at your pharmacy.
- Ask your doctor about a vitamin E vaginal suppository or cream to help relieve symptoms.
Are bioidentical hormones more effective and less risky than HRT?
Some hormone products, which may be called bioidentical hormones, are available without a prescription. Bioidentical hormones are made from plant sources and are basically the same as hormones made by our bodies. You may have heard claims that these products are more natural, effective and safe than HRT, but there is no scientific evidence to prove this.
Not all of the alternatives to HRT have been tested to evaluate side effects. HRT may still be useful to ease the symptoms of menopause on a short-term basis if other treatments do not work and the symptoms are severe.
Always check with your doctor before deciding on HRT, herbal products or lifestyle changes.