Natural Alternatives to Hormone Replacement Therapy
Though every woman is aware that menopause is inevitable, many of the common symptoms and challenges that go along with it are not usually common knowledge. As women enter menopause, they may experience symptoms such as night sweats, hot flushes, fat accumulation, and mood swings. These symptoms are all a result of the hormonal changes that occur with menopause and perimenopause. For relief of these symptoms, some women may look to hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Though this may bring relief for many women, there are others out there who may not be candidates for HRT or who may be looking for a natural alternative. The centuries-old treatment of acupuncture paired with moxibustion can has a long history of bringing relief from the discomfort of menopause symptoms. If you are going through menopause or would like to know more about natural HRT, Read on.
Pros and Cons of Hormone Replacement Therapy
Some women see relief from mood swings, hot flashes, and other symptoms associate with menopause when starting HRT. They may find that they are no longer struggling with vaginal dryness or a lack of sex drive. There are also a number of ways to administer HRT. Though tablets are an option, gels and patches are also good options as they can provide a consistent dose.
The above may be great news for some women, but the truth is that HRT may not be an option for everyone. Women who have a history of certain conditions may not be candidates for HRT. In fact, NHS reports that some types of HRT can increase your risk of breast cancer. In addition to those risks, some women may not respond well to HRT. These women may experience common negative side effects like abdominal pain and headaches.
Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy
For those women who may not be candidates for conventional HRT, there are natural, herbal HRT alternatives that have been proven to be effective in managing the symptoms associated with menopause. If using hormone patches and tablets is not an option, considering trying one or more of the following:
A common treatment in TCM that has been used for centuries, acupuncture involves inserting and manipulating fine needles into different acupoints on the body. It is a non invasive option that offers little to no adverse side effects.
Women who undergo acupuncture treatment report a 28% decrease in their hot flashes. Practitioners of TCM aim to bring balance to the body, and acupuncture has a long history of doing just that. Its effect on the autonomic and sympathetic nerves help to achieve this balance and result in stress reduction and improved mood swing symptoms. Women undergoing acupuncture treatment report a reduction in hot flashes, emotional symptoms, sleep disturbances, and general sweating.
The length of acupuncture sessions may vary. Most women will find relief after about four or five sessions of acupuncture. When undergoing acupuncture treatment, it is important to work with a skilled TCM practitioner.
Moxibustion, a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practice that uses the heat from the burning of mugwort to warm certain acupuncture points, will help to purify and tonify Qi and yang. It also brings to the blood and resolves stagnation. This improvement in circulation will help to bring balance hormones such as estradiol. Moxibustion has even been shown to improve stress levels.
The accumulation of excess fat is also a very unwelcome symptom that women face in menopause. Moxibustion can reduce fat accumulation and can even help to reduce levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, while increasing levels of the “good” cholesterol, HDL.
Women report that moxibustion can reduce not only the number of hot flashes they experience but also a reduction in their severity.
Alternative Herbal HRT Treatment
Many medicinal herbs used in TCM work well as natural hormone replacement therapy. Examples include:
- Angelica Sinesis: Referred to as Dong Quai, Angelica Sinesis is often called the “female ginseng.” This is because it helps to reduce fatigue and restore balance. This natural HRT option will also help to reduce the occurrence of blood clots. Buy Dong quai here.
- Ginseng: Another HRT alternative, ginseng, has a positive effect on depression and overall feelings of wellbeing. The compounds in ginseng bring relief by binding to estrogen receptors. In doing so, it helps to relieve the symptoms of menopause while boosting to the immune system. Buy Ginseng here.
- John’s Wort: Because it has components that are of a similar structure to hormones, St. John’s Wort is natural hormone therapy that has been shown to reduce frequency of hot flashes. Those looking for quick relief will need to be patient as it may take up to eight weeks of treatment before experiencing symptom relief.
- Evening Primrose Oil: Evening Primrose Oil may help to reduce the severity and number of hot flashes. It contains phytoestrogens which, in addition to reducing night sweats, have been shown to inhibit blood clotting. A study reviewed the results of 80 women who used evening primrose oil to reduce menopause symptoms, and 27.5% of them no longer experienced night sweats.
Though HRT has been shown to help many women, some women may not be candidates while others are looking for a natural HRT alternative. Moxibustion and acupuncture are both safe and effective, and they have been used in TCM for ages. Not only will they bring relief from menopause symptoms, but they provide a drug-free, low-cost alternative without the risks associated with conventional HRT. There are also many herbal options that will reduce symptoms with no negative side effects. If you would like to learn more about moxibustion and acupuncture as a natural hormone therapy, speak to a skilled TCM practitioner about your options.
For more information about Chinese Medicine, book your free consultation with our Chinese Medicine experts today
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our clinics website: GinSen where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.