Alternatives for Estrogen Replacement
Symptoms of menopause usually appear soon after menstrual
periods have stopped completely. One common symptom is hot flashes--intense
feelings of heat followed by chills. Other symptoms include vaginal dryness
(which may cause pain during sexual intercourse), difficulty sleeping, anxiety,
and irritability. These symptoms, particularly hot flashes, usually improve in
1-2 years and they are severe in only about 10% of all women.
replacement therapy can treat most of these symptoms. However, many women
choose not to take estrogen or can't because of other medical conditions. There
are some alternatives to estrogen that may help relieve these symptoms, but
none of these is as effective as estrogen, and not all approaches are effective
for all women. Suggestions for alternative approaches include the
~Avoid things that often trigger hot flashes, such as tight
clothing, spicy foods, alcohol, and warm environments.
techniques such as biofeedback and meditation.
(plant estrogens) such as soy products to your diet. Studies have shown that 50
grams of soy protein a day reduces hot flashes by about 50%.
"botanical" product called black cohosh. Twenty milligrams twice a day may
reduce hot flashes.
~Talk to your doctor about other medications,
including progesterone replacement therapy and certain blood pressure
The decision to begin estrogen replacement therapy, or any
of its alternatives, is different for each person. It is important to talk with
your doctor about the risks and benefits of each of these medications before
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