Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) has been hotly debated and, therefore, many women experiencing menopause look for other, more natural methods than the traditional and “standard” hormone therapy. The variance of estrogen and progesterone during menopause can affect women in a multitude of ways: hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, weight gain, and more. These fluctuations in levels may go on for long periods of time before the levels of sex hormones drop to an eventual low during post-menopause. Conventional treatment may prescribe many different medicines to target each separate symptom. Or women may choose to take the symptom management approach, as it’s called, and decide to restore their estrogen, progesterone, and/or testosterone levels through HRT. While this can be effective, HRT brings with it a myriad of risks.
Focus on an approach that aims to restore balance in the body. Remember, our symptoms are actually the way our body communicates with us and alerts us to pay attention and take action. So it’s important to listen to your body. Peri-menopause and menopause are a time of great change in a woman’s life and will affect thought and action. Consider using this time to move from the vitality of the reproductive years to a time to reflect on the substantive meaning of life.
Certain Lifestyle Changes That Can Help Balance Hormones
Eat lots of vegetables
Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kohlrabi, bok choy are the best vegetables to ingest the substance known as indole-3-carbinol (I3C). This substance, once metabolized in the body, produces diindolylmethane (DIM). Both I3C and DIM have been shown to not only have anti-cancer properties but will also help modulate estrogen levels in the body.
Reduce Your Body Fat
Fat can act as an endocrine organ and therefore produce more estrogen in the body, resulting in an out-of-balance hormone. This excessive adipose tissue gets in the way of leading a healthy lifestyle and overproduces certain hormones. Rid yourself of excess fat, and you’ll rid yourself of excess estrogen.
Up your phytoestrogens
What are they, you ask? Phytoestrogens are found in soy foods, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, bean sprouts, garbanzo beans, and peas for instance. Phytoestrogens are plant-based substances that help to balance your hormones naturally. Add them to your diet, a little here and there at every meal and you will see an improvement in your symptoms related to hormone imbalance.
Don’t take in an overabundance of soy, but a meal of tofu, edamame, tempeh, miso and a little soy sauce can make for traditional and natural soy products. Perhaps avoid the more processed soy products and soy additives found in many foods. If you suffer from thyroid disease, avoid eating foods that contain phytoestrogens raw since goitrogens may cause problems for your thyroid to function well. Cooking neutralizes this effect, but it’s still advisable to avoid consumption of thyroid medication within 2 hours of eating these foods.
Another way to regulate your hormones without HRT includes the use of herbal remedies and deep breathing. First, consult a trained professional about herbal remedies. And deep breathing is an exercise that can help lower the number of hot flashes and night sweats that occur. Try two 15-minute sessions a day to see a change.
Know that it is within your ability to change your hormones and attempt to balance their levels without resorting to HRT. Consider all your options and decide to take action during this change in your life.