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8 new treatments for menopause symptoms

Patsy Westcott / 21 February 2017

Hot flushes, weaker bones, heart problems. HRT may help with menopause problems, but it you don’t want to or can’t take it, here are some alternatives.

Spinning class
High-intensity aerobic activity – such as spinning – reduced weight and waist circumference as well as improving blood pressure, heart rate and insulin resistance in a group of pre- and post-menopausal women in a Danish study.

Cognitive behavioural therapy - for flushes and sweats

This treatment encourages you to think more positively and stop symptoms ruling your life, especially when combined with relaxation and breathing techniques.

The idea is that by accepting flushes and sweats as normal at this time of life you can ‘reframe’ your attitude towards them, while relaxing and breathing through them can help divert negative thoughts.

Hot flushes: what works

Moisturising gels and lubricants - for genito-urinary syndrome of menopause (GUSM)

GUSM, vaginal dryness and other problems caused by thinning tissues in the urogenital area affect 57% of women post-menopause.

Moisturising gels and lubricants, such as Replens MD, Sylk, which contains kiwi fruit extract, and Yes!, can help reduce dryness.

Women, ageing and sex: how it changes

Mussels and wine - for mood swings

A recent study found that an extract of Atlantic Mytilus galloprovincialis – aka the Atlantic mussel – helped a host of menopausal symptoms, including mood swings.  

Its secret? Glucosamine-related anti-inflammatory effects, plus a high content of vitamins, such as vitamin E, and minerals, including selenium and iron.

The plant chemical resveratrol, found in the skin of red grapes, blueberries and peanuts, and grape juice and red wine, enhances mood and improved blood flow to the brain, as well as cognition, in one study.

Mood swings: find out how to deal with fluctuating moods

Spinning - for a slim waist and healthy heart

Extra pounds on the scales and spreading waistline are all too common post-menopause.

Scientists at the University of Copenhagen found that high-intensity aerobic activity – in this case, spinning – reduced weight and waist circumference as well as improving blood pressure, heart rate and insulin resistance in a group of pre and post-menopausal women.

Other high-intensity aerobic activities could include running, fast cycling, dancing and fast swimming.

How to lose the 'meno-pot'

Post-menopause diet mistakes

How to keep your hourglass figure

Whole body vibration - for strong bones and joints

The risk of osteoporosis soars in the five to seven years post-menopause as the lack of oestrogen means women lose up to a fifth of their bone density. According to Brazilian research, whole-body vibration exercise (such as on the Power Plate platform) can help build new bone. Another recent study, this time from Spain, showed that 24 weeks of whole body vibration strengthened the knees and ankle joints.

How to help prevent osteoporosis

Soya - for better cognition

Cognitive ageing characterised by a decline in the processing speed of the brain and increased forgetfulness often kicks in at menopause.  Isoflavones found in soya beans, soya milk, edamame beans, tofu, miso have been found to aid mental processing speed. But don’t go overboard – a recent study found moderate amounts were protective but high levels actually slowed processing speed.

The pros and cons of soy

Eggs - for better muscles

Menopause brings an upturn in fat and a downturn in muscle that can contribute to more serious loss of muscle mass and strength - medically called sarcopenia.

A recent study found that eggs were a great way to add good-quality muscle-building protein to the diet – thanks to their being high content of leucine, an amino acid needed for muscle synthesis, plus other important nutrients, including vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. 

10 healthy reasons to eat more eggs

Paradoxical intention therapy - for insomnia and disturbed sleep

A new CBT technique, this involves encouraging you to confront your fear of staying awake by simply lying there and accepting a state of quiet wakefulness until you drop off may help the 40-60% of women who experience disturbed sleep and insomnia during menopause.

The idea is that, paradoxically, once you stop trying to fall asleep and stay awake for as long as possible instead, the anxiety you feel about not sleeping declines and slumber follows.

Say goodnight to insomnia

For advice on beating long-term menopausal symptoms, see the March issue of Saga Magazine.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.