Menopause and peri-menopause is an inevitable point in a woman's life. When you get there, it can be difficult to know how to manage the symptoms that come with it. Some women chose to take HRT (hormone replacement therapy), but some can't take HRT or don't want to. In that case, how do you manage the symptoms of menopause without HRT? That's where we can help!


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What Is HRT?

During peri-menopause and menopause, the hormones in the body become out of balance as it adjusts, causing symptoms such as anxiety, difficulty sleeping and weight issues. HRT, or Hormonal Replacement Therapy, is taken to balance these hormones for the duration of menopause to lessen the symptoms that can have a massive effect on daily life.

However, not all women want to take medication, or they aren't suitable for HRT. Despite being a minimal risk compared to the relief HRT provides, HRT can increase your risk of breast cancer. Unfortunately, HRT can't be given to women who have a history of breast, ovarian or womb cancer, blood clots, high blood pressure or liver disease.

In this case, some women may feel like there are no other options, and they will have to live with the symptoms, but that isn't the case.

How to Manage the Symptoms

So if you think the menopause has arrived and you need to manage the symptoms without the aid of medication then where do you start? Well, having a good diet and exercise plan is really important as these can help do some of the work that HRT would do in relieving symptoms.

Diet

Woman making a healthy meal in her kitchen

A healthy, balanced diet is essential at this point in life. Muscle mass can decrease during menopause, meaning you may need to adjust the number of calories you consume and keep an eye on your portion sizes to avoid putting on weight. One main thing to make sure you include a lot of in your diet is calcium. Many women can have osteoporosis after menopause as the hormone imbalance can cause the bones to weaken. A calcium-rich diet will help counteract this.

Weight, and especially losing it, can be difficult during menopause, too, due to the imbalance of hormones. Reducing sugar and eating more healthy fats can help manage your weight but also help with your mood. A major side effect of menopause is low mood, anxiety and depression, but a healthy diet that is very low in sugar can help prevent mood swings and generally boost your mood.

Avoiding alcohol and even caffeine can help reduce hot flushes. Alcohol is advised to be consumed in moderation anyway, but drinking it during menopause can make symptoms worse and make the risk of osteoporosis higher. As we have already mentioned, you are already at risk of this, so no need to make the risk higher.

Exercise

three women practicing yoga

Along with a healthy diet, exercising regularly can also help manage the symptoms of menopause. Exercising regularly can help manage your weight and reduce anxiety. Exercising release chemicals in the brain can boost your mood, making you feel better whilst also helping you keep any extra weight off that might be trying to creep its way on.

Exercise is good for cardiovascular health and bone health in general, but it's also important to find something you enjoy. Finding a particular activity you like doing gives you something to look forward to, making you feel happier. Not enjoying the exercise you are doing can have a negative mental effect on top of the effect menopause is already causing.

Most types of exercise are good to do (for the full list, see here). Strength can help with the loss of muscle mass; cardio can help manage your weight, and yoga is really helpful in relieving mental symptoms.

Reaching menopause and not taking HRT isn't the end of the world. You can relieve the symptoms without medication to help you if you don't want to or can't. If you are unsure, speak to a doctor. If HRT isn't for you, they might have an alternative, or you can try these options, whatever works best for you.


Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.