It’s the end of your fertile years and every woman will go through it if she lives long enough.
In light of that, the subject has even entered the hallowed pages of Vogue in an article entitled:
“Once A Taboo Topic, Menopause Is (Finally) Having Its Wellness Moment
Vogue’s focus is on perimenopause which is when most symptoms occur and, until recently, many women didn’t know what to expect.
Although it’s projected that one billion women will be menopausal by 2025.
What is estrogen?
Perimenopause marks the beginning of menopause when your hormone levels change. Especially your sex hormones: estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
In short, the first two are the major players.
However, it gets a little complicated because estrogen actually refers to a group of estrogens.
The most well studied are:
- Estrone (E1) – mainly stored in fat and muscle tissue. It’s a weaker estrogen commonly found in post-menopausal women.
- Estradiol (E2) – the strongest type of estrogen and generally the main player in women of childbearing age. Sometimes labelled ‘aggressive’ because it’s been linked to female disorders such as fibroids and other gynaecological conditions.
- Estriol (E3) – is the weakest estrogen – pregnancy is the only time we have a lot of it.
Estradiol is the estrogen that causes the most trouble at menopause – or, rather – perimenopause as it fluctuates through highs and lows.
Estrogen & HRT
Currently, there’s a lot of publicity about HRT (hormone replacement therapy). Or MHT (menopause hormone therapy) as it’s been renamed in the 21st century.
Basically, HRT/MHT is a medically prescribed medicine and there are several different types.
Hormone therapy mostly includes estrogen and a synthetic progesterone known as progestin (patches, pessaries, tablets or cream). Sometimes estrogen is prescribed alone, or both estrogen and progestin are prescribed.
Of course, it’s not our speciality so it’s best to speak with a medical professional who is up to date with the latest research for advice. Or you can read an overview here.
It’s important to realise that HRT/MHT is not for everyone.
Some women don’t do well on HRT and others can’t take it for medical reasons including cancer, heart disease or blood clot risk. Additionally, many women wish to go down a more natural route to manage their symptoms.
This is where we come in as we fly the flag of holistic, evidence-backed menopause management and education.
So, in the interests of HRT alternatives that tick the non-estrogenic box here are:
3 Safe, Natural, No-Estrogen Alternatives To HRT
1. Phytoestrogens As A No-Estrogen Alternative To HRT
Phyto = plant Estrogens = estrogens
Midlife women tend to do better on a low-processed, anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense diet. In fact, research continually points to the Mediterranean diet as a good choice.
Moreover, women who eat a diet abundant in fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as lean protein and healthy fats, have been found to experience fewer menopausal symptoms.
And sugar and refined carbohydrates (which convert to sugar) cause blood sugar imbalances and insulin resistance, both of which encourage the body to store fat.
We use PPFF as a dietary guideline: phytoestrogens, protein, fat and fibre. You can read all about it here
This lifestyle includes increasing your intake of plant foods which are rich in naturally occurring estrogens known as phytoestrogens.
Phytoestrogens have weak estrogenic and anti-estrogenic effects, are similar in structure to our body’s natural estrogen and bind to the same receptors. What’s more, studies have shown they can play an important role in preventing menopausal symptoms, osteoporosis, cancer and heart disease. But the caveat here is in some women.
“In a perimenopausal or post-menopausal woman, when her own body’s estrogen is low, phytoestrogens may help ease the symptoms of low oestrogen in about one in three women. This is because about a third of the population has the specific gut bacteria that can metabolise the isoflavones (a type of phytoestrogen) in soy to a more potent phytoestrogen called equol. The amount of isoflavones needed daily to achieve therapeutic effects is contained in about 200g of tofu, or 100g of tempeh.” Jean Hailles
- Edamame beans (soybeans)
- Mung Beans
- Sesame seeds
- Soy milk
Furthermore, this study showed phytoestrogens can reduce hot flushes if you’re still experiencing them. And this one showed phytoestrogens can help with bone loss making them protective against osteoporosis.
2. 40+ and 55+ As A No-Estrogen Alternative To HRT
At MenoMe®, everything we bring to the menopause table must be backed by science.
EstroG-100™ is a trio of herbal root extracts including a sage-like herb (Phlomus Umbrosa), a form of milkweed (Cynanchum Wilfordii) and Angelica (Angelica Gigas Nakai).
Discovered by a Korean doctor, Dr Jae Kim, EstroG-100™ is the result of intensive testing. Indeed, Dr Kim tested over 70 herbs both together and alone before he discovered the combination of these three was powerful for alleviating the symptoms of menopause.
When he discovered the results EstroG-100™ provided, Dr Kim had it clinically tested which you can read here.
The scientific studies showed a 62 percent improvement in:
- hot flushes
- night sweats
- joint pain
- vaginal dryness
EstroG-100™ is non-estrogenic and works with the body’s natural hormonal metabolism. The research also found it improves bone mineral density and is safe to take for women who have had or are at risk of, hormone-dependent breast cancer.
Related: All About Estrogen
3. Lifestyle Factors As A No-Estrogen Alternative To HRT
We often say it takes a multi-factorial approach to manage peri- and post-menopause naturally.
It’s why we delivered our 7 Wellness Pillars For Your Best Menopause because our approach is that the parts make up the whole.
So let’s talk about stress management, sleep and exercise. Naturally, they aren’t estrogenic/antiestrogenic but incorporating them into your life can go a long way to balancing your hormone levels.
Managing Stress Levels
Stress sets off the cortisol hormone which is produced by the adrenals.
And let’s face it, stress is pretty hard to get away from.
We live busy lives and are often juggling children, homes and careers.
But keeping as calm as possible is vital in menopause because the adrenal glands take up the slack from the ovaries as they reduce estrogen production.
What’s more, if you’re stressed, the adrenals will prioritise cortisol production and won’t be able to produce estrogen. As a result, menopausal symptoms become magnified.
Given these points, the paradox is that if you set off cortisol it will disrupt sleep. And if you over-exercise it will trigger cortisol. So it’s all about balance.
If you don’t already have a regular exercise routine start slowly. Walk around the block a couple of times a week. Or do some online exercise at home. We’ve found Yoga With Adriene, or Walk At Home with Leslie Sansone have some good, moderate options.
Or try the breathwork exercise we’ve included here.
And please download our FREE Sleep Hygiene sheet here.
To sum up there are natural alternatives to HRT (MHT) that have proven effective in some women. It’s important to realise that there is no one size fits all. But through trial and error we can discover what works best for us.
All in all, scientifically proven, safe solutions that have stood the test of time are pretty good options to incorporate into your life.
Would you like to try 40+ or 55+?