Premarin is a prescription drug that’s used to relieve symptoms of menopause. Available as a cream, it contains several types of estrogen and can help those who are experiencing hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and vaginal burning, among other symptoms. Not only that, but it can help prevent osteoporosis as well (bone density tends to go down after menopause). It’s also used in some forms of breast cancer.
Like all medications, however, there is a potential for side effects. For example, it can cause back pain, abdominal pain, breast changes, dry mouth, insomnia, high blood pressure, dizziness, stomach upset, and vaginal discharge. It can also increase your risk of blood clots, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and uterine cancer. Compared to the oral form, however, the cream is usually better tolerated.
Now, you’re probably wondering, “are there any natural alternatives to Premarin cream?” The answer is yes. There are other things that you can do to relieve the symptoms of menopause—you don’t have to use hormone therapy.
And that’s exactly what we’ll be going over in this post. For those who are interested, keep reading to learn more!
Note: These natural alternatives should NOT be substituted for actual advice from a doctor. If anything, they should only be used in conjunction with medical treatment. As always, you should consult with a medical professional prior to self-diagnosing or self-treating.
1. Eats Food Rich in Vitamin D and Calcium
Menopause occurs when estrogen levels in the body go down. This drop in hormones can also cause the bones to weaken and over time, this can put you at risk of osteoporosis. That’s why it’s so important to eat foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D. The former helps build and maintain bones while the latter is essential for proper calcium absorption.
Foods that are rich in calcium include dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collard greens are high in calcium as well. You can also find it in foods such as tofu, sardines, and beans. There’s also the option of eating calcium-fortified foods such as fruit juice and certain cereals.
As for vitamin D, your skin can produce it if it’s exposed to sunlight. As you age, however, its production will go down. You may also not get enough if you’re indoors all the time or if cover your skin when you’re outside. In cases like that, it’s best to eat foods like salmon, tuna, and beef liver, all of which are rich in vitamin D. There are also supplements that you can take.
2. Exercise On a Regular Basis
While exercise might not help with night sweats and hot flashes per se, it can improve your energy, metabolism, and sleep. Not only that but your bones and joints will be stronger as well.
It’ll also protect you from diseases such as heart disease (menopausal women are at a higher risk for cardiovascular events), cancer, high blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and osteoporosis,
That’s not all, it’ll also help you maintain a healthy weight—something that’s often difficult during menopause. In fact, menopause often leads to weight gain; this is due to the changes in hormone levels. This can increase your risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Research has also shown that those who are at a healthy weight are less likely to experience severe menopause symptoms.
This is supported by one study in which those who lost 10% of their body weight over a year were less likely to experience night sweats and hot flashes (the study looked at 17,400 postmenopausal women).
How much exercise should you do? Aim for 10 minutes a day if you’re a beginner and gradually work your way up. Strength training is important as well; it’ll strengthen your muscles so that you burn more calories.
3. Eat Foods That Are High In Phytoestrogens
Phytoestrogens are plant-based compounds that mimic the action of estrogen in the body. As such, they may serve as a type of natural hormone replacement therapy.
For one thing, they can help with hot flashes. This may be the reason why menopausal women in Japan and other Asian countries rarely experience hot flashes—because the food that they eat is naturally high in phytoestrogens.
Not only that, but certain phytoestrogens may also improve sleep and bone health (they’ll help you maintain normal bone density).
Some foods that are rich in phytoestrogens include tofu, flax seeds, linseeds, sesame seeds, beans, soybeans, and tempeh. Keep in mind, however, that the phytoestrogens content can vary depending on how the food was processed. Supplements are also available, though you should never take them without first consulting with your doctor.
While taking phytoestrogens is relatively safe, there are some risks involved. For example, they can increase your risk of obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and some reproductive disorders. Some types of phytoestrogens such as isoflavones may also increase your risk of breast cancer. However, more research is needed to understand the full extent of its effects.
4. Avoid Processed Foods
Foods that are rich in sugar and refined carbs can cause spikes in your blood sugar; this can make you feel tired and irritable. Not only that, but they can also affect your bone health. Couple that with menopause symptoms and it won’t be a good time.
Given that, it’s best to stay away from processed foods such as sausages, bacon, cake, cereal, french fries, and pizza. Opt for fruits and vegetables instead. If anything, that can actually help prevent menopause symptoms. They’re also low in calories and can help you feel full.
They may also help prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease (remember, the risk goes up after menopause).
It’s also important that you drink enough water. That’ll help prevent dryness, which is often an issue among menopausal women. As a general rule, you want to drink between 8 to 12 glasses of water per day—that’ll keep the body hydrated. Not only that, but it’ll reduce bloating as well, something that’s fairly common when you have fluctuating hormone levels.
And don’t skip meals; that’ll only make your menopause symptoms worse. Rather, you want to eat at regular times throughout the day.
5. Take Natural Supplements
Some natural products may help relieve menopause symptoms. Here are some of the most common ones:
Black Cohosh: Black cohosh is a type of herb that’s native to North America. Also known as the black snakeroot, it may help alleviate hot flashes. However, the evidence is mixed. There’s also a lack of long-term data regarding its safety.
Red Clover: Red clover is a perennial herb that’s been used medicinally for hundreds of years. Some studies have shown that it may help reduce the frequency of hot flashes and other menopause symptoms. However, more specific research is needed to confirm its effectiveness.
Cranberry Extract: According to animal studies, cranberry extract may help support postmenopausal health. For one thing, it can help prevent bladder and urinary infections (postmenopausal women experience more UTIs). It does this by preventing bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall.
DHEA-S: DHEA-S is a precursor of estrogen. As such, it may help with menopausal symptoms such as vaginal dryness. It may also help those with diminished skin tone and decreased sex drive.
Other Supplements: Probiotics, probiotics, evening primrose oil, and dong Quai may help alleviate menopause symptoms such as night sweats and hot flashes. However, more evidence is needed regarding its safety and effectiveness.
6. Take Vitamin E Supplements or Eat Vitamin E Rich Foods
Vitamin E is an antioxidant. Not only will it reduce inflammation in the body, but it’ll protect it from cell-damaging free radicals as well. Research has also shown that it can help reduce the risk of depression if taken during and after menopause. For example, you can take a supplement or add vitamin E-rich foods to your diet. Ideally, you want to take 15 mg a day.
Some foods that contain vitamin E include squash, spinach, hazelnuts, avocado, broccoli, wheat germ, almonds, and shellfish.
Keep in mind, however, that it’s a fat-soluble vitamin. That is, your body won’t be able to get rid of it if it’s consumed in excess. It should also be avoided if you have kidney problems, skin problems, heart problems, eye damage, or Alzheimer’s disease (and other types of cognitive diseases). Also, it can interact with certain medications so be sure to ask your doctor first before taking vitamin supplements.
7. Take Magnesium Supplements or Eat Foods With Magnesium
Magnesium is necessary for proper bone health. It keeps the bones strong and helps prevent osteoporosis, which is a common issue with menopause (up to 30% of postmenopausal women experience a gradual decline in bone density). That’s not all, it’s also been shown to reduce hot flashes and it can improve your mood by boosting serotonin levels. And it can help you sleep better at night (up to 60% of menopausal women experience difficulty sleeping). It does this by regulating your circadian rhythm aka the body’s natural clock.
You can find it in many foods including almonds, bananas, broccoli, cashews, oatmeal, fish (e.g. salmon, mackerel, halibut), leafy greens, and tofu. Despite that, many people don’t get enough magnesium through their diet (too much overly processed foods). In cases like that, you can opt for supplements. There are many forms including magnesium carbonate, aspartate, glycerinate, citrate, and lactate.
The recommended amount for women is 320mg per day (from a supplement or food). While it’s generally safe, it can cause stomach upset or diarrhea if it’s consumed in excess. Rarely, in the case of magnesium toxicity, it can also cause muscle weakness, heart irregularities, and kidney failure. Given that, it’s best to consult with your doctor first before trying a magnesium supplement.
8. Try Acupuncture
Believe it or not but acupuncture can help with various menopausal symptoms. According to a Danish study, five weeks of treatment can help lower the amount of night sweats, hot flashes, and sleep disturbances. Research has also shown that it can reduce mood swings by altering neurotransmitters in the brain. Needles inserted into specific points may also stimulate the release of neurochemicals, which can help with vaginal dryness.
Generally speaking, the needles will be left in place on the skin for 30 to 60 minutes. Depending on your symptoms, however, you may need more than one treatment a week (over a period of several months). At the end of the day, it all depends on how you’re feeling.
As with all treatments, however, there are risks involved. For example, you may experience bleeding, bruising or soreness at the insertion sites. Unsterilized needles may also lead to infection. To prevent that, it’s important that you find a licensed and board certified acupuncturist. And don’t hesitate to ask about their experience with treating menopause-related symptoms. Ideally, you want to find someone who’s experienced with treating the condition.