Article by Garth Delikan
Not all women want medication to relieve the symptoms of menopause and the when I see the potential consequences of the side effects of some of the medication it doesn’t surprise me.
Please note that I am writing this article from a male point of view however it is based on the observations and comments of many of my clients who are going through the menopause, so stick with me as I’ve worked as a personal trainer and kickboxing instructor for 30 years now and my clients have all been and still are, women who are approaching menopause age, or are going through it.
HRT is readily available, and for women who may wish to go down that route the benefits of relieving the symptoms far outweigh the potential side effects, however, there must be cause for concern in their own minds as nobody wants to take any medication which could cause potential harm to health and the onset of other diseases such as cancer, which must be incredibly frightening when you have to weigh up the pro’s and con’s.
From a male perspective I find the risks taking these medicines truly scary and knowing that members of my own family are taking these drugs causes me concern.
Just reading what the NHS says about them also makes me think twice, as an example:
Combined HRT (estrogen and progestogen) – for women with menopausal symptoms who still have their womb (estrogen taken on its own can otherwise increase your risk of womb cancer.
Effectiveness of HRT
HRT is extremely effective at relieving menopausal symptoms, especially hot flushes and night sweats, but there are several side effects, including breast tenderness, headaches and vaginal bleeding. It’s also associated with an increased risk of blood clots and breast cancer in some women.
These statements alone as a male would make me think twice but I also realise that at this moment in time and history, these are currently the only options.
By listening to my clients and then taking the time to read up further on the subject made me start thinking about better and more efficient ways to tackle the problem, but please, I am not in any way, shape or form advocating stopping taking your medication, I’m simply trying to offer a more natural and longer lasting solution which may just appeal to you.
Exercise has long been seen as a panacea to most of society’s ills, including anxiety and depression and indeed, I have found over the years that exercise has also helped me in ways I couldn’t begin to imagine in the early days.
Feeling energised, more positive, leaner, fitter, stronger with an unshakeable positive outlook and a can do attitude which I never would have dreamed of as young man, and I’ve seen also seen exercise, especially my kickboxing sessions with classes of women, or my one to one sessions have made many women feel exactly the same way!
Kickboxing to help combat depression
One of my current clients commented just recently how she looks forward to our twice weekly sessions, not just for fitness reasons, although her fitness levels have gone through the roof, but also in the way she now feels about herself and how amazed she feels at how her mood lifts as we go through our workouts. She mentioned that her sister who works in the NHS was shocked at how many menopausal women were now also being treated with high dosages of anti-depressants to treat their HRT symptoms as it also causes massive mood shifts and changes so anti-depressants are prescribed in mega doses in many cases to help balance out mood swings, which also come with their own side effects, so all of a sudden you’re into a whole cocktail of medication with potentially health harming side effects.
Exercise and the positive endorphin high associated with it have long been lauded, however, it seems in our modern world we find a pill to cure everything when simple things like regular exercise can go a long way to alleviating a lot of modern society’s ills and pains.
It’s also worth noting the feelings of well-being and calm that dopamine brings to the equation after a good exercise session.
I’m not advocating that you simply stop taking your medication but I think it’s time to start looking at the gifts and tools that Mother Nature has given us to bring us the peace of mind and healthy lifestyles that we desire instead of turning to modern medicine.
Obviously check with your Doctor first but if you’re in good health, the next time you’re feeling down and low, instead of reaching for another dose of medication you could try and have a workout instead and really feel the benefits of a natural endorphin high created by your own mind and body naturally. In my client’s cases I mix up a combination of kickboxing and body conditioning moves which really gets their heart and lungs pumping, and the payback in feelings of self-confidence, self-esteem, wellbeing, fitness and energy levels have been astounding.
You really do only live once and it really is never too late!