The Alternate Route

Symptoms of menopause can often be alleviated using natural remedies such as a diet rich in soy foods

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Mild symptoms can often be alleviated using natural remedies such as a diet rich in soy foods—although recent studies have shown little benefit to taking black cohosh, vitamin E, or soy supplements. Also try:

Exercise. Studies suggest that women who are active daily are less likely to suffer from hot flashes and other symptoms than couch potatoes. Aim for 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity activity to see an effect.

Keeping cool. Slight increases in body temperature can light the furnace, so it's smart to dress in sheddable layers and give up flannel pj's.

Identifying trigger foods. Common hot-flash triggers include hot and spicy foods, caffeinated beverages, and alcohol.

Relaxing. Yoga, meditation, and other relaxation techniques help some women avoid hot flashes. Deep abdominal breathing can, too. At the start of a hot flash, inhale deeply for five seconds, allowing your abdomen to expand, and then exhale.

Using vaginal moisturizers. Products like Replens or k-y Long Lasting Vaginal Moisturizer applied twice weekly can help ease the irritation and burning caused by vaginal dryness. Drinking plenty of water can help keep tissues hydrated.