I have been on this ride for 12 years now. I am 56 and have not quite officially entered Menopause. I also started with symptoms such as your describing at 45. My gyn handed me 2 packs of yaz and sent me on my way.
No one can tell you if you should go that route or not. For me, I read all the same stuff that you have and decided natural alternatives were the way I wanted to go. It has not been a smooth or pretty ride, but I still would not have done it differently.
Good luck and happy peri. They tell me that their is a rosy life after the hump. I am hoping that I am almost there! ;-)