Getting older is a mixed blessing. Individuals generally get wiser, but they also go through some physical changes. However, the idea that “it’s all downhill after 50” is not strictly true. It’s entirely possible to stay fit and healthy and be vibrant and energetic at any age. There will be some hormonal changes for men and women after a certain age, however.
For women, one of the most significant changes is menopause, which can often bring with it a range of uncomfortable symptoms. An overview of menopause, as well as natural remedies that have been shown to alleviate symptoms, is outlined below.
What Is Menopause?
Menopause is the term that describes what happens to a woman once she reaches a certain age and is no longer able to become pregnant naturally. Typically, menopause will occur between the ages of 45 and 55.
It is a normal part of aging and is not something to be concerned about if it happens at the expected age. Some women experience it earlier. If a woman experiences menopause before the age of 40, then she is considered to have had premature menopause.1
Before menopause, a woman may experience some symptoms known as “perimenopause.” These symptoms are a sign that you are about to begin menopause, and you might begin having them years before your periods stop. The symptoms of menopause can include hot flashes, disturbed sleep, mood swings, and vaginal dryness.2
A woman is considered to have gone through menopause after 12 months without having a menstrual period.3 It is not uncommon for women to experience symptoms such as hot flashes and erratic moods for seven years or more after menopause.4
Remedies for Menopause Symptoms
Some women are fortunate enough to go through menopause smoothly without needing treatment for their symptoms, but others find that the side effects of having fluctuating estrogen levels are unpleasant and feel they need some support to cope with them.
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The most common treatments for menopause symptoms are hormones and SSRIs. Some women use low doses of hormonal birth control to reduce mood swings, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness in the run-up to menopause.
Some women use hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to manage symptoms after menopause. SSRIs can also be used to treat hot flashes. This type of medication is usually used to manage anxiety, but in women who are not suffering from anxiety, it can be an effective treatment for menopause symptoms.5
Not all women can use hormone therapies. Women who smoke should not use hormonal birth control, and there are some risks associated with HRT, especially in women who have a family history of blood clots, certain cancers, or strokes.
Women who wish to avoid HRT do have some non-hormonal treatment options, and it is worth trying these first because they tend to show results fairly quickly (within two to four weeks) if they are going to be effective for a particular person.6
Natural Remedies for Menopause Symptoms
If you want to avoid using HRT, then you have a number of options. There are several lifestyle factors that can affect menopause, and living a healthy lifestyle can make going through menopause easier: 7
- Make sure you are getting enough calcium from your diet and Vitamin D from sun exposure to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- Avoid smoking and drinking excessive amount of alcohol.
- Try to get regular exercise to reduce menopause symptoms and risk of osteoporosis.
- Eat lots of protein, oily fish, and high fiber foods, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables.
In addition to staying active and eating a healthy diet, you may want to try some herbal remedies or essential oils to help to reduce your symptoms. Let’s take a look at some of the most useful natural remedies for menopause symptoms.
Black cohosh was once thought to have estrogen-like effects, although more recent research questions this. Many women swear by the idea of using black cohosh to reduce menopause symptoms. Results in clinical trials have been mixed. However, researchers agree that more investigation into the use of black cohosh would be worthwhile. The use of this herb is not recommended for women who have liver issues.8,9
There have been many studies conducted into the use of ginseng for managing mood swings, low energy, hot flashes, and other symptoms of menopause. Results have been mixed, but the medical community sees enough value in ginseng to support more research, using more rigorously controlled studies, so it is one home remedy that is worth experimenting with.10
Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil is often recommended as an oil to relieve hot flashes. This oil is relaxing and soothing and is popular in aromatherapy treatments. Studies show that it can help reduce the intensity and discomfort of hot flashes.11 However, it is not recommended for women who are using phenothiazines or anticoagulants to take evening primrose oil.
Clary Sage Essential Oil
Clary sage is another essential oil that has proven popular with women going through menopause. While it is not thought to help with hot flashes, using clary sage essential oil has been found to help to reduce cortisol levels, improve mood, and help to reduce the risk of depression in women who are menopausal.12
Fennel Essential Oil
Studies into the use of essential oils, including fennel, for menopausal women have found that they can help improve sexual performance during menopause. Researchers have found that the oils do have a beneficial effect, although the mechanism of this effect is not something that is fully understood. There was no evidence to show that the oils were estrogenic.13
It may be that other, indirect benefits, such as relaxation or reduced inflammation were enough to help improve the women’s well-being and mood.
Lavender Essential Oil
Additionally, lavender for reducing feelings of stress and anxiety and can be used to promote a good night’s sleep. Lavender can be used topically after dilution with a carrier oil or aromatically in a room diffuser or portable diffuser like Sleepy MONQ.
Menopause is a fact of life, and it is something that all women will go through as they get older. Every woman will experience menopause differently, and some women may have more severe symptoms than others. If you are concerned about the symptoms that you are having, then you should talk to a doctor about them.
If you experience bleeding after menopause (12 months after your last period), then you should go to the doctor immediately because this could be a sign of a serious underlying health issue.
Most women find that after menopause, their hormones do start to stabilize, and they no longer experience mood swings, hot flashes, difficulty concentrating, or other symptoms.
With the right food, regular exercise, and a good self-care routine that includes effective ways to destress and mentally recharge, you should find that nature will take its course, and you will have many happy and healthy years ahead of you.
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