Menopause has featured heavily in the media again recently and, though you can read much about it online, it’s still a dirty word to many and not openly discussed. The subject is often swept under the carpet or laughed off so women suffer in silence, possibly struggling with workloads and relationships as a result. Let’s change that and talk about how you can help ease the symptoms and get back to feeling like you at your very best!
Menopause is one area of health where many people naturally tend towards natural remedies and lifestyle changes, probably because it is such a natural process so they prefer to treat it as such. It’s important to keep in mind too that, while it’s not forever – obvious but true – as you’re going through this time, you can help yourself and not just accept unpleasant symptoms.
Many women in the western world view the menopause with apprehension in the belief that the loss of their fertility will go hand in hand with the loss of sexuality, beauty and youthfulness. Women report concerns about coping at work, reduced libido and managing hot flushes (the result of the brain’s ‘thermostat’ reducing its range meaning the slightest change causes the body to rapidly alter its temperature).
But menopause is simply the end of the menstrual cycle, just as puberty was its start. As the menopause ends, for many it can be the start of a phase of renewed energy (including your sex life).
Menopause usually occurs between the ages of 42-50 but some women can experience it in their 30s. Gradually the ovaries will cease to respond to the stimulation of the female hormones. Periods and pain will stop and with them the suffering, women can enjoy a normal sex life without the need for contraception. Some people sail through the menopause with little discomfort, for others it is not so easy.
Symptoms of the menopause include irritability, nervousness, stiffness, aches and pains, insomnia, palpitations, rashes and itchy skin. High blood pressure, depression and headaches can also appear, as can hot flushes. These can cause embarrassment and discomfort as suddenly you feel so sweaty and you face becomes red. The menopause is a good time to get a full health check, especially if you suffer from high blood pressure or palpitations. Get your cholesterol levels checked too.
HRT is regularly prescribed to alleviate some of the worse symptoms. Its job is to replace the lost hormones but I feel that many women may be better off without it and natural alternatives may help alleviate their symptoms more comfortably.
Many symptoms are manageable and more so if you eat fresh fruit and vegetables. Food rich in plant hormones are especially good – soya products, yams, papayas and cucumbers. Organic seeds and grains, and seaweeds can also be beneficial, as can royal jelly, pollen, evening primrose oil, wheatgerm oil and Manuka honey. Avoid spicy foods and stimulants if you suffer from hot flushes or palpitations.
Herbal teas are a must. Make ’tisanes’ of orange leaves, sage, verbena, angelica, rosemary, thyme, liquorice root, jasmine or melissa. Nettle and chamomile are particularly good. Exercise regularly too; this boosts the circulation and eases depression.
Essential oils can influence a sluggish system and assist during hard times. They help soothe emotions too. Good ones to try include:
Angelica – good for all the symptoms
Aniseed – counteracts fluid retention, helps palpitations and calms nervousness
Cardamon – diuretic, helps fluid retention
Chamomile – calms and soothes
Clary sage – helps calm anxiety, reduces swelling and puffiness
Cypress – good for circulation and other symptoms
Geranium – eases symptoms
Melissa – helps nervousness
Millepertuis – eases symptoms
Parsley – good for fluid retention
Rose – alleviates many symptoms
Treatment for menopausal symptoms
A massage using an Unwind massage oil candle http://danieleryman.com/product/unwind-massage-oil-candle/#tab-additional_information may help – its relaxing formulation and medicinal properties would be of great benefit in such times, however you’re affected.
Also, the following can be used as a bath essence or as a massage oil – or a bath first followed by a massage!
30ml (2 tablespoons) grapeseed oil
2 capsules evening primrose oil
1 capsule wheatgerm oil
10 drops essential oil of chamomile
5 drops essential oil of clary sage
8 drops essential oil of melissa
5 drops essential oil of rose
Add ingredients to the bottle and shake well. Before use, let it rest for a couple of days in a cool, dark place. For use in the bath – pour 8 drops under running water. Alternatively, use this oil to massage the body from the ankles upwards, feet, knees and inner thighs. Clockwise around the solar plexus, nape of the neck, temples, shoulders, arms and hands. Do this once a day until symptoms ease. This oil will keep for two to three months.
I hope that the above tips are helpful and help you through any difficult times you may have.
If you’d like to know how to get started with essential oils, read my earlier blog.
NB: please read this important note before using essential oils