Natural Remedies for Menopause

Navigating the Menopausal Journey

You are not alone. Menopause is a natural phase of life that brings about significant changes in a woman’s body and overall well-being. Approximately 1.3 million women enter this phase each year. However, with the right support and solutions in place, this transition can be smoother and more manageable. In this month’s Sunshine Sharing, we will explore natural remedies for menopause and various supportive solutions and strategies to help you navigate the menopausal journey with optimal health.

From hot flashes and night sweats to mood swings and sleep disturbances, menopause can present a range of physical and emotional challenges. That’s why it’s important to make sure you have access to the things that can help. This issue discusses lifestyle adjustments, such as exercise and diet modifications, that can alleviate symptoms and promote overall well-being. We also delve into other natural remedies like herbs, essential oils, and flower essences that may also be beneficial.

Whether you’re new to this phase of life or have been going through it for a while, you are going to learn some tips in this month’s newsletter to make your journey much smoother.

What is Menopause

Menopause is a natural biological process that marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years. It typically occurs between the late forties or early fifties. Once a woman ceases having her monthly cycle for 12 months, she is in menopause. Perimenopause occurs before that time.

During perimenopause, many women can experience irregular periods, changes in the duration and flow of menstrual bleeding, and various symptoms associated with the hormonal fluctuations of estrogen and progesterone. Don’t panic, many women once they reach menopause will notice their symptoms seem to stabilize, although some women may continue to experience symptoms for several years.

Common Symptoms of Menopause

Some of the most common symptoms include:

  1. Hot flashes and night sweats: Sudden sensations of heat, often accompanied by sweating and flushing, that can be disruptive and uncomfortable.
  2. Mood swings and irritability: Hormonal changes can lead to mood swings, irritability, and feelings of anxiety or depression.
  3. Sleep disturbances: including difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. This can lead to fatigue and daytime drowsiness.
  4. Vaginal dryness and discomfort due to a decreased level of estrogen.
  5. Changes in libido:
  6. Weight gain and body changes: Hormonal changes during menopause can contribute to weight gain, particularly around the abdomen, as well as changes in body composition and distribution of fat.

It’s important to note that while these symptoms are common, not all women will experience them to the same degree. Each journey is unique.

natural remedies for menopauseThe importance of optimal health during menopause

Maintaining optimal health during menopause is crucial for managing symptoms and promoting overall well-being. If you haven’t been the type of person to prioritize self-care, now is the time to start. Your body is changing and taking a holistic approach to nutrition, exercise, and emotional balance will make the transition much smoother.

Foods to Include and Avoid

For most of you, focusing on the foods that help alleviate your symptoms and promote hormonal balance will be most beneficial.

  1. Include phytoestrogen-rich foods: Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. Foods such as soybeans, flaxseeds, chickpeas, and lentils are excellent sources of phytoestrogens and can help alleviate symptoms like hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
  2. Focus on whole grains and fiber: Whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and oats are rich in fiber and can help regulate blood sugar levels, reduce cholesterol, and support digestive health.
  3. Increase intake of fruits and vegetables: Colorful fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support overall health and help combat inflammation.
  4. Limit processed foods and added sugars: Processed foods and added sugars can contribute to weight gain, inflammation, and hormonal imbalances.
  5. Stay hydrated: Drinking an adequate amount of water is essential for helping relieve dryness.

Stay Active

Regular exercise and physical activity are essential components of a healthy lifestyle. especially during menopause. Exercise can help manage our weight, prevent muscle loss, improve our mood, and promote heart health. Try choosing activities you enjoy and combine aerobics with strength training. For those of you who are interested, the Chi Machine is a passive aerobic exercise providing similar benefits. Just remember to listen to your body and make sure you don’t do too much too soon.

Natural Remedies and Supplements for Menopause Symptoms

Although menopause symptoms are common, each of your experiences will be unique. Some women will choose hormone therapy, others will prefer to explore more natural remedies. Below is a list of some supplements that are popular for balancing hormones and helping to alleviate menopausal symptoms.

  1. Black cohosh has been used for centuries and studies have been down showing it helps to relieve hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings.
  2. Evening Primrose Oil is rich in GLA (gamma linoleic acid) and may also help reduce hot flashes and help with overall hormonal balance.
  3. Adaptogens help support your adrenals which become more active in hormonal balance as you transition. Adaptogens also help reduce stress levels. Some beneficial adaptogens are ashwagandha, cordyceps, American ginseng, Asian ginseng, licorice, Shatavari, maca, and Schisandra.
  4. Keep your bones healthy with collagen and make sure your calcium intake is good and you’re getting the essential minerals needed to absorb calcium like D3, K2, boron, magnesium, and manganese.
  5. Seed Rotation which combines alternating flax and pumpkin seeds with sesame and sunflower seeds. These seeds are high in phytoestrogens.
  6. Also limit or avoid xenoestrogens or synthetic estrogens which are used in drugs and in animal feed to increase milk and egg production, as well as certain pesticides, herbicides, and some plastics.
  7. Many other herbal remedies can help with hormonal balance. Licorice, hops, red clover, dong quai, and black cohosh as well as essential oils of pink grapefruit, clary sage, and geranium can help support the estrogens.  Herbs that support the progesterone side include wild yam, chaste tree berries, and false unicorn. However, more research is needed to fully understand the effectiveness and safety of these alternative therapies.

There is also Hormone Replacement Therapy if you choose to take that route. Just make sure to understand the risks associated with HRT, including an increased risk of blood clots, stroke, and breast cancer. It is important no matter what choices you make, you may want to discuss them with your healthcare provider.

This journey can be challenging, however with the right support and solutions, it can also be a time of creating optimal overall well-being. Combine lifestyle changes (diet), exercise, stress management and herbal remedies to support your body during your journey. Remember, try to enjoy this season of life. If you are interested in learning more about healthy living consider joining our Healthy Living Program.