Menopause is not a disease, rather, it is a natural part of the aging process. The hormonal changes that accompany menopause, however, are often responsible for a number of unpleasant physical symptoms and sometimes emotional distress as well.
Perimenopause refers to the period of hormonal changes leading up to menopause; it can begin as early as the late 30’s. Women in perimenopause may experience such symptoms as irregular periods and hot flashes.
Menopause is defined as the time in a woman’s life when she has not menstruated for one year, indicating the end of fertility. Menopause typically occurs around the age of 50, but some women menstruate well into their 50s, while others experience menopause sometime in their mid-40s.
Not all women have difficulty coping with the physical changes that occur during this time. But, for women who do experience uncomfortable symptoms during menopause, there are many options for treatment.
Some women opt for hormone replacement therapy, while many are finding that lifestyle changes and natural remedies are highly effective in easing this mid-life transition.
So, how can you manage menopause naturally? You can do it with things like lifestyle changes and natural remedies. Let’s look at some different ways.
What Lifestyle Changes Help Menopause?
Some simple adjustments in your day-to-day habits can alleviate many of the unpleasant symptoms and discomforts of menopause:
- Keep hot flashes under control by avoiding common triggers such as alcoholic beverages, spicy foods, hot coffee or tea, hot rooms, and hot weather.
- Get plenty of sleep. Exercise during the day, but not too close to bedtime; this can increase melatonin levels necessary to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Eat right. Good nutrition is more important than ever as you grow (gracefully) older. Avoid high amounts of caffeine, carbonated beverages (which increase bone loss), commercially raised meat (which decrease your ability to metabolize estrogen), and excessive sugar (which limits the liver’s ability to metabolize estrogen).
- Exercise regularly. Exercise reduces stress, helps to balance the neurotransmitters that regulate mood and controls hot flashes.
- Don’t smoke. It increases stress levels, brings on hot flashes, and contributes to heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis. It is never too late to quit smoking.
- Combat vaginal dryness and discomfort with over-the-counter lubricants. For example, both aloe gel and calendula relieve vaginal dryness naturally.
Which Natural Remedies Help Menopause?
Herbal treatments and natural supplements can effectively ease menopause symptoms safely, without the health risks associated with conventional medications. Many effective natural menopause treatments contain one or more of these herbal extracts:
- Ginseng increases the production of estrogen and protects against hot flashes
- Dong quai helps to maintain reproductive system function and increases the efficacy of other herbs
- Damiana increases libido and calms hot flashes
- Black cohosh is a natural pain reliever
- Sarsaparilla improves sexual desire
- St. John’s Wort relieves mild depression
- Red clover isoflavone supplements decrease hot flashes and protect against bone loss.
- Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidus (“good” gut bacteria) help with metabolism and the best use of estrogen.
- Vitamin E, Calcium citrate, Magnesium and Vitamin C are all helpful
In addition, many women find that soy products are beneficial in reducing hot flashes. Phytoestrogens are also helpful for relieving menopause symptoms and are often available in supplement form.
Natural bio-identical hormones, which are available over the counter or in compounds available by prescription from a pharmacy are another option. These types of hormones are equal to the estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone produced naturally in the body and can be considered with the help of a healthcare practitioner.
With herbal remedies and adjustments to your lifestyle, you can cope with menopause and enter the next phase of your life without undue distress or difficulty.