The first thing to consider is your age. Menopause generally occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 but in some women it can begin much earlier and in others, as late as 60. For most women there are three phases: peri-menopause, where you still have periods but they may be heavier or lighter than usual and you may start to experience some menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes; menopause, when ovarian function declines, oestrogen levels drop off and periods stop, and post-menopause, which officially begins 12 months after your last period – but it’s safer to wait 2 years before assuming it’s all finished. Throughout all three phases hormones tend to run amok, giving rise to over 30 symptoms, ranging from widely recognised hot flushes to surprising menopause symptoms, such as fatigue and anxiety. Happily, there are a number of natural remedies that can help smooth the transition into menopause and beyond.
Sage, a wise choice for hot flushes and night sweats
Experienced by over 80% of women, the hot flush, usually accompanied by sweating, is said to be the most common symptom encountered during menopause. Excessive sweating or a hot flush at night is called a night sweat.
The problem arises as changes in hormone levels upset the temperature-regulating part of the brain. Your ovaries produce less of the hormone oestrogen and this drop in oestrogen causes the hypothalamus to work extra hard to maintain hormone levels, upsetting its sweat-regulating function. This causes sudden surges in temperature and the uncomfortable ‘hot flush’.
Sage appears to have a rebalancing effect on the hypothalamus, helping to correct sweat regulation and reduce hot flushes. Fresh sage tincture diluted in a little water three times daily can really help. Try A.Vogel Menosan Sage Drops or for extra oomph, Menoforce Sage tablets. They provide a concentrated dose of organically grown sage for relief of excessive sweating associated with menopausal hot flushes, including night sweats.
Isoflavones and menopause
Isoflavones can also help to reduce menopause symptoms. Oestrogen-like plant hormones or ‘phytoestrogens’, isoflavones help to reduce hot flushes by providing an additional hormone boost when oestrogen levels are low. They may also help with other symptoms of menopause such as fatigue and irritability. 
Good food sources of soy isoflavones are foods made from fermented soya, such as natto, tempeh and miso. Indeed, in Japan, where soya is a dietary staple, less than 25% of menopausal women are reported to suffer with hot flushes.
Alternatively an isoflavone supplement can help. A.Vogel’s Menopause Support provides soy isoflavones, magnesium and hibiscus extract and can be used to help with all stages of menopause.
Menopause and fatigue
Fatigue is a common problem throughout the menopause and can be emotionally and mentally draining. Menopausal fatigue, or crashing fatigue, is when this feeling suddenly overwhelms you. You may not even be sleepy, just completely lacking in energy and unable to continue with your normal activities.
Certain lifestyle factors can make menopausal fatigue worse, including stress and anxiety.
Magnesium can help with fatigue; food sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables, almonds, avocado, oily fish, and quinoa, or of course a magnesium supplement can top you up. One of our favourites is BetterYou Magnesium Oil Good Night Sleep Spray , which you spray directly onto your skin before bedtime.
B vitamins can lend much needed adrenal support in times of stress. Food sources include brown rice, millet, almonds, broccoli, red meat, spinach and sunflower seeds, or cover all your B bases with our B Complex One A Day formula.
At this time of life, low thyroid function and low iron levels can also appear, causing symptoms of fatigue. An iron supplement may help, especially if periods are heavier than usual; equally if you are feeling fatigued on a regular basis, it is best to get yourself checked out in case fatigue is not menopause-related.
If flushes and night sweats are affecting your sleep, try Valerian. Dormeasan® Sleep with Valerian and Hops can help restore better sleep, which in turn means more energy and better mood. Take 30 drops in a little water half an hour before bedtime.
Menopause, anxiety and panic attacks
Anxiety may not be the first symptom you associate with menopause, but increased anxiety and panic attacks are surprisingly common during menopause.
The hormones oestrogen and progesterone work together to regulate mood. Declining levels of these hormones during the menopause mean that a woman at this stage of life is more susceptible to anxiety and if left untreated or if anxiety is severe, panic attacks.
Menopausal hot flushes and sweats can also be socially embarrassing and may contribute to panic attacks in some women.
Keep caffeine and alcohol to a minimum. They are both likely to trigger panic attacks because they stimulate activity in the brain. If you are prone to panic attacks, or you have a family history of panic attacks, minimising caffeine and alcohol may help reduce the frequency of attacks.
Being able to slow your breathing can also help to lessen the severity of an attack, as can techniques such as hypnotherapy, yoga and meditation.
Flower essences can also help with anxiety. For emotional support during any time of challenge, our own Jan de Vries Female Essence is one of our go-to remedies. It is also especially popular with women going through menopause.
 Ahsan M, Khurram Mallick AK. The Effect of Soy Isoflavones on the Menopause Rating Scale Scoring in Perimenopausal and Postmenopausal Women: A Pilot Study . J Clin Diagn Res. 2017 Sep;11(9):FC13–FC16. doi:10.7860/JCDR/2017/26034.10654