Menopause generally occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. In some women it can begin much earlier and in others, as late as 60. The symptoms of menopause vary greatly, and range from the widely recognised hot flush to less talked about symptoms, such as fatigue, anxiety and hair loss. Here we look at some of the natural treatments for menopause – symptom by symptom.
Menopausal hot flushes
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 oestrogen and this drop-off 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 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. Good food sources of soy isoflavones are foods made from fermented soya, such as natto, tempeh and miso. Alternatively try an isoflavone supplement like Hadley Wood Phytogen Forte Isoflavones or A.Vogel’s Menopause Support .
Menopause and fatigue
Fatigue is a common problem throughout the menopause and can be emotionally and mentally draining.
Magnesium can help with fatigue; if looking to food, think green leafy vegetables, almonds, avocado, oily fish, and quinoa. If looking to supplement with magnesium, 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. A key point to appreciate is that your adrenal glands (which produce adrenalin when you are stressed) are able to make ‘back-up’ hormones to buffer the fall of oestrogen and progesterone during menopause. They are less able to do this if you are super stressed and therefore demanding adrenalin production. Factor in rest and relaxation as a matter of priority. Food sources of vitamin B 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.
An iron supplement can also help with fatigue, especially if periods are heavier than usual, and if you’re experiencing fatigue because you’re having difficulty sleeping, 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 make you more susceptible to anxiety and also panic attacks.
Again, a magnesium supplement may prove beneficial with research showing it may help with brain functions that reduce stress and anxiety , and calming herbal teas, such as Pukka’s Womankind Tea, and flower essences like Jan de Vries Female Essence , are great for supporting female hormones and creating a sense of balance and harmony during times of emotional challenge.
Being able to slow your breathing can also help with anxiety, as can techniques such as hypnotherapy, yoga and meditation.