During menopause there are so many changes to contend with – from the disappearance of periods to the appearance of unpleasant symptoms like joint pain, hot flushes, sleep problems and mood swings. However, today I’m talking specifically about the symptoms that can affect your sex life, including loss of libido, vaginal dryness and fatigue. This is something that so many women come into my store asking about, as it can really have a knock-on effect on your mood, sense of femininity and your relationship with your partner.
So before I talk you through some of the products I recommend for those symptoms that affect your sex life, I wanted to share a fantastic video from A.Vogel’s Menopause Expert, Eileen Durward, where she explains why these symptoms occur, what impact they can have and what you can do.
I hope you enjoyed the video! So now that you understand why these problems can occur, which products are best to help?
For oestrogen support
As Eileen explains, many menopausal symptoms are caused by falling oestrogen, so gently supporting this with a natural supplement is a great way to improve a range of symptoms, including loss of libido and vaginal dryness.
When it comes to oestrogen support, the best thing to look out for is soya isoflavones. These contain phyto-oestrogens which mimic oestrogen in the body, and, as they are plant-based, they are much gentler than HRT. The crucial thing to look for is fermented isoflavones, as these are much easier for the body to use.
Our favourite is definitely A.Vogel’s Menopause Support. It contains fermented soya isoflavones, but its additional ingredients also help to provide all-round support. It contains magnesium to support sleep, mood, muscles and energy, vervain for its calming effect and hibiscus to support blood pressure.
However, there are a number of additional products that can be useful. Eileen mentions Maca in the video which is a fantastic herb for hormone balance and libido. I love Superfoodies Organic Maca Powder, which can be added to smoothies, hot drinks, baking or protein shakes. Ashwagandha is also really popular in my store in Edinburgh, and Superfoodies Organic Ashwagandha Powder is one of my favourites.
For vaginal dryness/irritation
Improving your oestrogen levels can often help to reduce vaginal dryness, since oestrogen is important for your mucous membranes. However, there are a few additional products you can try for this problem.
Sea Buckthorn Oil. As Eileen mentions in her video, this is great for vaginal dryness. It’s rich in omega 7 which has a number of fantastic health benefits, one of which being improved functioning of the mucous membranes. I’d recommend Pharma Nord’s Omega 7 Sea Buckthorn capsules, which are suitable for vegans.
Probiotics. Vaginal dryness and irritation can often be caused by an imbalance of intimate flora. The friendly bacteria in your vagina help to keep pH balanced, and keep unfriendly bacteria and yeasts like candida at bay. If you regularly suffer from thrush, then a probiotic is definitely the product you need. I’d recommend Optibac’s For Women, a well-researched probiotic that is shown to survive through the gut and reach the intimate area intact.
Fatigue can be one of the worst symptoms of the menopause. It can stop you from socialising and enjoying your usual hobbies, which can contribute to low mood, and at the end of a long day, it will definitely mean that you aren’t in the mood to be intimate.
For more dietary tips for fatigue, read Ayesha’s article on the best foods to fight fatigue.
Firstly, make sure you’re eating a healthy diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats. Make sure to reduce refined sugar, processed foods and caffeine, which can all cause energy levels to fluctuate, causing peaks and crashes. You’ll be amazed at how much difference simply eating well can make!
Secondly, make sure to get a good balance between rest and activity. Some people find that they become fatigued because they have so much going on – whether it’s working long days, running around after children or grandchildren, or going to the gym 5 days a week. On the other hand, some people become fatigued and sluggish due to inactivity – whether it’s a sedentary job or too much TV! Try to get some brisk exercise each day to get the blood moving, but be careful not to overdo it as your body needs some more time to rest during this time.
If you’re looking for a remedy or supplement to support your energy levels there are a few things you can try. I’d definitely recommend both a magnesium supplement and a B vitamin complex, as both are vital for energy metabolism, and magnesium in particular is a common deficiency in menopausal women.
A great magnesium supplement that I actually use myself every day is the BetterYou Magnesium Spray. Since it’s sprayed onto the skin directly it avoids the digestive
system altogether, meaning that it absorbs quickly and efficiently.
For B vitamins, a complex is always best. I love Terranova’s B Complex with Vitamin C, which contains a blend of natural foods and herbs including rice bran, ginseng, ashwagandha, green oat seed, pumpkin seed and beetroot juice. These provide naturally occurring B vitamins which are easier for the body to absorb.
Supporting oestrogen, improving vaginal health and promoting energy levels and vitality should all contribute to a higher libido, so make sure to try these out first. However, if you’re still struggling with low libido I’ve got a few final tips.
Remember to stick to a healthy diet which will give you plenty of energy and contribute to feeling healthier in general. You should also look at foods which naturally promote circulation including figs, bananas, ginger and avocados. Improving circulation is a great idea because this will improve blood flow to your intimate area, improving libido and sensitivity.
However, one of my favourite remedies for circulation is Ginkgo biloba. This is thought to improve circulation in the arteries, helping to get oxygen-rich blood where it needs to go. A.Vogel’s Ginkgo biloba is a fantastic choice as it uses fresh ginkgo leaves rather than dried. It’s well-balanced as it contains only fresh, whole leaves with absolutely no added ‘extras’.
I mentioned Maca and Ashwagandha earlier, and while these are often thought to improve oestrogen levels, they are also often used specifically to improve libido in women, so these may be worth a try as well.
And finally, you could try a flower essence such as Jan de Vries’ own Female Essence, based on Edward Bach’s original research. Flower essences are fantastic remedies – they don’t really alter the body in a physical way, but instead help to support the mind emotionally and bring harmony back to the mind and body.