As a naturopath, I am committed to supporting women through all life stages with natural therapies. This includes women trying to conceive, support through the pregnancy journey, preparing for birth, motherhood through to menopause and beyond.
A woman’s body and what it is capable of is nothing short of amazing. From the moment a female is born her body carries egg cells, progresses through to puberty during her teen years, preparing the body for regular menstrual cycles during her reproductive years. It has the power to create, carry and bring into the world a little human… now that in itself is incredible!
As you get older, you will begin to experience some changes. This phase is referred to as perimenopause. In this article, I will provide you with the knowledge on natural therapies to ease some of the menopause symptoms you may be experiencing.
When do menopause symptoms begin?
The number of remaining eggs in your ovaries reduces, causing a disruption to the release of hormones from the ovaries. Perimenopause is said to begin from the onset of changes to your regular menstrual cycle. For some women this can begin as early as their 30s, however perimenopause will mostly likely occur in a woman’s 40s.
During the perimenopause phase you will experience changes to your menstrual cycle such as period pain, a shortened cycle, or a missed period, which is usually one of the first signs. Your fluctuating hormones can cause a range of symptoms from hot flushes to weight gain, sleepless nights and aching joints – this is where naturopathy can help to help ease the symptoms you may be experiencing.
Menopause is defined as the cessation of menstrual periods for 12 consecutive months. According to the Australian Menopause Society, the average age of menopause is 51 years. Some women continue to experience menopause symptoms even after they have reached menopause, however the symptoms will decrease over time.
There are a variety of changes caused by fluctuating hormones during perimenopause.
Some of the more common perimenopause symptoms include:
1. Menstrual cycle changes
Your period can become more painful, less frequent, heavier, and lighter and eventually stop altogether.
2. Hot flushes & night sweats
This includes sudden feelings of heat, sweating, and flushing that can occur at any time during the day or night.
3. Weight changes
You may notice some stubborn weight gain especially around the abdomen, or belly.
4. Sleep disturbances & insomnia
Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep can be caused by a number of factors such as night sweats or anxiety.
5. Mood changes
You may experience mood swings, irritability, depression, anxiety and difficulty concentrating.
6. Vaginal dryness or low libido
A decrease in vaginal lubrication can cause discomfort or pain during sex. You may also experience a decrease in sex drive.
7. Joint and muscle pain
Feelings of pain or stiffness in the joints and/or muscles.
8. Changes to skin and hair
Many women experience dry skin, thinning hair or hair loss.
It’s important to note that not all women will experience every symptom, and the severity and duration of symptoms can vary widely from woman to woman.
Natural treatments for menopause symptoms
Experiencing menopause is an empowering and liberating phase of a woman’s life. Even though there may be some difficult days, focussing on self-care, and nourishing your mind and body, can lead to a more positive experience. I encourage you to try some of these natural therapies and don’t be afraid to seek support if you need it.
|SYMPTOM||NATURAL MENOPAUSE TREATMENT||YOU CAN ALSO…|
|Irregular menstrual cycles||Herbs such as chaste tree can be very useful during this time||Monitor your cycle so you can pinpoint how often you are bleeding.|
|Hot flushes & night sweats||Hormone balancing herbs such as sage are specific for night sweats. Phytoestrogen containing foods are also helpful.||Wear layers of cotton clothing to minimise sweating. This will allow you to peel away layers as you feel a hot flush coming on. A fan is also helpful.|
|Weight gain||Liver support during this time is essential for helping with stubborn abdominal weight, and helps regulate oestrogen metabolism.||Aim to have a healthy, balanced, lower GI type diet to support your nutritional needs. Keep your body moving, which has a positive impact on your physical, emotional and mental health.|
|Sleep disturbances||Magnesium is an essential mineral for perimenopause sleep disturbances, as well as herbs such as passion flower.||Incorporate a bedtime routine where your mind and body become accustomed to winding down and preparing for sleep – try a warm bath, essential oils, reading or meditating.|
|Mood Changes||Vitamin B6 and mood balancing herbs such as saffron can ease the transition into menopause.||Meditation or a slow flow movement class such as yoga which incorporates deep breathing can assist with managing moods, anxiety and mental health.|
|Vaginal dryness and low libido||The need for essential fatty acids and antioxidants such as vitamin E increases.||Talk to your partner and explain what is happening to your body to help them understand. You can use natural lubricant or increase foreplay to help.|
|Joint and muscle pain||Magnesium and omega 3’s work well together for joint support and relief of muscle tension.||Maintain a healthy weight to avoid extra pressure on joints. Keep up with regular exercise routine within your limits. Acupuncture can have benefits for some women.|
|Changes to skin and hair||Zinc and silica can help support skin and hair during this demanding time.||Avoid having really hot showers and opt for natural soaps and moisturisers. Eat foods high in zinc and antioxidants such as nuts, seeds, blueberries, tomatoes, carrots, beans and lentils.|
You may also like to read my article, 6 Ways to Naturally Master Your Own Wellness which covers more on physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
Women’s health & support
As a naturopath dedicated to women, my focus is on your whole health and wellbeing, no matter what life stage you are experiencing. Managing your perimenopause symptoms naturally will help you transition into your next life phase with confidence and ease. Click here to book an appointment.