Struggling with Menopause Symptoms? These Natural Therapies May Help
The kids are out of the house and you’re excited to finally go on that trip or start a new hobby.
But lately, you’ve been feeling a bit off. You’re sweating more than usual, and everything seems to get on your nerves.
You talk with your doctor and the conversation about menopause begins…
If you’re struggling with menopause symptoms and would like to try a natural approach, good news! Several therapies can offer relief and make this season a bit more pleasant.
What Causes Menopause?
Your body is always changing, and as you approach your 40s and 50s your body once again undergoes a permanent chemical and biological change.
Menopause is caused when your body decides that your child-bearing days are over. Your metabolism changes, and your body distributes energy differently than before.
Your periods slow down and eventually stop altogether. Hormones such as estrogen, your luteinizing hormone (LH), your gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), and your follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) (1).
Common Menopause Symptoms
While everyone is different, some of the most common symptoms you can expect to experience as you navigate menopause are:
- Hot flashes or night sweats
- Mood swings, including irritability, anxiety, or depression
- Thinning hair
- Dry skin
- Vaginal dryness
- Decreased libido
- Irregular periods (more so in the beginning stages of menopause)
- Weight gain
- More fat accumulation around the abdomen
- Insomnia or changes in sleep quality
- More frequent trips to the bathroom
- Breast changes, such as a decrease in size or volume
- For some, an increased risk for conditions like osteoporosis, heart disease, and diabetes.
Symptoms can last between a few months to several years, and you may experience more than one symptom at one time.
Natural Therapies for Menopause
Conventional menopause therapies often include prescription medication, including gabapentin, synthetic estrogens, and antidepressants (2). These have their risks, which is why you may prefer natural solutions.
Making a few lifestyle changes can make a huge difference in how well your body responds to the transition of menopause.
Shift Your Perspective
Menopause is not a problem that needs to be fixed. While uncomfortable, this is a normal part of aging that nearly every woman experiences.
Celebrate this change by making time to travel and journal. Experiment with different recipes or join new fitness groups.
Prioritize self-care with warm baths, fun music, or simply relaxing more.
Personalized Nutrition Approach
The foods you eat have a direct impact on how well your body can operate. The ingredients in food also influence your hormones through your gut, nervous system, and blood metabolites (3).
Certain foods can help balance estrogen levels and alleviate harsh symptoms, like:
- Cruciferous vegetables; Kale, cabbage, and broccoli fall into a category of vegetables that contain a compound called indole-3 carbinol. This enables your body to balance estrogen levels naturally, which may alleviate severe menopausal symptoms (4).
- Probiotic foods: These healthy bacteria can help improve your mood, balance hormones, and support your immune system. The best probiotic foods include sauerkraut, yogurt, kimchi, and kefir (5).
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Not only can omega-3s give your skin a glow and your joints some support, but they also keep inflammation down and can help you manage menopausal symptoms and complications such as depression, heart complications, osteoporosis, and some breast cancers (9).
- Fiber-rich foods: Beans, whole grains, legumes, and lentils help regulate bowels, lower bad cholesterol, and lower your risk for certain diseases. It can also help balance your estrogen levels, according to one study (6, 7).
- Colorful, organic fruits: Fruits that are high in antioxidants like berries, cherries, red grapes, cantaloupe, tomatoes, and cranberries fight off oxidative stress and slow down the aging process (8).
- Healthy fats: Don’t be scared of this word. While there are unhealthy fats that contribute to weight gain, healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, and flaxseed oil are filled with nutrients and prevent weight gain by giving you that “full” feeling sooner. Unrefined versions can also be a good source of Vitamin E, which helps maintain normal hormone production and heart health (10).
Get Enough Sleep
It can be hard to get quality rest when your body goes through menopause. Insomnia and night sweats might try to keep you up, but making sleep a priority can help make this transition much easier.
Putting stimulation away an hour before bed, reading a book, or practicing meditation before bed can help calm your mind and position you to get a good night’s rest. Herbal teas and supplements can also help you align better with your circadian rhythm (11).
Add Herbs and Supplements
In addition to healthy foods, herbs, and supplements can support your hormones and calm the raging symptoms of menopause.
Some of the best herbs that are scientifically shown to help (12) include:
- Licorice root
- St. John’s wort
- Dong Quai
- Maca root
- Wild yam
- Black cohosh
- Evening primrose
- Red clover
Keep in mind that while herbs are natural, supplement companies are not regulated and should be thoroughly researched before buying their products.
Also, note that too much can result in digestive upset or worsening symptoms. Talk with your healthcare provider if you’re taking any medications.
Keep Your Social Circle Healthy and Active
Your mental health matters. That’s why it’s more important than ever to surround yourself with other women who have gone through it or are currently going through menopause with you.
Research shows that those with an active social network tend to be more positive about menopause (14). Sharing stories, fears, and laughs can help remind you that you’re not alone on your journey. You may not always feel like socializing, and that’s ok. Finding a balance takes time.
Other Alternative and Complimentary Therapies
Curious about even more ways to support yourself during menopause? Additional therapies (13) that may help calm your body normally and support biological processes include:
Back to You
Menopause is a completely normal event. Even still, it’s quite life-changing. Your hormones are changing, and with it are many symptoms that show up in your skin, hair, mood, and diet habits.
As you maneuver the ins and outs of menopause, you’ll find that there’s a variety of things you can do to support your body, mind, and emotions during this season. Eating wholesome foods, getting good sleep, and staying connected with loved ones can make this transition easier and less overwhelming.
Change isn’t easy, but with the right help, you can take your health back into your hands.
Know a friend who could use natural support? Share this with them today!
✝✝This noted statement is based on independent research and is not necessarily the opinion of the author