Menopause occurs when a woman stops menstruating, most often between age 45 and 55. The diagnosis is made when the woman hasn’t had her period for 12 months in a row. The transition from being pre-menopausal to post-menopausal can last up to 10 years. The lead-up to “the change” is called perimenopause; the after time is post-menopause. During these years, the levels of the hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone drop off. Menopause can be induced artificially by removal of the ovaries or chemotherapy. Every woman’s experience with menopause is unique; she may have all or just a few of these symptoms in varying levels of intensity. The main symptoms are hot flashes and night sweats. These are a sudden feeling of heat coming from inside, causing a red face and upper torso, a rapid heartbeat, and copious sweating. When experiencing this at night, the woman may become so drenched that she has to change bedclothes. Afterward, she may feel chilled. Researchers hypothesize that hot flashes are caused by changes to the hypothalamus, which regulates temperature.
The depletion and fluctuation of hormone levels also can cause:
- Weight gain and slower metabolism.
- Mood swings, including symptoms of depression and anxiety that also can be caused by the stage of life.
- Sleep problems, also due to the night sweats, or to depression or anxiety
Hair loss, brittle nails, dry eyes and mouth, and skin issues.
- Sexual problems; the hormone change can trigger a drop in libido, vaginal dryness, and pain on penetration.
- Memory and cognitive issues; blame the hormones but also the sleep disruptions, depression, and hot flashes.
Home Remedies for Menopause
Menopause comes with its own set of bothersome symptoms, but this doesn’t mean you have to resort to chemical medication or hormone treatments for relief. Natural remedies for menopause include consuming a balanced diet, exercising often and partaking in natural herbal supplements can keep the menopausal pains at bay.
- Reduce Stress:
Menopause comes with a drastic change in mental and emotional mood, leading to depression, anxiety and fatigue. This can lead to unnecessary stress, which subsequently takes a toll on your diet, sleep schedule and libido. To counter stress, you can try a host of techniques to reduce your stress levels. For example, yoga and ayurvedic massages are among the most effective Indian home remedies for menopause.
- Diaphragmatic Breathing:
Learning breathing techniques like paced or diaphragmatic breathing calms the nervous system and promote better circulation. The key is to breathe through the nose continuously for five seconds, hold for a couple of seconds in the abdomen, and breathe out for another five. Menopausal women who have consistently practiced this technique have reported half as many menopausal symptoms as those who do not. You can practice for twenty to forty minutes a day.
- Try Aromatherapy:
Essential oils have shown some improvement in menopausal symptoms like anxiety, hot flashes, hormone imbalances, stress and so on. Clary sage oil, chamomile oil and peppermint oil are best suited for this purpose. They can be found online or at the supermarket. Apply a couple of drops of the oil on your nape or your forehead and let them do their work. If you have skin that is sensitive, you may need to dilute the essential oil in coconut oil before applying.
- Change Lifestyle:
Holistic approaches are actually as, if not more, beneficial in terms of overall health than a symptom or disease-specific treatments. Changing your habits by adding exercise, proper sleep, and a healthy diet are known to improve menopausal symptoms as well as ageing-related issues. Improving your personal relationships with your friends and families will improve your mood as well.
Keeping your body fit is more important now than ever. Managing your weight is quite essential during menopause, as weight gain is linked to bone loss, muscle degeneration and extreme stress. Around thirty to forty minutes, a day of consistent cardio exercise should strengthen your bones and muscles in addition to elevating your mood.
- Muscle Relaxation:
This is a non-medical technique involving muscle tension-relaxation cycles. Studies have shown that a regular application of this method improves mood, and reduces symptoms like insomnia, hot flashes and so on. You can find a practiced trainer or simply look up tutorials online. Works best when you combine it with Diaphragmatic Breathing described in the list above.
- Eat Good Food:
Similar to perimenopause; diet plays a crucial role in managing menopausal symptoms like nausea, hot flashes and osteoporosis. Foods like cruciferous vegetables and other greens rich in phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals balance estrogen levels in the body. If necessary, you could use a mineral supplement as well. Veggies and fruits that provide roughage like nuts, beans, seeds, and so on are important to control cholesterol as well as reduce constipation. Finally, don’t forget your healthy fats, such as those in fish, flaxseed and so on.
- Avoid bad foods:
Foods that worsen menopausal symptoms are processed items, which contain dangerous preservatives and additives, as well as large amounts of sodium and sugar. These substances can affect the hormone balance in your body. Supermarket meat should be avoided entirely, as they tend to be chock full of synthetic hormones and antibiotics that can mess up your delicate system. Also skip refined oils, trans fats, carbonated drinks and alcohol, as these foods have been said to worsen hot flashes, bone density loss, and weight gain.
- Get Enough Sleep:
With all these symptoms, it might be difficult to get a good night’s sleep. In fact, these symptoms are actually worsened by lack of rest, as poor sleep has been shown to increase stress hormones, reduce immunity levels and raise the likelihood of developing depression or anxiety. Ensure you get a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Try mindfulness meditation or diaphragmatic breathing to calm yourself to sleep if necessary.
Menopause is a natural event and cannot be stopped. There are several natural treatments available to mitigate their symptoms, but please do not feel that these are your only options. Before attempting the remedies mentioned above, you should consult your gynecologist, as some of them may have side-effects or interfere with other medicines you are taking. If you must try the food supplements, do so one at a time to avoid stressing your body out. Please note that this only applies to supplements, as balanced diets, exercise, and sleep are essential to building a stronger healthier body.