Home remedies for menopause include regular exercise, adequate sleep, relaxation and proper dental care. Usage of effective herbs like black cohosh, ginseng, valerian, sage, red clover, chaste berry, kava and St. John Wort’s herb can aid in soothing various symptoms associated with menopause. Consumption of healthy and balanced diet with inclusion of soy products and adequate amount of vitamin E, vitamin D and calcium may not only prove valuable in calming the symptoms and but assist in the prevention of diseases associated with menopause.
Table of Contents
- What is Menopause?
- Signs and Symptoms of Menopause
- Home Remedies for Menopause
What is Menopause?
Menopause or ‘change of life’ is a phase in a woman’s life which indicates the end of menstruation or monthly cycle. It is actually derived from a Greek word ‘men’ which means month and ‘pausis’ which means ‘termination’. Menopause is a natural event which usually occurs when the woman reaches her late 40s or early 50s and signifies the closure of her fertile phase. Menopause marks the end of the major role performed by the ovaries .i.e. the secretion of ova, release of estrogen and progesterone hormones, creation and shedding of uterine lining or monthly periods. Menopausal transition .i.e. the change from a potentially fertile to non-fertile state usually tends to happen gradually over a period of time. This transition phase also known as perimenopause, takes about a year to be finally declared as menopause. After one year without any monthly cycle, a woman is said to reach menopause. The phase following menopause is referred to as the postmenopausal stage which remains till the end of your life.
Signs and Symptoms of Menopause
Menopause is different for each woman and so may be its symptoms. This attributes to the hormonal fluctuations and especially the role of estrogen hormone which plays diverse roles in the body. Deficit of estrogen in the body may lead to varied physical and emotional symptoms. Some of the common symptoms of menopause are:
Change in Menses: Irregular periods are the first sign which you might notice if your body is ready for menopause. You might bleed lesser or more than you usually do. The duration of monthly cycle may become longer or shorter. All these symptoms are considered normal however, if you feel excessive flow, periods lasting for more than a week, cycles repeating very closely then you should discuss it with a medical practitioner to be sure.
Mood Swings: A number of women feel moody and snappish around the time of menopause owing to a possibility of diverse factors such as feeling of fatigue, family issues, and prior history of depression.
Bladder and Vaginal Problems: The body becomes more susceptible to vaginal or urinary infections. Some women may suffer from the problems of urine incontinence or urine leakage. The perennial area may become itchy and dry attributing to the change in hormonal levels making the intercourse painful.
Hot Flushes: This is yet another common symptoms which a woman you might feel near the transition phase. Hot flushes refer to the feeling of flush or heat in which red blotches emerge all over the body. Symptoms could be mild or strong including excess perspiration and cold tremors which may result in sleep disturbances also known as night sweats.
Apart from these, women might experience diminished or increased sex drive, weight loss or weight gain with joints and muscles feeling achy. Some women might suffer from insomnia and find it difficult to fall asleep or experience memory lapses making it problematic to remember little things.
Impact on Heart and Bones During Mmenopause
Osteoporosis: The estrogen hormone plays an important role in the maintenance of bone health and helps to control bone loss. Deterioration of estrogen in the body during menopause may lead to weak and fragile bones also known as osteoporosis.
Cardiac Disorders: Aging and fluctuating levels of estrogen hormone may elevate the risk of developing heart disease. Other factors such as weight gain, hypertension may also have detrimental effects on the heart.
During menopause, It is always advisable to discuss with your health practitioner and get the required tests associated with bone density, levels of glucose, LDL and HDL cholesterol, levels of triglycerides done to ensure timely prevention and remedial measures if need be.
Although rare, but it is definitely possible for the women to reach menopause before they touch their mid-40’s. This is known as early menopause or premature ovarian failure. There are chances that a woman still gets her periods and ovaries releasing eggs intermittently even after experiencing premature menopause. Major causes of premature menopause are surgical removal of uterus also known as hysterectomy or removal of ovaries, known as oophorectomy. Certain types of cancer treatments or radiotherapy and rarely some infection such as malaria, tuberculosis, chicken pox can also lead to early menopause. Apart from these, various medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, autoimmune diseases, Down’s syndrome, Addison’s disease can also be the reason behind premature ovarian failure. As shown by various researches, smoking is yet another major factor which may have an influence on the onset of natural menopause.
Home Remedies for Menopause
Many women have benefited and found respite from the menopausal symptoms by making certain alterations in the diet, lifestyles and usage of home remedies. Some effective home remedies have been mentioned as under:
Soy products such as tofu may prove beneficial during menopause. Studies have shown that soy products contain a good amount of phytoestrogens, called isoflavones which helps in maintaining cardiovascular health and bone health. These components with estrogen-like qualities may prove to be of great help in easing the symptoms associated with peri and postmenopause as well.
Black cohosh is a wonderful and widely studied botanical remedy which may be helpful during menopause. This herb has also been proven quite effective in curing a range of female health complaints such as menstrual problems including premenstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhea. Black cohosh is rich in many healthful components such as flavonoids, triterpine glycosides and aromatic acids which have positive effects on the serotonin receptors. This beneficial serotonergic effect of black cohosh may prove helpful in relieving hot flashes and elevating the mood. Apart from this, black cohosh also helps in relieving vasomotor symptoms for women suffering from breast cancer.
St. John’s Wort Herb
St. John’s Wort herb is another herbal remedy which has been proven beneficial during menopause by a number of studies. It works as an effective anti-depressant and helps in relieving hot flushes, sleep disturbances, mild mood fluctuations associated with menopause and perimenopause. A word of caution to be noted here is St. John’s Wort herb works as an anti-depressant which should not be used along with other anti-depressant medications. In addition to this, this herb might also interfere with the medications like warfarin and digoxin.
Valerian is a botanical remedy which has been trusted for over 1000 years attributing to its tranquilizing and sedative effects. The hypnotic properties of valerian may prove useful in the treatment of sleep disturbances associated with menopause.
Ginkgo herb has also been evaluated by various studies and has been proven to be useful in curing the memory problems implicated during the postmenopausal phase. An important point to be noted here is that the ginkgo herb may interfere with anticoagulant medications and may further decrease the clotting time of blood in the women already taking such medicines.
Chaste Berry (Vitex Agnus Castus)
Berries of the chaste tree are a time-honored remedy which is sworn by the women for calming menopausal symptoms. It has been approved by German health authorities for providing relief from breast tenderness, PMS and irregular menses. These healthful berries help in restoring the levels of progesterone hormones and contribute in reducing the deficit. Chaste tree essential oil has been trusted for curing hot flushes, depression and excessive bleeding which might occur during perimenopause.
Sage (Salvia Officinalis)
Another amazing home remedy which can prove effective during menopause is Sage herb. As hinted by its Latin version salvere which means ‘to heal’, extracts of this herb aids in providing relief from scores of health problems including excessive sweating and hot flushes. Studies have validated the efficacy of sage herb in remarkably decreasing the frequency of hot flushes and other symptoms implicated in menopause.
Vitamin E-rich Diet
Consumption of vitamin E can also ease the symptoms related to menopause. Studies have suggested that vitamin E may prove helpful in calming hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats and vaginal dryness. Another study has shown that lower levels of vitamin E in the body are associated with the increased risk of osteoporosis in early postmenopausal women. Adequate consumption of vitamin E helps in improving the bone mineral density in healthy postmenopausal women.
Indulging in some kind of physical exercise such as aerobics may go a long way in maintaining good health during menopause. Vigorous exercise including running, cycling and resistance training not only assists weight loss but also helps in reducing hot flashes and night sweats, elevates the mood, keeps you energetic, promotes better sleep, maintains bone health and improves the hormonal balance in the body. All in all exercise has been proven to improve the entire gamut of menopausal symptoms.
Calcium and Vitamin D
Consumption of vitamin D and calcium is extremely vital during menopause to prevent accelerating bone loss. Inclusion of low-fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt in the diet can contribute in maintaining bone health.
Apart from healthy bones, calcium and estrogen levels also play an important role in preserving our teeth. Deficiency of estrogen and calcium during menopause may lead to gum disorder and osteoporosis which may also affect your jawbones. Flossing daily, using toothbrush with soft bristles may help in keeping the mouth clean and preventing the loosening of teeth which may cause the gum disease to set in. Gum disease is also implicated in the enhanced risk of diabetes and cardiac disorders in menopausal women.
Red clover is another effective botanical remedy which may prove valuable during menopause. Studies have shown that isoflavones present in red clover aids in the reduction of the levels of cholesterol, triglycerides and exerts positive effects on vaginal cells. This herb also helps in reducing the frequency of symptoms associated with menopause.
Red ginseng is an effective remedy for relieving the symptoms implicated in menopause. Research studies have shown that consumption of red ginseng helps in lowering the total and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) in the body. This protective effect helps in maintaining cardiovascular health in the postmenopausal women.
Adequate sleep is amongst the vitals during menopause and ensures relaxed state of body and mind. Sleep has the same restorative effect as balanced diet and exercise and helps the stress response system of the body to recuperate. Inadequate sleep makes the body vulnerable to a host of diseases including memory problems and insulin resistance which can pave the way for diabetes. Sleeping in a dark room triggers the production of melatonin hormone which promotes better sleep. Other remedies like being in natural day light for a while, drinking a cup of warm milk, taking a warm bath and brisk walking may help induce better sleep.
Kava extract is also an effective herbal remedy which may prove valuable during menopause. A research study has advocated the efficacy of kava-kava extract along with hormone replacement therapy in alleviating the anxiety related problems associated with menopause. Kava extract might interfere with the metabolism of prescription anti-anxiety medications and is recommended for short-term situational anxiety. Use of kava is banned/restricted in many countries, so consult your health specialist before use.
Certain dietary changes may assist in easing the symptoms of menopause. Try and notice the diet triggers which aggravate the problems of hot flushes. Generally, avoiding very hot beverages, caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods may prevent the advent of hot flushes. Drinking lots of cool water and other cool and healthy fluids may prove helpful in controlling hot flashes as well as promote general health. Inclusion of fresh fruits, vegetable and whole grains and minimal sugar and oils in the diet may help maintain overall health during menopause.
Apart from these, wearing lightweight clothes made of natural products may help to stay cool and aid in calming the hot flushes. Relaxation techniques like deep breathing, massage for comforting the muscles can create a soothing effect. Doing kegel exercises may help in strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor and prove helpful in combating the problems of urine incontinence or inadvertent urine leakage. Staying sexually active also promotes the flow of blood towards the vagina. Avoid smoking as it may also aggravate the problem of hot flushes in some women and increase the risk of developing heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer.
Menopause is not a disorder but an inevitable change in a woman’s life which can have diverse effects on them. It is always useful to stay well-educated and informed regarding what to expect along with the remedial measures to ease the transition phase. Maintenance of healthy lifestyle, eating balanced diet, regular exercise, positive approach and most importantly feeling beautiful inside can go a long way in embracing the change associated with menopause.
Stay happy and celebrate womanhood!