Holistic Ways to Manage the Menopause
7 minutes read
Did you know it’s World Menopause Day on 18th October? Or did it pass you by – too busy trying to relieve hot sweats or anxiety?
Thankfully, the conversation is opening up on all things menopausal – from peri-to-post, talking through your symptoms and working out ways of managing menopause symptoms naturally by looking at the bigger picture.
Trying a more holistic method and how you look after your body and health is a worthwhile approach. There are brilliant guides on how to own your menopause so that you can talk with your GP or healthcare provider with confidence.
If you follow social media, look for tags like #Menovists – a movement where you can share real stories, listen to podcasts and become part of this powerful movement. We’re in this together – here is how we all become menopause wiser.
The Menopause: What, why and how
What is menopause?
It’s just another challenge for our magnificent bodies, an end to one phase of life and the beginning of another. Embrace it. Sure, menopause has symptoms attached – night sweats, mood swings and hot flushes – the good news is that some may be managed naturally if you make positive lifestyle changes.
According to the NHS, the average age that women experience menopause is 51. So once you haven’t menstruated for a year, you’re in menopause. Before this, the lead-up is called perimenopause – and can come with symptoms too.
If you need a little more help and guidance – Rock My Menopause is a great site to start you off and you could also tuck into a tome – such as Maisie Hill’s Perimenopause Power: Navigating Your Journey to Menopause.
What happens to your body?
Your ovaries stop making oestrogen and progesterone – the hormones that regulate menstruation and are needed for fertility. This results in several symptoms:
- Hot flushes and night sweats: affect 60% to 85% of women and last around two years. About 10% of women have these symptoms for longer.
- Mood changes: Everything from brain fog to depression – speak to a healthcare professional if mood changes become unmanageable.
- Sexual issues: A reduced libido is common, a result of falling oestrogen levels, along with vaginal dryness.
- Weight gain, especially around your middle, can result in insulin resistance.
Menopause lifestyle & fitness advice
If you’re prepared to work at it, you can manage some of what menopause will throw at you with a few lifestyle adjustments. Here are a few healthy menopause remedies to try:
- Make a healthy diet a priority.
- Stick to an exercise routine: Strength training and aerobic exercise will keep your muscles strong and your metabolism revving. Tai chi, yoga and walking are other excellent choices to help boost your mood.
- Menopause lifestyle remedies: Perhaps the kids have left home, so you don’t need to cook every night. Maybe you’re working less and have more time on your hands. Or you’re just not as active as you used to be. Keep yourself busy, enjoy an active social life and choose the healthy route whenever possible.
Cut down on sugar
Sugary foods enhance menopause symptoms, says educational website Gennev. When oestrogen and progesterone diminish, our cells become more insulin resistant, so our bodies have to work harder to manage our blood sugar levels. The result? Weight gain, tiredness, even Type 2 diabetes. A study showed that high blood sugar might be linked to the intensity of hot flushes.
Eat a balanced diet
Eat foods as natural and organic as possible – include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, avoid processed foods and saturated fats. Instead, use unsaturated fats (olive and avocado oil) and include proteins – lean meat, poultry and plenty of fish.
Also, include phytoestrogens in your weekly shop. These serve as a natural oestrogen booster to a certain extent – so try legumes (beans, peas, peanuts), broccoli, oranges, and soy (tofu, tempeh, miso and soya milk.)
Do vitamins help with menopause? Absolutely! Vitamins protect your overall health and may also assist in relieving discomfort from some menopause symptoms:
- Vitamin E: Found in sunflower seeds, nuts, spinach, broccoli, mangoes, tomatoes and kiwi fruit.
- Vitamin D: Exposure to sunlight produces natural vitamin D in our bodies, but make sure you get enough by eating oily fish, dairy products, orange juice and egg yolks. Vitamin D is essential for good bone health as hormone changes during menopause decrease bone density, leading to osteoporosis.
- B Vitamins: A study discovered that B vitamins prevent some diseases during menopause, like stroke, heart disease and dementia. Research also found that vitamin B-9 effectively reduced the number and severity of hot flushes.
There’s a global return to natural treatments and products to overcome health issues, menopause included. The British Menopause Society found that 95% of women preferred natural remedies for menopause without HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy). Here’s a list of natural remedies that may work for you, but as in all cases – seek out guidance, as a medical intervention may be the best course for you.
Herbs and supplements to help menopause symptoms
- Sage: For centuries, women have been using sage for menopause to treat hot flushes and night sweats. A Swiss study showed that women who took a daily tablet comprising of fresh sage leaves experienced a 50% reduction in hot flushes in four weeks.
- Gingko Biloba: Studies have shown this herb is an excellent libido lifter. It also helps other symptoms such as anxiety and loss of memory.
- Cannabidiol or CBD is the non-hallucinating version of the drug and small studies are emerging on the benefits of taking a broad-spectrum supplement for general health. Speak to your healthcare provider about the best options for you. They come in liquid, gummy, or tablet form and can help to improve sleep quality and mood, alleviate joint pain and inflammation. It could be just the natural high you are looking for.
Herbal menopause teas
- Sage tea: it’s made from dried sage leaves or ready-made tea bags, both available at health stores.
- Black cohosh root: a traditional plant used by the Native Americans to remedy hot flushes and balancing hormones.
- Ginseng: great for hot flushes, night sweats and libido.
- Red clover: gets rid of night sweats and hot flushes. It also improves bone strength and immunity.
- Dong quai tea: it is also known as female ginseng – it may help relax the muscles and ease hot flushes.
- Green tea: Increases bone density and controls weight gain in menopausal women.
You need to invest in a scientifically proven range to target menopausal skin and ageing linked to hormonal changes.
The Super Restorative range helps with the loss of collagen, slackening of skin and loss of density – the epidermis has more bounce and lift.
We love the Treatment Essence; it’s like a toner, serum and skin prep treatment all in one – 90% of users found radiance was restored and 87% found skin more receptive to treatments applied afterward.
While the Super Restorative Day Cream is enriched with organic harungana extract to help boost fibroblast activity and thus epidermis repair. Line filling pearls also help with an immediate re-plumping effect – so skin looks lifted with more ‘bounce’ straight after application.
Charlotte McHale, Clarins Training Manager, emphasises the importance of pampering face treatments for menopausal women, such as face treatment oils:
“This is a time when you really should be taking care of yourself emotionally. So it’s important to self pamper to make sure that you’re looking after your skin. The oil you use would depend on your skin type. There’s Blue Orchid for dehydrated skin, Lotus purifies combination and oily skin and dry skin will drink up the Santal.”
All are made from 100% pure plant extracts and superb excellent facial massage mediums – so spare 10 minutes once a week to take the time to work it into the skin.
Give yourself a break!
We’ve overcome period pains, navigated our 20s and 30s, may have raised children, we’ve worked hard and played hard, and now if it’s time to face menopause – all we can say is: you’ve got this!