The Best Natural Ways to Deal with Menopause

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Menopause-symptoms-copingWhile not having to deal with the annoyances of a monthly period are celebratory, exchanging them for hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, insomnia, dry skin, weight gain, vaginal dryness, low sex drive are not fun. These are just a few of the many symptoms women approaching menopause experience, culminating with the cessation of your monthly menstruation. These symptoms occur primarily due to hormonal fluctuations, and can begin as many as 10 to 15 years before you actually reach menopause.

Perimenopause

Most women begin to notice symptoms of perimenopause in their late 30s or early 40s. These symptoms are related to fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone, as well as changes to how often you ovulate. Perimenopause symptoms may only last a few years, or you may experience them at varying levels for as many as 15 years. Symptoms also tend to increase in frequency as you get closer to menopause. Common symptoms include:

  • Menstrual irregularities: Your period may become more or less frequent. You may also experience between period spotting or skip periods altogether, or your periods may begin to last longer than the normal five to seven days.
  • Hot flashes: You may experience these as night sweats, when you wake up with your sheets soaked with perspiration, or during the day. The hot flashes may become more frequent as you draw nearer to menopause and can be very intense and uncomfortable.
  • Insomnia: This may occur due to night sweats, or it may be an independent symptom.
  • Irregular ovulation: While ovulation was once regular, it now occurs at less regular intervals. While changes in ovulation decrease fertility, it also can increase your risk of unexpected pregnancy if you rely on an ovulation calendar as your main form of birth control.
  • Irritability: Moodiness may be due to lack of sleep or to hormonal fluctuations. Depression may also occur.
  • Changed libido: This may occur for many reasons, including hormonal fluctuations and vaginal dryness, which can cause discomfort during intercourse.

Menopause

Full menopause occurs most frequently between the ages of 45 and 55. Once you have not had a period for 12 months, you are considered to have reached menopause. While perimenopause gradually eases (although sometimes it doesn’t seem easy!) you into menopause, in some cases it arrives abruptly with few symptoms. Women who have had hysterectomies without hormone replacement therapy may suddenly enter menopause post-surgically, and may experience more drastic symptoms due to sudden changes in hormonal levels. All of the same symptoms that occur in perimenopause may also plague you after your period has ceased. Further, due the significant decrease in estrogen occurring after menopause, women are more likely to develop osteoporosis and loss of bone density.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

For years, doctors used hormone replacement therapy to treat the symptoms of menopause; however, clinical trials in 2002 revealed risks associated with long-term use of HRT. Now, it is a personal decision women make with their physicians after evaluating the risks and drawbacks. Women choosing HRT should discuss risks and drawbacks associated with estrogen-only replacement therapy, as well as combined estrogen-progestin replacement therapy. Risks and benefits may increase or decrease with the type of HRT, as well as whether the woman has had breast cancer, uterine cancer, or hysterectomy.

hormone replacement therapyIncreased risks associated with HRT include:

  • Heart disease
  • Abnormal mammograms
  • Breast and uterine cancer
  • Liver damage
  • Stroke and blood clots
  • Gall bladder disease
  • Facial hair growth
  • Eye problems
  • Insulin resistance
  • Headaches
  • Weight gain
  • Mood changes

At the same time, HRT may confer certain protections to women, including:

  • Decreased menopause or perimenopausal symptoms
  • Decreased risk of developing osteoporosis
  • Decreased risk of colorectal cancer
  • Decreased risk of heart disease

Controlling Symptoms of Menopause

Ready to find ways to naturally control your menopause symptoms? Let’s take a look at them one by one.

  1. Hot flashes: While many women think hot flashes are inevitable, there are things you can do to control them! A number of things can trigger hot flashes, including stress, alcohol, spicy foods, caffeine, medication, hot showers, and smoking, among others. Keep a journal and record your triggers, and then seek to avoid them. Eliminate caffeine, stop smoking, and minimize any unnecessary medications. Get on that rooibos or herbal tea, and give up the coffee! Keep rooms on the cool side and dress in layers you can peel off quickly if you find yourself becoming too warm. Wear light, natural fabrics and keep some water on hand for hydration. Minimize stress by practicing yoga or meditating.

 

  1. controlling menopause symptomsInsomnia: Since insomnia is frequently caused by hot flashes or night sweats during menopause, your room environment is important. Keep the temperature on the cool side and sleep under cotton sheets and light, natural fabric blankets. Don’t eat right before bedtime, and eat a healthy, plant-based diet during the day. Avoid stimulants like caffeine or smoking. Relax before bedtime by meditating or performing gentle stretches, and avoid taking a hot bath or shower, or drinking a hot beverage before bed.

 

  1. Irritability and moodiness: One of the best remedies for mood swings is exercise! Get outside and take a brisk 20-minute walk, or practice yoga daily. You can also center yourself through meditation. Also, try to always make a post workout snack to stop yourself from eating a larger meal. Caffeine, medication, and smoking can contribute to mood swings, so avoid them at all costs. Support your body nutritionally by eating a healthy plant-based diet, and get plenty of sleep. Chlorophyll from eating a lot of greens is a great mood stabilizer. Be sure to take time for yourself, as well. You may also want to try massage or acupuncture, which can help to re-balance your energy.

 

  1. Libido changes: Hormonal fluctuations, lack of sleep, stress, and even concern about aging can lead to changes in libido during menopause and perimenopause. Get plenty of sleep and engage in stress reduction activities like exercise, yoga, meditation, and “me time.” Energy medicine like acupuncture, reiki, and massage can also help rebalance your natural energy and increase your sex drive. You may also wish to consider eating natural aphrodisiac foods such as cinnamon and chocolate. Most importantly, spend positive time with your partner just enjoying one another’s company as often as possible so you can reconnect and remember why you fell in love in the first place.

 

  1. Vaginal dryness: The simplest solution for vaginal dryness is to boost water intake. Switch to natural self-care products like soaps and powders that are free of drying chemicals like alcohol. Avoid alcoholic beverages and caffeine, which can be dehydrating. Add omega-3 fats to your diet, as well. If you still experience vaginal dryness after making these changes, try a natural personal lubricant like coconut oil. I don’t recommend petroleum-based ones.

 

  1. Urinary incontinence: If you are experiencing urine leakage, you can strengthen your pelvic floor muscles to prevent this. Practice Kegel exercises three times per day by tightening the same muscle you use to stop your flow of urine.

You can control your menopausal symptoms with simple, natural dietary and overall lifestyle changes. By doing so, you will make the transition into your next phase of life comfortably and gracefully.

 

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29 Responses to “The Best Natural Ways to Deal with Menopause

  1. GOIGN THROUGH PERIMENOPAUSE or perimenopest as I like to call it lol was having symptons on and off for 2 years then at 50 hit me with bang!!! everything went wrong eyes , joints so soo sore couldnt get out of bed easily. had blood tests done seems they are fine going through peri feeling tired and peroids all over the place trying everything that goes lol very active person so has caused me lot of grief and only really satared bad last november .every one different but good to hear other stories lets you know your not going mad.!!!!

  2. I want to know how can I face the premenapause symtoms by natural way. Bcoz I am suffering from hot flashes, dry and itchy hair and fever also. Plz reply me as soon as possible.

  3. im so confussed about what i should do to help with these signs and symtoms of this menopause or premenapause. the hot flashes and moods swings have gotten so bad. tried hormone pills with very adverse effects, am at a loss on what more to do. i really could use some sound, helpful advice

    • Honey let start by changing the diet. I have found that it is very possible that I was experiencing the symptoms long before I realized but because of the life changing decisions just to become a overall healthier person the effects and/or symptoms went unnoticed until hot flashes.Can you say Nutribullet !!!!!!!!! Followed by daily exercise away to relax for me shopping away to focus on something other than you, be sure to drink plenty of water, and try to develop somewhat of a hard shell because hot flashes has no picks schedules or discretion being embarrassed on the causes more stress and more hot flashes you don’t have to explain you just have to be prepared, water,a handheld fan are the tips I recommend.

  4. Hi Kimberly,
    I’ve been looking for a source reference behind the statement about chlorophyll being a mood stabilizer, but cannot find one. Can you point me in that direction? All I can find are sites that repeat that statement, but none list their sources. I’d really appreciate it if you can help with this.

  5. Hello kimberly, it’s me again from Catalonia. It’s possible any advice from you or maybe i have to consult somebody else? I see you haven’t reply, but i don’t know what to do. Thanks anyway, let me know please!

  6. Hi Kimberly
    I had a question. Does the hormone replacement make you more incline to give you hot flashes? When I was using the vaginal creams. It seem to make me more hot. So I stop taking it. And just continue doing my yoga exercises, and other excercises that consisted of weights. I also have tried your detox tea. I love, love it. Thank you

  7. Hello dear, i hope you can help me with this. i’m a 45(in december) mummy who is breastfeading my two daughters, one is 3’9 years old and the wee one is 13 months. I’m also a follower( not totally a 100% yet) of the Adamo’s way, and i’m an o+ gatherer. The thing is that since i had the wee one i had the period only twice, one after 8 months of delivery, and the other 2 months after. The period was with little bleeding and shorter. I feel tired( i’m up half the night most of the nights ’cause the breastfeading), my libido is way down hill, i feel irritated, moody….etc. My question is if this all together can be the beginning of the menopause and what can i do about., if i can take something(food…) to help me. I’m also following the detox, of and on, bit getting there.Do you think is also ok breastfeeding?? Thanks a lot from Catalonia!! You look beautiful and seem an ever more beautiful person.Thanks for being there!!!

  8. Hi I had fibroids and they had dammage my bladder and kidneys. I started working out and taking care of my self after the surgeries. I too went into menapause at an early age. I was meserable. I could not sleep and the hot flashes were terriable. I would see women on television talking about embrasing menopause. I eventually learn to do that. By eating fruits and vegetables more and exercising. But I did fina a natural remedy for it. My sister told me about Black Cohosh extract. It works. I hardly have any hot flashes or night sweats at all. Menapuse can distroy your life if you do not have the tools to help you. So I am sharing this with anyone out their who is interested. Also once the doctor told me about my kidneys how one of my kidneys was functioning and the other was not. I decided to stop, stop drinking soda. I saw a complete turn around in my body. I knew that if I didn’t there would be consequences. So I had a total of seven surgeries. But God is good.

    • Hi Carol:
      I tired black cohosh after suffering through many months of insomnia and horrible hot flashes and irritability and I took it for over a month and it did nothing for me. I started taking vitex and it worked like a charm.I tend to think that we are all different and have different kinds of factors in or lives both environmental and genetic that might affect how herbs work in our bodies. Anyways, glad to hear that BC works for someone out there. A lot of trial and error when it comes to “the change”.

  9. Greetings! I’ve been following your web site for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Kingwood Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the good work!

  10. Hi Kim!! :) So I have a question for you, I LOVE the beauty detox solution, I try really hard to follow it as best I can despite a few weak points where I had cravings I couldnt fight which ive had ALLOT! since I’ve started the program. The one hope i hold onto is your comment on how it takes 30 days to break a habit. So I keep telling myslef on 15 days more of craving coffee! lol :)

    So I am at a desk job 8 hours a day mon-fri (YUCK) and I have your book by my side to help me decide what to eat for snacks and lunch but i’m honestly getting a little tired of eating the same things over and over again and there only so much salad I want to eat before I want something really satisfying (IN and OUT Burger perhaps) hehe.. :) What I would really like to find on your blog is a day by day journal from you as to what you ate and drank all day everyday for a week or so, that way I can see this diet in action even during a busy week for myself. I wanna know what you ate from the 1st thing in the morning until you go to bed. I feel like i’m going to fail this program because I cant see myself having a salad and carot sticks for the rest of my life evryday lol. please help!

    Asia :) hope to hear from you soon.

  11. Kimberly,
    What do you know about Bio-identical hormones? They apparently replace your hormone levels to the optimal range using a natural-plant based source. I had a blood test taken and I am waiting to see if I am a candidate. I was referred by a women that said she feels like she did in her twenties and that they check her levels every few months and adjust as needed. Thanks

  12. I am wondering what your thoughts are on the GAPS diet. The premise makes sense…what happens in your gut manifests itself to other areas of your body. How can an unhealthy GI tract, which is acidic, be healed with meat, eggs, and yogurt, which are very acidic. Apparently, this works…studies support it. I just can’t wrap my brain around it.

    • I am also curious as to your thoughts on the GAPS diet. I have an autoimmune condition and wondered if it would be best to heal my gut with GAPS before moving on to my preferred diet (mostly vegan)….

  13. Hi Kimberly,
    I have a few questions, and concerns. I’m almost 34, and went through menopause at the age of 32. I had colorectal cancer, and the radiation causes the menopause. I was on hormones, but stopped taking them a few months ago because of the weight gain. I’m afraid of the risks at my age. Was stopping the hormones smart? I’m feeling that I can’t win either way with the risks.

  14. Thank you, Kimberly, for this article on a topic mainly directed to us older women but also relevant to every woman at some point in time. I can attest to the effectiveness of the recommendations you have provided. Soon to be 62, I have eaten plant-based for over 20 years (have favorably tweaked that diet a bit since being introduced to you!), have taken exercise of body, mind, and spirit seriously throughout the years, and have continued to listen/learn from others as well as from my own body. I can honestly say that I am not bothered by the typical symptoms you’ve mentioned other than the dry skin, mainly on arms and legs. Thinking maybe an increase in Vitamin B complex might help with the dryness?? Any suggestion(s)?
    I appreciate what you do, value the principles of your book/blog, and look forward to your new book!
    Thanks again!

  15. I so appreciate your info on premenopause/menopause. I am definitely struggling and want to go through it naturally. Are there natural hormones available that does not give you negative side effects. If you were in this stage in life, would you take natural hormones to help the negative symptoms? Am curious what you would do. Presently I am eating healthy and have been a regular exerciser. Still, the symptoms really stinks. Need advice.

  16. I really, REALLY appreciate this article! Thank you very much many times over for putting it on the website!

  17. Great Article ,Kimberly.Yes,I am going through Menopause ,not done yet and it is not easy,some days you feel good, some days you could sleep all day. What bothered me most is my Thyroid ,I had pretty severe Symptoms for a while, like Heart Palpitation Intolerance to Cold and Hot.Have to take Medication once a day, treating it naturally was not enough anymore.Otherwise I eat a Healthy Diet lots of Fruits and Vegetables and Exercise regularly. But I guess that’s Life, you have to expect it

    • You might want to try taking iodine. There are some real valid studies out there about the lack of iodine and thyroid problems. I suggest you google “dr. brownstein and iodine” and “dr. derry and iodine” and you will discover more about the books they have written and what they have discovered. Educate yourself b4 you try it though.

  18. Wonderful post Kim.

    I do have one question on another topic, I have been searching everywhere for a natural toothpaste but they all contain glycerin. What do you use as a toothpaste? I always floss and right now I’m using baking soda, water, and peppermint essential oil as a toothpaste. Your thoughts?

    Thank you.
    xo

  19. These are cute responses to very real problems associated with peri/menopause. Have you experienced these sympthoms? Until you do please do not advise band aid fixes for very real problems.

    • No reason to be so negative. For those wanting to go the natural route, it may not be “band aid” fixes. If you don’t agree with it, don’t read it.

    • I have to agree with Dominique here. While I appreciate Kimberly’s blog and most of her ideas, these approaches have done nothing for me over the last 2-3 as I have gone through menapaue. I am in my mid 50’s and I have at one time or another tried all of these suggestions and none of them have worked. However, I will say that recently I started taking Vitex AKA Chasteberry and all of the symptoms that have bothered me over the years have disappeared. It takes several months to feel any effects from Vitex and I take organic only–3 a day, but I have really been surprised at how much better I feel and sleep at night. Hope that helps someone out there.

  20. Kimberly,Amanda gave me one of your books.I met you at Wild Lotus during her classes..I am on a committee to help launch the New Orleans Veggie Feast,If you are in the area May 13-14,please come to the HEALING CENTER.I think we can get more people to go vegan or veg ,if they realize it will make them as beautiful as you!I am also suggesting we advertise your book. Thanks for all your tips -SHANTI

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