Why I wanted to write this. When I was a girl, the onset of menses was not an easy subject for most mothers to approach with their daughters. None the less by 1970, they were dealing with it fairly confidently. It was much easier in my turn when I needed to prepare my daughter.
Moving forward 25-30 years when my mom was going through menopause she never said a word to me beyond that it had begun and so the end was near. Now we are a little savvier and know that the end can be as near as 2 years or as far as 10 years away. That's a big difference. Still, when I want through menopause at 38 I didn't say a word to my daughter. I never discussed with her the things I was dealing with and what I was learning about it along the way.
Why are we as mothers, or even as women in general not making this major life transition easier for those who follow us? I don't have an answer for this but it is time that menopause is spoken of both openly and respectfully. So this is me stepping out of my comfort zone and bringing up this little spoken of subject.
Anyone with Menopause Needs a Good Support System
Menopause can be a big transition for anyone, so don’t assume you have to deal with it silently or alone. Having emotional support is an integral part of dealing with this new phase in your life.
The Transition Can Be Difficult
While menopause is a completely normal phase of life that every woman will go through, that doesn’t mean it is easy. Similar to when you are a pre-teen and start your first menstrual cycle, it can be a tough transition to get through. There are a lot of different changes that happen, including mental, emotional, and physical ones. You reach the age where you can no longer get pregnant, which is hard on some women. You also deal with all the physical changes, discomforts, and pains, along with heightened stress and anxiety. You need a solid support system and to figure out the remedies that work best for you.
There Are Emotional Changes with Menopause
As mentioned in the previous section, menopause comes with quite a few emotional changes. You might be sad that a certain phase of your life is over, or you may notice that your stress is heightened due to the night sweats, insomnia, headaches, and bodily pains. This is completely normal, but don’t let it get you down. And importantly, don’t assume you have to deal with it alone. Menopause is not something you need to be silent about or pretend like everything is okay. Reach out to your partner or spouse, family, and friends and talk to them when you need to. Get that emotional support that you need and it will go much better for you.
You Might Need Support Due to Your Physical Changes
Of course, women are often more concerned about the physical changes. Even though you don’t have your menstrual cycle anymore, you might still get the menstrual-like cramps, which can be hard to handle. Some other physical changes include headaches, neck or shoulder pain, back pain, hot flashes, and night sweats. There are many ways to deal with these naturally, like essential oils, herbs, yoga, and dietary changes. But you should also have someone close to you that supports you. If your night sweats are worsened with another warm body sleeping next to you, it is good to have someone who wouldn’t mind if you slept in a separate bed until this part of menopause is over.
Dietary Changes Suggested during Menopause
If you want to go through menopause in the healthiest, easiest way possible, while also working to lower some of your side effects, dietary changes are the way to go. Here are some recommended changes to make.
Reduce Your Fatty Foods
The first thing you need to do if you want to make dietary changes for the relief of your symptoms is to reduce the fatty foods you are eating. This might be hard at first, but small changes are totally fine. Just remember not only will it help with your menopause, but with overall health as well. Fatty foods that are loaded with trans-fats like margarine and vegetable oil are not good for you and can increase your cholesterol. Try to stick to healthy fats, and you will feel much better. Reducing your sugar and salt intake can also help.
Increase Your Calcium
One of the more important nutrients to have in your body when you are going through menopause is calcium, but make sure you don’t have too much of it. You want to aim for no more than 1,000 mg a day of calcium between supplements and natural food sources. Natural is always better, so first try to get your calcium from your diet, such as with dairy products or non-dairy milk like coconut milk, as well as vegetables like leafy greens. If you don’t get enough through these sources, then take a supplement every day.
Get More Iron and Fiber
Two more nutrients that are important to include in your diet are iron and fiber. Both of these help women who are in the menopausal period of life, reducing your symptoms overall and making you healthier. Iron is often found in eggs, leafy greens, nuts, and red meat, so whether you are a meat eater or not, there are options available to you. To get more fiber, try whole grains, fruit, pasta, and vegetables.
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
You probably know by now that you should be eating a certain amount of fruits and vegetables each day. This is not only important during menopause, but for overall health at this stage of your life as well. Try to have 5 servings or 2 cups of fruits and veggies every day, more if it fits within your daily diet.
Essential Oils to Ease Menopause Symptoms
Essential oils are oils that are extracted from flowers and leaves of various plants. These essential oils provide a lot of amazing health benefits, including helping you to ease your menopause symptoms.
You may have heard that peppermint the herb is often recommended for easing your menopause symptoms. Naturally, the essential oil of peppermint can also be really helpful for you. Peppermint oil is extracted from the leaves of a mint plant, similar to how other essential oils are made. There are several different symptoms that peppermint oil helps with, including relieving your cramps, as well as the hot flashes and night sweats. Try adding some peppermint oil to your tea or using an oil diffuser.
The reason basil is so useful is that it has a natural compound that works similar to the estrogen hormone, so it can help balance out your hormone levels naturally. When your estrogen is adjusted, some of your side effects of menopause are also improved. Some things you will notice that get better are a relief of menstrual-like cramps, less hot flashes, and improved mood and stress relief.
Lavender is definitely one of the most popular and useful essential oils you can get. This smells amazing and promotes relaxation and calmness. It is also known for boosting your mood naturally. As you can see, there are many ways it can help you. Since it relaxes your body and mind, you will get better sleep with lavender. The effects can also help with stress and other emotional issues you might have. It is best to use it at night in your bath or before bed in a lavender tea to help with insomnia.
Lastly, consider using some geranium essential oil. This is from the geranium flowering plant, and can be used to help with your hormonal imbalances during menopause. All you need to do is add a few drops of this essential oil to a diffuser each day and you will notice an excellent difference.
Remember that if you use the oils on your skin directly, you first need to dilute them with a carrier oil.
Herbal Remedies For Menopause
Herbs can provide many health benefits, from lowering your cholesterol to easing mental health disorders. They also work great as a natural remedy for menopause. Take a look at some of the top herbs available.
The first type of herb you should consider taking for your menopause and its symptoms is wild yam. This is not the same thing as yams or sweet potatoes, which you are probably already familiar with. Wild yam is actually a wild plant that contains nutrients to help with your symptoms, including phytoestrogen. This works similar to how DHEA can help with human sex hormones. This herb helps to balance out your hormones, which is how you can reduce your symptoms. Though like all herbs, you should discuss it with your doctor before using it.
Next on the list is sage, which is an amazing and beneficial herb. Sage is often used when looking at natural holistic or medicinal herbs, but it can also help if you are going through menopause. The side effects it primarily helps with are hot flashes and night sweats, both of which are not only uncomfortable but can cause stress at night because they tend to interrupt your sleep. There are some different ways to get more sage into your diet, from adding the herb to your cooked foods to making a peppermint tea with a little sage added to it.
The last herb you should try is called valerian or valerian root. This is another herb that has been around a long time in different parts of the world but is becoming more popular as a way to treat medical conditions. Recently, it has been used for menopause by helping you with anxiety, insomnia, and some of your hot flashes. The great thing about valerian is that you can get the root in herb form for cooking or adding to a healing tea, or you can get it in supplement form if that is easier for you to handle.
Many other herbs can also be useful when it comes to your menopausal symptoms, so as long as you eat a healthy diet and use lots of fresh herbs, you are bound to benefit from them. You can also start growing herbs in your own backyard, helping to add more exercise to your daily regimen, which is also good for menopause.
Managing Hot Flashes during Menopause
One of the biggest side effects and the most uncomfortable is having hot flashes. Hot flashes happen to approximately 50 percent of menopausal women. The following methods are all natural and can be very effective.
Make Sure You Hydrate
If you are struggling with hot flashes and night sweats, the culprit might be dehydration. Many women drink water throughout the day but aren’t drinking enough. This can lead to the headaches associated with menopause. Remember that you need extra water when exerting yourself during workouts or when it is especially hot out. If you are spending more time outdoors, you need to increase your water intake. One good way to tell if you are probably hydrated is by looking at the color of your urine. The clearer it is, the more hydrated you are.
Wear Breathable Clothing
The hot flashes tend to be worse at night when you start getting night sweats. It often feels like nothing you do will take away the intense heat you experience, making it really hard to sleep properly. One way to combat this is by wearing more breathable fabrics. Wear fewer layers, ditch the pants and socks, and look for ‘cooling’ clothing materials. Many retailers now sell pajamas specifically for people who get hotter than normal, so these can help tremendously. If you can’t find them, cotton is usually a safe bet for sleep clothes.
Stop Eating Spicy Foods
There are even dietary changes you can make that will help to cool you off during the day. One of the recommendations is to stop eating spicy foods. The spice tends to peak the internal cooling system in your body, even more so when you are going through menopause. If you tend to like hot and spicy foods, you might notice that your hot flashes are becoming more common. The best thing you can do is to limit how much spicy food you eat.
Change Your Sleeping Environment
Your bedroom itself can also be what is making the heat worse at night. Try to keep a fan blowing on you or sleep next to an open window for cool, fresh air at night. There are also mattress pads and pillows that provide cooling power so that you are not too hot at night. Using a light down comforter is better than a thick comforter that provides too much warmth.
Meditation and Menopause
Among the different natural remedies available for menopause, meditation is one of the best. Here are some different ways you can benefit from doing meditation.
It Helps Reduce Your Menopause Symptoms
Meditation can help you during this phase of your life by helping reduce the uncomfortable symptoms. The side effects can be really hard on you after a while, from the hot flashes that occur randomly throughout the day to having cramping similar to menstrual cramps, and various other body pains. With meditation, you are relaxing your body and mind, which can really help you to regain your focus and mentally decrease the symptoms you experience.
Meditation Helps You Get Better Sleep
Less restful sleep is another major symptom and side effect for women who are going through menopause. While there are many different natural remedies out there to help with your insomnia, like herbal supplements and listening to certain music, meditation really helps you to de-stress and relax, which is going to be beneficial in helping you to get better sleep as well.
You Can Reduce Your Stress and Anxiety
While many women think about the physical side effects, like the menstrual-like cramps, hot flashes, night sweats, and other muscle cramps, it also affects your mental health. Having a trigger in stress and anxiety is very common. Luckily, meditation can help with these symptoms. So if you are dealing with a lot of stress that is keeping you from good sleep or your anxiety is affecting your personal or professional life, then meditation just might be the answer.
It Provides Good Alone Time Each Day
Having some time to yourself each day is really important for self-care purposes. If you have been looking for more ways to take good care of yourself, then this can be the answer you are looking for. Meditation should be done when you are alone, often in silence or with a guided meditation. By meditating each day, you are making sure to schedule some time all to yourself, so you are benefiting from it in multiple ways. If it is hard to find time alone, think of other times during the day when you have a few minutes to yourself, like walking during your lunch break or in the shower each morning. You can meditate while participating in these types of activities.
Menopause Relief Supplements
If you are just entering menopause or pre-menopause, you might be struggling to find the right treatment option. Luckily, you don’t necessarily need to go straight to progesterone creams and prescription medications. There are many natural remedies to help you through this stage in your life, including taking the following supplements.
When you look into diet recommendations for menopause, you will notice that omega-3 fatty acids are recommended often. That is because these fats can help smooth out your skin and reduce inflammation, which also has a positive effect on many of your symptoms. It can also help with mental health issues from this stage of your life. If you aren’t a fan of food sources of omega=3 fats, like fish or flaxseed, then you can instead take a supplement each day.
If you have never heard of black cohosh, it is never too late! This is not only one of the best herbs for menopause, but also available in a supplement that can be very helpful to you. Black cohosh comes from the root of a plant, also called black cohosh. The herb from this root helps to reduce your hot flashes, one of the biggest issues related to menopausal symptoms. Just be careful not to use too much of it. This is also available in a supplement if you don’t want to use the herbs.
Another supplement to try out when you struggle with menopausal symptoms is dong quai. This is from China primarily and really helps tremendously with balancing out your hormone levels. These are what typically contribute to the side effects, so it can help a lot. With dong quai, you will notice less hot flashes and body pains, plus a general wellness.
Vitamins B and E
Some vitamin supplements are also recommended when you have menopause, whether you just started or have been dealing with it for a while. The first is most of the B vitamins, which are all water soluble and can help decrease stress related to your menopause. You should also get plenty of vitamin E, which can help a lot with your hot flashes. Try to get about 400IUs of vitamin E each day, which comes in a supplement pill form.
Give these supplements a try for a more natural remedy for your symptoms.
Stress Relief during Menopause
One of the emotional side effects of menopause is dealing with stress. It not only can make your stress worse due to the other side effects, but it can be hard to find relief for your stress. This endless cycle can be stopped with the following natural remedies.
Be Honest With People
It is possible that a lot of your stress comes from simply trying to get too much done during the day. If you feel like you are always being asked to host parties, run errands, and do favors for people, it might be time to learn how to say no. This can be really hard to do, but your stress can affect nearly every aspect of your life, including making menopausal symptoms worse, so it is important. Just be honest with people if they ask you to help out with something you simply don’t have time for right now.
Reduce Your Caffeine and Alcohol Intake
Both caffeine and alcohol are stress triggers, as both are stimulants. These types of stimulants give you a short-term boost in your mood, but when it wears off, you feel even worse than you did before. Not only are they bad for your stress and can actually make it worse, but they are also depressants. Caffeine has also been shown to have a negative effect on the stress hormone cortisol, which is only going to make your stress worse. Plus, alcohol tends to affect the normal REM sleeping cycle. Try to switch to other beverages and activities that you can enjoy.
Improve Your Sleep
If you are dealing with high-stress levels while going through menopause, then you should really start focusing on getting better sleep. Insomnia is, unfortunately, a common side effect during menopause, so take your time and figure out what works best for you. This might be taking a relaxing bath with lavender essential oils, drinking a cup of herbal tea before bed, or doing your workout in the evening so you are tired enough for adequate sleep before bed.
Do Something Good for Yourself
Many women find themselves overwhelmed with personal and work responsibilities, and rarely have time for themselves. If this sounds like you, then it is time to pamper yourself more. Schedule time for yourself to get your hair done, get a manicure, go to lunch, or go for a walk on the beach.
The Key to Getting Better Sleep during Menopause
If you struggle with insomnia, you are definitely not alone. Insomnia can come from the emotional and physical side effects, from stress and anxiety to having hot flashes at night. The following natural remedies are available for you to get better sleep as you go through menopause.
Cool Off Your Body
The first thing you need to do is cool your body at night. Your insomnia is probably at least partly due to the night sweats and hot flashes you experience. This might be accomplished by wearing lighter fabrics, using a cooling pillow, or switching the type of sheets and blankets you are using. For some women, having a fan is absolutely essential, while others find that the cooling mattress pads with cotton sheets work wonders. Try different things until you figure out how to cool your body.
Take a Hot Bath before Bed
This might seem counterintuitive, but it actually helps. It is a trick people use when they live in a hot climate. When you take a hot bath, you are increasing the temperature of your body. This makes it to where you can withstand the warmer temperatures, so when you get a hot flash, you don’t actually feel quite as warm as you would have otherwise. Drinking a hot cup of tea before bed can also work in the same way.
Get Enough Exercise
Exercise provides excellent benefits for you during menopause, from helping to relieve your stress, to giving you more energy. However, when it comes time to go to sleep, the exercise you did during the day just might be the trick to sleeping better. Your body will be tired by bedtime from the workout, so you can sleep much more soundly.
Try Natural Sleep Aids
Instead of constantly taking Benadryl or over the counter sleeping aids, try instead to look for natural remedies. This might include a cup of chamomile tea or the use of an essential oils diffuser with lavender essential oil to relax you. These are popular methods that are completely natural and also provide some other menopausal remedies at the same time. Similar to other recommendations, you just need to figure out what works best for you.
Yoga Benefits during Menopause
Exercise is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle during menopause and helping to ease some of those uncomfortable symptoms. In addition to regular exercise, yoga can be very beneficial. Here are some ways yoga helps you during menopause.
You Can Reduce Your Stress
If you are already going through menopause, then you are quite aware of how stressed you become and the effect it has on your mind and body. Plus, stress can then lead to anxiety and even depression, so it is best to get a handle on it now. Yoga is an excellent way to relieve your stress in a more natural way by focusing on breathing exercises and various moves which can get rid of all those negative feelings causing the stress in the first place.
It Helps to Reduce Physical Pain
Another common side effect of menopause is physical discomfort. Where you experience pain or discomfort may vary from person to person, so you might have headaches or migraines, neck pain, or muscle cramps. It is also very common to experience cramps in your abdomen or back very similar to menstrual cramps. For these types of pains, yoga is ideal. You should try Hatha yoga, which is great for beginners and has more gentle moves. Let your yoga instructor know if you have any physical discomfort, and they will show you some modifications as well.
One of the first symptoms people notice when they go through menopause is hot flashes. These are common and can also be accompanied by night sweats. Hot flashes happen randomly throughout the day, where you feel fine one minute, then suddenly it is too hot for you to handle anything. This can also lead to more stress. Luckily, yoga is also useful for relieving the hot flashes, especially when you continue going to yoga on a regular basis.
You Sleep Better
Yoga helps with sleep problems due to menopausal insomnia in a number of ways. It helps you sleep better since yoga helps with stress and anxiety, plus it helps with those hot flashes and night sweats. The breathing exercises help you to relax before bed, and doing exercise during the day also helps you to sleep better at night.
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