Menopause is a natural transition in a woman’s life, marking the end of her reproductive years, and it often takes women by surprise amidst the demands and schedules of a busy life. Some women sale through this time of transition, yet others experience various symptoms that can impact daily life, including hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, and sleep disturbances. Fortunately, complementary medicine offers a range of holistic approaches to managing these symptoms, including herbal medicine, nutritional and dietary strategies, and lifestyle adjustments to establish hormonal balance.

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Herbal Medicines for Menopause Symptoms

Herbal medicine has been used for centuries to support various aspects of health, including hormonal balance during menopause. A naturopath will prescribe a herbal medicine formulated to address your specific menopausal state drawing on some of these herbs and often others as well, but these following herbs will be drawn upon frequently in menopause formulas.

Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa formerly Cimicifuga racemosa)

Black cohosh has been shown to help reduce hot flashes, night sweats, and other menopausal symptoms by modulating hormone levels. Studies suggest it may have estrogen-like effects, which can help alleviate hormone-related symptoms.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Known for its calming properties, lavender can help reduce anxiety, stress, and insomnia often experienced during menopause. Aromatherapy using lavender essential oil may help improve sleep quality and promote relaxation.

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)

Rich in isoflavones, red clover may mimic estrogen in the body, helping to alleviate hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings. Some studies show positive effects on bone density and cardiovascular health as well.

Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus)

Chasteberry has been used to support hormonal balance, particularly in reducing symptoms of PMS. While its effects on menopause are less researched, it may help improve mood and support overall hormonal health.

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

Known for its mood-enhancing properties, St. John’s Wort can help alleviate mild to moderate depression and anxiety associated with menopause.

Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis)

Dong Quai has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to support women’s reproductive health. It may help balance hormone levels, improve mood, and reduce hot flashes, although more research is needed to confirm its efficacy.

Withania (Withania somnifera)

Also known as Ashwagandha, this adaptogenic herb can help the body adapt to stress, improve mood, and support overall hormone balance.

Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus)

A popular Ayurvedic herb, Shatavari is believed to help balance female hormones, support fertility, and alleviate menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, and vaginal dryness.

Korean Ginseng (Panax ginseng)

This adaptogenic herb may help improve energy levels, support cognitive function, and reduce fatigue during menopause. Some studies also suggest it can have a positive impact on mood and sexual function.

Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum)

Milk thistle is often used to support liver health, which plays a crucial role in hormone detoxification. By promoting liver function, milk thistle may help maintain hormonal balance during menopause.

Sage (Salvia officinalis)

Sage has been shown to help reduce hot flashes, night sweats, and excessive sweating. It may also improve mood and cognitive function during menopause.

Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)

Another adaptogenic herb, Rhodiola can help combat fatigue, improve mental clarity, and support overall hormone balance.

It’s essential to consult with a qualified naturopathic practitioner before using herbal medicine, as some herbs may interact with medications or have contraindications. A practitioner can recommend the appropriate herbs, dosages, and formulations tailored to your individual needs and menopause symptoms.

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Nutritional approaches for Menopause Symptoms

 Optimising your nutrition during menopause is crucial for managing symptoms and maintaining overall health. A well-balanced diet, along with specific nutrient supplementation, can significantly impact your wellbeing during this transitional time. Here’s  of nutritional treatments and dietary strategies that may help alleviate menopause symptoms:

Phytoestrogens

Found in plant-based foods such as soy, flaxseeds, and legumes, phytoestrogens have a estrogen-like effect on the body. The addition of these foods in your daily diet may help balance hormone levels and reduce symptoms like hot flushes and night sweats.

Calcium and Vitamin D

With the decline in estrogen levels, bone density can decrease, increasing the risk of osteoporosis. Consuming calcium-rich foods like dairy products, leafy greens, and fortified plant-based milk, along with vitamin D, can support bone health during menopause.

Magnesium

This essential mineral is vital for various physiological functions and can help reduce symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, and muscle cramps. The addition of magnesium-rich foods such as almonds, spinach, and pumpkin seeds into your diet is beneficial to hormonal health at all stages of life, but particularly in peri and menopause.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Found in fatty fish, walnuts, and chia seeds, omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flushes. They also support cardiovascular health, which can be impacted during menopause.

B Vitamins

Essential for energy production and mood regulation, B vitamins can help alleviate fatigue and mood swings. Having a diet rich with whole grains, lean meats, and leafy greens will boost your vitamin B levels, but you may still benefit from taking a good quality B complex supplement.

Probiotics

A healthy gut microbiome is essential for overall health and hormone balance. Consuming probiotics through fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut, or taking a high-quality probiotic supplement, can support gut health and promote hormone regulation during menopause.

Antioxidants

Menopause can increase oxidative stress, leading to inflammation and chronic health issues. Boost your intake of antioxidant-rich foods like berries, dark chocolate, and green tea  to combat oxidative stress and support overall health.

Sea Buckthorn Oil

Sea buckthorn oil is rich in essential nutrients including Vitamin E, Omega fatty acids 3, 6, and antioxidants and phytonutrients. These properties make sea buckthorn oil particularly helpful for peri and menopausal women experiencing vaginal dryness, a common symptom of hormonal changes during this stage of life. Sea buckthorn oil can be taken orally as a supplement but is especially good as a topical treatment for vaginal dryness.

Hydration

Staying hydrated is essential for maintaining healthy bodily functions, including hormone regulation. Aim to drink at least 8 cups of water daily and consume water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables to maintain optimal hydration levels, if you live in the tropic you will probably need even more water during the summer months. It’s important to point out here that soft drink, colas, tea and coffee and of course alcohol are not included in this fluid intake, although herbal teas do count.

Balanced Diet

Create a diet plan that focuses on whole foods, including lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, to support hormonal balance and overall health during menopause. Limit processed foods, added sugars, and excessive caffeine to avoid exacerbating symptoms.

Mindful Eating

Listening to your body’s hunger and fullness cues can help you maintain a healthy weight during menopause, which is important for hormone balance and overall wellbeing. Practice mindful eating techniques, such as eating slowly, savoring each bite, and paying attention to your body’s signals.

Incorporating these nutritional treatments and dietary strategies into your daily routine can significantly impact your menopause journey. If you would like assistance with formulating a healthy eating plan to support you through menopause, I love working with women and creating meal plans that inspire and delight the senses and improve your vitality in menopause. Working with a qualified naturopathic practitioner who can tailor a personalised nutrition plan for your unique needs and symptoms can be a game changer in menopause.  Remember, consistency and patience are key when implementing new dietary changes for lasting results.

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Lifestyle Suggestions

In addition to herbal medicine and dietary changes, making some lifestyle adjustments can help manage menopause your symptoms.

Exercise regularly

Engaging in regular physical activity such as yoga and tai chi can improve mood, support bone health, and help maintain a healthy body weight during menopause. These practices can also help enhance balance, flexibility, and mindfulness, which contribute to overall wellbeing.

Prioritize sleep

Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to support hormone balance and overall wellbeing. Establish a consistent sleep schedule and create a calming bedtime routine to promote better sleep. Sprinkling some lavender essential oil on your pillow promtes sleep and relaxation.

Manage stress

Chronic stress can exacerbate menopause symptoms. Incorporate stress-reduction techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or mindfulness practices into your daily routine. Finding the right work-life balance can also help reduce stress and create a more harmonious lifestyle.

Stay connected

Maintaining social connections and nurturing relationships with friends, family, and intimate partners can improve mood and provide a support network during menopause. Open communication and understanding can also enhance sexual intimacy, as you and your partner may need to adapt to physical and emotional changes that occur during this time.

Foster sexual health

Menopause can lead to changes in sexual desire and comfort during sexual intimacy. Vaginal dryness commonly happens with the drop of oestrogen and needs to be addressed to prevent trauma and discomfort during penetrative intimacy. Many women find they need to make changes to sexual routines during menopause, due to lower libido, vaginal dryness and thinning. Talk with your partner about ways to adapt, and find solutions that work for you. Experiment with different forms of intimacy, lubricants, or relaxation techniques to maintain a fulfilling sexual relationship. Speak with your GP or Naturopath to explore solutions so you can enjoy sexual intimacy for as long as you wish.

Embrace self-care

Taking time for yourself is crucial during menopause. Prioritize self-care activities that nourish your body, mind, and spirit, such as reading, journaling, taking a relaxing bath, or engaging in a creative hobby.

By incorporating these lifestyle modifications into your daily routine, you can create a supportive environment that allows you to better manage menopause symptoms and enhance your overall quality of life.

Managing menopause symptoms can be effectively approached through a combination of  herbal medicine, nutritional and dietary strategies, and lifestyle modifications. By taking a holistic approach, you can improve your overall wellbeing and navigate the menopause transition with greater ease. If you’re interested in a more comprehensive and guided approach, consider joining our upcoming Menopause Makeover program, designed to provide personalized support and tailored solutions to help you thrive during this phase of life. Don’t forget to follow us on social media for regular updates, tips, and resources to support your journey towards optimal health and wellness during menopause and beyond.

 

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Menopause Makeover – 8 week program

Check out my blog post on Healthy recipes to support you in menopause.

If you’d like more information on how I can support you during menopause, I’d love to work with you.

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