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.
Controlling Symptoms of Menopause
Ready to find ways to naturally control your menopause symptoms? Let’s take a look at them one by one.
- Hot flushes: While many women think hot flushes are inevitable, there are things you can do to control them! A number of things can trigger hot flushes, 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.
- Insomnia: Since insomnia is frequently caused by hot flushes 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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