Menopause is an unavoidable transition in a woman’s life; for some, they cross over into this new phase of life with ease, while others can experience a range of unpleasant symptoms that result from the drastic hormonal changes taking place during this time. If you find yourself suffering from hot flashes, mood swings and other hallmark symptoms of ‘’the change,’’ take heart that there are many natural strategies that have been shown to be effective. Like any treatment, natural or pharmaceutical, not everything may work for every person, so it is important to experiment. Natural approaches may also take longer to produce results so be patient and consistent with applying them.
Meditation is one of those things that seem to help an eclectic mix of conditions, and while we are often skeptical about anything that appears to be a panacea, research appears to back up the claims. While researchers are not always sure how meditation produces the results it does, one thing appears clear—it does get results. When studied specifically for menopause, findings were encouraging.
Menopausal women who meditated experienced a decrease in stress and anxiety, reported sleeping better and an improved overall quality of life. In one study, which tracked experience with hot flashes, both the meditation group and the control group reported a decreased intensity on equal levels; but, the women who practiced meditation reported feeling less threatened by the episodes and able to deal with them better. Mediation can help change perception and reduce stress, so even if you are still experiencing symptoms, it may help you cope with them better, which is significant.
Used for thousands of years in the East, acupuncture is another practice that is finally starting to get its due in the West. It operates on the premise that a life force runs through the body on a pathway of channels called meridians; when it gets blocked in certain areas, certain symptoms manifest. Research has found it appears to affect the body in numerous ways, such as stimulating the production of certain beneficial substances in the body. Several studies have found that acupuncture may be effective in treating symptoms of menopause, particularly hot flashes and insomnia; the World Health Organization has approved it as a treatment for this condition.
Herbs and other Natural Supplements
There are many herbal supplements that may help with the symptoms of menopause; if you are having trouble sleeping, you might want to buy chamomile tea infused with a variety of other herbs that are also known to produce relaxation and aid sleep—these drinks may pack an extra punch that chamomile alone cannot. Another drink prized by herbalists for balancing female hormones is raspberry leaf tea, which has been recommended for pregnancy, menopause and general female wellness. Flax seed may also be beneficial for its rich phytoestrogen content; it is also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which may help stabilize moods and reduce anxiety and depression. Natural progesterone creams are also a popular treatment for menopausal women. Vitamin E supplementation may help decrease hot flashes.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who covers a range of health and wellness topics; she is particularly passionate about natural health.