For centuries, women have turned to natural solutions to relieve the unpleasant symptoms of menopause, including night sweats, weight gain, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness. These symptoms are caused by declining levels of estrogen, which eventually reach zero post-menopause. While bioidentical hormone therapy (BHRT) may be a good choice if your menopause symptoms are severely affecting your life, you may have luck balancing your hormones and improving your well-being through these natural remedies.
Focus on Phytoestrogens
Phytoestrogens are plant-based xenoestrogens that are consumed through food, not produced by your body’s endocrine system. These estrogen-like compounds are weaker than the estrogen your body produces, but they can help restore hormonal balance to your body. Phytoestrogens are found in seasonings like garlic; grains such as wheat, soybeans, and rice; vegetables like carrots and beans; fruits like cherries and dates; and coffee.
You may find some herbs offer relief from menopausal hot flashes. A good example is the herb shatavari, which has been used for generations to rejuvenate the female reproductive system and ease the transition through menopause.
Another example is black cohosh root, which is often promoted as a natural herbal treatment for menopause. Black cohosh root is believed by herbalists to treat many symptoms of menopause and one small study found that 80 menopausal women who took it for 3 months cut the average number of hot flashes from 5 to 1 per day. The herb has also been approved by the German Ministry of Health to treat menopausal hot flashes.
Some women find acupuncture treatments offer relief from the symptoms of menopause and it’s often covered by insurance. Research has found that acupuncture may reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes without the risk of stroke and heart disease that may accompany hormone therapy. You can learn more about acupuncture and menopause here.
Meditation and Mindful Breathing
Daily meditation combined with mindful breathing may help you get through hot flashes and other unpleasant symptoms. When you feel a hot flash coming on, stop and inhale through your nose as you count to four. Hold your breath while counting to seven, then fully exhale on the count of 8. Complete this three times.
Several studies have found that yoga can improve the depression and irritability that often accompany menopause. Regular yoga can help you overcome mood swings and improve your overall well-being. You can try yoga at home or take a weekly yoga class to help you get the basics.
Holistic treatments for menopause may help you overcome many of the symptoms of menopause. Make sure you discuss any herbal treatments with your physician ahead of time to make sure they won’t interact with any medication you are taking.