Natural Ways to Overcome Common Menopause Symptoms
Women in their 40s and 50s can expect to experience many different symptoms of menopause, a process that for many women continues for a few years. During this time, the majority of women (nearly two-thirds), report experiencing symptoms of menopause including: unpredictable mood swings, irritability, hot flashes, night sweats, and persistent fatigue. Menopausal women are also at a higher risk of diseases such as obesity, osteoporosis, diabetes, and heart disease.
Even today, the details of how some menopausal symptoms manifest, such as hot flashes, are still not entirely understood. However, there is some promising news. Research has pointed to a decline in estrogen as the culprit for some symptoms, which results in an interference with a woman’s internal temperature gauge. Some women resort to hormone therapy to treat their menopause symptoms, while others prefer a more natural and holistic approach. Regardless of what your symptoms may be, having an arsenal of go-to natural coping hacks is an important part of relieving symptoms of menopause. Some of the following tips may be a real godsend when you are feeling hot, agitated, bloated and tired.
10 Ways To Naturally Reduce Menopause Symptoms
1. Black cohosh
Native American cultures have been using the herb black cohosh for centuries to help relieve symptoms related to menopause. Some studies have shown that this herb is effective in ameliorating hot flashes, but some nutritionists are still skeptical due to a lack of any long-term data. It has also been shown to promote better moods as well as sleep. Black cohosh can interact with medications and other herbs, so be sure to consult your doctor before using the herb as a supplement.
2. Eat foods that are high in phytoestrogens
Lots of plants and seeds contain compounds called phytoestrogens which essentially mimic the effects of estrogen in a woman’s body. Asian countries have a higher intake of phytoestrogens due to their diet which has sometimes been credited for women in Japan rarely experiencing hot flashes. Foods that contain phytoestrogens include soybeans, tofu, tempeh, sesame seeds, flaxseed, and beans.
Studies have also shown that phytoestrogens may even reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and reduce hot flashes and night sweats. However, it’s important to know that evidence regarding these results has been mixed.
3. Controlled breathing exercises
A somewhat unique technique to help ease and alleviate menopause symptoms, specifically hot flashes, is to practice special breathing techniques. A study has shown that taking extremely long, slow, and deep breaths can help regulate body temperature, decrease fatigue, and even improve mood. Participants of the study who performed twice-daily deep breathing exercises experienced a 52% reduction in hot flashes. Those who performed them once-a-day still saw a 42% reduction. Make it a point to slow your breathing down to six breaths per minute for 15 minutes.
4. Say Yes to Magnesium
Shockingly, a majority of women (nearly 75%) are deficient in magnesium. This mineral is rarely found in sufficient amounts in our modern diets due to farming practices and food processing, but it’s vital to our well-being, especially during menopause. Magnesium is known as an anti-anxiety and anti-stress mineral and has been shown to reduce hot flashes and raise serotonin levels, which improves mood. Another bonus? Taking magnesium can also lead to better, deeper sleep and even stronger bones. Look for a supplement with magnesium derived from natural sources.
5. Regular sexual intercourse
“Vaginal atrophy” is the drying and shrinking of vaginal tissue after a woman has entered menopause. This can lead to pain during sex, itching, dryness, and bleeding. Fortunately, it can be prevented by maintaining blood flow to the area. If it’s an option, regular sexual intercourse can help do this!
6. Drink green tea
Memory problems are another symptom associated with menopause. There are several natural things you can do to keep your memory sharp – and green tea is one of those things. Green tea has been shown to have multiple health benefits, such as boosting the immune system, and maybe even preventing some cancers. And recently, this tasty beverage has even been linked to preventing enzyme activity that damages memory.
Acupuncture isn’t a widely understood treatment, but if you’re experiencing menopause symptoms, the practice may bring great relief. Studies have shown that acupuncture can improve mood, reduce hot flashes, and ease night sweats. To achieve maximum benefits, it’s best to have at least 8 treatments — and effects can last for up to 6 months. Modern research suggests that acupuncture works by stimulating nerves, which then send signals to the brain to release specific hormones and/or by reducing inflammatory biomarkers in the body.
8. Play games that stimulate your brain
Brain fog is another all-too-common symptom of menopause. If you ever feel forgetful, disorganized, or like you’re sort of just ‘floating’ through your day, you might want to try some mental stimulation throughout the day. Just like our bodies, our brains need exercise. Researchers suggest downloading and playing games that are designed to exercise and stimulate different areas of your brain. It should be noted, though, that there are conflicting views on the effectiveness of brain games. Other ways you can give your brain some extra stimulation is by learning a new language, taking a dance class, doing crossword puzzles, or taking up a new hobby.
9. Raise your spirits with saffron
Feeling sad or depressed is common among women post-menopause. It’s no wonder, though — since the hormones aren’t what they used to be. Thankfully, the fragrant and tasty spice saffron may be able to help. Saffron is derived from a dried portion of a flower in the iris family. Research has shown that taking saffron stigma (which is the rod-like stem of the flower), can be an effective treatment for mild to moderate symptoms of depression.
10. Oily fish
Women who are not yet in their menopausal years might want to consider upping their oily fish intake. A study of 914 women showed that a high intake of oily fish like salmon, mackerel, or sardines seemed to have delayed the onset of menopause by 3.3 years per portion per day. The same research found that refined pasta and rice led to menopause occurring 1.5 years earlier, on average.
(BONUS TIP) Perform Kegel exercises
Losing sexual pleasure during menopause is common, and so is slight incontinence or a leaking bladder. By performing Kegel exercises, you can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, help improve sensation during intercourse and reduce incontinence. It’s recommended to do them several times a day for at least 2-4 weeks in order to see results.
Going through menopause is certainly not a walk in the park. If you are experiencing the beginning stages of what seems to be menopause or if you are smack in the middle of all the hot flashes and night sweats, we hope some of these natural coping mechanisms help alleviate the worst of your discomforts. Give some of them a try and start feeling better!