7 Natural Ways to Treat Menopause Symptoms
There’s more to treating menopause symptoms than prescription drugs and hormone therapies. Here are seven do-it-yourself strategies that can help you find relief from the hot flashes, moodiness and anxiety associated with menopause.
1. Practice deep breathing.
Several times a day, use your breath to release tension in your body by taking a deep breath in and, with the exhalation, releasing tension from the part of your body that is holding it in (often the back of your neck and shoulders).
The deep-breathing technique helps you maintain your cool when you get upset or anxious. Anxiety can precipitate or aggravate hot flashes. One study found that women with moderate anxiety experienced three times the hot flashes of women with normal anxiety scores; those with high anxiety had five times the number of hot flashes.
2. Dress in layers.
It’s important that you dress in layers (i.e., a camisole, then a T-shirt, then a jacket or sweater) so you can take off and put on clothing as necessary. Natural fibres breathe more than synthetics.
3. Take a yoga class.
Several studies indicate yoga helps reduce anxiety and depression, as well as levels of stress-related hormones.
4. Do-it-yourself aromatherapy.
Mix 1 ounce (25 millilitres) water and 1/4 ounce (6 millilitres) alcohol (vodka or other odourless alcohol is best; isopropyl or rubbing alcohol will smell of the alcohol, but you can use it in a pinch). Add 10 to 15 drops of one or more of the following essential oils: chamomile, clary sage, geranium, peppermint or lavender. Shake the bottle and spray over your body whenever you feel a flash coming on. You can also pat it on your face, chest, arms and neck.
The spritz won’t stop a hot flash, but it can cool you down fast thanks to the evaporation of the water and alcohol (recall that rubbing alcohol is often used to bring down a fever). The aromatherapy oils all have calming effects. A warning: The oils can stain cotton.
5. Drink a pomegranate blend.
Mix 1 cup (250 millilitres) pomegranate juice with 1 teaspoon (5 milligrams) sugar and 1/2 teaspoon (2 millilitres) lime juice. Refrigerate and drink every time you feel a hot flash coming on. The pomegranate juice mixture is a centuries-old Ayurvedic remedy for hot flashes. There aren’t any published studies on it, but pomegranates contain large amounts of phytoestrogens, which could help moderate some menopausal symptoms. Also important, the powerful antioxidants in pomegranate juice can provide cardiovascular protection-something every menopausal woman should be concerned with.
6. Sleep with a fan blowing on you.
Keeping your bedroom as cool as possible at night will help you sleep. A fan not only cools you down, but dries you off after sweaty flashes. This is also a good time to invest in some high-quality, 100 per cent cotton bedsheets. You’ll find them much cooler to sleep on than synthetic fabrics. (Ditto for your nightgown or pajamas.)
One study of 45 women comparing acupuncture to oral estrogen therapy or a fake acupuncture treatment found that while the oral estrogen had the greatest effect, the women receiving acupuncture still had significantly fewer hot flashes. The fake acupuncture treatment worked too (there’s often a large placebo effect with hot flash remedies).