Between hot flashes, anxiety and mood swings, among other symptoms, the effects of menopause can be overwhelming. While there are different remedies that may help, 73% of menopausal women, aged 40 to 60 years, do not seek treatment. But you don’t need to just grin and bear your symptoms. Help is on hand for those who do not wish to suffer silently, as they shouldn’t!
Most women are at their wit’s end when they reach menopause. Instead of being a time of celebration, menopause is largely associated with a host of negatives, including weight gain, brain fog and hot flashes, among others. How did menopause get immersed in such negativity? Well, a century or so ago, the life expectancy of most people did not exceed 50 years of age. So, what happened after menopause wasn’t really an issue. Back then, women over 50 were actually considered ‘old ladies’!
Now that women do live so much longer and younger, we need to seriously revisit this subject of menopause. The good news – published medical research clearly shows that menopause doesn’t have to be the beginning of the end of quality of life. Instead, it marks the start of a whole new, fulfilling chapter in a woman’s life.
Menopause occurs at different ages for different women. For most, it sets in around the age of 50, as their bodies transition out of the childbearing years. There are three stages of menopause:
(I) Perimenopause: It occurs in the years prior to full menopause, and is defined by erratic periods (menstrual cycle) and decreased hormone production.
(II) Menopause: When periods stop completely, and many women experience the full range of symptoms, as the body’s mix of hormones change dramatically. This second phase may last from two to ten years, with most women averaging around five years.
(III) Postmenopause: The final stage, when all hormonal changes have taken effect. During this time, women are at an increased risk of osteoporosis, heart attacks and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Hot flashes, a common symptom of the menopausal transition, are uncomfortable and can last many years. When they happen at night, they are called ‘night sweats’. Some women find that hot flashes interrupt their daily lives. Research has shown different patterns for women first experiencing hot flashes and the duration.
Before considering medication, try making lifestyle changes. If hot flashes keep you up at night, lower the temperature in your bedroom and try drinking small amounts of soaked coriander seeds (dhania) water, before bed and first thing in the morning. Try to maintain a healthy weight. Women who are overweight will experience more frequent and severe hot flashes.
Few women reach their mid-40s in a good place nutritionally, which leaves them running in, what I call, ‘economy mode’— feeling tired and unmotivated. Studies show up to 80% of Indian women are short of important nutrients such as Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Cobalt, Zinc and very important Vitamins D, B6, B12 and C, as also essential fatty acids. As hormonal balance can be affected by the levels of nutrients in your body, increasing your intake of these often-shortchanged nutrients, can go a long way towards helping with menopause and beyond. Magnesium, for example, when taken with other essential nutrients, such as B vitamins, Vitamin D, calcium, zinc, and fatty acids, has shown a positive influence on brain chemistry and hormonal function. Good sources of these nutrients include fresh fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables.
Consume Mother Nature’s phytoestrogens throughout the day and evening to satisfy the needs of the estrogen receptors in your cells. Including foods such as barley, sesame, lentils, flaxseed, soybeans, and tofu into your meal plan will help. These plant foods have a molecular structure so similar to your own estrogen, you can fool the brain into thinking you have balanced estrogen levels again, resulting in the disappearance of thermal surges you know as hot flashes and night sweats. Phytoestrogen has been hailed by many researchers as the natural alternative to hormone replacement therapy.
Exercise For Easing Menopausal Symptoms
Exercising regularly can release the happy hormone, called endorphin, which helps relieve menopause symptoms, making irritability and mood swings easier to cope with. Even going for short daily walks or doing yoga stretches helps keep your body functioning well. As a bonus, exercise helps speed up your flagging metabolism at midlife, burning up fat rather than allowing it to settle around your waist and hips.
Relaxation Lessen Anxiety And Other Menopause Symptoms
Another often-overlooked way to manage menopause, that almost everyone can benefit from, is finding ‘Me-Time’ for relaxation. Practice relaxation techniques such as Deep breathing, Visual imagery and Mindfulness. Such techniques can help to significantly reduce hot flashes and relieve other menopausal symptoms including anxiety, insomnia, and fatigue.
Myofascial and deep tissue massage therapy has been scientifically proven to help manage symptoms of peri-menopause and menopause. With many physical and emotional benefits, regular therapy can be immensely supportive and therapeutic to help women through this significant stage in their lives, without the side effects of conventional medicinal treatments. Hormone Replacement Therapies (HRT) have been linked with increased risk of stroke and other concerns. Thus an alternative to HRT is always welcome for those who seek a holistic approach, without the side effects of conventional medicines, to alleviate their symptoms.
Benefits Of Therapeutic Myofascial Release For Women Experiencing Menopause:
- Headache relief
- Tension release
- Increased range of motion
- Improved connection to the body, increasing ownership in the process, rather than a feeling of powerlessness.
- Activation of the relaxation response, for frequent hot flashes. Research from Harvard Medical School’s Women’s Health Services department found that massage techniques that activate the parasympathetic nervous system, can be a most effective treatment to regulate menopause symptoms.
- Reduced insomnia.
Many women have asked me, what is the best natural remedy for menopause. Like various health conditions, menopause symptoms will likely benefit from a broad palette of self-care habits, including proper nutrition, yoga, exercise, massage, aromatherapy, and many more. But if you were to ask me specifically, I would say ‘support’. This is a major life event, and it can co-occur with so many other stressors. Talking to your trusted expert, a family member or your best friend helps a lot. You really don’t have to be alone in your challenge.
Today, I have shared some of the ways to help relieve your symptoms. With effort, each woman can discover the best treatment combination for her symptoms. Consulting a wellness expert will help you chart a personalised plan of action, making sure you live happier, more focused, less irritable, and much more like your cheerful, happy self!