For women in our 40's (or mid 30's) our body starts to go through many changes. This is a time when our bodies start to experience the symptoms of peri-menopause or menopause. Throughout this article we will explore the 7 most common symptoms:
1. Weight gain - Can unfortunately happen no matter how much you exercise or count calories. If you are experiencing this you may have low estrogen or progesterone, high cortisol or insulin, or possibly even low thyroid.
Managing your stress levels through things like meditation can provide support. Find a satisfying form of moving your body each day, walk, weight train, yoga, etc.
Dietary changes like reducing sugar can provide improvements. Another tactic I found beneficial was utilizing a seed rotation program. Learn more about seed rotation on the Hormones Balance website.
Essential oils can also provide support. A lotion with geranium (Pelagonium roseum x asperum) applied to the bottoms of the feet both morning and night can help to reduce sugar cravings. Pink Grapefruit (Citrus paradisii) oil inhaled 15 minutes before a meal triggers leptin production, a hormone that helps you feel satisfied so you will eat less.
2. Sleep issues - Estrogen changes can wreak havoc on our sleep. Again, managing our stress is important. Having a positive bed time routine which includes no screen time 1 hour before bed.
Consider some gentle stretching followed by a bath with Epsom salts before bed. Keep your bedroom cool and completely dark.
Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides) essential oil utilized on acupoint Kidney 1 provides a soothing benefit.
3. Hot Flashes - Drops in estrogen and progesterone are the main culprit of hot flashes and night sweats. It is important to take care of your liver and gall bladder during this time. As the ovaries wind down they pass the responsibility on to the liver and adrenal glands. Having a clean liver will make this transition smoother. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the liver is the organ of heat. When the liver is congested or sluggish it creates heat and can trigger hot flashes and night sweats.
A favorite drink for me is dandelion root and milk thistle seed as a tea. They are supportive to the liver. In this video I share how to make a caffeine and dairy free latte
Essential oils can be supportive for calming night sweats. A recipe I like can be found on page 81 of my book Aromatherapy for Menopause Success:
Gone in a Flash Spritzer
2 oz dark glass bottle with spray top
.75 oz Peppermint hydrosol
.25 oz Aloe Vera gel
6 drops Peppermint (Mentha X piperita)
4 drops Geranium (Pelagonium roseum x asperum)
5 drops Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)
8 drops Lemon (Citrus limonum)
4 drops Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
Mix the essential oils and aloe vera gel together and place in 2 oz container. Add peppermint hydrosol, place the lid on and shake well. Spritz over face, neck and chest at the onset of a hot flash. Avoid eyes.
4. Irritability/Moodiness - Part of the menopause journey is irritability. Estrogen dominance tends to be a cause. Our diets can play a big part in estrogen and progesterone imbalance. Try eating more plant-based options. Another factor that many people don’t realize is chemicals in our everyday body care products. Many of them are hormone disrupting that can mimic estrogen, you can view a list on the Environmental Working Groups site.
It is important to have some quiet reflective time each day. Consider writing in a journal or meditation.
As part of my morning routine I will use acupressure point Shen Men with a drop of Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) essential oil. This practice has helped me to remain calm and balanced throughout the day.
I also enjoy Jasmine (Jasminum grandiflorum) in the diffuser.
5. Brain Fog - I can’t tell you how many times I locked my keys in my car the year I began menopause! I admit I was stressed at that point in my life. I really needed to start looking at the bigger picture of my life but at the same time I felt like my brain was pea soup. Generally, brain fog is caused because of drops in estrogen or a rise in cortisol.
As I shared above caffeine raises cortisol levels. Drinking herbal teas such as my latte helped. Along with long walks in nature and a daily meditation practice.
There are a large variety of ways to include essential oils for stress reduction. Creating a massage oil with rose before bedtime. Also, inhalers with oils such as Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis), Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata) or Peppermint (Mentha X piperita).
6. Vaginal dryness - One of the most uncomfortable and depressing effects of menopause in my opinion. This dryness usually occurs when as our estrogen levels drop. Communicating with your partner is key in helping to find new ways of enjoying intimacy together.
I love a product called Julva developed by Dr. Anna Cabeca. It helps resolve dryness issues with natural botanical compounds. Visit Dr. Anna Cabeca's site to get a free 7-day sample.
Essential oil of Rose (Rosa x damascena) with organic hazelnut oil works great as a lubricant and is compatible with your body’s own pH. I share many ideas and recipes in my new book on supporting yourself for intimacy.
7. Hair loss - Many women experience hair loss or thinning hair during menopause. The good side of this is you don’t have to shave your legs as often; the downside is a drain full of hair every time you shampoo. Elevated cortisol or possibly low thyroid hormone levels may be a cause.
Clary sage (Salvia sclarea) and peppermint (Mentha X piperita) essential oil can be beneficial to promote hair growth when applied on a regular basis. I add a few drops to my conditioner.
Don’t forget to check your shampoo and conditioner for endocrine disruptors that may be contributing to hair loss.
As we go through these changes it is important to work with your doctor and have all your hormone levels checked. If you would like to explore these issues more deeply please join one of my classes https://menopause-success.teachable.com or book an appointment.