Enter your email to get updates, tips and exercises to help you experience healing and transformation.
It seems like everyone is talking about menopause natural remedies these days. The amount of information is not only overwhelming, but confusing. How do you sort out what really works, what is safe, and where you need to start?
I hope to be able to help you answer these questions for yourself. I am post-menopausal now (April, 2015), by about eight years, but I experienced many of the symptoms of menopause and peri menopause, and some of them were pretty intense!
While I was in my forties I studied herbal medicine and learned that there are hundreds of herbs, many of which grow naturally where I live (in the Sierra foothills in California), that can eliminate symptoms or conditions and improve energy, longevity, and vitality, in a natural way that doesn't harm the body.
I learned that many of these herbs have a history of safe and effective use over hundreds of years, and that our science-based, pharmaceutical solutions are only a few decades old.
Many of our drugs originally were derived from herbs, and some still are today. Think digitalis, which is a drug used to treat congestive heart failure. Other names are digoxin, or digitoxin.
Digitalis is also the botanical name for the plant Genus that the drug is derived from (foxglove is in this group). Although not used anymore, it was used by doctors starting in the eighteenth century. UCLA has an interesting bit of history about it, here.
You can learn to use herbs to help you through peri menopause and menopause as well. It will take a little bit of research and experimentation, but I think you will find it to be worth it!
Find out if it's related to menopause. You are probably not going crazy, even though it may feel like it
Your body is transforming, and the last time that happened was either pregnancy, or puberty.
To find out more about what's normal, see menopause symptoms
Decide what you want to work on. Do you just have some hot flashes you want to get rid of? You may find an herbal supplement such as Remifemin, a well-tested formulation of black cohosh, is all you need.
Or maybe you have several issues: mood swings, fatigue, constipation, brain fog. This might require a slightly more aggressive approach, such as bioidentical hormone therapy.
Maybe you are like me, and have a complicating factor, such as autoimmune thyroid disease. In this case, you may need to address your diet and potential food sensitivities, and start taking superfoods or other targeted supplements.
There are natural menopause remedies that can help you sleep, calm your irritability, lift your depression, ease your anxiety, stop your tears, and maybe even get rid of those nasty hot flashes. Or at least reduce their intensity or their frequency. Most remedies, especially if used intelligently, are safe and effective.
You get to choose. You don't have to settle for antidepressants, or synthetic hormones, or know-it-all doctors who assure you it's all in your head. (How in the world can a male doctor understand what menopause is like?)
Menopause is a physical, emotional, and spiritual experience
It is not a set of symptoms, or an estrogen-deficiency disease
It is a rite of passage.
There can be tremendous power in it, but that will be up to you.
The symptoms that occur during menopause can disrupt your life. My first hot flashes were so intense that all I could think about was having a fire hose full of ice water turned on my head. They left me shaking and exhausted.
I had migraines for the first time in perimenopause.
I would walk around my house in tears....for no reason.
I went from falling asleep almost before my head hit the pillow, not to wake until morning, to waking up several times each night to go to the bathroom (usually awakened with a night sweat), tossing and turning, and waking up feeling more tired than when I went to bed.
I had two ambulance rides to the hospital (a place I usually avoid) – the first was a panic attack (Panic attack? Really? What the heck is that?) and the second was vertigo. I was most certainly not living in the same body. Years of what I thought were fairly healthy habits were now sabotaging all of my efforts to feel well and get through the day.
Through all of this, I used natural remedies for menopause.
According to Gail Sheehy (2011), (author of The Silent Passage), a Gallup-Healthways study recently found that middle-aged American women have the lowest well-being of any age group, and of any generation of middle-aged women before them.
This was attributed to the fact that most women still have a child or two at home, and are also caring for a parent. So chances are, you are already stressed out. And going through menopause is a stressful experience for your body, on top of whatever stress you are already dealing with.
1 in 4 middle-aged women (ages 45 to 55) are on an antidepressant
1 in 5 do not have enough energy to get through the day
Given these facts, it's not too surprising that we have trouble during menopause.
The good news is that there are natural remedies for menopause symptoms from depression and fatigue, to insomnia and weight loss.
My journey to health has been one of ongoing discovery. Just in the last month I have discovered not only that I have low blood sugar, but that it is extremely disruptive to my functioning in my life, and that I have developed many (unhealthy) ways of dealing with it, because I have to function.
Some of what you learn may be frustrating or depressing. For example, Greer (1991), says,
“The enormous proliferation of menopause literature belies the utter lack of understanding of what is really going on. No one knows why ovulation ceases or even when it ceases, or what symptoms are caused by it and not by aging, or even whether younger menopauses are more easily lived through than older ones. Nothing about menopause can be predicted, no risk factors can be isolated, no preventive measures suggested.”
Also from Greer (1991), “At all levels and in all therapies, placebo response is high, sometimes dominant.”
If you are having a difficult menopause or perimenopause, like I did, you will be largely on your own to determine how to help yourself with natural remedies for menopause. Your difficulty may be related to other chronic issues or diseases that are taking their toll on your body.
I will provide you with as much information as I can. If you have valuable information to share, whether it's about successful use of natural remedies for menopause, or your experimentation with same, please submit your story here. That way we can all help each other.
If you are wondering if your symptoms are related to menopause, see Perimenopause Symptoms
If you are concerned about weight gain, what causes it and how to lose it using natural remedies for menopause, see Menopause and Weight Gain
See Herbs for Menopause to learn about the difference between herbs and medicine, using herbs for nutrition, which herbs are the best natural remedies for menopause, and the safety, effectiveness and any side effects.
If you want to learn about effectiveness, safety, and side effects of bioidentical hormones, along with when and how to use progesterone cream and other bioidentical hormones as natural remedies for menopause, see Bioidentical Hormone Therapy and Natural Estrogen Replacement
If you have a specific symptom, like hot flashes, depression, insomnia or fatigue, see those pages for information and natural remedies for menopause that can help.
If you have multiple symptoms or severe symptoms, see Menopause Health for discussions about low blood sugar, food sensitivities, gut health and it's impact on many diseases, Menopause Diets (what to eat and what to avoid), Menopause Foods (Soy, Vitamin A, low-fat vs. healthy fat, digestion) Stress, Thyroid issues, Soy, Diet and Depression, and other natural remedies for menopause health.
Natural Menopause Treatment discusses when to use aromatherapy (the use of essential oils), diet, homeopathy, herbs, supplements and natural antiaging skin care.
And if you can't find what you're looking for, use the search button at the top left of all pages.
Menopause is not an estrogen-deficiency disease. It is a developmental transition. Going through menopause can be depressing, frustrating, enlightening, stressful and more.
It cannot be eliminated
It cannot be paused
It cannot be conquered or combated
And if you grasp the real meaning and opportunity of this transition, you won't want to eliminate it. It is the path to your power.
You will be a different person physiologically when it is over.
Modern medicine, called allopathic medicine, is very compartmentalized. It wants to take everything apart and isolate a symptom that can be suppressed with a drug, but it doesn't look at the whole picture.
A good example of the difference in philosophy is a statement from the Preface to The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Medicine, an ancient Chinese medical text. Also called the Neijing, it is considered a classic on Taoism and the highest authority on Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM.
“[The Neijing of the Yellow Emperor] gives a holistic picture of human life. It does not separate external changes – geographic, climatic, and seasonal, for instance – from internal changes such as emotions and our responses to them. It tells how our way of life and our environment affect our health...implying that all phenomena of the world stimulate, tonify, subdue or depress one's natural life force.” (Ni, 1995).
Over 50% of Americans have a chronic disease. These are known as lifestyle diseases because changes in lifestyle can prevent or reverse them. Good nutrition is one of the best natural remedies for menopause.
But before you go thinking it's your fault if you have one of these diseases, you must know that much of the information you receive about being healthy is flawed.
The Power of Money
Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, states, “The spread of BSE [mad cow disease] in Europe has revealed how secret alliances between agribusiness and government can endanger the public health. It has shown how the desire for profit can overrule every other consideration. British agricultural officials were concerned as early as 1987 that eating meat from BSE-infected cattle might pose a risk to human beings. That information was suppressed for years, and the possibility of any health risk was strenuously denied, in order to protect exports of British beef. Scientists who disagreed with the official line were publicly attacked and kept off government committees investigating BSE. Official denials of the truth delayed important health measures.”
Do you know that progressive doctors today will tell you that cutting calories and exercising will not help you lose weight? That's right. Studies prove it. See losing weight during menopause.
Would you like to use natural products on your skin? Did you know that hundreds of personal care products sold in the United States have been banned in Europe and Asia? That the FDA does not test these products for safety? Or that just because it says it's natural or healthy, doesn't mean that it is? See Natural Antiaging Skin Care
NUTRITION IS THE KEY TO EVERYTHING
Nutrition can end caffeine and other stimulant cravings.
Nutrition can change you from an introvert to an extrovert. I have experienced this myself.
Nutrition can lift your mood, help you sleep, relax you or stimulate you.
ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT CANCER? GET MORE VITAMIN D
According to Dr. Joseph Mercola (www.mercola.com), “Researchers within this field have estimated that about 30 percent of cancer deaths could be prevented annually simply by optimizing the vitamin D levels in the general population.”
So if simply getting enough Vitamin D can cut your risk of cancer by more than half, what do you think good nutrition can do for your other health problems? Using natural remedies for menopause can help with whatever you are dealing with.
Menopause is like having a baby, in that, once you're nine months pregnant, that baby is coming out one way or another. As long as you're alive, you WILL go through menopause. It's not your choice whether to go through it or not, but it is very much your choice HOW you'll go through it. You can use natural remedies for menopause relief, and you can also use this time to start a brand-new life, if you desire.
It's up to you. You can do it!
Greer, G. (1991). The Change. Women, Aging and the Menopause. New York: Fawcett Columbine.
Ni, M. (1995). The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Medicine. Boston, MA: Shambala.
Sheehy, G. (2011) Managing Midlife Stress. Retrieved December 19, 2011 from http://www.wowowow.com/lifestyle/gail-sheehy-managing-the-stress-of-family-caregiving/