Natural Treatments for Perimenopause
Perimenopause is a transition time in a woman’s life when hormone production begins to slow. Perimenopause usually starts in the late 30’s and early 40’s and can last anywhere from three years to a decade.
Many women turn to estrogen replacement therapy to combat the symptoms of perimenopause, but this conventional approach comes with side effects. High blood pressure, vaginal bleeding, and increased risk of breast cancer are just a few of the side effects associated with these prescription drugs.
Natural remedies can help ease perimenopause symptoms without these risks.
Symptoms of Perimenopause
1. Irregular Menstruation
Irregular menstruation is one of the first symptoms of perimenopause. You may find that you can’t recall your last period or that your periods are unusual in some way. Menstrual periods might be shorter and lighter or heavier and longer. It all depends on the individual.
Fluctuating estrogen levels can cause your adrenal glands to pump out fight or flight chemicals that can cause difficulty sleeping.
Many women going through menopause report irritability, mood swings, irrational thoughts, depression, and seasonal affective disorder. These symptoms may be compounded by poor sleep.
4. Hot Flashes
Hot flashes happen because fluctuating hormones confuse the temperature regulator in your brain, causing it to send signals to your body that it must cool down at once. The result: Soaking wet clothes and bed sheets. Some women have up to 10 hot flashes per day.
5. Low Libido
Women going through perimenopause may feel less attractive than they did when they were younger. This coupled with hormonal fluctuations, vaginal dryness, stress, and inability to sleep properly can make getting romantic feel like a chore.
Natural Treatments for Perimenopause
1. Dietary Changes
Making healthy food choices can help ease your perimenopause symptoms naturally. Cut down on processed foods, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol and load up on healthier fare instead. Organic greens, flaxseeds, beans, poultry, and fish can help ease hot flashes and irritability while giving your body the nourishment it needs.
Probiotics are the live active cultures found in foods like yogurt and sauerkraut. They help restore your natural pH balance and combat vaginal dryness. They also improve your digestion, which can trim away some of that extra bulge around your middle. Furthermore, adding a probiotic supplement can treat and prevent chronic yeast infections.
3. Black Cohosh
Black Cohosh is a North American perennial plant in the buttercup family. It has been used for centuries to treat hot flashes, mood swings, irritability, vaginal dryness, and insomnia. Women who take birth control pills, HRT, sedatives or blood pressure medications should speak with their doctor before using black cohosh. The same goes for women with a history of breast cancer, uterine cancer or endometriosis.
4. Evening Primrose Oil
This supplement (extracted from the oenothera biennis plant) is rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a fatty acid that regulates hormone-like substances called prostaglandins. By increasing production of prostaglandins, evening primrose oil helps counteract the hormonal changes associated with perimenopause.
Vitamins B12 and B6 increase production of the neurotransmitter, serotonin, which helps to stabilize mood and ease insomnia. B6 has also been shown to prevent weight gain by assisting the breakdown of carbohydrates and promoting a healthy metabolism. In addition, B6 eases concentration issues, brain fog, and memory problems.
Perimenopause can bring some troubling symptoms into a woman’s life but these natural remedies can make managing them a breeze.
Written by: Dr. Craig A. Maxwell, OD
About the Author:
Dr. Craig A. Maxwell is an osteopathic physician who is board certified in integrative medicine, family medicine and osteopathic medicine. He is available for private phone consultations and will speak with you wherever you are in the world.