Linda Mackenzie, C.H.T., Ph.D. (c)
Menopause is a woman's time of wisdom, power and
knowledge. Cultural background, diet, lifestyle, genetics and
knowledge of the menopausal process play key roles in how a woman
will experience menopause. The average age for a woman to cease
having her menstrual cycle and stop reproduction is 51.3 years
of age, however, peri-menopause can begin in the late thirties.
An individualized process, no woman experiences menopause in exactly
the same way. Menopause symptoms can range from none to many and
last for varying lengths of time up to a period of five-years.
The common symptoms of menopause can include none, some or all
of the following:
Vasomotor symptoms include insomnia, palpitations and hot flashes
or night sweats associated with headaches, itchy skin, dizziness,
weakness, numbness in arms or hands; low libido; vaginal changes
of dryness, itchiness, infections or painful sex; urinary infections
or incontinence; irregular bleeding; psychological factors, such
as, depression, anxiety, irritability, weeping, mood swings; cognitive
changes verbal and episodic forgetfulness; acne; hair loss; facial
hair; and weight gain due to a slower resting metabolic rate and
other factors. Osteoporosis is in fact not a symptom of menopause.
However it is associated with menopause because calcitonin, a
thyroid hormone necessary for bone growth, is reduced because
of the lower estrogen levels.
NATURAL METHODS: A to V
Women who choose not to use traditional hormone replacement therapy
(HRT) may choose to use natural methods to help alleviate menopausal
symptoms. These mind and body methods treat the whole person to
make menopause a more positive experience.
1. Aromatherapy works by using the sense of smell
to generate symptomatic relief of emotional and physical problems.
Oils used as a bath, perfume, massage or inhalant have shown positive
results. For example try these oils for these associated symptoms:
hot flash - rose or peppermint oil; fatigue -rosemary; low libido
-cardamom; vaginal dryness -neroli or geranium; urinary incontinence
-eucalyptus; emotional stress -lavender or jasmine; and for overall
relief -lemon balm, rose or cypress.
2. Deep Breathing and focusing on the breath activates
the major quieting nerve of the body -the vagus nerve. This helps
to immediately lower blood pressure, heart, pulse, and respiratory
rates to aid in reducing anxiety and overall stress.
3. Diet is one of the most important keys to help
menopause. In parts of India, China and Africa they do not experience
hot flashes. Lesser menopause symptoms are experienced in countries
whose cultures eat a mostly vegetarian, high fiber, low fat diet.
It also includes leafy green vegetables and fatty acids, such
as flaxseed or evening primrose oil, (which have estrogen properties).
They also avoid, eliminate or reduce caffeine, refined sugar,
refined flour and grains, salt, alcohol, nicotine, dairy products,
spicy foods, artificial colorings, flavorings and preservatives.
4. Education about the menopausal process is the
first defense against menopausal symptoms. In the past, menopause
was shrouded in mystery and often viewed as a negative experience
and a precursor to death. In previous generations our life span
was shorter and communication about menopause was considered an
unmentionable subject. Menopause is a natural part of life. Eliminate
its mystery and misconceptions and women are better prepared to
handle the outcome.
5. Exercise helps to minimize and eliminate menopausal
symptoms, as well as, osteoporosis. Try yoga, aerobics or walking
for thirty (30) minutes, three times a week.
6. Herbs are part of nature's pharmacy. Herbs have
many different properties and certain herbs have phytoestrogen
(plant estrogens) qualities. For example try these herbs for these
associated symptoms: hot flash and night sweats -red clover, chaste
berry (vitex) or black cohash; low libido -panax ginseng or damiana;
vaginal dryness and tissue weakness -yellow dock, motherwort,
or raspberry leaf and calendula cream; urinary incontinence- garlic,
cranberry and saw palmetto; hormonal balance -black cohash, anise,
licorice root, wild yam cream; and emotional stress -St. John's
wort, kava, dong quai, blessed thistle.
7. Homeopathy was discovered in the 1700ís
and is based on unblocking the body's own healing system. Homeopathy
is a non-toxic therapy with no known side effects. It is safe
to use in conjunction of traditional, medical, psychological and
8. Phytoestrogens are found in plants and activate
estrogen receptors. There are 3 types of natural estrogen found
in plants: resorcyclic acid lactones found in rice, corn, barley
and wheat which contain beta estradiol; steroidal estrogen found
in rice, date palms and licorice which are identical to the estrone
and estradiol produced in the body; and phenolics which come in
different classes and include isoflavones. In menopause isoflavones
can buffer symptoms of estrogen loss and with the highest sources
of isoflavones being found in red clover, flaxseed, and soybeans.
Other sources include beans, lentils, black-eyed peas and phytoestrogen
9. Positive Attitude does the most for menopause.
We are what we think and a positive attitude helps the physical
body combat symptoms. Without fighting change (and this includes
any change) the emotional transition becomes easier.
10. Sexual Activity provides physical benefits
for menopause. It is good exercise and helps hormonal levels,
vaginal muscle tone and lubrication.
11. Smoking Cessation may cause earlier menopause
and smokers may experience higher changes in vaginal atrophy.
12. Vitamin, Mineral and Supplement therapy can
help support the body in obtaining relief from menopausal symptoms.
A good multi-vitamin/mineral supplement, which includes digestive
enzymes, green foods and amino acids, helps the adrenal glands
to lessen emotional symptoms and keeps the immune system of the
body working at peak performance. Here are some vitamin/mineral/supplement
alternatives per symptom: hot flash - Vitamin E (Remember that
D-alphatocopherol is preferred over synthetic vitamin E), lecithin,
Vitamin C, bioflavinoids. Some studies have found that taking
1200mg.of bioflavinoids and vitamin C have reduced and eliminated
hot flash; low libido -B complex and octaconsal; vaginal dryness
-evening primrose oil; urinary incontinence -vitamin C, calcium,
magnesium, l-glycine, l-carnitine and evening primrose oil; emotional
stress -B complex, B12, melatonin, 5HTP, l-tyrosine, zinc, l-arginine,
l-lysine, silica, potassium, chromium and bee pollen; hormonal
balance-B complex, DHEA, manganese and niacin.
13. Visualization and self-hypnosis puts the intention
of healing to work using the mind-body connection. Using positive
images, visualization helps to produce positive emotions that
turn into physical sensations in the body. A good example of how
this works is if you imagine yourself at a scary movie, when you
become afraid, goose bumps appear on your skin. Visualization
does the same thing except it uses positive suggestion and images
to produce positive changes in the body. Usually done once in
the morning and before bedtime for 6 weeks visualization can help
eliminate or minimize menopausal physical and emotional symptoms.
Since everyone's body is different, not one method
will work for everyone. Woman can make the choice for natural
alternatives. They can be women of power, wisdom and knowledge.
This information is intended
for general information purposes only. Individuals with health
problems should always seek their natural health care provider
before administrating suggestions made above. Application
of above methods is at the user's discretion and is totally