Natural Ways to Ease Menopause Symptoms
As we noted in our previous blog about World Menopause Day, many women start going through menopause at the average of age 51 (but really anywhere between 45 and 55) and we, societally, don't often talk about it enough. Periods are getting less taboo but menopause is the black sheep of the hormonal world.
One of the worst things for women who go through menopause is the symptoms that can accompany it with one of the most noted being hot flushes but let's not forget other less pleasant symptoms such as night sweats, mood swings, irritability, and tiredness (oh joy!). Many women do turn to natural supplements and remedies for relief but here are four natural ways to ease menopause symptoms.
1. Exercise regularly
Even though there's not yet enough scientific evidence to prove that exercise reduces hot flushes or night sweats (although this article suggests a strong correlation) as with anything, there's evidence to support that exercise, even if it's just a light walk for thirty minutes per day (preferably in nature) improves menopausal womens' metabolism, energy, stress levels, and causes better sleep. Plus, exercise keeps your joints and bones healthier.
In one study conducted over a year, it found that just three hours per week of exercise for menopausal woman improved mental, physical, and quality of life health. So, let's lace up your trainers and get walking – or kickboxing, jump-roping, trampolining, running, lifting, swimming, yoga, pilates, or whatever form of exercise you love most.
2. Watch your diet (and try to maintain a healthy weight)
This 'maintain a healthy weight' advice has been prevalent for men and women at every stage of life, but with women prone to weight gain during hormonal changes, it's more important than ever to eat healthily and manage your weight.
Studies show that eating foods rich in vitamin D and calcium may help reduce menopausal symptoms. Ensuring you have the right micronutrients to support your body by eating healthy fruits and vegetables is key as is taking a phytoestrogen supplement or eating phytoestrogens (naturally occurring plant compounds that mimic the effects of estrogen in the body).
Foods naturally rich in phytoestrogens include soybeans, soy products, tofu, tempeh, flaxseeds, linseeds, sesame seeds, and beans. One study found that Asian women may experience fewer hot flashes because of eating diets rich in these foods.
Another study found that eating protein-rich foods and consuming protein throughout the day slowed down muscle loss caused by ageing.
It's also advised to avoid foods that may be linked to causing hot flashes such as caffeine, alcohol, spicy, or sugary foods (all the fun stuff!).
But to determine what makes you feel best and what alleviates your symptoms, it's advised to keep a symptom diary. You may not need to cut out caffeine, for example, but you may need to limit the spicy curries. How your body reacts is, of course, individual and it'll take time to get to know your new body as your hormones change.
3. Drink plenty of water
Women often experience dryness during menopause, caused by a decrease in estrogen levels, so keeping hydrated is important.
You can gain water through your food (proteins and vegetables) and cups of tea but it's important to hydrate with good old-fashioned water too. And we are lucky in Yorkshire to have a lovely supply right out of our taps! Try and drink at least three glasses of water per day along with your other fluid intake (because 8-12 glasses just seems a little intimidating to some).
Hydration can help with the symptoms of dryness and you may want to work towards increasing your intake each week or month.
Drinking water can reduce bloating that occurs with hormonal changes and aid in weight loss, helping you feel full, and increasing the metabolism slightly. If you drink 500 ml of water half an hour before a meal, studies show you consume 13% fewer calories during a meal. So, get that water in before eating – we'll worry about bathroom breaks later!
4. Practise self-care
As with any life change, it's important to be kind to yourself and to take the time to practise self-care. Self-care is the best care and make sure, once per week (or more), to take time to do something for yourself. That may be as simple as curling up with a book and a cup of tea, meeting a friend for lunch, going for a walk in nature, doing some yoga, or even pampering yourself.
Here are NU-U, we love to take care of our clients and recommend scheduling at least a quarterly facial. Check out our skin treatments page to find out more.
Menopause is not a sickness or an illness; it's part of the natural cycle of a woman's life. It should be celebrated! You will want to find ways to manage symptoms so that you feel like the best version of yourself as you go through this natural transition.
More in the series
Want to see what else we've written on the subject of menopause? Here're more posts in our menopause series – because we don't talk about this issue that affects all women enough!