Menopause is a life-changing event in a woman’s life, which signifies the end of her fertility phase. It is a point when a woman doesn’t have her menstrual cycle for one year, which is an indication of cessation of the cycles. The normal age when a woman attains menopause could vary between 40 and 50. In some cases, however, it can onset in the late 30s due to medical conditions like radiation, chemo, hysterectomy, or oophorectomy.
Perimenopause is a group of events which ultimately lead to menopause. It can start 2–8 years before menopause sets in. The body indicates perimenopause by exhibiting various symptoms like irregular periods, mood swings, hot flashes, headaches, and vaginal dryness. The symptoms are due to a gradual decline in the levels of estrogen and progesterone.
While in most of the women the symptoms are manageable, some experience a physical and emotional roller-coaster ride. Handling it the natural way is an option and below are some of the remedies.
Natural Remedies For Perimenopause
1. Black Cohosh
Numerous studies have been conducted on the effect of black cohosh in treating symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.1 The results, however, are mixed. While most women showed a considerable reduction in the hot flashes for short-term, some did not show any change. This is attributed to the presence of a compound called fukinolic acid.
The positive impacts have also been linked to a reduction in blood pressure, improving sleep quality, and reducing hormonal imbalances that trigger diabetes and fibroids. There have been a few reports linking black cohosh to liver problems like hepatitis in very rare cases.
Black cohosh is available in tablets, tincture, and tea forms. The recommended dosage is 80 mg, to be consumed once or twice a day.
Flaxseeds are known for their health benefits. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids and lignans, these are active phytoestrogens (plant-based estrogens) which fulfill the estrogen deficiency. Flaxseeds help manage hot flashes to some extent when consumed the right way.
It is not suggested to eat whole flaxseeds, as they are difficult to digest. Instead, choose ground seeds or oil. Sprinkling the powder on your favorite breakfast cereal or using the oil for your salad dressing are some ways to include it in the diet.
Perimenopause and menopause increase the risk of heart disease, cholesterol, diabetes, and stroke. The omega-3 fatty acids further decrease the incidences of cholesterol and heart disease.
Soy is rich in proteins and isoflavones which are phytoestrogens. Consuming soy mimics the action of estrogen, balancing the levels to some extent. This helps overcome symptoms like night sweats, mood swings, and hot flashes.
Soy products like tofu, soy milk, tempeh, soy cheese, and soy yogurt are good for consumptions. Soy tablets should, however, be avoided.
4. Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo biloba is a wonder herb that supports cognitive functions and helps reduce mood swings. It is usually suggested in case of depression and anxiety. Since women in perimenopause phase experience mood swings, this herb has been proven effective in overcoming it. The herb is available in tea and powder forms.
5. Vitamin-E Oil
Vitamin-E oil has antioxidants that fight the free radicals. It also acts as a good lubricating agent in case of vaginal dryness caused due to perimenopause. Regular topical application has been linked to a reduction in vaginal dryness over a period of time. It is also used as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy to treat hot flashes.2
While natural remedies have a positive impact, it is best to discuss with your doctor about the consumption/application before beginning on it. If you are already undergoing hormone replacement therapy, understanding the impact of natural remedies on the drugs is important.
Apart from these, making a few changes to your lifestyle helps. Mentioned below are some of them.
Tips To Manage Perimenopause Like A Pro
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, fishes, and high fiber carbs to keep your heart healthy.
- Avoid caffeine, carbonated drinks, and alcohol, as these play with your hormonal system.
- Include a lot of vitamin-D and calcium in your diet. Discuss with your doctor if there is a need for additional supplements.
- Quit smoking completely, as it worsens the symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats.
- Have a regular workout regime to keep a check on your weight. Exercise also uplifts your mood.
|↑1||Jane McCusker MD, DrPH. “Efficacy of black cohosh-containing preparations on menopausal symptoms: a meta-analysis.” Alternative therapies in health and medicine 16, no. 1 (2010): 36.|
|↑2||Ziaei, S., A. Kazemnejad, and M. Zareai. “The effect of vitamin E on hot flashes in menopausal women.” Gynecologic and obstetric investigation 64, no. 4 (2007): 204-207.|