Natural alternatives have been a hot topic with many women who visit my office. When we talk about perimenopause and menopause, many of my patients are still unsure about using these alternatives to relieve perimenopause and menopause symptoms. If “natural” treatments are gentler, how can they help alleviate such powerful symptoms such as fuzzy thinking, hot flashes and/or insomnia?
I want to give you peace of mind and assure you that the natural approach is highly effective for many. And it’s effective even if you are experiencing severe symptoms.
Natural treatments for perimenopause and menopause work in a completely different way than prescription drugs. The natural approach works with your body for a lasting effect, rather than just relieving them temporarily. It can actually prevent or reduce the severity of nearly all of your symptoms! Let’s look at the steps you can take to get natural menopause relief.
5 Steps for Natural Menopause Relief
At my clinic, we believe that to get to the root of your perimenopause and menopause symptoms, you have to take all the necessary steps toward relief to help correct the symptoms you are experiencing. Natural treatment addresses imbalances between the sex hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Plus, there’s no risk of side effects, like when taking commonly prescribed medications such as antidepressants.
Try my recommended 5 steps for natural menopause relief in the way that best fits your lifestyle:
1. Nip Your Symptoms in the Bud with Optimal Nutrition
The most effective (and enjoyable!) medicine that exists, is in the food that you eat. You should strive to eat a balance of good fats, complex carbohydrates and protein. Also, make sure to have plenty of fruits and vegetables at every meal, including breakfast. It’s best to eat three meals a day and two or more snacks in order to keep your blood sugar stable. The most important thing to remember is to reduce carbohydrates especially refined carbohydrates and sugars.
Optimal nutrition is achieved by making sure that you are consuming enough vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients. There are natural supplements you can add to your daily regimen. This is especially important if you feel overwhelmed with your daily life and it is hard to eat in the healthy way that is recommended. For instance, many women live a fast paced life and they find it hard to eat enough healthy foods in order to take in and absorb enough of the key B vitamin folate. If this is the case, this can be accomplished by supplementing with Metafolin (5-MTHF, or l-methylfolate). L-Methylfolate is the biologically active form of folate that’s much easier for your body to process and use.
2. Use Herbal Remedies that Act Like Our Own Hormones
Food is medicine. There is incredible strength in plants and herbal remedies that have been known to prevent menopausal and perimenopausal symptoms. It is amazing that many plants and herbs can adapt to the needs of your body. This is because they share various molecular features with our own hormones, allowing them to support our hormone production. They can make it slower, or even mimic what our own hormones do depending on the body’s unique needs.
Some herbs that can help reduce menopause symptoms include black cohosh, passionflower, chasteberry, wild yam and ashwagandha.
3. Exercise to Reduce the Fat that Can Upset Estrogen and Progesterone Ratios
Most women tell me that they feel as if they are gaining weight steadily during perimenopause and menopause, especially around their stomachs and abdomen. It is particularly frustrating for these women because the weight sticks to unusual places and their scales refuse to budge. One of the reasons that this is so common is because fluctuating estrogen levels tend to cause your body to hold on to fat. On top of this, fat actually produces estrogen, which can create even more fat. Therefore, the cycle continues.
Just as I am an advocate that food is medicine, I also believe that movement is medicine. You can make such a positive impact on your health by walking, dancing, yoga, swimming, biking or whatever other form of exercise you enjoy. And enjoyment is key — you won’t continue with a program you simply don’t like! Moving your body has a major impact on your weight, other menopausal symptoms, and your overall health. Gentle exercise can be helpful too, especially if your adrenal glands are overworked and you constantly feel fatigued. But remember, the most important thing is to do something you enjoy!
4. Restore Yourself to Decrease the Stress that Intensifies Your Symptoms
Currently, doctors will prescribe antidepressants to women for perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms. Because of the Women’s Health Initiative, the answer to many symptoms are antidepressants. More and more we see women feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed, and depressed during the menopause transition. Although we see this frequently, in most cases we believe antidepressants are not the best answer for natural menopause relief.
Stress can be the culprit behind additional imbalances in hormones and neurotransmitters that affect mood as well as mental function, thyroid function, digestive function, and especially blood sugar imbalances. Stress has also been linked to symptoms such as hot flashes and low libido.
The physical effects of stress make nurturing self-care especially important. One of the most effective, inexpensive and amazingly simple ways to reduce stress is deep breathing. Think how easy just taking a deep breath several times a day is.
5. Understand How Emotional Wellness Plays a Vital Role in Your Overall Physical Health
Have you ever heard the phrase “As you think, so goes your life”? Well this is definitely a time that this phrase can ring true. Your thoughts and feelings have a dramatic impact on your health, so why not make it a positive effect? One method is to keep a journal, which can help you become aware of your feelings and identify any patterns. A journal can help with your individual emotional and physical health. There is a lot of negatively out there today, so it’s helpful to start the day with a positive affirmation. I find that listening to things like the news too often can have a negative impact on my thinking, so I choose daily how much news I will expose myself to.
Find the Natural Menopause Relief Combination That Works Best for You
For many women, perimenopause and menopause offer an opportunity to change, to become a different person, one who is less interested in what people think of them, and one who is much more able to speak up for herself. Many women who are going through perimenopause and menopause may even discover a certain freedom, and they find that their life is better in certain areas then they could of ever thought it would be.
I’ve always found that when women make natural adjustments to their lifestyles, not only do they feel much better but they also feel in control of their menopause symptoms. I want you to feel inspired, and I encourage you to start to make these small yet important changes, as they can create some remarkable results. Add a morning veggie/fruit smoothie, start your day with a morning ritual, ensure that you remember to breathe each day (put up signs to remind yourself if needed) and make a commitment to take your supplements every day.
With a little bit of time and trial and error, you’ll discover the combination of natural menopause relief steps that works best for you!