The hormonal changes that lead to hot flushes and night sweats in menopause are often treated, by those who don't have them, as a subject for jokes but, if you do suffer from them, they can be far from funny.
Hormones have always been an unpredictable force in many women's lives, impacting on their happiness. But there is no need to just grin and bear it as we are going to share some of the natural ways in which you can counteract those ups and downs.
And it is not just those women in later life who are affected, younger women can suffer too.
Mood swings and touches of temper
According to women's health expert, Dr. Marilyn Glenville,
"Mood swings are often the most obvious sign of the perimenopause - the time leading up to menopause, where you stop ovulating but still have periods.
One possible natural solution is a diet high in phytoestrogen to reduce menopausal symptoms. Such a diet includes soy, pulses, legumes, citrus fruits and linseed. Another way to keep on an even keel is to take up yoga
Fluid retention and beating the bloating
Retaining fluid is another premenstrual symptom which can leave you feeling heavy and sluggish. A diet high in processed
salt will put your kidneys under increased pressure when it can cause fluid to collect around the stomach. Changing to natural salt
and of course avoiding all processed foods can be one remedy. Regular exercise is of course another. Deficiency in magnesium
and vitamin B6 are two further causes that can easily be addressed. One natural remedy for tummy bloating
is to enjoy a soothing warm bath with 2 cups of Epsom salts added – three times a week.
Surviving the emotional swings and roundabouts
One in twenty women will experience more severe premenstrual tension including anxiety, depression, tearfulness and even aggression. While the aggression (irritability and anger) are usually caused by too much estrogen, feeling down and depressed can mean the complete opposite - estrogen levels that might be too low. Estrogen is one of the most powerful hormones produced by your body.
Those same symptoms can also be caused by blood sugar swings. Stabilize both your blood sugar and the emotional roller coaster you might be experiencing by reducing caffeine, sugar and processed foods - and increasing Omega-3 fatty acids.
Hormones and acne
Hormone-related acne breakouts
can appear at any age. Natural remedies include drinking 8 glasses of filtered water every day to flush out toxins and improve the skin
. Use a natural cleanser and avoid touching your face especially if you have not washed your hands first. Supplementing with a good quality zinc product helps to balance hormones and dabbing an antiseptic essential oil such as tea tree
will help to clear up an annoying acne spot.
Feeling the heat
We have already mentioned the infamous symptoms of the menopause or change of life - hot flushes and night sweats. These are triggered as a result of reduced estrogen levels on the body's temperature regulation processes. Natural herbal medications can help - such as sage and black cohosh
as these counteract that drop in estrogen.
According to homeopath, Karima Brooke, "Homeopathic remedies are most effective when prescribed specifically for an individual after a proper consultation but lachesis, sepia and pulsatill are commonly used while the best flower essence for menopausal symptoms is walnut - it helps with both physical and emotional changes.
Lifestyle and diet changes are helpful too. Avoid those types of food that will increase body temperature including spices, alcohol and caffeine while wearing natural fibers to let the skin breathe.
Always being too hot, suffering from mood swings and being unable to get comfortable can easily lead to insomnia
. To feel cooler, wear natural organic cotton nightwear and bed linen and keep the windows wide open for plenty of fresh air and the cooler night air. To wind down before bedtime, enjoy a soothing warm (not hot) bath with some drops of lavender essential oil.
Headaches and their triggers
Lower levels of estrogen can trigger hormone-induced headaches which can be made more severe by stress. Try deep breathing, gentle exercise such as swimming and self-acupressure.
Self-acupressure can be applied by applying pressure and massage on the points used in acupuncture. One point on the forehead between the eyebrows or slightly above is a great place to start. Put your hands in a prayer position with the tips of the forefingers on this point. While resting your head forwards, apply gentle pressure for one to two minutes.
Headaches can also be treated with the help of essential oils.
Putting on weight and the menopause often seem to go hand in hand and this is because the body starts to hold on to excess fat as a form of protection from osteoporosis (and linked to falling estrogen levels). Unfortunately, putting on weight increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer. By now, you know that processed food and sugar should be avoided. Eating little and often (leaving a maximum of 3 hours between small meals) is best. Another hormone known as cortisol (linked to stress) could well increase tummy fat so avoiding anxiety is important too.
Look at finding a natural balance for those unpredictable hormones in your life.