Menopause Side Effects and Home Remedies

The hormonal shift from menstrual cycle to menopause is physically and mentally tolling. With side effects ranging from dry chafing during sex, hot flashes, and sleep disturbances – ‘the change’ can be a roller coaster of emotions. Treatment options are far and few and many leave you with a higher risk of certain diseases and health conditions. Finding home remedies to subside the pain and discomfort is essential.

CHANGE OF LIFESTYLE

Doctors recommend when going through the change to follow the below guideline to begin a healthier, stress-free, transition:

  • Getting regular exercise
  • Practicing deep breathing exercises
  • Maintaining a healthy diet
  • Quitting smoking
  • Limiting alcohol intake
  • Seeking counselling for anxiety, mood changes, and relationship concerns
  • Establishing good sleeping habits and getting plenty of rest
  • Doing kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor
  • Discussing the experience of menopause to friends and family
  • Exploring new ways of enjoying intimacy with a partner
  • Joining a club, volunteering, or taking a new hobby

LOWER FERTILITY

Before menopause begins, estrogen levels start to decrease. This lowers your chance to become pregnant. Diet, exercise, and keeping your body healthy is crucial when trying to conceive a child. Changing your diet and lifestyle can boost fertility rates by up to 69%.

Some easy lifestyle and diet changes that you can make are:

  • Eat foods rich in antioxidants. Fruits, veggies, nuts, and grains.
  • Eat a bigger breakfast.
  • Avoid trans fats. Margarine, fried foods, processed products, and baked goods.
  • Cut down on carbs.
  • Eat less refined carbs. Sugary food and drinks, white pasta, bread and rice.
  • Eat more fiber. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans.
  • Swap protein sources. Replacing some animal proteins with vegetable proteins.
  • Choose high-fat diary.
  • Take a multivitamin.
  • Stay active.
  • Take time to relax.
  • Cut out caffeine.
  • Increase iron intake.
  • Avoid unfermented soy products. Tofu, soybeans, and edamame.
  • Take natural supplements. Maca, bee pollen, bee propolis, and royal jelly.

IRREGULAR MENSTRUATION

Irregular menstruation can vary for each person – more or less frequent, heavier or lighter than usual. While irregular cycles are inevitable when you’re about to start menopause, watch for these abnormal signs:

  • Bleeding that requires the use of a pad every hour for over 24 hours
  • Bleeding that lasts more than 2 weeks
  • Any bleeding after bleeding has been absent for over 6 months

Keeping a diary of the length, heaviness, and spotting during your cycle will help track whether your cycle is healthy or abnormal.

Some home remedies to keep your cycle on track and level are:

  • Practice yoga
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Incorporate ginger and cinnamon into your diet, or take a ginger or cinnamon supplement

VAGINAL DRYNESS

Dryness, itching, and discomfort in the vaginal area is all common when beginning menopause. Since your estrogen levels fall, this causes vaginal atrophy. The lining becomes thinner, dryer, and less elastic.

To eliminate the dryness and irritation, Dr. Pamela Dee, author of Love, Sweat & Tears! recommends using a vibrator for 15 minutes twice a week. If that is not your cup of tea, she also recommends sexual intercourse. This is to ensure the blood is flowing.

Other solutions, like ointments and lubricants, may work also. Finding creams that have limited side effects is difficult since all include hormones that could throw your balance off. Using a safe, non-hormonal, water-based vaginal moisturizer every 2 to 3 days will reduce any dryness or irritation. This lasts longer than typical lubricants and has very low side effects.

Natural Lubricants:

  • Jojoba
  • Coconut oil
  • Aloe vera

HOT FLASHES

85% of women going through menopause experience hot flashes. Hot flashes and night sweats can last for an average of 7 to 14 years. Although medication is available to subside the hot flashes, doctors recommend implementing home remedies first.  This eliminates risking medication’s side effects.

  • Avoid triggers. Alcohol, spicy food, caffeine, smoking.
  • Stay cool. Keep a fan by the bed, keep room temperature low, take a cool shower, run cool water over wrists.
  • Keep a healthy weight.
  • Relax and reduce stress. Deep breathing exercises and meditation techniques.

Beyond making lifestyle changes, natural herbs and supplements may help prevent or reduce hot flashes.

  • Black cohosh
  • Red clover
  • Ginseng
  • Kava
  • Evening primrose oil

Always consult with your doctor regarding interactions between these supplements and your current medications/conditions.

MOOD CHANGES

Hormonal changes and sleep disturbances play a large roll in our emotional wellbeing. Since depression and anxiety are common for women going through menopause, speaking with a licensed counsellor can be a relief. Irritability, crying spells, tiredness, and spurts of sadness are all side effects of your body’s hormone levels changing.  

Stress can intensify mood swings. Finding healthy ways to reduce the stress in your life through lifestyle changes, physical exercise, or practicing breathing exercises and meditation, can have a positive effect on your mood.

Multiple clinical studies have found that the plant St. John’s Wort, when taken as a dietary supplement, can reduce depression symptoms. Since taking St. John’s Wort with other prescription medication can weaken their effects, always consult with your doctor before.

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