Perimenopause is a natural, biological stage in a woman’s life. Yet, many women struggle with uncomfortable symptoms during perimenopause.
Hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, and headaches can be bothersome. They can also interfere in a woman’s work and family life. Don’t worry, though, there is help!
There are many natural remedies for perimenopause. But first, let’s talk about what causes these symptoms.
What is Perimenopause?
Perimenopause is the time leading up to, and the first year after, a woman’s last menstrual period. Menopause begins one year after menstruation stops for good. During perimenopause, ovulation ceases and the ovaries stop producing hormones.
For most women, perimenopause begins in the late 40’s and lasts an average of four years. Perimenopause may begin earlier or later in life, though, and last more or less time. Genetics and life experiences play a role. Hence, there is a wide range of what is normal.
The symptoms many women experience are due to fluctuations in hormones. Estrogen, progesterone, FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), and other hormones involved in reproduction fluctuate during perimenopause.
After menopause, a woman’s body will produce these hormones at lower levels. As a result, symptoms can arise as the body adjusts to its new normal.
Common Symptoms of Perimenopause
- Missed periods
- Periods without ovulation
- Increased breast tenderness
- Irritability or mood fluctuations
- Insomnia and difficulty sleeping
- Hot flashes and/or night sweats
Other symptoms can include
- Loss of interest in sex
- Less elasticity and lubrication in vaginal tissues
- A loss of bone mass
- Imbalance in cholesterol levels
Symptoms like these can lead women to fear the natural aging process.
As a result, we often turn to expensive therapies that come with unwanted side effects. There are many natural alternatives to help with perimenopausal symptoms. Many of them are safe, gentle, and affordable.
Natural Remedies for Perimenopause
It’s important to keep in mind that a decrease in hormone levels is a natural part of aging. Still, there are many natural remedies that can help your body adjust to the changes it’s going through.
Here are six safe, natural remedies for perimenopause:
1. Eat Your Veggies
Eating plenty of fresh, organic vegetables has many benefits. First of all, they provide your body with natural antioxidants. These nutrients can help prevent heart disease, breast cancer, and other conditions. Vegetables also contain loads of healthy dietary fiber. Phytosterols – molecules found in plants – help balance cholesterol levels. But, did you know that certain vegetables might also help regulate hormones?
Cruciferous vegetables – think broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage – contain an important substance called indole-3-carbinol (I3C). Early research shows that I3C not only has an antioxidant effect in the body, but it may also help to regulate estrogen.
So, you know what that means … eat your broccoli!
Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential natural remedy. From lowering inflammation to boosting brain health, they do wonders for your body. Wild-caught, cold water fish like salmon, sardines, and albacore tuna contain plenty of omega-3s. You can also find these healthy oils in nuts and seeds, like flaxseeds and walnuts.
Studies suggest that omega-3s also have special benefits for women. These healthy fats may help prevent osteoporosis and breast cancer and also regulate perimenopausal symptoms. The research indicates that women can benefit by supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids. Tranquility Labs CogniDHA contains high-quality DHA and EPA from fish oils. It is a great way to make sure you are getting enough omega-3s in your diet.
3. Exercise and Yoga
Regular moderate, aerobic exercise has so many health benefits for women. We already know exercise can improve symptoms like insomnia, restlessness, and depression. While the jury is still out on whether exercise can treat hot flashes, studies do show that it can reduce symptoms for some women. We do know for sure that regular exercise can reduce stress levels. That alone can help many women cope with the changes they experience during perimenopause.
Yoga can provide these benefits, as well. Not only can it relieve stress, but a regular yoga practice may also reduce hot flashes and night sweats. Attending a weekly class can also be a great way to connect with other women. A strong social network and support system reduces stress and can help alleviate feelings of depression. So, go ahead, get your yoga on!
4. Herbal Therapy
Herbal supplements are among the most popular natural remedies for perimenopause. Herbs like ashwagandha, ginseng, and maca are especially helpful. These adaptogenic herbs can help address a variety of issues, including anxiety, insomnia, and low energy.
Adaptogens help our body manage stress by regulating hormones like cortisol. Produced in the adrenal glands, cortisol is a steroid hormone. It mobilizes the body during times of stress and can affect blood sugar and the immune system. Chronic stress wreaks havoc on cortisol levels. Consequently, gonadal hormone levels become imbalanced. Irregular cortisol levels can cause insomnia, anxiety, and depression, too.
Studies show that adaptogenic herbs, like ashwagandha, regulate cortisol levels. They help reduce stress and regulate the central nervous system. Our own Ayurvedic Ashwagandha 1000 is one of the best ashwagandha supplements you can find! Learn more here. It may be combined with our Sleep Fast (Sleep Fast also works on its own!) to help address sleep issues.
The ancient practice of acupuncture offers many noteworthy benefits for modern women. It can be especially helpful during times of stress and transition in life. Using fine, sterile needles inserted at specific points, an acupuncturist seeks to regulate your body’s “qi” or “vital energy.” Regulating the flow of qi helps restore homeostasis to many of the body’s systems.
Research shows that acupuncture substantially reduces many common perimenopausal complaints. Hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, insomnia, and headaches have been shown to improve with acupuncture. Many women find that acupuncture also relieves stress and provides a sense of well being.
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) maintains a searchable database of board-certified acupuncturists in the United States.
6. Make Peace with Aging
We hear a lot about the mind-body connection, and it’s true that our thoughts can influence how we feel. A study on perceived attitude among perimenopausal women showed interesting results. Positive feelings about aging actually lessened the intensity of perimenopausal symptoms.
We don’t completely understand how this works, yet. But we do know that our thoughts and feelings influence our health. Many of us have learned to fear aging and associate it with a diminished role in society. It’s important to realize that our beliefs about aging impact our experience of perimenopause.
Living Well Through Perimenopause
It’s true that perimenopausal symptoms can be difficult to experience. But suffering is not unavoidable.
These six natural remedies for perimenopause can help you manage the changes in your body.
A healthy diet, exercise, and the right supplements can make a big difference. Acupuncture and herbal remedies can help, too.
Remember to always talk to your healthcare provider about the therapies that are right for you. Maintaining health and aging, gracefully, is possible!
What natural ways have you managed your perimenopausal symptoms? When did you find out you had perimenopause? Please feel free to start or continue the conversation in the comments below.