- Women's Health
Menopause Symptoms and Natural Remedies
"IS IT HOT IN HERE, OR IS IT ME?"
If you find yourself saying this often, then yes it's probably you, and you're experiencing hot flushes.
Hot flushes are the most common menopause symptoms, and natural remedies are the best way to alleviate them.
Definitely the most uncomfortable part of menopause, and often the most embarrassing; they are caused by decreasing oestrogen levels.
Falling oestrogen levels will cause rapid changes in our blood vessels. The blood vessels will dilate suddenly, and blood begins to rush toward the skin, raising body heat, and causing redness in the face and chest.
A Fan Will Help
Symptoms and Natural Remedies
Mild flushes will simply make you feel very warm when others are not.
Moderate flushes may be a nuisance while you're working or sleeping, but will not affect your ability to function normally.
Severe flushes will affect your normal functioning abilities, and badly interfere with sleep patterns.
While most women will suffer mild and moderate flushes, a smaller percentage will suffer the severe flushes.
There is not much that can be done with hot flushes, except to dress lightly, and carry a personal fan with you. Either the Spanish type or a small battery-operated fan will fit in your handbag.
Night sweats are the worst part of hot flushes, you get so hot at night that you throw off the bedclothes, which in turn wakes you up because you feel chilled, you cover yourself again, and the whole thing starts again. It's a cycle you have to get used to, but if you sleep with clothes on, keep a fresh nightdress or T-shirt beside your bed, so you can change without having to get up, if you sweat a lot. Sleeping naked is usually best in these circumstances.
If you do sweat a lot, keeping a fresh pillow at hand can be helpful too.
Keep your bedroom cool, and where possible the window open. Fresh air helps a relaxed sleep at the best of times, and will certainly help with night sweats.
Keep water at hand too, drinking cool water will help the body temperature to drop more quickly.
Many things can trigger hot flushes, although they can come on with no reason or warning whatsoever.
Common triggers of hot flushes are:
Stress, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, spicy or fatty foods, chocolate, cheese, or in the individual; certain foods or flavourings.
Hot flushing can be worse during the summer, but often less noticeable as everyone around you is hot, sweating and red, too!!
The most important thing to remember is to try and relax when a flush comes on; relaxing, drinking water, taking slow deep breaths, will all help this nuisance to pass more quickly.
Where possible, go outside or to an open window, and take some deep breaths of fresh air.
Another bothersome symptom of menopause, is a thinning of bladder walls, due to declining oestrogen levels. This can cause more frequent urination, and even leakage accompanying coughing or sneezing.
Irritation during or after intercourse, and urinary tract infections, commonly accompany menopause, but are usually mild, and easily remedied.
You can prevent UTIs by drinking plenty of water, and unsweetened cranberry juice, and by urinating regularly, not waiting until your bladder is uncomfortably full.
You can strengthen the pelvic muscles with exercise. The muscle underneath the bladder, the pubococcygeus muscle can be easily exercised. This is the same muscle you use when you stop urination in midstream.
Tightening and relaxing this muscle 20 times or so, two or three times a day, will help to stop it's weakening. You can do this exercise at any time, anywhere, sitting or standing, without anyone around you being aware. Tighten this muscle if you feel a cough or sneeze approaching, and try to make this a habit until it becomes second nature, then you will not have problems.
As well as these exercises, you can buy vaginal weights, which are small teardrop shaped weights with a chain or cord attached, in varying sizes and weights. You start with the lightest, inserted in the vagina, which you have to keep in place with your muscles. The cord or chain is left dangling for easy removal. You gradually move up through the weights, until you can hold the heaviest in place.
Any exercises which help to strengthen your thighs, as in cycling, swimming, etc, will help tone the vaginal muscles and walls.
Jogging, jumping, aerobics etc are not so good, as the bouncing up and down can weaken the bladder and make problems worse.
Muscle toning and tightening exercises are best done before or during premenstrual symptoms, the earlier the better. Even so there are women who will still have problems with incontinence, and even prolapse (where the bladder will drop down into, or even out of, the vagina) these cases will need to be treated by a doctor, and often surgery.
The metabolic rate of your body will decrease, and with it your calorie burning capacity, so it is not uncommon to gain weight.
Dieting will slow the metabolic rate, which will lead to fatigue and even weight gain, so with menopause, exercise is a far better plan than a diet.
Hormonal change may bring unwanted facial hair. Usually, it will only be an odd one or two hairs that will appear from time to time on the chin, and can be easily plucked out. Some women though, will find patches of hair, which can be more of a problem. Electrolysis or laser hair removal may be enough, but if the amount is abnormal, or appears suddenly, you should seek medical advice.
Hair loss can accompany menopause, but this is more likely to be genetic. The same genetics that cause male baldness, can cause thinning hair in women, during menopause especially. If it is not a family thing, discuss it with your doctor, as it could be the result of other medical conditions.
Changing oestrogenic levels can affect nails, hair and skin.
You will have to take extra care with each of these, more moisturising will be necessary on your face, and you may need to change your usual make up. Discuss this with the salesperson where you buy your usual make up, they will recommend a more moisturising type for you.
Hair will probably need a different conditioner, and your nails need a cream to stop them going brittle. Wear gloves when washing up or using strong liquids for cleaning and washing.
Use hand lotion more frequently, to moisturise hands and nails, as you will find they are much more dry than normal.
Foods that can help during menopause:
Beetroot and beetroot juice
Foods that have natural plant oestrogen; Peas, Olives & Olive oil, Papaya, Oats, Alfalfa, Soyabeans, broad beans, celery, and flax seed oil.
Try boiling carrot seeds in cow's milk. Boil for about 10 minutes, leave to cool, strain and drink.
Dairy products are good, as you need extra calcium to prevent osteoporosis.
Your diet should contain plenty of seeds, nuts, grains, fruits and vegetables, especially those rich in vitamin E. Unpasteurised milk, cottage cheese, (especially home-made), yoghurt and fruit juices.
Avoid processed, refined foods, and unnatural preservatives.
Take on as much vitamin D as possible, from beef, bread, cheese, eggs, milk and breakfast cereals
Other teas that help with menopause, especially hot flushes, can be bought at health stores. These include Dong Quoi, black cohosh, and sarsparilla.
Serotonin can help with sleep, this is found in Jasmine, and in foods like chicken and turkey, as well as bananas.
Evening primrose oil capsules are helpful to relax and sleep.
Foods made from soy help to increase oestrogen levels and control cholesterol. Soy also helps to strengthen bones and control hot flushes.
Sunflower seeds also help increase oestrogen levels.
Menopause is one of those unavoidable problems that women have to face in their lifetime. Nowadays you can get hormone replacement treatments from your doctor. Personally I preferred to go through it the natural way. I didn't see going for years taking tablets or wearing patches. I've had adverse reaction to oestrogen supplements, even in birth control.
So I decided to go the natural way, and got through it all without too much discomfort. I hope some of these tips help you through it comfortably too.