It can be so difficult to find the most effective way to manage menopausal symptoms. Hot flashes, mood swings, irregular menstrual cycles, vaginal dryness, reduced libido, sleep interruption, and weight changes are the most frustrating symptoms. Women often spend one-third to one-half of our lives in the postmenopausal phase, we desperately need relief and alternatives!
A recent study looked at the differences in symptom relief, side effects, and safety of women using conventional hormonal therapy (all of which are FDA-approved and by prescription only) versus those using pellet hormone therapy (PHT), in which pellets containing estradiol and testosterone are inserted into and absorbed by the body and last for three to nine months.
The women receiving pellets had more complications, according to the study, such as abnormal bleeding, hair loss, acne, and weight gain. Because the side effects are varied, some people may not want to rely on pharmacological methods and instead look for natural ways to manage their menopause symptoms.
Let's take a look at the most effective natural methods to manage menopause symptoms.
For hot flashes and night sweats:
My current favorite supplement for hot flashes and night sweats is Functional Female which, according to one study is shown to reduce signs and symptoms associated with menopausal transitions, including hot flashes and night sweats. It contains adaptogen herbs (Ashwaghanda and Ginseng), as well as other helpful herbs like Stinging Nettle that help to stimulate sensual energy and promote healthy cortisol and estrogen balance.
Essential oils are my go-to for a plant-based remedy for hot flashes and night sweats. They encourage healthy estrogen balance and have a pleasing aroma that provides cooling, contentment, and peace. They are considered phytoestrogens, that are plant-derived molecules resembling estrogen (a hormone that naturally decreases during menopause).
For mood changes:
Early in the menopause transition, patients often complain about mood swings, anxiousness, panic, and irritability from seemingly out of nowhere, which can alter relationships and our sense of reality.
I love Vitamin D3 for the mood changes. Vitamin D plays a role in moderating many body processes. It has also been proven to moderate mood in people who are deficient.
Rhodiola and Ginseng are also promising: Some studies suggest it may help level our moods and decrease stress. Research shows adaptogens can combat fatigue, enhance mental performance, ease depression and anxiety, and help you thrive rather than just muddle through.
For sleep disruption:
Sleep disruption is a huge issue, yet patients often don't recognize how it's affecting them: If we don't get good restorative sleep, we become exhausted and can't think straight, our moods decrease, we become less interested in sex, and our bodies may hold on to unwanted weight.
Melatonin, often referred to as the sleep hormone, is a central part of the body’s sleep-wake cycle. Its production increases with evening darkness, promoting healthy sleep and helping to orient our circadian rhythm. The body naturally produces melatonin, but researchers and the public have increasingly taken an interest in supplements, such as liquids or capsules, as a way to address sleep difficulties. It's an effective natural alternative as it has fewer, if any, side effects than other sleep aids.
I am a strong advocate for CBD products for many health concerns, and especially for sleep. I recommend organic, CBD full-spectrum hemp-derived products. The route of administration is also key: If you need help immediately to slow down and fall asleep, under-the-tongue tinctures metabolize the fastest. If you need help staying asleep, edibles like gummies are more effective.
For low libido:
Everything from our personal relationships with our bodies to how we communicate with our partners can influence sexual interest.. As tissues under hormonal influence change (i.e., vaginal dryness from decreased estrogen production), penetration could become painful.
Vaginal dryness and irritation can increase in frequency over time due to loss of estrogen on the delicate intimate tissue of the reproductive tract: keeping the tissue well-hydrated and protected is just as important. Do not use cleansers (the vagina is self-cleaning!), make sure to try some pH-balanced personal moisturizers, and consider probiotics with a known impact on the vaginal microbiome.
The most effective natural remedy that I have found to increase libido is Maca Root. Maca is often referred to as the "Viagra" for females. It appears to be a safe, effective way to improve sexual function and desire in menopausal women, raising the hopes of those struggling with low libido.
I love making use of the natural world to optimize health. While I've found the suggestions listed above to be helpful for me, always work with your doctor to determine what will work best for you. And remember, without lifestyle alterations, like exercise, sleep, and stress reduction, lasting impacts will be hard to achieve.
We hope that you find our posts helpful and please feel free to forward this information to anyone who might have questions about a natural transition through menopause. We strive to educate our patients on all aspects of health. If you have a question or need more information on a particular topic, please post in the comments or contact Dr. Angela directly. We look forward to hearing from you!
Best of Health,
Founder of Nashville Organix