How does menopause tie into hormone replacement therapy? How are lay people to take the information being offered to us ‘at the time’ and consider what it will do to us long term? It all comes to us at a time when we don’t seem to ‘have the time’ to figure it out, and when we hope the doctors know best… Let’s check in with Mercola.com and see what they have to say… numbered resources can be viewed in the linked article. The research is up to each one of us as we are not a cookie cutter people, what works well for you may not work for the next person, but we have to begin somewhere…
Although you may think of menopause as a season of life, it is medically defined as marking the cessation of a woman’s menstrual period for 12 months. Menopause signals that your ovaries are producing less estrogen and you no longer have the ability to become pregnant. While some arrive at this stage earlier or later, the typical range for menopause is 45 to 55 years of age. The average age is 51, but most women experience this “change of life” at an age similar to that of their mothers.1 Previously, women going through menopause had limited options for managing the wide range of signs and symptoms that accompany it. One of the primary treatments — hormone replacement therapy (HRT) — has been linked to some forms of cancer. The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), which involved a landmark study of 160,000 postmenopausal women, showed that hormone therapy involving estrogen and progestin may not be suitable for all women. In fact, for women who had not had a hysterectomy, HRT dramatically increased their risk of breast cancer, dementia and strokes.
Signs and Symptoms of Menopause – If you have already reached menopause, you are likely familiar with many of the common signs and symptoms that accompany it.2,3,4 Keep in mind some of the concerns may also arise during perimenopause, the transitional phase leading up to menopause, which may last as long as 8 to 10 years.
Conventional Treatments Versus Essential Oils – If you are among the growing segment of women who feel uncomfortable with the idea of using conventional HRT to treat menopause or perimenopause symptoms, especially given the outcome of the WHI studies, you may want to consider essential oils. While more studies are necessary to validate their efficacy, essential oils may be useful to help you manage certain menopause-related symptoms.
Obviously, each woman’s body is unique and will respond differently to any form of treatment, including oils. For optimal results, I recommend you work with your doctor and other holistic health practitioners to find the remedies that will best address your concerns. With proper medical supervision, essential oils may be the missing ingredient your body wants and needs.
Essential oils could provide you with the “best of both worlds” by helping to relieve some, or all, of the nagging and bothersome symptoms of menopause, thereby avoiding potentially harmful, conventional treatments. For certain, the risks of adverse outcomes are significantly reduced when using natural substances like essential oils.
Essential Oils Believed to Have Positive Effects on Menopause – Below are some of the essential oils believed to have the ability to ameliorate menopause symptoms.5,6,,7,8 As you begin to work with these oils, I advise you begin with a small dose of an individual oil and proceed cautiously to higher doses and additional oils. Ideally, work with a qualified medical professional or essential oils practitioner who has experience with hormone balancing.
- Clary Sage: Known to alleviate PMS pain, relieve hot flashes, soothe stressful feelings and improve hormone balance
- Geranium: Has been shown to help balance hormones and improve mood, as well as promote menstrual cycle regularity during perimenopause; also thought to have anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects
- Lavender: Long known to promote relaxation and sleep; now thought to aid in balancing hormones, easing cramps, soothing stress and alleviating menopause-related headaches, heart palpitations and hot flashes
- Pine: Believed to help reduce bone loss and protect against osteoporosis
- Rose: Proposed as a strengthener of the uterus, which may result in improved mood and a reduction in hot flashes
- Vitex agnus-castus: Also known as chasteberry and Abraham’s balm; long professed to help with irregular menstrual periods and mood swings.
You may want to use these oils aromatically by diffusing them into the air, which will enable you to realize their many benefits without the potential safety risks of applying them topically or internally. Essential oil diffusers are readily available online or from your local natural health store. Many women find it beneficial to incorporate essential oils into massage, which can be timed to support your body’s needs around your menstrual cycle. When using them for massage, it’s best to dilute essential oils into a carrier oil such as coconut oil or jojoba oil.
While peppermint oil is not specifically recommended for menopause, it has been shown to have a positive effect on headaches.9 If you suffer from headaches during your monthly cycle, you can apply peppermint oil directly to your forehead by hand or with a roll-on applicator. There are other ways to adjust our lifestyle choices. Besides using essential oils, women who wish to avoid HRT may also want to consider the following lifestyle remedies:16,17,18
- Adopt stress-management techniques such as controlled breathing, meditation, prayer and yoga
- Avoid processed foods, which often contain chemicals and toxic additives that may interfere with your body’s ability to regulate hormones
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet centered on whole foods, including organic vegetables and fruits, grass fed dairy and meat and high-quality healthy fats
- Get regular exercise and make sure your program includes a variety of activities, such as core training, high-intensity cardio, peak fitness, stretching and weight training; avoid prolonged periods of sitting and remain upright and active as much as possible during non-exercise hours
- Limit your caffeine and sugar intake
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Quit smoking
- Reduce your intake of processed vegetable oils, some of which are genetically engineered, and balance your intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fats
- Sleep according to your body’s age-related sleep needs
Hormones are not to be taken lightly, figuring out or hormones throughout life it seems to be the key element. For the few that bioidentical Hormones may be the answer, check out some of the many articles available. Let’s keep searching!
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