Essential Oils and Vitamins: Effective Alternative Treatments for Menopause Symptoms
Menopause and the years leading up to it are characterized by a decline in estrogen levels. This fluctuation causes a variety of menopause symptoms.
Which Symptoms are Possible?
Every woman's experience is unique, but the most common symptoms include:
- bone loss
- decreased libido
- difficulty concentrating
- hot flashes and night sweats
- insomnia and other sleep disturbances
- irregular periods
- muscle loss
- pain during sex
- vaginal dryness
- weight gain
Hormone replacement therapy has been the go-to menopause symptom treatment up until recently. Hormone replacement entails taking external hormone pills to replace the estrogen that has been lost to menopause. However, some of the most recent research has found that hormone replacement therapy can carry serious health risks—for example, it could increase your risk of certain forms of cancer. So, exploring safer alternative treatments for menopause should be of interest to any menopausal woman.
Aromatherapy: A Promising Alternative Treatment for Menopause
Essential oils derived from plants have been used as folk remedies for many centuries. Modern scientists are just beginning to investigate these oils' effectiveness. Though it has not been researched very thoroughly yet, there is promising evidence that essential oils can be an effective alternative menopause symptom reliever.
There are a wide variety of essential oils available. Alternative menopause treatments such as essential oils tend to be very individual, with different women responding very differently to the same treatment. So, if you're interested in implementing essential oils in your menopause treatment program, it's good to take a trial-and-error approach. Pick an oil, and try it for at least a couple of weeks. If it relieves your symptoms, stick with it. If it doesn't, try something else. Here are some of the best essential oils to try:
Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus) Oil
Chasteberry has been used since at least the Middle Ages to promote a feminine hormone profile. Modern science has found some evidence that it actually works.
Geranium may balance your hormones and improve your mood. It is thought to be especially appropriate for perimenopause, or the years leading up to menopause when your periods decline but haven't completely stopped yet.
The essential oil of this flower is especially good if your menopause is characterized by heightened stress or anxiety.
Studies done on rats has found that taking pine oil by mouth can help prevent osteoporosis caused by low estrogen.
Rose oil is used in folk medicine to strengthen the female reproductive system. It may improve your mood and reduce your hot flashes.
Essential Oils Containing Phytoestrogens
Phytoestrogens are plant-derived chemicals that act the same way as estrogen in the body, forming a natural hormone replacement. Specific oils with phytoestrogens include angelica, clary sage, coriander, cypress and fennel oils.
There are multiple ways to enjoy the health benefits of essential oils. Some methods of using essential oils include:
- Rub one drop of essential oil into the skin under your nose once daily.
- Add three to five drops to a small dollop of body lotion and massage into the skin once daily.
- Use an essential oil diffuser in your house.
- Ingest one drop mixed with one teaspoon olive oil or canola oil once daily.
You can use one or more of these methods at the same time. If you choose to ingest the essential oil, take it for only two weeks, followed by a two-week break before resuming.
If you have mild-to-moderate menopause symptoms, essential oils might give you just what you need. Of course, if you have particularly severe symptoms, these alternative treatments by themselves might not work, so you should consult with your doctor.
Nutrition for Menopause Symptoms
Optimal nutrition forms an excellent foundation for wiping out menopause symptoms. Getting all the proper vitamins and minerals is important for your overall health, and not getting enough of a certain nutrient can increase your risk for unpleasant menopause symptoms. Here are some of the most important vitamins to pay attention to:
You can get a lot of vitamin A through broccoli, cod liver oil, dark green leafy veggies, eggs, fortified cereal, milk and orange and yellow-colored fruits and vegetables. Some women find getting more vitamin A relieves unpleasant menopause symptoms.
Because vitamin D is not present in very many foods, many people are deficient. Taking this vitamin can help out with your bone health during menopause. It may also relieve symptoms of depression. Take a vitamin D supplement, or eat more foods that contain it, such as egg yolk, liver, tuna and vitamin D-fortified milk, cereal and orange juice.
Vitamin E is abundant in broccoli, mango, nuts, spinach, sunflower seeds and tomato. Taking vitamin E can help your body and mind deal with stress during menopause, boosting overall well-being. It also acts as an antioxidant.
Depression or lack of concentration caused by menopause might be alleviated with vitamin B6. This vitamin is found in avocado, banana, beef, corn, fortified cereal, legumes, nuts and whole grains.
If you experience insomnia because of menopause, vitamin B12 might help. You can take a supplement pill, or eat foods such as liver, mackerel, milk, salmon, sardines and red meat. If you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, then vitamin B12 is extremely crucial.