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Menopause - Naturally
By Linda Mackenzie C.H.T., Ph.D. (c)

Menopause is a woman's time of wisdom, power and knowledge. Cultural background, diet, lifestyle, genetics and knowledge of the menopausal process play key roles in how a woman will experience menopause. The average age for a woman to cease having her menstrual cycle and stop reproduction is 51.3 years of age, however, peri-menopause can begin in the late thirties. An individualized process, no woman experiences menopause in exactly the same way. Menopause symptoms can range from none to many and last for varying lengths of time up to a period of five-years.


The common symptoms of menopause can include none, some or all of the following:
Vasomotor symptoms include insomnia, palpitations and hot flashes or night sweats associated with headaches, itchy skin, dizziness, weakness, numbness in arms or hands; low libido; vaginal changes of dryness, itchiness, infections or painful sex; urinary infections or incontinence; irregular bleeding; psychological factors, such as, depression, anxiety, irritability, weeping, mood swings; cognitive changes verbal and episodic forgetfulness; acne; hair loss; facial hair; and weight gain due to a slower resting metabolic rate and other factors. Osteoporosis is in fact not a symptom of menopause. However it is associated with menopause because calcitonin, a thyroid hormone necessary for bone growth, is reduced because of the lower estrogen levels.

Women who choose not to use traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may choose to use natural methods to help alleviate menopausal symptoms. These mind and body methods treat the whole person to make menopause a more positive experience.

1. Aromatherapy works by using the sense of smell to generate symptomatic relief of emotional and physical problems. Oils used as a bath, perfume, massage or inhalant have shown positive results. For example try these oils for these associated symptoms: hot flash - rose or peppermint oil; fatigue -rosemary; low libido -cardamom; vaginal dryness -neroli or geranium; urinary incontinence -eucalyptus; emotional stress -lavender or jasmine; and for overall relief -lemon balm, rose or cypress.

2. Deep Breathing and focusing on the breath activates the major quieting nerve of the body -the vagus nerve. This helps to immediately lower blood pressure, heart, pulse, and respiratory rates to aid in reducing anxiety and overall stress.

3. Diet is one of the most important keys to help menopause. In parts of India, China and Africa they do not experience hot flashes. Lesser menopause symptoms are experienced in countries whose cultures eat a mostly vegetarian, high fiber, low fat diet. It also includes leafy green vegetables and fatty acids, such as flaxseed or evening primrose oil, (which have estrogen properties). They also avoid, eliminate or reduce caffeine, refined sugar, refined flour and grains, salt, alcohol, nicotine, dairy products, spicy foods, artificial colorings, flavorings and preservatives.

4. Education about the menopausal process is the first defense against menopausal symptoms. In the past, menopause was shrouded in mystery and often viewed as a negative experience and a precursor to death. In previous generations our life span was shorter and communication about menopause was considered an unmentionable subject. Menopause is a natural part of life. Eliminate its mystery and misconceptions and women are better prepared to handle the outcome.

5. Exercise helps to minimize and eliminate menopausal symptoms, as well as, osteoporosis. Try yoga, aerobics or walking for thirty (30) minutes, three times a week.

6. Herbs are part of nature's pharmacy. Herbs have many different properties and certain herbs have phytoestrogen (plant estrogens) qualities. For example try these herbs for these associated symptoms: hot flash and night sweats -red clover, chaste berry (vitex) or black cohash; low libido -panax ginseng or damiana; vaginal dryness and tissue weakness -yellow dock, motherwort, or raspberry leaf and calendula cream; urinary incontinence- garlic, cranberry and saw palmetto; hormonal balance -black cohash, anise, licorice root, wild yam cream; and emotional stress -St. John's wort, kava, dong quai, blessed thistle.

7. Homeopathy was discovered in the 1700ís and is based on unblocking the body's own healing system. Homeopathy is a non-toxic therapy with no known side effects. It is safe to use in conjunction of traditional, medical, psychological and physical therapies.

8. Phytoestrogens are found in plants and activate estrogen receptors. There are 3 types of natural estrogen found in plants: resorcyclic acid lactones found in rice, corn, barley and wheat which contain beta estradiol; steroidal estrogen found in rice, date palms and licorice which are identical to the estrone and estradiol produced in the body; and phenolics which come in different classes and include isoflavones. In menopause isoflavones can buffer symptoms of estrogen loss and with the highest sources of isoflavones being found in red clover, flaxseed, and soybeans. Other sources include beans, lentils, black-eyed peas and phytoestrogen herbs.

9. Positive Attitude does the most for menopause. We are what we think and a positive attitude helps the physical body combat symptoms. Without fighting change (and this includes any change) the emotional transition becomes easier.

10. Sexual Activity provides physical benefits for menopause. It is good exercise and helps hormonal levels, vaginal muscle tone and lubrication.

11. Smoking Cessation may cause earlier menopause and smokers may experience higher changes in vaginal atrophy.

12. Vitamin, Mineral and Supplement therapy can help support the body in obtaining relief from menopausal symptoms. A good multi-vitamin/mineral supplement, which includes digestive enzymes, green foods and amino acids, helps the adrenal glands to lessen emotional symptoms and keeps the immune system of the body working at peak performance. Here are some vitamin/mineral/supplement alternatives per symptom: hot flash - Vitamin E (Remember that D-alphatocopherol is preferred over synthetic vitamin E), lecithin, Vitamin C, bioflavinoids. Some studies have found that taking 1200mg.of bioflavinoids and vitamin C have reduced and eliminated hot flash; low libido -B complex and octaconsal; vaginal dryness -evening primrose oil; urinary incontinence -vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, l-glycine, l-carnitine and evening primrose oil; emotional stress -B complex, B12, melatonin, 5HTP, l-tyrosine, zinc, l-arginine, l-lysine, silica, potassium, chromium and bee pollen; hormonal balance-B complex, DHEA, manganese and niacin.

13. Visualization and self-hypnosis puts the intention of healing to work using the mind-body connection. Using positive images, visualization helps to produce positive emotions that turn into physical sensations in the body. A good example of how this works is if you imagine yourself at a scary movie, when you become afraid, goose bumps appear on your skin. Visualization does the same thing except it uses positive suggestion and images to produce positive changes in the body. Usually done once in the morning and before bedtime for 6 weeks visualization can help eliminate or minimize menopausal physical and emotional symptoms.

Since everyone's body is different, not one method will work for everyone. Woman can make the choice for natural alternatives. They can be women of power, wisdom and knowledge.

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Hobbs, L.Ac., Christopher& Keville, Kathi, Woman's Herbs, Woman's Health ( Loveland, CO: Botanica Press, 1998)
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Balch,M.D., James F. and Balch C.N.C., Phyllis A., Prescriptions for Nutritional Healing, Garden City Park, NY: Avery Publishing Group, 1997
Null, Gary, Get Healthy Now! , (New York, NY: Seven Stories Press,1999)
Goldstein, M.D., Steven and Ashner, Laurie, Could It Be Peri-Menopause, (Toronto, Canada: Little, Brown and Company, 1998
Mackenzie, Linda, C.H.T., Help yourself heal with self-hypnosis,(New York, NY: Sterling Publishing, 2000)

© 2017 Linda A. Mackenzie