If you haven’t felt like yourself lately because of menopause, it could help to take a closer look at your symptoms. Even if you’re still getting your period, significant hormonal changes may have already started to interfere with your life. In fact, you may be well into perimenopause or menopause and not even realize it.
After talking with thousands of women about how they’re feeling, we’ve confirmed that these are the “top 5” menopause symptoms that disrupt these women’s lives:
- Weight gain
- Hot flashes
- Low libido
- Hair loss
These are all common symptoms, as well as many other menopausal issues, that are caused by fluctuations and imbalances in estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. And while your menopause symptoms can seem overwhelming especially as time goes by, you do have natural options for immediate relief. When you resolve the sex hormone imbalances that are causing your symptoms in the first place, you can start to feel like yourself again.
5 instant relief tips for menopause symptoms
Why it happens: Interruption of normal sleep patterns is one of the most widespread issues women face during perimenopause and menopause. However, keeping your hormones in balance is dependent on getting enough rest. This starts a vicious circle leading to more symptoms and further insomnia — all caused by hormonal imbalance in menopause.
Instant relief tip: Take two minutes a day to simply breathe. Find a quiet place where you can stop and notice your breathing — each individual inhale and exhale — and reflect. You may find tuning into yourself helps restore your energy.
2. Weight gain
Why it happens: Shifting hormones can change how women store weight. When the body experiences ongoing stress (as in menopause) it stores away fats as part of its “survival mode.” Plus, many of the comfort foods we turn to when we are stressed don’t help.
Instant relief tip: Choose foods and snacks with high quality protein and good fats. This helps your body maintain stable blood sugar levels, which makes you far less likely to store fat. It also makes you less hungry.
3. Hot flashes
Why they happen: During a hot flash, your heat regulation centered in the brain receives a signal that your body needs to dispel heat. Triggers for hot flashes include perceived stress, and certain foods and drinks, such as sugar, caffeine and alcohol.
Instant relief tip: Pass on the hot, spicy foods which are known to set off hot flashes. Think about the foods you’ve eaten recently if you experienced a hot flash after eating them. You may be able to identify your own specific list of hot-flash foods to avoid.
4. Low libido
Why it happens: Often, low libido is a result of physical changes to the body. For example, vaginal dryness is extremely common and may make sexual activity very uncomfortable or painful. It’s no wonder many women aren’t interested in sex as a result!
Instant relief tip: Many women use lubrication to provide immediate help for vaginal dryness (organic coconut oil is a great option), while also adding a new element to foreplay and intercourse. Vitamin E suppositories can also help replenish thin vaginal tissue. Adding omega-3 essential fatty acids to your diet helps support healthy cell membranes. The important thing to remember is that you have options.
5. Hair loss
Why it happens: Our hormones are closely involved in our hair’s growth and shedding cycle. Sometimes an imbalance between estrogen and testosterone can cause thinning hair. Many women only start to notice this during menopause or perimenopause.
Instant relief tip: Scalp massages can help stimulate blood flow and support proper hair follicle function plus they feel great! Vitamins and minerals are very important for healthy hair growth. Every day, be sure you’re getting vitamins B, C, D and E, along with calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc and iron. Fish oil with quality essential fatty acids can help with hair and menopausal skin issues.
Extra tips for long-term symptom relief
In addition to the instant relief tips, you may also want to add these simple steps to help bring your hormones back into balance and reduce almost every kind of symptom. Most only take a maximum of 10 minutes to get started.
1. Eat to support your hormones. Eat some healthy fat with every meal. Foods like salmon, walnuts, olive oil and avocado contain good oils that give your body the building blocks it needs to make hormones. Plus, studies show that people eat less overall if they have a little fat at the beginning of meals.
2. Take 10 minutes to find calm. Just 10 minutes a day spent meditating has numerous proven physical and mental benefits. Taking time to quiet your mind and body helps reduce the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Sustained high cortisol has destructive effects on the body, including unwanted weight gain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and accelerated aging.
3. Add key herbs and well-formulated supplements. Herbs and supplemental nutrients can provide relief for symptoms of estrogen, testosterone and progesterone fluctuations, especially when they are used in combinations. Black cohosh, red clover, and kudzu help diminish symptoms associated with changes in estrogen levels, such as hot flashes. Passionflower, chasteberry and wild yam are often used for progesterone imbalances. We’ve formulated Herbal Equilibrium with all of these herbs to promote hormonal balance and provide symptom relief.
4. Move a little bit more. What’s important is just starting to move your body every day — not what you can do or how fast you can do it. Just move a little bit more and then keep at it. Over time you can gradually increase the frequency, intensity and/or time of whatever activities you decide to do. One easy way to get started is to walk whenever and wherever you can — avoid the elevator and use the stairs.
Talk about your symptoms with a woman who can relate
Every day at Women’s Health Network, we help women make decisions that are right for their individual health. We’ve often been asked, “Where do I start?” when women find their symptoms are starting to become overwhelming. One good thing you can do right now is take our Hormonal Imbalance Symptom Quiz. You’ll get instant results that will show how many symptoms you have and specifics about what you can do to find relief. Or, call us toll-free at 1-800-798-7902 to talk with a real woman in Maine — we’re here to listen and help.