Being a health coach, friends ask for my advice all the time. I’ve had several women ask me lately for advice on how to decrease symptoms of peri-menopause and menopause. Most women are concerned about using medications that can be dangerous or have side effects. Here are some things that are proven to help reduce symptoms and some things that may not be proven, but have been used for centuries without awful side effects and are worth a try.
Not diet as in cutting calories, but diet as in adding missing nutrients. Be sure to eat lots of healthy fruits and vegetables. I recommend 7-9 servings a day. You can get those by having a homemade smoothie in the morning with 1-2 cups of fruit and vegetables added, a salad or soup with lunch and a few vegetable servings for dinner, for example. Also, be sure to eat lean cuts of meat from grass fed and cage free sources as well as wild caught fish. This is not the time to eat added hormones in your meat!
Talk with your doctor before adding supplements or herbal remedies in case of reactions with mixing medications.
Vitamin D– Great for bone health and overall well-being. The best way to get vitamin D is from the sunshine. Spend 15-20 minutes a day in the sun without sunscreen on because sunscreen keeps your body from absorbing UV rays which your body uses to produce vitamin D.
Black Cohosh– A traditional Chinese herb used to diminish hot flashes. It can be taken in capsule, tablet form or mixed in water. It doesn’t work for everyone, but has been used for centuries and is worth a try. Some studies show a link to liver damage, so again, check with your doctor first.
Flaxseeds– High in lignans and omega 3 oils, these can help regulate hormones. Add ground flax seeds to Power Balls(get my recipe below), muffins, salads and smoothies, really anything. They don’t have a strong flavor, so you can “hide” them in any dish.
Thorne Meta-Fem- A comprehensive supplement for women over 40 that provides support for healthy hormone balance.
This has to be purchased through a practitioner. Click here to get my practitioner number.
Thorne Meta-Balance– A supplement that contains black cohosh and dong quai, which has also shown to help with symptoms. Dong quai may have side effects and should not be used during nursing or pregnancy. It may also have side effects for those with blood thinning diseases or certain cancers. Speak with your doctor or contact me for a wellness consultation before taking this supplement.
3. Stress Reduction
Did you know that even low levels of stress can completely wreak havoc on your hormones? What can we do about this problem? One simple tip is to meditate daily. If meditation is new to you, all that it really is, is spending time in quiet and releasing thoughts of worry. You can repeat a positive affirmation or even a nonsense word over and over. Another technique is counting your breaths. Breathe in and count to 3. Hold for a count of 5 and breathe out for a count of 7. When your thoughts stray, which they usually will, just bring yourself back to focusing on your mantra or counting breaths.
Begin with 5-10 minutes a day and work up to 20 minutes a day. You can use these techniques throughout the day too. Sometimes when I feel stressed about something, like sitting in traffic or a family issue, I practice my breathing technique. It really works fast to calm my nerves.
4. Essential Oils
There are several essential oils that work great for supporting your hormones. You can diffuse these into the air or apply them topically.
cypress- Traditionally used for monthly cramping and hormone symptoms.
lavender- Promotes the feeling of calmness and balance in the body.
Roman chamomile- Promotes focus and may relieve anxiety.
orange- May help with heart palpitations and relieve anxiety.
clary sage- May help balance hormones and relieve hot flashes.
fennel- May help relieve symptoms of hot flashes and digestive problems.
basil- May help support headaches and relieve feelings of sadness.
geranium- May help support hormone balance and reduce inflammation.
rosemary- May help with fatigue and memory problems.
thyme- Helps support the body in times of stress and may aid concentration.
If you are interested in learning more about any of these oils or about the feminine blend that combines many of these oils, email me at email@example.com.
Exercise can help slow bone loss and relieve symptoms of stress. It may also help you sleep better and reduce hot flashes.
Stretching- Stretching helps blood flow and oxygenation of cells and tissues. It can also help with relaxation and stress reduction.
Walking- Walking from 40 – 90 minutes daily can reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.
Yoga- Benefits include increasing flexibility and joint range of motion, anxiety and depression decrease, memory improves, and sleep improves.
Pilates- Pilates is a gentle way to increase strength and flexibility.
Qi Gong- Repetitive stretching movements that promotes inner tranquility. Find a class near you or a YouTube video that can be followed at home.
Tai Chi- A system of gentle physical exercise and stretching. It requires focus and continuous movement.
Speak with your doctor or health professional to find out if any of these forms of exercise are right for you.
Hopefully some, or all of these tips, can help you avoid taking hormone replacements that can have terrible side effects.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and each person is different. Please consult with a doctor or health professional before changing your exercise routine or adding supplements to your diet. Do not discontinue medication without speaking with your doctor first.