Menopause does not set in overnight. The period leading up to the onset of menopause is called perimenopause, and it is characterized by irregular periods, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, sleep disturbances, a lowered libido and a decreased metabolic rate. All these symptoms appear because the levels of sex hormones are changing, and the body is trying to figure out a way to adapt to the change.
Although you have the option of alleviating these symptoms by using hormone-replacement therapy, due to the numerous side effects synthetic hormones have on the body, you might want to consider some natural remedies first.
Used as a sedative throughout Asia for centuries, ginseng root can be brewed into a tea, or ground up and added to other foods. No matter how you consume it, it will improve the quality and duration of your sleep.
#2. Black cohosh
Native to North America, the root of this herb is usually ground into powder and used as a dietary supplement. Although the evidence of its efficiency in alleviating perimenopausal symptoms is debatable, it is widely used by pre-menopausal women.
The isoflavones in soy are a variety of Phytoestrogen (plant-derived estrogen) and it can help counteract the reduced levels of estrogen in the body. Because it boosts the estrogen levels, it might reduce hot flashes, night sweats and even vaginal dryness. You can use either edible soy products (edamame, tofu) or a soybean extract.
#4. Vitamin D
With the decrease of estrogen levels, osteoporosis becomes more of a possibility. Although vitamin D will not help with the hot flashes or the vaginal dryness, it will help you keep the calcium in your bones. Vitamin D is also a good mood booster, helping you stabilize your emotions.
#5. Wild yam
Wild yam has been shown to have some estrogen-mimicking potential, but it is not as effective as other remedies. Because of this, if you want to use it, you should take the extract in pill form or apply a cream topically.
Because of its rebalancing effect on the whole body, yoga is a good option to control the symptoms of perimenopause. It will not only help you achieve a more stable mood, but it will also lower your stress levels and improve your muscle tone. Win-win.
#7. French maritime pine bark extract
Also known as Pycnogenol, it contains organic chemicals and flavonoids (plant-derived hormones). Taking the extract for four weeks significantly decreases the perimenopausal symptoms.
#8. Dong Quai
This is a plant used in Chinese traditional medicine. It can be used as a tincture, as an extract or as tea.
Before trying any of the above natural remedies, please consider the possible interactions with other medications. For example, soy products can interact with synthetic estrogens or antidepressants, while too much ginseng can cause insomnia and headaches.
If you do decide to try natural remedies to alleviate perimenopausal symptoms, try them one at a time. Don’t overwhelm your already disoriented body. And if natural remedies don’t work, have a chat with your doctor to find out what other options are available to you.
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