When you’re thinking about managing your menopause naturally, it can often be a challenge to understand where to start, especially if you’re feeling alone in your struggle. That’s why we’re sharing natural remedies, the best naturally based herbs and supplements as well as fitness and nutrition tips and advice to help you. Here are some of the thoughts and experiences of real women sharing what has helped them through the toughest menopause symptoms, to help light the way for millions of women who reaching perimenopause and menopause.
“I decided to walk and sea swim my way through my menopause”
“I started to notice changes to my body about 10 years ago. I lost a little confidence, had less energy, and on certain days of the month felt clumsy, butter fingered and blurry. My periods remained regular throughout, however, and my appetite normal. I decided that I was probably perimenopausal.
I took the contraceptive pill until I turned 27, but after that it began to disagree with me and the symptoms of each period became less pleasant – headaches, stomach cramps and mood changes. Because of this, when my perimenopausal symptoms started, I was committed to a natural menopause. I decided to walk and sea swim my way through my menopause, and this I have done. It has provided my framework for survival.
I have to remind myself that I am going through menopause at 59 whilst still parenting teenage children – my daughter is adolescent and her hormones are as challenging as mine! This is tiring. I last had a period in June, so at the age of 59 my body still goes through the ovulation process each month – it knows what to do and I am always more tired during these days. My joints also ache in the morning and in bed at night, and my circulation isn’t great – once my feet get cold only a hot water bottle will warm them. And work that once would have been easy for me can sometimes feel hard as I have difficulty remembering today what I was doing yesterday, or am unable to recall information sometimes. My mind just goes blank. I have impostor syndrome sometimes, thinking I will get found out. But throughout the last 10 years the thing that’s been the most challenging is my loss of libido. I simply do not feel the need to have sex and honestly rarely think about it. My husband has found this very very difficult to deal with. I love him, I just don’t feel sexy. That said, I have never enjoyed a high sex drive during adult life.
I would say what’s helped me most is yoga, fresh air, movement, a good diet, taking time to find space for myself from time to time, giving up coffee and getting good quality sleep. The latter is often a challenge – it is important to exert sufficiently to increase the amount of energy I use so that I sleep well. I also try to use nuts, seeds, oats and soya as much as possible, and I have reduced meat intake preferring a plant based diet. I took a menopause supplement for a while too, and I think it helped. For anyone walking a similar path, I would recommend reading and researching natural menopause eating plans as oestrogen levels drop, as there are a number of good cookery books. Talking and sharing is also invaluable. I’ve realised that in doing so, there are women many years younger than me also going through symptoms.”
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“Dietary changes have made the biggest difference”
“I’m 38, have one child who’s 5, and I work full time in the emergency services. I have only worked out I’m peri in the last 6 months, but have had it since I was 35.
Perimenopause started with low mood and anxiety, along with general discontent with my life that I’d always been so happy with. I started getting night sweats and real problems sleeping too. My sweat changed to smell awful, and I got itching like bugs crawling on me as well as terrible IBS-type symptoms. My periods were generally clockwork but became irregularly heavy, and ovulation became extremely painful. Brain fog also caused me issues.
In not knowing I had peri, I had been managing it naturally for 3 years. I don’t like taking medication and my body is very sensitive to meds. I don’t react well to anti-depressants either and hormones really affect my mood which is already low. Once I realised what it was I chose to use herbal medicine, and it helps. I already exercise daily, have cut out gluten which stopped the itching, and I now don’t eat meat, either. Dietary changes have made the biggest difference – cutting out gluten, sulphites, and meat. Try dietary changes, exercise and herbal medicine – it’s a gentle way of medicating which can be tailored specifically to you and can help balance your body.”
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“I help myself and own my symptoms, knowing that they will pass”
“My name is Sally-Anne, I’m 51 and married with 3 children – two older grown up sons of 22 and 26 and a little girl of 10. I work as a Specialist Nurse at our local hospital. I would guess that I reached peri in my late 30’s as my normally light periods became very heavy and a nightmare to manage. This continued until about year ago, and now they are erratic and on the whole, lighter – I’ve never had any pain.
I’ve never been keen on popping a pill for everything without looking at lifestyle adjustments first, and we are extremely over medicated in this country and can’t tolerate any sort of symptoms. Diet and exercise are massively under-used as the first steps to gain some control over medical issues, including menopause.
I help myself and own my symptoms knowing that they will pass and I have much to be grateful for. I took up running a few years ago and started entering small races, that gave me purpose, motivation and did wonders to boost my esteem that can lack as we age. I looked at diet and started adding oats, flax, chia seeds, oily fish and plenty and fresh vegetables and fruits. I also looked at adding fermented products to support my gut. I take magnesium supplement to aid sleep, get plenty of fresh air, and surround myself with good people.”
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“I thought my PMS was wonky or on steroids.”
“My perimenopause began showing itself when I was in my late 30s – I thought my PMS was wonky or on steroids. When I shared what I was mentally and physically going through with my mother, she laughed and said I was in perimenopause.
My perimenopause wasn’t that bad, until recently. My periods became irregular after I missed my first one and I also started to experience night sweats, frozen shoulder, anxiety and brain fog. It’s been a roller coaster of fun since then. But for me, my experiences are mainly physical aches and pains – frozen shoulder, numbness in arms that travels down to fingers… that sensation that my shoulder down to my fingers went to sleep, and it gets that dead, tingling achy feeling.
I choose the natural route for all things in my life, not just my own health. I’m not a fan of synthetic chemicals, they don’t work well for me. Besides, before drugs, women were handling this stage/transition of life naturally. Currently, I am taking Omega-3 supplements (fish and black current seed oil), and I am also taking a magnesium and potassium supplement, a herbs supplement, and when needed, other supplements (herbals, tinctures, essential oils). Mostly, my approach is diet and lifestyle. It is a bit more of a challenge sometimes to navigate, but I have discovered some things that may trigger night sweats, some anxiety, and some things that may trigger frozen shoulder. By adjusting what I eat, drink and what I do with my body (movement) and how I support myself mentally and emotionally, I can get through the rough moments.
Here’s why I chose the supplements I’m currently taking:
Omega-3 fatty acids – this is a good overall supplement as it helps with reducing inflammation and balancing the Omega 3:6 ratio. I have come across some information that suggests hormone transitioning increases inflammation in the body. This supplement also supports the brain, memory, brain fog and also supports moods- such as decreasing depression. From my perspective, this is one fatty acid all people can benefit from increasing. Increase from food first, and add a supplement if you find you need a little more help.
Magnesium and potassium supplement – many people don’t get enough magnesium in their diet, either. As mentioned, my symptoms include physical pain and this can also then cause issues with my sleep. I started taking Magnesium to support my muscles, bones, and nervous system. Magnesium also helps with depression and anxiety. Herbs – The herbs in my mix support hormones, mood, inflammatory/immune, adrenal, liver, cognition, brain and nervous system. I feel this blend is holistic in its approach to supporting women during hormonal transition.
When I do meet women who are having perimenopause experiences and they are open to suggestions, I share that the most important thing they can do to support themselves now and well into the future, is to adjust their diet and lifestyle. I offer that they engage in mental and physical activities to manage stress, as this will be important. And I suggest they take stock of the people and things in their life and determine what is worth keeping, and what isn’t.”
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