How can Naturopathy help with Perimenopause?
By Bronwyn Gooden – Studying BHSc (Naturopathy)
Are you a woman in your late 30’s or early 40’s who is starting to notice some strange occurrences? Do any (or all) of the following sound familiar?
- Trouble sleeping
- Hot flushes or excessive sweating
- Itchy or ‘crawly’ skin
- Increased moodiness &/or anger
- Changes to periods
- Anxiety &/or depression
- Unexpected weight gain
- Vaginal dryness
(Santoro et al., 2015)
You may be beginning to transition into perimenopause (the leadup to menopause when our periods finish), and even though we have heard the horror stories, this is just another phase in our lives that doesn’t have to be as terrifying as it often sounds.
During perimenopause our ovaries are simply preparing to retire from active duty. Hormonal changes such as declining progesterone and fluctuating oestrogen levels are responsible for the symptoms we may experience. We may ovulate more than once in a cycle and other months we won’t release an egg at all. Although it can feel like such a tumultuous time in our lives, thankfully it only lasts 2 – 5 years on average for most of us .
While none of these symptoms sound appealing, and to be honest they’re not, the great news is that naturopathic medicine can be enormously beneficial during this time of change – you really don’t need to suffer! There are so many beautifully nourishing herbs that can help during this transition. For example:
- Oestrogen modulating herbs such as Black Cohosh (Cimifuga racemosa) may help balance hormones (Mahady et al., 2002).
- These can be complemented with nervine tonics like St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) which can ease feelings of irritability, emotional stress or anxiety (Geller & Studee, 2007).
- And we can’t forget Sage (Salvia officinalis) which is incredible for reducing hot flushes and night sweats, and also helps with brain fog or cognitive difficulties (Bommer et al., 2011).
A personalised herbal blend combined with restorative and stress-reducing practices, such as yoga and meditation is a great start. Make sure to also balance this out with eating a wholefoods diet, e.g. cruciferous veggies, to help your body modulate oestrogen metabolism (Lin et al., 2017). This will help reduce uncomfortable perimenopausal symptoms and help you feel calmer and more like your usual self.
Book in with your favourite naturopath on our website to learn more.
Bommer, S., Klein, P., & Suter, A. (2011). First time proof of sage’s tolerability and efficacy in menopausal women with hot flushes. Advances in Therapy, 28(6), 490–500. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12325-011-0027-z
Geller, S. E., & Studee, L. (2007). Botanical and dietary supplements for mood and anxiety in menopausal women. In Menopause (Vol. 14, Issue 3, pp. 541–549). Menopause. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.gme.0000236934.43701.c5
Lin, T., Zirpoli, G. R., McCann, S. E., Moysich, K. B., Ambrosone, C. B., & Tang, L. (2017). Trends in cruciferous vegetable consumption and associations with breast cancer risk: A case-control study. Current Developments in Nutrition, 1(8). https://doi.org/10.3945/cdn.117.000448
Mahady, G. B., Fabricant, D., Chadwick, L. R., & Dietz, B. (2002). Black cohosh: An alternative therapy for menopause? In Nutrition in clinical care : an official publication of Tufts University (Vol. 5, Issue 6, pp. 283–289). Nutr Clin Care. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1523-5408.2002.05603.x
Santoro, N., Epperson, C. N., & Mathews, S. B. (2015). Menopausal Symptoms and Their Management. In Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America (Vol. 44, Issue 3, pp. 497–515). W.B. Saunders. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecl.2015.05.001