For a vast majority of women, menopause symptoms are mild and do little to disrupt daily life. Some even see the positive side of these changes – the children have grown up, you are older and wiser, and you can start an exciting new chapter in your life.
However, for others the discomfort of hot flashes, irritability and fatigue can make life exceptionally difficult. Taking HRT to manage these symptoms also increases your risk of high blood pressure, weight gain, gall bladder and liver problems, not to mention, breast and uterine cancers. Thankfully, for the growing number of women who wish to avoid prescription hormone medications to manage their symptoms, remedies like essential oils for menopause can provide natural and effective relief.
Every woman will go through a major life change where her body transforms from being fertile to infertile by stopping the menstruation process. This usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, but it can occur as early as 35 or as late as 65 years of age. This is a major life change that can take several months or years, and the completion of the process is known as menopause. However, menopause has been the name most people give to the process of this change, and the symptoms it produces, also known as peri-menopause.
When a woman's body starts the process of menopause, hormone levels of oestrogen and progesterone begin to drop. This change in hormone levels causes a number of symptoms, including increase growth in facial hair, muscles lose some strength and tone, hot flashes, irritability, insomnia and fatigue. In addition, the changing hormone levels can increase a woman's risk of osteoporosis, which can increase the risk for fractures. This is why it's more common for elderly women to fracture a hip or arm after a fall.
If you asked the average woman what she knows about menopause, she would likely give you an answer relating to hot flushes and mood swings as this is what most women find the most frustrating. These are some of the symptoms of menopause, but they are not the actual change itself.
Interestingly, menopause is a major life change that can bring uncomfortable symptoms, but for many women, it's also a freeing time. Once a woman has been without menstruation for 12 consecutive months, she is considered no longer fertile and the all-too-familiar hassle of her monthly “blessing” becomes a distant memory. For those who no longer want to take birth control or manage natural family planning any longer, menopause is also a welcomed event.
It is no wonder that many women find themselves celebrating the end of a very long chapter of their lives where they are forced to use pads, tampons and the calendar each month.
6 Essential Oils for Menopause Relief
One essential oil may not have any increased benefits over another, so trust your sense of smell, and go with something you like. These oils are some of the most popular…
1. Lavender Oil
The changing and shifting hormones of menopause can cause feelings of anxiety and problems with sleep. Lavender has long been known to promote feelings of relaxation while lifting the mood, also promoting better sleep in people dealing with insomnia. Adding lavender aromatherapy to the night time routine can help improve sleep and relaxation.
It is also suspected that lavender can help calm the body so that hormone levels naturally balance, and a cold compress with one drop of diluted lavender oil can help reduce discomfort in the perineum during menopause.
Add a few drops to your bath before bed, or add a couple of drops on your pillow.
2. Clary Sage Oil
This oil has been known to effectively help with hot flushes. Those who are feeling a hot flash coming on can get fast relief by rubbing 1-2 drops of diluted clary sage oil on the back of the neck or on the feet. It also is effective when inhaled during episodes. Additionally, clary sage has been shown clinically to be more effective than the monoamine neurotransmitter serotonin or 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) and can specifically help menopausal women by:
Reducing thyroid stimulating hormone
Significantly decreasing stress levels
3. Neroli Oil
In one 2014 study, 63 healthy postmenopausal women inhaled neroli oil for five minutes twice a day. During this time, they answered a questionnaire specific to quality of life during menopause. The women who were given the neroli oil instead of a control saw an increased desire for sexual intimacy, improved oestrogen concentrations and improved blood pressure. They also reported less stress after inhaling the neroli oil. Women who are frustrated with a lack of libido, high stress levels and increased blood pressure can get relief from this oil.
In addition, neroli has anti-inflammatory properties. This can help with many of the aches and pains that come from getting older and the menopause process.
4. Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint is another essential oil that can lessen the discomfort during a hot flush. Misting your face with a water spritzer or using a portable inhaler during an episode can mitigate the symptoms instantly. Since hot flushes are one of the most noticeable symptoms of menopause, having some peppermint oil on hand is a good idea.
Menopause signals the end of menstruation. However, menstruation and menstrual cramping can still occur. In addition, even after menstruation, as many as 50 percent of women experience menstruation-related cramping, a condition known as dysmenorrhea, during the beginning stages of menopause. Peppermint oil may help reduce some of the pain and discomfort of this type of cramping.
5. Geranium Oil
Geranium oil can help with many of the symptoms of menopause. It helps improve dry skin, which can be a common problem during menopause. It also may help balance hormone levels. Research has also found that the antidepressant properties of geranium oil can benefit women who are struggling with depression and mood swings. In a clinical trial of 120 menopausal women, those who received aromatherapy massage using geranium essential oil and almond oil indicated an improvement in depression and mood after an 8-week period.
6. Basil Essential Oil
It has been suggested that basil contains an oestrogen hormone-like component. This means that it can potentially help the body adjust to changing oestrogen levels, reducing some of the discomfort of menopause. Traditionally, basil oil has been used to help fight hot flushes when diluted oil is applied to the feet or back of the neck, and aromatic use can help boost the mood during menopause.
How to Use Essential Oils for Menopause Symptoms
If you are looking to use a mixture of these oils for your menopause symptoms, there are a number of ways to benefit. Consider:
Create a body moisturizer by mixing five to eight drops of your essential oil of choice to an unscented carrier oil, like sweet almond oil. Apply to the skin two to three times per day. A liquid carrier oil can be used to create a massage or bath oil.
Place a couple of drops of your chosen oil on a tissue, and hold it under your nose to inhale when you start experiencing symptoms.
Mix two to 10 drops of essential oil in a spray bottle with two ounces of purified water, then spray in the air in your home.
Add to a diffuser to help your mind and body.
Mix eight drops of oil into 1/2 cup of coconut milk and pour into a hot bath.
Other natural remedies that may help include:
Avoid chemicals that mimic oestrogens found in pesticides and herbicides by eating organic food whenever possible.
If you are having trouble sleeping, try drink herbals teas which contain Valerian and passionflower.
Take a good quality vitamin and mineral supplement containing vitamin K, Selenium, folic acid, vitamin D, Vitamin E, calcium and magnesium to support you through the menopause.
Get regular, weight bearing exercise which help to raise levels of DHEA, and also reduces stress. In mid-life, out waistlines start to expand, and we find it harder to control weight loss, however, exercise helps keep you trim, and increases bone density. It also makes you feel more positive about life, and women who exercise regularly tend to suffer fewer hot flushes.
When life changes to be harder, change yourself to be stronger.