Hormone replacement therapy is not the only solution to hot flashes and other discomforts of getting older. There are so many options for us now more than ever. This is the time in our life when we can truly take back our lives and begin to enjoy life to its fullest.
Before running to your doctor or your medicine cabinet, try these alternatives for common menopausal symptoms.
Migraine Headaches have been a major problem as hormones are rebalancing (see Balancing Act. At the first sign of a headache or the first hint of a migraine, put lavender oil on the tips of your fingers and massage your temples or the base of your skull or both. You can also place a few drops on a tissue and inhale it. The best brands that I know are: Jurlique, Trinity, and Young Living.
Another cure for headaches is to chew on a few feverfew leaves, which relax the blood vessels. (Note some people get mouth ulcers from this. In that case, sauté in a little oil prior to chewing.)
My personal favorite headache or migraine “cure” is sex. It takes the blood flow out of the head and moves it to other parts of the body. This remedy needs to be “taken” before the ache becomes a full-blown migraine! A partner helps, but is not essential.
Reducing stress in your life and lightening your load will make a huge difference to the occurrence of headaches. Meditation, acupuncture, massage, Reiki treatments are all healthy responses to a stressful life.
Hot flashes or night sweats can be disconcerting, to say the least. Make a habit of wearing layers that can easily be removed and added as needed. If the hot flashes occur in the daytime, as soon as you feel one coming on, stop what you are doing and breath through it rather than responding with panic and fear. You know what it is, take time out, breath, and get fresh air. It will pass. You know it!
As much as possible, avoid foods that contain hormones: meat and dairy. Which means buying organic or free-range animal products. You will notice the difference!
Avoid caffeine (yes, that means chocolate too), alcohol, spicy foods, sugar – all of which can trigger hot flashes. While this is temporary, so your hormones can adjust and balance, I found that I wasn’t interested in adding any of those items back into my diet.
Watching one’s stomach expand almost moment by moment can be very disturbing. Here are a couple of suggestions for how to avoid this and what to do if you’re already there.
Reduce the amount of food you eat. Eat smaller more frequent meals. Pay attention to how you feel as you eat. Stop before you are full.
Reduce dramatically the amount of carbohydrates in your diet, especially simple carbohydrates. Switch to green leafy vegetables and a variety of vegetables steamed. Then add spices, olive oil, coconut oil, or even a few toasted, chopped nuts. Eat small portions of protein.
Exercise! Sit-ups are a drag, I agree. The thing is that they do make a difference – especially weight-bearing sit-ups. An hour (or even 40 minute) brisk walk 4 times a week will also make a big difference. For more fun, go out dancing an evening with friends! Try something new like rollerblading! Or take up belly dancing or tap dancing. Get your girlfriends to join. Have fun. Exercise is not supposed to be all work. Get creative!
Remember that menopause is another important phase in your life. Be kind and gentle to yourself. Take time for yourself. Meditating, massage treatments, walks alone, and time alone are essential, now more than ever. You deserve this, just because you are alive.