Menopause Natural Treatment Research

A study published in 2014 found that women who self treated with neroli oil aromatherapy experienced significant improvement in menopause symptoms, increased libido and reduced blood pressure.  The women self-treated for 10 sessions twice daily for five consecutive days. Each participant poured 1 mL of 0.1% or 0.5% neroli oil or an almond oil control onto a fragrance pad while sitting, with the pad 30 cm away from the nose for five minutes.

Source:  Yeon Choi S, Kang P, Su Lee H, Hee Seol G Effects of inhalation of essential oil of Citrus aurantium L. var. amara on menopausal symptoms, stress, and estrogen in postmenopausal women: A randomized controlled trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2014;2014:796518

Is GSM Anything Like GMO?

Nope! GSM stands for Genitourinary Symptoms of Menopause. It’s a brand new diagnosis to encompass the symptoms women usually experience in the vagina and urinary tract with menopause. Menopausal and peri-menopausal women can tell you that there are some changes going on down there, and not exactly pleasant ones! The symptoms associated with GSM include overactive bladder, leakage, vaginal dryness and irritation, burning, pain or bleeding with intercourse, reduced arousal and libido, and recurrent bladder infections.

Having a new name for it doesn’t necessarily help you though. It’s the hormone changes associated with menopause that are responsible for these symptoms. While you can’t turn back the clock and reverse the hormones, there are herbs to keep hormones better balanced and nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin E and NAG among others that can help support healthy vaginal and urinary tract tissue.

Reference:
Portman D, Gass M. and consensus panel. Genitourinary syndrome of menopause: new terminology for vulvovaginal atrophy from the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health and The North American Menopause Society. 1063-1068

Weight Gain at Menopause

Menopausal weight gain is a common, yet upsetting, occurrence.

What causes weight gain at menopause?
As estrogen levels decline at menopause, so does insulin sensitivity. Insulin transfers sugar from the blood stream into the tissue and tells the tissue to make fat from this sugar. This means that the body doesn’t respond to insulin as well as it used to, sugar doesn’t get moved from the blood into the tissue as well as it did, which means a need to make more insulin. Since insulin promotes fat production, more insulin means more fat production. If sugar isn’t getting moved into the tissues well, the tissues are lacking fuel which can lead to carb cravings.

So the solution to menopausal weight gain is to reduce carb intake to minimize the need to make insulin and there are various natural means to promote insulin sensitivity. Exercise is one of the best ones. If you are not already exercising somehow daily, that is essential and can make a significant difference.

Growth hormone levels also tend to decline as we age which means decreased muscle mass. Muscle burns more calories even while you are sleeping. Adding weight training to your workouts can help maintain growth hormone levels.

High levels of stress deplete the function of the adrenal glands, your stress glands that help maintain your blood pressure, blood sugar, balance your hormones and keep inflammation in check. Adrenal glands produce at least half of your testosterone and testosterone helps maintain muscle mass. Supporting healthy adrenal glands can help stabilize blood sugar, give you more energy, help you deal with stress more easily and maintain healthy hormone levels as you age.

In summary, at menopause it is especially important to:
1. Lower your carb intake
2. Exercise
3. Weight train
4. Lower your stress level
5. Support adrenal gland function with vitamins, minerals and herbs

Hot Flashes and Night Sweats

Both hot flashes and night sweats are signs of hormone imbalance, often associated with a drop in estrogen that occurs at menopause.

But, did you know that:
1. Men can have hot flashes and night sweats too? These can accompany a drop in testosterone at andropause.
2. Women as early as their late 30’s can experience them? This is often a sign of an underfunctioning endocrine system as a whole. Supporting the components of the endocrine system (adrenal glands, ovaries, thyroid, pituitary etc) can help resolve these symptoms.
3. Stress can precipitate hot flashes?
4. Hot flashes can be a sign of hormone imbalances other than low estrogen? Low testosterone, low progesterone and low DHEAs can also cause hot flashes.
5. Certain medications can trigger hot flashes? Over the counter sinus and allergy remedies are an example of such medication triggers.
6. The most common time for night sweats is between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m.?

Whatever the cause of your hot flashes, natural medicine has many treatment options including diet changes, vitamins and minerals, herbs and acupuncture.