When women’s fertility comes to an end in their mid-life years, it marks the end of menarche and commencement of menopause. They go through a natural transition that brings about physical and psychological changes of a lifetime. With the hormonal fluctuations throwing women off their balance, this natural transition may or may not be accompanied by a series of symptoms that may not be pleasant to endure during their mid-life years. In India, it is seen that women attain menopause in their 40s’ in comparison to the women in western countries who experience menopause in their 50’s.
For a natural process such as menopause, the natural alternatives for remedies may seem to work the best irrespective of the fact that you are symptomatic or asymptomatic. Be it food, activities or lifestyle changes, Indian home remedies are many for menopause but selecting those that are appropriate for your menopausal experience and lifestyle are up to you. Some of the solutions provided below may be the answers to your questions about the menopausal experience.
i) Eat healthily and manage weight with food.
Women must maintain a healthy weight during menopause. The symptoms like hot flashes, fatigue, anxiety and more may be more intense for women who are obese. Including foods like legumes, vegetables, dairy products, fruits, and whole grains that are rich in calcium, iron, vitamins, antioxidants, and fibres are essential to maintain good health in your menopausal years. Avoid sugary and fatty foods. Consume healthy fats that are available in nuts and seeds like flax seeds, etc… Include minerals, which improve skin and hair health. They keep cardiovascular diseases, cancer, osteoporosis, and other diseases at bay.
According to Ayurveda, some spices and condiments help in the regulation of menopausal symptoms, which are used by Indian women in their diet as a natural remedy. Fenugreek is known to have natural hormonal balancing properties, which can reduce bloating and keep hot flashes away. Adding cardamom to your diet could help improve brain functions, memory, concentration and alleviate depression. Fennel seeds contain intrinsic cooling properties that may help control profuse sweating and regulate hot flashes. And garlic, with its anti-inflammatory properties, is known to prevent bone loss, replenish joints and improve muscle strength.
ii) Yoga counts for effective exercises and stretches.
With the help of a yoga therapist, yoga is advised across all levels of healthcare as the best form of exercise for women to alleviate the symptoms of menopause and improve their overall well-being largely. Yoga is highly recommended as the best culture of exercise for women of all ages across all living conditions.
Yoga is known to improve mindfulness while activating all the organs functionality as you stretch and exercise by performing every pose. It improves the quality of breathing and helps with sleeplessness, hot flashes, fatigue, and psychological symptoms of menopause.
iii) Meditation and deep breathing techniques help you relax.
Meditation is vital to maintain stability and control over fluctuating moods in the menopausal years for women. It helps you calm down and get a grip over yourself instead of being fatigued and losing your mind over chaos. When meditation is followed by different breathing techniques, it helps you relax and re-instil peace in your daily life. Practising Bhramari, Nadi shodhana, Sheetali pranayama and Deep relaxation technique can do wonders for your being.
Various breathing techniques have different effects on your health and wellbeing. Some of them that help you focus, drive away distracting thoughts, and relax are:
Rhythmic breathing: Short and hurried breathing is followed by taking long, slow breaths. Then, inhale and exhale slowly for 5 counts each. If you pay attention, you will recognise how your body naturally relaxes.
Deep breathing: Breath into an imaginary spot just below the navel filling your abdomen with air. And then, exhale long and slow that feels like a deflating balloon.
Visualized breathing: Close your eyes to visualise your breathing pattern and breathe slow. Picture the whole experience and observe tension being relieved in every breath.
iv) Ayurveda is an ancient medical practice.
This system of medicine has cured men and women of their ailments for 1000’s years. And some of the ayurvedic treatments are suggested to alleviate the harsh symptoms of menopause. Panchakarma is a rejuvenation treatment for the mind and body. The detoxification treatment is a long process and includes many steps/stages. Some of the practises that are recommended for women in menopause are Abhyanga, Shirodhara, Virechana and Nasya. A body massage with herb-infused oils to relieve tension, anxiety and insomnia is Abhyanga. Pouring herbal oils lightly on the forehead to relieve stress, improve sleep and moods are called Shirodhara. Ingesting purgative substances to cleanse the liver, intestines, gall bladder and pancreas is called Virechana. Lubricating sensitive nasal tissues with herbal oils to get rid of the dryness is called Nasya.
V) Herbal supplements can alleviate menopausal symptoms.
Many herbs are used for centuries by women for better health during menopause. As the estrogen levels drop when women are headed towards menopause, Arjuna herb is known to regulate fat metabolism and cholesterol levels by augmenting the heart functions and keeping cardiovascular issues away. The resin, Guggul extracted from the herb is ideal for weight loss for women experiencing menopause. Shatavari is recommended to regulate estrogen balance during menopause and ease the symptoms that can otherwise be too harsh to endure. Ashwagandha, which is also known as Indian Ginseng helps in reducing stress levels and the related problems. Brahmi leaves improve concentration. They work wonders to reduce anxiety, regulate mood swings and relieve insomnia. Lodhra and Ashoka help deal with menstrual problems and regulation of the hormonal balance.
vi) Natural supplements are harmless and may not have serious side effects:
Consuming soy has been proven to effectively alleviate the signs of menopause across the world as it contains isoflavones, protein and calcium that is essential in regulating the hormonal activity in a woman’s body. Consuming healthy fats from nuts and seeds like flax seeds can take care of the skin and hair health during menopause while keeping cardiovascular disease at bay. Certain vitamins and minerals are vital to replenish muscle, skin, and bone health. When these are not met sufficiently in the foods that we consume, natural and non-hormonal supplements like Femarelle are preferred by women across the world. Indian women are including Femarelle Rejuvenate, Recharge and Unstoppable into their diet as per their menopausal experience.
vii) Counselling can provide solutions for unanswered queries.
With a positive approach towards menopause, women can manage their symptoms and health efficiently during menopause. Counselling is effective to re-instil confidence in women to tend to their health and live life to the fullest all over again. It educates them about the lifestyle changes that need to be made by women in menopause. Sessions with the therapist well-informs women about the cleanliness of genital organs, sexual behaviour, and the required regular medical check-up as well.
viii) Aromatherapy can be a great way to relax.
Application of essential oils on the skin, using it in the baths or inhaled through the diffuser may be effective to alleviate the symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, anxiety, stress, etc. Lavender aromatherapy is known to beat stress, reduce anxiety and relax you. According to studies, using lavender aromatherapy decreases menopause symptoms. Geranium, Sage, peppermint, basil, citrus and lavender are some of the aromatics used as essential oils, creams, gels and more. They work magically on menopausal women.
ix) Lifestyle changes are vital.
In a life-changing transitional phase of a woman such as menopause, some lifestyle changes are essential to maintain good health. Exercises must be included in the routine for good muscle health. Vitamin D from natural sunlight is fundamental to prevent bone loss and issues like osteoporosis, etc. Women may have to quit smoking and avoid alcohol to maintain good body metabolism and cardio health. Drink enough water and stay hydrated. Include sports and activities into your routine and natural supplements to your diet.
x) Get ample rest and sleep well.
Sleep is imperative to maintain good mental health by beating stress and anxiety. A good night’s restful sleep of 7 hours can drive fatigue away and leave you fresh to start a new day every day. Good sleep is essential to relax your mind and body every day and to improve your overall well being.
According to Asian Menopause Survey, the most common menopausal complaint by Urban Indian women was fatigue, followed by hot flashes, cold sweats, and backache. Musculoskeletal complaints and gastrointestinal symptoms were more common as well. Menopause is not an overnight process; it takes a few years for the changes to evolve and menopause to set in completely. And the symptoms are prominent in the perimenopausal years when the estrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate causing an imbalance in bodily functions. The remedies are effective to regulate the symptoms of menopause.