Recently we answered some of your most googled questions about perimenopause and menopause, take a read here, if you haven’t already. In this article, we share some of the best natural supplements for women navigating the rollercoaster that is perimenopause & menopause.
While symptoms vary from woman to woman, some women may not experience any noticeable symptoms, while others may feel as if they are experiencing every listed symptom of perimenopause & menopause.
Symptoms most reported by women during this time includes, hot flashes (a sudden feeling of warmth that spreads across your body), vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex, urinary urgency (needing to urinate more frequently), sleep problems (insomnia), and changes in mood like irritability, depression or mood swings.
Reducing Hot Flashes During Perimenopause & Menopause
Sage is a herb that belongs to the mint family (Lamiaceae), along with other common herbs such as rosemary, thyme or lemon balm. You’d normally find sage in a recipe for stuffing, but sage preparations have been traditionally used as natural remedies for menopause for hundreds of years.
Greeks considered garden sage to be “good for helping diminution of senses and loss of memory”. In the first medieval medical school in Salerno (Italy), the locally grown species of sage was considered a sacred herb. Sage has been thought to help relieve a range of symptoms including hot flashes and night sweats.
Vitamin E is known for its ability to support healthy skin and eyes, but research now shows it could be a natural remedy for menopause, too. A 2007 study published in the journal Gynaecologic & Obstetric Investigation reported that menopausal women taking 400mcg of vitamin E every day for four weeks experienced fewer hot flashes and the flashes they did experience were less severe.
It may also help relieve common skin issues such as itchy skin in menopause, when ingested and applied topically.
Vitamin E works to soothe skin issues by acting as an antioxidant, protecting the skin from environmental damage, strengthening the skin’s barrier against free radicals and holding moisturising properties. You can find vitamin E in avocados, nuts and seeds, plant oils like olive oil, and in various skincare products such as creams, serums and oils.
Natural ways to help prevent vaginal dryness
The walls of a vagina ordinarily stay lubricated with a thin layer of clear fluid. Vaginal dryness, a common problem among women in perimenopause and menopause, can affect women at any stage of the process. This is usually linked to decreases in estrogen levels, which is common among those going through menopause.
The good news is, there are vitamins and supplements with properties that can help support vaginal lubrication and relieve dryness. Over the counter creams can be a good option, but if you’d rather take a more natural approach, try the following:
Sea Buckthorn is a hardy shrub that is proven to be an effective natural remedy for menopause dryness, especially in women who can’t use estrogen creams or suppositories. Sea buckthorn oil is rich in fatty acids that may help maintain healthy cell barriers and promote elasticity.
In a controlled trial by the University of Turku, Finland, women taking sea buckthorn oil every day for three months said they experienced less vaginal dryness, itching and burning, additional tests showed the oil could help improve atrophy, as well.
Hyaluronic acid is a molecule the body produces and is known for its role in skin health and aging. A popular cosmetic product, it’s also available as a supplement, often packaged as a gel or as a suppository. Studies show that topical gels and suppositories containing hyaluronic acid boost vaginal lubrication – either when used alone or with vitamin A and vitamin E oils and supplements.
Recent study found that taking 5 mg of hyaluronic acid sodium salt for 8 weeks improved symptoms of vaginal atrophy in postmenopausal women. While another study found that a hyaluronic acid derivative vaginal gel (Hydeal-D) was able to support vaginal health and sexual function.
Coconut Oil has become the all around miracle oil with many women swearing by its use as lubricant for menopause dryness. This thick, natural oil is safe for use on most skin type and contains emollient properties beneficial for a variety of issues.
When it comes to menopause dryness, natural remedies are appealing as they are easier to get your hands on, and most times cause less irritation than other options.
We do recommend performing a patch test on an area of sensitive skin and wait for 24 hours. If all seems well, try it out as a personal lubricant. Coconut oil can also help relieve itchy skin in menopause. Although a bit greasy, it absorbs well into the skin, leaving it soft and supple.
Boosting low libido with herbs
Sometimes, sexual desire can not be simplified as a general lack of sexual vitality and well-being. A decrease in libido can be caused by a variety of issues, especially when experiencing hormonal changes occurring during perimenopause and menopause. The good news is, research has shown that there are herbs with properties that can help with balancing fluctuation and decrease levels of hormones, that happens during this process, specifically a decrease in estrogen levels.
Ginkgo Biloba comes from the leaves of the ancient maidenhair tree. It exerts an aphrodisiac effect on women due to its ability to improve blood flow to all parts of the body, including the most intimate parts. This improved blood flow can increase arousal in women vaginally and enhance the pleasure and depth of orgasm. In both peri-menopausal and menopausal women it can help balance hormones, raising estrogen levels that significantly drop during menopause.
A recent study found that women taking ginkgo biloba as a herbal remedy for menopause every day for 30 days felt more sexual desire compared with those taking a placebo.
Ginkgo biloba has also been shown to help relieve some of the psychological symptoms of menopause – including memory problems and mild anxiety.
Ashwaganda‘s exotic reputation is legendary, known for producing an increase in sexual desire and satisfaction in both men and women. Its extracts have the ability to stimulate the production of nitric oxide in the body. This causes a increased dilatation of the blood vessels that carry blood to the genitals, leading to increased sexual desire.
It provides menopausal support to women, acting on the endocrine system by encouraging hormonal balance. A recent study of 51 menopausal women, reported a significant reduction in many of the symptoms noted above, such as hot flashes, anxiety, and mood fluctuations.
Relieving night sweats
Soy is an estrogenic plant, which means it is able to mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. Soy has been widely studied for its impact on symptoms of the menopause, particularly hot flushes and night sweats. This is why it’s commonly recommended among herbal remedies for menopause. A medical review in American Family Physician (the journal of the American Association of Family Physicians) found that soy can significantly improve the discomforts of menopause.
Because soy can reduce hot flashes and nights sweats, and may reduce the risk of heart disease when consumed as part of an overall healthy diet, many doctors and healthcare providers now recommend soy as part of a healthy mid-life nutrition strategy.
Experts suggest taking soy for at least three months to give it time before you start feeling the benefits.