Menopause can take its toll on the body and mind. As recently highlighted in the national news, women and organisations across England are fighting for hormone replacement treatment NHS prescriptions to be made free of charge. With this in mind, natural remedies for menopause, including aromatherapy, are often also sought to help ease some of the crippling symptoms menopause can bring. Here we discover what menopause is, the main symptoms and how essential oils can help you manage your menopause naturally.
What is menopause
Menopause is the stage in life when periods stop due to the lowering of hormone levels and when a female can no longer become pregnant. Usually occurring between the ages of 45 and 55, it can happen earlier or as a result of surgeries and treatments such as hysterectomy or cancer treatment. You may also experience “perimenopause” when you experience symptoms before your period has stopped. You are considered menopausal if you have not had a period in 12 months. Menopause and perimenopause can significantly affect your everyday life, including health, relationships and work. The menopause is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed due to a lack of education and those seeking help.
The symptoms of menopause
Each person who goes through menopause will have a different experience. Some may have an extreme list of symptoms, and some may have none. Symptoms include:
- Ending of periods (not for perimenopause)
- Low mood and mood swings
- Low self-esteem and confidence
- Memory and concentration problems
- Hot flushes – a sudden feeling of heat on your upper body, including the face, which may make you feel dizzy
- Cold flashes – likewise, you may feel coldness in the upper body
- Sudden fast heartbeat and palpitations
- Severe headaches and migraines
- Weight gain and changes to your body shape
- Dry and itchy skin
- Thinning hair
- Loss of breast fulness
- Lowered sex drive
- Dryness and pain in the vagina or pain during sex
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is the primary treatment for menopause and perimenopause and is proven to be highly successful. However, many also use natural remedies alongside HRT, including essential oils to ease symptoms.
What essential oils for menopause?
Whether looking for natural remedies for hot flushes or essential oils for hormone balancing, many aromatherapists believe it’s possible to manage your menopause naturally. Here are some essential oils that experts believe assist with the relief of symptoms:
Essential oils for hormone balancing
Menopause brings hormonal changes that can leave you feeling anxious and depressed. Essential oils can help balance your hormones and ease symptoms. The top essential oils for hormone balance include:
- Geranium – known for its soothing and uplifting with a floral scent
- Basil – contains phytoestrogen, which assists with restoring hormonal balance
- Lavender – one of the most popular essential oils; lavender is used to relieve stress and promote overall wellbeing
Essential oils for mood swings
Those experiencing menopause may feel depressed, anxious or generally irritable. There are some essential oils which can help with balancing emotions. The top essential oils for mood swings are:
- Clary Sage – contains natural phytoestrogens, which help mimic the effects of estrogen
- Jasmine – this fresh floral yet warming essential oil is known to uplift the mood and help reduce anxiety
- Lavender – again, this well-rounded essential oil works nicely to improve moods and relax the mind
Essential oils for hot flushes and night sweats
In addition to the upset with hormones, menopause sufferers may experience hot flushes and night sweats. These can come on suddenly, so having some natural remedies to hand can help. The top essential oils for hot flushes are:
- Peppermint – an instant burst of coolness from peppermint works wonders during a hot flush
- Ylang Ylang – commonly used to help balance your hormones, resulting in fewer hot flushes
- Basil – this hormone-balancing essential oil is known to aid hot flushes and is packed with goodness
Essential oils for menopause weight gain
Some women may lose weight during menopause; some find they gain weight. For those who do, this can be upsetting and stressful, particularly if you have never had weight which fluctuates. Some of the most recommended essential oils to help with weight gain during menopause are:
- Juniper Berry – packed full of antioxidant properties, many believe juniper berry essential oil can be used to help maintain body weight.
- Grapefruit – this refreshing fruit is known to help kick start your metabolism, and many use it in the form of essential oil during menopause.
- Peppermint – it is claimed that regular inhalation of peppermint oil reduces appetite and food cravings.
Essential oils for sleep
Sleep can be one of the most affected areas concerning menopause. Lack of sleep can be caused by many other symptoms such as night sweats and mood swings. The good news is that essential oils can significantly ensure a good night’s rest. The top essential oils for sleep during menopause include:
- Chamomile – often used in aromatherapy, chamomile essential oil is soothing and may help improve depressive moods.
- Lavender – supports the nervous system to relax, regulates sleep processes and is often used to create positive feelings for the mind and body.
- Frankincense – a woody essential oil with spicy undertones often used as a natural remedy for people with insomnia
Menopause comes with a wide range of symptoms, emotional reactions and levels of discomfort that you may find other essential oils work better for you. Some of the more popular essential oils for common symptoms include:
- For concentration – Rosemary, Sage, Peppermint and Eucalyptus
- For dry skin – Chamomile, Rose Geranium, Myrrh and Sandalwood
- For thinning hair – Peppermint, Red Thyme, Cedarwood and Lemon
If you are considering using natural remedies and essential oils to manage the symptoms of your menopause, we strongly recommend consulting your GP first.
How to use essential oils for menopause
How and when you use essential oils for menopause relief depends on the symptoms you are experiencing. Here are some of the most popular methods as recommended by aromatherapists:
- With a diffuser – the simplest way to use essential oils to treat menopause symptoms. Add a few drops of your chosen essential oils to a diffuser. This will allow a constant stream of essential oil aroma throughout your home.
- As a massage oil – known to relieve stress, massage is a great way to reduce your anxiety levels. When using essential oils for massage, dilute them with a suitable carrier oil like jojoba oil or sweet almond oil to avoid skin irritation. You can even combine your preferred essential oils to create a massage oil blend specific to your symptoms.
- A room spray or pillow mist – a room spray is perfect for those on the go or for a good night’s rest. Read our Homemade Room Spray Recipes blog for step-by-step instructions for making your own.
- Bath oil – essential oil baths can help relieve stress and anxieties. Mix a few drops of essential oil with a tablespoon of carrier oil into your steaming bath water, then relax.
- On the pulse points – dilute your chosen oil in a bottle with a roller lid and apply it directly to the pulse points.
Make hot flushes, sleepless nights, mood swings and the many symptoms caused by menopause that little more manageable with the help of amazing pure essential oils.
Important: Pure essential oils can be powerful. Please seek advice when using them directly on the skin (most will need to be diluted) and seek advice from a professional before use if unsure.