WHAT IS MENOPAUSE?
Menopause is usually defined as the absence of menstrual periods for 12 consecutive months.
It’s not an illness as such of course, simply a normal condition that every woman may experience at some point in life. It’s a period that marks the end of your fertility, when your menstrual cycles cease permanently as a result of the depletion of ovarian oocytes, and getting pregnant naturally is not possible any more.
WHEN DOES MENOPAUSE OCCUR?
The average age when menopause occurs is about 51 years. However, there’s no way to accurately predict when you personally may start experiencing menopause symptoms.
That said, for most women menopause starts sometime between the ages of 45 and 55, although it’s possible to reach menopause as early as the age of 30, in which case it’s called premature menopause. Or indeed, some women don’t experience it until as late as 60 years old.
Unfortunately, due to it’s nature, when you go through menopause you’re likely to suffer from at least some of the symptoms associated with it. This can be a distressing and uncomfortable time for many women, not only physically but emotionally too.
So with that in mind, let’s now consider the most common symptoms of menopause, then we can look at which are the most effective essential oils for treating those symptoms…
It’s important to note that each menopause experience is individual. You personally may experience very few symptoms or even none at all. Alternatively, you could experience a whole range of psychological and physical symptoms. Having said that, most women will experience at least some symptoms of menopause.
The severity of your experience may also vary significantly from that of your peers, and the symptoms may come and go over an extended period.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of menopause:
IRREGULAR VAGINAL BLEEDING
One of the first symptoms of menopause for many women is that they start to experience irregular periods. Of course, all women are different and so what is irregular for you may not be irregular for someone else.
So what I mean by irregular periods is unusual menstruation for you. So for example, you may well experience heavier (or lighter) bleeding than you’re used to or changes in the length of your menstrual cycles. Eventually of course, your periods will stop completely.
HOT FLASHES AND NIGHT SWEATS
At least 75% of menopausal women experience hot flashes. This is a sudden heat that spreads all over the body making you sweaty and causing your skin to redden. It’s most pronounced around the chest and the head.
These hot flashes can last for several minutes and can be accompanied by feelings of dizziness, nausea, or a general feeling of being unwell.
Although the cause is not fully understood, hot flashes are believed to occur as a result of a combination of biochemical and hormonal fluctuations.
Some women will have very few hot flashes over a short time during menopause, while others may continue to have them for the rest of their life. In these cases though, the symptoms of the hot flashes usually get less pronounced over time.
Closely related to hot flashes and sweating during the daytime are night sweats. In fact, they’re basically the same symptom, just happening during the night rather than during the day. Many women suffering from night sweats wake up to find their bedclothes are completely saturated with sweat.
Not only can this be disconcerting, but also embarrassing too. And of course, night sweats can play havoc with your sleep patterns, leaving you exhausted during the day.
Luckily, there are some wonderful essential oils for hot flashes and night sweats as we shall see a little later.
OTHER PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS
There are various other common physical symptoms of menopause too. These include:
Thinning of the vaginal walls.
Pain during intercourse.
Urinary tract infections.
Burning sensation when urinating.
OTHER PHYSICAL CHANGES
Weight gain is common during menopause with body fat mostly being deposited around the abdominal area. Skin wrinkles accompanied by adult acne can also often develop.
As you age, your body continues to produce some levels of male testosterone. Therefore, you may experience some hair growth on the upper lip, the chin, or the abdomen.
You may also start to suffer from joint and muscle aches, pains and stiffness too.
LONG TERM PHYSICAL EFFECTS
There can be some long term physical effects as a result of menopause. In particular, due to the fact that oestrogen is no longer being produced, you become more susceptible to osteoporosis.
This same lack of oestrogen is also thought to contribute to an increased risk of stroke and heart disease.
As we’ll discuss shortly, there are some essential oils that effectively imitate oestrogen and can help with these issues.
Many women experience emotional symptoms during menopause. These include irritability, rapid mood swings, memory and concentration problems, and fatigue. It’s almost impossible to predict the behavioral symptoms that will arise as a result of menopause for individual cases.
The night sweats you may experience can also contribute to the feeling of fatigue due to your disturbed sleep patterns. This, in turn, can influence your mood and performance.
Another common symptom is a lack of libido, i.e. a reduction in your sex drive. This can strain your relationship with your partner, adding to your stress and tension levels.
Various treatments are used for these symptoms such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and some symptoms can be alleviated by improving your diet and exercise regime.
But one of the most natural and effective ways of treating menopause symptoms is with essential oils. So now let’s consider which are the best essential oils for menopause symptoms…
THE BEST ESSENTIAL OILS FOR MENOPAUSE SYMPTOMS
Although menopause is an unavoidable biological process that every woman goes through (unless your ovaries were removed before puberty), that doesn’t mean that you can’t stay healthy, emotionally well, and sexually active. It’s just a case of managing and treating the symptoms. And certain essential oils are very effective at this as you’ll see below…
ESSENTIAL OILS TO REPLACE OESTROGEN
All of the most common symptoms of menopause can be linked to a reduction in the amount of oestrogen that your body is producing. And because many essential oils contain components that imitate oestrogen, this makes them helpful during your menopause. Example oils are Sage, Basil, Angelica, Coriander, Cypress, Anise, and Clary Sage.
These essential oils can also help with sleep disturbance, hot flashes, breast and back pain, as well as night sweats.
When you apply essential oils directly to your skin, they’re very easily absorbed by it because your skin is porous. So it can be very effective to apply the above oils directly to the fatty parts of your body such as your abdomen.
It’s important to remember that you should always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil before applying them topically, and you should also always do a patch test first.
ESSENTIAL OILS FOR HOT FLASHES AND NIGHT SWEATS
CLARY SAGE OIL
Clary Sage is a fantastic essential oil for hot flashes and night sweats, as it can greatly reduce their intensity. Not only that, but it can also reduce the frequency with which they occur too.
In fact, Clary Sage oil is a very good essential oil for menopause symptoms in general. It excels at promoting hormonal balance in women’s bodies, and offers relief from many other symptoms of menopause including menstrual cramps. And it offers many other benefits too, including helping with your mental state, helping you to sleep, and lowering your blood pressure.
Cypress oil is great for giving you a feeling of well-being and relaxing any nervous tension. It’s soothing effects promote emotional health and aid hormonal balance. Cypress oil also has strong cooling properties that make it very effective when it comes to treating hot flashes and night sweats.
Peppermint is an essential oil that has a wide range of uses, making it very popular. It’s an excellent essential oil for hot flashes and night sweats as it gives a refreshing cooling sensation. And among it’s many other attributes, it’s also a very calming oil and increases energy levels.
ROMAN CHAMOMILE OIL
Roman Chamomile can also be used to treat hot flashes and night sweats. It’s very good for reducing tension and stress and is most effective for treating menopause symptoms when you blend it with Clary Sage and Peppermint oil. Combining these three oils gives a compound that’s great for preventing and treating hot flashes. Mix 8 drops each of the Roman Chamomile, Peppermint and Clary Sage with 3 ounces of distilled water and an ounce of Witch Hazel. Add this mixture to a bottle spray to provide a nice cooling mist.
Thyme is another member of the mint family and is another essential oil that can help to reduce both the frequency and the severity of night sweats and hot flashes.
A good way to use the above essential oils to relieve your menopause symptoms is to take three drops of whichever oil you choose, and massage the back of your neck for quick relief. You can also rub them into the top of your feet too.
Or for immediate relief of hot flashes and profuse sweating, you can simply inhale the oils from a piece of cotton (see below for more information about how to inhale essential oils).
ESSENTIAL OILS FOR HORMONE REGULATION
Lavender, Neroli, and Geranium essential oils are very good at balancing the hormones in your body. They’re often used in face creams as they’re great for your skin. In particular, they’re very good for reducing the signs of ageing. So it’s no surprise that they can help with the dry skin that’s a common symptom of menopause. And they can also help when it comes to vaginal dryness too.
Adding vitamin E oil can help to strengthen the vaginal membrane and improve it’s flexibility. And if sexual intercourse has become painful for you due to vaginal dryness causing abrasions, the vitamin E oil can speed up the healing of any damage that’s been caused.
Other essential oils that are also good for balancing hormones include Sandalwood, Basil, Lemon, Anise, Thyme and Clary Sage oils.
Blending Clary Sage with Geranium in an almond carrier oil makes a great oil for promoting hormonal balance. Not only that, but it’s great for pain relief too. Rub it on your abdomen to relieve the pain of menstrual cramps.
ESSENTIAL OILS FOR EMOTIONAL STABILITY AND WELL-BEING
As I mentioned earlier, there can be many emotional symptoms of menopause. And of course, essential oils can provide great help in this area too.
Chamomile, Lavender, Peppermint and Jasmine oils are all useful for treating depression and giving your mood a lift.
Lavender and Peppermint are also great for stress relief and reducing tension, as are Bergamot, Vetiver and Ylang Ylang.
One of the contributors to stress and mood swings during menopause is tiredness through lack of sleep. Lavender, Sandalwood, Jasmine, and Chamomile can all help with insomnia.
And if you’re in need of an energy boost, try Jasmine, Tea Tree, Sage and Rosemary essential oils.
Finally, if you’re struggling with concentration and memory loss, Cinnamon, Peppermint and Sage oils can all help.
HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS FOR MENOPAUSE SYMPTOMS
There are various ways you can use these essential oils:
There are a few different ways you can inhale essential oils for menopause symptom treatment:
Try putting a few drops of your chosen oil on your handkerchief or a piece of tissue and inhale whenever symptoms rear their head. Hold the cloth close to your nose and breathe in deeply. Then breathe out fully. Repeat this inhalation/exhalation three times. Take care not to touch your face with the cloth while doing this.
Alternatively, you can heat a pan of water until it begins to simmer then pour it into a bowl and add 2 or 3 drops of your chosen menopause essential oil. Place the bowl on a table, sit down and place your head over the bowl and then drape a towel over your head and neck. Then simply remain in this position for a few moments, breathing as deeply as you can.
You can even inhale the essential oil straight from the bottle if you wish. Just remove the bottle top and hold the bottle under your nose, then breathe in and out three times as deeply as you’re able to. Once again, you should take care that you don’t touch your face with the oil when using this inhalation method.
You can also choose to use an essential oil diffuser. Indeed, this is a very popular way of using essential oils due to its inherent safety.
A range of diffusers are available but they nearly all work in the same way.
You just add a few drops of your chosen oil to the water you use to fill the diffuser. The diffuser then heats the water/oil mix and the steam that’s generated carries small drops of your oil into the air in the room. You then inhale these drops of essential oil as you breathe normally.
Lavender or Clary Sage (or a mixture of the two can work even better) are great oils for using in a diffuser when it comes to relieving the symptoms of menopause.
USE A BODY MOISTURIZER
Another good way of using essential oils for menopause symptoms is to make your own body moisturizer.
To do this, just mix about 8 drops of your preferred oil to 15 ml of unscented lotion or cream, along with a carrier oil such as Sweet Almond oil. Apply the moisturizer several times a day every day for quick relief from menopause symptoms.
ESSENTIAL OIL BATHS
To cool your body, add 20 drops of preferred oil such as Ylang-ylang to five liters of water in a bucket or large bowl. Then, put your feet into the bucket and relax.
Bathing with these menopause essential oils can be stimulating and rejuvenating. If you feel too tired and have a hard time handling simple tasks, get a warm bath filled with Verbena, Lemon, Geranium, Basil, Rosemary, Peppermint, and Helichrysum. A good tip is to mix the oils with Epsom salt to prevent the oils from floating on the water. Swirl the bathwater to make sure the oils are thoroughly mixed in, and then gently massage yourself with it.
Other ways of using essential oils for menopause symptoms include massage and hot and cold compresses.
Using essential oils for menopause symptoms is an effective and organic way of dealing with them. Essential oils are completely natural and safe for use (provided you use them sensibly), bringing you sustainable results during your menopause phase.