menopause signifies the end of a womans reproductive phase of life, it is a
natural transition. Approximately 57% of women will have symptoms at menopause
including: hot flushes, night sweats, sleeplessness, depression, vaginal dryness
and low libido. For many women these symptoms can be overcome with changes in
diet and lifestyle. For others (approximately 22%) they can interfere with
work, socialising, relationships and self confidence. Research has proven that
herbal medicine can offer a real solution for many women suffering with these
symptoms can be complex and variable. This is why seeing a trained medical
herbalist can address the symptoms that you as an individual experience. A medical herbalist can also prescribe
herbal medicines such as St Johns Wort
which has a proven effectiveness for mild to moderate depression. Herbal
medicines have an excellent safety record; if you are currently taking orthodox
medications a medical herbalist will be able to safely prescribe herbs suitable
diet and lifestyle factors can have significant influence on menopausal
symptoms. Here are a few tips!
Avoid hot drinks and caffeinated drinks, coffee, tea, fizzy drinks, and spicy
foods as they can encourage hot flushes.
100g of tofu and 1 tablespoon of ground linseeds to the diet can reduce hot
flushes and vaginal dryness. Linseeds should be ground fresh and used straight away as their beneficial properties are
gradually reduced on exposure to oxygen, the same goes for most seeds!
sage tea can also help hot flushes. Take 5-6 fresh sage leaves, infuse in
boiling water, add cold tea to your daily bottle of drinking water and sip
through the day.
regularly, dips in blood sugar can also trigger hot flushes, avoid quick fix
high sugar and refined carbohydrate foods as they can cause blood sugars to
see-saw up and down. Look out for ‘low sugar’ or ‘low calorie’ products as they
will often contain artificial
sweeteners. Look out for aspartame, which
is 180 times sweeter than sugar and is found in many soft drinks, it is
associated with weight gain and binge eating.
Useful remedies for difficulties sleeping include Passiflora incarnata (passionflower) which is a sedative for the
nervous system and is useful in cases of transient insomnia.
you have enough fibre in your diet. It is important, for reducing bloating,
flatulence, lowering cholesterol, maintaining blood sugar balance and balancing
hormones. Soluble fibre is especially important in helping recycle hormones in the
body; this can be found in oats, vegetables, rice, fruit, and beans. Bran may
not be the best source of fibre as it contains phytates which prevent the
efficient absorption of iron, zinc, magnesium and calcium which are important
in osteoporosis prevention. Instead go for insoluble fibre in the form of
vegetables and whole grain sources. Adequate fluid intake is also important if
you are increasing fibre intake.
is common in post menopausal women, if you are suffering symptoms of fatigue,
weight gain, swollen ankles, swollen facial features especially eyes, hair
loss, limp lack lustre hair, low libido, vaginal dryness, dry skin, depression,
anxiety (especially if for the first time), insomnia, skin rashes, aching
joints and muscles especially with exercise; these could all be a hint to get a
full thyroid profile done. Most GP’s will check for TSH (thyroid stimulating
hormone) and T4, I have found that this is inadequate and will miss those who
have a normal TSH, T4 but have a low T3, (essentially poorly converting the
inactive free T4 to the active free T3 hormone).Research has proven that there
are many cases of clinical depression which have been ‘unresponsive’ to
conventional medication only to improve when administered T3 hormone. There are
also vast amounts of research which
have proven that dietary changes and herbal medicine can make a marked
difference to this condition.
Ciara O’ Meara is a Medical herbalist
practicing in Feighcullen, Rathangan, Co.Kildare
Contact: 087-2440301 or see