All women go through the menopause, defined as starting one year after the end of a woman’s last period. This ‘change of life’ usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 and is when the ovaries lose their reproductive function. For some women menopause can be a worrying time, but it is a completely natural part of aging.
Not everyone suffers with the same symptoms that are typical of the menopause and which are due to a decreased production of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone. The most common symptoms of the menopause include: hot flushes, night sweats, and flushing; vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex; reduced sex drive (libido); difficulty sleeping; emotional changes, low moods or anxiety and problems with memory and concentration.
Sometimes the symptoms can be really difficult to cope with and what works for one person may be different to what works for another. Avoiding certain foods such as added sugars, processed carbs, spicy foods, caffeine and alcohol may alleviate symptoms. Physical activity, yoga and relaxation exercises will help you to stay healthy and keep you in control of your body. Even a small amount of activity is better than none.
Some women choose to take hormone replacement therapy (HRT), but if you don’t want to or are concerned about doing so, there are other options, including some complementary therapies and natural remedies.
Holland & Barrett sell a range for products for treating menopausal symptoms, including herbal remedies such as evening primrose oil, black cohosh, angelica, ginseng and St John’s wort.
Night sweats and hot flushes are one of the more common symptoms and Sage, or Salvia officinalis, often used as a culinary herb, has been shown to help relieve the problem. One A.Vogel Menoforce Sage Tablet containing sage extract taken daily can help against excessive sweating, hot flushes and night sweats.
St John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), a flowering shrub native to Europe, is another popular herb used to treat symptoms of low mood and anxiety, especially during the menopause. Try Holland & Barrett Moodease St. John’s Wort One-A-Day or alternatively Holland & Barrett Menopause Mood Relief Tablets which also contains Black Cohosh, a combination found to be effective in alleviating menopausal symptoms.
Have you lost your ‘get-up-and-go’ mentality? Do you suffer with a persistent lack of energy and feelings of tiredness? This can also affect your sex drive and many women experience a low libido during the menopause. The Ginkgo Biloba tree, also known as maidenhair, is native to China and has been used for thousands of years to assist with mental focus, memory, cognitive performance and blood circulation. Holland & Barrett’s Maximum Strength Ginkgo Biloba 120mg Tablets could be the answer to giving your sex life a boost.
Sea buckthorn is another herbal product that can help with symptoms like vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy (where the tissues of the vagina start to thin) and sea buckthorn oil is especially useful for women who can’t use oestrogen creams or suppositories. Relatively few plant species are good sources of essential fatty acids, but Holland & Barrett Sea Buckthorn Oil Blend Omega 7 Softgel Capsules provide polyunsaturated omega 7 fatty acids, as well as omega 3 (alpha linolenic acid), omega 6 (linoleic acid) and omega 9 (oleic acid).
Vitamin E is known for its ability to support healthy skin and eyes, but research now shows it could be good for hot flushes, too. Holland & Barrett Vitamin E 400iu 100 Softgel Capsules can help relieve dry skin and tackle vaginal dryness as well.
Soy is a plant high in isoflavones which are a type of phytoestrogens – chemicals found in plants that work like oestrogens. It has been widely studied for its impact on menopause symptoms, particularly hot flushes and night sweats. Herbal food supplement A Vogel Menopause Support Tablets contain a unique formulation of Soy Isoflavones, Magnesium (known to help with tiredness and fatigue), Hibiscus and Vervain (a flowering plant in the verbena family of herbs), and can be used to help you through all stages of the menopause.
Valerian root has been used since ancient times for various health problems, including insomnia. Holland & Barrett Valerian Capsules are a traditional herbal medicinal product used for the temporary relief of symptoms of mild anxiety and to help aid sleep.
Whatever your personal journey through the menopause, you don’t have to suffer through it and there are plenty of natural options available which may help.
Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, taking any medications or are under medical supervision, please consult a doctor or healthcare professional and always read the label before use.