Some women sail through their menopause and barely have any symptoms. Their monthly period diminishes and stops and that’s it. For the majority of women though, this is not the case and symptoms can be numerous and severe. Leading many to look at their options. These options might include hormone replacement therapy, bioidentical hormones, or herbal and nutritional support. This post is about herbal support for the perimenopause and why it is better to talk to a professional herbalist rather than buying an off the shelf product.
There is no doubt that herbal remedies are popular with the general public. Across the globe the sale of herbal dietary supplements amounts to a multi-billion pound industry. Yet, in many cases herbal remedies are used much like a natural version of conventional drugs. As in X herbal remedy treats Y condition, disease or symptom. Or for a more relevant example, using sage leaf to treat menopausal symptoms. In my experience this approach is not the best way to use herbal remedies.
That is not to say that sage leaf is not a useful remedy for menopausal symptoms. It certainly can be helpful for some women. However, it may not be suitable or appropriate for all women during perimenopause. Plus, while sage has many medicinal properties it can not address all the symptoms a women might have at this time.
An off the shelf product marketed as a “menopausal remedy” may help some women. Yet, every woman is different. Every woman probably needs a different combination of herbs to help her with the transition through perimenopause.
Symptoms of perimenopause/menopause
Lets take a look at some of the symptoms for which a woman might seek herbal care during perimenopause:
- changes to her normal pattern of periods
- hot flashes
- night sweats
- mood swings, low mood or anxiety
- poor concentration or memory problems
- joint stiffness, aches and pains
- vaginal dryness
- decreased libido
- weight gain and reduced muscle mass
- heart palpitations
- loss of control of urine or recurrent urinary tract infections
Further, the severity of symptoms varies widely and a woman may have several symptoms or just one. Nevertheless each of these symptoms can have a significant impact on daily life. What’s more, women’s risk of heart disease and osteoporosis rises considerably after menopause. An off the shelf “menopause” product is just not going to help with all of these symptoms. By trying to remedy every symptom the combination product probably doesn’t relieve many, if any.
The complexity of the health concerns that women may have at this time in their lives demands a holistic approach. One that takes into account both the physical and emotional symptoms and helps to guide a woman through this transition. A holistic approach would include reducing bothersome symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. Whilst all the time giving consideration to the prevention of osteoporosis, heart disease, vaginal dryness, incontinence and low libido.
The benefits of consulting a medical herbalist about your menopause
During a consultation with a medical herbalist you will have the time to discuss your particular symptoms and health issues. Your herbalist will provide safe, tailor made herbal prescriptions made specifically for you and your symptoms, that can be altered as your symptoms change and improve.
Medical herbalists will usually also offer nutritional advice on the healthiest diet during and after menopause, helping to protect you against long-term health problems. Your medical herbalist can also save you money by providing the herbal remedies that are the most effective for you based on information given during the consultation process. Saving you from having a “supplement mountain” by directing you to those that will actually help.
Have you tried herbal remedies for menopausal symptoms? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments box below.
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