The Big Bad Change
Are you ready for the “great change of life”?
Menopause is a phase all women will eventually endure, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ready for it. Menopause significantly impacts a woman’s daily life, and some begin to feel frustrated and helpless. Common symptoms such as sleep disruption, low sex drive, and night sweats begin to surface, leaving women feeling unnatural.
Although each woman will respond to menopause in her own unique way, many can manage unpleasant midlife symptoms in a natural manner. Here are the major issues I see women face during this change, including the best natural solutions to deal with them.
>> Vaginal dryness
Although most women (of any age) will experience this condition (at some point), vaginal dryness is especially common during and after menopause because lowered estrogen levels in the body can cause a decrease in blood flow to the vagina. Keep a natural personal lubricant close at hand for both everyday comfort and sexual activity. You can also change your eating habits to a more balanced diet, stay hydrated, and find healthy ways to deal with the stress that may linger in your life.
>> Loss of libido
Changes to the levels of estrogen and testosterone in the body can make women less responsive to touching and stroking. These changes also make it harder to become aroused and interested in sex. Although they may sound intimidating, jade eggs are a powerful tool and can increase sexual vitality. Used for more than 7,000 years in Asian cultures, the small stones are quickly gaining popularity in the West because they help increase blood flow to the vagina, generate lubrication, and awaken sexual sensitivity, among other benefits.
Hormonal and social issues—such as stress, retirement, or empty nest syndrome—can work together to create a pattern of sleepless nights during menopause. Reserve the bedroom for sleeping and sex only (no computer or TV!), and before reaching for an OTC or prescription sleep aid, try some proven natural remedies. A half-hour before bed, sip on a cup of chamomile tea—a natural mild sedative—to help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation, or sprinkle lavender—which has been shown to lengthen sleep time and increase deep sleep—under your pillow at night.
>> Night sweats/hot flashes
Night sweats and hot flashes are the most frequently reported symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. These momentary sensations of heat can cause discomfort and disruption during your sleep. Keep coffee and wine intake to a minimum; they can both have a warming effect and exacerbate symptoms. For relief, try taking a thimble-full of apple cider vinegar daily. Evening primrose oil, rich in the fatty acid involved in the production of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, may also assist with night sweats and hot flashes, along with vitamin E and Dong Quai, an Asian herb in the celery family believed to have a balancing effect on the female hormonal system.
>> Weight gain
Decreased estrogen is the likely culprit in a menopausal woman’s extra pounds. Estrogen is believed to help regulate weight and metabolism, but with the lowered levels of this hormone, you may have a hard time regulating. Along with no-brainers like exercise and a healthy diet, try to finish your last meal of the day a few hours before bed to maintain weight and improve sleep. And pencil in more active bedroom time! Sex is an excellent calorie-burner, and orgasm can help release stress and promote relaxation for better sleep. With the assistance of a patient partner and your natural personal lubricant, you’ll be on your way to blasting fat in no time.
Shyena Venice is an internationally acclaimed sexual wellness educator with more than 20 years of experience in the natural healing arts and is CEO of Sylk USA. You can visit her online at shyenavenice.com.