With so many of the Baby Boomers reaching menopause today there is an increasing amount of information available on this very natural biological process. For most people the decrease of estrogen and progesterone levels are pretty gradual with very few signs and symptoms. For others this swing in hormonal balance can bring with it quite a lot of side effects. Although technically menopause is really only calculated in retrospect, and is established one year after the final menstrual period, many of the signs and symptoms often appear long before the actual menopause date (perimenopause) and can continue on well past this date (postmenopause).
While menopause is a naturally occurring process occasionally it can be induced suddenly through a hysterectomy, chemotherapy and radiation therapy or premature ovarian failure.
There are many different approaches to handling this time of life and each person will need to find the right formula that works for them.
Whether one goes the Hormonal Replacement Therapy route or an Alternative route including the regular use of essential oils can be very effective against some of the symptoms one is faced with at this time. In addition to the physical symptoms that accompany this time of life, there are often emotional issues to be addressed and once again essential oils are very supportive at this time.
Conditions that can accompany menopause include headaches, hot flashes, sleep disturbances, depression, rapid mood swings, irritability, edema and weight gain. A healthy wholesome diet with the right supplements is important at this time as is gentle exercise for the body (walking, swimming, yoga, tai chi etc.) and spiritual nourishment for the soul (prayer, meditation, laughter therapy etc.).
Each blend works best when it is formulated for the individual in question and oils can be included in a blend to work on just one symptom or on a combination of symptoms.
- To regulate menstruation consider: clary sage, Melissa, sweet marjoram, rose. Apply the essential oils topically in a body lotion or cream or in a nurturing soothing massage.
- To stimulate estrogen consider: aniseed, angelic, chamomile, cypress, fennel, geranium, rosemary, clary sage, sage, geranium, hyssop, sage, spikenard, vetiver. Apply the essential oils topically in a body lotion or cream or in a nurturing soothing massage.
- For estrogen-like oils consider: sweet fennel, clary sage and sage.
- For hot flashes consider: cypress, clary sage, peppermint and spearmint. Apply cool compresses with the appropriate oils added . Peppermint hydrosol in a spray bottle is easy to take with you and have on hand whenever the need arises. For night sweats take a warm bath before bedtime using around 8 drops of the oil blend.
- For headaches consider: lavender, sweet marjoram, peppermint, spike lavender, basil. Make a blend in a roll on bottle or apply a cool compress to the eyes and forehead.
- For sleep disturbances consider: benzoin, cedarwood, Roman and German chamomile, clary sage, lavender, mandarin, sweet marjoram, rose, spikenard, valerian, vetiver. Add the oils to a warm bath before bed. Alternatively apply a little of the oil in a body lotion before going to bed, or add the oils to a spray bottle and spray the room before going to sleep, or diffuse the blend in the bedroom for about 1/2 hour before going to bed.
- For mood swings consider: bergamot, clary sage, fennel, frankincense, geranium, jasmine, lavender, rosewood. Use the blend in a spray or add the blend to a body oil or lotion. Diffuse the oil or add it to a personal inhaler to take with you to use in times of need.
- For general support and balancing to the mind and body consider: bergamot, Roman chamomile, clary sage, fennel, frankincense, geranium, lavender, Melissa, neroli, rose, sandalwood, ylang ylang.
Beverley Hawkins, Essential Oil Therapist - EOT", R.A., NCTMB, RAC, Di.SPE., BFRP, is a registered Aromatherapist and owner of West Coast Institute of Aromatherapy