Aromatherapy Relief For The Menopause
Although some women go through menopause without much suffering, for others ‘the change’ brings profound changes to both mind and body as it signals the loss of both fertility and youth.
Whatever your age right now, the earlier you prepare for this eventuality the easier it should be when it comes.
The first stage of preparation is being informed, so this article aims to answer some the most common questions about the menopause and how aromatherapy can bring relief.
What causes menopause?
The menopause is brought about by a change in the hormonal balance of the body, which brings about a gradual closing down of the ovaries. It is not as some people believe, the lack of eggs to ovulate, but the gradual decline in sensitivity of the ovarian follicles to stimulation by pituitary hormones. These follicles simply secrete less and less oestrogen. This lack of oestrogen means that no ovulation takes place, and therefore there is no corpus luteum to make another important hormone called progesterone.
Eventually, there are simply not enough of these vital hormones to prepare the womb for pregnancy, and this signals the end of fertility and the start of a new cycle of life. Most surprisingly, this process can start almost 10 years before the onset of the menopause itself.
When does menopause happen?
The menopause usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 50, although it can sometimes happen before the age of 30, or even not until after the age of 50. Whatever age it takes place, it can be a psychologically disturbing experience often accompanied by a wide range of physical manifestations.
I have read of some instances where women have experienced the menopause in their mid twenties, however this is only the case with about 1% of the population. Leading up to the menopause, periods may begin to alter in frequency and can be either heavier, lighter, longer or shorter than previously experienced.
We can technically categorise the menopause into 3 distinct phases:-
1) Pre-menopause – this is when periods are still occurring but symptoms like hot flushes or emotional changes may be happening;
2) Peri–menopause – this is when periods become more irregular and symptoms become more severe;
3) Post–menopause – this is when a year has passed without a period.
As our hormones change at the time of the menopause we can often experience a drop in our self esteem, self worth or image and a loss in confidence linked with a feeling of no being able to cope with everyday situations.
How aromatherapy can help with menopause
The possible symptoms of the menopause as listed above can present themselves as a single condition, or in multiple combinations. Symptoms can also be quite mild, or in other instances quite severe. Aromatherapy can help to ease you through this difficult period in a number of ways.
Simple basic massage itself is known to encourage the release of endorphins, which are pain-killing and tranquilising hormones that can increase the feel-good factor. Using essential oils in these massages and in other treatments can help assist you through this sometimes difficult period of your feminine life cycle.
Also known as hot flashes and power surges in the U.S., these are common symptoms of the menopause. You can experience a feeling of intense heat which may or may not be accompanied by a reddening of the face and neck, lasting a few seconds or for several minutes.
The number of flushes per day will vary from person to person, but can be up to 10 or more per day and these flushes can be very debilitating for many people. They are most severe in the phase leading up to the last menstrual cycle. Hot flushes can sometimes be accompanied by night sweats and if you start to get these wear thin cotton bedclothes.
Essential oils for hot flushes
Put one or two drops of peppermint essential oil on a tissue and inhale it when you feel a hot flush starting. You can also carry a small spray bottle of peppermint hydrosol with you in your handbag and spritz the face, head and neck as required – the effect of this hydrosol is refreshing and may help to cool your system down. Keep your eyes closed when you do this so as not to get any spray directly into the eyes.
Try adding a couple of drops of clary sage, geranium and lavender to your bath water, since these oils can help to balance your body and aid the reduction of flushes or night sweats experienced.
To hold back the hands of time, try a divine combination of sandalwood and/or frankincense with rose oil. This blend is wonderful for helping to strengthen the collagen and elastin fibre network of your skin. Rose oil itself also encourages the skin to retain moisture whilst plumping out the cells of the skin, helping to create a youthful vibrant appearance.
Essential oils for loss of confidence
Emotional and psychological symptoms can occur at the menopause and your confidence can take a real nose dive, which in itself can affect other feelings. To help instil confidence, strengthen and focus the mind, try making some powerful synergistic blends of the following essential oils. See the suggestions for blending them in the sidebar above:-
- Jasmine absolute & Grapefruit
- Rose absolute & Sandalwood
- Bergamot & Geranium
- Rosewood & Cardamon
Essential oils for lack of concentration
To aid your failing concentration during the menopause, choose any combination from the following list of essential oils; anise star, basil, grapefruit, peppermint, rosemary and spearmint.
Essential oils to Boost Energy And Overcome Fatigue
These can often become disturbed during the menopause, and if this is the case then at this time essential oils are particularly helpful, especially those which aid relaxation, tranquility and promote a sense of well being. These oils include bergamot, chamomile roman, clary sage, geranium, lavender, rose, sandalwood and ylang ylang.
Choose any of the oils from this list to help boost your energy levels: basil, black pepper, cardamon, clove bud, geranium, ginger, juniper berry, may chang, pine and rosemary.
The great thing about essential oils is their versatility; you can add the essential oils to your bathwater, use them in a massage, inhale them from a tissue, burn them in a vaporiser, or add them to a lotion base and apply after a bath or shower. Place a few drops of oil onto a cotton wool ball and put it in your car so that you get the benefit whilst driving to work. You can even add a couple of drops of essential oil to your unfragranced moisture cream or lotion so that you get a treatment throughout the day.
Other treatments for menopause
At the first sign of symptoms you should of course consult your doctor for a proper diagnosis. You will probably be offered hormone replacement therapy (HRT) which seems to work well for some women. However, it does not suit everyone, so you should also ask your doctor for some alternatives to this treatment. Some natural remedies such as Agnus Castus, Dong Quai and Black Cohosh can often help with symptoms.
Copyright © Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd 2020. Written by Sue Charles