Truthfully, I didn’t do the menopause naturally. I went straight to HRT as I felt my crippling anxiety caused by a lack of oestrogen meant that this was the right option for me.
My mindset changed in 2018 when a friend introduced me to Caroline Gaskin, homeopath and natural-menopause coach. After 10 years of taking a cocktail of supplements and prescribed medication I felt my body needed a break. I came off everything and allowed myself to reset.
When I met Caroline I was struggling with anxiety. I couldn’t sleep and felt hyperactive. Caroline used a detox, homeopathy and flower essences to help calm my body and mind.
For six weeks I tried a natural path and although I slowly introduced HRT back into my regime (mainly due to my osteoporosis), there were so many elements from my time with Caroline that I still implement daily.
We worked together on a superfood cleanse. This was organic, vegan and gluten-free. I did this cleanse for 10 days and loved it. I’ve done many detox cleanses over the years and retreats, so a 10-day detox felt easy to me.
When we experience the menopause we process a lot of extra hormones – for instance follicle-stimulating hormone and thyroid-stimulating hormone. This makes the liver do a lot of extra work.
Caroline believes that a detox, even for just a few days, can be beneficial and can help manage many menopause symptoms such as hot flushes, foggy brain, headaches and sleep.
It’s important to acknowledge that everyone’s menopause journey is unique, and different treatments, whether prescribed by a doctor or encouraged by a homeopath, can be beneficial.
That said, when it comes to natural treatments, it can be impossible to know whether it’s due to the remedy itself or due to a placebo effect as they don’t have the pharmaceutical backing or stamp of approval of medical drugs.
But in my opinion, if it makes you feel better it’s worth giving it a go. As always, however, do consult a doctor before embarking on any new treatment, as natural remedies can interact with other medication.
Below, I’ve outlined five major menopause symptoms where I found natural treatments to be really helpful and although I take HRT, I still implement these practices and treatments. I recommend you give them a try.
Practices such as restorative yoga, chi gung, Pilates and grounding your feet to the earth are all incredible for managing anxiety. I like to place my bare feet on the ground and connect with the earth. This helps my anxiety to reduce and my body to feel calm and collected. I often walk barefoot around Cornwall and encourage you to try it – in your garden, on your balcony, in a local park.
Gut health and inflammation
A really simple way to manage inflammation is to increase fermented foods in your diet. Kombucha, kefir, kimchi, fermented vegetables and probiotics are a great way to do this.
Probiotics help to you to absorb B vitamins which support the nervous system; B vitamins can be used up quickly in times of stress which can cause problems with our gut. Changes in digestion, from heartburn to constipation are common in menopause, and increasing fermented foods and taking a daily probiotic will help to diversify your gut flora. The bifidus probiotics strains can be particularly helpful.
If you struggle with bad headaches or migraines, it’s worth looking into a detox to support your liver. Headaches can happen when the liver has too much work to do and this is a common menopause symptom as the body is going through so many changes.
Try to increase essential fatty acids to help the liver function properly, and hydration is key. I have a glass of filtered hot water and fresh lemon juice each morning.
Reducing alcohol (and some argue, sugar and refined carbohydrates) will help the liver to function. Not only does this help prevent headaches, it should help reduce insomnia, night sweats and hot flushes.
It’s also worth checking to see if your headaches are coming from eye strain. It may be a good idea to get your eyes tested as our vision changes with age.
I suffered terribly with achy joints. Some mornings I would struggle to get my body out of bed. Foot issues are also common with the menopause due to hormonal changes. Seeing a podiatrist can help and many women get orthotics; an Epsom salt foot bath helped with my achy feet.
A really nice thing is simply to get into giving yourself a foot massage with organic almond oil. It will help with circulation and joint flexibility. Five minutes before you go to bed is soothing and over time will help your feet and joints to feel better.
Margaret Dabbs does a medical pedicure which is brilliant and will look at any changes you are experiencing with your feet.
Essential fatty acids also help with joint health. Caroline suggested I take between 1000mg-3000mg of an essential fatty acid supplement or omega oil daily.
Foggy brain was a big one for me. From leaving my keys in the fridge to forgetting my daughter’s date of birth. I found increasing my water intake helped – I try to drink two litres a day.
Caroline suggested I try Australian Bush Flower Essences and I like the Cognis Essence. I found this helped my memory. Taking this can help with clarity and focus.
Body brushing also stimulates detoxification and benefits circulation – I found dry skin brushing with a natural bristle brush before showering in the morning helped to clear my foggy brain. And it’s even better when followed by a cold shower.
Studies have shown that cold water therapy can boost circulation to the brain and improve brain chemistry. Since moving to Cornwall I have started cold-water swimming in the sea. The benefits to my mental well-being have been amazing.
If you do decide to go the natural route, it’s important to find your dream team. While you can buy many remedies over the counter, it can be good to work with a professional to ensure you are using the best treatments and dosage for you. I’ve tried everything over the years, from acupuncture to medical herbalists, naturopaths, nutritional therapists and homeopaths.
There are many great natural therapists to follow online and workshops to attend, either virtually or in person such as the Managing Menopause Naturally Workshop with Caroline Gaskin.
And last but not least, something as simple as speaking to a friend or loved one is always incredibly helpful. Don’t suffer in silence.