Dossier: Home remedies

Menopause: five home remedies to ease the symptoms

Many women experience hot flushes, headaches, joint pain, vaginal dryness or lack of sex drive during the menopause. Here we look at home remedies that help ease the symptoms.

Text: Michael Suter; photo: iStock

Whether you know it as the change of life, perimenopause or the menopause, the phase in which the female body goes through hormonal changes and final menstruation has many names and many faces. Around a third of women are hit badly by the symptoms, experiencing hot flushes, sudden sweating, headaches, joint pain, a lack of sex drive or vaginal dryness. Some women suddenly gain weight faster, while their bone density decreases. And these changes can also have an impact on a woman’s well-being, with common symptoms including poor sleep, dejection, restlessness, irritability and mood swings. These five remedies should help to ease the symptoms.

Dry brush massages and alternating cold/warm foot baths against hot flushes

Brushing helps detoxify your skin. If you regularly brush your skin lightly with long strokes before showering or swimming, you will help prevent hot flushes and heavy sweating. Alternating cold/warm foot baths can also help. They stimulate your metabolism and have a relaxing effect. Most importantly, they help you fall asleep and get your hot flushes under control.

Tampons and suppositories to relieve vaginal dryness

If you suffer from vaginal dryness, the lactic acid bacteria of yoghurt can help improve the vaginal flora. Dip a tampon in natural yoghurt and leave it for one to two hours. However, it’s not so easy to insert a softened tampon into a dry vagina. Alternatively, you can use a pomegranate suppository or hop-based vaginal suppositories from the pharmacy.

St. John’s wort against low moods and anxiety

This medicinal plant is effective against low moods, sleep problems and anxiety. Many women drink St. John’s wort as a tea. As the dosage is not always high enough, you can also ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice on alternative forms, such as tinctures, capsules or tablets. St. John’s wort only takes effect after about three weeks of use. Please note: certain medications have less effect when you take St. John's wort, for example blood thinners, immunosuppressants or the contraceptive pill. It may also cause increased sensitivity to sunlight.

Hops, lemon balm or valerian tea for a relaxed sleep

In addition to St. John’s wort, hops, lemon balm or valerian tea can also help. All three medicinal plants have a balancing and relaxing effect and help you get a good night’s sleep. Passionflower teas are also very effective in relieving anxiety. Furthermore, you can find higher-dose mixed preparations based on these medicinal plants in the pharmacy.

Ease menopause symptoms with a healthy diet and exercise

A healthy and balanced diet can ease many menopause symptoms. Eat plenty of vegetables plus wholegrain products, nuts, plant-based oils, dairy products and fish. Endurance sports such as walking, jogging, cycling and swimming also help. Different types of yoga can also alleviate many of the symptoms. However, alcohol and cigarettes increase the risk of a range of illnesses and worsen the symptoms of menopause.

Expert tip

Dr Elke Schmaus, gynaecologist with Medgate:

“Be patient. The menopause is a physical adjustment that can last several years. Symptoms can vary in type, duration and severity. Herbal remedies or other preparations can help, but this also varies from woman to woman. My patients have seen the best results with black cohosh. Depending on the treatment used, it can take four to six weeks until you notice a significant improvement. If not, you should contact your gynaecologist. The menopause ushers in a new phase of life that can lead you to inner maturity and wisdom and a new creative femininity. In this phase, you can experience anew how wonderful it is to be a woman.”

To Medgate