Aromatherapy and the Menopause

Aromatherapy and the Menopause

The menopause (also known as the 'change of life') is marked by the ending of ovulation (egg production) and menstruation (when a woman's periods stop). This is caused by falling levels of the female sex hormone oestrogen. This process happens gradually with periods becoming less frequent before stopping altogether.

The perimenopause is the transition period that can start several years before the menopause. This usually starts in a woman's 40s and is the time when the ovaries gradually begin to make less oestrogen. The perimenopause ends when the ovaries finally stop producing eggs.

The average age for UK women to reach the menopause is 52, but it can occur much earlier. If it occurs under the age of 45 it is known as premature menopause. 

Symptoms of the menopause

The hormonal and biological changes that occur in the lead up to the menopause can result in women experiencing a number of unpleasant physical and emotional symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, disturbed sleep, fatigue, headaches, anxiety, mood swings, weight gain, dehydrated skin, bladder weakness, vaginal dryness and loss of libido. The most common solution is for your GP to prescribe HRT (hormone replacement therapy), but there is much controversy surrounding this.

Many people turn to natural remedies such as aromatherapy which can be helpful in conjunction with leading a healthy, balanced lifestyle and eating the right foods.

Recommended essential oils

There are an array of essential oils available to help ease the symptoms including: Basil (Ocimum basilicum), Bergamot Mint (Mentha citrata), Chamomile Roman (Anthemis nobilis), Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea), Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), Jasmine (Jasminum officinale) Rose (Rosa damascena)  and Peppermint (Mentha piperita) to name but a few.

For those women who suffer from disturbed sleep due to night sweats, you may find Basil particularly useful if feeling fatigued and unable to concentrate during the day. Clary Sage is noted for its’ ability to help balance the female hormones and is indicated for sweating and hot flushes (or flashes as I prefer to call them!). Personally, I believe Geranium to be an excellent choice when feeling irritable or experiencing from mood swings.

One of the most pleasant ways to experience the essential oils is to have a monthly aromatherapy massage. Booking in with a Clinical Aromatherapist will ensure that the oils are blended prescriptively following an in-depth consultation. A suitable alternative though is the use of essential oils in a soothing, warm bath. It’s advisable to add no more than a total of 5 drops of essential oil to the bath water, ensuring that the oils selected have a pleasant aroma, and are indicated for use taking into account any contraindications.

Some women may also like to add the essential oils to a base oil or cream, which can be applied both morning and night. This will not only ensure a beautifully moisturised skin, helping to alleviate a common problem of dry skin, but will aid permeation of the oils too. Some experts believe that the best way for the oils to enter the body is through inhalation and, so, a few drops of essential oil on a piece of tissue or in an inhaler sniffed regularly throughout the day is an excellent method of use.

Here are a couple of blends that you could try, but ultimately be guided by your nose and choose the oils that appeal to you most, as these will be the ones your body will respond best to. These can be blended into 50ml of base product such as bath oil, moisturising cream or massage oil.

Blend 1: 3 drops Geranium, 2 drops Rose, 1 drop Chamomile
Blend 2: 2 drops Clary Sage, 3 drops Jasmine, 5 drops Ylang Ylang

If you’re suffering from hot flushes you could also try our soothing Aloe Vera & Rose Gel or use one of our hydrolats as a cooling, therapeutic face and body spray – try blending Lavender and Rose hydrolats together and store in the fridge for an extra cold spritz!

Using essential oils to help manage the symptoms of the menopause is one of the most pleasant ways in helping to maintain some comfort during this difficult stage in a women’s life, and one which I, speaking from personal experience, can completely recommend.

I hope that you have found this useful! Please feel free to contact us if you'd like any further advice.

All the recommended essential oils can be purchased via our website - alternatively try our Menopause pure essential oil which has been pre-blended with Bergamot Mint, Clary Sage, Cypress, Vetivert and Geranium.

Christine Fisk
Consultant Aromatherapist

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