Natural Remedies for Perimenopause

Medically reviewed by Suzanne Falck, MD on December 5, 2017Written by Kathryn Watson

Overview

Perimenopause is your body’s natural transition into producing less estrogen. As your ovaries produce less of the estrogen hormone, your periods become irregular. You may start to skip periods. Eventually, your monthly cycle will stop completely. Once you’ve gone a year without having a period, you’ve reached full menopause. For the average American woman, this happens around age 51. The symptoms associated with perimenopause can last anywhere from a few months to several years.

The menstrual transition is marked by your body’s adjustment to new hormone levels. This can bring symptoms of vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and difficulty sleeping. Your sex drive might decrease and your metabolism may slow down. These symptoms can be treated with prescription hormone replacements, but you might want to try home remedies first. Keep reading to find out about home remedies for perimenopause.

1 Ginseng

Ground ginseng root can be consumed as a tea or taken in a capsule form. It’s readily available in most drugstores, some supermarkets, and online. Ginseng has been used as a sedative in Asian countries for centuries. While there’s no evidence that ginseng can treat hot flashes, the soothing effects of ginseng have been found to improve the quality and duration of your sleep.

2. Black cohosh

Black cohosh is an herb that is native to North America. The roots of black cohosh are ground into a dietary supplement. Black cohosh is one of the most popular natural remedies that women use for menopause symptoms. But there is conflicting evidence about how effective it is. At least one review of placebo-controlled studies involving black cohosh for menopause symptoms indicated that it helps with menopause symptoms.

3. Soy

Changing up your diet to include more soy products may ease your menopause symptoms. Soy contains a plant-based estrogen called isoflavones, so it can help you adjust to the smaller amounts of estrogen that your body is now producing. Hot flashes, night sweats, and even vaginal dryness may be improved by this remedy. Soybeans, edamame, tofu, and soy milk are the most direct ways to incorporate more soy in your diet. You can also purchase soybean extract to use for your symptoms.

4. Vitamin D

When your ovaries stop producing estrogen, you’re in a higher risk category for developing osteoporosis. Taking a vitamin D supplement might not improve hot flashes or vaginal dryness, but it will help make your bones stronger. Vitamin D also may boost your mood, which can help your self-perception and stabilize your emotions.

5. Wild yam

Wild yam is a botanical that has potential estrogenic activity. This means that wild yam supplements may mimic the effects of estrogen on your body. Researchers are calling for more studies into the way plant extracts like red yam may help women in perimenopause. Current research indicates that wild yam is not as effective as other remedies. If you’d like to try wild yam, you can buy a cream to apply topically, or take the extract in pill form.

6. Yoga

Yoga has become a popular practice for women that are impacted by insomnia, mood swings, and hot flashes as a result of menopause. Studies suggest that yoga may help you sleep better and result in a more stable mood during perimenopause. Learning yoga in a class setting or practicing at home using internet tutorials may also improve mindfulness and restore a peaceful feeling to your everyday life.

7. French maritime pine bark extract

Pine bark extract is also called Pycenogenol. It can be purchased online or at some health food stores. This extract is made up of plant-based hormones and organic chemicals called flavonoids. A study found that taking Pycenogenol over the course of four weeks significantly improved hot flashes and other menopause symptoms.

8. Dong quai

Dong quai is a remedy from traditional Chinese medicine. The root of this plant is used as a tincture, an extract, and as a tea. The benefits of using dong quai for perimenopause are unclear. Though some women report feeling better after using it, a review of nonhormonal therapies for perimenopause indicated that dong quai had no effect on hot flashes and other symptoms. You can try dong quai by taking an herbal supplement or by drinking tea made from a dong quai tea bag.

Risks and complications

Be aware of any potential interactions of herbal supplements before you try any remedy. Soy products can interact with antidepressants and synthetic estrogen, and may increase your risk of other health conditions. Ginseng can actually cause insomnia and headaches if you take too much of it.

If you feel the need to try natural remedies for your perimenopause symptoms, try one at a time. Don’t overwhelm your body when it’s already adjusting to a new normal balance of hormones.

Keep the lines of communication open with your doctor. If alternative medicine doesn’t keep your symptoms at bay, you may need to consider synthetic estrogen or more traditional menopause treatment.

Takeaway

There is some evidence that natural remedies can help with the hot flashes and night sweat symptoms of perimenopause. More research is needed to understand which remedies are most effective. Some remedies may not work for everyone. Speak to your doctor if your perimenopause symptoms are severely impacting your sleep quality or your relationships.

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