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9 best gentle interventions for perimenopause

03 Jul 2023 • 7 min read

It's estimated that around 13 million women in the UK are experiencing signs of peri or post-menopause at any given time.1 But perimenopause symptoms can begin up to a decade before your period stops, which can be confusing and concerning for those experiencing them.1

If you’re going through perimenopause, you may wonder what unobtrusive perimenopause treatment looks like, so we’ve got nine lifestyle changes that may help you with your symptoms – find out more below.

What helps with perimenopause symptoms naturally?

Several different lifestyle factors can impact your physical and mental well-being when you’re going through perimenopause.

These include:

What can I drink for perimenopause?

Fortunately, there are several different drinks you can have for perimenopause, from specific teas to plant-based milk! Our nutritionist expert Helena Thomas Harman recommends the following:

  • Sage tea for hot flushes and excessive sweating2
  • Soya milk for phytoestrogens, these are plant compounds that function similarly or mimic oestrogen in the body3
  • Ginseng tea for helping with brain fog, concentration

1. Regular gentle exercise

Fitting in some gentle walks, yoga sessions, or relaxing swims may be able to help with specific symptoms of perimenopause, such as hot flushes, mood swings or insomnia. Yoga, in particular, is thought to be able to help menopausal women sleep better.4

The practices that are often recommended for women going through menopause include:

  • Asana (posture)
  • Pranayama (controlled breathing)
  • Dhyana (meditation)

In addition to this, anxiety and low moods are often associated with perimenopause and menopause, but yoga may also be beneficial for reducing these signs too.5

Fancy a dip in chilly waters? While this may sound unappealing, there is actually a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that cold water swimming could help with symptoms of perimenopause.

Neuroscientist Tara Swart explains that this activity affects our temperature and pain receptors, creating a shock response.6 She also explains that this then makes our bodies compensate with endorphins and natural painkillers to balance it out, which coincidentally has a positive impact on our mood, resilience, immunity, and longevity.

Handpicked content: Morning yoga for beginners

2. Add strength training to your workouts

This may sound scary, but strength training could be great for perimenopause. The hormonal changes that take place during peri and menopause can affect things like bone density as your oestrogen levels drop.7 And that’s where strength training comes in.

It’s common knowledge that this kind of exercise builds muscles, but it also has a knock-on effect on our bones. Multiple studies have shown that strength training or resistance exercise is important for maintaining musculoskeletal health – especially as we get older.8

It’s worth heading to your local gym or getting a personal trainer if you can show you the ropes of strength training, from using resistance bands and weight machines to free weights. Our in-house expert recommends trying strength training twice a week, or you could slowly build up to this if you’re a beginner.

3. Meditation

The act of meditating is well known for having a variety of positive impacts on our health, whether it's reducing stress levels, decreasing anxiety, improving attention span, or generating kindness.9,10,11,12 The list goes on. But did you know meditation is one of the best natural remedies for perimenopause symptoms?

Research has found that meditation can help with the vasomotor symptoms of perimenopause, the most common being hot flushes.13

If you’ve never tried meditation before, you may have some preconceived ideas about what it is and may feel like it’s not the right approach for you. However, it is important to understand that meditation does not have to take loads of time from your day. Sometimes even 10 minutes can help, and you can even do it on your lunch break!

But if you are new to it, listening to a calming meditation soundtrack may help you to be more present if you struggle to focus on your breath.

Handpicked content: Meditation guide: An introduction to meditation for beginners

4. Use natural beauty products

Whether it’s skincare, makeup or fragrance, beauty products like these may affect our female health more than we initially thought. There are a few studies that suggest compounds known as endocrine disruptors (EDCs) are found in some beauty products and these could, potentially, have an effect of our hormone systems.14,15,16

An easy way to avoid these ingredients would be to use natural beauty products that are predominantly made from plant-based ingredients.

Our in-house expert, Helena Thomas Harman, highlights that “the use of natural oils such as argan oil, olive oil and coconut oil” may be beneficial for perimenopausal issues with skin dryness and nail problems.

Handpicked content: 20 of the best natural beauty products of 2021

5. Wear natural fabrics

Equally as important as the products we use on our skin, our clothes can also impact our health – especially for peri and menopausal women.

Wearing more natural fabrics may also help when experiencing hot flashes or sweating. Some of the better materials include bamboo, cotton, and linen as they are often more breathable and naturally moisture-wicking – which helps the sweat to evaporate easier during a hot flush.

6. Take supplements for perimenopause

Another way to support perimenopause is by taking licensed herbal products and food supplements. Key ingredients to look out for in these products include:

For more information on how these supplements could help you, head to our article on 8 of the best perimenopause supplements.

As always, if you’re considering taking any of these supplements and are unsure if they’re suitable for you, speak to a health professional before trying them out.

7. Stabilise your blood sugar levels

Our expert highlighted that research has shown that stabilising blood glucose levels is effective for reducing hot flashes. Luckily there are a few natural ways that you can achieve this.

Studies have indicated that consuming a big meal that is high in calories at nighttime can have a negative impact on blood sugar levels, so it’s best to eat your meals earlier in the day.17

Handpicked content: Blood sugar balance tips

8. Reduce processed foods and increase veg intake

This applies to people of all ages, but an increased intake of fruit and vegetables and limiting processed foods may help with some symptoms of perimenopause.

One large study from 2012 on menopausal women found that those who eat more vegetables, fibre, fruit, and soy products had fewer hot flashes by 19% compared to those in the control group. The reasoning for this is said to be related to the fact that these women reduced their body weight too by making their diet healthier.18

Leafy green vegetables like broccoli have been singled out as a top choice.

One study examined how vegetables like this help decrease levels of a specific type of oestrogen associated with some undesired side effects, as well as increasing the kind of oestrogen that assists in protecting against breast cancer.19

9. Use a natural lubricant

The last up on our list of natural perimenopause remedies is a natural lubricant. Vaginal dryness is a common issue that is reported by women at all stages of the menopause, which can feel itchy, cause pain during sex and make you need to urinate more than usual.20

Thankfully, using a natural lubricant may help ease some discomfort. Some of the best natural lubricants are water-based, which won’t damage condoms or cause discomfort, or plant-oil-based products, which may damage condoms.

What foods help with perimenopause?

Some studies have shown an increase in foods rich in phytoestrogens beneficial for several symptoms as they have a mild effect on the body by mimicking the effects of estrogen.21,22,23

Our nutrition expert points out that “It is best to eat these foods regularly and in sufficient quantities with most women seeing effects after taking for 2-3 months. Ideally, 2-3 portions spread throughout the day have better effects than one large portion.”

Some phytoestrogen foods include:

  • Linseed/flaxseed (crushed/ground)
  • Soya (milk, flour)
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Rhubarb
  • Green beans

When to seek professional advice

It is best to seek medical advice if the symptoms you’re experiencing are getting in the way of your everyday activities and you’re struggling physically or emotionally. It is also advisable to seek medical advice if you are experiencing menopausal symptoms before age 45, as your GP can provide you with menopause advice and help.

You can also check out our Menopause Support Hub for guidance from our menopause-trained H&B experts and advice from qualified menopause nurses.

The final say

There are several different perimenopause interventions you could try to reduce your symptoms, whether by tweaking your exercise routine, changing your diet, or practising relaxation techniques.

Why not try a short yoga routine before bed, or fill your plate with leafy greens at dinner?

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