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Perimenopause Blog: Natural remedies to combat Menopause Anxiety

 


woman reading in yellow arm chair

Anxiety is an issue I’ve had on and off throughout my life and so when it returned in perimenopause I was destressed and quite frankly annoyed as I’d done the work to reduce these episodes in my 30s whilst studying Chinese medicine. Then anxiety came back overnight and was there every single day.  I couldn’t understand how my body was manifesting the symptoms of anxiety when my head seemed to be in a relatively calm place. Looking back though I was starting up my own business so that would have triggered more stress in my body and anxiety is symptom of stress. I had to research and resolve this menopause anxiety for my own sanity and this opened a world of looking into natural remedies to help you combat anxiety when your thoughts alone can’t banish it. Today’s perimenopause blog focuses on this: Natural remedies to combat menopause anxiety.

 

Natural remedies to combat menopause anxiety

 

Anxiety can appear as so many symptoms, appearing differently for many people based on what emotions come to the fore and weaknesses in your physiology. For me it always goes to the belly, I get intense pain, heat, nausea and have to run to the loo – not pleasant. For others of you it may affect your breathing and you hyperventilate easily or get a tight chest. There’s also that feeling of vulnerability that then makes it hard for some to leave the house or drive; and some women start to shake. Anxiety can manifest as trauma symptoms in the body and how you think about it and interact emotionally with it can fuel it or ease it.

 

Todays blog focuses on taking actions to help your body, your physiology, to calm you down so that you give yourself some breathing space to regain emotional control. Overcoming anxiety with will power only is exhausting and short lived. If you know that the symptoms are caused by there being a lack of something in your body; give your body that something that it needs. The stronger your body feels the less likely it’ll succumb to the physiological changes that then to you mean anxiety.


20 or so years ago I learnt to deal with my anxious thought processes but that doesn’t stop my body displaying the symptoms of anxiety now I’m in perimenopause. Your body takes the nutrients you eat and uses it to create the hormones that your body is saying that it needs. If your body is stressed, you’ll produce adrenalin and cortisol. Cortisol uses the same building blocks as your progesterone. Progesterone is a calming hormone but your levels are lowering because you’re creating fight n flight hormones instead.


The key here is to tell your body you don’t need so much adrenalin/cortisol so that it can go and produce progesterone so I’m going to explain some fabulous options to help your body do this! When your body is feeling more resilient so will your mind and then it is easier to have positive thought processes and be calmer and the will in turn lower your stress levels and it becomes a positive feedback loop in your body. Sometimes the like to resolving issues is to take physical action you don’t have to sort everything out in your head; today we’re going to sort it out in your body!

 

Amino Acids!


You may not have heard of these yet but they always begin with an L and today I’m highlighting L-Tryptophan which plays a crucial role in regulating mood appetite and sleep! Amino acids are building blocks of hormones and this one is a stepping stone to your body creating more Serotonin. You have to get L-tryptophan from food you cannot create it yourself and it’s in meat and dairy meaning veggies/vegans can be deficient.

Once ingested, L-tryptophan is converted into 5-HTP and then into serotonin. This serotonin pathway is fundamental in maintaining emotional well-being and mental health. Additionally, serotonin is a precursor to melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating the sleep-wake cycle.

L-tryptophan plays a vital role in protein synthesis and is essential for the development and maintenance of various bodily functions. It is found in abundance in protein-rich foods such as turkey, chicken, fish, dairy products, and certain plant-based sources like nuts and seeds.

If you’re feeling happier if you’re sleeping well these both reduce stress and so lessen the condition in your body to create anxious symptoms.



herbal root in wooden spoon

 

Stress Adaptogens


You’ve probably heard of Siberian Ginseng and maybe Ashwagandha – these are both examples of root herbals that help your body reduce stress symptoms. Both have been researched and linked to regulating cortisol release. In menopause I feel that cortisol/adrenalin are continually being released; like a leaky tap! When I first took Ashwagandha my anxiety dropped from 6 out of 7 days to 1 in 14 there was just a calmness; the leaky tap was resolved!

Ashwagandha also supports your GABA response. GABA is a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation by reducing excitability in the brain and by doing so this contributes to stress relief.


There are a whole range of stress adaptogens falling under various categories: stimulating (Siberian Ginseng), nourishing (Ashwagandha), calming (Chamomile), sedating (Passion flower), and sleeping (Valerian) . Each category has 3/4 in of different intensities so there will be one that is right for you. I chose nourishing before stimulating as viewing these from a Chinese medicine point of view there is no point trying to stimulate if the petrol tank is empty so nourishment makes more sense to me.



 

Herbals


Stress adaptogens are herbals but you’ll recognise a supplement like Passion flower as a more popular one. It may have a similar affect as Ashwagandha on supporting your body’s GABA response. 


Agnus Castus (Chasteberry) – this is a herbal to help boost your progesterone qualities. It is used for menstrual cycle regulation and has an effect on the pituitary gland in hormonal regulation. If you’re in perimenopause it is Progesterone that you need. If you have regular periods, you have oestrogen. Progesterone is almost given as an afterthought in HRT but it is my belief that boosting progesterone on its own can help balance oestrogen dominance and reduce your symptoms significantly.


Valerian root has been used for centuries as a sedative, anti-anxiety aid, muscle relaxant and for gut soothing. A versatile herbal to consider. Herbals can be taken in different strengths -  you may start with a tea and move to tinctures and tablets which will be stronger.

Herbals are a medicine in their own right., they are pure plant medicine and have to be used safely. If you’re on western medication you do need to check that any herbals you take are not contra-indicated with your meds. Please consult a doctor or professional.




bach flower remedies to relieve menopause anxiety

 

Bach Flower Remedies


These are a set of 38 flower waters that have an emotionally calming effect on you; you may have heard of Rescue Remedy?  One that stands out that pairs nicely with Valerian is Vervain it has a similar effect to reducing over excitability which triggers an adrenalin/ cortisol release and so cause anxiety to flair.


The beauty of Bach Flower remedies is that they don’t contraindicate with western medication because they don’t need to metabolise in the liver. They will either calm you naturally or not. It’s about getting the right blend and this isn’t necessarily the ones you would opt for. When 5 or 6 Bach flowers are blended together for you and your current emotional situation, they can have a powerful effect on your emotional state which will in turn lower your stress state. I do offer a Bach flowers consultation or a blend comes as part of the full Menopause consultation as well.

 



woman again wall hiding face from sun

Vitamin D and the other minerals


Vitamin D is now classified as a hormone and a deficiency in it is linked to depression and belly fat increasing (due to how efficiently it metabolises in the liver) as well as being one of the crucial 3 (along with magnesium and calcium) for increasing healthy bone mass. Don’t for a moment think you get enough from the sun; if you wear sunscreen you won’t get any! Firstly, you should aim to get Vitamin D and all nutrients from food (found in fish oils and egg yolks). Again, vegans are at risk of deficiency. I’ve just done a private blood test to check my levels even though I eat eggs; I’m waiting on the results as I write this. Vitamin D levels are volatile and should be checked 4 times a year in an ideal world!

 

Vitamins and minerals are a vital step to reducing your anxiety symptoms as enough nutrition in your body reduces the stress levels within. Stress sits in your body as the hormone cortisol and for it to do its job it wants to be fed. If you don’t have enough nutrition, it’ll leech it from parts of your body like your joints. your brain and your gut! You don’t want high levels of cortisol hanging around it’s pretty much the root cause of all your symptoms. Feed and reduce cortisol levels and symptoms do dissipate.

 

Take a good multivitamin every day along with magnesium vitamin C  vitamin D and Omega oils and you’ve got the basis of good health. Take these supplements alongside a diet that is rich in variety of fresh vegetables fruit nuts seeds and you’ll need to supplement if you’re missing the nutrient food groups lie dairy and meat.  Here’s my Supplements starter guide to help you get started – paced with information links and discount codes!

 

Probiotic


This is key to strengthening your gut the place where your anxiety symptoms start. The health of your gut is the health in your head. Your mood is what your food is! No nutrients going in and you’re not going to be in a positive head space to control your thoughts and emotions. There are 3 main reasons why you’re not getting nutrients:

 

1.       You’re not putting enough nutrition in. This is where I start with all my clients up the nutrient levels and you should see great results in under 4 wees.

2.       Ensure your gut microbiome is healthy. If you’re taking in the nutrition but its not being converted as you don’t have healthy bacteria diversity then you’re not getting what you need from food / supplements.

3.       Rule out a leaky gut/ clean the liver/ manage auto immune conditions – this is now getting into your body chemistry and where things may need help. You can sure up a leaky gut with the right amino acids for cellular renewal. You can clean your liver in as little as a wee and start feeling the benefits. If an autoimmune condition is exacerbating the whole process this needs to be understood and supported and there are a variety of professionals on the internet it’s finding the right one for you.

I have the option of menopause consultations to help you understand and take the steps needed. You’ll receive your personalised action plan from me to help you make small changes to feel read differences.

 



essential oils graphic

Essential oils


Did you now that you can alter your moods and calm your thinking and therefore your physiological response just by sniffing essential oils?!? That’s right just inhaling the right oils can have an almost immediate effect on your hormonal system. You can cool down and calm down just from inhaling these amazing natural scents. You can improve your mood relieve irritability and alleviate pains lie headaches and tension. Essential oils are another branch of the powerful plant medicine family along with herbals. They’re safe to inhale they’re not being ingested lie herbals but how do they work so effectively and quickly?


There is a direct connection between the olfactory system (nose!) and the limbic system which explains why smells can evoke powerful emotional and memory responses. For example, a particular scent may trigger feelings of nostalgia or recall vivid memories associated with that smell. This connection is also why aromas can influence mood and emotions.


The limbic system, in turn, communicates with other parts of the brain and can influence the release of hormones. The hypothalamus, a key structure within the limbic system, plays a crucial role in regulating the endocrine system by producing and releasing hormones that affect various bodily functions. This intricate interplay between the olfactory system, limbic system, and hormonal regulation means that you can trigger physiological changes lie soothing your adrenal system from a simple action lie sniffing.


I learnt this on a canine pharmacognosy course! Where animals choose the plants that heal them and therefore choose their essential oils. I thought: If this can work for animals can it work for humans so I set to testing. It was a particularly hot summer and a lot of my clients had hot flushes. Whilst I was working to alleviate the underlying cause I also wanted something that helps them now; and Blossom cream after a lot of testing was born.

 

A blend of 6 powerful essential oils that gets to work on how you feel in moments followed by cooling you down. Blossom can hep you sleep better reduce night sweats and help you regain your composure during your working day… and it smells delicious as though you’ve just walked into a spa….


Have a look at Blossom cream here

 

 




How Chinese medicine taught me to how to reduce anxiety naturally

 

When I first learnt Chinese medicine, it explained how thoughts and emotions triggered physiological changes in my body. It gave me a tool to help control my anxiety and it worked really well for over 10 years but then perimenopause struck and my head alone couldn’t control the physical symptoms that appeared again. This got me thinking! If I can’t control my body with my thoughts is there a physiological reason i.e., is it my body causing the symptoms and then my head lined  the label of anxiety to it?

 

When I too this approach and went bac to my Chinese medicine boos it explained what was going on! In Chinese medicine we call it depletion; this means something is missing. All western ways of dealing with symptoms is are about removing something from the body lie heat. The way Chinese medicine views the body and especially in the case of Hot flushes it sees that the underlying cause of these heat whooshes is your body trying to regulate your system but struggling. It needs help it needs to be bolstered up it needs input it needs nutrients to feed it and herbals to balance it. When your body is struggling certain systems start to panic, they go into overdrive out of fear for survival and this is the underlying key to why you have so many symptoms and why nothing else is helping them.

 

Book in a chat with Andrea if you’re ready to make changes to feel your best self

 

This is why I do menopause consultations because in understanding your specific set of symptoms along with your lifestyle I can pinpoint the gaps – the depletion in your mind, body and life; and help you fill them back in.  When you take the steps that I plan for you you’ll start to feel the difference!

 

Ready to take action on your own? If so, you just need the knowledge and I have plenty of it here in my self-help area – from Master Your Anxiety Naturally to the full 28 Day Menopause Programme that has all my programmes in as a bonus bundle! Read more here



** Exciting News** Cheltenham & Gloucester Menopause Fayre - Thursday 18th April


The first large menopause fayre in this part of the world! I'm thrilled to be hosting this event and inviting 20 plus specialists in menopause, hormonal health, skincare and toxic-free living! If you would like to be notified when tickets are available just sign up here!




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Meet Andrea


Andrea is a shiatsu and chinese medicine practitioner who uses the principles of chinese medicine in a completely practical way to help you resolve your symptoms naturally and effectively. If you live locally you can book in for wonderfully relaxing Shiatsu for Menopause, otherwise Andrea does online indepth consultations where you'll leave with an actionable plan to follow. Andrea is also passionate about doing workplace talks. 


andrea marsh with chinese medicine book

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