Essential oils and menopause: Can they help?

(WXYZ) - Menopause is often an annoying part of aging for many women. But essential oils may provide some relief.

Essential oils have been utilized in folk remedies for many generations.  They may lessen the uncomfortable effects of menopause and are beginning to be recognized in mainstream medicine for their benefits. Menopause marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years and symptoms leading up to it can range from mildly annoying to debilitating. You may experience changes in sleep habits, low libido, anxiety, depression, weight gain, irregular menstruation and bone loss.

Research shows the oil called Vitex agnus-castus, more commonly known as chasteberry, may help with irregular periods and mood swings. Lavender oil can promote healthy sleep and may reduce hot flashes, headaches and heart palpitations.  And rose oil may regulate your cycle, improve mood and reduce hot flashes.  Phytoestrogens which are plant based estrogens may also support hormone balance.  Try clary sage, fennel, cypress and coriander oils. 

Partha’s RX

1.     Speak to your doctor before starting any treatment as some oils are toxic for ingestion and dangerous when used in high doses or over long periods.
2.     Follow manufacturers recommendations as oils can vary significantly in concentration. Contact poison control if you accidently use more than the recommended amount.
3.     Essential oils may not treat all symptoms or work effectively for every woman.  It may take trial and error to find the correct oil and dosage to alleviate discomfort
4.     Perform a patch test on your skin to detect any potential allergic reaction.  Introduce one oil at a time. Otherwise, determining the cause of an allergic reaction would be impossible.

HRT or Hormone Replacement Therapy is a medical treatment using artificial hormones that can lessen the symptoms associated with menopause. But there are links between HRT and an increased risk for some cancers.  If you suffer with debilitating symptoms, please talk to your doctor as there are other ways to get relief like yoga, acupuncture, low dose antidepressants and vagina estrogen.  

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