The menopause really is the gift that just keeps on giving. I think people were shocked when I listed the recognised symptoms of the menopause in this recent post: My thoughts on the menopause. The idea that the menopause is about more than just periods and hot sweats, that this pesky hormone imbalance can lead to disruptions in so many of the body’s processes is an eyeopener to many. Myself included.
I had always been a bit sceptical about supplements if I am honest, I figured if I ate a balanced diet things would be fine. Then things weren’t fine. I started on HRT and whilst it helped with the night sweats and hot flushes, it hasn’t helped with a whole load of other symptoms. One of which was heart palpitations, which got so bad one morning I ended up calling the doctor and asking if I could get a same day appointment. Ten minutes after arriving at the surgery I was being hooked up to an ECG machine by one of the nurses. Thankfully they couldn’t find any issues and suggested it was probably just a pulled chest muscle or caused by stress.
I mentioned on Twitter that this had happened to see if it was normal, and to see if other women had suffered from similar problems and if they had any suggestions for treating it. I was overwhelmed by the response, which included an email with a whole load of really useful information on what I could do to help alleviate stress (since I had decided it wasn’t being caused my a pulled muscle in my chest).
It started by reading this article on drinking more water and trying something called AvenaCalm: Best remedy for anxiety in peri-menopause . Avenacalm is a traditional herbal medicinal product for the temporary relief of symptoms associated with mild stress. Simply by adding 30 ish drops into a glass of water twice a day.
I have suffered from anxiety for years, in varying degrees and it seems that since entering the peri-menopause it has only got worse, though up to that point I hadn’t really connected the dots. Since taking AvenaCalm for a couple of months I haven’t had any other palpitations. Not one. And my general levels of anxiety feel much lower, things do feel calmer (though family life has tried it’s best to raise my levels!).
The email also suggested that taking Valerian and Hops might help me sleep better, something else I have complained about. I put my disturbed sleep pattern down to the night sweats waking me up but once I started on HRT and the sweats diminished, the sleep pattern hadn’t returned to normal. I was still waking every couple of hours, leading to me getting up every day feeling exhausted. It doesn’t taste particularly nice but dropped in orange juice makes it much easier to stomach. Taken half an hour before bed I have found that it has really made a difference. On nights I have forgotten to take it or when I have been away and forgotten to take it with me, I have been awake every couple of hours. There is more info on how it works here: Dormesan
It all made sense to me. When I went off last year on a retreat with Creative Countryside we did a fascinating walk in which we learned and picked wild flowers that were actually remedies for many mini ailments, how herbs and plants can be made into tinctures as natural remedies for a whole host of problems. We then made sleep pillows with lavender, rose, linden, camomile, oats, hops and valerian, choosing the quantities of each before securing our pillows. The photo above is my selection of sleep inducing herbs before I sealed the bag.
One of the most peaceful afternoons I had last year, and one of the best night’s sleep afterwards (despite being in a bunk bed with my BFF Annie) which I had completely forgotten about until I started using these supplements every day.
As with any of these things you should make sure you read all leaflets and if you are taking any other medication consult your doctor but I can really recommend these herbal remedies if you are feeling that sometimes life just feels a bit too full on and that you might need something natural to help you a little.