Menopause represents the end of one cycle and the start of another in a woman’s life; the word “menopause” is a derivation of the Greek words for month, men, and halt, pausis. Menopause is a process in a woman’s life which may last several years; hormonal and physical changes in a woman’s body can present a number of problems including hot flushes, depression, tiredness, irritability and changes in skin and hair. Essential oils can help to alleviate some of these problems.
Essential Oils for Depression in the Menopause
Depression and anxiety are common side effects for women experiencing menopause; in turn, depression and anxiety can lead to lack of confidence, irritability and poor concentration. Essential oils which may help alleviate depression and anxiety for menopausal women include:
- Frankincense (Boswellia carteri) – an anti-depressant essential oil
- Sweet marjoram (Origanum marjorana) – an essential oil which helps with nervous depression and irritability
- Basil (Ocimum basilicum) – an anti-depressant essential oil which can help with mental tiredness too.
Essential Oils for Menopausal Sleep Problems
Sleep in menopause can be disrupted by hot flushes and sweating, depression, headaches and irritability; lack of sleep leads to tiredness both physically and mentally. Essential oils which may help alleviate sleep problems caused by the menopause include:
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – an essential oil which is calming and can help relieve insomnia
- Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) – a gentle essential oil which can help insomnia and irritability
- Clary sage (Salvia sclarea) – an essential oil which helps nervous tiredness
- Juniper (Juniperus communis) – an essential oil which helps with tiredness.
Essential Oils for Menopausal Hot Flushes
Hot flushes and sweating are common complaints of menopausal women and perhaps cause the most distress in some women; essential oils which may help alleviate these problems include:
- Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) – an essential oil for excessive sweating
- Peppermint (Mentha piperita) – a ‘cooling’ essential oil
- Clary sage (Salvia sclarea) – a useful essential oil for ‘women’s’ problems including sweating.
Essential Oils for an Increased Sex Life in the Menopause
Many menopausal women lose interest in sex; often sex may be painful because of vaginal dryness. Some essential oils possess aphrodisiac properties and can help stimulate sexual desire in menopause; aphrodisiac essential oils include:
- Rose (Rosa damascena)
- Ylang ylang (Cananga odorata)
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis).
Advice for Menopausal Women Using Aromatherapy
Essential oils are an excellent aid for women experiencing menopause; many of the above essential oils can be substituted for essential oils with similar properties. In addition, essential oils can help with other problems associated with menopause, including fluid retention and headaches. If a woman is taking any prescribed medication from a doctor for menopausal problems or is using hormone replacement therapy (HRT), she should check with the doctor and a qualified aromatherapist before using any essential oils in case of any possible interaction.
Cautions for Using Essential Oils in the Menopause
If a woman is inexperienced or has little knowledge in the use of essential oils in aromatherapy, it is advisable to learn as much as possible about an essential oil and its intended use before using it. In addition, consult an experienced and qualified aromatherapist to check for any contra-indicators in using a particular essential oil for individual menopausal problems.