There are certain ailments is life that can require ongoing management and treatment. One thing all us females have in common is that once a month we’re going to menstruate and from our very first period to the last we need to learn to manage how we deal with our monthly flow.
There are of course the practical issues of making sure we have protection readily available for when we need it, and then there are emotional and physical problems that most of us will experience at some stage of our lives as a result of our periods.
When we first start to menstruate it can be difficult to move on from our carefree days of not having to worry about a monthly bleed, and it can take a while to remember that we will need tampons, towels, or both on hand. This can be exasperated by the fact that periods can often be irregular when they first start, so you may not know exactly when you will need to have your protection available.
Even the most organised of females will one day be caught short with no other option than to use the rolled up toilet roll method of protection.
Our cycles change with age and our physical condition
If we are lucky, our periods may settle into a schedule, or we may begin to be able to clearly identify the symptoms we can expect when we start each month, but that doesn’t mean everything will be hunky dory from there on in.
Mother Nature has other plans. Birth control or pregnancy can bring on more challenges in managing our periods and if that wasn’t enough, when we get to a certain age our periods change with the symptoms of perimenopause, before the onset of the final blow, the actual menopause.
If having to remember to take your period protection with you to work when needed, popping your contraceptive pill at the same time each day or carrying a fan for when the hot flushes hit wasn’t enough like hard work these practical issues are combined with emotional and physical problems.
The ongoing myriad of period symptoms
Spots, water retention, weight gain, mood swings, tiredness, cravings, cramps, headaches, tender breasts, diarrhea and constipation, (I could go on), are all symptoms we may have with our monthly periods.
With the onset of perimenopause, which can start around age 40, or younger in some cases, our ovaries make less oestrogen and this can lead to even worse cramps, hot flashes, irregular periods, trouble sleeping and a lower sex drive, to name but a few symptoms.
We then steadily make our way towards the end of our periods all together, but before we reach the menopause, Mother Nature will throw in a bit of memory loss and problems with concentration to boot.
Women are superheroes.
We are all dealing with symptoms of menstruation while holding down jobs and families as well as having busy social calendars, and for the most part we don’t complain, we just get on with the job in hand.
When the symptoms do get too hard to handle, we’re often fobbed off by our Doctors because they either don’t entirely understand the problem, or if they’re old school, they tell us these are women’s issues and we need to just get on with it.
I talk from personal experience here. It took me a long time to find a Doctor who finally listened and prescribed me something that worked, and ultimately gave me my life back.
In the years that went by where I had no medical support I turned to aromatherapy to help self medicate my symptoms, and now I have a prescribed drug which helps me manage my symptoms I still use aromatherapy as an additional way of making period symptoms less harrowing.
How aromatherapy can help with PMS, perimenopause and menopause symptoms
If you’re lucky enough to have periods that don’t cause too many problems, aromatherapy can be a great way to help you relax and unwind and ease some of your symptoms. Dedicated aromatherapy time can help to increase self care, self love and wellbeing. It can focus your mind on you.
It is important for women to take quality time for self care as it's all too easy to put our jobs or our families before our own needs.
When you need more than complementary therapies to deal with your symptoms
If your periods are debilitating it is important to push for the correct medical advice. This can (as in my case) take years to get, but it is definitely worth the wait when you finally get what you need. Medication from a Doctor can improve symptoms but realistically whatever medications you might need there are still some period related problems that are going to still get you down. You may still have mood swings, feel emotional, tired, bloated or have stomach cramps, despite the meds.
Essential oils for period pain
Period pain doesn’t just come in the guise of stomach cramps. Backaches and headaches are also culprits in making PMS such a delightful time of the month for us ladies.
Lavender essential oil is great for massaging around your abdomen, stomach and lower back when those period cramps become too intense to bear. The sweet flowery aroma will not only help you to relax your mind, but will have the knock on effect of relaxing your muscles too which can help to soothe, cramps and backache.
Essential oils for PMS induced headaches
If you are someone who suffers from PMS induced headaches or migraines, Peppermint essential oil can help relieve the pain and tension. Always dilute Peppermint essential oil before use, because it is a seriously strong essential oil. Inhale via the bath or from a bowl of steaming water, or alternatively massage diluted in a base oil into your forehead and temples for targeted PMS headache relief.
Essential oils for period blues
When the time of the month affects your mood and you’re feeling down or irritated, bright cheery scents such as Rose, Geranium and Clary Sage can help to rebalance your mind. Diffusing these oils will permeate your environment and help to take the edge off a dark mood.
PMS essential oil recipe to improve your mood
- 5 drops of Geranium
- 3 drops of Rose Absolute
- 3 drops of Clary Sage
Add 3 drops of a base note essential oil such as Frankincense or Patchouli to create a layered blend. Add to a diffuser and breathe in the intense aroma to improve your mood.
Essential oils for menopause
Menopause and Perimenopause can cause a range of problems from fatigue to hot flushes and hormonal imbalances.
Essential oils for period fatigue
If Perimenopause or the menopause has left you feeling tired and sleepy there are two approaches you can take. Respect your body and go to bed. Utilise Lavender or Chamomile essential oils to help you drift into the land of nod. Their sedative and relaxation properties will help with getting a sound sleep so that you can recuperate.
If period fatigue hits when sleeping isn’t an option, individual oils such as Rosemary, Sweet Orange, Peppermint or Lemon can help to revitalise you until you're in a position where you can finally hit the sack.
Combine these oils for a zingy essential oil cocktail in your diffuser. If you’re in a confined space without the option of a diffuser, drop a little oil on a cotton ball or tissue and keep it close so you can reap the aromatic benefits while you delay the onset of a refreshing night's sleep.
Essential oils for hot flushes
When you finally get the rest you deserve you may find that you wake up in the middle of the night shivering in a pool of sweat. Hot flushes can strike at anytime, one moment you’re feeling fresh as a daisy, the next minute a wave of heat unexpectedly descends over the entirety of your body, leaving you hot, flustered and drenched.
Changes in hormones affect the temperature in perimenopausal and menopausal women. You can treat hot flushes by cutting out spicy food, caffeine and alcohol, stopping smoking and keeping your stress and anxiety levels in check.
Aromatherapy using Clary Sage essential oil can help with lowering stress via diffusing and massage techniques. Blend Clary Sage essential oil with a base such as Sweet Almond oil and massage into your feet, the back of your neck, shoulders and anywhere you are holding onto stress and tension. If you can enlist the help of a willing masseuse this will further help to reduce anxiety, stress and unwanted tension, helping to further reduce your chances of further hot flushes.