Over 160 medicines, including Hormone Replacement Therapy, (HRT) are in short supply in Ireland. Co-chair of Irish Pharmacy Union Kathy Maher said they are at “crisis point” in terms of availability of products for women who are suffering from symptoms of the menopause.
The demand for Estradot, one of the most popular HRT treatments, has risen dramatically since 2020 and it is now at a point where demand is exceeding supply.
The lack of consistent HRT treatment can lead to the unwelcome return of unpleasant menopausal symptoms, including hot flushes, chills, night sweats, insomnia, mood changes, weight gain, dry skin and brain fog.
In some cases, in order to fill the gaps, doctors are accessing medicines which are licensed abroad but not here by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA).
But there is a surprisingly natural and effective solution for those who are struggling to access their regular medication, or for women who would prefer to manage their menopausal symptoms without medication: Essential oils.
Studies have shown that the inhalation and topical use of essential oils reduces the discomfort of menopausal symptoms, and can alleviate the stress and anxiety that come with them.
But not all oils are created alike – and the cheap, chemical-laden fragrance oils that are often mistaken for essential oils have no therapeutic benefits whatsoever.
Karl Murray, founder and Master Distiller at Irish-owned business Kotanical, went on a mission in 2017 to grow and source organic, premium grade essential oils. The result is a collection of over 40 pure oils that are free from sulfates, parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrance, formaldehydes and mineral oil, with each one of them containing unique and potent therapeutic benefits.
Karl has created a Menopause bundle that includes six of the best essential oils to help manage and improve the unwelcome symptoms:
- Clary sage
Relieve hot flashes by rubbing three drops of clary sage oil diluted in a carrier oil across the back of your neck or all over your feet.
For even quicker relief, consider adding a few drops to a tissue or napkin and inhaling and exhaling softly. This allows the oil to enter your body through your nose. This process can also produce anti-depressant effects.
Women experiencing menopause have an increased risk for osteoporosis due to a decline in estrogen. Clary sage is thought to help slow down the development of osteoporosis.
- Peppermint oil
Peppermint oil may also reduce your discomfort when experiencing hot flashes. Add no more than two drops to a tissue. Hold the tissue up to your nose while breathing slowly.
This oil may also help relieve any cramping you may experience during this time. Although not common once menstruation has ended, it’s typical to experience menstruation-related cramping (dysmenorrhea) during perimenopause.
Lavender can also promote feelings of relaxation and help to improve the quality of your sleep. You may find it beneficial to add lavender aromatherapy to your night-time routine by diffusing it or adding a few drops in a carrier oil to a warm bath.
Geranium used as an essential oil has also been found to help menopausal women manage hormonal changes. One to two drops may be inhaled from a napkin for immediate stress relief. Geranium is also helpful for dry skin. Consider adding a few drops of the diluted oil to the water during a relaxing, hot bath.
Research also suggests that this essential oil has antianxiety and antidepressant effects.
If you’re looking for ways to increase your estrogen levels or to help improve your mood, consider adding basil aromatherapy to your daily regimen. Basil can also be helpful against hot flashes when diluted and applied to your feet or rubbed across the back of your neck.
Citrus oil aromatherapy is said to have a number of health benefits for women experiencing symptoms of the menopause. Researchers in a 2014 study found the postmenopausal women who inhaled this essential oil experienced fewer physical symptoms and an increase in sexual desire.
In addition to a decrease in systolic blood pressure, they also experienced an improved pulse rate and estrogen concentrations.
Citrus also has anti-inflammatory properties, which may help with any aches and pains you may be experiencing.
All oils are available to purchase in a convenient Menopause bundle for £74/ €85 directly via the Kotanical website.