If you are going through menopause or are firmly in your post-menopausal years, you may be tearing your hair out (what’s left of it!) trying to deal with the many symptoms of this major life transition. Fear not–you may be able to get significant relief from essential oils.
Here are the top oils to help you weather the change and emerge your best self on the other side.
Table of Contents
- Menopause FAQ
- Nine Essential Oils to Treat Menopause Symptoms
- Nine DIY Essential Oil Recipes for Menopause Relief
- Closing Tips for Using Essential Oils to Treat Menopause
Menopause is technically the term for being at least 12 months past your last menstrual cycle, but many people refer to menopause as the final transition to lack of menses too. The average age to enter menopause is about 51, but smokers typically enter menopause early. Premature ovarian failure(1) and hysterectomy(2) can also cause abrupt early menopause.
Menopause has so many symptoms they often get confused with other conditions, but if you have any of these signs coupled with fewer or no periods, you may be postmenopausal or going through menopause:
- Irritability and mood swings
- Anxiety and/or depression
- Loss of libido
- Vaginal dryness
- Hot flashes and/or night sweats
- Forgetfulness and/or memory loss
- ADD or lack of concentration
- Sleep disturbances, including insomnia
- Weight gain, especially around the middle of the body
- Thinning hair (except on the face, where you may find unwanted hair)
- Dry, fragile skin
- Acne breakouts
- Loss of energy, fatigue, and/or exhaustion
- Increased urge to urinate
- Heart palpitations
- Body aches and pains
- Irregular menstrual periods (during transition)
- “Phantom” PMS once periods have stopped
While not every woman experiences all of the symptoms above, did you know that nine out of every 10 American women do suffer from hot flashes? Curiously, most Asian and Latin American women who live on their native continents are not troubled by hot flashes and night sweats. In the case of Asian women, it’s thought that high soy content in the diet may battle this particular symptom, while with Latinas, it’s the consumption of hot peppers.
Hot flashes are a terrible nuisance but they do not pose the health risks that other aspects of menopause do. Weight gain around the abdomen can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Fluctuating hormones can trigger hypothyroidism, while loss of estrogen can cause osteoporosis and increased LDL cholesterol (the bad kind).
Because menopause can affect your quality of life and your health, it’s important to keep your symptoms in check as much as possible. A major clinical trial called the Women’s Health Initiative discovered that synthetic hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which was previously thought to be safe, actually increases women’s risk of cancer and heart disease, so this is no longer the standard therapy for many women. With no other pharmaceutical alternative, it’s lucky that essential oils can offer much of the relief found in HRT.
Nine Essential Oils to Treat Menopause Symptoms
Clary sage essential oil is hands down the number one oil for the all-around treatment of menopause. With natural phytoestrogens that simulate the effects of estrogen on the body, clary sage essential oil helps balance your hormones, which has a domino effect on menopause symptoms. Clary sage essential oil decreases anxiety by lowering cortisol production, reduces hot flashes, and helps fight weight gain. This well-studied oil also quells insomnia and eases spasms that can accompany painful menstrual periods during the transition into menopause.
Roman chamomile essential oil is another popular natural aid during menopause. It alleviates stress (which also helps with sleep) and reduces pain, especially headaches that are common during this time. If you are experiencing skin problems during menopause, roman chamomile essential oil can calm breakouts and reduce inflammation. Roman chamomile essential oil is also an excellent choice to help regulate irregular menstrual periods in the months leading up to full menopause.
If you suffer from menopausal hot flashes and night sweats, peppermint should be your go-to essential oil. Its menthol components provide cooling relief–just don’t use it on your face or mucous membranes where it can be an irritant. Peppermint essential oil is also energizing if menopause saps your vitality, and even using it in a diffuser can give you more pep. This essential oil is ideal to calm headaches and nausea too.
Between night sweats and insomnia, menopause can do a number on your sleep. Lavender essential oil can counter those symptoms, allowing you to relax and enjoy deep slumber to get the rest you need. Lavender is very well studied for this use, and it is safer than sleeping pills or other prescription medications. Lavender essential oil is also a great choice if you find your heart racing–a common problem for women in early menopause.
Cypress essential oil is another oil to combat a wide range of menopause symptoms. It reduces hot flashes, calms irritability, and relaxes tense muscles. Cypress essential oil also decreases fluid retention, swelling, and bloating, while detoxifying the lymph system. It improves blood flow and hastens the end of drawn-out, heavy periods too.
Do you have problems with menopause related brain fog and loss of concentration? Basil has been shown to improve focus and fight both mental and physical fatigue, which makes it perfect for menopause. This energizing essential oil is ideal for topical, aromatherapy, and internal use.
Thyme is another essential oil with hormone balancing chemical compounds. Additionally, thyme essential oil calms fragile nerves and improves memory and concentration. If you suffer from menstrual cramps–a frequent problem during the final menstrual cycles or even during “phantom” periods after menopause–thyme essential oil can offer pain relief. When used in skin preparations, thyme essential oil can tone aging skin that accompanies menopause.
Geranium is yet another essential oil ideal for cooling night sweats and hot flashes. It hydrates dry skin and also balances raw emotions. Use geranium essential oil in a diffuser or perfume product to alleviate anger and depression during menopause. This essential oil combines particularly well with clary sage essential oil for multi-symptom menopause relief.
Like geranium essential oil, ylang ylang essential oil is perfect to combat menopausal mood swings. This balancing essential oil is wonderfully fragrant and ideal for use in bath and body recipes. When used topically or in the bath water, ylang ylang essential oil also improves sluggish circulation.
Nine DIY Essential Oil Recipes for Menopause Relief
Multi-symptom Menopause Body Oil
- 2 drops clary sage EO
- 5 drops geranium EO
- 6 drops lemon EO
- 1 drop jasmine EO
- 1 drop angelica EO
- 2 oz. carrier oil of choice (argan, avocado, coconut, sesame, sweet almond, jojoba, grapeseed, macadamia)
- Combine the essential oils in a small glass bottle.
- Top with the carrier oil.
- Roll the bottle gently between the palms to blend the ingredients.
- Apply daily and massage into the body, or add it to your bath water.
- (Hint: for a less oily formulation, use the same essential oils, but add them to 2 ounces of scent-free body lotion.)
Hormone Balancing Serum
- Combine all the ingredients in a small glass bottle with a roller top.
- Blend the ingredients by rolling the bottle gently between the hands.
- Apply a small amount (about 5 or 6 drops worth) to the neck every morning and evening.
Cooling Hot Flash Mister
- 8 drops peppermint EO
- 8 drops clary sage EO
- 8 drops Roman chamomile EO
- 3 oz. spring or distilled water
- 1 oz. witch hazel
- Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle.
- Shake and spray on the torso, back of the neck, etc. when a hot flash comes on. (Be careful not to get in the eyes.)
- (Hint: make extra bottles to keep in your office desk drawer and on your bedside table for those night sweats in the wee hours.)
Cooling Towels for Hot Flashes and Night Sweats
- Add the essential oils to the water in a large bowl or rubber storage container. Blend well.
- Submerge a washcloth or small hand towel in the water.
- Squeeze most of the water out.
- Fold the towel in half, and then roll it tight.
- Place rolled towels on a cookie sheet and freeze solid (about 1-2 hours).
- Store in the freezer and use as needed on the forehead, chest, neck, etc. to cool hot flashes and night sweats (avoid the eye area).
Libido Boosting Oil
- Mix the ingredients above in a small glass bottle or beaker.
- Apply over the thyroid gland on the throat, on the wrists, and on the back of the neck to increase libido and generate a romantic atmosphere.
- (Hint: for a more unisex scent, add a few drops of sandalwood to the mixture.)
Lubricating Salve for Vaginal Dryness
- 7 drops lavender EO
- 5 drops Roman chamomile EO
- 10 drops neroli EO
- 10 drops frankincense EO
- ⅛ cup St. John’s wort herbal oil
- ⅛ cup comfrey leaf herbal oil
- ¼ cup calendula herbal oil
- ½ oz. beeswax
- Melt the beeswax in a double boiler.
- When beeswax just reaches the melting point, add the three herbal oils.
- Stir well and remove from heat.
- Add the essential oils and blend.
- Pour into small sterilized jars and allow to cool.
- Cap and store in a cool, dry location.
- Allow at least two hours of cooling time before using.
- Apply as needed to relieve vaginal dryness.
No More Mood Swings Oil Blend
- 2 drops clary sage EO
- 2 drops lavender EO
- 2 drops marjoram EO
- 2 drops ylang ylang EO
- 1 drop Roman chamomile EO
- 1 drop geranium EO
- 15 ml. carrier oil of choice (coconut, jojoba, evening primrose, etc.)
- Combine the ingredients above in a small glass bottle with a roller or massage oil top.
- Roll the bottle gently between your palms to blend the oils.
- Apply as needed over the abdomen, massaging into the skin, to quell mood swings and irritability during menopause and the transition to menopause.
Get Energized and Focused Diffuser Blend
- Add the essential oils above to a room diffuser.
- Use as needed to fight menopause fatigue and mental fog.
- (Hint: this blend can also be used in a small inhaler or on a cotton ball to carry with you when you hit a low energy zone.)
Goodbye Insomnia Roller Ball
- 15 drops lavender EO
- 10 drops vetiver EO
- 5 drops ylang ylang EO
- 5 drops wild orange EO
- 5 drops frankincense EO
- 10 ml fractionated (liquid) coconut oil
- Combine the essential oils in a small glass bottle with a roller ball top.
- Top with the fractionated coconut oil.
- Roll the bottle gently between the palms to blend.
- Apply nightly to the bottoms of the feet and and the neck for deep, uninterrupted slumber.
Closing Tips for Using Essential Oils to Treat Menopause
Menopause is a condition for which many routes of essential oil application are possible. The recipes above are just a starting point for you. You can have fun experimenting with different types of recipes to find delivery methods that work best for you. Likewise, the list of essential oils above is a jumping off point too. Other essential oils that work well to treat menopause symptoms include:
- black pepper
- german chamomile
It’s best to do a patch test on a small area of skin before using any essential oil on your whole body. Also, most essential oils should be diluted before use on the skin; simply add a few drops to a carrier oil, like olive or jojoba oil, before using them on their own.
Choose your oils based on your menopause symptoms, which may vary throughout the day and over the course of the month. You may need to use different essential oils in the morning to pick you up than you need at night to help you relax and go to sleep.
Start with small doses of each essential oil and go up from there, so you can see how you react to them. You don’t want to overstimulate your hormones or pump up your energy so much you feel jittery.
Finally, once you find essential oils that work for your menopause symptoms, use them consistently. You’ll feel much better if you treat your symptoms before you even start to feel them than after they rage out of control. With other natural therapies, such as nutritional supplements, massage, acupuncture, lifestyle modifications, and dietary changes, you can use essential oils to successfully navigate menopause without it having a big impact on your health and well being.