Anxiety is one of the least known (or talked about) symptoms of menopausal changes. Most of us have heard of mood swings, hot flashes and night sweats, but anxiety, insomnia, heart palpitations, joint and muscle pain, irritability, depression, brain fog, vaginal dryness and weight gain are common symptoms.
Hormonal changes are clearly at the root of these problems due to the decrease in estrogen and progesterone. Declining estrogen levels can contribute to anxiety because the hormone is needed for the production of serotonin.
Hormonal changes also affect sleep quality since melatonin and progesterone promote restful sleep. There are excellent herbal remedies for menopause support, and one key mineral that can help alleviate most menopausal symptoms is magnesium.
In a study of 171 postmenopausal women, 81.9% of participants had low blood levels of magnesium, a mineral essential for sleep because it helps regulate circadian rhythm and relaxes muscles and nerves. It also plays a crucial role in brain function, helps regulate mood and modulates the stress response.
Another problem associated with menopause is osteoporosis, and magnesium helps build bone density. Magnesium is also essential for the heart; it supports heart muscle contractions and nerve impulses, helping to prevent palpitations and reduce the risk of heart disease. Since postmenopausal women are more likely to have low levels of magnesium, they should get enough of this mineral through diet and supplements. Magnesium-rich foods include almonds, avocados, bananas, beans, broccoli, cashews, dark chocolate, fatty fish, leafy greens, oats, seeds, dairy products, soy and whole grains.
If you choose to supplement with magnesium, you will need to take calcium as these minerals work best in conjunction with a 2:1 ratio in favor of calcium. The recommended dosage is 800 mg of calcium to 400 mg of magnesium per day.
Other measures that most women find helpful in managing menopausal anxiety include breathing exercises and meditation, daily movement, a low GL (glycemic load) diet for blood sugar balance, reducing or eliminating coffee and alcohol consumption and eating healthy fats.
Most babies tend to come out of their “colic phase” by six months. You can take herbal teas that help soothe your little one if you’re breastfeeding, or place your daughter on her tummy on a blanket and bend her knees while gently rubbing her back in a circular motion to help relieve her symptoms.
It used to be common to recommend bouncing your baby for colic relief – we now know that this is likely to make symptoms even worse.
Calendula, chamomile, rose, nettle, spearmint, peppermint, fennel seed, oat straw, lemon balm, catnip, fenugreek, dill seed and anise seeds are all beneficial ingredients to look for in a herbal tea to help with colic and digestion. Many of these ingredients also support breast milk production and help nourish and calm the mother.
Certain foods and beverages can trigger digestive upset via breast milk. Common culprits are tea, coffee, chocolate, onions, garlic, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts), beans and legumes, and spicy foods.
Dairy products may be a problem in about 25% of colic cases, either directly or through the mother’s diet. This does not necessarily indicate an allergy or sensitivity problem – often dairy products can be introduced to your child after 12 months of age without any problems.