When you hug or kiss your partner or loved one, your body releases a cascade of hormones that gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling we call love.
One of the most influential of these, oxytocin could also be key to helping you ease your symptoms of perimenopause or menopause and protect your body against the effects of stress, reduce the risk of osteoporosis and cognitive decline whilst helping you to feel at your sexiest, happiest and healthiest best.
If you’re looking for a natural solution to menopause that doesn’t cost a penny and could leave you feeling fantastic, raising your oxytocin levels could be perfect.
So what is oxytocin? How does it affect our experience of menopause and what can we do to increase it? Keep reading to find out more.
What is oxytocin?
Oxytocin is often known as the ‘love hormone’ or ‘bonding hormone’ and is one of the most vital when it comes to ensuring the survival of the human race.
This is the one that is released when you kiss or hug your partner, hold hands or make love, boosting your mood and helping you feel more attached to your romantic partner.
But this is not all! You’ll also experience a surge in oxytocin when you stroke a pet, kiss your child or even go for a well-deserved massage.
Because it promotes connections and bonding, it’s also considered to be the ‘master hormone’ of pregnancy. Responsible for the contractions of the uterus during labour, promoting mother-baby bonding and helping to start breastfeeding, oxytocin can also be used to induce labour and stop post-partum bleeding in its synthetic form, pitocin.
Oxytocin is also a key player when it comes to maintaining protective and rewarding social relationships as it helps to increase trust, generosity, and social bonding, and encourages those protective instincts.
This is part of the reason why social support can be so beneficial for women experiencing high levels of stress, trauma or grief and especially during perimenopause and menopause. This is partly why the old saying of, ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ exists.
But what does oxytocin have to do with menopause?
As you most likely know, during perimenopause and menopause, levels of the key female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone start to decline.
But did you know that oestrogen stimulates the production of oxytocin? If levels of oestrogen are low, oxytocin levels are also lowered.
Because oxytocin also has a regulatory effect on the progesterone levels in the body, these changes can give rise to those irritating and debilitating symptoms of perimenopause, PMS and menopause. This includes anxiety, mood swings, depression, headaches, fatigue, sleep problems and breast tenderness.
If you’re also stressed or anxious about menopause or other life circumstances, your oxytocin levels will also take another hit and could worsen your existing symptoms even further.
Oxytocin has also been shown to help alleviate chronic joint and muscle pain, enhance memory, protect bone health and reduce the chances of weight gain after menopause.
As I always say to my clients, hormone balance can be complex and finding release from your menopause or perimenopause symptoms isn’t just a case of increasing your oestrogen levels via lifestyle changes and HRT.
By looking at the bigger picture, including boosting your oxytocin levels, you can rebalance your body and achieve the vibrant health, confidence and happiness you deserve.
How to increase your oxytocin levels naturally
If you want to ease your symptoms of menopause, feel calmer and less anxious, protect your cognitive function and bone health and ease chronic pain, you could try to increase your oxytocin levels naturally.
By doing so, you’ll also help rebalance your oestrogen and progesterone levels and strengthen your relationship with your partner, children and social network.
Here are some easy (and free!) ways you can do this:
- Get a good night’s sleep. You need at least six full hours of good-quality sleep to boost your oxytocin levels.
- Enjoy your sex life. Orgasms are an excellent way to boost oxytocin levels in your body and give you that feel-good glow. I recommend 2-3 times per week.
- Listen to calming music. Did you know that listening to music at 528Hz will significantly decrease levels of the stress hormone, cortisol and increase oxytocin levels.
- Practice mindfulness meditation. Loving Kindness meditations are especially useful.
- Use fragrance. Oxytocin is also released when we smell something we love, whether that’s our partners, our favourite food or a fragrance we love.
- Eat foods that contain tryptophan. This amino acid is found in foods like lean beef, lamb, pork, collagen, gelatin, cheese, almonds, pistachios, macadamia nuts, cashews, walnuts, legumes and fish. Fill up your plate!
- Get a massage. Massage will help your body release more oxytocin and make sure you focus on the palm of your hand and soles of your feet
- Relax. Calming practices like mantra meditation, yoga, tai chi and chi gong also help reduce our stress levels and increase oxytocin.
- Community! Spend time with your partner, friends and family and you’ll strengthen social bonds and release even more oxytocin.
Oxytocin, or the ‘love hormone’ does more than just help you fall in love with your partner, bond with your body and promote other social relationships.
It’s also part of the complex balance of hormones that helps you feel calmer and safer, supported by those around you and can also affect how you experience perimenopause or menopause.
Follow the tips I’ve shared here and you’ll boost your oxytocin levels naturally, glow with health and feel at your confident best, whatever your age.
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We understand there’s a lot of information out there on the menopause. You can read through the NICE guidance on menopause management, as well as the NHS overview on the menopause.