What is Menopause
Menopause occurs in women when their body experiences a transition towards cessation of ovulation and menstruation. It marks a time where significant hormonal changes are occurring. How one women experiences menopause can differ from another woman. This variability between women is a testament to the various contributing factors in how hormones affect our bodies. It’s important to realize, hormones control all aspects of our lives, and all hormones affect one another.
Perimenopause comes just before Menopause
Perimenopause is the time where menstrual changes (and symptoms) first begin to occur, and these changes lead to the eventual onset of menopause. Basically, things will change gradually over time until monthly periods and ovulation stops permanently. Perimenopause can last from 2-8 years.
The image below summarizes the transition from the regular phase’s cycles of reproductive years, through peri-menopause and into post menopause. It should be noted, that menopause is not a phase, it stands for the moment between perimenopause and post menopause.
Symptoms of Perimenopause and Menopause
These are things that may happen during perimenopause. Remember, this is the 2-8 years leading up to menopause. Perimenopause symptoms include:
- Changes in menstrual pattern (usually shorter time between periods, with heavier flow)
- Hot flashes and night sweats (occurs in 50-75% of women)
- Changes to vaginal mucosa (itchiness, dryness, inflammation)
- Urinary Tract infections
- Sleep disturbances
- Depressed mood
The perimenopause symptoms listed above can continue into menopause. Once again, there will be variability in how these symptoms present from one woman to the next. The intensity, duration and number of symptoms can differ.
All the menopausal symptoms listed above are directly related to hormonal changes. Hormones tell us a lot about overall health. To ease a woman into menopause means optimizing hormones to facilitate a smooth transition from health reproductive years through perimenopause and finally into menopause.
Naturopathy and Menopause
Naturopathic medicine can help with numerous aspects of menopause. I work with the individual to understand the whole case. A lot of what happens during early years dictate how menopause will be experienced.
What an ND can help with
- Focus on main signs and symptoms. We focus on symptoms by looking at hormones themselves, but also liver health and gut health – both of which metabolise our hormones
- Investigate associated symptoms. We know how important hormones are for overall health, so we look into:
- Osteoporosis prevention
- Cardiovascular disease prevention
- Sexual health
- Psychosocial concerns
These associated conditions are linked directly to a withdrawal of estrogen. However, not all women experience the same risks, and we can discuss these matters individually during consultations.
How Naturopaths Deal with Menopause
Testing: not always necessary, but some specialized tests exist which give us a more comprehensive look into hormone metabolism. Knowing how your body produces and metabolizes hormones can give tailored treatment plans. Click here to learn more.
Herbs: herbal medicine (aka botanical medicine) has been shown historically and through peer-reviewed scientific research to be effective in controlling menopausal symptoms. Selection of which herbs and their appropriate dosing is based on your individual signs and symptoms .
Vitamins and Minerals: there are lots of vitamins and minerals, but specific ones can be used strategically to support you based on your unique needs. Certain vitamins and minerals are used to make hormones, so any time we’re working on hormones, we must consider supporting vitamins and minerals. Be careful though, because evidence shows supplementation is only effective in those with relative deficiencies, so we want to make sure you actually need them before taking them for this purpose .
Acupuncture: rooted in ancient Chinese medicine theory, acupuncture has 1000’s of years of historical evidence showing its effects. Within the past few decades, more human clinical trials has been conducted and actually proven acupuncture to be effective in reducing many signs and symptoms and quality of life of women with menopausal symptoms .
Naturopaths can help with all stages of menopause. We can work with you to ease your transition smoothly or if you’re already dealing with symptoms, we can aim to get to the bottom of things. We can use specialized testing as well as a wide range of herbs, vitamins, minerals and acupuncture.
Click here to book in to arrange a consultation with me to find out more.
Dr. Johann de Chickera
Dr. Johann completed his 4-year degree at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, in Toronto. His clinical focus lies in chronic disease, such as those related to the Gastrointestinal, Endocrine, and Immune Systems.
Johann joined Body Co. in 2019, with enthusiasm and desire to joint a forward thinking, integrity driven and results-based multi-disciplinary clinic. Having worked alongside physiotherapists, massage therapists, osteopaths and other health care providers, he is confident he will complement the current providers and help maximize new and existing patients’ overall care.
His approach to medicine relies on working with the patient to come up with a feasible, multi-factorial approach that addresses all complaints at once. He employs a strong background in diagnostic medicine and human physiology and pathology to diagnose and treat. His treatment involve a combination of nutritional counselling, botanical medicine, eastern medicine (acupuncture), nutraceutical supplementation and hands on physical medicine.
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|||C. Dennehy and C. Tsourounis, “A review of select vitamins and minerals used by postmenopausal women.,” Maturitas., vol. 66, no. 4, pp. 370-80, 2010. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20580500].|
|||D. Befus, R. Coetyaux, K. Goldstein, J. McDuffie, M. Sheppard-Banigan, A. Goode, A. Kosinshi, M. Van Noord, S. Adam, V. Masilamani, A. Nagi and J. Williams, “Management of Menopause Symptoms with Acupuncture: An Umbrella Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.,” J Altern Complement Med., vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 314-23, 2018. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29298078].|