Menopause -Hormones and Life Changes
Hormone Imbalance Throughout Life, How Does This Effect You?
Ahh, feminine hormones. We would rather not live with them and we cannot live without them. From somewhere in our teens until into Our 60’s they will forever be at our side. May Is Women’s health month and shifting from the cool springtime into summer what better topic to discuss than Menopause – “her hot flashes, night sweats, and undesirable mood swings”.
The fact is, no matter what walk of life you come from, at some point as women, we all “pause” and realize something has or is changing. We will all have to deal with menopausal symptoms. A natural part of the aging process and a not medical illness. The hardest part of Menopause is often the emotional and physical side effects
Unwelcome weight gain, low energy, brain fog, and mood swings
At first, we try denial and turn to sugar substitutes for our emotions. NEWS FLASH…. The nightly glass of wine, or chocolates, and/or that late-night bowl of ice cream only serve to increase the night sweats and decrease a full night’s sleep. And with the weight gain, you might as well take that extra slice of pie and place it firmly over your hips. Do not be fooled, it will not leave as easily as it was to get to your mouth.
Good news, with a little change in our daily habits, a good hormonal evaluation from a professional, and understanding how we can supplement our body’s needs; we will adapt and improve. Transition into a time of strength and certainty. Stand tall and face the challenge. You slid thru your twenties, somewhat figured out who you are in your thirties, helped others figure out their direction in your forties, now it is time to claim your fame and shine into your fifties.
Let’s Get Educated
Perimenopause considered the biggest time for changes for women in terms of behavior and symptoms. In the perimenopause years, estrogen and progesterone begin to fluctuate the most. Beginning sometime during a woman’s mid-40’s and can last for several years.
Something else to consider, perimenopause can be brought about prematurely by surgical removal of ovaries, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or certain anti-hormone drugs. Every woman’s fluctuations are unique to their body and their hormonal imbalances. The transition can lead to symptoms that interfere with the quality of life and day-to-day activities.
Menopause begins when it is noted that 12 months or more have passed since the last menstrual cycle. An increased loss of ovarian follicles changes the form of estrogen being released from estradiol to estrone. There are also fluctuations of postmenopausal and menopausal hormones involving: Progesterone and Testosterone and one other important hormone DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) produced by the adrenal gland, noted as a weak estrogen
Consider a whole-body health evaluation
Care during perimenopause is important especially if it is brought on by medical procedures and/or a health crisis. The proper whole-body hormonal checkup can assist in managing troubling symptoms, and preventively address changes that can impact cardiovascular health, bone density and osteoporosis, and neurological or brain health further down the line as we enter into our “golden” years. Women who have had treatments for cancer or who have a risk of breast cancer fall under a different set of circumstances. Each woman is unique so it is important to be completely honest with your doctor and to find a doctor who will spend the time reviewing and discussing all your options.
Conventional Doctors often believe that a drop in estrogen production needs to be supplemented with synthetic hormones (HRT). This generally involves taking estrogen and/or progestin replacement drugs or using hormonal creams. However, the risk to a woman’s health from taking hormone replacement drugs has become a serious concern.
In contrast, alternative practitioners believe there is too much estrogen “estrogen dominance” and believe the solution is to balance the ratio between estrogen and progesterone with progesterone supplementation. The fact is there is no one solution for all women. Hormones can get complicated. What must be taken into consideration are the adrenal glands, pituitary glands, thyroid, and even the hypothalamus.
There are many possible reasons for some of the known symptoms of menopause
Fatigue and sleepless nights may be a product of an imbalance in the adrenal hormones and thyroid hormones. The endocrine system involving the pituitary gland also plays role in our day-to-day symphony. For this reason, it is important to connect with a practitioner that will consider all of these aspects and provide the best course of action.
Women should not feel they have to suffer in silence when menopause is affecting their daily lives at work and at home. The effects of menopause are often misunderstood and underestimated. Tests for all of these things are not so complicated and many can be performed at home, sent to a lab, and then reviewed by your Doctor when the information is completed.
Consider a consultation with a Dr. of Naturopathic Medicine. A distinct primary health care profession, emphasizing prevention, treatment, and optimal health through methods that encourage the individual’s inherent self-healing process. Naturopathic Medicine trains doctors to perform a whole-body evaluation and seek out the cause of a symptom. Proactive lifestyle, prevention and optimization of health strategies are offered as the body ages. ND’s are trained in both conventional hormone therapy options and compound hormone formulas individualized to each patient.
Focusing on the whole person, licensed naturopathic doctors (NDs) take the time to identify and address the genetic, personal medical history, hormonal, and lifestyle factors that impact perimenopause and menopause and associated health changes in women. They evaluate and address the cause of your issues and complaints rather than treating just the symptoms. Naturopathic Doctors provide a high level of emotional and educational support including nutrition, nutraceuticals, botanical medicine, lifestyle counseling, hormone therapy and, at times, select pharmaceuticals.
Mental attitudes and emotional states are important elements impacting our health. Discuss with your doctor and consider complementary treatments to your physical and mental health care. Include more than just taking a pill to address your physical changes and hormones.
Alternative Therapies Include
The use of alternative techniques to manage each individuals’ unique needs empowering stress management techniques.
Aromatherapy using essential oils to address various symptoms such as aiding sleep, addressing anxiety, and reducing depression.
Yoga promotes stretching and deep breathing techniques improving well-being.
The study and implementation of an Ayurvedic lifestyle address the physical, mental and emotional aspects of health.
Acupuncture an ancient Chinese medicine that is based on “Qi” and meridian pathways in the body. Acupuncture is thought to raise the levels of endorphins in the brain.
A cornerstone of naturopathic medicine promotes a healthy diet and natural nutrition. The practice of using food to maintain health, to prevent sickness, and treat illness is often over looked yet very simple. A healthy natural diet meaning fresh and home-cooked food can decrease symptoms of menopause and lower the risk of other age-related illnesses.
Remember, menopause is a natural part of the aging process — not a medical illness or problematic condition. When it comes to finding relief from menopause symptoms, the hardest part is often the emotional and physical side effects it brings along. Become educated, seek natural and simple alternatives, keep a journal and be ready to flex to changes that will lead to an improved and healthier individual. A beautiful woman draws strength from trouble, smiles during distress, and grows stronger with prayers & Faith. You are one of them!