Hot flashes. Weight changes. Fatigue. Insomnia. Headaches. Painful intercourse. Thinning hair.
A woman in her late 40’s is beginning to experience these undesirable symptoms. She lives a generally healthy lifestyle, eats well, exercises, and gets plenty of sleep.
Why then, is she experiencing these health problems?
The M-word is dreaded by many women as they approach mid-life. Are ladies doomed to have an entirely negative experience?
Maybe that woman is you. You struggle with finding remedies for these unpleasant symptoms. While other friends your age seem to breeze right through menopause.
Why do they have an easier time with their passage into this new phase of life? You don’t have unhealthy habits. Why isn’t your experience with menopause better?
By incorporating natural treatments for menopause into your everyday life, you can successfully progress into this new found chapter. We’re uncovering the top treatments for common challenges women experience during menopause.
Our goal is to help you not simply transition, but thrive during this time of your life. Flourishing during menopause is entirely possible – with proper attention to the restorative abilities of your body. Buckle up, you won’t want to miss this.
What is Menopause?
Menopause is defined as a stage in life when you stop having your monthly cycles. This is a result of the body’s decreased production of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone.
Most women experience menopause between the ages of 40-58. Women who have their ovaries surgically removed results in “sudden” surgical menopause, as opposed to a gradual progression.
Some gals may not know that prior to menopause, they’ll start experiencing changes in their body before their last menstrual period occurs. The precursor to menopause – perimenopause – can take anywhere from two to eight years.
During perimenopause, the symptoms of menopause often begin. Irregular periods which may be heavier or lighter and have varying durations are normal. There may be months of no bleeding at all.
Other symptoms such as trouble sleeping, night sweats, weight gain, reduced sex drive, and thinning hair are common during perimenopause.
The defining event indicating a transition from perimenopause to menopause is not receiving your beloved monthly visitor for one year.
Once a woman moves from perimenopause to menopause, symptoms may or may not become more severe. Our job as naturopathic doctors is to make this shift as smooth as possible. After all, this phase of life should be enjoyable, not miserable.
So what should I expect as I grow into perimenopause and menopause? There’s no certain answer on exactly what you’ll experience during these phases. Each gal experiences menopause differently.
For example, our lady friends with endometriosis, a painful condition causing the lining inside the uterus to grow on the ovaries and fallopian tubes, actually find some relief during menopause.
Why? Because their menstrual cycles are quite painful given their condition. These ladies don’t miss their monthly visitor. Sayonara!
Although each woman is different, there are some common symptoms to look out for.
What Symptoms Should I Expect?
Because each female of our species is unique, you may have one, some, or none of the symptoms that are common. This is normal and should not cause any alarm.
Changes in menstrual cycles: heavier or lighter, more or less frequent
Emotional changes: moods may be unpredictable, irritability, and/or mild depression
Body changes: more or less vaginal discharge, lowered libidio (sexual desire), drier skin, hot flashes, headaches, fatigue, weight changes, and hair loss
Infections: more vaginal or urinary tract infections
You may be starting to notice some of these symptoms if you find yourself yelling at your dog more often and being less inclined for a nightly rendezvous with your partner…
These symptoms indicate that the ovaries are producing less estrogen and are a sign of fluctuation in hormone levels. The good news is – we don’t have to suffer through the hormonal changes these years bring.
Although there is no “cure”, there are a variety of natural treatments for the change of life that can ease the symptoms including lifestyle changes, natural remedies, herbal medicines, and diet adjustments.
By using targeted holistic medicine testing, we can decipher exactly what may be needed to encourage your body to achieve the best possible well-being during this move into another phase of life. Studies show that naturopathic medicine is highly effective in treating menopause.
Our experience taught us it’s best to begin with a thorough evaluation of your symptoms, current lifestyle, and general concerns. This is in order to provide you with a personalized tailored approach for using natural remedies and treatments to combat which symptoms trouble you most – menopause mood swings or menopause weight gain, for example.
Below are some examples of the remedies we may recommend for your one of a kind situation.
Natural Treatments for Menopause
During perimenopause, a woman’s bone density can decrease. A diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D can encourage healthy bone density during this time, avoiding osteoporosis. Some foods that contain calcium are:
Vitamin D can be found in these foods:
Looking for natural remedies for menopause mood swings? Diet can help. For women experiencing hot flashes, insomnia, and mood swings, a diet rich in iron may help combat these symptoms. Foods rich in iron are:
Green leafy vegetables
Additionally, limiting caffeine and alcohol intake may benefit women experiencing frequent hot flashes.
A tailored diet based on a woman’s other health needs along with personal needs can be suggested once an evaluation by our naturopaths is complete.
Certain women may need mineral or vitamin supplements in order to fully satisfy their body’s needs during menopause. After an overall evaluation of physical, emotional, and mental health our functional medicine team can suggest supplementing your diet with various minerals such as magnesium, calcium, or other trace minerals.
Plant extracts have been proven to restore hormonal balances. We’ve treated women who’ve experienced hot flashes and mood changes that experience drastic changes within 1-2 weeks of incorporating plant extracts to their diets.
Herbal medicines can be used together with other naturopathic approaches to achieve an optimal treatment plan.
Homeopathic medicines are made from plant, animal, and mineral substances that are completely drug-free. For ladies experiencing emotional and mood changes during menopause, this treatment can offer dramatic relief with no side effects. Feeling like yourself again – without fallout – what more could you ask for?
Exercise has been documented as an effective treatment for menopause weight gain. In addition to helping a person reach and maintain a moderate weight, exercise may also help alleviate symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. This study found that women with moderate-to-high levels of physical activity had less severe symptoms than those who were inactive.
Just 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each week can have profound benefits. Walking, jogging, cycling, and swimming are all great ways to get moving.
At times, this period of your life may feel like a metamorphosis. And that’s ok. It can be filled with many changes and even self-discovery. Coming to the end of the natural reproductive years of your life can be difficult for some. Ensuring you have support and insight on your situation is vital. Our naturopathic physicians can refer you to counseling services who specialize in listening, understanding, and helping women deal more effectively with their individual situations.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
In some cases where a woman’s ovaries have been removed or damaged surgically, causing sudden surgical menopause, we may prescribe hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Our goal is to reduce the risk of hormone therapy while enhancing the patient’s overall health and reducing certain risks of osteoporosis and heart disease.
Our naturopathic physicians can also encourage other safer forms of estrogen and overall hormonal balance by using natural therapies. You can read more about our approach to hormone health here.
Experience This New Phase of Life in a Health Conscious Way
We encourage women to pursue a positive mindset as they begin on their journey through menopause because your mindset can have an impact on your symptoms. Studies show that negative attitudes may make symptoms more severe.
Practice being present and being aware of your thoughts. Understand that menopause is not a death sentence, but instead, a new phase of life to embrace as a strong and resilient woman. Staying connected with your body, spending time with supportive friends and family, and making time for self-care can all contribute to an overall more pleasant experience.
Don’t underestimate the power of laughter! Laughter increases endorphins that are released by your brain and help improve your mood and reduce physical pain. So giggle away!
Make it a priority to care for yourself. Self-care is an excellent coping mechanism to offset some of the symptoms you may experience.
You mustn’t be that woman in her 40’s complaining to her children, partner, friends, and family about the severe and unpleasant symptoms you’re experiencing. In essence, there’s no need to dread your change of life. With our support, enjoy your journey continuing to become an able-bodied and vibrant individual. We believe in you!
We’ve briefly discussed the valuable treatments we can provide women going through menopause. Our exceptional and successful approaches to the management of menopause with the help of our naturopathic doctors provide you with the best route possible to navigate the, at times, challenging changes your body goes through.
To begin on your individualized plan to focus on the symptoms relevant to you, contact our office or fill out our online form today. We look forward to getting you started on a successful journey into this exciting next phase of your life – we can’t wait to serve you!