Menopause Natural Treatment, Menopause symptoms, Changes in Menopause, Mental, emotional, and Mood changes, Naturopathic therapies for Menopause, Menopause and nutrition Menopause and supplements, Menopause and Herbs, Menopause and Natural Hormones, Hormone Replacement
Menopause is defined as the cessation of menses (periods) which is caused by the body’s decreased production of sex hormones (ie. estrogen and progesterone). For many women the start of menopause is typically between ages 50 and 55, but some women may notice changes before then.
Women may experience anywhere from a few to all of the below symptoms during menopause and the symptoms can be severe or mild. This may depend on individual histpory, family history, and fitness.
Changes In Menses:
Periods tend to decrease in frequency(meaning they are futher apart) and usually begin to be lighter. Although it can be heavier as well for some women.
Body Changes: Hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, palpitations, headaches, fatigue, weight changes, vaginal dryness and thinning of the vaginal wall (may cause painful intercourse and increase risk to urinary tract infections), hair thinning, acne, facial hair, and a decrease in bone density. Furthermore, the risk of osteoporosis and heart disease may increase due to the decline of estrogen. These body changes are probably the most common symptoms women present with in the doctors office.
Mental, Emotional, and Mood Changes: Depression, anxiety, loss of memory and cognition, and change in sex drive. Moods may vary, and be unpredictable. These are typcially not thought of as menopausal symptoms and therefore the cause may be missed.
NATUROPATHIC THERAPIES FOR MENOPAUSE:
Natural therapies are used to decrease and eliminate symptoms of menopause, as well as prevent osteoporosis and heart disease. These treatments include:
Nutrition: Nutrition is a very important component in preventing and treating symptoms of menopause. A diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans (especially soy), nuts, healthy oils, and low in animal fat and refined sugar can be extremely beneficial. Furthermore, a naturopath can make specific recommendations which tailor the diet to the specific needs of each individual.
Nutritional Supplements: The need for mineral, vitamin, or glandular supplementation may be indicated for some menopausal women. Use of these supplements will be determined from the overall evaluation of physical, emotional and mental health. Examples of nutrients naturopathic physicians may consider supplementing include calcium, magnesium, manganese, trace minerals, bioflavonoids, vitamin B6, and vitamin E.
Botanicals/Herbs: There are specific plant extracts called phytoestrogens, that have the ability to restore and balance hormones circulating throughout the body. While phytoestrogens are much lower in strength than estrogen, many notice dramatic improvements in their menopausal symptoms within 1-2 weeks. Botanical medicines are prescribe and dosed based on the individual needs of the patient. Furthermore, a comprehensive plan using other naturopathic approaches is usually incorporated with the use of phytoestrogen therapy. i.e Black cohosh.
Natural Hormones: Natural hormones are derived from plant sources, and are biochemically identical to hormones in the human body. Synthetic hormones are not natural to the body, and can be taxing on the liver. Natural hormones are a potentially safer alternative, which can also be individually dosed, compared to synthetic hormones which usually come as a standard dose.
Physical Medicine & Exercise: The use of naturopathic manipulation and physical therapy may be important, especially for joint and muscle problems that may occur during peri- and post-menopause. Recommendations are made on an individual basis. Furthermore, exercise is an important aspect of treatment. Weight-bearing exercises are vital to strengthening bones, thus providing protection against osteoporosis. Naturopaths can help design a program that suites the individual.
Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy
Natural hormone replacement is another management option. Potentially safer plant-based molecules (from wild yam and soy predominantly) that are similar to the human hormones collectively known as estrogen and progesterone are pharmaceutically altered to the human molecular forms that our bodies recognize as such. This type of hormone replacement can be dosed in many forms such as tablets, capsules or sublingual drops (that can be more specifically, individually and minimally dosed).
Reference: Bastyr University Patient Handouts