Making it Through Menopause
What is Menopause?
Menopause is the cessation of menses due to decreasing ovarian function or removal of the ovaries. It may be natural, drug- or surgically-induced or premature. The average age for this transition naturally is 50-52 years old.
What are the symptoms of menopause?
- Hot flashes
- Inability to concentrate or memory loss
- Anxiety and Nervousness
- Sleeplessness, insomnia
- Mood Swings
- Night Sweats
- Weight gain
- Irregular, heavy, absent, prolonged periods
What causes menopause?
Your ovaries naturally wind down their functioning as part of ageing. Menopause is a transition from a phase of life that revolves around reproduction and nurturing of children, to a phase of greater autonomy, self-awareness and creativity.
Menopause can also be induced by certain medications such as those given to treat breast cancer, like tamoxifen. A hysterectomy that also removes your ovaries will also cause menopause symptoms, where a hysterectomy that spares your ovaries does not.
Why do menopause symptoms occur?
This is a natural hormonal transition in a woman’s life, just like puberty. It should be a smooth transition. If not, it can be a sign of:
- Hormone imbalance
- Adrenal stress or adrenal fatigue, better referred to as HPA axis dysfunction
- Poor endocrine system function
- Excessive use of caffeine and/or nicotine
- Liver congestion, poor liver metabolism of estrogen metabolites or xenoestrogens
- Low thyroid and ovarian function
Our naturopathic doctors resolve these issues and relieve symptoms naturally through proper diet, exercise, stress reduction techniques, HPA axis support, liver detoxification, thyroid and ovarian support.
Blood tests for menopause:
If you aren’t sure if you are peri-menopausal or in full menopause, our naturopathic doctors can order the following blood tests that may be helpful:
If still cycling day 3: LH, FSH, and estradiol (if not, done randomly), day 21: progesterone (if no cycle, done randomly), any day: DHEAs, total testosterone, TSH, free T3, free T4, prolactin
Chiropractic helps to regulate the nervous system and to restore normal function in joints, muscles, tissues and organs. Our chiropractor plays an important supportive role in the treatment of menopause, especially in relation to the stress and stress responses that many women experience.
Registered Massage Therapy:
Massage therapy is an excellent complement to healthcare for menopausal women. Massage decreases the sympathetic nervous system firing which helps to increase the body’s relaxation response. This is helpful in general, but especially for women.
Acupuncture is a useful tool to relieve symptoms. Research has shown that it can help reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes and aid insomnia for a more restful sleep. Our naturopathic doctors and acupuncturist provide acupuncture treatments.
By Dr. Pamela Frank, Naturopathic Doctor, updated Jan. 5, 2020
Natural Treatment for Menopause: Research
These are just a few of the options that our naturopathic doctors have to help relieve symptoms and the research to support them:
Natural S-(-)equol, a product of the bacterial transformation of a soybean compound daidzein, reduces severity hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. Source: J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2011 Oct 12.
Red Clover Isoflavones
Supplementation with red clover isoflavones was found to be associated with a considerable decrease in overall menopausal symptom intensity including hot flashes. Source: Gynecological Endocrinology, posted online August 26, 2011.
A lower vitamin E:lipid ratio was found to be associated with osteoporosis. These findings suggest that vitamin E may increase bone mineral density in healthy postmenopausal women. Source: J Bone Miner Metab, 2013 March 28
Nutraceuticals: Isoflavones and Berberine
Supplementation with nutraceuticals containing soy isoflavones and berberine was shown to significantly improve anthropometric measures, blood pressure, HOMA index, and basal homocysteinemia compared to baseline. Source: J Altern Complement Med. 2013 Jun;19(6):582-7.
This meta-analysis confirms that acupuncture improves hot flash frequency and severity, menopause-related symptoms, and quality of life (in the vasomotor domain) in women experiencing natural menopause. Chiu HY1, Pan CH, Shyu YK, Han BC, Tsai PS. Effects of acupuncture on menopause-related symptoms and quality of life in women in natural menopause: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000260.