Menopause

Another Life Change?

menopauseYou’re right, menopause is knocking at your door. The average age of menopause is between 50 and 52, although some women can experience symptom’s much earlier. In the year 2000, 42.19 million women in the United States were over 50, so YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Every women’s experience with menopause will be unique. Some women can glide smoothly through the transition without noticing much change at all, and others seem to be burdened with unpleasant symptoms as they enter into menopause.

How will I know?

Symptoms of menopause include menstrual irregularities, hot flashes, vaginal dryness or thinning, mood swings, and sleep disturbances. And if that isn’t enough, some women also experience decreased libido, fatigue, heart palpitations, depression, problems with memory and cognition, and more. If you are one of those lucky ones, your only symptom may be a change in your menses and eventually no menses as your hormones continue to decrease.

What is Menopause?

Menopause is defined as a cessation of menses for 1 full year. Hence the term, “meno” meaning menses and “pause” meaning cessation. Peri-menopause is the term used to describe the time immediately around menopause and is often referring to the time before menopause. The average time a woman can spend in peri-menopause is 4 years. During peri-menopause, menstrual irregularities may be the only symptom, yet some women may experience any of the symptoms listed above.

As we age, our ovaries slow down the production of estrogen and progesterone. This decrease in hormones can account for the menopause symptoms you may be experiencing. Menopause can also be surgically induced by the removal of a woman's uterus and ovaries, which are needed to produce estrogen and progesterone.

Is Menopause a disease?

We need to remember that menopause is NOT a disease and every women will experience the transition. It is our goal as naturopathic physicians to provide relief to women during peri-menopause and to facillitate a smooth transition while carefully addressing other risk factors such as osteoporosis and heart disease.

Can anything affect a women's experience of menopause?

The answer is a lot of things can affect menopausal symptoms. For example, family history can be an important predictor of how a woman will experience menopause and peri-menopause.

It is also important to address lifestyle factors that may affect how a woman experiences menopause. For example, smoking has been identified as a cause of early menopause. Toxic chemical exposure, medically treated depression, and never having children are also causes of early menopause. Obesity and smoking have been associated with moderate to severe hot flashes in peri-menopausal women.

Black CohoshTreatment Options

Key to Health Clinic offers a wide range of therapies for menopause which can include dietary counseling, lifestyle counseling, exercise suggestions, botanical preparations such as black cohosh, nutrition supplements, and natural hormone replacement therapy. Depending on your experience of menopause, natural hormones could be prescribed for you. For example, a women who has entered into surgical menopause must take hormone replacement therapy because she has no ovaries to produce estrogen and progesterone. If you are experiencing only mild symptoms, there may be a treatment we suggest that can help your symptoms without the use of hormones. More information about hormone replacement therapy can be found on the previous link.

We continually learn new treatments and keep track of the newest research updates on menopause treatments such as black cohosh, dong quai, vitamin E, gamma-oryzanol, soy and other phytoestrogens, and many more. We spend time understanding your concerns, needs, and risks. From this information, we can work together with you to tailor a treatment plan to exactly meet your needs and quickly get you back on your feet and feeling great again.

Feel free to call Key to Health Clinic with questions or make an appointment with Dr. Bruce Dickson. If you are feeling anything less than great, come in for a visit and get yourself back on the road to vibrant health.