It's that time of year again when the smooth-sailing days of sunshine, soft breezes and simple clothing shift toward darker days, cold winds and more preparation before heading out of doors. Like this transition from tranquil to stormy, women's hormones go through a similar phase of unrest. For some women menopause is no more than simply a cessation of menses, however for most it comes with a host of uncomfortable symptoms.
Q: When is the ideal time to address menopausal symptoms?
A: When a woman is in her 40s
A hormonal shift begins to occur when women are in their 40s (some in their late 30s), so if this transition is supported before symptoms begin then the next 10-15 years will flow much more smoothly. This is valuable prevention.
Q: What if I missed the 'prevention' stage... is there any hope for symptom relief?
Symptoms are a sign of an imbalance in the body. The goal of naturopathic medicine is to find and correct that imbalance. Treatments may include supplementation, intravenous therapy, dietary & sleep habit modifications, stress management and more.
While symptoms of menopause are often simply chalked up to 'hormonal issues' there can be other factors enhancing each experience, such as...
Hot flashes can occur at any time and be triggered by the consumption of coffee, alcohol (specifically red wine) or other foods, stressors, or structural irritation of your nervous system.
Night sweats can be triggered by evening sugar/carbohydrate intake (including alcohol, sorry), synthetic bed linens or PJs (preventing your body from regulating temperature efficiently), consuming B vitamins too late in the day, or inappropriate ambient temperature.
Poor sleep is not necessarily due to sweating. I have seen several women, who have only been able to obtain 3 hours of solid sleep since menopause, notice a drastic improvement (7 hours) when they eliminate their food intolerances. The busy mind at 3am can also be due to a reduced ability to adapt to stressors.
Belly fat is a sign of a hormonal imbalance, however not the hormone you typically associate with menopause (estrogen) it is your 'stress hormone' cortisol, produced by your adrenal glands. Many women who are mindful of their diet and exercise are shocked to find a 'tire' beginning to settle around their waist; "Where did this come from?" is the question I often hear. Supporting your body's ability to adapt to stress is essential for losing that new belly.
A Naturopathic Doctor can help by:
- testing your hormone levels (saliva)
- assessing your adrenal gland function (urine or saliva)
- testing for food intolerances (blood)
- recommending a suitable practitioner to address your nervous system (chiropractor, osteopath, acupuncturist)
...and then provide an appropriate treatment plan relevant to your results.
Let's help make your transition as smooth as possible, getting back to sunshine and smooth breezes.