05 Feb How to find relief during menopausal transition
Over eighty-five percent of women in North America experience symptoms during menopausal transition. Common signs and symptoms in peri/postmenopausal women include: weight gain, low libido, sleep disturbances, fatigue, hot flashes, mood instability, poor memory and irritability. In addition, postmenopausal women have an increased risk for bone loss and cardiovascular disease. One of the main factors attributed to these symptoms is a sex hormone deficiency, that is, a deficiency in estradiol, progesterone and testosterone. Another major contributing factor is chronic stress. The adrenal glands, which sit atop each kidney, produce the steroid hormone cortisol, to help the body deal with stress, and DHEA which serves as a reservoir for sex steroid hormone production. Under chronic stress, the adrenal glands can no longer keep up with the demand for adrenaline and sex hormone production – they become ‘exhausted’, and no longer produce enough cortisol or DHEA. To make matter worse, DHEA production also decreases with advancing age.
To summarize, symptoms of menopause are attributed to sex hormone deficiency that may also be secondary to low DHEA production by the adrenal glands caused by chronic stress.
Since we know the adrenal glands are responsible for the production of sex hormones postmenopausally , treatment for menopausal symptoms necessitates optimizing adrenal gland function. Supporting healthy adrenal function before and during menopausal transition can enable the adrenal glands to function optimally in their production of the sex hormone precursor DHEA. Testing salivary DHEA and cortisol levels is very reliable and can identify if a patient is experiencing adrenal exhaustion in the form of fatigue and severe menopausal symptoms. Hormone testing often opens a patients eyes as to the impact that stress is having on her body.
It is essential for every peri/postmenopausal woman to identify and minimize stressors. Daily stress management tools such as massage, yoga, meditation, tai chi or deep abdominal breathing is absolutely necessary to reduce stress levels.
Research has shown the value of stress management tools for relief of menopausal symptoms. Fifteen postmenopausal women who were experiencing an average of at least seven moderate to severe hot flashes per day were enrolled in an eight-week stress reduction program including meditation and mindful stretching. The study resulted in a 45% decrease in hot flash severity and 28% improvement in overall quality of life.
Finally, there are many nutrients, botanical medicines and bioidentical hormones available for prescription by a naturopathic doctor that support and restore normal adrenal gland function and reduce symptoms of peri/postmenopause.
The Lakeside Clinic offers a comprehensive assessment of hormone levels using salivary hormone testing. Based on test results, a hormone re-balancing program is prescribed that is tailored to your individual needs. Naturopathic Medicine is covered under most Extended Health Care plans. We now offer direct billing through Great West Life.
Join us at The Lakeside Clinic this Thursday February 7th at 7pm for our 2nd seminar titled ‘Reversing Osteoporosis’.