Understanding Perimenopause

Understanding Perimenopause

Navigating the Waves of Perimenopause

Your Guide to the “Second Puberty”

The journey of womanhood is punctuated by various rites of passage. From the bloom of adolescence to the wisdom of our later years, every phase has its unique challenges and joys. Among the most transformative of these stages is perimenopause, often thought of as the bridge between our fertile years and the onset of menopause.

While menopause is a well-understood concept, the term ‘perimenopause’ can seem elusive. Is it merely a harbinger of menopause? Is it all about aging? Why does it even matter? My goal today is to demystify perimenopause, guiding you through its intricacies, and empowering you with knowledge. Remember, knowledge is power, and with understanding comes the ability to navigate changes with grace.

Perimenopause: Not Just About Aging

A common misconception is that perimenopause is all about aging. In reality, it can begin in women as young as 35. More importantly, it is not a sign of getting old but a natural biological process, akin to a “second puberty”. Like puberty, perimenopause is characterized by a series of hormonal events and changes. As endocrinology professor Jerilynn Prior aptly describes, during this phase, estrogen levels can fluctuate wildly, similar to the turbulent teen years. And just like in puberty, progesterone levels play a vital role. This ebb and flow of hormones can span a decade and, while it might feel unending, remember that it is temporary. Eventually, you’ll transition to the stable phase of menopause.

The Four Phases of Perimenopause

Very Early Perimenopause: This is where it all begins. While menstrual cycles remain regular, one might experience symptoms due to decreasing progesterone levels. These can manifest as anxiety, breast pain, heart palpitations, night sweats, and irregular periods.

Early Menopause Transition: The onset of irregular periods marks this stage. Estrogen levels can peak, leading to symptoms like irritability, breast pain, and heavy periods.

Late Menopause Transition: Defined by the first menstrual cycle extending beyond sixty days. Estrogen levels can fluctuate widely, causing symptoms from these highs and lows.

Late Perimenopause: The twelve months following your final period. You’ll notice that estrogen levels decrease but remain fluctuating.

Menopause: Begins a year after your last period and lasts a lifetime. This phase is marked by stable, low estrogen levels, similar to childhood.

The Temporary Nature of Perimenopausal Symptoms

During perimenopause, many women experience symptoms like heavy periods, migraines, and even mood disturbances such as anxiety and depression. Yet, most of these are temporary. Interestingly, research indicates that the risk of anxiety and depression actually decreases after menopause. In fact, many women report feeling rejuvenated and more content post-menopause than in their younger years.

A point to note: not every symptom in your forties can be chalked up to perimenopause. Always consult with a healthcare professional to rule out underlying health conditions.

The Critical Window for Health

Perimenopause isn’t just about hormonal fluctuations. It’s a critical window for overall health. This phase can amplify or even reveal underlying health issues, making it essential to prioritize self-care and health check-ups. Conditions like insulin resistance can become pronounced during this transition. Additionally, perimenopause can trigger or exacerbate autoimmune conditions. The silver lining? Recognising these shifts gives you an opportunity to address them head-on.

Following our exploration of perimenopause as a “critical window for health,” it’s evident that this period represents more than just a series of hormonal changes. It’s an intricate interplay of physiological, emotional, and cognitive transformations that can shape the subsequent chapters of a woman’s life. Recognizing its importance and potential challenges is the first step, but understanding how to traverse this journey with grace and empowerment is equally crucial. Let’s delve deeper into strategies that can guide you in navigating perimenopause with elegance and confidence.

 Let’s delve deeper into strategies that can guide you

in navigating perimenopause with grace and ease.

A continual pursuit of Balance

How to Navigate Perimenopause Gracefully

Embarking on the journey through perimenopause can feel a little like sailing into uncharted waters. As your body undergoes significant changes, it can be a time of uncertainty, discomfort, and even distress. Yet, it’s also a time of introspection, growth, and potential empowerment. With the right tools and mindset, you can navigate this transition gracefully, emerging on the other side with renewed vitality and understanding. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you sail through these shifting tides.

Cultivate Open Dialogue

Share and Listen: Discuss your experiences with trusted friends, family, and peers. Hearing about others’ journeys can provide comfort, perspective, and potentially useful advice.

Seek Professional Counsel: Regular check-ins with your healthcare provider will ensure you have a professional perspective on your symptoms and changes.

Counselling and Support Groups: Talking through changes and challenges can provide emotional support and helpful coping mechanisms.

Embrace a Holistic Lifestyle

Dietary Wellness: Prioritise foods rich in essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and calcium. Foods like leafy greens, seeds, fish, and whole grains can be beneficial. Keep reading for more dietary advice.

Mindful Movement: Incorporate exercises that resonate with you, whether it’s yoga, walking, or strength training. Exercise can help manage symptoms and improve mood.

Stress Management: Techniques such as meditation, deep-breathing exercises, and journaling can alleviate stress, a significant trigger for perimenopausal symptoms.

Educate Yourself

Stay Informed: Read, attend workshops, or participate in webinars. The more you understand about perimenopause, the less intimidating it becomes.

Beware of Myths: With the prevalence of information today, it’s crucial to discern fact from fiction. Trust reliable sources and consult experts when in doubt.

Embrace Emotional Wellness

Mindfulness Practices: Engage in activities that ground you. The Plum Village App and resources from Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation and Insight Timer can be invaluable tools for this journey.

Seek Support: Don’t hesitate to engage a therapist or counsellor who can provide coping strategies and emotional support.

Prioritise Sleep

Sleep Hygiene: Ensure your bedroom is conducive to rest. This might mean investing in blackout curtains, a comfortable mattress, or white noise machines.

Establish Routines: Going to bed and waking up at the same time daily can stabilise your circadian rhythm, providing relief from sleep disturbances.

Limit Environmental Stressors

Mindful Media Consumption: Steer clear from overly negative or violent media. What we feed our minds can significantly impact our emotional and psychological well-being.

Create Boundaries: Engage positively with your environment. This might mean decluttering your space, limiting time on social media, or setting boundaries in personal relationships.

Avoid Environmental Toxins: Reducing exposure to endocrine disruptors, like certain plastics and pesticides, can support hormonal balance.

Celebrate Yourself

Practice Self-compassion: Remember that you’re not alone in this journey. Be kind to yourself, acknowledging that every woman’s path through perimenopause is unique.

Embrace the Journey: While it’s a time of change, it’s also an opportunity for growth. Celebrate the wisdom and experience that comes with this phase.

Stay Proactive About Your Health

Regular Check-ups: Ensure you have regular medical check-ups to monitor your overall health and address any concerns promptly.

Stay Hydrated and Limit Caffeine: Drinking ample water and reducing caffeine can help manage symptoms like hot flashes.

 Engage in Joyful Activities

Pursue Hobbies: Whether it’s reading, painting, or dancing in your living room, engage in activities that uplift your spirit and bring joy.

Natural Therapies for Managing Perimenopause

Herbal Remedies

Black Cohosh: Traditionally used to reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes and night sweats.

Vitex (Chaste Tree Berry): Known to support hormonal balance, particularly progesterone.

St. John’s Wort: Commonly used to alleviate mild depression and mood swings.

Dong Quai: Dubbed the “female ginseng”, this herb may help with menstrual irregularities and symptoms linked to hormonal imbalances.

Dietary Adjustments

Phytoestrogens: Found in foods such as flaxseeds, soy, sesame seeds, and certain beans, these natural compounds can mimic the effects of estrogen, potentially aiding in symptom relief.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Consuming foods rich in omega-3s, like salmon, flaxseed, and walnuts, can be beneficial for mood regulation.

Limit Caffeine and Alcohol: Both can exacerbate hot flashes and impact sleep quality.

Stay Hydrated: Drink ample water to combat dryness issues and support overall bodily functions.

Balanced Blood Sugar: Emphasise whole, unprocessed foods and regular meals to keep blood sugar levels stable, which can help in managing mood swings.

Supplements

Magnesium: Supports mood stabilisation and can be especially helpful in dealing with sleep disturbances.

Omega 3 and Vitamin E: Can reduce the intensity and frequency of hot flushes.

B Vitamins: Particularly B6 and B12, these are pivotal for energy and mood regulation.

Mind-Body Practices

Yoga & Tai Chi: Beyond promoting flexibility, these ancient disciplines can help manage stress, improve sleep, and stabilize mood.

Meditation and Deep Breathing: Mindfulness meditation and deep-breathing exercises can be instrumental in managing anxiety and mood swings, fostering a sense of inner calm.

Acupuncture: Many women report a reduction in perimenopausal symptoms, particularly hot flashes, with regular acupuncture sessions.

Bio-Identical Progesterone Cream: Unlike synthetic versions, bio-identical progesterone is chemically identical to what the body produces. Some women find it beneficial for symptoms like mood swings, sleep disturbances, and hot flashes.

Essential Oils

Clary Sage: Known for balancing estrogen levels.

Lavender: Used for its calming properties, aiding in relaxation and sleep.

Peppermint: Can provide cooling relief for hot flashes.

Protein for wound healing
omega-3 for wound healing

Remember, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare provider, preferably one familiar with holistic treatments, before starting any new therapy or making significant lifestyle changes. Embracing a combination of therapies and listening to your body will likely offer the best outcomes.

In the grand tapestry of life, perimenopause is but a chapter. While it comes with its challenges, it’s also ripe with opportunities for growth, understanding, and deepening self-love. Embrace this phase with grace, arm yourself with knowledge, and remember always to prioritize your well-being. The journey through perimenopause, navigated thoughtfully, can indeed be a beautiful one.

If you’ve resonated with this post and are keen to delve deeper, I invite you to check out the Menopause Makeover Free Guide, a resource designed to guide you through this transition with grace and empowerment. Don’t stop here; our blog houses a trove of insights on hormonal health, each one crafted to support and uplift you in every step of your journey. 

 If you would like to work with me 

Schedule Your Consultation Now

Contact me

 

Self-Compassion in Menopause

Self-Compassion in Menopause

The Healing Power of Kindness

Menopause is a transformative phase in a woman’s life, characterized by significant physical and emotional changes. The journey isn’t always easy, and for some, it can be marred by distressing symptoms and emotions. As we navigate this phase, nurturing our mental well-being becomes as crucial as addressing the physical symptoms. A recent study by K. Gavralas, L. Brown & C. Bryant (2023) 1 underscores the importance of self-compassion during midlife, revealing its pivotal role in mitigating depressive symptoms.

Having dedicated my practice to supporting menopausal women, I’ve observed firsthand the transformative impact of self-compassion. Let’s delve deeper into this and explore ways to cultivate it during menopause.

Understanding Self-Compassion

Self-compassion isn’t just about positive self-talk. It involves treating oneself with kindness, recognising our shared humanity, and being mindful. This means being gentle with ourselves during challenging times, acknowledging that suffering is a part of the shared human experience, and being present with our emotions without judgment.

Why Self-Compassion is Crucial During Menopause

Menopause brings a myriad of changes. Hormonal fluctuations, sleep disturbances, mood swings, and physical changes can sometimes feel overwhelming. Amidst this, negative self-judgment or comparison with others can intensify feelings of distress or inadequacy.

The 2023 Gavralas study not only emphasised the protective influence of self-compassion against depressive symptoms during midlife but also highlighted the significance of depressive states on self-compassion levels. Simply put, the relationship is bidirectional – as we nurture self-compassion, we can better manage depressive symptoms, and vice versa.

Promoting Self-Compassion During Menopause

Mindful Awareness: Recognise and validate your emotions without judgment. Whether it’s frustration due to hot flashes or sadness from other symptoms, acknowledge them without being critical.

Avoid Comparison: Every woman’s menopausal journey is unique. Comparing your experience to others can be a source of distress. Celebrate your journey, with its ups and downs, and remember that you’re not alone in this.

Engage in Self-Care: Dedicate time to activities that rejuvenate you, whether it’s a spa day, reading, or simply taking a walk in nature. Regular self-care acts as a reminder that you deserve love and care.

Seek Support: Whether from friends, family, or professionals like myself, who specialise in menopausal health. Having a support system can offer both understanding and guidance.

Practice Self-Kindness: Replace self-criticism with affirmations and positive self-talk. Instead of focusing on the challenges, acknowledge the strength it takes to navigate them.

Educate Yourself: Understanding the changes your body is going through can alleviate anxiety and fear. Remember, knowledge is empowering!

Tailored Naturopathic Support

In my practice, Total Healthcare Naturally, I’ve worked extensively with menopausal women, providing holistic care that addresses both the physical and emotional aspects of menopause. Emphasising the significance of self-compassion, I offer tailored strategies and interventions that help women nurture this essential trait. I truly believe that by integrating self-compassion into our lives, we can navigate menopause with grace, resilience, and positivity.

Menopause, while a natural phase, can be daunting. However, with self-compassion, this journey can be less about endurance and more about embracing change. As we cultivate self-compassion, we not only alleviate the emotional challenges of menopause but also set the stage for a positive, empowered transition into the next chapter of our lives. Always remember, you deserve kindness, especially from yourself.

References

Gavralas, L. Brown & C. Bryant (2023) Longitudinal relationships between self-compassion and depressive symptoms in midlife women, Climacteric, DOI: 10.1080/13697137.2023.2256651

Before you dive into our empowering self-compassion steps,

take a moment to reflect on this: Menopause isn’t just a phase,

it’s an invitation to rediscover yourself.

Let’s journey further.

A Self-Compassion Journey

Nurturing the Soul through Menopause

Transitioning through menopause is a transformative phase in a woman’s life, and it’s so much more than just a physical process. It’s a period of emotional, mental, and spiritual evolution. As someone with deep expertise in treating menopausal women in my naturopathic practice, I believe the key to navigating this journey is self-compassion. Let’s embark on a journey to nurture your soul with actionable steps:

Awaken with the Sun

Develop a consistent routine of rising early and sleeping early. This aligns with your body’s natural rhythm, promoting restoration and rejuvenation.

Dive into Mindful Awareness & Meditation

Dedicate moments daily to mindfulness. Recognize your emotions, validate them, and allow them space.

Apps & Resources:

Plum Village App and the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation

Insight Timer App

Mindfulness.org

Dance Like No One’s Watching

Turn on your favorite uplifting music and dance in your kitchen or living room. The liberation in this expression can boost your mood and spirit.

Be Selective in Your Consumption

Mind what you let into your consciousness. Choose content that uplifts and enlightens, steering clear of violent or distressing media.

Safeguard Your Emotional Boundaries

Support loved ones, but remember to protect your emotional well-being. Listen, empathize, but don’t bear the weight of everyone’s issues. Love without losing yourself.

Celebrate Joyful Movement

Engage in activities that invigorate both your body and soul. Whether it’s walks in nature, playing with pets, or anything else that makes your heart dance.

The Art of Nourishing Mindfully

Delight in the process of preparing and enjoying nourishing foods. Feel the textures, appreciate the colours, and savour every bite.

Dive into Inspirational Readings

Surround yourself with material that uplifts and inspires: I particulary loved “Phosphorescence” by Julia Baird.

Please comment at the bottom of this post with suggestions of books you have found uplifiting and a balm to the soul. Let’s create a reading list of books that lift our hearts and souls.

Adopt Daily Affirmations

Embrace self-kindness, replacing any critical thoughts with positive affirmations. Celebrate your strengths and wisdom.

Giving Back & Building Connections

Kindness multiplies. The love you extend to the world has a way of coming back to you tenfold. Engage in acts of kindness and feel your heart expand.

Prioritise Self-Care Rituals

Embrace practices that rejuvenate your spirit, whether it’s deep breathing, a warm bath, or a moment of reflection.

Enjoy the Power of Music

Let music be a solace. Whether it’s soulful melodies or rhythms that make you groove, let music heal and uplift your spirits.

Navigate Emotional Landscapes with Care

Engage with friends and family but be compassionate about your emotional boundaries. There’s a balance between supporting others and preserving your peace.

Menopause is an intimate journey, one that can be navigated gracefully with self-compassion, mindfulness, and an embrace of joy in the little things. By integrating these practices, you set a foundation for a joyous, empowered, and serene transition. Embrace this journey with love and kindness. Remember, every woman’s menopause story is unique, and yours deserves to be filled with self-love and compassion.

Protein for wound healing
omega-3 for wound healing

In navigating the intricate tapestry of menopause, understanding and embracing self-compassion is crucial. Remember, you’re not just experiencing a phase, but embarking on a transformative journey. If you’ve resonated with this post and are keen to delve deeper, I invite you to sign up for our Menopause Makeover Free Guide, a resource designed to guide you through this transition with grace and empowerment. Don’t stop here; our blog houses a trove of insights on menopause health, each one crafted to support and uplift you in every step of your journey. Together, let’s redefine menopause as a moment of metamorphosis.

 If you would like to work with me 

Schedule Your Consultation Now

Contact me

 

Endometriosis – Holistic Perspective

Endometriosis – Holistic Perspective

Endometriosis, a condition that affects up to 15% of women in their reproductive years, has long been misunderstood and often misdiagnosed. For decades, it has been largely categorised as a hormonal disorder, leading many to believe that it’s just another “woman’s issue” closely tied to the menstrual cycle. However, emerging research and clinical insights have begun to paint a more nuanced picture. This debilitating condition, which often causes severe pelvic pain and even infertility, is now increasingly recognized as a multi-faceted disease involving immune dysfunction, microbial imbalances, and intricate connections with the gut and brain. In this comprehensive blog post, we will delve deep into what endometriosis is, its underlying factors including the crucial role of immune dysfunction and the microbiome, and innovative approaches for treatment. As we explore the evolving perspectives on endometriosis, we’ll also consider natural treatment options—from dietary interventions to herbal supplements—that can be integrated with conventional therapies for a holistic treatment plan. Let’s unpack the complexities of endometriosis and explore paths to better management and understanding.

Vitamin C deficiency causing scurvy

Pathophysiology and Immune Dynamics in Endometriosis

Emerging Insights

Endometriosis, a condition where tissue resembling the endometrium grows outside the uterine cavity, has long mystified medical professionals due to its multifaceted etiology and progression. Recent breakthroughs, however, have unveiled a deeper nexus between the disease’s pathophysiology and immune system dysfunction, as well as the potentially significant role of bacterial agents, particularly Fusobacterium.

Historically, the most widely accepted theory behind endometriosis has been retrograde menstruation – the backward flow of menstrual blood, carrying endometrial cells, into the pelvic cavity. Yet, while many women experience retrograde menstruation, only a subset develop endometriosis. This discrepancy begged the question: Why do these ectopic endometrial tissues escape the immune surveillance in some women and thrive?

Emerging research underscores the immune system’s double-edged failure in endometriosis. Firstly, the immune response inadequately clears ectopic endometrial cells. This deficiency is not a passive omission but an active aggravation, as the immune system cultivates an inflammatory milieu that fosters the growth of these misplaced tissues. Women with endometriosis often have heightened levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and immune cells, such as macrophages, concentrated in their pelvic area.

Compounding this scenario is the recent discovery of Fusobacterium’s potential involvement. Found in the endometrium and endometrial lesions of a significant number of endometriosis patients, this bacterium may not only proliferate the disease but also elucidate why certain individuals are more susceptible. Fusobacterium seemingly exacerbates the condition by activating transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling, driving the transition of fibroblasts into more invasive myofibroblasts. These modified cells possess heightened capabilities for proliferation, adhesion, and migration.

When combined, these insights suggest that endometriosis isn’t just a product of errant tissue growth, but a confluence of immune maladaptation and bacterial involvement. As such, understanding these intricate interactions not only refines our grasp of endometriosis but also propels us towards novel, more holistic therapeutic avenues.

wound healing phases

The Uterus-Brain Axis in Endometriosis

Cutting-Edge Research

The concept of the Uterus-Brain Axis is a relatively novel focus in the study of endometriosis, extending our understanding beyond the pelvic area to explore how the uterus communicates with the brain and how this crosstalk might be perturbed in diseases like endometriosis. While the Gut-Brain Axis has received much attention in medical literature, especially regarding its implications for immune and mental health, the Uterus-Brain Axis is beginning to gain a similar spotlight for its nuanced influence on women’s health.

Emerging studies point to a bidirectional communication system between the uterus and the brain, mediated by neural networks and hormone signaling pathways. While the uterus sends signals to the brain via molecules like oxytocin and prostaglandins, the brain reciprocates by modulating uterine function through the secretion of hormones such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). In endometriosis, this axis is suggested to be out of balance.

In a state of chronic inflammation and pain, like that induced by endometriosis, the uterus sends continual distress signals to the brain. This persistent signaling is postulated to not only heighten pain perception but also influence mood and stress responses. Evidence shows that women with endometriosis are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, implicating a dysfunctional Uterus-Brain Axis in these mental health outcomes. On the flip side, chronic stress—induced by brain signals—may exacerbate uterine inflammation, thereby creating a vicious feedback loop that further complicates the pathology of endometriosis.

Understanding the Uterus-Brain Axis opens the door for holistic treatments that integrate neurological and gynecological health. Whether through pharmacological interventions targeting neural pathways or behavioral therapies aimed at reducing stress, the manipulation of this axis offers a promising frontier for endometriosis treatment.

Protein for wound healing
omega-3 for wound healing

Natural Treatments for Endometriosis

Dietary Interventions

Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Diets

Emerging research is starting to shed light on how dietary choices may directly or indirectly impact endometriosis symptoms. A gluten-free diet has been shown to improve symptoms for many women with endometriosis. In one study, 75 percent of endometriosis sufferers experienced symptom improvement after twelve months on a gluten-free diet. Dairy, particularly A1 casein found in regular dairy products, also has a role in inflammation and immune system dysfunction. A dairy-free diet can be particularly effective in managing endometriosis symptoms.

Low FODMAP Diet

FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols) are a group of carbohydrates that can be hard to digest and may exacerbate gastrointestinal issues. Since endometriosis has been linked to gut health, a low FODMAP diet may help manage the symptoms by improving gut functionality and reducing inflammation.

Prebiotics and Probiotics: The Role of Gut Healing and Dysbiosis

The gut microbiome plays a crucial role in endometriosis. Women with the disease have been found to have a high level of gram-negative bacteria and the bacterial toxin LPS (lipopolysaccharide) in their pelvis. Probiotics can help to balance the microbiome, potentially reducing endometriosis symptoms. Prebiotics, on the other hand, nourish the good bacteria and enhance their efficacy. Together, they can be a potent team for gut healing and can potentially offset dysbiosis, thereby aiding in the management of endometriosis.

Herbal and Nutritional Supplements

Berberine

Berberine is known for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It has the potential to neutralize LPS, thus addressing the bacterial aspect of endometriosis. Caution should be exercised when taking berberine for extended periods or when combining it with other medications.

N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)

A natural anti-inflammatory, NAC showed promising results in a clinical trial for treating endometriosis. It had better outcomes than hormonal treatments without the associated side effects.

Turmeric

Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has been shown to reduce the size and activity of endometriosis lesions. It works by blocking estrogen’s stimulating effect and reducing inflammation.

Zinc and Other Nutrients

Zinc is an essential anti-inflammatory nutrient, often found to be deficient in women with endometriosis. It can improve immune function and reduce pain.

Other Treatments

Other complementary therapies include body-identical progesterone, rosemary, resveratrol, castor oil packs, and even lifestyle changes like stress management techniques and physical exercise. These can serve as adjunctive treatments post-surgery or in combination with other therapeutic approaches.

Incorporating these natural treatments into a comprehensive care plan for endometriosis can yield more holistic and sustained benefits. Always consult your healthcare provider before making significant changes to your treatment regimen.

Vitamin C deficiency causing scurvy

Take Control of Your Endometriosis Journey Today

Living with endometriosis can be an uphill battle, but emerging research and integrative treatment options offer hope for improved quality of life. It’s time to reclaim your health, and it starts with becoming an informed advocate for your well-being. Whether it’s incorporating dietary changes, supplementing with specific nutrients, or exploring herbal interventions, you have the power to create a multi-faceted treatment plan tailored to your unique needs.

However, it’s crucial to consult your healthcare provider to develop a well-rounded treatment strategy that best suits you. If you’re interested in a more holistic approach to managing endometriosis, consider reaching out to a healthcare professional well-versed in these therapies. Together, you can map out the most effective course of action for you.

Don’t wait to take the first step towards a more empowered, pain-free life. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey, and support and effective treatment options are available. Click the link below to schedule a consultation today, and let’s work together to formulate a treatment plan that’s as unique as you are.

Schedule Your Consultation Now

Contact me

 

Holistic Approach to Menopause

Holistic Approach to Menopause

Menopause is a natural transition in a woman’s life, marking the end of her reproductive years, and it often takes women by surprise amidst the demands and schedules of a busy life. Some women sale through this time of transition, yet others experience various symptoms that can impact daily life, including hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, and sleep disturbances. Fortunately, complementary medicine offers a range of holistic approaches to managing these symptoms, including herbal medicine, nutritional and dietary strategies, and lifestyle adjustments to establish hormonal balance.

Vitamin C deficiency causing scurvy

Herbal Medicines for Menopause Symptoms

Herbal medicine has been used for centuries to support various aspects of health, including hormonal balance during menopause. A naturopath will prescribe a herbal medicine formulated to address your specific menopausal state drawing on some of these herbs and often others as well, but these following herbs will be drawn upon frequently in menopause formulas.

Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa formerly Cimicifuga racemosa)

Black cohosh has been shown to help reduce hot flashes, night sweats, and other menopausal symptoms by modulating hormone levels. Studies suggest it may have estrogen-like effects, which can help alleviate hormone-related symptoms.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Known for its calming properties, lavender can help reduce anxiety, stress, and insomnia often experienced during menopause. Aromatherapy using lavender essential oil may help improve sleep quality and promote relaxation.

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)

Rich in isoflavones, red clover may mimic estrogen in the body, helping to alleviate hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings. Some studies show positive effects on bone density and cardiovascular health as well.

Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus)

Chasteberry has been used to support hormonal balance, particularly in reducing symptoms of PMS. While its effects on menopause are less researched, it may help improve mood and support overall hormonal health.

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

Known for its mood-enhancing properties, St. John’s Wort can help alleviate mild to moderate depression and anxiety associated with menopause.

Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis)

Dong Quai has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to support women’s reproductive health. It may help balance hormone levels, improve mood, and reduce hot flashes, although more research is needed to confirm its efficacy.

Withania (Withania somnifera)

Also known as Ashwagandha, this adaptogenic herb can help the body adapt to stress, improve mood, and support overall hormone balance.

Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus)

A popular Ayurvedic herb, Shatavari is believed to help balance female hormones, support fertility, and alleviate menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, and vaginal dryness.

Korean Ginseng (Panax ginseng)

This adaptogenic herb may help improve energy levels, support cognitive function, and reduce fatigue during menopause. Some studies also suggest it can have a positive impact on mood and sexual function.

Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum)

Milk thistle is often used to support liver health, which plays a crucial role in hormone detoxification. By promoting liver function, milk thistle may help maintain hormonal balance during menopause.

Sage (Salvia officinalis)

Sage has been shown to help reduce hot flashes, night sweats, and excessive sweating. It may also improve mood and cognitive function during menopause.

Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)

Another adaptogenic herb, Rhodiola can help combat fatigue, improve mental clarity, and support overall hormone balance.

It’s essential to consult with a qualified naturopathic practitioner before using herbal medicine, as some herbs may interact with medications or have contraindications. A practitioner can recommend the appropriate herbs, dosages, and formulations tailored to your individual needs and menopause symptoms.

wound healing phases

Nutritional approaches for Menopause Symptoms

 Optimising your nutrition during menopause is crucial for managing symptoms and maintaining overall health. A well-balanced diet, along with specific nutrient supplementation, can significantly impact your wellbeing during this transitional time. Here’s  of nutritional treatments and dietary strategies that may help alleviate menopause symptoms:

Phytoestrogens

Found in plant-based foods such as soy, flaxseeds, and legumes, phytoestrogens have a estrogen-like effect on the body. The addition of these foods in your daily diet may help balance hormone levels and reduce symptoms like hot flushes and night sweats.

Calcium and Vitamin D

With the decline in estrogen levels, bone density can decrease, increasing the risk of osteoporosis. Consuming calcium-rich foods like dairy products, leafy greens, and fortified plant-based milk, along with vitamin D, can support bone health during menopause.

Magnesium

This essential mineral is vital for various physiological functions and can help reduce symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, and muscle cramps. The addition of magnesium-rich foods such as almonds, spinach, and pumpkin seeds into your diet is beneficial to hormonal health at all stages of life, but particularly in peri and menopause.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Found in fatty fish, walnuts, and chia seeds, omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flushes. They also support cardiovascular health, which can be impacted during menopause.

B Vitamins

Essential for energy production and mood regulation, B vitamins can help alleviate fatigue and mood swings. Having a diet rich with whole grains, lean meats, and leafy greens will boost your vitamin B levels, but you may still benefit from taking a good quality B complex supplement.

Probiotics

A healthy gut microbiome is essential for overall health and hormone balance. Consuming probiotics through fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut, or taking a high-quality probiotic supplement, can support gut health and promote hormone regulation during menopause.

Antioxidants

Menopause can increase oxidative stress, leading to inflammation and chronic health issues. Boost your intake of antioxidant-rich foods like berries, dark chocolate, and green tea  to combat oxidative stress and support overall health.

Sea Buckthorn Oil

Sea buckthorn oil is rich in essential nutrients including Vitamin E, Omega fatty acids 3, 6, and antioxidants and phytonutrients. These properties make sea buckthorn oil particularly helpful for peri and menopausal women experiencing vaginal dryness, a common symptom of hormonal changes during this stage of life. Sea buckthorn oil can be taken orally as a supplement but is especially good as a topical treatment for vaginal dryness.

Hydration

Staying hydrated is essential for maintaining healthy bodily functions, including hormone regulation. Aim to drink at least 8 cups of water daily and consume water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables to maintain optimal hydration levels, if you live in the tropic you will probably need even more water during the summer months. It’s important to point out here that soft drink, colas, tea and coffee and of course alcohol are not included in this fluid intake, although herbal teas do count.

Balanced Diet

Create a diet plan that focuses on whole foods, including lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, to support hormonal balance and overall health during menopause. Limit processed foods, added sugars, and excessive caffeine to avoid exacerbating symptoms.

Mindful Eating

Listening to your body’s hunger and fullness cues can help you maintain a healthy weight during menopause, which is important for hormone balance and overall wellbeing. Practice mindful eating techniques, such as eating slowly, savoring each bite, and paying attention to your body’s signals.

Incorporating these nutritional treatments and dietary strategies into your daily routine can significantly impact your menopause journey. If you would like assistance with formulating a healthy eating plan to support you through menopause, I love working with women and creating meal plans that inspire and delight the senses and improve your vitality in menopause. Working with a qualified naturopathic practitioner who can tailor a personalised nutrition plan for your unique needs and symptoms can be a game changer in menopause.  Remember, consistency and patience are key when implementing new dietary changes for lasting results.

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Lifestyle Suggestions

In addition to herbal medicine and dietary changes, making some lifestyle adjustments can help manage menopause your symptoms.

Exercise regularly

Engaging in regular physical activity such as yoga and tai chi can improve mood, support bone health, and help maintain a healthy body weight during menopause. These practices can also help enhance balance, flexibility, and mindfulness, which contribute to overall wellbeing.

Prioritize sleep

Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to support hormone balance and overall wellbeing. Establish a consistent sleep schedule and create a calming bedtime routine to promote better sleep. Sprinkling some lavender essential oil on your pillow promtes sleep and relaxation.

Manage stress

Chronic stress can exacerbate menopause symptoms. Incorporate stress-reduction techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or mindfulness practices into your daily routine. Finding the right work-life balance can also help reduce stress and create a more harmonious lifestyle.

Stay connected

Maintaining social connections and nurturing relationships with friends, family, and intimate partners can improve mood and provide a support network during menopause. Open communication and understanding can also enhance sexual intimacy, as you and your partner may need to adapt to physical and emotional changes that occur during this time.

Foster sexual health

Menopause can lead to changes in sexual desire and comfort during sexual intimacy. Vaginal dryness commonly happens with the drop of oestrogen and needs to be addressed to prevent trauma and discomfort during penetrative intimacy. Many women find they need to make changes to sexual routines during menopause, due to lower libido, vaginal dryness and thinning. Talk with your partner about ways to adapt, and find solutions that work for you. Experiment with different forms of intimacy, lubricants, or relaxation techniques to maintain a fulfilling sexual relationship. Speak with your GP or Naturopath to explore solutions so you can enjoy sexual intimacy for as long as you wish.

Embrace self-care

Taking time for yourself is crucial during menopause. Prioritize self-care activities that nourish your body, mind, and spirit, such as reading, journaling, taking a relaxing bath, or engaging in a creative hobby.

By incorporating these lifestyle modifications into your daily routine, you can create a supportive environment that allows you to better manage menopause symptoms and enhance your overall quality of life.

Managing menopause symptoms can be effectively approached through a combination of  herbal medicine, nutritional and dietary strategies, and lifestyle modifications. By taking a holistic approach, you can improve your overall wellbeing and navigate the menopause transition with greater ease. If you’re interested in a more comprehensive and guided approach, consider joining our upcoming Menopause Makeover program, designed to provide personalized support and tailored solutions to help you thrive during this phase of life. Don’t forget to follow us on social media for regular updates, tips, and resources to support your journey towards optimal health and wellness during menopause and beyond.

 

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Menopause Makeover – 8 week program

Check out my blog post on Healthy recipes to support you in menopause.

If you’d like more information on how I can support you during menopause, I’d love to work with you.

Contact me