Be free of symptoms during the Menopausal Years!
Menopause is called the 'change of life' as it marks an important life stage when menstruation ends for a woman. It is also the time when hormone fluctuations can lead to a range of menopausal symptoms including hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, joint pain, fatigue and weight gain.
Most western women reach the menopausal years between the ages of 45 and 55, with the average being about 50 or 51 years. However each woman is different, some women reach menopausal age in their 30s and early 40s, while others keep menstruating until the late 50s.
This time in life is not the end of womanhood or sexuality. However, unfortunately for some women, this tends to be the case. It is only the end of the reproductive cycle; it is not a sign of old age. This change has nothing to do with greying of the hair or a loss of sexual desire; post-menopausal women can live a very enjoyable and active life in all respects.
Causes of Menopausal Symptoms
At menopause, a woman stops ovulating, and her ovaries markedly slow down their functioning. Notice, we did not say they stop altogether. Rather they shift and slow down. Growing evidence suggests that a woman’s ovaries continue to produce hormones after menopause that protect a women from heart disease and stroke, lung cancer, all cancers (except ovarian)and cognitive related illnesses including depression, anxiety and other age related diseases including osteoporosis and hip fracture and dementia and Parkinson’s.
In addition to its role in reproduction, estrogen is required to stimulate receptors in the vagina, bladder, breasts, skin, bones, arteries, heart, liver and brain, and to promote normal function of these organs.
For example, estrogen is required to keep the skin and vaginal tract moisturized and supple, keep calcium in the bones, boost libido maintain a balanced body temperature and keep the blood vessels unclogged. Cholesterol levels can increase when estrogen declines. Menopausal symptoms may also follow a hysterectomy, or be due to an underlying hormonal disorder.
Menopausal Symptoms Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease?
Adequate estrogen protects and benefits our brain. In recent years, the role of estrogen as a neuroprotective agent has been well documented. Women with very low levels of estrogen are more prone to developing dementia and even Alzheimer’s disease. Want to know safe, natural means to optimize estrogen levels? Read on....
The onset of change of life may in some women be signaled by the menopause symptoms listed below. In others, the symptoms, apart from the cessation of the menstrual cycle, may not be noticeable.
- Hot flushes/hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Interrupted sleep
- Changes in her menstrual cycle
- Increased nervousness, anxiety or irritability
- Increased need to urinate
- Nausea, constipation, diarrhea, cold hands and feet
- Weight gain
- ‘Menopausal arthritis’
- Light headed feeling
- Painful intercourse (due to changes to the vaginal wall and vaginal dryness)
- Loss of sexual drive/libido
- Urinary frequency
- New facial hair
- Dry skin
- Crawling feeling under the skin
The changes in biochemistry after menopause also lead to an increased risk of developing menopausal arthritis, dementia and heart disease.
A healthy happy woman should experience less menopause symptoms!
The Adrenal Glands and Menopause
The adrenal glands are small walnut-sized glands which are located at the top of each kidney. They secrete hormones in response to stress including cortisol and DHEA. Under stress, particularly prolonged stress, our adrenal glands can become exhausted or fatigued. This is known as hypocortisolism.
During menopause, our adrenal glands become our 'surrogate' ovaries and actually produce a hormone that, in turn, tells a woman’s fat cells to produce small amounts of estrogen and testosterone (part of the reason it is healthy for a menopausal women to gain 5-10 pounds). However, this role can be diminished if there has been stress. The healthier the adrenal glands, the less menopausal symptoms a woman will experience!
Frequently, the diagnosis of menopause has already been made by the woman herself. However, when a woman presents with menopausal symptoms, their doctor will usually arrange a blood test for:
- Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH): >40 (depending on the lab) indicates a menopausal state
- Luteinizing Hormone (LH): >20 (depending on the lab) indicates a menopausal state
- Estradiol/Estradiol (E2): <44 (depending on the lab) indicates a menopausal state
Not all women will experience menopause symptoms; therefore not all women will need medical treatment. However, all women will benefit from the life giving “side effects” of Naturopathic Care!
- Hormone Disrupters
- Balance Hormones With Diet
- Estrogen Dominance
- Natural Care for Menopause
- Healthy Hormone Bread