Menopause – The Natural Approach

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Menopause can be a difficult phase in life. Symptoms of hot flushes, sleeplessness, weight gain, irritability, aches and pains, itching skin and reduced libido are a few of the challenges women have to face.

You certainly are not alone – with 85% of women reporting symptoms associated with menopause. Menopause is a natural process and yet it is treated as a disease… hence women struggle to find effective treatments.

‘The secret to managing menopause effectively in the short and long term, is to support the body through its natural process’

What is the natural process of menopause?

As women approach menopause, their natural production of progesterone and oestrogen from the ovaries reduces. A little known fact but a VERY important one is that the body shifts its hormone production from the ovaries to other areas of the body – primarily the adrenal glands, breast tissue, fat cells and even the brain.

The misconception is that menopausal and postmenopausal women produce very small amounts of oestrogen and zero progesterone. This is true, however, the body changes the forms of hormones produced. Estrodiol E2 drops, however Estrone E1 becomes the dominant form of oestrogen and the body becomes dependent on androgen conversion from the adrenals for hormone levels. Interestingly Chinese and Japanese women had the highest levels of a hormone called DHEAS during and post menopause.

This is very important to understand as the successful transition through menopause depends on stimulating the body’s own production of hormones, rather than providing external hormones which effectively prolongs the menopausal process.

Average age

The average age women enter menopause is 49 to 51 and is officially classified as one year without a menstrual cycle. This classification is erroneous, however, as the process of perimenopause and eventually menopause begins up to 5 years prior as cycles become erratic. Symptoms of menopause can begin well before the cessation of a cycle, with some women waiting to be officially diagnosed with menopause before seeking help.

The mistake here, again is putting a disease label on a natural process. It is a process and part of a woman’s reproductive journey. Support the process and women are able to successfully navigate this time of life and thrive.

Menopause is not a disease

Menopause is going to happen… it is inevitable and a fact of life. Classifying menopause as a disease is not only the wrong approach long term, but it creates a stigmatism for women that can impact in many areas of their personal, work and social lives.

How to manage Menopause Naturally

Menopause is NOT a disease and the successful navigation of menopause depends on supporting your body, not suppressing symptoms. Symptoms can be avoided and minimised when the body is given the right tools and environment to thrive. Because every woman will have their own unique experience with menopause. The best approach is a holistic one. The more balanced your internal body biochemistry, the better your chance of avoiding the main symptoms associated with menopause. l use Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis coupled with a specific a blood test, to assess that biochemistry and look at: gut, liver function, blood sugar handling at a cellular level, and also assessing the thyroid and adrenal glands.

I will outline the generalized approach to managing menopause below.

Dietary and lifestyle factors

  1. Caffeine is a well know stimulant of hot flashes. Too much caffeine(more than 1 cup per day) causes the adrenal glands to be overstimulated which has an adverse effect on producing your own hormones.

Common dietary triggers of hot flashes

2) Sugar

Sugar has many negative impacts for menopausal women. Apart from weight gain, sugar leads to a metabolic condition called insulin resistance. Research shows that when there is a higher serum glucose level due to insulin resistance hot flashes are more regular and intense.

3) Spicy foods

Spicy foods excite the receptors in the skin that normally respond to heat. The receptors, known as polymodal receptors, are a pain fibre. Spicy foods stimulate these receptors, which are already sensitive due to hot flushes.

4) Alcohol

Alcohol consumption is one of the most well documented and common triggers of menopausal symptoms. In Chinese medicine it is said that alcohol increases the heat in the liver. This heat rises and triggers hot flushes. What is actually happening is alcohol increases the heart rate and causes dilation in the skin blood vessels, which adds to the existing tendency of flushing during menopause.

5) Food intolerances

This is a lesser-known trigger, however, we commonly see women with food intolerances are more susceptible to hot flushes. Food intolerances, like alcohol cause an elevation in heart rate and a tendency towards reddening of the skin and flushing.

6) Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is so important. Purchase organic wholefoods where possible, include plenty of healthy fats & proteins, and only eat organic grass fed animal products. Food is our medicine, using foods, wholefood vitamins and minerals we can remineralise, rebalance and restore health.

Treatment Guidelines Summary

The real secret in managing menopause is to change your perception. Menopause is not a disease, it is a life process. Therefore everything you can do to improve your general health and wellbeing will result in a reduction in symptoms. Menopause is a normal process, however, the symptoms are not a certainty.

Natural medicines can be used as tools to accelerate the transitional process, and encourage the body to produce the necessary levels of hormones it needs for its wellbeing, and to avoid many of the symptoms commonly associated with menopause.

Consume a healthy organic wholefood diet, avoiding sugar, alcohol and caffeine specifically.

Exercise regularly to reduce hot flushes and improve mood and sleep.

Focus on a healthy sleep routine.

Implement stress management/release techniques regularly

Use natural medicines wisely to support your body to transition and produce its own hormone production.

Our protocol is used successfully by many women to manage their menopausal process. If you need additional guidance and support, l am available for advice – and even offer online consultations to develop your own bespoke management guideline.

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