Perimenopause is the period before a woman reaches 12 continuous months without having a cycle. The median age of perimenopause is 47.5 years old but it can start as early as late 30’s. During this period, there is fluctuation of hormones and eventually hormones like estrogen and progesterone are going to reach a low level, resulting in a variety of symptoms. By managing your hormonal balance will help you transition to menopause gracefully.
Symptoms associated with perimenopause and menopause
Increase in urinary frequency
Increase in urinary tract infection
Pain with sexual intercourse
Depressed, anxious mood
Back pain, joint pain
Increase in cholesterol
Increase in blood pressure
Increase in blood glucose
Lifestyle and dietary changes that can help improve your symptoms
Stress can affect your endocrine functions and worsen symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats
Meditation or guided meditation
EFT – emotional freedom technique
Essential oils: lavender, chamomile, lemon balm
Many studies have shown that moderate exercise can help relieve hot flashes
Try exercises like walking, jogging, swimming or cycling for 30 minutes 3-5 times a week
Ensure adequate amount of protein, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables with each meal
Avoid refined carbohydrates like bread, noodle, cookies, cakes, and soft drinks. Replace with complex carbohydrates like whole grains
Avoid caffeine and alcohol
Consume soy or soy products
Choose non-GMO products
Soy contains phytoestrogen which can help relieve hot flashes and improve bone density
Avoid using electronics 30 minutes before bed
Spend time to release physical and emotional tension before sleep
Minimize effects of noise and light
Naturopathic Treatment Approach to Perimenopausal and Menopausal Symptoms
Supplement with phytoestrogens: isoflavone from soy, black cohosh, vitex, etc.
Lower risks of hormone sensitive cancers like breast cancer, ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer by optimizing liver health to ensure healthy metabolism of estrogens.
Optimize adrenal health and balance cortisol levels
Chronic stress or chronic diseases can affect cortisol levels, which can directly affect progesterone levels and cause “estrogen dominance” (progesterone: estrogen ratio is too low), causing menstruation and gynecological problems. It can also cause menopausal symptoms or make symptoms worse.
Optimize thyroid health
As we age, our thyroid function also slowly declines.
A low thyroid function (either clinical or subclinical) can affect sex hormone balance, causing symptoms like irregular menses and heavy bleeding.
During menopause, low thyroid function can also make symptoms worse and increase risks of cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis.
Optimize bone health
Macrominerals: calcium, phosphorus, magnesium.
Microminerals: boron, fluoride, silicon, iron, manganese, iodine, chromium, etc.
Vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 to help the absorption of calcium.
Our bone density starts to decrease from age of 30, and by menopause, there’s a really high chance of having osteoporosis. Prevent bone loss from an early age is crucial in preventing osteoporosis.
Improve sleep quality
The production of melatonin decreases as we age, resulting in problems like insomnia and shortened sleep time.
Supplement with melatonin precursor: 5-HTP (tryptophan)
Tryptophan is converted into serotonin which is then converted into melatonin. A deficiency in tryptophan can cause depressed mood and sleep problems.
Supplement with cofactors that can help the production of melatonin: Vitamin B5 and B6
To prevent menopause syndrome, it starts as early as age 30. Our endocrine health and menses are indications of our hormonal status. By keeping our hormones in check early, we can ensure a graceful transition to menopause and prevent possible health risks associated with hormonal changes.