Graceful Transition to Menopause

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

  • Hot flashes

  • Night sweats

  • Palpitations

  • Memory decline

  • Increase in urinary frequency

  • Urinary incontinence

  • Increase in urinary tract infection

  • Vaginal dryness

  • Pain with sexual intercourse

  • Low libido

  • Dry eyes

  • Dry skin

  • Insomnia

  • Depressed, anxious mood

  • Fatigue

  • Dizziness

  • Osteoporosis

  • 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

  1. Stress management

  • Stress can affect your endocrine functions and worsen symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats

  • Meditation or guided meditation

  • Abdominal breathing

  • EFT – emotional freedom technique

  • Essential oils: lavender, chamomile, lemon balm

  1. Exercise

  • 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

  1. Dietary modification

  • Regular meals

  • 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

  1. Choose non-GMO products

  2. Soy contains phytoestrogen which can help relieve hot flashes and improve bone density

  1. Sleep hygiene

  • 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

  1. Hormonal balance

  • 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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)

  1. 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.