Perimenopause and Menopause
The word "menopause" comes from the Greek words meno, 'month' and 'pause', to end, thus meaning the end of monthly bleeding. Menopause is not a disease or condition it simply marks a period of time in a woman's life when she has gone 12 months without a menstrual period. It reflects the end of menstruation, ovulation, and represents a time when a women is no longer capable of reproduction. The average age of menopause is 51 years.
The transitional period to menopause, called perimenopause lasts about 4 years for most women, but can take up to 10. Menopausal symptoms result due to changing levels of hormones, estrogen and progesterone. Perimenopause typically starts with menstrual irregularity which can begin with shortened intervals between periods that eventually lengthen before ceasing. Although many symptoms are commonly associated with perimenopause the only normal symptom is a change in menstrual cycle and flow.
|Causes||Dietary Factors, Smoking, Stress, Environmental Toxins, Prescription Medications|
|See Also||Women's Health, Uterine Fibroids, Depression, Anxiety, Insomnia|
|Books||Books on Women's Health|
|Articles||Articles on Women's Health|
- 1 Naturopathic Assessment
- 2 Characteristics
- 3 Naturopathic Treatment
- 4 References
|Article||A Comprehensive Review of the Safety and Efficacy of Bioidentical Hormones for the Management of Menopause and Related Health Risks , Alt Med; 2006;Vol11(3)|
In order to stimulate the innate ability of the body to heal the causes of disease must be identified and addressed. Menopause is an inevitable and natural process that happens to each woman, but it can also be triggered unnaturally by other factors and there are factors that can increase the symptoms associated with perimenopause.
- Chronic stress, especially if it is occurring simultaneously with perimenopause can result in a worsening of perimenopausal symptoms.
- Medical Interventions
A women is considered to be in menopause when she has gone without a period for a full 12 months. Once in menopause a woman will stay in menopause for the rest of her life.
Perimenopause is diagnosed when a woman experiences changes to her menstrual cycle. To confirm that menstrual changes are due to perimenopause the following tests are typically done:
Related Symptoms and Conditions
The conditions commonly associated with perimenopause include:
Due to changes in hormone levels after menopause, a women may be at increased risk of the following conditons:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Insulin resistance
- Type II Diabetes
- Colorectal Cancer.
The symptoms that are common during perimenopause include:
- Irregular bleeding
- Hot flashes
- Skin flushes
- Night sweats
- Racing or pounding heart
- Decreased libido and sexual response
- Desire may decrease along with reduced vaginal elasticity and lubrication
- Impaired memory and cognition
- Short term memory loss, decreased concentration and forgetfulness are common
- Mood changes
The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body and to address the causal factors of disease with individual treatment strategies. Menopause is a significant change that happens in every woman's life.
It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.
Home Care strategies include:
- Time of Change
- Perimenopause is often a time when a woman is reevaluates her life and become introspective and retrospective. It is helpful for woman to take the time to reflect on their life and to prepare the next phase of their life.
- Hot flashes
- Hot flashes are due to fluctuating levels of estrogen.
- Use fans, air conditioning, sip cold water, or wear light and layered clothing to help manage hot flashes.
- Avoid triggers to minimize occurrence. For example spicy foods, alcohol, caffeine, saunas, hot showers, etc. have been reported to trigger hot flashes.
- Sexual activities
- Continue having sex. Regular sexual intercourse can help increase blood flow to vaginal tissues.
- Use natural lubricants if sex is painful.
Lifestyle recommendations to decrease the frequency and severity of perimenopausal symptoms include:
- Consume a diet that focuses on whole unprocessed food (whole grains, legumes, vegetables, nuts and seeds).
- Eliminate alcohol, caffeine and sugar.
- Increase consumption of phytoestrogen containing foods including soy and flaxseed.
- Identify and control food allergies and food intolerances.
- Ensure you drink adequate water.
- Bathing, especially with the addition of alkaline salts can decrease the intensity and frequency of hot flashes and night sweats.
|Article||Menopause Support—On All Levels, 2013 June NDNR |
|Article||Reduction of symptoms associated with menopause: the efficacy of BioGest , 2005 Summer;Vol2(1) IJNM|
The prescribing of naturopathic therapies requires the guidance of a naturopathic doctor as it depends on a number of factors including the causal factors, a person's age, prescription medications, other conditions and symptoms and overall health. It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor prior to taking any natural therapies.
Naturopathic Therapies for menopause include:
- Herbs and spices that can assist with menopause include: cinnamon stick
- Clinical Nutritional Supplementation includes
- Botanical remedies such as Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus), Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis), Ginseng (Panax ginseng), Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum), Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Peppermint (Mentha piperita), Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa ), Red clover (Trifolium pratense )., 
- Homeopathic remedies such as Belladonna, Black cohosh, Lachesis, Sanguinaria, Sepia, Sulphur. , 
Reviewed by Iva Lloyd, BScH, RPE, ND 
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