The symptoms of menopause may vary from one woman to another and can evolve over time. Menopause also affects partners, coworkers, and the people closest to our patients who are suffering from these symptoms. That is exactly why we thought it was important to get the conversation going about menopause on Nutramedica. So, we invited our specialist on women’s health issues, Dr Tori Hudson ND, to join us for a two-part series about how to better manage menopause. Accordingly, the objective of this segment is to explore menopause and perimenopause, signs, and symptoms, and we will take a look at some of the natural health therapies that Dr Hudson uses with her patients.
In our next show in this series, we will explore the benefits and risks of hormone replacement therapy and the key issues that practitioners face when prescribing hormones.
- Defining Menopause Menopause is defined officially as, after 12 consecutive months, not having a period; and here we're talking about normal natural menopause because some people go into menopause in different ways. Having their ovaries removed or they have their uterus removed renders it much more difficult to know when a woman is menopausal.
- Defining Perimenopause Perimenopause means "around menopause" and refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years. Perimenopause is also called the menopausal transition. Women start perimenopause at different ages.
- Symptoms Classic menopause symptoms in natural menopause include changes in the menstrual cycle pattern, vasomotor symptoms, hot flashes during the day or night sweats or just feeling warmer in general. Sleep disturbances are also classic syptoms.
The vulvovaginal symptoms and discomfort generally, or discomfort with vaginal sexual activity, are common symptoms also. Anxiety or moodiness is another symptom we often see. There's also change in weight distribution, fatigue, arthralgia, headaches, but of course all the skin changes which are dryness or more acne, more wrinkling, even dental changes.
- When does Menopause commence? The average age of the last menstrual period is between 51 and 52 years old. But that means symptoms on average can start five years prior to that. One of the myths that non-menopause doctors perpetuate is that women in their forties are too young for perimenopause. However, you can start having perimenopause symptoms after 40 years, or prematurely in some cases.
- Impact of Menopause Relations with partners can be strained. Partners can feel like “whoa, what the heck is going on”? Because now all of a sudden you have a partner who's not tolerating the usual. The partner feels that she's irritable, she's impatient, she's overacting. If she's in her 40s and she's got teenagers, she's less able to cope. She is less tolerant, more impatient, more reactive, more irritable. She is acting out and feeling badly that she's less understanding of her kids.
- Natural Menopause There is diet, exercise and stress management. Then there are nutritional supplements, and there are botanical medicines. There are also several different hormonal options and some additional pharmaceuticals. For someone who's got hot flashes, mood issues, and is not sleeping, we might use some combinations of natural products. For example, Valerian for hot flashes but also for sleep. Studies show that using Black Cohosh with St John’s Wort together works better than just the Black Cohosh alone or the St John’s Wort alone for hot flashes and mood issues.
“Most women are happiest during the post-menopausal time in their life. I'm 69 now and I've been thinking about menopause since 1964 when I first started my menstrual period! I've been waiting for menopause ever since. So, finally, I got there about 20 years ago…”
Dr Tori Hudson ND
The opinions expressed in this Nutramedica program are those of the guests and contributors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Nutritional Fundamentals For Health Inc.
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