It Can’t Be Menopause?!

older lady with walkerThis week “Laura” came in for an appointment.

A long time patient who had just turned 40, she was experiencing extreme changes in her hormones. She told me that her husband said that he never knew if she was going to wake up nice or nasty. She described feeling anxious, not sleeping or coping well and noticing changes in her cycles. She asked me, “It can’t be menopause already, can it?”

More than 1 in 20 women go through early menopause, which puts them at greater risk of heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis later in life according to researchers from a study of nearly 5000 women at Imperial College London.

Women who had an early menopause were more than twice as likely to say they had a poor quality of life affecting "vitality, physical function, mental health and general health perceptions.”

Some women even in their late 20s and early 30s are experiencing early menopause or what is often referred to as “premature ovarian failure”.

I have seen this too often after a woman has been on the birth control pill for years, comes off only to never have her period restart naturally again.

Why is this happening? Some theories have been proposed, especially linking environmental toxins such as PFCs found in non-stick pans and food packaging, chronic stress, thyroid disease, smoking, trauma and a poor diet and lifestyle.

Some of these women can even experience common menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, decreased sex drive, bladder irritability, mood swings, irritability, anxiety and depression.

Since the groundbreaking news confirming the negative impact on women who took synthetic hormone replacement therapies, many women are discovering that there is a lot out there - especially natural and safe alternatives - to help with their menopausal symptoms.

And rightly so, as menopause is not a disease, but a normal occurrence in life which responds well to natural herbs, exercise and a healthy diet.

Black cohosh is an herb that has been safely used in Europe for over 40 years in more than 1.5 million women for symptoms of menopause – hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, and mood swings. MenoSense contains Black Cohosh, Chaste tree, Dong Quai, Gamma-Oryzanol and Hesperidin, which are all very promising compounds that can help women transition smoothly into menopause.

Let’s also not forget the importance of the adrenal glands.

On top of carrying the burden of stress, the adrenal glands are also responsible for taking over hormone production when the ovaries shut down during menopause, so it’s critical to nourish and support the adrenals long before women transition into menopause. 

Adrenal fatigue is very common among the majority of people, especially women.

As women age and transition into peri-menopause and menopause, fluctuating hormones can put a lot of stress on the body. Many women have exhausted adrenals well before menopause; therefore keeping the adrenal glands supported and strong will make this transition so much easier.

A group of herbs called adaptogens can be very beneficial for nourishing the adrenal glands and thus improving the body’s ability to deal with stress.

Powerful herbs such as Rhodiola, Siberian Ginseng, Ashwangandha, Suma and Schizandra can be all found in a product called AdrenaSense that many of my patients find very helpful to combat stress, and eliminate those uncomfortable symptoms, especially when dealing with fluctuating hormones.

Every menopausal woman is treated with adrenal support before leaving my office, as it is not only important to address her menopausal symptoms but the root cause, which is most often stress and depleted adrenal glands.