When should I start thinking about preparing for menopause?

As soon as possible! Since menopause is a process rather than a “disease”, making sure that all body systems are ready for the change is like planning for your retirement – you can never start too early! Since all hormone producing organs work toward a common goal, physical and mental stress can deplete the system of its “reserves” and pave the way for a symptomatic menopause.

Is there anything to look forward to with menopausal changes?

In many traditional cultures, it is thought that menopause is a time where a woman takes on energy flow that is more similar to a man. Before menopause, a woman typically nurtures and gives to others and is also able to “expel” negative energy every month during her period. Once regular periods stop, negative energy must be processed in a different way. Menopausal changes teach women how to care for themselves and move positive and negative energy differently within their body. If you are experiencing hot flushes – notice where they start (head, chest, abdomen, pelvis) and where the heat radiates. It is different for every woman. The origin of the hot flush may give you some insight as to the “chakra” or endocrine organ that requires attention first!

Can you please clarify how menopause affects the body?

All hormone producing organs communicate with each other every nanosecond of the day. The immune and nervous systems join in on this conversation and relay information back and forth in order to provide a whole body picture of its present needs. Our bodily needs are in constant flux, so all systems must remain hypervigilant. When one hormone producing organ decides to “retire” such as in the case of the ovaries in menopause, there is a period of chaos, as all other organ systems forced to adapt to this change and pick up some of the tasks that are normally carried out by the ovaries. Through support of ALL systems involved in the process, menopause can proceed with relative ease.

What are some examples of unusual symptoms of menopause?

Since menopause is a time of hormonal change, all your bodily systems can be affected. This means that you can have any/all of the following symptoms:

  • Digestion: slow digestion, poor circulation, indigestion, heartburn
  • Liver: food & environmental intolerance, nausea, headaches
  • Kidney: frequent urination, incontinence, waking in the night to urinate
  • Heart : high blood pressure, chest pains, high cholesterol, poor circulation
  • Nervous system: depression, anxiety, insomnia, irritability
  • Immune: frequent infections, candida
  • Connective tissue: bone loss, arthralgia
  • Adrenal: hypervigilence, insomnia, sugar cravings
  • Reproductive: loss of periods, infertility, PMS, painful periods, fibroids, endometriosis
  • Thyroid: hair loss, weight gain, low energy
  • Pancreas: blood glucose imbalance, midline weight gain

Some conditions that may start or be made worse in menopause are:

  • Irritable bowel
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Multiple chemical sensitivity
  • PMS
  • Non-ulcer dyspepsia
  • Chronic low back pain
  • Food intolerance & allergy
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Sleep apnea
  • Migraines
  • Blood sugar imbalance
  • Immune hypersensitivity
  • Non-specific chest pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Tempromandibular joint pain

That’s the bad news! The good news is that by looking at the body as a whole, all unusual symptoms of menopause can improve or even be resolved. This process takes time and effort, of course!

I’ve tried hormone therapy and even the alternative to hormone therapy but didn’t get any relief from my menopausal symptoms. Do I have other options?

The important thing to remember about hormones is that it affects every cell in your body! This means that every aspect of health is impacted by hormonal imbalance AND hormones can be brought out of balance through other bodily systems. Once Bev has had a chance to review your entire medical history in your first consultation, she will work with you to come up with a plan to balance your hormones. Bev has selected very specific diagnostic tests to provide a whole body view of the imbalances beyond the standard hormone profile. But this might not be the first step – often other systems such as digestive, immune and nervous system need to be normalized to pave the way for hormonal bliss!

Why isn’t HRT working to give me relief from my menopausal symptoms?

Most hormones in our body come from a single molecule that gets changed into the hormones that it needs depending on the situation. This “transformation” primarily occurs in the liver. If the body is under a great amount of stress, the liver may change estrogens, progesterone, testosterone that you took as medication and turn it into a different molecule. For instance, when one is experiencing a high level of stress, progesterone can be changed into cortisol, our stress hormone. The effect will be an increase in your symptoms such as increased anxiety, fatigue and wakefulness.

What are the natural alternatives to HRT? What’s the difference between natural and conventional therapies for menopausal symptoms? Are there pros and cons and can they work together?

HRT, Hormone Replacement Therapy usually entails the use of synthetic or bio-identical hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, progesterone and DHEA to replace the hormones that are deficient in your body. This does not consider that many other body systems including the immune & nervous system, digestive system, kidneys and liver, to name a few, all take part in balancing hormones. A whole body natural medicine approach strives to allow your body to create the right conditions so that you can make your own hormones. In the long run, this creates a higher level of health that you can maintain yourself for years to come! That being said, some patients experience very extreme symptoms which improve with HRT while the underlying systems are being supported.