Menopause Management and More
Menopause is a natural biological process, experienced by all women! But we are all individuals and each woman can experience a different variety of symptoms, over a wide time frame, depending on how long the process of hormonal change lasts, it’s a very individual process [1-3].
Natural menopause marks the end of the reproductive age; when the reduction of our hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone causes hormonal imbalance. These can trigger a plethora of physical and emotional symptoms, with unpleasant or distressing responses in many women. Symptoms range from Mild (in 20% of women) to Severe (in 70% of women), with 10% of lucky women experiencing no symptoms at all [4-6].
Fluctuations in hormone levels result in vasomotor symptoms, such as night sweats, hot flushes and insomnia, anxiety and palpitations, mood disorders and depression. Changes can occur in biochemical pathways, which result in low libido, sexual dysfunction and urogenital symptoms, (of which there are a huge number). Some women experience muscle aches or joint pain. Menopause increases the risk in women of osteopenia and osteoporosis, as estrogen plays a crucial part in bone health .
Hormone imbalance during menopause can have significant effects on “Brain Fog”, cognitive decline and forgetfulness, (“What was I saying?”), which is experienced by a large number of women. Changes in menopause can result in ‘Metabolic Syndrome’, affecting how we process lipids, prompting a tendency to weight gain, water retention, fatigue and risks associated with diabetes and cardiovascular disease .
There are three stages while a woman’s body is trying to adjust to this hormone imbalance:
- Perimenopause (up to ten years before periods cease)
- Menopause (12 consecutive months without periods)
- Post-menopause (5- 12 years may persist until 70 years of age)
For a woman to be able to achieve a consistent hormone balance, there are many factors to consider, such as: age, genetics, health and previous gynaecological history, ethnicity and lifestyle. Natural Menopause, (induced or iatrogenic), Medical and/or Surgical Menopause can all cause hormone imbalances with different levels of severity .
Our Holistic treatments focus specifically on unifying and balancing hormones, while using techniques which calm the sympathetic nervous system and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, bringing about Homeostasis for the entire body. This allows the body systems to work harmoniously, enabling chemical messengers to communicate effectively with the hormones balancing the endocrine system [10-12].
NICE Guidelines (2017) report symptoms of Menopause can be vasomotor, psychosocial, physical and sexual. Non pharma logical management strategies through lifestyle changes, such as relaxation, diet and exercise, acupuncture and coping skills, have positive effects. These help reduce discomfort, while supporting women’s optimum health and work function .
Menopause transition helpful tips:
Menopausal supplements to try: soy isoflavones, black cohosh, red clover, ginseng, evening primrose oil, maca root, ginkgo biloba, valerian and St John’s wort have lots of positive research to support them. [14-17]
Menopause is critically affected by digestion, absorption and elimination of excess hormones. Good nutrition has a significant impact and supports liver function in the clearance of excess hormones. Foods such as grapefruit, cruciferous vegetables, vitamin B6, B12, poultry, eggs, beef, whole grains, rocket and watercress can enhance elimination.
Menopausal symptoms may be reduced by exercise, which lessens stress and helps promote endorphin production to counteract inconsistent hormone balance and weight-bearing exercise improves bone density .
If you are experiencing symptoms of Menopause and want to discuss how our holistic therapies can help you, please get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.
1 Berry K and Saunders N (2023) Menopause: A comprehensive guide for practitioners. 1st edition. Spain: The journal of Chinese Medicine
2 Davis, S.R. and Magraith, K., 2023. Advancing menopause care in Australia: barriers and opportunities. Medical Journal of Australia.
3 Barnabei, V.M., Cochrane, B.B., Aragaki, A.K., Nygaard, I., Williams, R.S., McGovern, P.G., Young, R.L., Wells, E.C., O’Sullivan, M.J., Chen, B. and Schenken, R., 2005. Menopausal symptoms and treatment-related effects of estrogen and progestin in the Women’s Health Initiative. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 105(5 Part 1), pp.1063-1073.
4 Noble, N. (2021) ‘Helping and supporting staff to manage menopause symptoms at work’, Nursing Times, 117(6), pp. 39–41. Available at: https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=cin20&AN=150882243&site=ehost-live&scope=site (Accessed: 13 July 2023).
5 Killinger, L.Z. (2015) ‘Let’s Help Our Patients Understand and Manage Menopause & Andropause’, Dynamic Chiropractic, 33(20), pp. 8–15. Available at: https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=cin20&AN=110588426&site=ehost-live&scope=site (Accessed: 13 July 2023).
6 Joshi, M. and Naidu, S. (2022) ‘Impact of Menopausal Symptoms on Quality of Life in Indian Women’, Indian Journal of Physiotherapy & Occupational Therapy, 16(1), pp. 95–99. doi:10.37506/ijpot.v16i1.17780.
7 Keenan, N.L., Mark, S., Fugh-Berman, A., Browne, D., Kaczmarczyk, J. and Hunter, C., 2003. Severity of menopausal symptoms and use of both conventional and complementary/alternative therapies. Menopause, 10(6), pp.507-515.
8 ‘Making Adjustments to Manage Menopause’ (2022) Dental Abstracts, 67(5), pp. 321–322. doi:10.1016/j.denabs.2022.07.006.4
9 Lee, E., Anselmo, M., Tahsin, C.T., Vanden Noven, M., Stokes, W., Carter, J.R. and Keller-Ross, M.L., 2022. Vasomotor symptoms of menopause, autonomic dysfunction, and cardiovascular disease. American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology, 323(6), pp.H1270-H1280.
10 Painovich, J.M., Shufelt, C.L., Azziz, R., Yang, Y., Goodarzi, M.O., Braunstein, G.D., Karlan, B.Y., Stewart, P.M. and Merz, C.N.B., 2012. A pilot randomized, single blind, placebo-controlled trial of traditional acupuncture for vasomotor symptoms and mechanistic pathways of menopause. Menopause (New York, NY), 19(1), p.54.
11 Li, S. et al. (2018) ‘A Multicenter, Randomized, Controlled Trial of Electroacupuncture for Perimenopause Women with Mild-Moderate Depression’, BioMed Research International, 2018, pp. 1–7. doi:10.1155/2018/5351210.
12 Saunders, N.C. and Berry, K. (2021) ‘Acupuncture for Menopause: Evidence Summary’, Journal of Chinese Medicine, (125), pp. 56–61. Available at: https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rzh&AN=148808008&site=ehost-live&scope=site (Accessed: 13 July 2023).
13 NICE (2023) Menopause guideline update. Available at:https://www.nice.org.uk/news/article/nice-sets-out-further-details-on-menopause-guideline-update (Accessed: 13 July 2023
14 Djapardy, V. and Panay, N., 2022. Alternative and non-hormonal treatments to symptoms of menopause. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 81, pp.45-60.
15 Newton, K.M. et al. (2005) ‘The Herbal Alternatives for Menopause (HALT) Study: background and study design’, Maturitas, 52(2), pp. 134–146. Available at: https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eoah&AN=7773101&site=ehost-live&scope=site (Accessed: 13 July 2023).
16 Avenell, A., Mak, J.C. and O’Connell, D.L., 2014. Vitamin D and vitamin D analogues for preventing fractures in post‐menopausal women and older men. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (4).
17 Beer, A.M., Osmers, R., Schnitker, J., Bai, W., Mueck, A.O. and Meden, H., 2013. Efficacy of black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) medicines for treatment of menopausal symptoms–comments on major statements of the Cochrane Collaboration report 2012 “black cohosh (Cimicifuga spp.) for menopausal symptoms (review)”. Gynecological Endocrinology, 29(12), pp.1022-1025.
18 Daley, A., Stokes‐Lampard, H., Thomas, A. and MacArthur, C., 2014. Exercise for vasomotor menopausal symptoms. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (11).
19 Royal Osteoporosis Society: Exercise for bones Available at: https://theros.org.uk/information-and-support/bone-health/exercise-for-bones/ (Accessed: 13 July 2023)