Perimenopause is the medical term for the transition into menopause, used to describe hormonal changes during the few years right before menopause. But lately it’s been increasingly used to describe any hormonal issues for women in their 40s, and now even 30s. Hormonal issues have a distinct cause or imbalance and we always want to make sure labeling something as “perimenopause” does not dismiss any investigation into the root cause. Knowing how to investigate the root cause of hormonal imbalances is key to women’s health.
Menopause is the point when the ovaries stop releasing eggs and a woman stops menstruating. The average age of menopause is 52. There is only one true “normal” symptom of menopause: the absence of menses. Hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, mood changes, and sleep issues are all attributes of thyroid, liver, adrenal, and nervous system imbalances, not simply menopause.
Menopause is not a disorder, but a normal transition that is very smooth and symptom-free when the adrenals, thyroid, liver, and nervous system are supported. Your adrenal glands, which live above the kidneys, make hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. They also regulate your body’s stress response, among various other essential functions. When hormonal shifting happens due to anovulation (when you stop ovulating), the adrenal glands, as opposed to other endocrine glands, now become the primary production site for hormones. Stress actually depletes hormone production, therefore supporting your adrenals can be key in alleviating many hot flashes, mood swings, and vaginal dryness. Just stating you are “in perimenopause/menopause” is dismissive of adrenal fatigue.
And because hormones have a direct relationship with neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, assisting with adrenal hormonal output also helps stabilize feelings of sadness and anxiousness.
Did you know that night sweats are directly connected to functional liver health? It’s true! Supporting liver detox capabilities with milk thistle, NAC, DIM, and even liposomal glutathione addresses the actual cause of the night sweat: an overworked, imbalanced liver.
Vaginal dryness is a factor of low thyroid function, in addition to depleted hormones. Balancing out the liver and thyroid are common areas to address when women struggle with these symptoms. A couple of other great women’s health supplements are Calcium D-Glucarate and Indolplex–both from Integrative Therapeutics.
When we factor out age, we do see the real organ-system source of many hormonal problems. We need to watch for labels like “perimenopause” and even “menopause” in medicine to make sure they are not dismissive and we always need to work at the root cause. In women’s health especially, our symptoms are meaningful. Various changes to our hormones are not disorders. Too often, we fail to fully give reason or proper explanation to true imbalances or pathologies for women’s hormonal health.
Don’t let medical descriptors dismiss your true imbalances and know that more can be done to help your system. Naturopathic doctors or functional medicine doctors know how to address these imbalances and get the answers you need.
Peoples Wellness Center has practitioners that can help support you in your healthcare journeys. Please reach out to us if you have any questions. You can schedule a meet-and-greet appointment for free with me, or any of the Peoples practitioners! Call us at 512-219-8600.
Amy Nelson, ND* received her Naturopathic Doctorate from the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR where she studied nutrition, homeopathy, herbal and functional medicine. In addition, Dr. Nelson was the Associate at The IBS Treatment Center in Santa Monica where she treated irritable bowel syndrome and complex food allergies. Dr. Nelson utilizes her experience in natural medicine to address female and male hormonal imbalances, mental health, and digestive disorders. Amy is available for consultation at Peoples Wellness Center.
*Although licensed in other states, Naturopathic Doctors are not currently licensed in Texas.
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