Treating Menopause Naturally with Naturopathic Medicine

Menopause is a change in balancing act. The body may have been going along pleasantly in rhythm and then there is a change in the hormones available for that rhythm. If you have not been pleasantly in a rhythm and have had an irregular period or painful periods, you are more likely to have more trouble adjusting to the changes your body is undergoing. As the rhythm changes, you will notice not just physical symptoms but also that your emotions will greatly change during this rite of passage for women. It is also a good idea to manage expectations around menopause – know what to expect, for how long, what is reasonable to put up with, and the pros and cons of the choices for treatment.

Physical Symptoms

Frankly, menopause is the failure of the ovaries. They are done putting out eggs. This means the layer of your uterus no longer needs to build up which means fewer and fewer periods.  There are different camps in terms of how to handle the ovarian failure and varied symptoms that come with it. Some believe that they can give you hormones, or even better, bio-identical hormones to replace the lower levels of hormones, the idea being that the hormones continue to make you feel young for a time or maybe even forever. Others believe your hormones can and will adjust naturally as you begin a new phase of life. In my La Mesa Naturopathic Medical Clinic I see both desires in patients. Their ultimate goal is to feel good. Some of my patients have been prescribed hormones by the many hormone specialists and end up in my office begging to get off of them because they either don’t feel as good as they thought or the hormones are too much work. Some patients find the minimally-adjusted hormones do help. A larger percentage of my patients find that bringing the body in balance and nourishing the organ systems with herbs, food, lifestyle, vitamins, liver support, and sometime homeopathy actually does the trick!

Menopause is a natural progression of life, much like childbirth, 1st grade and dating. It doesn’t need to be treated like a disease. Many times, our bodies just like some help getting into balance.

We are quite familiar with the commonly talked about symptoms like hot flashes, mood changes, and trouble sleeping, but menopause can also affect our bones, thyroid, lipids, sex lives, brain function, digestion, and mood which in turn can affect career and family life! There are some commonalities in menopause but women do not experience menopause in the same way. Therefore, the same treatment approach is not appropriate for every woman. Some are more sensitive and some have higher risk factors. Careful monitoring of hormones is important during the menopausal changes so we can avoid the risk factors of estrogen-related cancers and common side effects of hormones and protect the heart!

Despite all these challenging issues that our office sees in women, Heart Disease continues to be the number 1 killer for American women. Our health care goals include proactive measures to protect the heart and looking forward to prevent any health consequences.


Mood usually catches women by surprise during all these menopausal changes and they may actually have to adapt life around their mood fluctuations. Tears flow more easily, boundaries are more readily held, and friends and family will hear it like it is! Those hormones that give us the nurturing, protective, mother-bear personality that mothers are so well known for are now decreasing. We no longer need so much testosterone and estrogen for our daily lives, which makes us more interested in taking care of ourselves first, and this is normal. Some women find this a hard mentality to let sink in and may even feel guilty about taking care of themselves before others. Hormonal changes give us more power to look within, be more in touch with our inner self, and a time to re-analyze what is really important to us, what life is about, etc.

Physical symptoms can actually relate to our mood. For example, if you have had a night full of hot flashes, you may consider in the morning who you might be angry with or where you may need to hold your ground and not be taken advantage of. Hormones are molecules too and they need to be recycled, broken down, etc. When there is an overload of hormones and emotions, the liver ends up overwhelmed and the body tries to adapt by ‘burning it up’, bloating, or not making sleep hormones adequately, etc. The more prepared women are for the emotional changes that come along with menopause, the sooner they can start adjusting instead of trying to figure out what is going on.

Expectations of Menopause

Most women know to expect something during Menopause but they may not know the anatomy and physiology behind it, the treatment options, or how long it will last. It comes as a surprise that there are other options to manage menopause symptoms besides hormone replacement therapy.

Hormone treatment orally or topically can be a treatment option and your doctor should talk to you about protecting your heart and bones while taking them. Botanicals can be helpful for supporting your adrenals, liver, and managing hormones, which are all important to function properly in menopause. Homeopathy can help with some physical symptoms as well as emotions. Nutrition is important and managing any nutrient deficiencies. Lastly, lifestyle and habits are important to talk about with your doctor and can add help to the balance needed in menopause. As long as symptoms are manageable, the length of menopause doesn’t seem to be important anymore but in general menopause can last from 1-10 years with African Americans in the longer range.

Once again, menopause is an attempt to get your body harmonizing again. The better periods you have now, the easier menopause will be. If you have period troubles, come in and get it addressed so you are more likely to experience a smoother transition in menopause. Expect and make plans to support the emotional aspects of menopause. Come to our La Mesa Naturopathic Medical clinic and learn about all of your options to treat your symptoms of menopause – not just the options your friends are taking. Empower yourself with the right plan for you.

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