Coping with Menopausal Symptoms
Q: What should I do to help my body cope with symptoms of menopause? I’m fine one moment, then the next second, I am having a hot flash or get brain fog.
A: I see this all the time in among my female patients. And, I have also seen men going through male menopause (low testosterone) complain of similar symptoms. I have some simple guidelines and recommendations for my peri-menopausal and menopausal patients.
First, this is a normal transitional phase that has occurred over the millennia with women around the world. However, westernized living seems to exacerbate and amplify the symptoms.
I have patients that are new immigrants from around the globe and when asked if they recall their mother or grandmother complaining of menopause symptoms in the villages of Greece, Ethiopia or Panama they often say, “No, she had no symptoms.” These women, in more rural areas of years gone by, had plenty of stress. But, more often than not, it came in seasons. Today, we live in a constant state of excess “connectivity” due to technology, the constant stream of newsfeeds, and a physically and emotionally toxic state.
Here are my three herbal considerations and three pieces of advice that I share with my patients.
Adrenal support! During menopause your ovaries are declaring their intent to retire. They gradually quit making hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and less DHEA. That means your adrenals need to help buffer some of that hormonal loss. This is where a combination of an herbal formula like Stress Guard comes into play, or a selection of single herbs such as Ashwagandha, Rhodiola and/or Maca. This adrenal support will help buffer the transition and nurture your body.
Black Cohosh is without question my patients’ favorite “menopause herb.” They report back that it helps support hot flashes associated with menopause.
Chaste Tree Although it takes a month or two, Chaste Tree can also support peri-menopausal symptoms and help women feel more hormonally balanced throughout all cycles of their life.
Three clinical pearls:
- Your body is changing and shifting gears. As menopause proceeds, you will retrace your hormonal journey from having had your first period all the way back to having no periods. I often liken this to time travel. You are now older and wiser, yet you are now in a hormonally minimal body of an 11-year-old female. Since we are all hormonal entities, and since the hormones that were surging in your 20s and 30s aren’t there as drivers, take time to reconnect with your body.
- Time to de-stress to avoid feeling distressed. Inventory what is important to you. That means taking care of your mind and body by becoming introspective and prioritizing what and how you wish to allocate your vitality. In short, be aware and take care.
- Focus on eating fresh veggies and produce that are full of living enzymes. Take time to rest and restore your body. Listen to what your body is communicating. It can be a liberating time as the menstrual cycle winds down and the monthly ebb and flow of hormonal cycles harmonize to a new and renewed daily constant.