The Transition from Peri-menopause to Menopause
Lately you haven’t been feeling like yourself and you’re not quite sure why. While you were once the coldest person in the room, you now find yourself always feeling warm. Your mood is ‘off’ in that you’re quick to get angry in one moment and equally as quick to balling your eyes out in the next. Your periods are normal except for the two cycles where you missed your period completely last summer. Your girlfriends and sister think you’re experiencing peri menopause but you’re not so sure and even if it is – what can you really do about it?
Well, there are many ways to naturally support your body in the transition to menopause. Natural medicines including traditional herbal medicine, vitamins and minerals can be an effective solution without the side effects that often come with hormone replacement therapies and antidepressants.
How do you know if you are heading into menopause?
This is a question that your health care practitioner can help you investigate. You’re in menopause when you have gone exactly one year without a period. Your doctor can also do a blood test known as LH or luteinizing hormone which, if elevated, may give a clue that menopause is approaching.
It is also a good idea to track your menstrual cycles using a calendar or an app which will allow you to determine if your cycles have changed in length or flow pattern. These clues combined can help you understand if your hormones are fluctuating which is completely normal as you approach menopause.
Symptoms of Menopause
Every woman experiences menopause differently. Some of the most common symptoms include: hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, irregular or missed periods, insomnia, depression, anxiety, vaginal dryness and headache.
Menopause occurs in 3 phases. Here’s a brief breakdown:
Phase 1: Peri menopause
Peri menopause can begin up to 10 years prior to the onset of menopause and all the symptoms described above can be a part of your experience to varying degrees, during this transitional time.
Phase 2: Menopause
Menopause marks the end of ovulation and your monthly period. It occurs naturally when your ovaries stop producing the main female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone. For some women it’s a rather uneventful transition, however, 85% of women may experience a variety of unwelcome symptoms that can have a negative effect on your quality of life, taking a toll on your mental health and social interactions.
Phase 3: Post menopause
Post menopause is the time period after you have entered menopause and have had your last period. During this time, the symptoms of menopause can still persist for women for many years after menopause.
The Timing of Menopause
Natural menopause can occur any time after the age of 40. However, menopause can also occur suddenly and in some cases unexpectedly due to surgical removal of the ovaries, radiation treatment; or from primary ovarian insufficiency. No matter the cause, natural remedies may help ease the symptoms of menopause.
Choosing Natural Medicine
The mainstay treatment for menopause symptom management is hormone replacement therapy. It is used to help negate some of the short term and long term effects of menopause on females including an increase in heart disease and stroke risk and osteoporosis. However, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is not for everyone; in particular, women who have a family history of breast cancer. HRT may also increase your risk for breast cancer, ovarian cancer and heart disease. Furthermore, depending on the age you experience menopause, hormone replacement therapy may not be a consideration.
Herbal medicine and micronutrient therapy has offered women support around the world for centuries. Harmony Menopause is a complete line of products created specifically to support women during the 3 phases of menopause: peri menopause, menopause and post menopause. 3 herbs integral to the Harmony Menopause formulas include: Rehmannia, Dong Quai and Chinese Yam.
Rehmannia is an herb commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine Herb that is known for its cooling properties. This makes it one of the primary herbs used for the treatment of menopause symptoms, most notably, night sweats and hot flashes. It nourishes the kidneys, adrenal glands and ‘jing’, a term for the ‘life force’ in Chinese Medicine.
The root is the main component used and it’s known to be rich in the plant chemical, caltalpol, which balances the release of stress hormones from the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands release cortisol and other stress hormones and during times of chronic stress, immune dysfunction and exhaustion, Rehmannia can be relied on for support and recovery.
For over 2000 years, Dong Quai has been used as a female tonic for a variety of women’s health complaints, including premenstrual syndrome, post-partum and menopausal symptoms. Known as the female ginseng, it is used in Chinese Medicine as a blood tonic to help improve circulation and to nourish the blood.
The tuber portion of the Chinese Yam is rich in B1, Vitamin C and amino acids. A native plant to Asia, Chinese Yam also contains arbutin and diosgenin, naturally occurring phytoestrogens or plant-derived estrogens. When ingested, phytoestrogens can bind and weakly activate estrogen receptors in the body, making it a supportive therapy for the treatment of menopausal symptoms.
The symptoms of menopause can be manageable with the use of key herbal medicines, vitamins and minerals to support this inevitable transition. To start, identify your symptoms using the guidance of your health care provider when needed. The range of Harmony Menopause products can then be used to offer relief so that you can optimize your quality of life during this transition and beyond.