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In this video, Dr. Huntoon discusses the 4 Causes of ALL Health Concerns and what you need to know about how this relates to menopause.
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Knowing that menopause is a natural part of a woman's life, supporting this process naturally is important to consider before taking artificial hormones.
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Menopause is time in a woman's life when her periods (menstruation) eventually stop and the body goes through changes that no longer allow her to get pregnant. It is a natural event that normally occurs in women age 45 - 55.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
During menopause, a woman's ovaries stop making eggs and they produce less estrogen and progesterone. Changes in these hormones cause menopause symptoms. Periods occur less often and eventually stop. Sometimes this happens suddenly. But most of the time, periods slowly stop over time.
Menopause is complete when you have not had a period for 1 year. This is called postmenopause. Women who are postmenopausal can no longer get pregnant.
Surgical menopause is when medical treatments cause a drop in estrogen. This can happen if your ovaries are removed or if you receive chemotherapy or hormone therapy for breast cancer.
Symptoms vary from woman to woman. They may last 5 or more years. Some women may have worse symptoms than others. Symptoms of surgical menopause can be more severe and start more suddenly.
The first thing you may notice is that your periods start to change. They might occur more often or less often. Some women might get their period every 3 weeks. This might last for 1 - 3 years before the periods completely stop.
Common symptoms of menopause include:
Menstrual periods that occur less often and eventually stop
Other symptoms of menopause may include:
Forgetfulness (in some women)
Vaginal dryness and painful sexual intercourse
Signs and tests
Blood and urine tests can be used to look for changes in hormone levels. Test results can help your doctor determine if you are close to menopause or if you have already gone through menopause.
Tests that may be done include:
Your health care provider will perform a pelvic exam. Decreased estrogen can cause changes in the lining of the vagina.
Bone loss increases during the first few years after your last period. Your doctor may order a bone density test to look for bone loss related to osteoporosis.
Treatment for menopause depends on many things, including how bad your symptoms are, your overall health, and your preference. It may include lifestyle changes or hormone therapy.
DIET AND LIFESTYLE CHANGES
Hormones are not always needed to reduce symptoms of menopause. There are many steps you can take to reduce symptoms.
Working with a Holistic Chiropractor who can help you develop a well-rounded, multifaceted approach to address all the underlying imbalances associated with your menopause is warranted. Your Holistic Chiropractor can advise you on:
Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods.
Follow a healthy diet with many whole foods.
Take a healthy fish oil supplement daily.
Get plenty of calcium and vitamin D in food or supplements.
Exercise and relaxation techniques:
Get plenty of exercise.
Do Kegel exercises every day. They strengthen the muscles of your vagina and pelvis.
Practice slow, deep breathing whenever a hot flash starts to come on. Try taking six breaths a minute.
Try yoga, tai chi, or meditation.
Dress lightly and in layers.
Keep having sex.
Use water-based lubricants or a vaginal moisturizer during sex.
Many women have also had success by seeing an acupuncture specialist, a Homeopath or a Naturopath.
Your medical doctor will ask you to consider Hormone Therapy. Hormone therapy may help if you have severe hot flashes, night sweats, mood issues, or vaginal dryness. Hormone therapy is treatment with estrogen and, sometimes, progesterone. As with all medications, especially artificial hormones, being aware of the side-effects and the complications is important. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of hormone therapy. Your doctor should be aware of your entire medical history before prescribing hormone therapy (HT). Learn about options that do not involve taking hormones.
Several major studies have questioned the health benefits and risks of hormone therapy, including the risk of developing breast cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots. Please strongly consider this before beginning any medical treatment for your menopausal symptoms.
Current medical guidelines support the use of HT for the treatment of hot flashes. Specific recommendations:
HT may be started in women who have recently entered menopause.
HT should not be used in women who started menopause many years ago, except for estrogen vaginal creams.
The medicine should not be used for longer than 5 years.
Women taking HT have a low risk for stroke, heart disease, blood clots, or breast cancer.
To reduce the risks of estrogen therapy, your doctor may recommend:
A lower dose of estrogen or a different estrogen preparation (for instance, a vaginal cream or skin patch rather than a pill)
Frequent and regular pelvic exams and Pap smears to detect problems as early as possible
Frequent and regular physical exams, including breast exams and mammograms
If you have a uterus and decide to take estrogen, you should also take progesterone to prevent cancer of the lining of the uterus (endometrial cancer). If you do not have a uterus, you do not need progesterone.
See also: Hormone therapy
ALTERNATIVES TO HORMONE THERAPY
There are other medicines available to help with mood swings, hot flashes, and other symptoms. These include:
Antidepressants, including paroxetine (Paxil), venlafaxine (Effexor), bupropion (Wellbutrin), and fluoxetine (Prozac)
A blood pressure medicine called clonidine
Gabapentin, a seizure drug that also helps reduce hot flashes
As with all medications, understanding the risks and benefits associated with taking the medication is warranted. Discussing this with your medical doctor or pharmacist to get a deeper understanding of the potential side-effects and complications is prudent before beginning any medication.
Some women have vaginal bleeding after menopause. This is often nothing to worry about. However, you should tell your health care provider if this occurs. It may be an early sign of other health problems, including cancer.
Decreased estrogen levels have been linked with some long-term effects, including:
Bone loss and osteoporosis in some women
Changes in cholesterol levels and greater risk of heart disease
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if:
You are spotting blood between periods
You have had 12 consecutive months with no period and suddenly vaginal bleeding or spotting begins again, even if it is a very small amount.
Medicines Two Choices for You
Menopause is a natural and expected part of a woman's development and does not need to be prevented. You can reduce your risk of long-term problems such as osteoporosis and heart disease by taking the following steps:
Work with a Holistic Chiropractor who can help you develop a well-rounded, multifaceted approach to restoring and maintaining your hormonal and overall health.
Control your blood pressure, cholesterol, and other risk factors for heart disease.
Do NOT smoke. Cigarette use can cause early menopause.
Follow a healthy diet.
Get regular exercise. Resistance exercises help strengthen your bones and improve your balance.
If you show early signs of bone loss or have a strong family history of osteoporosis, talk to your Holistic Chiropractor about steps you can take that can help stop further weakening.
Take calcium and vitamin D.
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Advanced Alternative Medicine Center
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Dr. Richard A. Huntoon