Naturopathic medicine can really help support women during this time and help reduce symptoms by addressing the cause. It has been shown that increasing exercise causes a decrease in symptoms associated with menopause like hot flashes. It is also important to reduce alcohol and smoking as these both increase symptoms. Adding ground flaxseeds and organic soy milk to the diet daily can help reduce hot flashes. (If you are skeptical about soy – see our previous blog post on the soy controversy) Flaxseeds and soy are both phytoestrogenic which means they act like estrogen in the body, but are not nearly as strong as they reversibly bind the receptors; so if there is too little estrogen as in menopause they increase it, but if there is too much estrogen they work to lower it, therefore overall both have a balancing effect. Flaxseeds also offer a lot of fiber which can benefit the digestive system and help lower cholesterol. Soy is a complete protein source which means it offers all the amino acids or building blocks that are needed for proper cellular function. Examples of soy products are soy beans, tofu, soy milk and tempeh. It is important for soy to be organic as it is heavily sprayed with pesticides as well as it being a crop that is highly genetically modified. Soy is also not for everyone as some people have a food sensitivity to it and it is not recommended in women who have thyroid issues. Red clover is an herbal medicine that works in a similar manner to flaxseeds and soy that could be added in as a tea or sprouts (see our blog on sprouting). Other herbs that could be combined in tea form to help reduce the symptoms associated with menopause are: don quai, chamomile, sage and/or hops.
Not all women experience a hormone imbalance related to a lower amount of estrogen. In some cases progesterone and testosterone may also be out of balance. Salivary hormone testing is a great way to identify hormone imbalances and specifically treat what’s going on in each individual woman’s body. Adrenal gland function is also tested which is important to assess as the adrenals take over for some of the estrogen and progesterone production in the body after menopause. Salivary hormones seem to be a more accurate representation of which hormones are actually getting into the tissues and not just what is transiently in the blood.
If you are interested in these treatments, testing or other herbal medicines that could help with your menopausal symptoms please consult with a Naturopathic physician or book an appointment with us today.