Improving Symptoms of Menopause Naturally
Bio-Identical Hormones Treatment
Bio-Identical Progesterone and Estrogen therapies can be safely used to help alleviate symptoms of menopause and help to improve quality of life. Dr. Singh, ND has successfully completed the Ontario Therapeutics & Prescribing Course and related examinations and is able to prescribe bio-identical hormone therapies.
Additional Treatment Options for Symptoms of Menopause
Can be used to help provide relief from hot flashes for many Women. Acupuncture may also be beneficial for joint and muscle pain, urinary incontinence or increased frequency, and the night sweats that may result from menopause.
This can be used to help support Ovarian function and decelerate the speed with which Ovarian function and health is declining. Botanical Medicine can help support healthy Estrogen production from the Ovaries and help provide relief of Menopausal symptoms to help provide a more gentle transition in to Menopause.
Similar to Herbal Medicine, clinical nutritional supplements can also be used to help provide a more gentle transition in to Menopause by supporting Ovarian & Hormonal Balance.
What is Menopause?
The medical definition of Menopause is the absence of a menstrual cycle for one year or more. However, many Women approaching Menopause already develop many symptoms of menopause while still having irregular periods (this is known as Perimenopause). It is the result of declining sex hormone production (estrogen and progesterone).
Symptoms of Menopause:
The major symptoms of Menopause are a result of decreasing Estrogen production from the Ovaries. Estrogen has systemic physiological effects, and the following symptoms are a result of the body quickly reacting to a suddenly decreasing levels of the hormone:
1. Vasomotor Instability:
Hot Flashes/Flushes, Night Sweats, and Difficulty Sleeping
Vaginal Dryness, Itching, Increased Pain during Intercourse, Urinary Incontinence and Increased Urinary Frequency
Osteoporosis & Physical Body Pain
4. Central Nervous System:
Fatigue, Increased Irritability, Memory Decline, Depression & Decreased Libido
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH): an increase to levels of 35 IU/L or more is suggestive of declining Ovarian Function and Menopause
Luteinizing Hormone (LH): Day 3 Values of LH below the levels of FSH are also suggestive of declining Ovarian Function and Menopause
Estradiol: Decreasing levels of this Estrogen in the blood serum can suggest diminishing production from the Ovaries and therefore a decline in their function.
1. How long does it take before I may notice an improvement in my symptoms?
Each Woman responds differently. Some patients may see significant improvements in as little as one month, while for some Women it may take longer.
2. How many Appointments are required?
After the initial consult, the first follow-up for re-assessment and adjustment to the protocols and prescriptions is after 6-weeks. If acupuncture is determined to be a good treatment option for you, one treatment a week is suggested for at least 6 weeks.
3. What if I am already using Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), is it safe for me to receive Naturopathic Treatment?
Yes, you will then be provided treatment which does not interfere with the hormone replacement therapy. Acupuncture can be safely used in these cases and the use of correct herbal and clinical nutritional supplements which do not have estrogenic effects can still support conventional treatment and help to reduce symptoms of menopause.
Using Evidence-Based Approaches to Hormone Therapies for Perimenopause and Menopause
Hormone replacement therapies are the most commonly sought out therapies when it comes to treating the troublesome symptoms from menopause. However, the severity of symptoms of menopause can vary greatly based on the patient, their health, weight, medications, and more. Therefore, not everyone will need an intervention like hormone-replacement therapies.
When determining the safety and efficacy of hormone replacement therapies for the treatment of symptoms of menopause we look at the most recent research available that covers this topic in detail. One of the best available research papers on this topic is a Cochrane Review (systematic review and meta-analysis) published in 2017. In the evaluation of long-term use of hormone replacement therapy there was a clinically significant reduction in the risk of bone fractures. After 5.6 years of combined estrogen + progesterone therapy the risk of fractures decreased from 141/1000 (number of patients estimated to have a fracture per 1000 Patients) to 92-113/1000 patients.
Use of hormone-replacement therapies can also reduce severity of vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes, night sweats, etc.) and other symptoms, such as, vaginal dryness.
What are the risks of long term hormone therapies?
The same Cochrane review discussed above saw that the risk for certain health conditions can increase with the long-term use of combined hormone replacement therapies (estrogen + progesterone) and with estrogen-only treatment. The risk of coronary event (i.e. heart attack) from 2 per 1000 patients to 3-7 per 1000 patients when using combined hormones but no increase when using just estrogen therapy. There were also mild increases in the risk of stroke, gallbladder disease, death from lung cancer, and increased development of blood clots. This is why the use of hormone replacement therapy should be used when there is an important and clear indication for its use only, and other treatment options may be evaluated to see if they would be safer for your case. For example, the use of acupuncture and herbal remedies can significantly improve symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats, and in some cases these treatment options may have a better safety profile than hormones. If you have a previous medical history of any of the potential adverse effects listed above, it is vital you mention this to your healthcare provider to evaluate the overall risk for these health conditions.
How is the Hormone Replacement Therapy Used?
The hormones can be compounded to be taken in a topical form (i.e. a cream) or a vaginal suppository. In general, for long-term use, the cream is recommended and the dose is started fairly low and slowly increased with blood work to measure hormone levels at regular intervals. Symptom severity and improvements are monitored closely during this time to help determine the ‘lowest effective dose.’ The lowest effective dose is the lowest dose required to help alleviate symptoms. The benefit of this is that the lower the dose used, usually the risk of certain adverse effects may be decreased.