In my 15 years in practice, I have encountered my fair share of patients having hot flashes right there on my table while getting adjusted. They are usually embarrassed and apologize profusely for being so damp. I smile and tell them that a little sweat never made me nervous as I have been going to the gym since I was 16 years old.
They usually proceed to ask me if I know of any “natural” things that they could take for their hot flashes, their insomnia or whatever pre- or post-menopausal symptoms they may have as they don’t want to get on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) as they know the side effects on health (increase risks of cancers, heart attacks, strokes and more).
I would have the usual basis answer of primrose oil and used to suggest soy but then it became not so sure that it was actually good for us (the non-fermented soy, that is). I decided to start digging deeper to find natural answers for my patients. Also, I wanted to prepare my younger patients to have an “easy” menopause as well and not wait to be “slammed” with it and have to deal with horrible symptoms. An added incentive: I have told several of my patients that I was going to “skip” menopause all together when it came to the symptoms because I have no time for it. Their answers…”Good luck with that Dr. Nathalie. Let me know how it goes”… That being said, I found the work of Dr. Joseph Collins through one of the best Nutraceutical companies in North America: Douglas Laboratories.
Dr. Joseph Collins is the author of the book Discover Your Menopause Type™ which is an exciting program that identifies the 12 unique types of menopause (it’s not one size fit all) and the best choices for you. Dr. Collins has developed a questionnaire that will tell you what type you are. The questionnaire is easy to answer but a little complicated to calculate so I got one of my 4th year computer science student to do her magic, et voila! You answer the questions and you find out right away which type you are. I would strongly suggest to people that they buy Dr. Collins’ book to dig deeper in understanding one’s type. It is a great read. Here is the link to the questionnaire: http://www.beauchampchiropractic.ca/menopause/index.html go find out which one of the 12 Menoposal Type you are.
Type 1 – Normal Testosterone, Estrogen and Progesterone
Type 2 – Low Testosterone, Normal Estrogen and Normal Progesterone
Type 3 – High Testosterone, Normal Estrogen and Normal Progesterone
Type 4 – Normal Testosterone and Estrogen Deficiency
Type 5 – Low Testorsteron and Estrogen Deficiency
Type 6 – High Testosterone and Estrogen Deficiency
Type 7 – Normal Testosterone and Progesterone Deficiency
Type 8 – Low Testosterone and Progestorone Deficiency
Type 9 – High Testosterone and Progesterone deficiency
Type 10 – Normal Testosterone and Dual Deficiency of Both Estrogen and Progesterone
Type 11 – Low Testosterone and Dual Deficiency of Both Estrogen and Progesterone
Type 12 – High Testosterone and Dual Deficiency of Both Estrogen and Progesterone
You are probably thinking – testosterone – what do I need that for?! Let’s go over some basic definitions here and let’s discuss what hormones are and what are the roles of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone in a women’s body.
First of all, what are hormones? Hormones are substances (chemical mediators) released from endocrine tissue into the bloodstream where they travel to target tissues and generate a response. Not to go into too many details or the endocrine system, but here are the major roles of each one of the 3:
• Promote formation of female secondary sex characteristics
• Accelerate metabolism
• Reduce muscle mass
• Increase fat stores – lipogenic – cellulite
• Stimulate endometrial growth
• Increase uterine growth
• Increase vaginal lubrification
• Thicken the vaginal wall
• Maintenance of vessel and skin
• Increase bone formation
• Promote heart health
• Important hormone in the menstrual cycle
• Allows pregnancy to occur
• Affect bone formation
• Affect heart health
• Affect brain health
• Is a “feel-good” hormone
• Testosterone is primarily secreted in the testes of males and the ovaries of females, although small amounts are also secreted by the adrenal glands. It is the principal male sex hormone.
• In men, testosterone plays a key role in the development of male reproductive tissues such as the testis and prostate as well as promoting secondary sexual characteristics such as increased muscle, bone mass and the growth of body-hair. In addition, testosterone is essential for health and well-being as well as the prevention of osteoporosis.
• Influences the mood and libido.
• Enhance the function of the heart.
• Men produce on average ten times more testosterone than women.
• Has been shown to prevent against Alzheimer’s disease
Now depending on your symptoms, the questionnaire is able to determine which hormones you are most likely low or high in and knowing your type, Dr. Collins then suggests phytohormones (Douglas Laboratories Products Blends)which are plants with hormone like structure which bind to hormone receptors resulting in the same type of response as the hormones. He also suggests for all types, a high quality multi-vitamin (Douglas Lab, Creating Wellness, True Star and Usana – are the ones which are rated 5 stars), a multi-strain Probiotics and some Opti DHA. Bottom line, natural ways to balance your hormones and have a happier menopause.
Menopause is a term used to describe the permanent cessation of menses. It typically (but not always) occurs in women in midlife, during their late 40s or early 50s, and signals the end of the fertile phase of a woman’s life.
Here are some of the common symptoms of menopause:
• Adrenal Fatigue & Menopause
• Anxiety, Irritability Anger & Menopause
• Cold Extremities (hands & feet) & Menopause
• Depressed Mood & Menopause
• Hair Thinning (scalp) & Menopause
• Headaches & Menopause
• Hot Flashes & Menopause
• Insomnia & Poor Sleep & Menopause
• Insulin Resistance & Menopause
• Libido Decreased & Menopause
• Memory & Menopause
• Night Sweats & Menopause
• Obesity & Menopause
• Palpitations & Menopause
• Thyroid Hypofunction & Menopause
• Urinary Incontinence & Bladder Infections & Menopause
• Vaginal Atrophy & Vaginal Dryness & Menopause
As the body begins to produce less estrogen, progesterone and testosterone “adrenal recruitment” occurs to make increased amount of precursors or building block which are transformed into estrogen and testosterone by other tissues of the body such as the liver and adipose tissue (fat cells). That is why we have to keep our adrenals in good health for a comfortable menopause. Keeping your stress and cortisol levels in check is crucial.
A healthy nervous system is also very important as the nervous system controls every cells, tissues and organs in the body. It is the master system. This is why keeping your spine align is crucial for optimal nerve function and optimal health. Make sure to visit your chiropractor regularly!
Now you might be thinking what about those bio-identical hormones that Suzanne Somers is talking about right? Bio-identical hormones are hormone supplements whose biochemical structures are identical to those produced by the human body. They are manufactured by pharmaceutical companies – natural base – soy or yam sent to compounding pharmacies where they are made into creams, capsules, gels torches and suppositories. They are FDA approved but bio-identical does not equate with the term safe. The real questions is not just synthetic versus natural but more, should estrogen be prescribed? Too many women are already in a state of estrogen dominance. If excess estrogen is unopposed or unbalanced by progesterone, this is called “Estrogen Dominance.” The symptoms of Estrogen Dominance are virtually identical to those of PMS and menopause…as well as a causative factor in fibro-cystic breast diseases, endometriosis, and poly-cystic ovary disease.
So, how do you find out if your hormones are making you sick?
Blood tests are usually used to measure hormones but results may show hormones within “Normal ranges” even though they are still sub-optimal for a specific woman’s well-being. Saliva tests can measure delivery of hormones to tissue (cells) from various reservoir in blood. Because saliva reflects what actually get into tissue rather than what might eventually get into tissue, it better reflects tissue (bio-available) hormone level. Saliva female panel suggests testing estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA and cortisol levels. Why is it so important to keep our hormones balanced? Imbalances have been shown to be associated with chronic illnesses, heart disease and cancer, so their importance can’t be taken lightly.
Of course lifestyle is a crucial component of healthy hormones, including PMS or menopause.
Here are 10 steps for better hormonal health:
1. Eat a Healthy Diet. Eating healthy takes diligence and planning. Include more fruits, vegetables, low-fat protein foods and essential oils from fish, whole grains and nuts.
2. Exercise Regularly. Daily exercise is a must for your body to run smoothly and at its best. A daily 30-minute walk or the equivalent is all that’s necessary.
3. Manage Stress. Rest, relaxation, and letting go of tension and negative emotions are all important. Exercise, meditation and positive-thinking techniques can help.
4. Drink Lots of Water. Water is an essential nutrient. You body needs at least 8 glasses of pure water a day. Watch your use of plastic water bottles – as the plastic can create xeno-estrogens, which can be carcinogenic.
5. Live a healthy Lifestyle. Eliminate bad habits such as smoking, eating high glycemic and processed foods, and drinking sodas and excess alcohol and coffee. Focus on eating an anti-inflammatory diet, and consider going gluten-free.
6. Think Positively. Your mental attitude has a great deal of influence over your health, how your body functions and how you feel. Use your mind to your advantage.
7. Take Good Quality Nutritional Supplements. You can’t possibly get everything you need from the food you eat – no matter how good your diet is.
8. Do your Menopause Type™ Questionnaire and get Your Saliva tested. Take charge and figure out if you can benefit from the Phytoendocrine Formulations to have a happy, healthy menopause.
9. Get Adjusted! In order to make sure your body is working optimally you NEED an optimally-functioning nervous system. Chiropractors are the only professionals trained to detect and correct vertebral subluxations caused by stress in the 3 dimensions of life: physical, psychological and biochemical.
10. Create the life of your dreams… “Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – Anonymous
So what will it be, are you going to follow me and have a “walk-in-the-park” menopause?
Following this advice will sure put us on the right track!