Dr. Tasreen Albhai N.D.
Naturopathic Medical Director
WEIGHT GAIN, ANXIETY, HOT FLASHES – STRATEGIES TO REDUCE THE MANY SYMPTOMS OF PERIMENOPAUSE AND MENOPAUSE
Perimenopause and Menopause is a natural transition in a woman’s life where hormone levels start to decline and changes start to happen in her body.
As a woman, our body goes through changes as we get closer to Menopause. During the decade before menopause, these changes may seem to develop faster. This is the time to embrace the transition our body is going through. We are wiser, have greater confidence, understand ourselves better and know what makes us happy! However, some of the physical and emotional changes we go through may be difficult.
Your hormones can have a significant impact on your overall health and how you feel. Perimenopause and menopause can be a difficult time for some. The added stress over the past few years may also have an impact on overall hormone health and exacerbate symptoms.
As hormone levels decline, some hallmark symptoms may start to appear. The most common symptoms of hormone decline include:
- feeling more agitated
- interrupted sleep and waking frequently in the night
- feeling hot, sweaty or having hot flashes
- low libido
- changes in skin texture, fine lines and wrinkles, more saggy skin
- weight gain, especially on the hips, thighs, buttocks and abdomen
- thinning hair
- brain fog
- vaginal dryness
Balancing a woman’s hormones through diet, lifestyle intervention, supplements, herbal medicine and bio-identical hormone replacement therapy may significantly improve a woman’s symptoms at perimenopause and menopause .
During the decade before menopause, a woman may find her hormones are all over the place. Her periods may become irregular, heavier with cramping alongside the other symptoms I mentioned above.
This is a great time to “check in” with yourself. Are you managing your stress well? Are you sleeping? Are you eating a healthy diet with protein, vegetables, healthy fats, low sugar fruits and complex grains. Are you taking “you time” for relaxation. Are you moving daily or exercising? Are you reducing toxins in your diet and environment ( such as alcohol, cigarettes and reducing caffeine)?
This is a great time to start making small changes that can have a significant benefit on your hormone health as you get closer to menopause or if you are already in menopause.
Consider getting standard blood tests to get and overview of your current health. An assessment of your hormone levels using a Dried Urine Hormone test can also provide early insights and a treatment plan can be developed to support healthy hormone levels, healthy hormone metabolites and prevention of disease later in life.
Many women commonly experience weight gain with perimenopause and menopause. This commonly occurs in the hips, buttocks, thighs and abdomen. Hormone changes influence metabolism. This is a great time to understand your hormones levels including Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone, DHEA and cortisol. I also like to evaluate blood sugar and insulin levels as insulin resistance may contribute to weight gain. From these values, your Naturopathic Doctor can work with you to develop a treatment plan aimed at supporting healthy hormones, healthy metabolism and prevention of diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and dementia.
Supporting liver, gallbladder and Digestive Health is also important as these organs are involved in the metabolism of hormones and ultimately how you feel. Metabolites of Estrogen include Estrone, Estradiol and Estriol. Supporting a healthy balance of these metabolites is essential when treating the symptoms of menopause.
Our Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Jessica Mosiuk, can support your weight management with meal plans, shopping lists and recipes that are based on your unique metabolic picture.
It all starts with an Initial Consultation with one of our Naturopathic Doctors. We will take an in-depth look at your hormone levels and metabolism. The appropriate laboratory tests will be discussed. Based on results, a treatment plan will be developed unique to your hormone levels. Diet, supplements, nutrition guidance and Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy may be recommended.
We look forward to working with you and supporting you with this incredible transition your body is going through. Let’s embrace all the positive changes while supporting your hormone health!
Best wishes for an amazing 2023 filled with happiness, laughter and good health!
Dr Tasreen Alibhai ND