Women’s Health Series: Menopause

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menopauseMenopause refers to the time when women end their reproductive cycle – ending menstruation. The ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone, and the adrenal glands and fat cells take over sex hormone production. The body is designed to accommodate this natural process, but can only do so if the body is in a healthy state. For many women, menopause can be a time of tremendous physical, emotional and social change and support is needed to help them through the hormonal transition.

Common symptoms associated with menopause are:

Hot flashes & night sweats
Insomnia
Fatigue
Weight gain
Vaginal dryness
Low libido
Mood swings
Depression
Foggy memory
Heart palpitations
Anxiety

A major cause of menopausal complaints is estrogen dominance. This occurs when there is too much estrogen or not enough progesterone to balance its effects. Estrogen dominance is caused by exposure to potent, environmental estrogens (xenoestrogens) found in plastics, pesticides, cleaners, detergents, body care products, meat and dairy products, stress, anovulation, poor diet, obesity, microbial imbalances, as well as synthetic hormones from birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy.

Foreign estrogens are much more potent than estrogen made by the ovaries. Artificial estrogens activate receptors to stimulate a hormonal effect or occupy the receptor and block natural estrogen from doing its job, thereby disrupting normal endocrine function. Xenoestrogens can accumulate over time, are absorbed through the skin, are difficult to detoxify, and are stored in fat. While endogenous estrogens are biologically active only during the years of sexual maturity, have a life expectancy measured in days, and fluctuate month to month, xenoestrogen exposure starts with fetal development and can be around for decades.

Other factors such as stress, adrenal fatigue, neurotransmitter imbalances, thyroid dysfunction, poor diet, sluggish bowels and sluggish liver function can all play a role in contributing to uncomfortable menopausal complaints.

A natural progesterone cream promotes healthy hormone balance and can be of benefit to  many. Pathway CRÈME DE FEMME provides natural progesterone in an easy to use pump. The cream may be applied wherever the capillaries are close to the surface – the face, neck, palms of the hands, soles of the feet, wrists, and behind the knee. CRÈME DE FEMME is paraben-free and contains natural ingredients.

Another option is bio-identical hormone therapy. Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is an all-natural alternative to traditional hormone replacement. Advantages of using bio-identical hormones include the benefits of traditional hormone replacement therapy without unwanted side effects and risks.

Our Village Green team of compounding pharmacists specializes in providing individualized compounded prescriptions to fit each woman’s exact needs. Call us today at 800-869-9159 x1012 for more information.

Exercise and diet can also go a long way in easing menopausal symptoms. Sixty minutes of moderate to intense exercise three times per week can help to reduce hot flashes and other menopausal complaints.

We recommend that you maintain a healthy diet that will improve not only menopause symptoms but will also support energy levels. Village Green provides a full range of solutions to meet everyone’s specific dietary needs. Because you’re biochemically unique, our trained nutritionists can work to develop the right diet plan for you.

Foods that promote healthy hormone balance include:

Omega-3 fatty acids (wild salmon, flax, walnuts, etc.)
Dark leafy greens (bok choy, collards, kale, turnip greens, dandelion greens, spinach, etc)
Cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, arugula, etc.)
Colorful fruits and vegetables (berries, citrus, melons, pears, apples, beets, carrots, etc.)
Whole grains (brown rice, millet, quinoa, whole wheat, corn, etc.)
Legumes (lentils, soy, black beans, pinto, garbanzo beans, etc.)
Nuts and seeds (almonds, pine nuts, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.)
Sea vegetables (wakame, kombu, hijiki, arame, nori, dulse, etc.)
Healthy fats (eggs, avocados, butter, flaxseed oil, nuts and seeds, nut butters, etc.)
Organic dairy foods / dairy alternatives (milk made from almonds, rice, hemp, oats, soy, etc.)
Phytoestrogen rich foods (legumes (soy), flax, etc.)
Organic/hormone-free protein (meat, poultry, grass-fed beef, fish, eggs, cheese, etc.)

Photo from here, with thanks.

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  • Paula Gallagher
    Paula Gallagher
    Paula is a highly qualified and experienced nutrition counselor on the staff at Village Green.
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    Margo Gladding
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    Dr. Joseph Pizzorno
    Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, ND is a pioneer of integrative medicine and a leading authority on science-based natural medicine.
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    Debi Silber
    Debi is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition, a personal trainer, and whole health coach.
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    Dr. Rav Ivker
    Dr. Rav Ivker is a holistic family physician, health educator, and best-selling author.
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    Susan Levin
    Susan writes about the connection between plant-based diets and a reduced risk of chronic diseases.
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January 2015
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