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Jeanne W. Shiffman, MD, DABFP
Treating Menopause Holistically
Steinmetz Integrative & Functional Medicine Center

Treating Menopause Holistically

As women age our bodies stop producing the same amount of hormones as when we were younger. Menopause literally means “end of monthly cycles.” But until 12 monthly cycles in a row have been skipped it is called “peri-menopause” and afterward “post-menopause.”

During this time women can experience a range of uncomfortable symptoms sometimes so severe they interfere with normal daily activities. These include

  • Hot flashes
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Memory loss
  • Migraines

Aside from physical and emotional discomfort, menopause is associated with heart disease, colorectal cancer and loss of bone density. This is why it is important to visit your doctor and discuss your symptoms.

What Are Natural or Holistic Options?

Menopause is a natural process not an illness. There is no cure, yet some doctors prescribe harsh drugs. Some of these drugs have been associated with dangerous side effects or cancers. As a result, many are now seeking natural options.

Natural and holistic therapies can be tailor made for you and your unique symptoms. These therapies may

include one or more of the following

  • Herbal or Chinese medicinal regimens
  • Acupuncture
  • Diet changes
  • Topical creams or “personal” moisturizers
  • Homeopathic special blend products or those with black cohosh
  • Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy (BHRT)

After your doctor has ruled out other potential issues like iron deficiency or thyroid problems, hormone therapy might be recommended. A natural option is Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy (BHRT).

These hormones are derived from plants like wild yams and soybeans and are chemically identical to those produced by the human body. BHRT treatments can be tailor made for you based on your unique needs. Also, your body can metabolize, store, and convert them naturally into other hormones.

What to Expect?

Initiating hormone therapy includes measuring estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and/or DHEA levels. Special estrogen metabolism testing can show how your body might react and breakdown an estrogen product. It can be used to determine if estrogen therapy is safe for you.

Next, a unique pharmaceutical compound is created. By monitoring your response to this product, your dosage and treatment plan can be modified accordingly. While some European studies have suggested BHRT is safer than synthetic hormones, long term studies have not yet proven this. Thus it is important to follow-up with your doctor regularly.

Be Healthy

Eating right, exercising and not smoking are equally important to overall wellness. As your hormones, nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle improve you should begin to feel better as you enter the next phase of your life.

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