The Pre, Peri And Post-Menopausal Challenges

“The Change,” as menopause used to be called, is a natural transformation point in a woman’s life. We are meant to begin life anew around the biological marker of our last menstrual period. Our bodies know it, even when our minds don’t.

Menopause is a good example of Western medicine’s focus on disease, rather than on better health and incredible wellbeing. In this case, a natural state-the end of menstruation-is defined by many conventional doctors as a disease that must be treated with medication. Women who don’t take their estrogen pills, Western medicine implies, will lose their femininity and their value to society. Luckily, many women instinctively knows better, and studies have proven that there are extreme health risks with synthetic hormone replacement.

To these wise women, menopause is a time of freedom from the menstrual cycle and the onset of wisdom and power. And it’s no coincidence that these women, who refuse to view themselves as “diseased,” experience far fewer (and sometimes none) of the problems usually associated with this change of life.

Since attitude plays a significant role in the physical response to all mid-life, wellbeing challenges, including menopause, it helps to understand the changes that are taking place. These changes can start as early as age 35 and can continue for 10-20 years before menopause proper actually sets in, with many annoying symptoms like erratic periods or unusually heavy or light bleeding.

During pre – menopause, the ovaries no longer ovulate on a regular basis. This is the basis for the cycle changes and the beginning of systems such as hot flashes. Menopause itself usually begins in the mid-forties to early fifties. When the ovaries stop producing significant amounts of estrogen and progesterone, the menstrual cycle ceases; a woman who has had no periods for a year is said to be menopausal.

Women’s reactions to menopause vary widely.  Some enjoy the change, while others suffer from problems like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, heart palpitations, and mood swings, often for years.  But if a woman is healthy, active, and well nourished, her adrenal glands will usually respond to menopause by creating precursor hormones such as Pregnenolone and DHEA, which are then converted into estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.  And if she takes natural steps to encourage this process, it is likely that she can avoid harsh and possibly dangerous medications altogether.

The days of routinely prescribing synthetic estrogen, synthetic progesterone, or both, should be over.  Several studies, including the well-publicized Women’s Health Initiative Study, which involved more than 16,000 women, concluded that the “benefits did not outweigh the risks” of using the combination of synthetic estrogen (Premarin) and synthetic progesterone (Provera).  A significant increased incidence of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease stopped this study short of its completion.

When menopause is brought about by a hysterectomy or removal of the ovaries, natural hormone replacement therapy may be necessary to counter the sudden depletion of estrogen and progesterone and the resulting bone loss.

We believe that every woman must be addressed individually.  Optimally, it is best to get a hormone test done to find out which hormone imbalances you may have.  Saliva testing is a good option.  For women with mild to moderate symptoms of menopause, it is generally recommended in functional medicine to use diet, exercise, and nutritional supplements, especially herbal and homeopathic remedies alleviate these symptoms. The beauty of this approach is that these natural supplements balance the hormones without the use of risky pharmaceuticals. In addition, the use of natural progesterone appears to be very safe and effective when a stronger approach is needed.  

For women with extreme symptoms that are unresponsive to nutritional supplements, the use of natural hormone replacement may be required.  This is particularly true of women who had their ovaries removed at an early age or for others with moderate to severe osteoporosis.  This is, of course, best done with a doctor who is knowledgeable in natural hormones.

SYMPTOMS of Menopause that may be mild or extreme

  • Cessation of periods
  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal dryness and thinning
  • Night sweats
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Headaches
  • Memory problems and difficulty concentrating
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Reduced libido
  • Bladder problems, including incontinence
  • Mood swings
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Skin changes (acne, facial hair, scalp hair loss)

Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone get much more press than cortisol and adrenaline do, even though they’re far less likely to adversely affect your health.  It’s true that the amounts of these hormones in the body change during the transitional period of perimenopause, and sometimes that shift causes uncomfortable symptoms.

Fatigue, insomnia, low libido, mental sluggishness, irritability, and hot flashes – particularly when they interfere with sleep – do not have to be a part of the perimenopausal or menopausal experience. You can reduce these symptoms naturally with a minimal amount of outside hormonal help when necessary.

The Menopause Explained

What Are The Main Symptoms Of Menopause?

These vary considerably from person to person but include physical, sexual and psychological symptoms.  The list below itemizes the most commonly occurring but you may have some of your own to add.

Irregular menstruation

As fertility declines the ovaries will no longer regularly produce an egg every month.  Abrupt cessation of periods doesn’t typically occur (unless a hysterectomy has been involved) but rather the occurrence of irregular periods.  These may become more widely spaced apart, become lighter or adversely may be marked by heavy and excessive bleeding.  The onset of irregular menstruation to the final cessation may take many years.

Mood swings

It is estimated that 33% of women will experience this symptom to some degree which for many is the most distressing and difficult of the menopause symptoms to manage.  Many women report that they have never in all their lives felt such intense emotions which can include:

  • Irritability
  • Euphoria
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Rage
  • Hopelessness

Though all of these are typically part of the human emotional range and will no doubt have been experienced before, the reason they prove so problematic during the menopause is because-

  • They are super intense and enhanced
  • They yo-yo alarmingly between one emotion and its total opposite, making the sufferer appear irrational
  • They are unpredictable
  • They seem to be triggered by minor causes or even occur for no apparent reason at all

Hence a previously very mild-mannered woman might find herself prone to screaming outbursts and the all-capable woman who has handled everything life has thrown at her will find herself crying because she breaks a plate.  Such out of character behavior, besides being horrific for the sufferer, can be bewildering for friends and family and in some cases can cause relationship difficulties and crises.  No wonder this is such a distressing part of the menopause.

Medical experts have identified that women who have a history of depression or severe PMS may be at greater risk of intense mood swings during menopause.

Hot flashes (or flushes)

It really doesn’t help that the medical world is still unclear exactly why this physical symptom manifests during menopause.

Women who suffer from hot flashes will suddenly become extremely hot and experience excessive sweating, which may have no connection to the warmth of the environment they are in at the time.  The sudden internal temperature rise might be accompanied with feelings of sickness or nausea and dizziness.  The occurrence of these hot flashes, which can be extremely embarrassing for the person concerned, varies from individual to individual – spaced weeks apart or occurring several times in an hour.

Vaginal dryness and suppleness

This occurs due to lower levels of estrogen in the bloodstream.  The result can mean sex is either painful and in extreme cases impossible which can have an obvious negative impact on relationships as well as affecting self-image and sexual confidence.

Loss of libido

A decreased or even completely eradicated sex drive is commonly reported by menopausal women and as with the vaginal dryness symptom above can have negative implications for intimate relationships with inevitable knock-on effects which may affect all aspects of daily life and which just adds to the problems.

Although this symptom isn’t completely understood in medical fields it has always been thought it had some link to the hormonal changes and fluctuations which are occurring.  However, more recent studies suggest something else too.  The menopause marks the period when a woman is no longer able to have children and now it is believed that this, the most basic of animal instincts, may have a far reaching psychological effect.

Sleep disturbances

It is little wonder that a disturbed night’s sleep will result when the menopausal woman finds herself and the bedclothes drenched with sweat, maybe several times in one night and a personal temperature gauge set to boiling.

Hot flashes, sometimes called night flashes are an obvious cause of disturbed sleep, but it appears unsatisfying and disrupted sleep can also occur even where hot flashes are not experienced.  Problems may be marked by having trouble getting to sleep in the first place or having trouble staying asleep.

Weight gain

The same hormones, which are fluctuating during the menopause are the same ones which also regulate appetite, deal with the body’s fat storing processes and dictate metabolic rates (how your body uses energy to keep the vital organs functioning healthily and other internal processes).

As a result, it is estimated that as many as 9 out of 10 women will experience weight gain during the menopause which is typified by a slow but steady increase.  The weight gain is often concentrated around the abdominal area and can be accompanied by feeling bloated, which comes from water retention (thanks to falling levels of the hormone progesterone).

Because the weight gain is being triggered by basic body processors, reduced calorie diets typically have little or no effect and an exercise routine which may have kept you in trim for years may seemingly inexplicably cease to do so.  All highly frustrating as you watch your weight and shape change with a high likelihood of it impacting negatively on confidence levels and body image as well as lightening your bank account as you have to consider a whole new wardrobe.


A sensation which appears to be a thumping or wildly beating heart is known as a palpitation and frequently occurs during the menopause.  It is usually attributed to fluctuating hormones.

Joint Aches

Some women report discomfort and pain from aching joints during menopause, most common in the neck, wrists and shoulders.


The hormone imbalances and fluctuations associated with the menopause cause some women to suffer from most frequently occurring or higher intensity headaches.  Migraine, tension and sinus headaches can all occur ranging from mild to causing prolonged debilitation and can be accompanied by neck pain, vomiting and nausea.

Extreme tiredness and lethargy

The number of women who report low energy levels, high fatigue and lethargy during menopause is high.  The tiredness is typified by low stamina levels even when no exertion of any kind has been involved and is often not relieved by sleep or bed rest.  It is thought that this fatigue is a result of estrogen deficiencies and can also, but less commonly, be psychological, triggered in part by suffering from other menopause symptoms.

Osteoporosis (or bone thinning)

Although not usually one of the more obvious symptoms for the woman in question, mid and post-menopausal women are at greater risk of this bone disease which results in a higher likelihood of injury or fracture.

If you have found yourself saying ‘yes, yes’ at times as you worked your way through the list above (or even to everyone – poor you!) then don’t despair.  For each and every one of the symptoms listed above natural help and relief is at hand and in the following pages we will explain these to you.

Natural Menopause Relief

In order to ensure  that you use the natural medicines correctly, we recommend the following supplements that correspond with your level of concern mentioned in your health.

  • Level 1.No real concern, there is only a need to maintain.
  • Level 2. Concern and symptoms needing solutions 
  • Level 3. Severe symptoms and some real concerns needing solutions
  • Level 4. Sever symptoms and serious concerns
    (We can provide you with a specialized online functional medical consultation)