You’re not hot just because it’s hot out!
One of the most common health complaints I hear in my naturopathic practice in Portland, OR is hot flashes. Often women don’t realize what’s happening at first – I’ve had patients complain that they keep getting fevers, or they are waking up drenched in sweat every night and worried they have a horrible disease. Once we determine that indeed they are experiencing menopause symptoms, then we have to dig a little deeper to determine the best treatment. Because, let’s face it, hot flashes are distracting at best and walking around drenched in sweat is downright uncomfortable. Sweaty, disrupted sleep at night is a deal-breaker, in my opinion, and getting sleep back on track is key to thriving in menopause!
We start with in-depth customized hormonal testing – and this varies depending on the exact symptoms you are experiencing as well as any other health complaints. I dig into family history a bit, too, because we want to make sure that you don’t have any concerning genetic markers that will impact your experience of menopause or the treatments used to optimize your hormonal health. Often in addition to testing the usual hormones associated with menopause symptoms – estrogen and progesterone – we also assess testosterone, cortisol, dhea, FSH, and insulin.
There are so many options for hot flash treatment, not to mention the other symptoms that can come with menopause. Bioidentical hormones are one option, and I prescribe those if appropriate, though many women find their symptoms are alleviated with herbal or nutritional approaches, and they are able to skip the hormones. But, let’s get back to the other symptoms you may be experiencing, which include:
- memory loss
- vaginal dryness
- low libido
- sleep problems
- weight gain
- hair loss
- dry skin
Kelly came into my office complaining of fatigue, insomnia, difficulty remembering why she walked into a room, hot flashes & sweats, weight gain, and feeling irritable 24/7. These were all new symptoms for her in the last 6 months. Her menstrual cycle, once very regular, was alternating in being absent for months and then twice in a month.
We tested Kelly’s hormones and found that she was low in both estrogen and progesterone, her FSH was high indicating she was in peri-menopause, and her cortisol was super low all day long. In addition, she had high insulin showing that her body could not properly process carbohydrates. No wonder she was feeling poorly!
We used a low-dose bioidentical progesterone, along with herbal capsules, to relieve most of Kelly’s symptoms. In addition, she added very specific targeted exercise to increase her insulin sensitivity, and we worked to move her to a less carbohydrate-heavy diet. The last piece for Kelly was working on stress response, and we’re still tweaking her plan there. Overall, Kelly’s symptoms are 90% gone, and that last 10% will budge as she continues her self-care plan at home. She’s feeling like her old self, and she loves that she now has the energy and focus to tackle some big projects she’s been putting off. Success!
The good news: all of these symptoms can be improved with the right treatment! If you are struggling with the symptoms of menopause, you are in the right place.
Phone me right now to schedule your appointment 503-244-0500, and get yourself on the road to feeling like yourself again!