Menopause and Peri-menopause Naturopathic Treatment Protocol - Unlocked
Menopause and Peri-menopause Naturopathic Treatment Protocol
This Menopause and Peri-menopause Naturopathic Treatment Protocol is provided as information for patients of HealthMasters Naturopath Kevin Tresize ND as part of a treatment plan and should not be substituted for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This information is to assist patients with understanding of their treatment plan. It is important to note that this is a summary only and is intended to assist discussion between practitioner and patient as part of consultations. This Menopause and Peri-menopause Naturopathic Treatment Protocol may be changed to suit the individual requirements of the patient and should not be substituted for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
HealthMasters Naturopath Kevin Tresize ND
Menopause marks the end of the reproductive years of a woman’s life, occurring usually between 45 and 60 years of age, with an average age of 51 years. Menopause occurs as the number of oocytes a woman carries reaches their end point with a marked decrease in ovarian oestrogen and progesterone.
The transition into menopause, called peri-menopause, commonly lasts for 2-3 years, with common signs of irregular menses, skin changes, mood changes, depression, memory loss, insomnia, fatigue, vaginal dryness and atrophy, changed libido, night sweats and hot flushes, which may be moderate to debilitating in their effects. During peri-menopause ovarian sex steroid synthesis slows and ovulation becomes unpredictable, causing fluctuating monthly patterns until menses ceases completely. Menopause is confirmed with the cessation of periods for 12 months with consistently elevated serum FSH levels and low serum oestradiol.
Whilst there may be a decline in circulating levels of oestrogen and progesterone (and the ratio between them), this does not reflect the oestrogen and progesterone levels and activity in various tissues. For example, postmenopausal women may sustain relatively high serum oestrogen levels despite declining ovarian oestrogen, as adipocytes (fat cells) become a major source of oestrogen biosynthesis.
The most common reason women seek treatment for in menopause is hot flushes. The drop in oestrogen is a significant catalyst, but not the only cause. Essentially, hot flushes are a heat loss mechanism initiated by short term vasodilation near the skin to allow the blood to cool and lower core temperature. However menopausal women do not experience higher core temperatures, but they have a narrower thermo-neutral zone. Loss of thermoregulation occurs with low DHEA as a result of chronic stress and accompanying neurotransmitter imbalances, including depleted GABA and serotonin with increased noradrenaline and corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH). CRH may also contribute to elevated mast cell degranulation, augmenting the vasodilatory response and hot flush severity.
Therefore, stress management during the peri- and post-menopause years is vital.
2. Aetiology (Cause) / Risk factors
Factors that may hasten the timing of menopause and worsen the symptoms experienced include:
- Premature ovarian failure
- Hysterectomy retaining the ovaries (thought to advance menopause by approximately 2 years)
- Bilateral oophorectomy (immediate menopause)
- Smoking (hastens follicular depletion)
- Radiation and/or chemotherapy used to treat a malignancy
- Chronic or acute stress, leading to adrenal insufficiency.
- Toxicity (pesticides, smoking, alcohol, heavy metals)
- Certain medications
3. Signs and Symptoms
Common signs and symptoms of menopause include the following:
- Absent menstruation for at least 12 months. (Irregular periods occur throughout peri-menopause)
- Hot flushes; of the face, neck, and upper trunk, which may be accompanied by palpitations, dizziness, headaches.
- Night sweats, which may contribute to depression and irritability from insomnia.
- Cold hands and feet.
- Vaginal atrophy and dryness may lead to painful intercourse and/or post-coital bleeding.
- Vulvar pruritis.
- Urinary tract atrophy, resulting in increased frequency, burning, nocturia, incontinence, and infection.
- Sleep disturbances and insomnia.
- Mood changes such as depression, irritability, tension.
- Memory impairment and loss of ability to concentrate.
- Skin changes including loss of skin tone/integrity leading to wrinkles.
- Weight gain and increased central adiposity.
- Breast tissue atrophy
- Increased sensitivity to stimulants such as alcohol and caffeine.
4. Core Treatment
4.1 Foundational recommendations for the menopausal transition and relieve menopausal symptoms
Support oestrogen levels:
4.2 Addressing HPA axis dysfunction further supporting the nervous system function
If with anxiety:
Herbal Support for Hyper HPA and Stress (Metagenics NeuroCalm) - 1-2 tablets three times daily
Magnesium with Lutein and Zeaxanthin for Sleep Pattern Support (Metagenics SleepX) - 1 scoop (5.7 g) in 200 mL of water once daily in the evening
Bupleurum Complex for Nervous Tension and Irritability (Metagenics Relaxan) - 3 capsules twice daily with food
Refer to depression protocol
5. Additional Considerations
5.1 If Additional Support Needed
Black Cohosh and St John's Wort for Menopause (Femme Oestroplex) - 1 tablet daily
5.2 If obese or overweight address body composition
Shake It Professional Weight Management Program
5.3 For protection against osteoporosis
Hydroxyapatite and Soy for Osteoporosis (Metagenics Calcitite Osteo) - 2 tablets twice daily or 1 serve twice daily
Vitamin K2 for Bone and Cardiovascular Health (Metagenics Vitamin K2 180) - 1 capsule daily
5.4 If with gut derived inflammation or suspected toxicity
Refer to Clinical Detoxification Program protocol
5.5 Ongoing nutrition for healthy ageing and chronic disease prevention
Nutrigenomic Support for Healthy Ageing (Metagenics Oxidant Protection) - 1 tablet daily
Resveratrol Age Well (Metagenics Resveratrol Healthy Ageing) - 1 tablet daily
High Strength, Researched Probiotic Strains (Metagenics Ultra Flora Restore Dairy Free) - 1 capsule daily
6. Alphabetical Reference of Nutritional Support
|Formula Catch Phrase||Key Benefits|
Based on traditional Chinese medicine for stressed, irritable and moody patients. This stress formula is especially helpful when digestive and other physical symptoms are made worse with stress and nervous tension, such as in IBS.
These herbs are known for their calming and sedating effects on the nervous system, and can also be used to calm patients with severe anxiety and/or panic attacks. The formula can be used on its own to help manage anxiety attacks and/or insomnia.
Fish oils are consistently shown to reduce inflammation to support cardiovascular and brain health and reduce the neurological impact of stress.
An herbal blend that rapidly relieves anxiety and tension. Including zizyphus and magnolia which interacts with calming dopamine, serotonin and GABA benzodiazepine receptors to soothe nervous tension and agitation. Traditionally Zizyphus was used for hot flushes.
An advanced bone strengthening combination of microcrystalline hydroxyapatite bone extract with an isoflavone rich extract of soy with synergistic nutrients, designed to support bone strength and to prevent and treat osteoporosis.
Magnesium plays important roles in oestrogen detoxification in the liver and bowel, and is also a crucial bone nutrient. Blended with phytonutrients to support feminine wellbeing and help manage menopausal hot flushes.
A phytochemical, vitamin and mineral formula designed to protect DNA and support healthy ageing, including green tea and grape seed extract for antioxidant protection, and activated B vitamins for nutritional support.
Based on a traditional TCM blend to relieve menopausal symptoms commonly associated with chronic stress and adrenal depletion, such as hot flushes, sweating, palpitations and anxiety.
These scientifically validated strains including Lactobacillus acidophilus (NCFM®) and Bifidobacterium lactis (Bi-07) are formulated to maintain healthy flora and support digestive and immune health.
This age defying anti-inflammatory antioxidant formula is designed to protect DNA and mitochondria, with high levels of resveratrol, turmeric and quercetin.
Key nutrients such as Vitamin C and activated B-group vitamins, required to support neurotransmitter and adrenal hormone synthesis, activity and receptor sensitivity. Vitamin B6 specifically modulates glucocorticoid receptor function to reduce sympathetic output and B5 is required for the synthesis of cortisol.
The skeleton undergoes a constant process of remodelling. Vitamin K2 plays an essential role in bone development and maintenance via functioning as a cofactor in calcium metabolism.
7. Diet and Lifestyle
Dietary and lifestyle guidelines that may assist in the management of menopause include:
- Consume dietary phyto-oestrogens to manage symptoms, and prevent cardiovascular, skeletal and cancer risks of ageing. Examples include soy foods, linseeds, etc.
- Regular weight-bearing and aerobic exercise supports fat burning, muscle strength and bone mineral density.
- Identify areas of diet and lifestyle that may be inducing inflammation and stress with the free Health Appraisal Questionnaire.
- Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can help to reduce menopausal symptoms.
- Relaxation techniques can help diminish symptoms associated with menopause.
- Reduced caffeine and alcohol consumption.
8. Supportive Lifestyle Programs
Supportive Lifestyle Program
Shake It Practitioner Weight Management Program
This carbohydrate-restricted Ketogenic diet is a hypocaloric fat loss program for those with insulin resistance, who will usually also be overweight or obese. Reducing dietary glycaemic load will reduce insulin release and help patients lose fat, particularly visceral adipose tissue, thus helping to minimise the risk of many chronic illnesses, such as cardiovascular – metabolic diseases.
Metagenics Clinical Detoxification Programs
Female hormonal health is highly dependent on effective liver and bowel clearance of oestrogens (and other steroid hormones), as well as effective detoxification of environmental toxins. The questionnaire helps to determine the most appropriate prescription for patients with three different 4 week detoxification programs.
Wellness and Healthy Ageing Program
Recommending a low glycaemic diet with lifestyle with exercise and effective stress management, are all factors associated with healthy ageing and chronic disease prevention. Scientifically shown to improve health, quality of life and to reduce the biomarkers associated with ageing.
9. Pathology Tests
|PATHOLOGY TEST||INTERPRETATION GUIDELINES|
|Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)||
FSH stimulates follicle development in the ovaries and is often used as a gauge of ovarian function.
Menopausal female: 20-100U/L
|Luteinizing Hormone (LH)||
LH triggers the release of the ovum from the ovary – increased levels are seen in menopause.
Menopausal female: 15-100U/L
Oestradiol is the main oestrogen produced by the ovaries in response to LH and FSH.
Menopausal female: 70-200pmol/L
Progesterone is produced by the corpus luteum after ovulation and is required to stimulate endometrial growth. Reduced progesterone levels are seen in menopause due to anovulatory state.
Menopausal female: <6nmol/L
|Omega-3 Index Test||A validated test that measures red-blood cell (RBC) EPA and DHA status to personalise supplemental and diet practitioner recommendations, as well as identifying those at risk of health conditions associated with omega-3 deficiency. An Omega-3 Index in the desirable range of 8%-12% is an indicator of better overall health.|
10. Pharmaceutical Treatments
- Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): Hormones (oestrogen, progesterone, or both) are given to women after menopause to replace the hormones no longer produced by the ovaries. Also called menopausal hormone therapy.
- Oestrogen: included as part of HRT treatment, this hormone relieves hot flashes and vaginal atrophy, improves lipid profiles, and retards osteoporotic bone loss, lessening the incidence of fractures. Oestrogens are available in natural (equine) and synthetic forms. However, studies on the use of synthetic oestrogen suggest that it increases the risk for breast cancer, uterine (endometrial) cancer, thromboembolic events, gallbladder disease, and asthma. Side effects include bloating, nausea, and breast tenderness. Oestrogen can be administered in varied ways: oral; sublingual; transdermal patch; vaginal cream, suppository, or ring; or injection.
- Progesterone: Progesterone, like oestrogen, may be natural or synthetic. Synthetic forms— progestogens—are included as part of HRT treatment, in combination with oestrogen in women with a uterus to prevent endometrial cancer. Side effects of progestogen use include bloating, depression, and breast tenderness. The addition of progestogen to the hormone regimen may obviate the potential cardiovascular benefits of oestrogen.
- Testosterone: provides another option to menopausal women if used in small amounts in combination with oestrogen. The addition of testosterone may improve bone mass, sexual drive, and mental alertness. Side effects include hirsutism, acne, fluid retention, anxiety, and depression.