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  • Writer's pictureamyk73

Modern Menopause Natural Support Minus HRT

Menopause was once a secret topic. No one talked about except at quiet discussions among friends at the kitchen table. I always was told, "You'll know when it happens to you." Yet, no one told me anything. It was like this secret that we all knew existed and yet no one had the words of wisdom to help navigate it well.



Even medically speaking, the female body continues to be underserved in support. Women are just supposed to expect to experience pain, discomfort and go about their daily life anyway. I think its because medical professionals lack the knowledge and tools to help beyond the pain prescriptions.


Yet menopause is real. It happens to every woman and it changes not only her fertility but her overall being. We go through it together but often alone in what we are feeling and we emerge from it different. Some call it a phase of releasing, others an alignment back to our true self. I'm not sure to be honest. As I go through menopause, there are days when I just feel myself getting older, others I feel more liberated, and still others where I just feel like me. It is different for everyone and yet we all share in the experience of menopause collectively and strikingly alone.


The Problems with Menopause Use of HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy)

A lot of women will turn to medical help while in menopause looking for relief. Menopause can be painful, uncomfortable, and present changes in the body that are less than desirable.

Unfortunately, HRTs are like other chemical based medications where they simulate what the body should be doing on its own but because its a chemical it is not without problems, side effects, and risks. Your body was not designed to know what to do with chemicals so it can also create other health problems.



Similar to birth control, and in some cases, early menopausal women will be prescribed birth control, HRTs are supposed to balance hormones, primarily estrogen and progesterone. To a woman with severe symptoms like hot flashes, irritability, erratic periods, and disrupted sleep this can sound wonderful to be back in control of. Unfortunately, when we play chemist with our body we further confuse natural processes and create dependency on the chemicals. We no longer have a body working as designed or able to self-heal. My recommendation to clients with severe symptoms where medication is needed, is to keep in constant communication with their medical doctors about when they can stop using it.


I also caution my clients that most medical doctors don't consider when or how you can stop needing a prescribed medication but it should be part of the overall care plan. You will often find you need to push the subject and include questions about how you can help your body naturally resume operations.


In addition to the chemical reaction occurring in the body from HRTs, there are side effects and risks from them that should give us pause in considering their value. These again are the result of chemicals being used to override the controls of your own body in the hope they relieve symptoms. Some of these include:

  • Breast tenderness

  • Nausea

  • Headaches

  • Migraines

  • Bloating

  • Fluid retention

  • Mood changes

  • Irritability

  • Breakthrough bleeding The increased risks also exist for:

  • Blood clots

  • Stroke

  • Cancer

  • Gallbladder disease

  • Liver problems


Holistically Speaking on Menopause Symptoms

Even though we know the root cause is menopause, we are still in search of the individual unique root cause within that sphere for what is causing the symptoms, discomfort, and out of balance experience. It is here that we can best support the body and alleviate symptoms while allowing the body to naturally function. Since we are all unique this approach can take some time to pinpoint but the side effects and risks are mitigated and we honor our own health and design in the process.


Also, unlike HRTs, when we use herbal or natural medicines we are only taking them until we don't need them any longer. Natural medicines are not meant to be lifelong but rather only used until the body can self-support itself fully again. They are also much less expensive and harmful overall to the body.


I believe its very important we recognize that natural medicines are not just a replacement for prescription methods. We are not seeking one pill to take over another and fill our cabinets with bottles. Rather we are working to build into our daily lives the very foundational support our body requires at this phase in our life. Trust me, your body is not craving prescriptions. Ever.


Menopause is an invitation to relearn about ourselves and listen to our body speak what it truly needs for support. We cannot hear and honor these messages if we are covering them up with prescriptions. - Amy Kramer, Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor

Menopause Diet and Lifestyle

Whenever we face a health need our first area to address is diet and lifestyle. Menopause is no different in this respect. As it is a process of transformation itself, it requires we also look to diet and lifestyle alignment to not only support this process but also the emerging results.


Many women will encounter belly and thigh weight during menopause. This is usually the result of cortisol and estrogen imbalances as the body works to adjust. Where we miss the mark is that while our body is changing, often our daily lives have not. There is still high stress, poor nutrition, lack of movement, missing sleep and other demands being placed on the body that further complicate the menopause symptoms being felt. Combined together with menopause and we find ourselves with things like metabolism problems, insulin resistance and stubborn weight gain.



In natural medicine, we are looking at the whole person in terms of their health. It's not just about the menopause symptoms but what is going on everywhere in their life. This link between stress and menopause is big and often an ignored area that disconnects our pillars of health and how they are supported. We cannot just "treat" the physical symptom expecting a problem to go away when we have not addressed the linked parts to that problem. Namely our mental health, emotional well-being and spiritual health too. All four of our pillars of health need support in our health strategies.


So, when dealing with things like menopause and weight we are looking at where the body is struggling and supporting from that point outward. The number one thing I see with my clients is stress. There can be other factors as well like poor nutrition and dehydration but if we work from the largest to the smallest in these issues we see much better results long term.


The worse thing we can do is add a restrictive diet on top of a stressed our lifestyle. This is simply a formula for disaster that will not reap weight loss or help with other health problems. - Amy Kramer, Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor

If you have not been eating a highly nutritious, organic filled, real food diet then the ideal way to do that now is by gradually adding it in. We don't want to add further stress to our body by shocking it with all kinds of foods we haven't eaten in forever that are considered healthier for us. We want to instead explore real food, build a relationship with it, find out what we like and taste, try, and build it in a little bit more each week. This approach takes the stress our of eating on a diet and lets us calmly and rationally design our own way of eating that feels good to us.


Yes, it requires you break up with every diet you've ever tried or heard of and built your own unique diet that works best for you.


Secondly, we do need to move our body. The emphasis again is not on shocking the body and beating it into submission through hard core stressful exercise workouts. Rather here too we are looking for things that engage us, are pleasant and enjoyable, and we look forward to doing them. The goal is consistency. It is also building flexibility, balance, strength, and endurance. The best way to start is simply taking more steps in your day.


Menopause and Herbal Support

As you build the infrastructure of what your body craves in terms of real food, reduced stress, better consistent movement and hydration we can incorporate herbs to help with symptoms. Holistic and natural medicine again encompasses all of who you are and need into the solution. We are not looking to simply suppress symptoms but rather to navigate menopause in a natural way that lets us emerge from it healthier, stronger, and with solid vitality.


The herbs that help in this work vary by person again because we are all unique. Working with me, can help you find the best herbs and supplements for your needs.


Black Cohosh

This has been long used by Native Americans and is one of their core herbal remedies. It is effective for hot flashes, night sweats, and irritability.


Red Clover

This herb is high in isoflavones and function similarly to estrogen. For this reason it can help alleviate symptoms associated with menopausal estrogen decline.


Dong Quai

This is an Asian herb closely related to celery, carrot and parsley. It has been used for generations in the support of women's health including PMS and menopause. It helps with vaginal dryness and when combined with Black Cohosh and Red Clover it can significantly drop night sweats.


Evening Primrose Oil

This is a seed oil that has been shown helpful in hot flashes and bone density.


Maca

A Peruvian vegetable akin to broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts. This has been used for generations for infertility, hormonal imbalances, and diminished sex drive.


You can find these supplements and herbs in the Dragonspit Apothecary.


After Menopause What's Next?

The journey of menopause can be a transformative experience if we let it. We can rediscover ourselves and redefine who we want to be in this next part of our lives. Emerging from menopause can mean a different worldview for us that allows us to feel more comfortable in our own skin.


What I find amazing is we often hear of the struggle of menopause but not so much of the benefits of this important work our body is gifting us.

  • Menstruation freedom is very liberating

  • Hormonal changes allow us to continually learn about our body and what it is saying

  • Emotional well-being often improves with decreases in irritability, mood changes

  • Reevaluation of priorities and goals allowing new creative outlets, connections, and experiences in our life

  • Deeper and more intimate sex and intimacy

  • Increased wisdom, insight, and appreciation for ourselves, our family, milestones and accomplishments and what's next for us


Maybe that's why menopause was always so secretive... it was the gateway to defining what was next in our lives and that is the reward. We have raised our families, worked in our careers and did great things but now, we get to personalize the what's next. We get to truly do anything we want with less restrictions and make it our own.


It's certainly worth considering the possibility for what that can mean in our own menopause journey.


To work with Dragonspit Apothecary or purchase the supplements, herbs and products mentioned in this post, please visit www.dragonspitapothecary.com




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