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Integrative Family Health Clinic in Bolton and the Greater Caledon Area
4-22 Simona Drive
Bolton, ON

How Naturopathic Doctors Support Your Hormones

Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are like your hormone BFFs. Whether it’s for wonky periods, thyroid troubles, or feeling like you’ve been hit by a hormone hurricane during menopause, naturopathic doctors have your back. 

NDs help you navigate the rollercoaster of health by creating personalized treatment plans that incorporate nutrition, stress management, herbal supplements, and acupuncture to rebalance hormonal fluctuations. Through comprehensive assessments, naturopathic doctors seek to address the root causes of hormonal imbalances and promote sustainable health improvements.

If you’re ready to kick those hormone woes to the curb and reclaim your groove, grab your green smoothie and let’s dive into how naturopathic doctors work their magic on your hormones.

Common Conditions Affected by Hormones

When hormones are balanced, life just feels right. You’re in sync with your body, radiating vitality, and ready to take on whatever comes your way! On the other hand, when they are off, you wake up feeling like you’ve been hit by a truck, you are breaking out like a teenager again, and your mood swings are giving you emotional whiplash. 

We use the analogy of trying to navigate a stormy sea without a compass. But fear not, there’s always a way to find balance and ride out the hormonal waves!

Common conditions influenced by hormones include:

    • Thyroid disorders

    • PCOS

    • Menopause

    • Adrenal fatigue

    • Infertility

    • Insulin resistance 

The Naturopathic Medicine Approach to Hormones

Naturopathic medicine is a form of alternative medicine that focuses on using natural remedies and holistic approaches to promote healing and wellness. Licensed naturopathic doctors (NDs) emphasize the body’s inherent ability to heal itself and strive to identify and address the root causes of illness.

It is key to note that naturopathic doctors often work in collaboration with other healthcare providers to provide integrative care for their patients.

Herbal medicine

Naturopaths employ herbal medicine (plant based extracts) to restore hormone balance, utilizing plants with properties to support the endocrine system. Herbs like black cohosh, chaste berry, and dong quai are known for easing menopausal symptoms and regulating menstrual cycles. Adaptogenic herbs such as ashwagandha and rhodiola help manage stress, while maca root may enhance fertility.

Herbs may seem safer, but it’s important to know that not all herbs are suitable for every individual. Naturopathic doctors tailor herbal remedies to individual needs for effective hormone balancing at your life stage. They also consider your whole health history, allergies, sensitivities, and other medications in order to maximize the benefit of your treatment.

Acupuncture

This isn’t your typical joint-pain-type acupuncture. Naturopathic doctors are trained in the Traditional Asian Medicine (also known as Traditional Chinese Medicine, TCM) style of acupuncture.

Acupuncture is a key tool used by naturopathic doctors for hormone balancing, which involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate energy flow and promote healing. In the context of hormonal balance, acupuncture is believed to influence the endocrine system, which regulates hormone production and cycling.

Targeted Nutrition

Do you need more healthy fats? Or more proteins? Maybe both!

Naturopathic doctors can use targeted nutrition to help you reach your goals faster but also sustainably. After a thorough assessment, your ND customizes dietary recommendations to support hormone balance and overall metabolism. This approach significantly influences hormone production, metabolism, and function within the body. Eating right for your body addresses the root causes of health issues and is paramount to maintaining hormonal freedom.

How Long Does Naturopathic Medicine Take?

The duration of naturopathic treatment varies depending on individual health concerns, baseline health status, and the body’s response to therapies. Typically, patients can expect to see improvements in their health over time, with some experiencing relief from symptoms within weeks, while others may require several months of consistent care to achieve optimal results.

For hormonal support, patients can expect a comprehensive assessment of their hormone levels, lifestyle factors, and overall health. Naturopathic doctors may recommend dietary adjustments, herbal supplements, stress management techniques, and other natural therapies tailored to rebalance hormones and alleviate symptoms such as irregular periods, fatigue, mood swings, and hot flashes. Treatment plans are individualized to address each patient’s unique needs and may require ongoing monitoring and adjustments to achieve long-term hormone balance and wellness.

Get started with Dr. Salwan, ND or one of our NDs at Wildflower Health and Wellness today.

Menopause Dos and Don’ts According to Our Experts

Menopause can be confusing for many women due to its wide array of symptoms and the variability in how they manifest. These symptoms  can interfere with daily activities, work, relationships, and overall quality of life. Dealing with these disruptions while trying to understand and manage the changes can be overwhelming.

What is menopause?

Menopause marks the end of a woman's menstrual cycles and is defined as the absence of menstruation for 12 consecutive months. The average age of natural menopause in women is around 51, but it can occur earlier or later. 

 In addition, because there is considerable overlap with other health problems it is hard to attribute symptoms strictly to menopause. For example, women may attribute mood swings or fatigue to stress rather than hormonal changes associated with menopause. Menopause is still a topic that isn’t always openly discussed, leading to a lack of awareness and understanding. Without proper information, women may feel lost or confused about what they’re experiencing.

We find there are a lot of questions around menopause treatment options, from IUDs and antidepressants to more natural options like lifestyle changes, and naturopathic medicine. But here’s our menopause do’s and don’ts regardless of the treatment options you explore. 

Don’t – Ignore Your Symptoms

Ignoring menopause symptoms can worsen discomfort, impact quality of life, and lead to further health risks such as osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. Prompt attention allows for effective management, reduces distress, and prevents complications later on in life. Consulting a naturopathic doctor ensures personalized guidance and treatment which will improve your current and long term health during this natural transition.

Do – Get Your Hormone Levels Checked

Getting your hormone levels checked is like peeking behind the curtain of menopause symptoms. It helps figure out what’s really going on in your body so you can tackle those hot flashes and mood swings head-on. Don’t guess, know for sure! Naturopathic doctors offer a variety of menopause testing such as simple blood work but also the DUTCH test which comprehensively shows the hormone cascade in your body. Working with a licensed naturopathic doctor can get you the answers you need for your body and mind during menopause.

Don’t – Try Just Any Pink Supplement

Those pink supplements might look appealing, but they’re not a one-size-fits-all solution for menopause symptoms. They are often not addressing the root cause and can be risky if combined with other medications you may be taking. It’s better to talk to a healthcare professional for safe and effective options tailored to your needs. Don’t gamble with your health; go for what’s tried and true.

Do – Get Individualized Treatment Recommendations 

Menopause isn’t one-size-fits-all, so why settle for generic solutions? Getting personalized treatment recommendations from a naturopathic doctor is like finding the perfect fit for your body’s needs. It’s all about tailoring the approach to YOU and your lifestyle. Whether you need more energy to keep up with your family or help dealing with work-related stress, your menopause journey needs your attention. Don’t just wing it; get the guidance that’s made for you.

Don’t – Overeat Soy 

While soy can be the solution for some it may not help with your symptoms. Depending on other aspects of your body, for example your thyroid, it may not be the right move in managing your symptoms. Moderation is key; overdoing it could bring more harm than help. It’s cool to sprinkle some soy into your diet, just don’t go overboard – your body will thank you.

Do – Commit to a Health-Promoting Lifestyle

Regular exercise, balanced eating, and stress management can dial down those frustrating/annoying symptoms and boost your overall well-being. For some women adopting healthy habits may get them a complete resolution of symptoms and for others it gets them the majority of the way there. Plus, it’s a long-term win-win for your overall health. 

In Summary

Navigating menopause can be confusing, but it’s crucial to approach it with clarity and care. Avoiding quick-fix supplements and excessive soy consumption, while committing to a health-promoting lifestyle, forms a solid foundation to support your hormone transition. Seek individualized treatment recommendations and get hormone levels checked to tailor solutions to your needs. With the right approach, you can tackle menopause confidently, ensuring a smoother transition and better quality of life.

Get help with building a plan that supports your health now.

Book an appointment with one of our knowledgeable naturopathic doctors.

5 Things You Should Know About Menopause

Menopause, a pivotal life transition, marks the end of a woman’s menstrual cycles and signifies the conclusion of her reproductive years. The menopausal shift gives rise to a spectrum of physical and emotional changes, ranging from hot flashes and night sweats to mood swings and changes in bone density. 

Beyond the physiological aspects, menopause also carries psychological and emotional dimensions, impacting a woman’s sense of identity and well-being. Navigating this transformative period involves understanding the diverse manifestations of menopausal symptoms, exploring available treatment options, and embracing lifestyle adjustments to promote overall health and resilience. 

What is Menopause?

Menopause is a natural part of a woman’s life that occurs when the ovaries stop releasing eggs and producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone. 

There are a few phases to menopause, starting with perimenopause and ending in postmenopause: 

Perimenopause

Perimenopause refers to the transitional stage leading up to menopause, typically beginning in a woman's 40s but sometimes starting earlier.

During perimenopause, hormone levels, particularly estrogen and progesterone, begin to fluctuate, leading to irregular menstrual cycles and various symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, fatigue, and changes in libido.

Perimenopause can last for several years, and the duration varies from woman to woman. It ends when a woman has not had a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months, marking the onset of menopause.

Menopause

Menopause marks the end of a woman's menstrual cycles and fertility. It is defined as the absence of menstruation for 12 consecutive months.

The average age of natural menopause in women is around 51, but it can occur earlier or later. Factors such as genetics, smoking, and certain medical conditions can influence the timing of menopause.

Postmenopause

Postmenopause refers to the stage of life after menopause has been reached. It begins the day after a woman has gone 12 months without a menstrual period.

During postmenopause, hormone levels, particularly estrogen, remain at consistently low levels. As a result, women may continue to experience symptoms such as vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and mood changes.

Postmenopausal women are at increased risk of certain health conditions, including osteoporosis (due to decreased bone density), cardiovascular disease, and cognitive changes.

Understanding the stages of menopause can help women navigate the physical and emotional changes associated with menopause and make informed decisions about their health and well-being.

Hormones in Menopause

The hormonal changes during menopause involve more than just a decrease in estrogen. The interplay of hormones from various glands, including the thyroid, pancreas, adrenals, and ovaries, is intricate and dynamic. It is crucial for your provider to understand how each hormone interacts and compensates for one another in order to help you achieve hormonal balance during menopause.

 

Here are some key hormonal glands that your healthcare provider may consider:

  1. Thyroid gland – Thyroid disorders can mimic peri/menopausal symptoms such as weight gain, mood changes, fatigue, hair loss and sleep disturbance.
  2. Ovaries – Ovaries are the primary reproductive organs responsible for producing estrogen, progesterone, and small amounts of testosterone. During menopause, ovarian function declines, leading to a decrease in estrogen and progesterone production.
  3. Pancreas – The pancreas produces insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar levels and may influence weight management during menopause.
  4. Adrenals – Chronic stress during menopause can lead to dysregulation of adrenal function, resulting in symptoms such as fatigue, mood swings, and sleep disturbances. The adrenals are responsible for the stress response and take over production of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone in menopause.

Five Things You Need To Know About Hormones in Menopause

Here are five ways that hormones can impact your health during the different phases of menopause: 

  1. Hormones Fluctuate During Perimenopause:
    Perimenopause is characterized by fluctuating hormone levels, particularly estrogen and progesterone. These fluctuations can lead to irregular periods, hot flashes, mood swings, and other symptoms as the body adjusts to changing hormone levels. During this phase, testing for hormones can be a moving target. Collaborating with your healthcare professional can help avoid the trial-and-error approach when experimenting with various products and supplements.

  2. Low Hormone Levels in Postmenopause:
    After menopause, women experience a significant decrease in estrogen and progesterone levels, leading to various changes in the body. These changes can include decreased bone density, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and changes in cognitive function.
  3. Hormones Impact Bones, the Brain, and the Cardiovascular System:
    The decrease in hormone levels postmenopause can have profound effects on bone health, brain function, and cardiovascular health. Estrogen plays a crucial role in maintaining bone density, so low estrogen levels can increase the risk of osteoporosis. Additionally, estrogen has neuroprotective effects and helps regulate the cardiovascular system, so its decline can affect brain function and cardiovascular health.
  4. Menopause is More Than Just About Estrogen and Progesterone:
    Menopause involves a complex interplay of hormones beyond just estrogen. While estrogen levels decline, other hormones such as progesterone, testosterone, and hormones produced by the adrenal glands also play a role in menopausal symptoms and overall health. Understanding how these hormones interact and compensate for each other is essential for managing menopausal symptoms and promoting overall well-being.
  5. Balancing Hormones Isn’t A One-Size-Fits-All:
    Achieving hormone balance during menopause involves more than just replacing estrogen. It requires a comprehensive approach that considers the interactions between various hormones and addresses individual symptoms and health concerns. This may involve lifestyle changes, hormone therapy, nutritional support, and other interventions tailored to each woman’s needs.

By understanding the complexities of menopause and its impact on hormone levels, women can take proactive steps to manage symptoms, support their overall health, and navigate this important life transition more effectively.

How Naturopathic Doctors Help

Naturopathic doctors (NDs) take a holistic approach to assess and treat menopausal symptoms and related health concerns. They consider the interconnectedness of various bodily systems and focus on addressing the underlying causes of symptoms rather than merely managing them.

Menopause is a significant life transition that can bring physical, emotional, and psychological changes for women. Naturopathic medicine offers holistic approaches to assess and treat menopausal symptoms, emphasizing individualized care, lifestyle modifications, natural therapies, and mind-body interventions. If you’re experiencing menopausal symptoms or approaching menopause, consult with a licensed naturopathic doctor to explore safe and effective treatment options tailored to your needs and goals.

Get started with Dr. Salwan, ND or one of our NDs at Wildflower Health and Wellness today.

four stages of menopause wildflower health and wellness clinic

Is This Menopause? The Stages of Menopause

Menopause is a milestone of women’s health. But how do you know if you’re going through menopause (perimenopause) or have passed it (post-menopause)? Learn more about how menopause is diagnosed and how you can support yourself through this phase naturally.

Quick Facts

      • There are four stages that women go through: Pre-menopause, perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause
      • Menopausal symptoms occur as a natural shift in hormone production with age
      • There are ways to support your hormones naturally to promote a smooth transition from one hormonal phase to the next 

What are the female hormones and what do they do?

There are two major female hormones: 

Hormone Produced By Function
Estrogen Mainly by the ovaries, to a lesser extent by the adrenal glands and fat cells Effects include regulating the menstrual cycle; maintaining: muscles and connective tissue, heart and blood vessels, brain, bones, skin, and hair.
Progesterone Mainly by the corpus luteum in the ovaries, to a lesser extent by the adrenal glands Prepares the uterine lining for pregnancy; maintaining pregnancy; and supporting thyroid function, mood, and breastmilk production.

Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cleveland Clinic

The stages of menopause

There are generally four stages of female hormones in a woman’s lifetime: 

      1. Premenopause: This is the period of time when both estrogen and progesterone are sufficient in levels to produce regular menstrual cycles and to support a potential pregnancy.
      2. Perimenopause: This means “around menopause,” which begins when periods become less regular, typically around a woman’s 40s. 
      3. Menopause: This stage starts from the last menstrual period until the post-menopausal stage, 12 months later. This stage is typically when menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and sleeplessness are most intense. 
      4. Post-menopause: This stage comes after 12 consecutive months without a period. 

What happens during menopause?

During perimenopause, the ovaries down-shift their production of estrogen and progesterone. When levels of these hormones are no longer optimal to produce a regular menstrual cycle, menopause starts, and so can the symptoms of menopause.

Typical symptoms that occur during menopause as a result of these hormonal changes are: 

      • hot flashes
      • sleeplessness
      • low energy
      • low libido
      • vaginal dryness
      • night sweats
      • weight gain
      • bloating 
      • mood changes

Although these symptoms are common, they’re not normal, and there are ways to support your hormonal transition without experiencing intense symptoms that disrupt your day-to-day life. 

Treatment options for menopause

Treatment starts with proper assessment of your hormone levels, understanding your body’s ideal hormone levels, and how to manage your symptoms as you go through menopause. 

Depending on your case, your healthcare provider may suggest one or a combination of the following:

      • Hormone replacement therapy
      • Lifestyle modifications
      • Stress management
      • Natural remedies, such as botanical medicines
      • Other supportive therapies, such as acupuncture

You don't have to go through menopause or perimenopause alone.

Wildflower clinicians are here to support you through a comfortable transition through menopause.