What’s The Root Cause Of Menopause Symptoms?
In my medical practice, I’m known for working to find the root cause of difficult health symptoms so that they can be treated effectively. In the case of menopause symptoms, we know the root cause. Women have a natural decline in reproductive hormones such as oestrogen, beginning in their 40’s and 50’s. This is a normal transition in a woman’s life (see the first part of this article).
There are certainly a few cases where symptoms that appear to be from menopause can be from something else – for example, hot flashes can result from thyroid issues. This means that every woman with a health issue needs to be listened to and examined carefully. If the true cause of a woman’s symptoms is menopause, it can’t be stopped. However, the symptoms can be treated effectively with supplements, lifestyle changes such as diet, and in some cases bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
“What I usually tell patients is that 100 years ago we lived to 60, however life expectancy now is 85, so it seems obvious that we need some hormones after the age of 50, that is post-menopausal, to live full and healthy lives.”
Some women aren’t good candidates for HRT, however, so each individual has to be looked at in terms of their health status, family medical history, and symptoms.
“Some women are definitely not a candidate for any form of hormones, for example – and especially – those with a family history of breast cancer in a grandmother, aunt, sister or mother.”
List of Common Menopausal Symptoms
Some of these symptoms are more common in perimenopause (the period leading up to menopause) or postmenopause, but for our purposes we’ll group them together. There’s a wide variation in which symptoms each woman experiences, so don’t feel you’re necessarily going to encounter all of these!
Hot Flashes are probably the most commonly known of all the many possible menopause symptoms, but there are dozens of others. When a woman experiences hot flashes, she has a sudden sensation of uncomfortable, feverish heat over her neck, face, and chest that may be accompanied by flushing and sweating. Hot flashes generally last for anywhere from 30 seconds to ten minutes. Certain natural remedies have brought good results for some women, while some foods seem to make hot flashes more severe.
Inconsistent, unplanned periods can be frustrating. I’ve talked to women who have had three in one month, during menopause. Flow may be lighter or heavier than expected.
Night sweats are a common and uncomfortable issue, and many women have great difficulty getting restful sleep because of them.
Even women who don’t experience night sweats may struggle to get good quality sleep.
Fatigue and exhaustion may become an ongoing and extreme symptom, even in women who seem to be getting good rest.
Memory loss can begin to appear during menopause, particularly short-term memory. It can be both frustrating and frightening.
Many women feel their thinking isn’t as clear as it used to be, particularly at certain times.
Extreme mood swings can put some women in danger of loss of relationships, jobs, and even their own safety.
Depression is frequently reported among menopause symptoms. It can be far more effective to treat the hormonal change than to try to treat the depression alone.
Hair Loss/Hair Thinning/Brittle Nails
Some women experience hair loss or thinning during menopause. Nails can also become brittle.
To Be Continued…
Well, that’s 10 menopause symptoms already, with many more to go. These aren’t in particular order. I’ll continue in my next article with other menopause-related issues I’ve seen and treated in my Hong Kong Integrative Medical Practice. If you would like to consult with a woman doctor who has expertise in bio-identical hormone replacement and understands the challenges of menopause, please call my office at (+852) 2523 8044 to make an appointment with me – Dr. Susan Jamieson.