Are you experiencing hot flashes, night sweats, difficulty sleeping, or vaginal dryness? Maybe you anticipate menopause in the next few years and recognize that to enter this season of life and transition with the greatest of ease, you must first optimize your health? Are you interested in learning about your risk for osteoporosis, heart disease, breast cancer, thyroid disease, blood clots or strokes? Are you interested in learning what options are available other than hormonal replacement therapy? Our nurse-midwives can offer you the best of conventional medicine and the natural approach.
Believe Midwifery offers an integrative approach to menopause which provides relief from common menopausal symptoms and prevention or treatment of osteoporosis, heart disease, and other diseases of aging while minimizing the risk of breast cancer, blood clots, strokes, or gallbladder disease. Our nurse-midwives will provide an extensive health history review, evaluating your symptoms, health habits, mental and emotional stressors, and risks for future diseases. As integrative providers, our nurse-midwives would then integrate a spectrum of interventions including diet, exercise, stress management, nutritional supplements, herbal therapies, hormones, and prescriptions or over-the-counter pharmaceuticals.
The Woman’s Menopausal Season
The term “menopause” is derived from meno (month, menses) plus pauses (pause, cessation) meaning a pause in menstruation. The permanent loss of menstruation following the loss of ovarian activity is menopause. “Perimenopause” is the period immediately prior to menopause, which a woman passes from her reproductive years to her post productive years.
Menopause should be regarded as a normal, natural event. It is a new beginning of life, with fewer family obligations, new options, new learning opportunities, and new adventures. With a proper understanding of menopause, and an informed and respectful provider, the majority of menopausal women can be healthy and happy and use the is time period as an opportunity to foster a preventive health care plan and lifestyle.
The changes of menopause can be mild, moderate or severe. Some women have very few symptoms, while others have progressive and problematic symptoms for many years. Our advice: do not enter menopause in adrenal fatigue.
Our nurse-midwives can counsel perimenopausal and menopausal women in managing their transition utilizing an integrative approach, with hormone replacement therapies and/or natural remedies. The fundamental goals of an alternative approach to menopause are to provide relief from common menopausal symptoms and to prevent osteoporosis, heart disease, and other diseases of aging. The goal is to do this with methods that do not increase the risk of other life-threatening diseases such as breast cancer.
In order to approach these goals, a very individualized approach must be embraced by both the menopausal woman and her practitioner. An alternative approach is distinct from the conventional medical approach in that each woman should be evaluated not only for her individual menopause symptoms but also for her individual risks for future diseases. This requires a comprehensive health history, judicious use of tests to assess her risks for osteoporosis and hear disease, an appreciation for her risk factors for breast cancer, and a willingness to individualize her treatment very carefully.
Although more conventional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) regimens are becoming available and new non-hormonal drugs are being developed, a practitioner who has an understanding of the whole spectrum of options from the most natural to the most conventional is in the ideal position to properly advise and prescribe a customized optional treatment and prevention plan.
Many women self-prescribe through over-the-counter natural substances, but a weakness in this approach is that this may only treat symptoms such as hot flashes or mood swings, but often does not adequately address greater long-term concerns such as bone density, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, or vaginal tissue health.
The management of menopause symptoms should be distinct from disease prevention. Determining individual risks for significant diseases guides treatment options.
Nurse-midwives can assist in utilizing current testing methods for evaluating and monitoring bone and heart health. After an assessment of symptom severity and scope, and an evaluation of risk factors for osteoporosis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and breast cancer is made, a treatment plan regarding alternative therapies and/or conventional therapies can be determined. Treatment considerations include a spectrum of options from the least intervention to the most. Options may include:
- Diet, exercise, lifestyle, stress management with our assistance
- Nutritional supplementation in consultation with our nutritionist
- Botanical therapy
- Natural hormone preparations
- Friendlier conventional hormone replacement therapy
- Less-friendly conventional hormone replacement and non-hormonal drugs
Diet changes, nutritional supplements and/or botanical therapies will be effective in treating or managing menopausal symptoms in most women.