Caution Sign Isolated On White - Hot Flashes Ahead

Menopause and the Adrenals

Menopause has now come crashing into the lives of baby boom generation women. Questions about Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), bio-identical hormones, breast cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis often are in every woman’s mind as they enter the menopausal years.

I’m trying very hard to understand this generation. They have adjusted the timetable for childbearing so that menopause and teaching a sixteen-year-old how to drive a car will occur in the same week – Erma Bombeck, 1927-1996

Menopause has now come crashing into the lives of baby boom generation women. Questions about Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), bio-identical hormones, breast cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis often are in every woman’s mind as they enter the menopausal years.

Between 2002 and 2003, the incidence of breast cancer surprisingly decreased 7% on the average and 15% for women over age fifty. After decades of no statistical change in breast cancer incidence except a steady rise, this decrease is the result of an unexpected and remarkable therapy. Many women stopped using HRT. Baby boom women challenged the advice of their physicians and rejected horse estrogens (Premarin – pregnant mare’s urine) and synthetic progesterone (progestin) hormone replacement therapy. These twisted, misshapen, manufactured hormones given to women are based on questionable science and great marketing.  By simply refusing artificial HRT and moving toward a healthier lifestyle, breast cancer experienced a huge decline.

Hot flashes typically drive women to seek out some type of HRT, yet as early as 1987 it was known that estrogen and synthetic progesterone drugs like premarin and Prempro caused 59% increase in breast cancer. Once you develop cancer, you will wish you had your hot flashes back.

Many women have turned to new hormone drugs claiming to be natural and bio-identical. These drugs do originate from plant sources; they are without preservatives, adhesives, dyes, binders, and fillers and women who use them report feeling better. Yet they have not been tested thoroughly for safety and efficacy. At this time, due to lack of adequate research, it is not possible to state that bio-identical hormones are safer than conventional HRT and some research has implicated bio-identical estradiol as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

No hormone therapy can be considered completely safe. The use of HRT weather bio-identical or conventional always has some risk. Indeed, HRT should only be employed after other non-hormonal therapies have been attempted and severe menopausal symptoms exist.

Rather than viewing menopause as a medical condition needing drug therapy to survive or, as past physicians crassly told their female patients, that menopause is the equivalent of castration; let us understand that the change of life is a natural process that can have a smooth, elegant progression when properly supported. At the risk of over simplifying things, menopause is the process where the ovaries slow their production of estrogen and hand that primary purpose to the adrenal glands.

The difficulty today is that the American lifestyle especially that of the typical baby boomer does everything it can to stress and exhaust the adrenal glands not to mention the entire endocrine system. Caffeine, which stimulates (stresses) adrenals is consumed from early childhood as colas and then later in adulthood as espresso and lattes, depletes adrenal integrity throughout life. Then, we live in a fast paced, hectic world with extreme pressures. Many women remain in the adrenal fatiguing fight or flight mode for years. Their sleep is erratic their diets are sporadic. Cortisol, an adrenal stress hormone limits the brain’s sensitivity to estrogens producing hot flashes in menopausal woman who otherwise would have adequate estrogen levels.

So, when the time comes for the ovaries to pass the baton to the adrenals the adrenals are so stressed and poorly functioning that they are ill equipped to produce needed estrogen resulting in negative menopausal symptoms.  One outward sign of adrenal exhaustion is dark circles under the eyes.

Thus if we are to have a better approach to menopause than hormonal and drug therapy, it would be to nutritionally support and restore the adrenal glands and the endocrine system. This is done on several levels. These include dietary adjustments, food supplements, whole herbs, losing weight (if needed), regular exercise, proper sleep, stopping smoking, relaxation techniques etc.

The adrenals require plenty of vitamin C complex, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, other B vitamins; minerals, essential fatty acids and other nutrients. Adrenal glandular and adrenal protomorphogens are positive as is various whole herbs.

On an energetic level, the Thyroid/Triple warmer Meridian not only brings source energy to the thyroid gland (another gland needing support during menopause) but it supports the adrenal medulla. The adrenal cortex is supported by the Circulation/Heart Protector Meridian. It is also positive to keep the kidney meridian open as well. By using a bio-energetic diagnostic device such as the Nutri-energetic system (NES), you are able to see where the energetic flow is weak and where restoration is required.

Rather than using a hormonal band-aid to mask the symptoms of menopause, which fails to address root causes of menopausal symptoms and complications, I encourage you to seek the advice of your naturopath to develop a comprehensive natural plan of action.

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