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What You Didn’t Know About Perimenopause: A Functional Medicine Toronto Explanation

POSTED ON MAY 24, 2023 BY TORONTO FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE CENTRE

Did you know that functional medicine Toronto practitioners can address perimenopause?

Unfortunately, there’s a lack of awareness on this natural hormone process in many countries. And this is why some women are perplexed when they start experiencing night sweats, vaginal dryness, changes to their sexual health, fatigue and body aches. Truly, perimenopause can impede optimal wellness. 

“Perimenopause, or the menopausal transition, encompasses that period of time during which physiologic changes mark progression toward a woman’s final menstrual period (FMP). This phase begins with the onset of menstrual irregularities and continues until a woman reaches menopause, or one year after amenorrhea [when your period stops] …,” explains a manuscript from Clinical Obstetric and Gynecology

Read this post from the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre for details about this biological transition. 

Interesting facts about perimenopause

  • This is a phase prior to menopause that can last up to 10 years. During this process, your ovaries slowly stop operating, which is why at times, your periods may be shaky in length and flow. This can continue until you enter menopause. 

  • There is no set age as to when women begin perimenopause. Some women start in their 40s, others in their 30s.
  • Clinical symptoms of perimenopause may include: mood swings, memory and concentration difficulties, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats, sore joints, and frequent urination. These symptoms may be similar to PMS and/or other chronic health conditions, which is why it’s imperative to speak to a health practitioner about these concerns (i.e., functional medicine doctor).
  • Your hormone levels during perimenopause waver up and down. Here’s something to keep in mind: when symptoms appear like PMS, you may have high estrogen levels. When hot flashes pop up, you may have low estrogen levels. 
Is pregnancy part of your personal health goals?
 
According to the Mayo Clinic, “As ovulation becomes irregular, your ability to conceive decreases. However, as long as you’re having periods, pregnancy is still possible.” If you’re trying to conceive and you suspect that you’re perimenopausal, our hormone optimization programs could help.
  • Did you know that estrogen naturally protects the body from cerebrovascular conditions (i.e. strokes)? “Estrogens exert beneficial effects on a myriad of body systems, including cardiovascular, bone, and brain,” confirms a Journal of Neuroinflammation piece. Due to estrogen imbalances, perimenopausal women may be at risk of high blood pressure and an increase in BMI, triglycerides, obesity, and insulin resistance. Though perimenopause symptoms can be uncomfortable at times, a personalized approach to health care can help with relieving discomforts.

Addressing symptoms with clinical nutritional and functional medicine

If you suspect that you’re perimenopausal, visit a health care provider for confirmation. In fact, our functional medicine practitioners frequently address hormone issues. They can provide a complete diagnostic session to uncover your medical past and current symptoms, and suggest functional medicine testing to verify hormone levels. 

One test we’ll likely recommend is a dried urine (DUTCH) test that measures your hormone quantities. We would use these results to tailor a unique treatment plan to help relieve perimenopausal symptoms, which could include the following*: 

*Treatments are individualized and may or may not include these and/or other modalities, supplements, or recommendations.

  • Bio-identical hormones: If you have a hormone imbalance, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy could offer your body assistance. This treatment uses plant-based ingredients, such as soy or wild yam, to help with hormonal shortcomings. Unlike synthetic therapies, it’s been thought that bio-identical hormones can be metabolized with efficiency, and that the metabolites may not cause detriment to the female body. 
  • Supplements: To address your individual symptoms, we may discuss vitamins, minerals, herbs or nutrients for support. For example, one herb we may recommend is Siberian rhubarb, which was shown in a study to lower menopausal issues (i.e. hot flashes and anxiety) by 67%. Perimenopausal women tend to have deficiencies related to magnesium, vitamin A, and B vitamins; if tests show that you have nutritional deficiencies, we may improve those with supplementation. (Note: if oral supplements cause digestive issues for you, intravenous therapy may be an option to consider.)
  • Lifestyle modifications: Some daily happenings can heighten perimenopausal discomforts. We may recommend weight management techniques, a new sleep routine, how to lower stress levels and certain habits (i.e. smoking, drinking excessive caffeine, etc.), and regular exercise. 

If you’re interested in learning more about your health concerns, please ask us! Our collaborative team has experience addressing chronic health conditions related to brain health, active thyroid functions, immune function, perimenopause, infertility, memory loss, and more. At the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre, we focus on people as individuals rather than groups of health conditions. Book a consultation with us for a whole-body approach to health care.

Recommended Reading: Adrenal Fatigue Can Hinder Optimal Wellness: Our Functional Medicine Toronto Clinic Explains How

About our functional medicine therapies

Each person’s journey towards optimal health can take twists and turns. How can we rejuvenate your mind and body? Let’s find out with functional medicine testing and we’ll build a personalized care plan for you. 

Our integrative approaches to health care are specially tailored for your biology. Our collaborative team of practitioners adhere to the functional medicine model and integrative medicine principles, especially when adapting intravenous therapy. As a result, you could benefit from various modalities to help with relieving chronic symptoms. We offer Western medicine (conventional medicine), Traditional Chinese Medicine, herbal medicine, intravenous therapy (IV therapy), bio-Identical thyroid hormone therapy, and more. 

Chronic disease management means something unique to each patient – and we get that! By providing a functional health assessment, we attempt to unravel your entire health history, genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle factors to address the root of your health issues. This helps us apply clinical nutrition and functional medicine to your health goals – and yours only!

Personalized integrative medicine services could uncover new details about your hormones, current gut health, and more. Reach us for functional medicine inside our Toronto clinic – fill in our contact form here

Disclaimer: The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting a doctor. Consult with a health care practitioner before relying on any information in this article or on this website.

 

References:

Delamater L, Santoro N. Management of the Perimenopause. Clin Obstet Gynecol. 2018 Sep;61(3):419-432. doi: 10.1097/GRF.0000000000000389. PMID: 29952797; PMCID: PMC6082400.

Matthews KA, et al. Changes in cardiovascular risk factors during the perimenopause and postmenopause and carotid artery atherosclerosis in healthy women. Stroke. 2001;32(5):1104–11.

McCarthy, M., Raval, A.P. The peri-menopause in a woman’s life: a systemic inflammatory phase that enables later neurodegenerative disease. J Neuroinflammation 17, 317 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12974-020-01998-9

Perimenopause” from John Hopkins Medicine, viewed on May 9, 2023. 

Perimenopause” from the Mayo Clinic, posted on August 7, 2021, viewed on May 9, 2023. 

Perimenopause: Rocky road to menopause”, Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, posted on August 9, 2022, viewed on May 7, 2023.

Shah J, Chandanani S, Reddy J, Kirubamani H, Boruah AM, Jain A, Mane S, Biniwale P, Mathur P, Ridhorkar A, Natarajan S, Tiwari B. Evaluation of the Efficacy and Safety of Rheum rhaponticum Root Extract (ERr 731) for Menopausal Symptoms in Perimenopausal Indian Women: An Interim Analysis. J Midlife Health. 2021 Apr-Jun;12(2):108-115. doi: 10.4103/jmh.jmh_86_21. Epub 2021 Jul 27. PMID: 34526744; PMCID: PMC8409715.

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