“I believe that the key to successful peri-menopausal/menopausal treatment revolves around patient education and empowerment. Informing women about the changes that are occurring in their bodies, as well as assessment and treatment options, allows for the patient and doctor to collaborate on a treatment protocol that will best serve the individual. Through education and empowerment, and targeting the underlying hormone imbalance, quality of life can be restored. “
~ Dr. Meghan Stobbs ND
Defining Peri-Menopause, Menopause and Post-Menopause.
The menopausal transition or peri-menopause is a period of a women’s life where ovarian function and sex hormone production declines. This natural transition can start as yearly as 40, and is often associated with changes in length and flow of a women’s menstrual cycle, mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety, depression, low energy, foggy thinking, insomnia, loss of skin tone, vaginal dryness, and loss of sex drive.
Menopause occurs when a women has full cessation of her menstrual period for 12 consecutive months. The average age of menopause is 51. Once a woman has gone through menopause, she is considered to be post-menopausal. During this time many of the bothersome symptoms a woman experiences prior to menopause gradually ease for most women. However, each individual differs, and for some, these symptoms can persist for a number of years significantly impacting quality of life.
What is the Goal of Dr. Stobbs’ Peri-Menopause/Menopause Program?
Dr. Stobbs’ natural hormone balancing program is aimed at improving quality of life by helping you control any menopause/peri-menopause symptoms, slowing down the aging process, and reducing the risk of chronic disease (ie. osteoporosis and heart disease) associated with post-menopause.
Having any kind of deficiency or imbalance in hormones can greatly affect the quality of your life. The key is to determine what your current unique hormone situation is so we can work towards restoring them to more balanced levels. The program is designed to assist and educate you every step of the way. Together we will find a treatment program that is aligned with your values and health needs.
Dr. Stobbs’ Peri-Menopause/Menopause Program is tailored to each individual by looking at the following:
Education regarding menopause/peri-menopause and the link with thyroid, adrenal, bone and heart health.
STEP 1: Complete Medical Intake Form and Menopause/Peri-Menopause Questionnaire
Healing Cedar Wellness will provide you with a detailed medical intake form and menopause/peri-menopause questionnaire to fill out and bring with you to your first appointment. This helps create a clear picture of your personal medical history, your current state of health, and what your/priorities are in terms of health and wellness goals.
STEP 2: Come in for your Initial Consultation
The focus of the initial appointment is to review your medical intake form and questionnaire, assess whether or not hormone testing is needed, and provide education around sex hormones, thyroid, adrenal hormones, bone and heart health. Lifestyle modifications, as well as supplements and/or acupuncture may be prescribed at this time. If you have recent blood work please bring a copy of this blood work in to the initial appointment for Dr. Stobbs to review. Initial consultations are scheduled as 1-hour appointments.
STEP 3: Hormone Testing
Based on your medical history and current state of health, Dr. Stobbs may suggest sex hormone testing (either salivary OR urine), as well as a blood test to look at thyroid health. If you and Dr. Stobbs agree upon hormone testing, the tests will be ordered at the initial visit. Once the salivary and/or blood sample is collected, the results will be forwarded to Healing Cedar Wellness in 10 to 14 days. The clinic will phone you to book in for a 30-minute follow-up appointment to discuss the results and further treatment options.
STEP 4: Bio-identical Hormones
Bio-identical hormones may be prescribed based on patient values, severity of symptoms, hormone test results, medical history, and past treatments tried.
STEP 5: Monitoring and Follow-Up
Finding the right balance of hormones for your unique body and situation is a bit of an art. Dr. Stobbs will support you throughout the balancing process by addressing your questions and concerns at each and every follow-up appointment. Follow-up appointments are used to discuss hormone panel results, lifestyle modifications, adherence and response to supplements and/or bio-identical hormone therapies, and adjustments to treatment if needed. Follow-up consultations are scheduled as 30-minute appointments.
The complete program includes an initial appointment and 3-4 follow-up appointments. If acupuncture is the main treatment modality decided upon, the number of acupuncture visits will depend on patient response. Once we have succeeded in finding you a stable regimen, we encourage you to take advantage of our maintenance program: coming in every 6 months to ensure everything is working properly and no new issues have arisen.
**Naturopathic consultation and acupuncture fees are covered under most extended medical plans through your employer. Testing fees may also be covered, please check with the details of your plan to see your level of coverage.**
Many women consider the symptoms of menopause to be an unavoidable reality of life. The discomforts associated with menopause are in no way obligatory women’s burdens, they are important signs of imbalances in the body that can be addressed and treated. Traditional Chinese Medicine has been successfully treating the symptoms of menopause, both in management and prevention, for thousands of years. As with any medicine in modern times, it is a constantly growing and evolving therapy; but its roots remain firm in time-tested philosophies, and provide the strong foundation for its basic healing principles.
How Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Views Menopause. When working at its best, the body is a delicate balance of many working systems that all flow and interact in harmony. The most basic categorical distinction between the forces at work in the body, according to TCM principles, is Yin and Yang. Yin represents the cooling, nourishing, and fluid substances of the body, and Yang is the warming energy that drives movement and function.
The traditional thoughts of menopause were that, upon entering this period of life, the yin elements of a woman’s body became deficient, and unable to hold control of the yang elements. This disruption of the balance showed itself by producing the common symptoms of menopause. Feelings like heat and agitation were results of overacting yang, and feelings like dryness and fatigue were signs of the underling deficiency and lack of yin. Treatment focus was centred on nourishing the heart, calming the mind, clearing the heat, and nourishing yin (Your cooling system) to provide comfort in coolness and moisture.
Of course, with modern laboratory abilities, we can now attribute the symptoms of menopause to measurable changes in hormone sensitivity and production. Regardless, syndrome treatment based on the ancient theories and philosophies of TCM, with its individual-based approach to therapy, have been proven for millennia to work.
TCM Treatment of Menopause with Acupuncture and Herbal Therapy
The two main tools of TCM in the treatment of Menopausal symptoms are acupuncture and herbal therapy.Acupuncture has been proven in countless studies to offer side-effect free relief in a large variety of symptoms, and is often covered by extended health insurance plans. Regular acupuncture can normalize the ups-and-downs of your cycle, and effectively smooth the uncomfortable effects associated with the hormonal shift. Patients leave the treatment room feeling relaxed, and this calm state can provide for more restful sleeps, and take the edge off the ordeals of the day.
Herbal Therapy works on a deeper level, being individually formulated to address the “root imbalances” as well as provide symptom relief. The herbal formulas used in TCM for menopause have been used effectively for at least 2000 years- there are not too many other pharmaceuticals in history who can boast as much human testing. The herbs used have a high degree of acceptance by the body, are government-regulated for safety and purity, and can effectively relieve such symptoms as hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety, mental fogginess, fatigue, etc. Thanks again to modern laboratory facilities, recent studies have proven and are continuing to prove these herbs have significant effect on balancing hormones, protecting the heart and liver, and increasing and preserving bone mass.
Our fantastic team of practitioners contribute to our blog articles. Together we aim to restore balance within the body, educate each patient and guide them on their journey to optimum health. Our clinic offers natural health for the entire family, from babies to older adults and everyone in between.
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