Hormone imbalance from Perimenopause is especially frustrating. As a Female Hormone Specialist I refer to Perimenopause as permanent PMS. Whenever I say this to my new perimenopausal hormone imbalance patient they nod their head in complete agreement. So there you go.... I finally have said it out loud and now confirmed exactly why women prior to menopause feel permanently agitated, angry, bloated, moody, sad, achy, inflamed tired and blah. Welcome to permanent PMS!
Fear not there is Naturopathic Help for your Perimenopause!
Perimenopause is defined as the 10 years prior to menopause. With the average age of menopause being 51, many women will enter perimenopause around the average age of 41. Some women will enter perimenopause as early as 30 and some women will begin perimenopause in their late 40’s.
Regardless of when perimenopause begins it never goes very well because women are in a constant state of estrogen dominance during menopause that appears on paper very similar to PMS. Instead of having PMS a few days each month women begin to report to me that they are only experiencing a few good days each month as the hormone imbalance continues and their symptoms of estrogen dominance and progesterone deficiency continue to persist until a hormone doctor trained in Naturopathy such as myself can artfully intervene with herbal medicine and bioidentical hormones.
Hormones are not always required to treat perimenopause or menopause although some women do truly need them and feel a strong benefit. When women choose to avoid hormones in menopause they can work with a skilled Women's Health Naturopath using herbs, nutrition, vitamins and supplements as a natural alternative to bioidentical hormones. I am happy to support women on their preference either way and understand many women do not want to take hormones or cannot due to certain health conditions.
Because the treatment of perimenopause does not always require bioidentical hormones, women are often better served by a naturopathic or herbal medicine approach to balance their hormones. Around age 35 testosterone levels will naturally decline and women will notice more fatigue and joint pain after exercise and that it takes longer to recover from their work outs as testosterone’s role in the body is to help heal and repair muscles and joints. Therefore women are left feeling more stiff, achy and fatigued as they struggle to accomplish as much with their workouts and daily functioning due to declining testosterone levels.
Progesterone levels also begin to decline around age 35. A young fertile women of age 20 would have an average testosterone level of 20, whereas perimenopausal and menopausal women tend to have levels around 1 or even in the decimal points. This is “Nature’s Birth Control” and serves as somewhat of a protective function for women with declining ovarian reserves and advancing age as they naturally become less likely to become pregnant with a child with Down’s Syndrome. But as the progesterone naturally becomes deficient in perimenopause, women are left severely “Estrogen Dominant” for their entire cycle and not just the few days before their period starts.
Perimenopausal hormone imbalance is also the culprit behind all of the annoying uterine, breast and ovarian conditions that women develop in their 40’s and 50’s. Perimenopausal hormone imbalance causes breast cysts, Fibroids forming, uterine polyps, heavy bleeding, endometriosis and even breast cancer can result from severe hormone imbalance. My #1 pet peeve as a Female Hormone Specialist is when women have surgeries for these estrogen dominant states and nobody ever bothers to correct the hormone imbalance. Leaving women with chronic mental health symptoms, joint aches and pains, lethargy, insomnia and an overall lack of vitality.
The best thing women experiencing perimenopausal changes can do is schedule an appointment with a holistic hormone doctor. Just correcting the deficient progesterone and testosterone is never sufficient until we address the estrogen dominance which requires herbs and supplements. A well seasoned Naturopathic Female Hormone Doctor should be able to help provide you relief from these frustrating female symptoms.
It is important you find someone well versed in both prescription bioidentical hormone therapy and herbal medicine, naturopathy and alternative medicine because it is going to “Take a Village” to get many of my perimenopausal women back on track. I love being an integrated women’s health doctor because that means I have all of the tools in my tool box from my 8 years of work in traditional family medicine and hormones and over 14 years of experience as a Women’s Health Naturopathic Doctor.
Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD
Dr. Sundene is a Naturopathic Doctor in Scottsdale, Arizona, and is considered a Female Hormone Expert in Women's Health and Bioidentical Hormones. She specializes in Holistic Women's Health for Menopause, Thyroid, Hashimotos, PMS, Perimenopause, Autoimmune, Postpartum, Chronic Fatigue, Depression, Anxiety, Food Allergies, Digestion, Dermatology , Acne, Psoriasis, Eczema and Adrenal Hormonal Conditions. In 1999 she began working for a Hormone Doctor prior to starting Naturopathic Medical School. With over 22 years of experience in both Prescription and Natural women's health and hormones she presents to women the best integrated health solutions for their Chronic Disease. She has been an Herbalist for over 27 years and enjoys teaching women how to use herbs to balance their hormones, nutrition and optimize their health. Dr. Sundene relies on blood testing for her hormone metrics. The hormone testing is covered per the patient's insurance plan and conducted at certain points in the woman's menstrual cycle. To learn more about Hormone Testing for Women Visit: Bioidentical Hormones. Follow Dr. Sundene on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for more tips on Women's Health, Female Hormones and Naturopathy!