If you’re a 40+ woman and emerging from the pandemic with a different body, you’re not alone. You may be experiencing fatigue, weight gain, food cravings, forgetfulness, mood swings, bloating, no sex drive, sleep problems and headaches.
And you’re looking for answers.
Is it my hormones? Or the stress of the last 2 years? Is it my diet? Anxiety? Depression? Nutrient deficiencies? My thyroid? Why is my body not responding like it did before?
And you’re wondering where to start to figure it out.
Know that there’s a lot of women asking the same questions. Your peri-menopausal body didn’t come with an owner’s manual. There can be more questions than answers during this age and stage.
This is our clinical approach and how we systematically rule things in and out:
Assessment and Information Gathering
To achieve tangible goals we need a baseline. This starts with an initial assessment or annual follow up.
When it comes to assessing hormones, we start with questionnaires and symptom inventories. Hormonal and metabolic issues, especially in early stages, are not always detected by lab tests. Symptom inventories also give us an opportunity to monitor progress over weeks and months.
Baseline lab work may be ordered. This could include nutrient testing, cardiometabolic testing, hormone testing including estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, insulin, and comprehensive thyroid testing.
We leverage the assistance of wearable technologies such as activity tracking, sleep tracking, heart rate variability, and we’re finding continuous glucose monitoring to be valuable in assessing metabolic health
If any stage of information gathering leads us to red flags, or ‘not normal’ peri-menopausal symptoms that need to be investigated, we’ll refer you to your Medical Doctor for follow-up.
The Plan: Hormonal Support. It’s a Piece of Cake
When we’re supporting women through menopause we move through 3 tiers of support – Metaphorically it’s the cake, the icing and the sprinkles.
The cake is the substance – it’s the foundation of what you can do on a daily basis to keep yourself healthy and hormonally grounded:
Hormone Balancing Foods
These factors have a foundational impact on your hormonal state through the day – from appetite to anxiety, hot flashes to heart rate, motivation to mood, stamina to sex drive.
Every woman at every age and stage can benefit from the ‘cake’.
For some women, this level of care is ideal to support them through peri-menopause.
Yet some women need more. So we add The Icing
The icing refers to the things you take or services you access for hormonal support – vitamins, herbs, acupuncture, counselling.
Not every woman needs the icing, but this next level of support is invaluable for those that do.
And then, when needed, some women will need to add – The Sprinkles
The sprinkles refer to bioidentical hormone replacement. As Naturopathic Doctors we can prescribe natural thyroid hormone, bioidentical estrogen and progesterone hormone therapy.
There are situations when hormone replacement therapy is well-indicated, effective, and worth having conversations about, especially when prescribed in the context of a tiered hormonal support program.
If talking about cake, icing and sprinkles has your mouth watering and your mind curious, contact us to discuss your next steps.
The most important part of hormonal support is knowing and understanding your options.