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HEALTH CONCERN? BioHealth Health Concerns

The Case of Early Menopause

Contributing Author: Tranchitella, Tracy N.D.

TracyTracy Tranchitella, N.D. is a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine who specializes in providing nutritional and homeopathic consultations, lifestyle counseling, botanical medicine and women's health assessments and detoxification programs. She graduated in 1998 from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM) in Tempe, Arizona. Currently, she lives and practices in Temecula, California. Dr. Tranchitella is licensed in the State of California and a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) and the California Association of Naturopathic Physicians (CANP).

» Website: Sunrise Medical

A 41-year old women came to our office with what appeared to be perimenopausal symptoms including erratic cycles, emotional instability, sleep disturbance and periodic hot flashes.  Her family doctor explained that she was going through menopause and encouraged her to begin standard hormone replacement therapy (HRT).  She came to me for a second opinion and the hope that more natural forms of therapy may be available.

In my practice this scenario is very common.  More and more women seem to be having symptoms of early menopause, and as a result begin standard hormone replacement therapy to help alleviate the hormone related symptoms.  Unfortunately, this approach of early HRT is not addressing the reasons why these women are having irregular menstrual patterns and sets the stage for potential long-term health risks from standard HRT.  Our approach is different in that I seek to uncover the reasons why women are going through early menopause while supporting their bodies with more natural therapies.

Allison, our case example above, was a vibrant, energetic woman with a myriad of family and job related duties which kept her busy most of the time.   Over the past few years she had noticed a decline in her energy level and overall sense of well-being which had begun to affect her ability to keep up with her daily demands.  Her diet was consistently high in carbohydrate foods, coffee, and sweets; while her time for rest and relaxation was limited.  As she explained, "I don’t have time to relax because there are too many things I have to do." 

She admitted that her use of coffee had increased to help ‘boost’ her energy to get through the day.  The carbohydrate-rich foods, including sweets were her way of compensating for what she describes as "blood sugar problems" which have been a problem her whole life.  Our assessment was simple, a clear case of adrenal fatigue related to lifestyle and dietary stress which was affecting her ability to maintain normal sex hormone (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone) balance.  Also, I felt her liver function was compromised causing a decreased ability to remove excess hormones from her body which ultimately leads to an imbalance of menstrual cycles.

The adrenal gland is a key organ in our body that regulates hormonal balance and control.  It responds to stressful events by producing chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline to keep our body in balance and promote proper function of the immune, nervous, and hormone systems.  Unfortunately, when you are under prolonged stress, increasing demands are placed upon your adrenal glands which can lead to exhaustion and lack of proper function. 

This ultimately leads to a decrease in hormone production, including your sex hormones.  In many women this sets the stage for menstrual irregularities that may lead to early menopause.  With increasing stress leading to hormone imbalances, liver function is compromised creating problems of excess sex hormone circulation and hormonal imbalances.  PMS, cramps, fibroids, and fibrocystic breasts can be related to the livers inability to clear excess hormones.

We evaluated Allison’s adrenal hormones, as well as sex hormone levels through COREONE Diagnostics, Inc. salivary hormone profiles and determined she was having significant hormone related deficiency including cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, and DHEA.  Through a program of dietary modification including a balance of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, and BioMatrix adrenal support supplements of pregnenolone, licorice root, DHEA, etc., and lifestyle modifications of improved sleep and stress reduction techniques Allison was able to normalize her irregular cycles without the need for hormone replacement therapy.  Also, Allison performed a liver cleanse diet which helped to clear excess hormones from her body and opened up the pathways for proper detoxification.  All of these simple measures increased her energy levels, decreased her hormone imbalance symptoms, and improved her quality of life.