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Menopause management

Mary-Jane, aged 53, came into me complaining of not feeling well.
She had been using bio-identical progesterone cream to treat her menopausal symptoms. She had been adjusting her own dosages without taking a break for the past several years. It had been prescribed by a medical doctor but she had had no follow up afterwards. She came in for a naturopathic evaluation.
The first thing I did with her is order a five panel salivary hormone profile and because her level of fatigue was so great I suggested we also check her adrenal function. The salivary profile indicates the level of unbound hormone functioning in the body. Her progesterone levels were at a very high level of 30,000 pg/ml and the higher level of normal is 6000 pg/ml. Her estrogen level was within normal levels but her testosterone and DHEA levels were very high and her adrenal function was very low. This high level of progesterone was confusing the hormone receptors in her body and causing a terrible imbalance.
I explained to her that she needed to take a break from using the progesterone for awhile and support other body systems that are affected by menopause. These include the liver, the thyroid and the adrenal glands. I explained that the regulation of cortisol, the main hormone of the adrenal gland, is needed for proper thyroid regulation of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). It is also needed for proper production of melatonin, important for sleep and waking cycles of the body. Cortisol is also responsible for producing Growth Hormone, the popular anti-aging hormone. The goal is to balance the stress responses in the body. If there is too much cortisol this promotes inflammation pathways in the body leading to chronic diseases of aging.  Mary-Jane was complaining of more aches and pains lately indicating increased inflammation in her body.
To support her adrenal glands I suggested the following:
1. Proper sleep hygiene.
2. Her diet plan was too high in sugar and fat so getting her on a superfood greens drink was an easy way to start changing her taste buds.
3. I started her on some homeopathic drainage remedies to clear out toxins in her liver, kidney and lymphatic system. All medicines work better when the milieu of the extra-cellular fluid is optimized.
4. I reviewed her basic supplement program to make sure she was getting enough trace minerals, magnesium, essential fats (EFA’s) and B complex.
5. I recommended my favorite adrenal remedies: rhodiola, ashwaganda, pantothenic acid and Siberian ginseng. These were prescribed in therapeutic dosages over 12 months. The adrenal glands are like batteries that need recharging and in this case, third stage of adrenal exhaustion requires extensive therapy.
After the second stage of the treatment program Mary-Jane’s progesterone levels had come down to a more normal range and her hot flushes had stopped. Her energy was improving and she was sleeping much better.  I now see Mary-Jane once per year. We review her salivary hormone levels, her blood work and do a yearly check up. Mary-Jane was ready for naturopathic medicine. She was ready to make the appropriate changes to optimize her aging body. Are you?
Dr. Ingrid Pincott, naturopathic physician, has been practicing since 1985 and can be reached at 250-286-3655 or www.DrPincott.com

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