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A young woman’s life is filled with possibility and change. As she ages, she’ll have many wonderful stages of life. It is possible to stay healthy, happy, vital, and active through all of them. Even if you’ve been scared into believing differently.

What is Menopause?

Menopause is the stage of life that marks the end of a woman’s cyclic years and menstruation. A natural, biological process, menopause is something all women will go through when they reach a certain age. Unfortunately, many women come to fear this normal life stage due to the normalization of common, yet often dysfunctional, symptoms. Our founder, Dr. Patrick Flynn, has a quote: “Just because something is common, doesn’t mean it’s normal.” That thought process could shed some light and restore hope and health to many women, especially around menopause.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges women face is all of the misunderstanding in society and the medical community around menopause. To be fair, women today don’t have the benefit of women 50 years ago, elders who’ve gone before them. Why? Today, more women endure hysterectomies and other medical procedures that alter their transition to menopause. They aren’t able to have discussions and speak into the life of other, younger women who are going through this stage of life.

Another hurdle to overcome is the perception that menopause is a condition to be treated, rather than a normal, healthy, life stage. Even the prestigious Mayo Clinic lists it under “Diseases and Conditions,” and includes a section on “Diagnosis and Treatment.”

a screen shot of Mayo Clinics website as it defines Menopause

This thinking, that normal, natural processes, are actually diseases and conditions that need diagnosis and treatment, instead of a biological function that may need support, can spiral into a list of prescriptions and a cascade of symptoms and dis-ease to be endured.

We look at menopause from A Different Perspective. It isn’t a disease or condition. The body isn’t making mistakes, it simply may need support and for interferences to be removed so that proper function can be restored. At this stage of life, that function is fluctuating hormones and the end of fertility and menstruation for women so that they can go on to live a healthy, vital, and happy life.

What is Perimenopause?

Hot flashes and night sweats, vaginal dryness, sleep disturbances, mood disruptions, irregular periods, changes in sexual arousal or desire, loss of bone density. These are the symptoms women have come to dread. But is this really menopause? No. It’s not. Some have come to label it as a condition, or step on the way to menopause, called perimenopause.

According to Cleveland Clinic, perimenopause is defined as:

… the transitional period before menopause. During perimenopause, levels of estrogen, a key female hormone, start to decrease. You may begin having menopause-like symptoms, such as hot flashes or irregular periods. Perimenopause can last for years. When you go a full 12 months without a period, menopause has begun.

You will also find this listed under their “Disease & Conditions”  While all of these symptoms may be common, they aren’t normal. Unfortunately, perimenopause is a condition, but not in the way they are looking at it.

Perimenopause isn’t a normal transition stage, either. That is why most doctors can’t give any specifics for timing of perimenopause. Mayo Clinic states it this way:

Perimenopause means “around menopause” and refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years. Perimenopause is also called the menopausal transition.

Women start perimenopause at different ages. You may notice signs of progression toward menopause, such as menstrual irregularity, sometime in your 40s. But some women notice changes as early as their mid-30s.

The level of estrogen — the main female hormone — in your body rises and falls unevenly during perimenopause. Your menstrual cycles may lengthen or shorten, and you may begin having menstrual cycles in which your ovaries don’t release an egg (ovulate). You may also experience menopause-like symptoms, such as hot flashes, sleep problems and vaginal dryness. Treatments are available to help ease these symptoms.

Once you’ve gone through 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period, you’ve officially reached menopause, and the perimenopause period is over.

But What Is It Really?

Perimenopause is technically a situation and condition where a woman is going through a hormone imbalance. There is a deficiency and hormone levels are either too elevated or too low for too long and at an earlier age than anticipated. Look at that third paragraph. We’ll forgive them for calling the hormone estrogen, when we’ve discussed for years, that there is no such thing as a singular hormone, estrogen!

Consider the time of life many women are in. Typically, they’ve been pregnant, maybe through fertility treatments, or maybe they’ve used hormonal birth control. Quite honestly, this hormone imbalance likely isn’t new, but has been festering for a while.

The saddest part of this whole perimenopause “diagnosis” is that women aren’t being helped in a meaningful way that will help them restore balance to their hormones. That restoration would help them make this transition into menopause with as little disruption to their life as possible.

For The Wellness Way’s perspective on why perimenopause isn’t a thing and isn’t being handled properly, check out this video.

So What’s Really Happening? Or Not happening?

Hormones converting. Or not converting as the case may be!

Women create most of their hormones in their ovaries. However, the process requires the pituitary gland, in the brain, to release the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) to cause the follicle in the ovaries to mature and be released. If a woman is under stress from one of the 3T’s commonly known as toxins, trauma, and thoughts, the pituitary gland will signal a cascade of functions to preserve life. This can alter the amount of FSH available to the ovaries, which in turn will cause the maturity of the follicle to be hindered as well as the hormones available to her. These hormones could be supported in other ways, if a doctor or practitioner knows how.

The adrenals are also crucial to hormone conversion. Most people are familiar with the fight-or-flight function in the body during stressful moments. If the body is under stress for long periods of time, the hormones released to sustain life will directly affect the hormones converted and available for other, proper functions.

The liver is another vital organ in which most hormones are converted. Is a woman’s liver functioning properly so that these hormones can be supported and converted at the right time for necessary biological functions?  If not, hormone levels will not be able to maintain where they ought to be, and other symptoms will signal the dysfunction.

An info graphic listing the symptoms of perimenopause and explaining what it is

Menopause and Perimenopause Are Not Stages to Be Feared!

While these life stages can be challenging for some women, they don’t have to be feared. You don’t have to suffer like the horror stories you’ve heard. Menopause is a natural stage of life. What has been come to be known as perimenopause is, simply stated, a hormone imbalance before that time. It makes sense how people would come to understand it that way, especially if they don’t have the tests or insights to help women. But we do. Contact a Wellness Way clinic today to help make the transition from cyclic to menopause years more smoothly. We can help you get your hormones tested, all of them, and understand where your body is and where there may be interference. Once you have that information, you can support your body and remain healthy and vital, even as you transition into the next stage of life! You don’t have to suffer; we do health differently!

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Disclaimer: This content is for educational purposes only. It’s not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your Wellness Way clinic or personal physician, especially if currently taking prescription or over-the-counter medications. Pregnant women, in particular, should seek the advice of a physician before trying any herb or supplement listed on this website. Always speak with your individual clinic before adding any medication, herb, or nutritional supplement to your health protocol. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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