by registered Osteopath, Paola Pizzuto
Going through the menopause can, for some women, be a truly life changing phase of their life. No one likes being out of balance, especially when symptoms of menopause leave us feeling like a totally different person; sometimes disempowered and insecure.
I am a strong believer that changes are great opportunities and this is especially true when it comes to the menopause. The heightened emotional sensitivity that women can develop during this time, or the physical changes that can accompany the menopause, can be the catalysts for the changes we really need to make to become healthier and to move forward in our lives.
“I’m throwing the blankets off at night”
“I can’t stay asleep”
“I’m so fatigued”
“I feel such irritation, rage and anger sometimes”
“This brain fog and forgetfulness are terrible”
“My hair has started falling out!”
“I feel like a different person altogether – and not in a good way! What’s happening to me?”
I have heard all the above, many times, from women who were led to believe that they simply had to live with the symptoms of menopause.
Unfortunately, there is lack of education about the subject and many women are simply being told that menopausal symptoms are common and not much can be done.
In my opinion, common does not mean normal.
When a woman is told that her suffering is normal, we take away her right to receive treatment for her symptoms and many women develop a sense of disempowerment and start assuming that suffering is something they just have to put up with.
Fortunately, you have a lot more control over the ups and downs of menopause than you might think and most of the bodily changes respond quite well to a natural treatment approach.
The Menopause – an overview
The menopause it is not a single point in time when hormone production is switched off for good, but is a gradual evolution that brings an end to fertility. This transition phase usually starts in the mid-40s, or for some women as early as their mid-30s.
During this time there is a progressive decline in the function of the ovaries (the powerhouse of female hormones) which will eventually culminate with the cessation of ovulation (Menopause).
The same hormones are also produced by the adrenal gland, although in a much smaller quantity. The natural process is for the adrenals to upregulate (increase) their activity in order to minimise the effects caused by the loss of ovarian function.
However, if the adrenals are already impaired due to prolonged stress of one sort or another, they are unable to increase their function and the result can be the development of classic symptoms of menopause.
Female hormones, although historically ascribed to strictly reproductive functions, are also involved in many other body functions such as the immune system and the synthesis of neurotransmitters. They are also involved in memory and cognition as well as metabolism and have antioxidant properties.
This is why the effects of declining or unbalanced hormones is felt on many levels. Some women may find themselves feeling “tired and wired” all the time, relying on sugar and caffeine to keep going through the day and sleeping pills to get through the night. Allergies, asthma, chemical sensitivities and susceptibility to every cold and flu bug. Does this sound familiar?
Why do some women suffer more than others?
Hormone imbalance is often an appropriate response by the body to adapt or counterbalance changes occurring somewhere else in the body, for example: stress, infection, poor dietary choices, toxins, surgeries.The hormonal change and adaptation to these stressors should be temporary however and resolve once the underlying stressor has resolved or is removed.
My clinical observation is that women suffering from menopausal symptoms are carrying unresolved and long-standing health issues that are chronically challenging their immune system. Upon reaching the menopausal period, the shift in the immune system is also driven by the drop in estrogen, causing a decline in general health and women can begin to experience a variety of unwelcome symptoms.
Besides hot flushes, the next most common complains my patients report are mood swings and poor sleep.
Estrogen has many important functions in the brain. For example, it ensures there is enough energy for optimal brain function, promotes brain cell survival, and protects it from damage. Specifically, when there is not enough estrogen in the brain, changes arise in how the brain uses glucose (its main fuel) and in neurotransmitter functioning (the main chemical messengers that relay information within the brain and the rest of the body).
A healthy transition requires a treatment approach that is individualized and holistic. No two women are the same and we all have our own unique life story, needs and health journey.That is why, during a consultation, I gather in-depth information regarding not only current symptoms but also past medical issues, as well information regarding many other aspects of your health and lifestyle, so that I can help you in the best possible way.
My mission is, not only to help you recover from health concerns and pain, but to also serve as an educational and motivational resource to help you live a fuller life. On many different levels. Doesn’t it seem ironic that we are all taught to invest in so many areas of life, but that our own basic level of health and well-being does not make it to the top of our priority list?
This may take a leap of faith on your part, or you may ‘get it’ already, but this has certainly been my own direct experience, along with so many patients I have worked with over the years. When you invest in your health, every other aspect of your life becomes that much more abundant, fulfilling, and successful. This is because your health is the foundation for every aspect of your life.
I have seen many women regain control of their lives and develop a renewed sense of purpose once we begin to work together on a journey of changes towards a better health.
You can make an appointment with Paola Pizzuto by calling our reception on 0131 225 5542.