Welcome back to our series on Perimenopause and Menopause. We have talked about how healthy women should not suffer all these negative symptoms like hot flashes, fatigue, weight gain, etc that are commonly associated with menopause. We’ve talked about hormone replacement therapy and how your adrenal glands are your back-up hormone factory. At the end of our article on the adrenal glands we mentioned “adrenal fatigue” and that the adrenals are run by the brain. In dealing with the brain I find the most common problem facing Americans is inflammation. Let’s take a brief look at the diseases that increase their prevalence in women after menopause:
- Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Autoimmune Diseases
All of these diseases are caused by inflammation breaking down our tissues. As a women enters menopause, a sudden drop in hormone levels can cause inflammation to occur throughout the body. It is important to note that it is not the overall decrease in hormones that causes inflammation, but rather the abrupt changes in hormone level. Current research is showing that inflammatory cytokines increased as hormones drop in perimenopause. More significantly they further found that hormone replacement therapy, while correcting the hormone levels did not reduce the inflammation! This meant even after hormone levels were normalized, many women continued to have symptoms of decreased health after menopause.
What can you do?
Dampening this inappropriate inflammatory response is a key part of caring for anyone during menopause. For people who suffer from adrenal fatigue, I always ask my patients what is causing their adrenal fatigue. The adrenals respond to stress and will change their production into “the pregnenalone steal”. This basically means your adrenal glands will preferentially make your stress handling hormones and let your sex hormones (progesterone, testosterone, estrogen) fall by the wayside. So what is causing your stress and inflammation? At Restorative Health Solutions, we find the top culprits to be:
- Food allergies
- Chronic infections
- Negative thinking
- Improper Omega 3/6 ratio
- Lack of adequate sleep
How do you go about dampening inflammation? After identifying and removing the cause of the inflammation, some anti-inflammatory compounds can work wonders for people. Turmeric can be particularly effective as an anti-inflammatory. I recommend between 2-5g/day depending on the case, but it is important to find the cause and not just take the turmeric! If you are harboring an H. Pylori infection in your stomach anti-inflammatories can only do so much.
Part of taking care of anyone in perimenopause and menopause is getting rid of inflammation and allowing their adrenals to produce their needed hormones. Simply addressing the decrease in hormones is not enough to reduce the symptoms of menopause, so addressing inflammatory issues is key to prevent further complications such as cardiovascular disease, dementia, or autoimmunity. In the next article we will talk about how brain imbalances can affect women during this time. Please read the article below to find out why the emotions often go so crazy during perimenopause.