I am a naturopathic doctor. I know, I know…what the heck is that, right? That might actually be the $64,000 question of my career.
You see, I grew up the daughter of two pharmacists. The health-care I received was rooted in a “here take this” approach, with over-the-counter and prescription medications the sole remedy for any complaint I had.
Even at a young age, this didn’t sit well with me. I was constantly asking why. Will it hurt me? Is there anything else I can do? Is there something I can eat? Is there anything more natural?
This path of query led me to study naturopathic medicine. Instead of the reductionist approach that conventional Western medicine represents, which by all means has its place in the world, naturopathic medicine embodies a more comprehensive method by honoring the body’s natural healing abilities. We use principles such as…
- Identify and treat the cause—get to the root of the problem, don’t just suppress symptoms.
- Treat the whole person—people are so much more than their physical bodies.
- Doctor as teacher—education equals patient empowerment.
- Prevention is the cure—always look for optimal wellness.
- First, do no harm—use the least invasive methods to diagnose and treat.
This is exactly how I look at the lovely, once celebrated and natural life phase that is menopause. I truly believe that the only normal sign or symptom of menopause is a cessation of the menstrual cycle. That is it!
Everything else that a woman experience at this precious time in her life, deserves a deeper look. This has been substantiated for me not only through research but by my clinical practice as well. I care for many women who enter menopause and don’t experience anything except their periods stopping.
Although everything from hot flashes to urinary incontinence to hair thinning is considered a “symptom of menopause,” I categorize these issues more accurately as “symptoms associated with menopause” to avoid pathologizing this process and to really help understand the mechanisms that are in play as we age.
In a blog, it can be difficult to individualize issues. But a woman’s individual history, lifestyle, diet and myriad other factors contribute significantly to how she feels and what she is going through. I will try to tease these issues in our modern day out as we traverse the natural side of menopause together!