The Transition of Menopause
Updated: Aug 5, 2019
What to do when women start to reach the age that is considered menopausal in western society and the Chinese model.
. . . people have to get away from the concept that menopause is a disease. Menopause is a time of your life and supporting the times of your life that will give you the best quality are the way to go.
My name is Dr Butch Levy. I'm the senior physician at integrated medical care. I've been doing primary care in Chinese medicine for the last 30 plus years and I would like to present some ideas that might be useful to you in your own journey of quality of life as aging progresses. The primary topic today will be regarding what to do when women start to reach the age that is considered menopausal in western society and the Chinese model, the cycles of a woman's life are progressive of seven years, so every seven years there is a new cycle and a new change in their life and when you reach the seven by seven, which is 49 the oriental model looks at that being the time that the reproductive energy wanes. As you reach that age, your body has become weaker and probably needs to conserve its energy. So, and its wisdom. The concept is, is that women will stop having menstrual cycles to conserve the blood. Now in the Chinese model, the concept of blood is that as your fluid, your nutrient kind of the support of nourishment to your body and your body's wisdom is such that it wants to stop losing that because it's no longer necessary for reproduction. However, generations ago when people didn't live much beyond that time frame, it really had less effect than today when people's lifespans, especially women are into the 70s and eighties one aspect of your care can certainly be related to practicing the art of Chinese medicine and using acupuncture and herbs to help resolve different issues. Some of those issues relate to brain fog that a lot of women notice that menopause, they can relate to sleep issues, which I find to be pretty prevailing as menopause occurs based on the concepts in Chinese medicine that support those kinds of symptoms coming as a result of reaching that age. The other thing that women tend to notice is that they lose their energy. They noticed that they tend to have more concerns with bone problems with osteoporosis, with arthritis. All of these things all relate directly to the Chinese model of the waning of the energy of the patient's body according to that philosophy. Now, at the same time, our society has become much more aware that hormonal therapies can provide support and relief of symptoms related to this time in menopause. I think that it's important that you see a practitioner that has experience with doing hormonal therapies these days with all of the information that's come from the journals using certain types of hormonal therapies are probably provide a higher risk for certain types of problems. So I think a lot of women tend to shy away from taking menopausal hormone replacement when they've reached the age where they're no longer having periods. I primarily reserve it for women that are having significant symptoms. I think if the quality of your life is really excellent and you feel really good and you have no problems, then you really can't add much to that. I think what I normally see is often depending on the person's underlying constitution, how well they'll really do. A lot of women that are very thin and frail since their bodies don't have a source of making their own hormones, which often occurs when you carry some fat cells, they really become depleted of hormones and they feel like they have a great deal of symptoms that impact their life. On the other hand, women that have had chronic illnesses, often because their bodies have become depleted have lost the resources to survive menopause in a quality manner and often will benefit. I do think that it's a very specific group of people. It's not a general thing that everyone that goes through menopause needs to have and I think there are ways of testing hormones by doing 24 hour urine testing where you can actually see the type of hormones that your body is metabolizing and what exactly is being produced. And the idea is that estrogens can be broken down in the liver, two estrogens that are positive to the body and estrogens that have risks, risks of blood clots or cancer, and you can actually see the ratios and predict what's going on and adjust hormone levels to do the most. In terms of reducing risk. I also feel that most women beyond a certain age probably don't need and will benefit from hormones necessarily. So I think it's a limited timeframe depending on the quality of your life and the quality that you feel you should be experiencing. Now in the Chinese model, the Chinese herbal formulas, while they have different names of Yin and Yang, actually represent hormones like estrogen and progesterone. But the concept is a little bit different, but they seem to work the same way. So you have an option with menopause of using symptomatic herbal formulas to support different symptoms. But I think the real, the real power of Chinese medicine is that it actually will support strengthening the body up. I think when you get to a certain age, a lot of people notice that their energy wanes and they just feel that they're just not having the, the level of strength and the length of, of ability to really extend their time and do what they want. And I think that using herbal formulas and specifically tonics as they're called, actually will extend and support the strength. So I think that when you get to the menopausal time, there are things that can be done. Certainly as you approach menopause, making sure that your diet, that you're exercise, that your lifestyle supports a healthy quality life does a lot to bring you into menopause in a healthy state. If you arrive at that time of life where you really feel that some support is necessary, it can be tailored for you individually. Whether you want herbs or hormones or both, or whether you just want lifestyle or exercise, there is a huge amount available. So to reach a time in your life where supposedly you're supposed to be aging doesn't necessarily imply that the quality of your aging can't be really as good as you can think it can be. And I think the other thing is, is that people have to get away from the concept that menopause is a disease. Menopause is a time of your life and supporting the times of your life that will give you the best quality are the way to go. Thanks.