Menopause is defined as going one full year without a menstrual cycle. However, sometimes women who are in peri-menopause (or the period leading up to menopause) can have an uncomfortable experience and can be confused as to what constitutes “normal” peri-menopause. At Bridger Natural Medicine, we aim to demystify this time by sharing information and case studies related to all possible peri-menopause symptoms as well as to help treat and manage severe symptoms that interfere with daily life.
Menopause management is Bridger Natural Medicine’s true area of specialty. Dr. Lemley is the only physician (naturopathic doctor or otherwise) in southwest Montana to hold a certification from the North American Menopause Society as a Certified Menopause Practitioner.
Why is this important?
Because as our nation’s most populous generation (Baby Boomers) ages, the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) recognized a need to set essential standards for health providers, thereby assuring high-quality care for women at peri-menopause, menopause, and beyond. To meet this need, NAMS developed a competency examination. Only licensed health care providers such as natural doctors, medical doctors, osteopathic physicians, and nurse practitioners are eligible to sit for this exam. Those who demonstrated their expertise in the field of menopause and are awarded the credential of being and NAMS Certified Menopause Practitioner, or “NCMP” to designate their achievement.
Though it’s true that most physicians can help manage peri-menopause/menopause symptoms, having a general practitioner that also specializes in this very unique time in a woman’s life can help ease the transition both physically and emotionally in ways a non-specialist can’t do.
Symptoms that Dr. Lemley helps to manage include:
- Menstrual irregularity (possibly occurring for as long as four years leading up to menopause)
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Urinary and vaginal discomfort (such as dryness, incontinence, and urinary tract infections)
- Mood changes (like anxiety, memory loss, or depression)
- Loss of libido
- Sleep disturbances
- Other surface symptoms such as hair loss, nail brittleness, skin dryness, etc.
Dr. Lemley also specializes in premature and early menopause management; premature menopause is defined as menopause before the age of 40 years. Early menopause is defined as menopause between the ages of 40-45 (occurring in about 20% of women).
Hormones and Hormone Imbalance
The onset of peri-menopause/menopause often has to do with hormonal imbalance, specifically, levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone decreasing in the late 30s and beyond. Hormones can decrease due to poor diet, stress, inadequate sleep, and a sedentary lifestyle.
Some ways Dr. Lemley manages menopause naturally can be through diet changes, lifestyle alterations, exercise, herbal supplements, hormone therapy, or a combination of these methods.