Menopause and Peri-Menopause

Are hot flashes interfering with work in the day?

Not sleeping well because of waking 3-5 times a night drenched in sweat?

Noticing mood getting more crunchy, irritable, or weepy, anxious or blue... especially premenstrually?

Are menstrual cycles becoming more irregular, heavy or light?

​Experiencing pelvic dryness, pain with intimacy, low libido?

Noticing weight gain around the mid-section that doesn't come off no matter how hard someone diets and exercises?

Hair loss? Joins ache more? Acne? Or... not feeling quite like self, or just feeling blah???

​These could all be hormonally related to changes that occur with peri-menopause and menopause.

Often, symptoms associated with the aging process of menopause can be uncomfortable and challenging, not only physically, but emotionally as well. To learn more, read on in order to understand a bit more about the clinic and Dr. Lemley as it relates to his expertise in this arena of peri-menopause, menopause, and hormonal health.

For over 19 years, Dr. Lemley is the ONLY physician in southwest Montana who carries the Certified Menopause Clinician credential from the leading governing authority on menopause, known as the North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

Menopause and Peri-Menopause

Menopause is defined as going one full year without a menstrual cycle with an average age of onset at 52 +/- a couple years. The time leading up to menopause is defined as Peri-menopause. Peri-Menopause is when most women begin to experience uncomfortable menopausal symptoms, with onset of symptoms years prior to entering into menopause.

Symptoms of Peri-Menopause typically have an onset in a woman's late 40's, but they can begin earlier in her 40's and as early as her late 30's. There are 2 phases of peri-menopause: an early phase, and a late phase. At Bridger Natural Medicine Clinic, the aim to make an uncomfortable transitional time comfortable. During the initial consult of 1-2 hours, patients become empowered to make sound decisions for themselves as it pertains to their hormonal health and well-being no matter which phase or transition they are in. Because there is so much misinformation out there regarding peri-menopausal and menopausal interventions (especially regarding Hormone Therapy), Dr. Lemley's goal is to spend considerable time with a person for purposes of clarifying the stages of the peri-menopause, the menopausal transition, and their respective interventions and treatments. The pro's/con's, benefits and risks, short term and long term use of interventions are all thoroughly discussed. This is done by separating the facts from the fiction based on reliable and sound science. A woman may experience many physical and emotional changes during peri-menopause and menopause. Our aim is to advance women into menopause comfortably by effectively managing the symptoms that interfere with quality of life while protecting their physical bodies from the accelerated aging and degeneration processes which happen by virtue of menopause.

Did you know a women will lose 10-15% of her bone density within 1-3 years after menopause? This bone density loss has little to do with Calcium or Vitamin D, but is largely due to the loss of estrogen's protective effects on maintaining bone density. Not only is there a loss of bone density associated with menopause, when a woman goes into menopause, she then becomes at risk for age related illnesses that she was not at risk of previously, like heart disease, breast cancer, alzheimer's dementia, and colon cancer to mention a few. Risk for these age-related illness plus others rise substantially post-menopause and part of the goal is to prevent, delay, or turn around the onset of these age-related illnesses.

Menopause management is Bridger Natural Medicine's true area of specialty. Dr. Lemley is the ONLY physician in southwest Montana who holds a credential from the leading governing authority on menopause known as the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), as a NAMS Certified Menopause Practitioner .

Why seeing a NAMS Certified Menopause Practitioner is important?

Because as our nation's most populous generation ages (the Baby Boomers), the North American Menopause Society ( recognized a need to set essential standards for health care 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 naturopathic physicians (ND's), medical doctors (MD's), osteopathic physicians (OD's), and nurse practitioners (NP's) are eligible to sit for this exam. Those who demonstrated their expertise in the field of menopause and are awarded the esteemed credential of being and NAMS Certified Menopause Practitioner, or "NCMP" to designate their achievement. Dr. Lemley has carried his NAMS Certified Menopause Practitioner credential for 14 years after earning it in 2005.

Though it's true that many physicians can help assist in peri-menopause/menopause management, having a general practitioner who specializes in this very unique time in a woman's life can help ease more the transition both physically and emotionally by managing the symptoms all the while protecting the bones, heart, breasts, brain, eyes, colon, and lungs from age-related illness in ways a non-menopause specialist can't. It makes a difference seeing a NCMP because their level of knowledge and expertise regarding menopause, hormones, and protections while staving off chronic degenerative illness associated with aging, are above and beyond that held by a typical ND, MD, DO or NP.

Menopausal symptoms that Dr. Lemley helps to manage include:

  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Mood changes such as anxiety, depression, and irritability or weepiness due to hormonal changes
  • Menstrual irregularity such as longer, heavier, shorter, or skipped cycles
  • Significantly heightened PMS symptoms such as breast tenderness, abdominal bloating, moodiness prior to menses, premenstrual acne
  • Vaginal dryness, pain, and discomfort
  • Urinary changes such as leaking, incontinence, and urinary tract infections (UTI's)
  • Loss of libido and interest
  • Poor memory and concentration
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Weight gain, bloating, and low energy
  • Other symptoms such as hair loss, nail brittleness, skin dryness, etc.
  • Also treating: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, hormonal acne, breast health and prevention, endometriosis, migraines and headache, fibrocystic breast disease, fertility, loss of bone density and more.

Dr. Lemley also specializes in Premature Ovarian Failure (POF) 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 dramatic hormonal fluctuations and imbalance, specifically as it pertains to levels of estrogen and progesterone as endogenous ovarian production of these hormones wanes. Associated hormones may also include testosterone and DHEA which begin decreasing their production in the late 30s, with symptoms more notable in a woman's 40's. Hormones can be influenced from 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 and nutritional supplements, the incorporation of Hormone Therapy, and/or a combination of these methods which is often the norm.

Menopause, Peri-Menopause, Andropause and other hormone related conditions are Dr. Lemley's true area of specialty and expertise.

Types of Patients Seen

Dr. Lemley is a women's and men's hormone specialist, working with women, men, as well as many other conditions such a thyroid, gastrointestinal issues, and more.

Women's Health

Peri-Menopause/Menopause, Hot flashes and night sweats, mood changes such as anxiety/depression, menstrual irregularities, such as longer, heavier, or shorter cycles, decreased libido, and pelvic atrophy, fibroids, fibrocysitc breast disease, endometriosis, thyroid conditions, and prevention of age-related illness.

Mens Health

Dr. Lemley also specializes in a variety of men's related issues, including Andropuase, low energy, decreased sexual desire and function (ED), prostate and urinary issues, weight gain, mood changes, among others.