The Natural Method

Fiona Catchpowle

4 January 2021

‘I don’t want be on drugs all my life’, ‘I don’t take meds for anything else why would I take HRT?’- sound familiar? If your intention is to not take hormone replacement therapy to manage your symptoms what long term strategy do you have in place?

The symptoms, not consequences, are the focus of our collective conversations when we first join the dots that they are in fact down to the journey towards menopause day (12 months without a period). The gradual retirement of your ovaries and eventual cessation of ovulation, and hence no periods, takes anything from a few months to few years. It’s this monthly activity in the ovaries that creates the oestrogen we require, so when menstruation is not happening, neither do we have a supply of oestrogen from our ovaries. There are a couple of marginal backup supplies via fat tissue and the adrenal glands, but certainly nothing like the amounts we used to have. 

Hormonal decline over age

It starts earlier than you think.

The process is not complicated in principle but we do seem to encounter many physiological and psychological symptoms that make us all a bit discombobulated. Let’s be honest we feel bloody crap most of the time and have no idea why.

Those symptoms can be categorised as vasomotor, somatic, psychological and sexual. The variety of lists on different websites are derived from these core groups. However many you see on a list, remember, menopause does not happen in a linear fashion and there’s no magic number of symptoms that defines you as perimenopausal. Basically hormonal decline starts around 35 so if you’re over 40 and still having periods, then essentially you are perimenopausal whether you have noticed or not. You may have additional health issues that may be explained by other conditions, but you will also be heading toward menopause. So it’s not a case of could it be something else instead, it’s as well as.[ If you are experiencing any severe symptoms such as heavy bleeding do please go and see a doctor. Do not assume it is menopause and crack on.]

“If your intention is to not take hormone replacement therapy to manage your symptoms what long term strategy do you have in place?”

Initially the solutions on offer for symptom relief appear way too simple at face value. It’s as if we are programmed for drama. I’m the first to put my hand up to that one. A very basic Google of menopause will bring up 4 key offerings.

  1. Exercise
  2. Healthy diet
  3. Lifestyle
  4. Hormone replacement therapy.

Hands up if you instantly dismissed number 4? Me too. The other 3 also appear to be a somewhat fatigued message. Isn’t that what we are always told to do by health gurus and look where it’s got me? I was still in pain, aching, tired, sudden weight gain, grumpy, sad … BUT was I actually doing all 3 properly or just paying lip service. Was I actually listening to MY body and applying some sound principles to feel well. Quite simply no.  But yet again we by-pass those signposts, because it doesn’t seem possible that those are the ONLY choices. In fact when applied properly they do work and really really well I can tell you from personal experience. Not for everyone, but I’d hazard a guess at most women.

Neither wine or coffee

are part of our natural biology

So the next thing we do is go shopping for a single cure. A golden elixir that will solve our problems and by some miracle help us lose weight at the same time. Surely there must be the Holy Grail to menopause relief somewhere on Google?

Have you tried a symptom relief cure for a few days or weeks and when it didn’t ‘work’ you gave up and moved on to something else? I used to, but I just knew deep down that if my body was changing in the background then surely anything I did need to time to work and then it may need tweaking constantly. In my case based on my own body and the results I have achieved that has turned out to be true.

I ticked the top 3 and felt that was all there was to it. Why did I resist no. 4? Because of my preconceptions about what HRT is and does; it’s medical and I don’t do medical; I didn’t want to take drugs; it was creepy (don’t ask); I felt I wasn’t strong enough if I went down that road; I was a legend in my own lunchtime for doing it naturally and wanted to keep hold of that crown forever!

Tackling the ‘drug’ one first – if you drink the drug we call alcohol are you going to give that up too? Or perhaps your preferred liquid drug is caffeine? Neither of those drugs are manufactured in, or circulate our body. They are not a natural part of our biology, but we consume them by the bucket load. Yet when we hear the suggestion of replacing a vital component called a hormone with an identical source extracted from wild yams aka sweet potato, we go all gaga-hissy-fit-tree-hugging and our body is a temple darling and couldn’t possibly take hormones. On reflection that’s not natural.

Part 5 coming soon

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