Symptoms of Perimenopause

Natural Help For Symptoms of Perimenopause

Natural Help For Symptoms of Perimenopause

Before you get into this article, if at anytime you want to speak to one of our Naturopathic Doctors about Hormones and Perimenopause, we have a free consultation call available. Click here to book one.

You started noticing changes to your menstrual cycle, you’re experiencing sleep disturbances and hot flashes, and your mood is all over the place; you’re thinking, could this be perimenopause?

What is Perimenopause?

Perimenopause is defined as the transitional period from your reproductive years (pre-menopause) to menopause as progesterone and estrogen levels begin to fall. Women typically start to notice some of these changes beginning in their 40’s and up to their 50’s, some women even starting as early as in their late 30’s. The duration of perimenopause can vary, but the average length is normally around four years. In early perimenopause estrogen is typically higher, and progesterone begins to lower due to less consistent ovulatory cycles.

In later perimenopause, hormone levels start to resemble closer to what we see in menopause, as ovulation and menstrual cycles becomes even less frequent,  with both estrogen and progesterone levels decreasing. Menopause is defined as 12 consecutive months without menstrual bleeding, in the absence of any surgery or medical condition that may have caused your body to artificially stop bleeding.

Clinically, we often see that some women are caught by surprise when they start experiencing these symptoms, and may assume that they are too young to start experiencing these hormonal changes. This may result in a delay seeking care to help support and manage the symptoms they are experiencing, and a reduction in quality of life. Perimenopause is a natural part of aging, and it doesn’t have to get in the way of living life to your fullest; a Naturopathic Doctor can help address your concerns and support your body through these changes by supporting the whole person.

What are some of the signs and symptoms of perimenopause?

Perimenopause can be highly symptomatic for about 20% of women but almost all women will experience some symptoms to a certain magnitude. One of the most common complaints we hear in office is that women state they just don’t feel like themselves anymore, and often do not realize that the symptoms they start describing are due to the hormonal changes occurring in their body.


Signs and symptoms of perimenopause may include:

  • Changes to the menstrual cycle including periods that may be heavier, more erratic, cramping, and bleeding
  • Mood swings including anxiety, depression and irritability
  • Loss of libido and sexual desire
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Insomnia and difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches and/or migraines
  • Dry and thinning hair
  • Weight gain, especially around the abdomen in spite of proper diet and exercise
  • Breast pain and tenderness


What tests are available for perimenopause?

Blood tests: If you’ve noticed your menstrual cycle has started to become irregular, day-3 FSH, LH and estradiol may provide important data on menopausal status. In addition, AMH may be useful to help determine ovarian reserve.  A thyroid panel may be ordered to rule out any thyroid problems that can mimic perimenopausal symptoms. Furthermore, a fasting panel for lipids, insulin and HbA1c may be ordered to assess risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic disease that may be increased for women through this transition and at menopause.

Saliva testing:  We may use salivary testing to help assess cortisol rhythm. Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands in periods of stress. What some people don’t realize; however, is that the adrenal glands also produce estrogen and progesterone, with this role becoming more significant as the ovaries slow down production of these hormones. This important role of the adrenal glands helps to promote a smoother transition through perimenopause and to menopause. If the adrenals become overworked or tired due to prolonged stress, this can affect their ability to provide support through this transitional period.

Testing is not always necessary, your Naturopathic Doctor will take an individualized approach to help determine whether any of the above tests will be helpful for you based on your signs and symptoms.

How can Naturopathic Medicine help?

Toronto Naturopathic medicine focuses on a whole body approach when assessing natural help for symptoms of perimenopause and menopausal symptoms. This includes physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health to assess the totality of symptoms.  Many women are seeking alternatives to standard hormone replacement therapy, SSRI’s, or other conventional treatments to support this period of hormonal changes. There are several safe and effective therapies Naturopathic Doctors can use to support individuals in this phase of life, that will help achieve optimal health and improve quality of life to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Natural Help For Symptoms of Perimenopause may include:


Eating a diet focused on whole foods can help promote balanced blood sugar and hormones during this transition. Focusing on high quality proteins, healthy fats including olive oil, avocado oil, nuts and seeds, as well as a variety of fruits and vegetables can help provide your body with the nutrients it needs during this phase of life.

Stress Management:

We have all stress in our lives from many aspects of our lives; however, when we are continually exposed to this stress it may start to have impacts on our physical, mental and emotional health. Learning ways to help manage this stress can have profound effects on our mind and body. This may include targeted supplementation, mindfulness based strategies, and self-care practises to help our bodies manage this chronic stress.

Examples can include taking an Epsom salt bath, meditating for 10 minutes a day, or even taking some time to do some deep breathing exercises.  Your Naturopathic Doctor will discuss how stress may be playing a role in your symptoms, and appropriate strategies to help balance and manage it.


More clinical trials have been conducted that have shown acupuncture can be effective in reducing some of the signs and symptoms (notable hot flashes), as well as quality of life in women with perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms.


Many botanicals have been shown to help support women suffering from hormonal symptoms. Talk to your Naturopathic Doctor to discuss if any of these may be helpful for your individual symptoms.

Vitex: A hormone balancing herb that can help improve irritability, sadness, breast tenderness, mood and sleep during perimenopause and menopause.

Rhodiola: A wonderful female adaptogen that can supports fatigue, focus and symptoms of burnout; perfect for women that may be experiencing difficulty managing stress levels or adrenal fatigue along with perimenopausal symptoms.

Ashwagandha: A calming herb that can help to relax the nervous system, and improve stress and cortisol levels. In addition, it has also been shown to improve sexual function and memory in perimenopausal women.

Black-cohosh:  A herb with estrogenic effects,  may help to reduce both the frequency and intensity of hot flashes, and thus sleep disturbances.

Bio-identical Hormone Therapy:  Bioidentical hormones have a molecular structure that  are identical to that of our human hormones, but are made from plant based extracts. Bio-identical hormone therapy may be a helpful adjunct to your treatment plan to help support your hormonal health and changes, and alleviate perimenopause and menopausal symptoms.

The Take Home Message

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, please reach out to any of our qualified Toronto Naturopathic Doctors to support your health during this time and enjoy a smoother transition; you do not need to suffer during perimenopause. It’s important to work with a qualified health care practitioner that has experience in hormonal health, and with these modalities to ensure a safe and effective treatment plan is developed just for you.

There are many natural options for help with symptoms of perimenopause that your Toronto Naturopathic Doctor can implement swiftly to help manage your perimenopausal symptoms and improve your quality of life!


14 Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance in Women

Before you get into this article, if at anytime you want to speak to one of our Toronto Naturopathic Doctors about Hormones, we have a free consultation call available. Click here to book one.

Hormones play a critical role in physical and mental health. Biological changes can alter the amounts of hormones within the body, leading to symptoms of hormonal imbalance in women, which can have a significant impact on wellbeing and quality of life. No two women are alike, so signs of hormonal imbalance can vary significantly from one individual to another. What’s more, as you age, you may notice that you experience more or different symptoms than you did in your younger years.

Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance in Women

Hormonal imbalances may occur cyclically, but the imbalances may also become more persistent. Natural biological changes can lead to hormonal imbalances, but high stress levels can also contribute to or exacerbate them. Here are 14 symptoms that indicate you may have a hormonal imbalance.

1. Irregular Periods

For most women, their menstruation cycle is between 21 and 35 days, and the flow can last anywhere from two to seven days. If you experience some variation in duration or time between periods, that isn’t unusual. However, if you’ve always been regular but your cycle or flow alters significantly, it’s one of the common symptoms of hormonal imbalance in women.

2. Sleep Problems and Fatigue

Approximately 47% of women have difficulty getting a full night’s sleep, and the percentage of postmenopausal women who experience regular insomnia is between 61% and 83%. Low levels of progesterone can lead to sleep issues. Fluctuations in melatonin and cortisol can also be a factor. When you don’t get enough sleep or sleep quality is poor, you may experience a persistent sense of general fatigue throughout the day.

3. Mood Swings

If you find that your mood changes course abruptly, and sometimes for no apparent reason, it could be because you have a hormone imbalance. Many women feel more agitated or cry easily before the start of their periods. During perimenopause, these mood swings can happen more frequently. Sometimes, mood swings become more chronic, which can significantly impact physical and mental health.

4. Brain Fog

Do you have difficulty concentrating or struggle with memory recall? These are symptoms of hormonal imbalance in women. Low estrogen, specifically, may be to blame. Women with a hormonal imbalance frequently experience what many refer to as brain fog. If you have it, you understand why it is an apt description, though you won’t find it on a list of medical terms.

5. Gastrointestinal Issues

Your digestive health is key to overall health, and gut function is linked to your hormones. A hormone imbalance can lead to constipation, bloating, cramps, diarrhea and nausea due to imbalances in estrogen and progesterone levels in the gastrointestinal tract.

6. Weight Gain

One of the sneaky symptoms of hormonal imbalance in women is weight gain. You may find that before your period, you feel ravenous and want to eat everything in sight, particularly if it is fatty, salty or sweet. A healthy diet, personalized for your body’s dietary needs, can help you to combat this symptom.

7. Headaches

People get headaches for numerous reasons, including stress and tension. However, declining estrogen can also cause headaches. Some women experience this symptom before the onset of their period every month, but consistently low estrogen levels can result in more frequent headaches.

8. Hot Flashes

One of the more disturbing symptoms of hormonal imbalance in women is hot flashes. You may have witnessed someone having one, but you won’t be prepared for the sudden and intense heat that arises in the upper body and face until you experience your first one. This intense heat can be accompanied by dizziness, nausea, headache, weakness and rapid heart rate. It may last only a few seconds, but it can go on for up to an hour.

9. Night Sweats

The hot flash’s sibling is night sweats. Both are caused by depleted estrogen, resulting in a miscommunication with the hypothalamus, which regulates body temperature. When a severe hot flash occurs at night, you wake up drenched in sweat, though the room temperature is perfectly normal. Some women experience both hot flashes and night sweats, while others experience only one or the other.

10. Vaginal Dryness

Vaginal dryness is one of the symptoms of hormonal imbalance in women. It is common in those who are in perimenopause and postmenopausal women. Falling estrogen levels result in dry and thinning vaginal walls, which can make intercourse painful.

11. Low Sex Drive

In addition to painful intercourse, declining testosterone levels may be to blame when women experience a low sex drive. Though you may think of testosterone as a male sex hormone, women have it as well. Low levels of progesterone and estrogen may also contribute to a low sex drive.

12. Breast Changes

Have you noticed that your breasts have changed? Perhaps they’ve become denser and lumpier. If so, you may actually have high estrogen levels. If your breasts have altered in the other direction, losing density, then your estrogen levels may be falling. Increased estrogen and progesterone can also cause your breasts to feel tender and sore.

13. Acne

Many women discover the fallacy behind the belief that acne is just for teenagers. In fact, it’s one of the common symptoms of hormonal imbalance in women that shows up again as women’s hormones start to fluctuate during perimenopause. Chronic acne is a sign that your androgen levels may be too high. Androgen is another hormone that is considered a male sex hormone, but women have it, too, and sometimes the body produces too much of it.

14. Hair Loss

Falling progesterone and estrogen levels lead to slower hair growth rates. However, sometimes women actually experience hair loss. If it seems like your hair has gotten thinner, it may be one of the symptoms of hormonal imbalance in women that you can blame on too much androgen. This hormone causes the hair follicles to shrink, resulting in thinning hair.

Find Support for Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance in Women

If you are experiencing symptoms of hormonal imbalance in women, the professionals at Higher Health are here to help. We offer support throughout your journey to improved health, from hormone testing to a personalized treatment plan. To get started, book your Free consultation call today.


Meditation to help balance homones

Natural Ways To Balance Women’s Hormone Health

The Path of Naturopathic Wellness for Women’s Hormone Health

Before you get into this article, if at anytime you want to speak to one of our Naturopathic Doctors about Women’s Health, we have a free consultation call available. Click here to book one.

Naturopathic treatment uses a variety of natural remedies and therapies to help the body restore proper balance. Naturopathic doctors Toronto are primary health care providers that assist patients in identifying health issues and choosing courses of healing for the whole body.


Eating a nutrient-rich diet is a vital part of women’s hormone health. Many foods we consume today are filled with toxins or are chemically engineered, which depletes the nutritional value.

A naturopath introduces you to a health-giving eating regimen:

  • You learn about food sensitivities that cause health problems and discomfort.
  • You see how to balance various types of foods and include more micronutrients.
  • You gain insights into alkaline diets and plant-based foods.
  • You discover what whole-body nourishment entails.
  • You learn how to implement healthier eating strategies, even with the ongoing bustle of life.

NDs educate people on how to treat their bodies with care and work toward a permanent state of well-being.

Lifestyle Management

Stress is a major determinant of women’s hormone health. The more hectic and chaotic life becomes, stress hormones flood the body and interrupt the natural flow of body systems.

Lifestyle counselling helps people manage how they react to situations. How individuals think and feel are important factors of wellness. Greater awareness of how to approach life can profoundly affect the mind and body connection that leads to a healthier you.

Natural Pharmacology

Botanical medicine, natural pharmacology and IV vitamin therapy are parts of naturopathic healing methods and modalities. Treatment choices are based on personal needs and health goals.

IV vitamin therapy promotes optimal health through improved bioavailability. During this process, nutrients circulate directly through the body, stimulating cellular strength that promotes healing outcomes. Additionally, IV therapy hydrates the body, which is an essential aspect of women’s health.

Acupuncture for Women’s Hormone Health

Naturopathic medicine uses an integrated approach to healing for women’s hormone health. Traditional Chinese medicine is part of the naturopathic wellness journey and gives people natural tools to deal with illness and pain.

Acupuncture is a TCM practice that uses needles to balance energy throughout the body. It is used for many conditions to provide therapeutic benefits.

Reach for Your Healthiest Self

At Higher Health Centre, our comprehensive four-step treatment approach helps people move toward wellness. Through in-depth discussions with you, we look for barriers and lifestyle factors that could impede your healthcare objectives.

We use testing to develop your wellness profile and provide a range of options to address your women’s hormone health goals. Contact us today to book your free consultation!



naturopathic medicine supplements

Everything You Need To Know About Naturopathic Medicine

The Practice of Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathy is a healthcare practice that focuses on the body’s ability to heal itself. Naturopathic medicine combines modern scientific medical research and understanding with natural healing modalities. There is an emphasis on lifestyle counselling, nutrition and botanical supplements and medicines, as well as practices such as acupuncture. There are six guiding principles for the naturopathic doctor:


  • First, Do No Harm: The goal is to utilize the least toxic or invasive approaches possible. Natural therapies are preferred over pharmaceuticals.
  • The Healing Power of Nature: Naturopathic medicine Toronto believes in the body’s innate ability to heal itself. The natural world offers most of the tools we need to get and stay healthy.
  • Identify and Treat the Causes: Instead of simply treating the symptoms, we look for the underlying causes. True health comes from understanding the source of issues to get to the root of the problem.
  • Doctor as Teacher: Education is central to naturopathy. Patients have an important role to play in their own health and wellness journeys, so they need to understand their own body’s system and what it needs to function well.
  • Treat the Whole Person: Naturopathy is a holistic practice. Our physical and mental systems, environmental conditions and lifestyle choices are closely linked.
  • Prevention: The ultimate goal is to prevent future diseases through healthy living practices.

The Training of a Naturopathic Doctor

Naturopathic doctors are trained as primary care providers. They undergo rigorous training in the medical sciences. They must attend a Council on Naturopathic Medical Association accredited doctoral program, where they receive more than 4,100 contact hours of instruction. This includes a minimum of 1,200 hours of clinical training. NDs obtain pharmaceutical training and can prescribe medications when needed. Once they complete the program, they must pass board exams before they are licensed to practice.

The Conditions Treated by Naturopathic Medicine Toronto

Naturopathic medicine addresses a wide range of acute and chronic illnesses and conditions, such as gut imbalances, eczema, chronic fatigue and stress-related diseases. If you are currently healthy, naturopathy tries to help you stay that way, reducing the likelihood of future diseases. NDs often coordinate care with a regular medical doctor to provide an integrated approach to healthcare.

The Place To Turn to for Natural Care

Higher Health Naturopathic Centre and IV Lounge is the place to go for naturopathic medicine Toronto. Our providers are all licensed NDs. We treat each patient as a unique individual. We work with you to create a personalized plan that meets your needs. Book your free consultation today!



Spring Is Here: It’s Time To See How a Naturopath Can Help

Spring is a time of growth and renewal. Nature comes alive again, with flowers blooming, leaves sprouting and insects buzzing. After months of inactivity, the world around us is full of life and energy. We humans also begin to stir again, sensing that this is a time for us to focus on our own inner health and wellbeing. Our bodies naturally move with the rhythms of nature. Spring is a season of change, and a Naturopath Toronto can help you on your journey to a healthier you.

Finding a Natural Path to Health
Naturopathy is a holistic approach to physical and mental health and wellbeing. It is based on the understanding that the body can self-heal. A naturopathic doctor unites the power of nature with modern medical knowledge to treat the complex system that is the human body. These professionals recognize that each individual is unique; thus, they do not treat symptoms. Instead, naturopathic doctors seek to identify the underlying causes for illness and disease and implement systems that treat the whole person.

Even if you’re already healthy, a naturopath can help you maintain or improve your physical and mental health. Naturopathy focuses on natural treatments, such as herbal supplements, dietary changes, lifestyle adjustments and acupuncture. NDs can be primary care providers, but they also often work with a medical doctor to provide integrative treatment plans for their patients.

Spring Cleaning for Your Body
During the long winter months, people tend to slow down. This isn’t just a mental thing that occurs when the temperatures drive us inside; it’s a natural biological response to the change in season. When the weather turns colder, our metabolism slows down, and we tend to crave “comfort” foods more. Often, people are more sedentary in the winter months, and, subsequently, they gain weight.

When spring rolls around, we naturally feel the urge to be more active. Our metabolism ramps up, and our bodies work to eliminate the excess baggage we accumulated over the previous months. For those who already have a healthy lifestyle, spring is a time to switch from soups to salads and head outdoors for daily exercise. However, many people have a difficult time making the transition to a healthy diet and increased activity in the spring. This is where a naturopath Toronto can help!

Discover the Benefits of Whole Foods
Whole foods provide the body with the vital nutrients it needs to gain and maintain good health. However, it can be difficult for people to know what they need. While there are general dietary guidelines you can follow, every individual is unique. Your route to a healthy body will not look exactly like anyone else’s. This is why Higher Health NDs take the time to investigate all aspects of your health and lifestyle and analyze blood test results. This provides us with a clearer picture of your overall condition and whole health needs. We use this to develop an individualized plan for you.

Spring is a great time to cleanse your body of accumulated toxins. These can come from our environment as well as from eating the wrong kinds of food. A diet rich in micronutrients can help you clear your body of what it doesn’t need and replace it with what it does need. A naturopath Toronto can help you learn about the foods that are right for you. What better time to start this journey than spring, when more local fresh fruits and veggies become available?

Improve Your Gut Health
Gut health is in the news a lot these days. Medical research is revealing how important gut health is to overall health. Your gut contains microbes that help your body function. These bacteria are crucial in supplying and synthesizing essential nutrients. Your gut is closely linked to your brain. This paired system is connected through a dedicated system of nerves called the enteric nervous system, so gut health is associated with brain health.

When your gut health is off due to stress, poor diet, lifestyle habits, aging or illness, you are at risk of developing chronic diseases such as obesity, inflammatory bowel disease and cancer. A naturopath Toronto can help you get your digestive tract on the right track. Natural remedies can help:

  • Remove toxins from your diet
  • Treat bacterial overgrowth and remove pathogens
  • Repair gut damage
  • Boost microbiome to healthy levels
  • Improve immune function
  • Decrease inflammation

Lifting Your Spirits
If you find that you often get into a winter funk and have a difficult time getting out of it, even after the days grow longer and the temperatures warm up, you are not alone. Traditional treatments usually involve antidepressants, but there are natural solutions that can help lift your spirits as well. Natural approaches can’t always replace pharmaceuticals, but they may reduce the need for medication over the long term.

A naturopath Toronto works with you to determine the best path forward. There are several potential mood-lifting strategies. Exercise boosts your energy levels and raises your endorphins, which improves your overall mood. Acupuncture can help stimulate your body’s natural healing processes and decreases depression symptoms. Botanical supplements can also improve your mood. You need to work with a qualified ND — especially if you are taking prescription medications — as there are potential risks from interactions and improper usage.

Nipping Spring Allergies in the Bud
While spring is a time of renewal, many people dread its arrival. Spring allergies can make you miserable, robbing you of the joys of this season. Allergies are essentially an immune system issue. Your body responds to something in your environment, such as ragweed, as if it were an invader out to do harm. You want your immune system to respond this way to harmful viruses, bacteria and other pathogens, but not when it’s confronted with things that aren’t harmful. Your naturopath Toronto can help you nip spring allergies in the bud with targeted solutions to improve your immune system.

Connecting With a Qualified Naturopath Toronto
At Higher Health, we want to help you attain your best health, naturally. Our highly qualified NDs are here to guide you on your path. They work with you to develop a personalized plan designed to meet your specific needs. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.