Logo NHC

Entering Menopause Gracefully

Entering Menopause Gracefully

You’ve heard about “The Change.” It happens naturally to women as they age, but it can feel overwhelming or even downright scary. However, there’s a way to enter menopause gracefully. Keep reading to learn the basics and also learn what signals the end of menopause.

What is Perimenopause?

Perimenopause, the span of time before menopause, is packed full of hormonal fluctuations. Perimenopause  can begin as early as the mid 30s or as late as mid 50s. With the wide range of years spanning perimenopausal symptoms, it is no surprise that women can be caught off guard by this natural transition.

For some women, this hormonal fluctuation can feel like a rollercoaster. Women’s health is not one size fits all.  Estrogen levels decrease causing physical and emotional symptoms. Menopause symptoms may include hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, weight gain, irregular periods, insomnia, brain fog, and/or mood swings. With symptoms like these, who needs enemies? No wonder some women feel like a hot mess. 

Worse than these symptoms is when women are not supported by their doctor. A 2014 study found that among 2,020 women aged 40 to 65, only 120 of them were receiving some type of hormonal treatment. Similarly, a Mayo Clinic survey found that less than 7% of the medical professionals surveyed felt prepared enough to manage menopause.  This means the majority of doctors aren’t prepared to treat a woman’s hormonal imbalance. Thankfully, natural health care practitioners can fill this gap, from answering questions about what is the best over-the-counter medicine for menopause to providing lifestyle and supplement tips.

Testing for Menopausal Hormone Imbalance

The simplest way to measure your new hormone status is to use a saliva or dried urine test. Look for a test that measures all three types of estrogen: estrone, estradiol and estriol. A single measure of estrogen is not enough to understand your full hormonal picture. Because decreasing levels of progesterone and estrogen can also affect the adrenal glands, you also want a saliva test for cortisol. The cortisol test should be at least 4-points, to help your practitioner find daytime/nighttime imbalances that may be impairing your sleep cycle. Progesterone, testosterone, and dhea should all be measured. Better hormonal test kits, like DUTCH? also provide information about estrogen detoxification, methylation, and vitamin status–all of which are important to make and metabolize hormones.

Menopause Treatments

If your estrogen levels are decreasing, you may find a functional medicine provider who can offer prescription compounded estrogen replacement; however, topical bioidentical estrogen is available over the counter. 

What is the Best Over-the-Counter Medicine for Menopause?

But what is the best over-the-counter medicine for menopause? There may not be many OTC medications specifically for menopause, but you can find many over-the-counter supplements with formulations designed to support women throughout perimenopause and menopause. For a natural option formulated with ingredients that support hormonal health, try a supplement like Gaia HerbsMenopause Support.

3 Hormones to Feel More Balanced


Estrogen can also be naturally provided to the body through phytoestrogens, which make your body think it is still making estrogen without actually giving the body estrogen. Popular phytoestrogens are found in soy, red clover and black cohosh. DIM and CDG are often considered to help balance estrogen and progesterone levels, but these are not a replacement for either hormone. Look for natural supplements containing these ingredients.


Another hormone that decreases with age is progesterone. Progesterone can be just as essential to replace in perimenopause and menopause as it balances estrogen and can help calm the body and brain, leading to improved sleep. Topical progesterone creams are just as popular as oral progesterone. Returning your progesterone to its pre-perimenopause stage could help you recover your libido and end your mood swings. 


Cortisol is a stress hormone that wakes us up and keeps us going throughout the day. During perimenopause and menopause, sex hormone fluctuation can cause cortisol levels to behave erratically, making it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, or both. Cortisol testing will help you understand your cortisol levels and why you may be so fatigued at odd times of the day. If you find your cortisol levels to be outside of the normal range, you may find relief with ashwagandha, licorice or magnolia.

What Signals the End of Menopause

Menopause officially ends when a woman has not had a period for 12 consecutive months. This signifies the completion of the menopausal transition. However, it’s essential to note that some symptoms, such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness, may persist beyond this point for a few years. Also, the risk of certain health conditions associated with menopause, such as osteoporosis and heart disease, remains throughout a woman’s life.

For help with post-menopausal treatment, try a natural dietary supplement like Solaray Her Life Stages Menopause. This supplement provides support for menopausal hot flashes and night sweats. Solaray Her Life Stages Menopause also helps support sleep, a healthy mood, energy, and weight management. It features black cohosh, green tea, and clinically studied saffron and orange extract.

If you have concerns or questions about the various stages of menopause, talk to your trusted healthcare professional or a certified nutritionist.