Menopause is defined as cessation of menstrual periods for at least one year. Perimenopause precedes actual menopause and can last for 2-10 years. During the perimenopausal period women may experience all the symptoms of menopause including hot flashes, night sweats, irregular periods, emotional changes, poor sleep and irritability. Menopause and periomenopause are a natural transition in a woman's reproductive life, just like puberty. As such, they are not a medical condition and in and of themselves, do not need to be medicated. However, when the symptoms of perimenopause/menopause are sufficiently severe as to negatively impact a woman's quality of life, easing the symptoms is sometimes in order.
Causes of Severe Menopause Symptoms
The adrenal or stress glands can help to ease the hormonal transition at menopause. The adrenals produce the building blocks to make hormones like estrogen if more is needed. Often women with severe menopause or perimenopausal symptoms have overly taxed their adrenal glands through excessive coffee consumption, nicotine intake or prolonged high stress levels.
The liver is responsible for breaking down excess hormones and manufacturing building blocks for new steroid hormones. Hormone imbalance symptoms like those seen at menopause can be the result of an overburdened liver.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can lead to poor production of serotonin - a mood elevating neurotransmitter, and melatonin - a sleep inducing neurotransmitter.
The Naturopathic Approach to Menopause and Perimenopause
Support and nourish the adrenal glands while reducing stress. Stress reduction is vital because otherwise you only end up breaking even with the adrenal support, you aren't able to make progress.
Liver detoxification can help relieve a congested liver and enable more efficient liver function.
Vitamins like B6 and minerals like magnesium are helpful for production of serotonin and melatonin, as well as facilitating many enzyme reactions throughout the body.
Plant hormone like substances can help make up for hormone deficiencies and smooth the transition at menopause. Phytoestrogens and phytoprogesterones have very weak hormone like activity that acts to moderate hormone levels. Current data suggests that there is no cause for concern when consuming these as they are very weak and if anything they appear to have anti-cancer properties.

Author's Bio: 

I’ve been in practice as a naturopathic doctor for 9 years and was twice voted "Best Naturopath in Toronto" by the Readers of NOW magazine.
I’m a member of the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors, the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors and I’m licensed/registered with the Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy – Naturopathy.
Overcoming my own health issues has inspired an interest in women’s health issues, particularly fibroids, endometriosis, PCOS, PMS and infertility although I enjoy helping people with a wide variety of conditions including allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's, eczema, psoriasis, headaches/migraines, menopause, diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, hypothyroidism, weight loss and much more. My treatments are designed to address the root cause of a health problem, rather than just mask the symptoms while the underlying disease runs rampant. I use a diverse treatment approach that may incorporate acupuncture, herbal medicine, homeopathy, nutrition, diet, vitamins, supplements and other natural remedies.
I’m the proud mom of a wonderful little 2 ½ year old boy named Brandon. When I'm not busy chasing after him, I'm at the gym, the library or on the tennis courts.