Menopause finally brings an end to premenstrual symptoms. This remedy may be either natural menopause or a surgical menopause, with removal of the ovaries. There is some evidence that PMS symptoms gradually decrease from their peak levels of severity even before menopause.
During menopause, the Serotonin levels change. Whether the body is being affected by the hormones progesterone or estrogen, we're not quite sure. Menopause brings its own list of symptoms.
Menopause and Serotonin
Angela is 52 years old and has come to her doctor complaining of hot flashes, dryness in her vaginal tissues, and emotional symptoms. Her first concern is the vaginal dryness because this has led to a decrease in sexual activity between her and her husband. The emotional problems are running a close second. "One minute I'm fine, the next I'm all upset and crying. The smallest problem seems to set me off on a crying spree."
Angela s husband is at a loss to know what to do. ''Every time I try to help, it only makes her more angry. I'm in trouble when I try to help and in trouble if I ignore the problem. I can't win."
Since menopause can cause symptoms of a Serotonin dysfunction Angela s physician gave her a prescription for Prozac a Serotonin reuptake inhibitor.
Angela has two sets of symptoms here. The physical symptoms of vaginal dryness and hot flashes are probably due to a hormone imbalance. The emotional symptoms of anxiety and depression may be the result of a Serotonin dysfunction and therefore amenable to treatment with 5-HTP.
5-HTP and Menopause
We asked Dr. Renna for his opinion on the use of 5-HTP for menopause:
"Perimenopause and menopause are filled with a constellation of biochemical changes. You cannot realistically expect that one supplement such as 5-HTP or one neurochemical such as Serotonin could resolve all symptoms. But you would expect that some symptoms would be improved, and, in fact, these symptoms of irritability and depression have been improved in women- I have treated for menopausal and premenopausal discomfort."
In his practice he has found that 5-HTP works well to reduce the symptoms of anxiety that often accompany menopause.
Let's return to the case of Angela.
After six months on Prozac Angela reported that her mood swings had disappeared. Unfortunately so did her sex drive. She went to see a naturopathic physician to find an alternative. Her new doctor recommended that she tapered her off of the Prozac and substitute 5-HTP. After a few weeks on 5-HTP, she reports that her mood swings have evened out and her sex drive has returned.
Dr. Elisa Lotter talks about the anxiety some women experience as they approach menopause. "People really want to self-medicate themselves. People are saying, 'Look, I'm much more anxious.' They are very fearful about menopause, both from a physiological level and a psychological level, particularly where I practice, a very affluent area where we have a lot of film industry people. We have the most beautiful women in the world, and the biggest fear is, I'm getting old, I'm feeling old, I'm looking old, I will not get a part, and so on. I think 5-HTP can be very valuable in this sense because it ameliorates a lot of that anxiety about getting old."
While the answer to many of the physical symptoms of
menopaus are beyond the scope of this book, the mental problems can very well be treated by supplements of 5-HTP alone.
From the forthcoming book, “PMS and Menopause Management with 5-HTP” by Othniel Seiden, MD & Jane L. Bilett, PhD, Amazon & Kindle