Bettina Toth: Hormone function declines, with fewer and fewer egg cells produced until the ovaries finally cease production altogether. It affects each woman differently, but we know from research that around 80% to 85% of women complain of menopausal symptoms. These range from difficulty sleeping, hot flushes, lethargy and reduced concentration, to loss of libido and declining general vitality.
Toth: On average, between the ages of 50 and 52. Early symptoms can appear in the transition phase (or perimenopause), as early as two to three years before the actual menopause. I have also had patients with premature ovarian failure (which affects about 1% to 2% of women) who were already menopausal at 17.
Toth: A thorough consultation is required to determine precisely the type of symptoms a patient is experiencing and how severely they are interfering with her day-to-day life. If a woman is still working and is experiencing extreme lethargy or difficulty sleeping to the point that she has difficulty doing her job, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is recommended. That can turn things around within a few days.
Sonja Schottkowsky: Phytoestrogens are effective plant-based medicines that have minimal side effects. One is black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) which is used in drop or tablet form. For perimenopausal symptoms, I recommend red clover supplements which are available over the counter. But I also advise all women with clear gynaecological complaints to visit their gynaecologist.
Peter Gartner: To add to that, Mayr physicians have been aware of the hormone regulating effect of Mayr therapy for many years.
Toth: In my experience, many women are sceptical about HRT because they worry about an increased risk of breast cancer. It is of course possible that hormone drugs can slightly increase the risk, but there are many other, just as serious, risk factors at play, like obesity, number of births, age at the time of giving birth etc. If a patient has an increased risk of breast cancer, for example if there is a family history of the disease, they should also be cautious of herbal medicines like black cohosh that bind to oestrogen receptors. In such cases it is recommended to seek specialist advice.
Gartner: 70% of the immune system is in the gut. The intestinal cleansing involved in Mayr therapy strengthens the immune system, thereby reducing the risk of all cancers, including breast cancer.
Toth: If the patient does not suffer from depression, and symptoms like lethargy don’t disappear after treatment despite a sufficient oestrogen supply, you have to think beyond gynaecological causes. For instance, thyroid problems can cause similar problems with fatigue and exhaustion. And new research shows that female patients who are not diabetic but do have increased insulin resistance suffer more hot flushes. Adjusting sugar intake will eradicate these symptoms. So, gynaecologists are the first, but not necessarily the only, point of contact when it comes to menopausal symptoms.
Toth: Exercise (around two and a half hours per week) and a healthy diet are key! I recommend a balanced diet, with coffee and alcohol in moderation. We also know that every cigarette damages ovary function and therefore hormone production.
Gartner: Nutrition, exercise and regeneration – this is what Modern Mayr Medicine is all about!
Toth: There is an extreme shift happening right now. Current studies about the adrenal glands are revealing exciting results: Even in unborn babies, malformations that affect hormonal balance can develop in the adrenal glands. In the next five to ten years, we expect to have new findings about the genetic background of menopausal symptoms. We will be able to use these to fine tune and improve hormone replacement therapies.
Toth: Women normally need hormone therapy for five to ten years, but there are women of 80 still suffering with menopausal symptoms. Our aim is to support women through the menopause in the best way possible, bearing in mind that while fewer female hormones are produced in old age, the female body still turns masculine hormones in the fatty tissue into oestrogen.
Toth: Not necessarily. We see more and more younger people with osteoporosis due to an increase in eating disorders which in turn lead to menstrual cycle problems. Imbalanced oestrogen levels increase the risk of osteoporosis.
Schottkowsky: As a precaution, we recommend a balanced diet, exercise and a sufficient intake of vitamin D and calcium. In winter we often lack vitamin D in our diets and it is important to take a supplement at this time of year. It is recommended that people of all ages regularly have their vitamin D levels in the blood checked, especially women after the menopause.