The Signs and Symptoms of Menopause with Dr. Tori Hudson Part 1

by Jan on October 23, 2009

Welcome to Part One of the Why’s and How’s of Menopause Symptoms by Dr. Tori Hudson. I think you will find it intriguing and interesting as well. I’ve also included a bit about Dr. Hudson as a FYI. And now Part One…

There’s kind of a short list of symptoms, and a long list.  And the short list, the most common thing really would be hot flashes.  That’s the thing that probably brings women most to the doctor’s. Whether they are day time or night time we call them hot flashes, although some people say night sweats.  If we are in the peri-menopause, of course there are changes in the menstrual cycle, but once one has stopped bleeding, then you don’t have a period anymore.

-Hot flashes


-Mood swings, including: weepy, irritable, anxious, very snappy sometimes, not being able to tolerate the world so well

Those are probably amongst the most common.  And then we get to less common things:

Some of the less common symptoms would be in the transition time when hormones are going up and down: headaches, in particular.  Other than that time, once one has kind of settled in to menopause and their hormone levels are low, other less common things might be irritable bowel; gas, bloating, changes in bowel habits, dry skin, itchy skin, the voice getting kind of deeper, dry eyes, vaginal dryness, vaginal thinning, discomfort with sexual activity (we probably should move that up to one of the more common symptoms).  There are some rare and peculiar things like ringing in the ears, or shoulder, almost a frozen shoulder kind of issue, body aches are not on the super common, but frequent list.

Urinary frequency as well as involuntary loss of urine; a little dribbling, a little leakage, that is all related to changes in estrogen levels and the genital area.  Once that tissue gets thin, there is not only just dryness and itching, but there is also loss of tone and changes in angles of things, changes in how the sphincters work, and so then there is that involuntary loss of urine, or frequent urination.

So the reason why hot flashes, mood swings and sleep problems are the most common is not absolutely known.  But we do know that once the hormonal changes occur in the brain, then our brain chemistry is different.  So estrogen, progesterone, these things in particular affect serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine; important brain chemistry that determines our feeling about life, our reactions to the world, our irritability.  So, changes in brain chemistry, how those brain chemicals work with hormones, is very well connected.  That also affects the sleep cycle.

The hot flashes are a little bit more complicated even.  In terms of vascular instability with hormonal changes, changes in the temperature setting point, changes in our blood flow to our skin, all these things are changing because of fluctuating hormone levels, but ultimately, low estrogen levels by and large.

Hormone replacement therapy in any form really helps to stabilize vessels, it helps to stabilize brain chemistry, it helps to re-estrogenize tissue that is being deprived of estrogen like vaginal tissue, the skin, the collagen.  Estrogen determines tone, collagen strength, pH of our bladder or our vagina. It determines the stability of our brain chemistry.  It is massively connected to all these things and men and their hormones have not so dramatic of connections, but also we have these hormone receptors virtually everywhere in our body.

Memory loss and confusion can be very difficult to determine what that is due to because there are normal age related changes in our memory, in our focus, and in our concentration…stay tuned for more in Part Two coming soon…


About Dr. Tori Hudson, Naturopathic Physician, graduated from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in 1984 where she has since served in many capacities: Professor, Medical Director, Associate Academic Dean, and Interim Academic Dean. In 1990, she was awarded the American Association of Naturopathic Physician’s President’s Award for her research in the field of women’s health care and 1999, Naturopathic Physician of the Year.

Dr. Hudson is a national lecturer, contributor to many magazines, books, author, educator and researcher. She has over 24 years of experience and expertise in women’s health utilizing nutrition, nutraceutics, herbs, natural hormones and other therapies to treat all gynecological and primary care conditions. Dr. Hudson is the Program Director for the Institute of Women’s Health and Integrative Medicine and is the Director of research, development and education for Vitanica, an herbal/nutritional supplement company for women’s health care products.

Career Highlights


Professor of Gynecology and Clinical Faculty at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Portland, OR.

Clinical Professor, National College of Naturopathic Medicine; Bastyr University; Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine?First Woman in the United States to become a full professor of Naturopathic Medicine

Guest lecturer, Oregon Health Sciences University, Alta Bates Medical Center, University of North Carolina, Kaiser Permanente, St. Charles Hospital and other medical schools and institutions.

Conducts symposiums and training for health care professionals

Nationwide lectures for both professionals and the general public. Dr. Hudson also appears on many local and network radio and TV programs including appearances on “Good Morning America”, PBS’s “Healthy Living Series”, and Lifetime’s “New Attitudes”

Author of scientific papers, textbooks, medical resource books, and consumer articles


Awarded the American Association of Naturopathic Physician’s President Award, for her research conducted in the field of women’s health care -1990

Menopause and botanical treatments.

Natural treatment protocols for cervical dysplasia


Clinical practice, 24 years

Private practice and director, A Woman’s Time Health Clinic, Portland, OR

Private practice at the Manzanita Natural Health Clinic, Manzanita, OR.


Director of research, product development and education; Vitanica

Office for the Study of Alternative Medicine, within the National Institutes of Health.

Department of Health and Human Resources, Health Care Reform.

Natural products industry.

Natural products industry trade publications: Taste for Life, Nutrition Science News, Delicious Magazine

Published Books

Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Second Edition, McGraw Hill, 2007

Women’s Health Update, volume I, II, III, TK Publications *

Gynecology and Naturopathic Medicine, A Treatment Manual; 4th Edition, Beaverton, OR TK Publications 1995

Contributor: Text of Natural Medicine, Third Edition; Churchill Livingston, 2005

Published Research – Highlights

The Journal of Naturopathic Medicine “Osteoporosis: An Overview for Clinical Practice”

The Journal of Naturopathic Medicine “Consecutive case study research of carcinoma in situ of cervix”

The Journal of Naturopathic Medicine “Clinical Effects of a Menopausal Botanical Formula”

The Journal of Naturopathic Medicine “Escharotic Treatment for Cervical Dysplasia and Carcinoma”

Published Articles – Highlights

The Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients her monthly column, “Women’s Health Update”

Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine

Natural health magazines; Taste for Life, Health, Good Housekeeping, Prevention, American Health, Vegetarian Times, Fitness, Healthy Living, and others

Rodale Press Books; numerous contributions

* For Women’s Health Update, Vols. I, II

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