Over the last 15 years I have spent time supporting many women through the menopause with excellent results so it’s been interesting reaching this milestone myself. I see the menopause and all that goes with it as new and exciting phase in my life. The positive side is no more planning holidays around my periods and the wonderful freedom to not having them – the negatives fade into insignificance and I could go on and on about the positives.
Maybe I am lucky as a lot of my own patients have more of a problem with this stage in their life. I feel the investment I have made in my own healing over the last 15 years has paid dividends; the changes to diet exercise, detoxing; clearing out synthetic hormones; rebalancing the endocrine system etc, which started in my mid 30s. I believe health is an investment which starts with learning to listen to the feedback our bodies give us and acknowledging what usually makes us ill is lifestyles that don’t work for us. Sadly modern medicine has reduced everything down to chemical imbalances that are suppressed by more chemicals that override delicate systems thus further adding to our long-term problems. The payback for this comes back in real terms 10 years later with unbearable symptoms leading to more drug-based suppression and deepening ill health.
So what is the menopause? It’s one of the natural stages in a woman’s life in which the body adapts gradually to the changes of ovarian decline. It is not a disease but a natural transition, just like starting the menstrual cycle during puberty. Instead of gearing up for pregnancy and childbirth, the reproductive system is gradually winding down. As we age, the ovaries will produce less and less oestrogen until they produce so little oestrogen that menstruating ceases altogether – usually in the early 50s.
The symptoms experienced during the menopause are a result of the pituitaries attempt to stimulate the ovaries back into normal function. At this point the adrenals are supposed to take over the role of the declining ovaries; however, modern lifestyles often result in already exhausted adrenals and an overburdened liver. So it becomes difficult to make this change with ease.
The loss of natural true hormones can lead to all kinds of symptoms such as decreased immune response, decreased adrenal response, sleep disorders, peptic ulcers, depression, anxiety, panic, rage learning disorders, and hormonal disorders. It is these symptoms which make many women turn to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).
However, modern drug-based treatment often adds to the problems and there are more natural ways of easing through this stage in a woman’s life.
As women make the transition through the menopause, they may notice that it happens in three phases.
The first stage usually occurs around two to eight years before the menopause and lasts until a year after the last menstrual period. During this time, the production of oestrogen gradually decreases, and many women experience any number of physical changes, including irregular periods, hot flashes, night sweats and PMS-like mood swings. Some women say they feel achy all over. Others may feel tired and have difficulty concentrating or remembering things. Additional symptoms might include insomnia, anxiety, headaches, sleep disturbances, heart palpitations, and vaginal dryness, which can lead to pain or discomfort during intercourse. But some women may not experience any symptoms at all.
The second stage is when your ovaries produce so little oestrogen that the menstrual periods cease altogether. Women reach this stage after they have gone 12 consecutive months without having a period. The average age of the menopause is 51 years, but it’s perfectly normal for the menopause to occur anywhere from the early forties to mid-fifties. If women smoke, they can expect to start the menopause about two years earlier than average.
The third stage is post-menopause – which refers to the time following the menopause which can for some women be up to 25 years or more. By this time, the hot flashes, mood swings, and other physical discomforts of the menopause have usually subsided. But the lower oestrogen levels after menopause increase a woman’s susceptibility to osteoporosis.
Every woman is different, and each makes the transition through menopause in a unique way. Some breeze through menopause with few or no symptoms; others – up to 75 percent – may struggle with hot flashes or other discomforts.
From a homeopathic perspective it is important to establish the underlying causes of why women are struggling through the menopause with all kinds of distressing symptoms. Some the main causes can be found in the following:
synthetic oestrogens and progesterone.
Homeopathy along with diet, nutrition and herbs can rebalance the female hormonal system which is a delicate system that is profoundly affected by the use of synthetic oestrogens and progesterone (as found in contraceptive pills and HRT).
A practically trained homeopath will use a structured, systematic and non-invasive approach which supports the natural self-healing process to rebalance the endocrine system so that symptoms ease and fade away.
Some key homeopathic remedies that I have found very useful in practice are:
Cimicifuga for patients who feels sad and gloomy as if a dark cloud hung over their head, with a lot of sighing and hot flushes.
Sepia is an excellent remedy for those women who have been on HRT or the pill for many years and are now finding the transition through the menopause difficult. They are exhausted and weak with a dragging baring down sensation as if the pelvic organs would fall out. Lots of hot flushes and dryness of the vagina.
Oophorinum for hot flushes during the menopause.
I have also found that herbal supplements can be supportive to a homeopathic program. Some examples are:
Agnus castus (Chaste Tree) which is an excellent herb for menopausal symptoms, PMS, endometriosis, etc.
Cimicifuga racemosa (Black Cohosh) which equalizes the circulation and reduces HBP and treats all kinds of menstrual and menopausal problems. It reduces the symptoms of hot flushes and depression.
Sarsaparilla (Similax ornate) which is used as a glandular balancer and also a blood purifier.
The herbs can be used on an organ level to purify the system and support the indicated homeopathic remedies.
If you are interested in exploring or studying homeopathy or attending our student clinics then contact Ellen Kramer MCPH, ARH, Course Director of The College of Practical Homeopathy • www.collegeofpracticalhomeopathy.com. • Tel: 0208 445 6123 or • email Tessa for help, queries or questions.
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