Homeopathy in the Menopause
The menopause usually takes place around the age of 49, but can occur earlier due to unusual stress, surgery or hereditary factors. It is a normal event, and can be viewed positively as a liberating opportunity for change, with a chance to pursue new interests and forge a new identity as a mature woman, for others its seen as the end of child rearing and can cause much distress. Uncomfortable symptoms are common, notably so in Western society, where women are also considered to be of less value within the culture after the end of their child-bearing years.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is frequently prescribed by doctors for menopausal symptoms, and works by replacing the hormones oestrogen and progesterone (in synthetic or animal-sourced form) which control the menstrual cycle, and which are naturally produced in smaller quantities until the periods stop. On some HRT, monthly bleeding continues, and it may be argued that ever-increasing use of HRT is evidence for the undervaluing of older women in our society.
Some women find that HRT helps. Others find that the side-effects are unpleasant. Also, it should not be prescribed if there is a family history of circulatory problems, as there is an increased risk of thrombosis, stroke, high blood pressure and migraines. Scientists also agree that there is some increased risk of breast tissue changes and fibroids.
Homeopathy for menopausal complaints
Homeopathy works by powerfully stimulating the body's own powers of recovery, and treats each person as an individual. By building a complete picture of you and your symptoms and matching this to a suitable medicine, health problems can be properly resolved rather than suppressed with drugs, which need to be taken continuously to keep the problem at bay. Homeopathic medicines offer a safe and flexible alternative with no side effects, which is an important consideration for many women. In addition, homeopathy can help to boost your general health and sense of well-being, and help your body to cope better with everyday stress, improving your sleep, appetite and vitality.
Your homeopath will choose a medicine (or remedy) which closely matches your individual symptoms, and there are many remedies which have a strong affinity with the female hormonal system. Here are a few examples: women who might benefit from the remedy Sepia will tend to feel worn out and dragged down, with dragging or bearing down pains. They feel chilly generally, and are better for warmth. The periods may be very heavy, with exhaustion and possibly fainting, and among the menopausal symptoms may be irritability, with a wish to be alone; depression and indifference to her family; vaginal dryness and itching; and hair loss.
Women who may benefit from Lachesis, however, tend to have an outgoing disposition, and are sensitive, emotional and very talkative. Their menopausal complaints might typically include profuse sweats, hot flushes and cramps, and they are warm-blooded, so tend to feel worse in warm weather or a warm room. An experienced homeopath has a huge range of homeopathic medicines at their disposal, and will be able to choose the one which is right for you.
However distressing your symptoms, it is important to remember that the menopause is a period of transition which can be managed very well with homeopathy. Hormonal imbalances respond very well to treatment, and homeopaths treat a large number of women at the time of the menopause, with a range of symptoms including hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia, anxiety, depression, mood swings, panic attacks, palpitations, vaginal dryness and itching. The gentle and supportive approach of homeopathy can also help you to regain a healthy balance, and gain more confidence and energy through this important stage of life.
Natural self-help measures
As well as seeing your homeopath, there are many ways in which you can help to compensate more naturally for the hormonal changes. Try altering your diet to include more calcium-rich foods, and foods containing natural phytoestrogens.
Good dietary sources of calcium include tahini (sesame paste is a rich source), tofu, almonds, brazil nuts, and green leafy vegetables (especially broccoli, parsley and watercress). To help prevent osteoporosis it is also important to make sure your body is able to absorb as much calcium from your diet as possible, so consider a magnesium and zinc supplement to aid calcium absorption (do not exceed the recommended dosage). Supplementing with Vitamin E can help to reduce hot flushes.
Regular exercise and relaxation, such as yoga or meditation, are also beneficial.
The menopause is a natural process, so it makes sense to treat it as naturally as possible, with diet, exercise and homeopathy.
By taking care of your health at this important time of change you will be laying the foundation for good health and wellbeing into your later years.