The Menopause Challenge
The symptoms of menopause vary from woman to woman, but they range anywhere from an inconvenience to virtually incapacitating. Hot flashes and night sweats can be occasional in one person, but disturb sleep and work for another. Changes in mood can be a strain on relationships, but occasionally are severe enough to interfere with a person’s enjoyment of life. Other symptoms can effect work life, relationships, and daily life as well.
With the onset of menopause, a woman’s risk of bone loss (osteopenia and osteoporosis) and heart disease increase significantly, because the protective effect of estrogen is gone. Unfortunately, the conventional recommendations to take calcium pills and to lower saturated fat in the diet are woefully inadequate (as are the increasingly common prescriptions of bisphosphanates and statin drugs).
At the same time, it has been revealed within the past few years that hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which was championed by the medical establishment as scientifically proven and eminently beneficial for nearly every menopausal issue, turns out to never have been scientifically proven; to increase the risk of certain cancers; and to have a negligible impact on heart disease and osteoporosis.
Menopause: A Natural Approach
The correct approach to menopause, from the naturopathic point of view, is to individually assess each woman’s symptoms and disease risks, and to customize a natural health regimen for her. This might include dietary and exercise recommendations; nutritional supplementation; western or Chinese herbal remedies; classical homeopathy; and acupuncture therapy. In some women, the severity of the symptoms makes it necessary to resort to bioidentical hormones – that is, hormones created from plant sources that come as close as possible to the hormones that the body itself would produce. Pharmaceutical hormones are generally derived from the urine of pregnant horses (hence the name “Premarin,” an acronym for “Pregnant Mare’s Urine,” which has been the most common HRT prescription.)
Medical doctors will often present hormone replacement therapy, using Premarin or the like, as the only option for women in whom menopausal symptoms are serious enough to require treatment. While such treatment is occasionally necessary, it is by no means the only option. The majority of medical doctors do not realize that natural remedies can work as well as or better than pharmaceuticals; they certainly are generally unaware that a customized program from a naturopathic physician will often get results when a single herbal supplement from the health food store will not.
Naturopathic medicine has a great deal to offer to women who would like to take charge of their health without resorting to pharmaceuticals, and who would like to go through menopause as naturally as possible, and with a minimum of troublesome symptoms. Please explore the rest of this website, to learn more about the general philosophy and practice of naturopathic medicine. Of course, I am happy to meet with you to discuss your particular situation, and to explore with you how I can help you feel your best.