During menopause, you may feel as though you are under siege from within and without. Fluctuations in your energy may make it difficult to plan to do anything outside of your daily work. Mood swings may make ordinary difficulties seem overwhelming, and it may be hard to know how you will be feeling physically and emotionally at any particular time.
For many women, one or more of the following symptoms will begin in the mid to late forties and carry on for four or five years (peri-menopause) until their last period (actual menopause): hot flashes, irregular periods, night sweats, bloating, depression, weight gain, irritability, anxiety, flooding, hair loss, headaches, insomnia, vaginal dryness, exhaustion. Some of these symptoms may continue for a time after the last period, but eventually fade. Others may linger indefinitely. A year after her last period, a woman is considered to have entered post menopause.
There are a number of ways you can ease the stress of menopause through self care:
• Being kind to yourself is truly important at this time of life. Make a little space in your day just for you.
• Keep track of when you feel discomfort, whether physical or emotional. You may be able to avoid whatever triggers it.
• Pay attention to your diet and water intake. Hot or spicy food, meat, and caffeine can bring on hot flashes. Stress, anxiety, overwork, and chronic fatigue can also bring on night sweats and hot flashes. Increasing the amount of water you drink can help to keep you cool. Generous helpings of veggies and fruit, and a reduction in meat consumption, will strengthen your immune system and help you cope with the stress of your body’s changes.
• Supplement your diet with a multivitamin-mineral mix formulated for the older woman. Adding a vitamin B complex supplement can also help to alleviate stress.
• Wearing layers of clothing will allow you to cool yourself when you need to. Try to wear natural fibres such as cotton, linen, or rayon as these do not trap body heat.
• Regular exercise will also help you to feel and look good.
HOW CAN HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENT HELP
Although menopause is a naturally occurring phase of your life, this does not mean that you have to suffer while it lasts. Symptoms are an indication of an imbalance in your energy and occur as a result of the body’s effort to rebalance itself.
You will experience menopause (or more correctly peri-menopause) in your own way. You may feel weepy with your hot flashes, whereas your friend gets really irritable. You may get hot flashes only during the day and chills at night, while your friend wakes up drenched in sweat. Because you are a unique being, your menopausal symptoms will be particular to you.
Homeopathy is a holistic system of medicine that treats people as individuals. While your physical symptoms are very important, your sleep and energy patterns, responses to weather, emotional triggers, and food sensitivities are equally important in determining the correct treatment. The correct homeopathic remedy will stimulate your entire being to return to homeostasis (a state of balance). This means that your menopausal symptoms will diminish and your entire system will feel more comfortable with the changes.
I highly recommend use of the Bach Flower Remedies, which soothe painful emotional, mental, and spiritual states. These are very low potency homeopathic remedies that can be used with any other treatment you may wish. There are thirty-eight remedies in the repertory, which are widely available at health food stores. Here are a few to try:
Rescue Remedy - will calm you in any circumstance. This is a mix that contains five remedies that address different types of fear.
Mustard - for depression of unknown origin.
Larch - for lack of self-confidence
Scleranthus - for indecision
Holly - for irritability and jealousy
Olive - for exhaustion
Impatiens - for restlessness
Put 4 drops of a remedy into a 500ml water bottle and sip it whenever you feel the need. You can mix up to 5 together to address a complex state. For deep chronic conditions, however, you need to see a professional homeopath.
1) Gina suffered from severe hot flashes during the day and chills at night. She would often wake up in the morning with her heart pounding and a headache. Aside from these symptoms, she felt as though her uterus was falling. The hot flashes were a problem since she was a teacher and felt that she had to stop what she was doing when one came on. She had put on some weight and was really worried about losing her looks.
After treatment with homeopathic Lachesis (2 doses 200c 4 weeks apart, then 1 dose 1M), her morning headaches and pounding heart disappeared. She still had some hot flashes but they weren’t as severe. She felt much more energetic. To control her weight Gina made some changes to her diet. At my suggestion, she began to reduce consumption of bread, pasta and caffeine.
She also began taking fitness classes. Since she was exercising, she also began taking a herbal supplement, Fucus vesiculosus (Bladderwrack). This acted as a mild stimulant to her thyroid (the supplement works best if you are already active.)
In two months she had lost ten pounds and was feeling great.
2) Sharon came to me complaining of menstrual flooding. She also had an uncomfortable feeling that her uterus was going to fall out. She had sudden hot flashes that made her feel extremely weak. When these happened at night she would wake up with heavy sweats and then would feel chilly for hours afterward. She was very irritable, especially in the morning, and often would feel frustrated with her family and her life and would cry.
I recommended the homeopathic remedy Sepia (LM1- 5 drops daily for 2 weeks, then 2 doses 200c, 2 weeks apart, then 2 doses of 1M, 4 weeks apart). It stopped the flooding and calmed the hot flashes. She was also much less irritable and felt she could enjoy life again. After her periods stopped, she began to experience vaginal dryness. The vaginal dryness responded to Sepia 30c. She takes it as needed.
3) June also suffered from menstrual flooding, but she was very anxious rather than irritable. She was worried about retiring and whether she would have enough money to be comfortable. She would wake up feeling anxious. Her head and neck would sweat and her hands and feet would feel cold and clammy. Sometimes she would feel dizzy turning her head while in a prone position. Homeopathic Calcarea Carbonica (Calc. Carb. - 200c, 2 doses each, 4 weeks apart) reduced June’s flooding and sweating. More important to her was the fact that she felt less anxious about her future.