Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Menopause: What you need to know? Is Hormone Replacement Therapy an Answer or Homeopathy?

A woman’s life has many important milestones through which she at times struggles to remain hale and hearty. Menarche, pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause are some of the milestones. Among them, menopause is the period when some of her female hormones reduce in quantity leading to stoppage of menstruation that made her fertile and healthy for so long. The time of menopause differs from woman to woman and in some cases it is seen to be hereditary. If this period is troubled, she does need valuable menopause info to carry on with the normal day to day routine.

What are the signs and symptoms of menopause?

(1)   The foremost sign any woman would notice is the variation in her menstrual cycle. If there is no sudden stoppage of menses altogether, she might develop irregular cycles through a period of 1 to 2 years or more.
(2)   The hormone cycle variation leads to hot flushes occasionally with sudden chilly spells too.
(3)   Due to lack of estrogen, the vaginal mucosa becomes dry and the woman may develop itching of vagina and/or eruptions.
(4)   Lack of interest in sex is the usual symptom many women complain of.
(5)   With the weaning of protective female hormones, women share their risks of cardiac diseases and kidney disorders with the male counterparts; rather the risk is said to be much higher in diabetic females after menopause.
(6)   Occasional migraine attacks, mood swings, excess irritability are also some of the early menopause symptoms.
(7)   The osteoporosis is one of the most troubling consequences of menopause in some women. The bones become brittle and lead to recurrent fractures during trivial accidents.

Is Hormone Replacement Truly an Answer?

Many gynecologists these days recommend hormone replacement therapy for women who suffer from menopause blues. And that seems to help in the initial phase. There can be sudden suppression of the existing symptoms and the woman may experience a boost psychologically too. But in many cases this seems to be short-lived. Women who were feeling better after a period of time sense that the similar symptoms are returning and even some side effects are noticed. Also she has to undergo regular investigations like mammogram to rule out any side effects. So, certainly hormone replacement cannot be termed as an ultimate answer to menopausal symptoms. (For side effects of HRT, please see at the bottom of the article)

How can Homeopathy Help Women with Menopausal Symptomatology?

Homeopathy gives large importance to the past and family history of the patient. Many women do have certain positive family trait that makes them vulnerable to these menopausal problems. Therefore, homeopathy puts her in a stipulated group of miasmatic overload. And unless this miasmatic overload is treated efficaciously with apt homeopathic constitutional medicines and/or nosodes, the woman is liable to suffer from these symptoms. But once the homeopathic physician senses the miasmatic load (in most cases of menopausal problems, the dominant miasm is Sycosis or syphilis).

It is good practice to start the homeopathic treatment with appropriate symptomatic remedy depending upon the then physical, mental, and emotional picture of the patient. Once the patient is capable enough to respond to the chosen constitutional remedy, give it in a single dose. Follow the case well and over a period of time (may be months together), if you sense that there is a stand still position and even the chosen remedy fails to work, give the apt nosode to stimulate the vital force again and take out the miasmatic load by its intercurrent action. Wait again! Later (may be after months again), you can think of giving or repeating the constitutional medicine once more in the same or higher potency depending upon the condition then.

What are the plus of homeopathic treatment over the hormone replacement therapy?

1. Most importantly, when chosen appropriately homeopathic medicine never gives temporary relief but the effect is long lasting.

2. Even homeopathic acute remedy chosen wisely is able to help the patient get over her acute symptomatology very soon. (Within days of starting treatment)

3. When the medicine given is correct and in appropriate potency, there are absolutely no chances of side effects with homeopathy.

4. In many cases it is observed that when we give homeopathic treatment, the patient does not have to take supplements over long term. Yes, even as homeopaths if necessary, we should give the woman supplements like calcium or vitamin D3, etc; however, with the constitutional boost homeopathic medicines give her, even the supplements act favorably without leading to just cumulative effect.

5. As the homeopathic medicine is usually given in single or least possible dose with least repetitions, the woman is pleased not to take bigger tablets thrice or twice a day over a long period. This itself boosts her psychological morale multifold!

A Protective Circle of family and friends!

Yes, this is one of the crucial factors in treating the menopausal blues. If the woman has supportive family and friends, a doctor can do miracles by eliciting fastest positive results with apt homeopathic therapy. The mood swings need to be understood by the spouse and children and help her get through the phase smoothly. There are many support groups too these days that encourage the women to opt for the safe alternative therapies like yoga and Pranayam, which help her gain confidence and carry on with life with a smile on!

Yes! Finally that’s what matters, isn’t it?

Doctors have long known that taking estrogen increases a person's risk for blood clots. Generally, this risk is higher if you use birth control pills, which contain high doses of estrogen. Your risk is even higher if you smoke and take estrogen. The risk is not as high when estrogen skin patches (transdermal estrogen) are used.
Breast cancer: Woman who take estrogen therapy for a long period of time have a small increase in risk for breast cancer. Most guidelines currently consider hormone therapy safe for breast cancer risk when taken for up to 5 years.
Endometrial/uterine cancer: The risk for endometrial cancer is more than five times higher in women who take estrogen therapy alone, compared with those who do not. However, taking progesterone with estrogen seems to protect against this cancer. Endometrial cancer does not develop in women who do not have a uterus.
Heart disease: Estrogen may increase the risk of heart disease in older women, or in women who began estrogen use more than 10 years after their last period. Estrogen is probably the safest when started in women under age 60, or within 10 years after the start of menopause.
Deep venous thrombosis (DVT or blood clot in a vein) and pulmonary embolus (PE or blood clot in the lungs) are more common in women who take oral estrogen, regardless of their age.
Stroke: Women who take estrogen have an increased risk for stroke.
Women who also smoke, have heart disease, or are at higher risk for heart disease and stroke are less likely to be given estrogen hormones.
Several studies have shown that women who take estrogen/progestin therapy have an increased risk for developing gallstones.
As with all medicines, side effects are possible. Some women taking hormone therapy may have:
  • Bloating
  • Breast soreness
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Water retention
Changing the dose or form of hormone therapy may help reduce these side effects.
Some women have irregular bleeding when they start taking hormone therapy. Changing the dose often eliminates this side effect. Close follow-up with your doctor is important when you have any unusual bleeding.

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