Thinking holistically about menopause.

By - Oct 1st, 2003 02:52 pm
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By Jeffrey Langlois

Recently, one of my clients came to me seeking relief from the myriad discomforts of menopause. Like most women, she had questions about how to best manage her symptoms as her body goes through this most important change of life. I work with women to help them understand the options available to them, along with the risks and benefits of each option. Many women complain about hot flashes, headaches, insomnia, irritability, and forgetfulness. There is also concern about preventing osteoporosis.

My client was very familiar with the conventional medical treatment of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). While indisputably very effective for the relief of hot flashes, HRT isn’t effective for much else. She did not know that a large study of the benefits of conventional HRT had to be stopped, due to concern over an increase in breast cancer rates, or that Premarin (one form of HRT) is made from Pregnant Mare (horse) Urine.

Proper nutrition is the first step.

We then discussed designing a diet that was optimal for her lifestyle. Improving diet is always the first step in any treatment program. Nutritional supplements can be very helpful. I recommended starting with a very high quality multi-vitamin w/minerals (not Centrum or One a Day). I also suggested extra Vitamin E, which has been shown to be helpful for hot flashes.

By talking with her, I was able to determine which foods she was eating too much of and which foods were deficient in her diet. We adjusted her diet to include more lean protein and vegetables, and to eliminate all hydrogenated fats and oils, as these are destructive to hormonal balance. I also advised her to make sure she is drinking 8 glasses of clean water daily. I mentioned that there are good studies indicating that soy products have positive estrogen-like effects on the body, without any of the negative effects of HRT.

Black Cohosh can help.

Many different herbs are used in the treatment of hot flashes but the one with the greatest clinical research has been Black Cohosh. Black Cohosh was widely used by the American Indians, and later by American colonists, for the relief of menstrual cramps and menopause. Nine European clinical studies supported its ability to relieve hot flashes, depression and vaginal atrophy. No contraindications were found, and less than 10�f patients reported mild stomach upset.

Exercise keeps you cool.

For a woman experiencing the symptoms of menopause (including fatigue) exercise may be the last thing on her mind. But a study in Sweden with over 900 patients clearly demonstrated that spending 30 minutes each day walking, gardening, riding a bicycle or swimming decreased the frequency and severity of hot flashes.

My client agreed to implement as many of the suggestions I made as possible, and within four weeks was feeling much better. By 8 weeks she experienced complete relief of her hot flashes.

Menopause isn’t the end of feeling young; it’s the beginning of a powerful new time in a woman’s life!

The material presented in Living Well is not offered to treat, mitigate or cure disease, and should not be used as a substitute for sound medical advice. This information is intended to be used in conjunction with the services of a trained, licensed healthcare practitioner.

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