As a Naturopath, menopause is a topic and an area of concern I see a lot. Ancient Chinese medicine identifies cycles of seven years in a woman’s life and for sure most women will recognise their first period and their last as most drastic encounters to go through in their cyclic being. Menopause – that’s how health professionals call this time of turmoil when a women goes from being fertile and reproductive into a new stage of consolidation and firming, a time when a woman belongs to herself again. But after all these years of sacrifices, after all these years of putting themselves behind husband and kids, for many women it is a hard task to know who they really are and as such to reinvent themselves.
Most women hit 48 – 55 when they face their climacteric period or menopause. The hormonal changes before and during this time go through a number of stages. In the pre climacteric stage, often already in a woman’s early 40s, progesterone levels start fading, the cycles become irregular until finally the monthly bleeding stops for good and the ovaries get their well-deserved rest: welcome to menopause. If there hasn’t been any sign of menstruation for a whole year, the doctor declares the last stage – post menopause: Female sexual hormones are on a final low and a woman’s reproductivity is no more.
Reaching peri menopause, an in between phase, many women are hit by various unpleasant maladies, which make some lives hitherto miserable. Hot flushes, insomnia, hair loss, weight gain, irritability, you name it. Prolactin, the hormone which allows mammal females to produce milk, must be considered as the main culprit here. If on an unnormal high prolactin messes with the fine tuned balance between hypothalamus, pituary gland and ovaries. As a result estrogen, progesterone but predominantly dopamine plunge.
A Naturopath Approach:
Risks and side effects of hormonal replacement therapies make women reluctant to use synthetic hormone pills against hot flushes and co. Luckily nature gave us herbs which regulate and balance without messing with the harmony between biological substances. As a Naturopath Chaste Nut, is the indisputable number one when it comes to women’s problems, as it brings down prolactin by acting similar to dopamin. A lot of disorders can be addressed with this wonderful herb such as irritability, sleeplessness or painful breasts. Siberian rhubarb (Rheum raponticum) is of use when psycho-vegetative malfunctions such as anxiety or tears are about to take over. Other women appreciate the relief given by soy and red clover when pre-, or perimenopause rage too wildly.
No doubt, all these herbs do wonderful things for us. But don’t forget, we are talking about medicines here. So please seek the guidance of your trusted health care professional before taking them regularly. Our naturopaths are always happy to give advice. They will also elucidate that yams might not hold the promises of some members of the health community who try to portrait the plant as the ultimate secret ingredient against menopausal suffering.
About the author
Dr. Sabine Schellerer, naturopathic doctor, PhD Human Biology, PGDAM Alternative Medicine, MS Pharmaceutical Sciences.
One of Dr.Sabine’s key approaches in her therapy is basic therapy (Detoxifocation, Drainage, Acid-Alkaline Balance). She uses therapeutic methods such as Homoeopathy, Tissue Salts and Biological Medicines.