Dr B. S. Suvarna
B.A, D.I.Hom[Lond.], M.I.H, PhD,PGDPC(Psychotherapy & Counselling, USA)
MAMTHA HOMOEO CLINIC
Jeevan Shanthi, Near AIT Girls Hostel, Bypass Road, Kalyan Nagar, CHIKMAGALUR 577102
Karnataka State, INDIA
Technically Menopause is the cessation of menses and usually occurs for most women around the age of 50 but can occur as early as at 35 years. There is no set pattern of its occurrence –the period can stop suddenly or there can be a gradual decrease in blood loss or gradually more infrequent periods. Women who have had their ovaries removed will experience early menopause.
Most of the descriptions of menopause concentrate on the physical symptoms, but it is also a time of emotional change for most women which may result in profound psychological symptoms. It can be a time for women to take stock of there lives, feminity and career paths. It has been common to describe the menopause as a time when women will feel less womanly and develop unpleasant physical symptoms (tiredness, hot flushes, irritability, mood swings).
However it is important to remember that it is a normal part of a woman’s life and is not necessary associated with unpleasant symptoms. For many women throughout the world, the idea of treating the menopause as if it were a “disease” would be unthinkable.
The menopause occurs because the ovaries reduce their production of the hormone oestrogen; this causes the cessation of menstruation and ovulation. It signals the end of fertility, although it has been known for women to become pregnant up to one year following cessation of periods.
As mentioned above for the majority of women the menopause is a significant state and indeed it may coincide with a feeling of liberation and increased energy .For others the reduction in oestrogen will produce unwelcome local symptoms (dry vagina, painful intercourse ,dry wrinkled skin) and more general symptoms that are also undesirable ,typically hot flushes ,night sweats ,decreased sexual interest and libido ,tiredness, depression and irritability. Headaches can also occur and at times it can be difficult to separate the physical causes from the psychological ones .It is often important to explore the marital, social and economic context in which the menopause occurs. It is regrettably true that for up to 25% of women menopausal symptoms can be fairly distressing and may require treatment. Most menopausal symptoms run their course (if untreated) within a year or eighteen months.
The more serious effects of a lower oestrogen level include development of osteoporosis and the increased risks of developing heart disease (oestrogen protects against the development of arteriosclerosis)
PREVENTION AND SELF HELP
Anticipating the onset of the menopause can help in adjusting to the physical and psychological effects that may be experienced and many women have found self help groups and information leaflets of value in helping them prepare for the change. Openly discussing the onset of menopause with your partner will also ensure that anxiety about loss of sexual attraction is addressed .Symptoms are often made worse by over work and stress: paying a routine habit in your life (exercise, good diet ,relaxation) will be important at this time .Specific symptoms can be helped by HOMOEOPATHIC TREATMENT .However it is important to keep reminding your self that this is a normal occurrence during every women’s life and it should not be seen as a disease which immediately requires treatment, whether it be complementary or orthodox.
The menopause is a time of change, but it does not have to be unwelcome. Try to find time for your self and plan some relaxation. However the final period is only one of a number of events that occur around this time of life which is frequently called ‘the change’ or ‘change of life’ .These are excellent descriptions as there are many changes that occur as a result of decreased hormone levels. The medical term is the ‘climacteric’.
PERIODS AND FERTILITY
Most women notice changes in their menstrual cycles sometime after the age of 40 years. First the length of the cycle of ten shortens by as much as 10 day then it becomes longer and eventually the periods cease, sudden cessation of periods is unusual. Ovulation does not occur with every cycle in the forties and thus fertility drops rapidly at this time, however doctors advise that you should continue to use contraception until hormone levels suggest that menopause has occurred .You should consult your doctor about very heavy, painful periods and also bleeding between periods as these are not necessarily caused by the change .Bleeding that occurs more than a year after your last period also needs to be investigated.
Decreased hormone levels cause a number of physical changes. The most obvious are hot flushes and night sweats, vaginal dryness and for some women the risk of painful joints, angina and heart attacks increases and the bones lose calcium more quickly. As the change progresses, the tissues under the skin become flabbier and loss of tone in the pelvic muscles can lead to prolapse and stress incontinence. Symptomatic homoeopathic medicines for many of these conditions are suggested but constitutional help may also be needed.
HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY (HRT)
Your doctor may suggest using HRT which often eases the symptoms that occur during the change ,however HRT does not suit or even help every women and if personal preference or medical reasons dictate that it should not be used ,then Homoeopathy can offer considerable help in smoothing the change for the women from the reproductive to non-reproductive state .The decision is obviously a complex one and it is wise to discuss the whole matter with your doctor who may consider prescribing oestrogen cream for vaginal dryness if this is an isolated problem that is not helped by using a lubricating cream, such as KY jelly.
Falling oestrogen levels may cause mild anxiety or depression and these can cause great concern but you may be reassured to know that serious depressive illness is no more likely during the change than at other times of life. However other events such as the so-called “empty nest syndrome” when the children leave home or the death or increasing dependence of elderly relatives often occur at around the same time and may cause some psychological stress .During the change ,some women experience a lack of interest in sex and an inability to reach orgasm sometimes they also experience a greatly increased sex drive and this may lead them to seek extra-marital relationships .
Many women feel secretly or openly unhappy about the changes in their looks, some times made worse by the onset of skin problems such as dryness or acne rosacea and occasionally they loose interest in their personal appearance, their work and the home. All these psychological difficulties respond well to Homoeopathy but constitutional treatment may be required so if you are not helped by the medicines suggested in either this section or the section emotional problems, it is well worth consulting a ‘Homoeopath’.
AFTER THE MENOPAUSE:
Today, many more women can look forward to 30 or more years of life after menopause .You may not be able to take good health for granted in quite the same way as you once could but there is much you can do to help you live these years to the full. Some of the discomforts associated with menopause are:
The density of bones decreases in older people and is particularly marked in women after the menopause. Osteoporosis is a serious condition as thin bones will fracture easily .The standard medical treatment is to recommend HRT but about 80% of women can not or do not wish to use it ,If you are one of them ,you can adopt other measures to decrease your risk of osteoporosis ,bones, particularly those in the spine and pelvis ,lose calcium and become less dense with age symptoms vary considerably and in some women there may be none at all, usually ,however there is some degree of pain, especially in the back thinning of the bones means that fractures occur very easily .When this occurs in the spine there may be a consequent loss of height .
Rheumatic type pains are felt after exposure to damp conditions
CALCAREA CARBONICA. Pain and weakness in the back , especially lower back,curvature of the upper part of the spine .Symptoms improve when lying on the painful area. Stiffness and pain with a cold numb feeling. Pain in the lower back and around the hips which can be so bad that it may feel as if a bone is broken pain is worse in changeable weather.
CALCAREA PHOS. there is weakness in arms and legs. Sciatica pains is felt in the hips,legs,and feet. pain is better for warmth and in wet ,humid weather
SILICEA is useful for treating fractures caused by osteoporosis medicines.
SYMPHYTUM Dosage:use 12c potency twice a day for 4 weeks ,then repeat when necessary
2. URINARY INCONTINENCE: if Accidental leakage of urine often happens when there is sneezing laughing .It occurs because the muscle closing the bladder is unable to remain closed Although it is generally more common in women who have had several children, it is also part of the aging process.
Urinary incontinence is worse at night and smart: APIS MELLIFICA
Involuntary urination occurs during sleep when coughing, blowing the nose or sneezing. Problems in starting to urinate and difficulty in passing the last few drops: CAUSTICUM
Constant incontinence –urine spurts with coughing: NAT. MURIATICUM
Tendency to pass a few drops of urine when coughing ,when passing wind or after a surprise: PULSATILLA
Passes urine when laughing ,coughing or sneezing. Involuntary urination occurs during first sleep: SEPIA.
Involuntary spurting of urine happens when coughing or sneezing pain is felt over the bladder: ZINCUM METALLICUM.
DOSE: Use the 12c potency ,twice a day until an improvement ,is maintained.
3. ABSENT MINDEDNESS (poor memory)
The symptoms outlined below occur in addition to the absent mindedness.
Nervous indigestion is noticed .Depression and irritability is felt. A decreased sense of smell, sight and hearing: ANACARDIUM .
A weak memory becomes apparent :ARGENTUM NITRICUM .
Feelings of apathy and lifelessness :ARUM METALLICUM.
There is debility and hypocondriasis Medicine :CONIUM METALLICUM.
Poor memory is accompanied by disorders of the urinary tract and sexual weakness. :CONIUM MACULATUM.
Incoherent conversation with silly and non sensical behaviour: DUBOISIS.
There is impaired co-ordination, Numbness and tingling in the limbs.:KALI BROMATUM.
Memory is weak ,confused thought Mistakes are made when writing and spelling :LYCOPODIUM.
Loss of will power ,weak memory :MERCURIUS SOLUBILIS .
Confusion and an impaired memory. :NUX MOSCHATA.
Slow perception, Memory is weak :OLEANDER.
Dizziness and a feeling of haziness. :PHYSALIS.
Dosage—use the 12c potency take twice a day until an improvement is maintained
4. SLEEP DISTURBANCES:
An inability to sleep well is a frequent trial of the menopause, commonly, women find it difficult to fall asleep and then to remain asleep. This is a time when it is therefore very easy to get into the habit of taking conventional sleeping tablets ,unfortunately this is not the best thing to do as dependence is quickly established and the may need to be steadily increased to guarantee sleep.
Homoeopathic remedies which are available from most Homoeopathic pharmacies, offer a safe gentle, non addictive alternative with no risk of a “hangover” feeling in the morning .There are also some self-help methods you can try to help you get to sleep.
1. Relax before going to bed ; read a book ,have a warm bath, make love .
2. Avoid large meals late in the evening.
3. Take a bed time drink of warm milk or a herbal infusion, but avoid drinking tea, coffee or chocolate, drinks that contain caffeine.
4. Extra exercise earlier in the day will make you more tired physically.
5 .If you wake in the night don’t toss and turn , get up and do something for half an hour.
6. Get up at the same time everyday even if you have had a bad night.
Fibroids are non cancerous tumours lying in the walls of the uterus or on its surface. They are very common after the age of 35 but often disappear naturally after about 45 .If your fibroids are small you may not experience any symptoms but they are a cause of heavy sometimes painful periods occasionally they grow large enough to interfere with the normal activities of the bladder and bowel, they may be the reason for failure to conceive or recurrent miscarriages. Conventional treatment is surgical, Homoeopathic treatment is usually constitutional, but you may find the following medicines helpful. You should consult your doctor if bleeding occurs between your periods.
Uterus is enlarged and may be painful vaginal spasms and a constant vaginal discharge. : AURUM MURIATICUM.
There are small fibroids with a yellow vaginal discharge may experience period pains before the period starts: CALCAREA IODATUM.
Short painful periods and an intolerance of clothing or covers. Symptoms are relieved as the period starts. A remedy that is particularly useful at the menopause medicine: LACHESIS .
Large fibroids –periods are heavy, painful and occur early. restlesseness. TARENTULA HISPANICA.
Dosage: Use 12c potency twice a day until an improvement occurs, then stop repeat as and when necessary.
6. ACNE ROSACEA:
Acne rosacea is a skin complaint that appears on the flush areas on the cheeks. It develops particularly in women at the menopause .The small blood vessels near the skin surface dilate and the sebaccous follicles increase in size. Rosacea is often complicated by an acne type eruption. Excessive tea drinking is often associated with this compliant as are oranges orange juice and chocolate.
Rosacea with violet pimples on the nose worse in the spring. ARSENICUM BROMATUM.
Skin feels dry and hot but may alternate between redness and being pale. BELLADONNA.
Rash is more copper coloured than red. KALI HYDRIODICUM.
A yellow brownish rash involving the cheeks and nose in a saddle like distribution is apparent.: SEPIA.
Scanty periods and poor circulation, Hot flushes and red cheeks that are both worse for warmth :SANGUNARIA.
A rash on the tip of the nose as well as the cheeks. :CAUSTICUM.
Small red pimples on the face :PSORINUM
Dosage—use the 6c potency ,take twice a day until an improvement occurs. Then stop .repeat in the same way as and when necessary.
7. HOT SWEATS AND FLUSHES:
Flushes and sweats are possibly the most common and certainly among the most distressing features of the menopause.
Hot flushes that are associated with severe head aches can be relieved by “SANGUNARIA.CANADENSIS”
Flushing is always followed by sweating. :AMYLENIUM NITROSUM.
The hot flushes are sudden and violent: GLONINE.
Sudden flushes of heat are followed by nervousness and weakness made worse by the slightest motion .: DIGITALIS
Hot flushes are frequent and can precede a head ache in which the top of the head feels hot while the feet feel cold :LACHESIS.
A feeling of being permanently over heated :MANGANUM ACETICUM.
Hot flushes and sweats lead to waking up several times a night .The sweats continue into the day time especially in a hot ,airless room so the window is kept open .the tongue feels dry but there is no thirst :PULSATILLA.
May feel cold ,chilly ,despite suffering from frequent hot sweats :SEPIA.
The main and sometimes only symptom is hot flushes patient may become very quarrel some: VERATRUM VIRIDE.
Dosage: Use 12c potency ,twice a day until the symptoms have lessened for approximately 48 hours the medicine may then be stopped but restarted if the symptoms begin to return if new symptoms develop. The medicine may need to be changed.
When an organ or part of an organ or tissue drops down from its normal position , the condition is called a prolapse .women most commonly suffer a prolapse of the uterus (womb) which frequently results from straining and stretching the pelvic tissues during child birth. This condition requires professional help as surgery may be necessary.
Prolapse occurs with a severe bearing down sensation: AGARICUS MUSCARIUS.
Prolapse , pain, in the left ovary and back Heavy periods-: ARGENTUM METALLICUM.
Dosage–-use 12c potency take 3 times a day for 3 days.
9. PERIOD PROBLEMS DURING THE MENOPAUSE:
Periods become scanty for some women as they approach the menopause, but you may be unfortunate enough to experience very heavy periods which may also occur at frequent intervals. Non-menopausal causes of flooding require conventional diagnosis and treatment and you should consult your doctor about this. Cancer of the uterus is most serious cause of flooding or irregular bleeding but it is relatively rare and you are likely to be cured completely if the diagnosis is made early. One of the following medicines may provide help but constitutional treatment is sometimes needed.
Marked fatigue and exhaustion: CHINA OFFICINALIS.
Severe period pain that comes and goes is relieved when the period starts .Frequent hot flushes an intolerance of heat ,tight clothing and heavy bed clothes .There have been several previous pregnancies : LACHESIS .
Erratic and scanty periods: MANGANUM ACETICUM.
Heavy period with dark clots ,the blood flow increases with any movement :MEDORRHINUM
Severe period pains , starting in the lower back and extending to the front, flow of gushing, bright red blood. Symptoms may be relieved by walking about SABINA. Continuous loss of dark, thin blood. Feels cold but is intolerant of heat. SECALE CORNUTUM.
Periods come early and are heavy .A dragging- down feeling as if the contents of the pelvis might fall out. An aversion to sex or being touched sexually. Hunger not relieved by eating :SEPIA.
Very heavy periods with dark clots accompanied by dizziness :USTILAGO MAYJUS.
Dosage-30c -4 times a day for 4 days when the bleeding starts.
10. VAGINAL DRYNESS:
Dryness of the vagina is a frequent , unpleasant and sometimes distressing condition that often starts during the menopause .It is due to the natural aging process in the body ,which leads to thinning and drying of vaginal lining . However it is likely that these symptoms are also related to the hormonal changes of the menopause .It results in painful intercourse ,which may place a strain on a woman’s relationship with her partner and an increased susceptibility to vaginal infections .Various lubricating creams such as KY JELLY are available in most pharmacies and may help to improve the condition in some cases .After they have been homoeopathically prepared ,the spores from LYCOPODIUM CLAVATUM can deal conditions such as vaginal dryness .
Vagina is dry hot and sensitive :ACONITE.
Vagina feels raw and sore , a vaginal discharge is worse at night . An involuntary passage of urine with coughing sneezing and nose blowing: CAUSTICUM.
A dry hot feeling in vagina, vaginal spasm and pain on attempting intercourse: FERRUM PHOSPHORICUM.
An extreme vaginal itch an acrid, offensive discharge: KREOSOTUM.
Dryness of vagina leads to soreness during and after intercourse. An acrid discharge that burn vagina. : LYCOPODIUM.