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Menopause- Beginning of Second Life

Introduction

Menopause, or the permanent end of menstruation and fertility, is a natural biological process, not a medical illness. Even so, the physical and emotional symptoms of menopause can disrupt your sleep, sap your energy and — at least indirectly — trigger feelings of sadness and loss.

Hormonal changes cause the physical symptoms of menopause, but mistaken beliefs about the menopausal transition are partly to blame for the emotional ones. First, menopause doesn't mean the end is near — you've still got as much as half your life to go. Second, menopause will not snuff out your femininity and sexuality. In fact, you may be one of the many women who find it liberating to stop worrying about pregnancy and periods.

Most important, even though menopause is not an illness, you shouldn't hesitate to get treatment if you're having severe symptoms. Many treatments are available, from lifestyle adjustments to hormone therapy.

Menopause means the permanent ending of menstruation in a woman due to the ovaries' decreased production of hormones like estrogen and progesterone, which means the end of a woman’s natural ability to bear children. Menopause occurs anywhere between late forties and early fifties. Menopause before age 35 may occur as a result of a surgical procedure, treatment of a disease, or illness. In these cases it is referred to as induced or premature Menopause. Each woman experiences menopause differently. Menopause is an important time in a woman's life. Her body is going through changes that can have an effect on her social life, her feelings about herself, and her performance at work. Contrary to the old-fashioned view that life is all downhill after menopause, many women today find that the years after menopause offer new recognition and fresh beginnings. To have a positive attitude towards menopause as a natural, essential and healthy phase of womanhood is important.

Signs and symptoms

Technically, you don't actually "hit" menopause until it's been one year since your final menstrual period. The signs and symptoms of menopause, however, often appear long before the one-year anniversary of your final period. They include:

§  Irregular periods

§  Decreased fertility

§  Vaginal dryness

§  Hot flashes

§  Sleep disturbances

§  Mood swings

§  Increased abdominal fat

§  Thinning hair

§  Loss of breast fullness

Causes

Menopause begins naturally when your ovaries start making less estrogen and progesterone, the hormones that regulate menstruation. The process gets under way in your late 30s. By that time, fewer potential eggs are ripening in your ovaries each month, and ovulation is less predictable. Also, the post-ovulation surge in progesterone — the hormone that prepares your body for pregnancy — becomes less dramatic. Your fertility declines, perhaps partially due to these hormonal effects.

These changes are more pronounced in your 40s, as are changes in your menstrual pattern. Your periods may become longer or shorter, heavier or lighter, and more or less frequent. Eventually, your ovaries shut down and you have no more periods. It's possible, but very unusual, to menstruate every month right up to your last period. You're much more likely, though, to have a gradual tapering off.

Unfortunately, there's no way to know exactly which period will be your last. You have to wait until well after the fact — 12 months after, by official definition. In your final months before reaching menopause, it's still possible to get pregnant, but it's quite unlikely.

Because this process takes place over years, menopause is commonly divided into the following two stages:

§  Perimenopause. This is the time you begin experiencing menopausal signs and symptoms, even though you still menstruate. Your hormone levels rise and fall unevenly, and you may have hot flashes and other symptoms. Perimenopause may last four to five years or longer.

§  Postmenopause. Once 12 months have passed since your last period, you've reached menopause. Your ovaries produce much less estrogen and no progesterone, and they don't release eggs. The years that follow are called postmenopause.

Risk factors

Menopause is usually a natural process. But certain surgical or medical treatments or medical conditions can bring on menopause earlier than expected. These include:

§  Hysterectomy. A hysterectomy that removes your uterus, but not your ovaries, usually doesn't cause menopause. Although you no longer have periods, your ovaries still release eggs and produce estrogen and progesterone. But an operation that removes both your uterus and your ovaries (total hysterectomy and bilateral oophorectomy) does cause menopause, without any perimenopausal phase. Instead, your periods stop immediately, and you're likely to have hot flashes and other menopausal signs and symptoms.

§  Chemotherapy and radiation therapy. These cancer therapies can induce menopause, causing symptoms such as hot flashes during the course of treatment or within three to six months.

§  Premature ovarian failure. Approximately 1 percent of women experience menopause before age 40. Menopause may result from premature ovarian failure — when your ovaries stop working before age 40 — stemming from genetic factors or autoimmune disease, but often no cause can be found.

When to seek medical advice

It's important to see your doctor during both perimenopause and postmenopause for preventive health care as well as care of medical conditions that may occur with aging.

If you've skipped a period but aren't sure you've started menopause, you may want to see your doctor to determine whether you're pregnant. He or she may take a medical history, do a pelvic examination and, if appropriate, order a pregnancy test.

Always seek medical advice if you have bleeding from your vagina after menopause.

Complications

Several chronic medical conditions tend to appear after menopause. By becoming aware of the following conditions, you can take steps to help reduce your risk:

§  Cardiovascular disease. When your estrogen levels decline, your risk of cardiovascular disease increases. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women as well as in men. Yet you can do a great deal to reduce your risk of heart disease. These risk-reduction steps include stopping smoking, reducing high blood pressure, getting regular aerobic exercise, and eating a diet low in saturated fats and plentiful in whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

§  Osteoporosis. During the first few years after menopause, you may lose bone density at a rapid rate, increasing your risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis causes bones to become brittle and weak, leading to an increased risk of fractures. Postmenopausal women are especially susceptible to fractures of the hip, wrist and spine. That's why it's important during this time to get adequate calcium and vitamin D — about 1,200 to 1,500 milligrams of calcium and 800 international units of vitamin D daily. It's also important to exercise regularly. Strength training and weight-bearing activities such as walking and jogging are especially beneficial in keeping your bones strong.

§  Urinary incontinence. As the tissues of your vagina and urethra lose their elasticity, you may experience a frequent, sudden, strong urge to urinate, followed by an involuntary loss of urine (urge incontinence), or the loss of urine with coughing, laughing or lifting (stress incontinence).

§  Weight gain. Many women gain weight during the menopausal transition. You may need to eat less — perhaps as many as 200 to 400 fewer calories a day — and exercise more, just to maintain your current weight.

Treatment

Menopause itself requires no medical treatment. Instead, treatments focus on relieving your signs and symptoms and on preventing or lessening chronic conditions that may occur with aging. Treatments include:

§  Hormone therapy. Estrogen therapy remains, by far, the most effective treatment option for relieving menopausal hot flashes. Depending on your personal and family medical history, your doctor may recommend estrogen in the lowest dose needed to provide symptom relief for you.

§  Low-dose antidepressants. Venlafaxine (Effexor), an antidepressant related to the class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), has been shown to decrease menopausal hot flashes. Other SSRIs can be helpful, including fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), paroxetine (Paxil, others), citalopram (Celexa) and sertraline (Zoloft).

§  Gabapentin (Neurontin). This drug is approved to treat seizures, but it also has been shown to significantly reduce hot flashes.

§  Clonidine (Catapres, others). Clonidine, a pill or patch typically used to treat high blood pressure, may significantly reduce the frequency of hot flashes, but unpleasant side effects are common.

§  Bisphosphonates. Doctors may recommend these nonhormonal medications, which include alendronate (Fosamax), risedronate (Actonel) and ibandronate (Boniva), to prevent or treat osteoporosis. These medications effectively reduce both bone loss and your risk of fractures and have replaced estrogen as the main treatment for osteoporosis in women.

§  Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs). SERMs are a group of drugs that includes raloxifene (Evista). Raloxifene mimics estrogen's beneficial effects on bone density in postmenopausal women, without some of the risks associated with estrogen.

§  Vaginal estrogen. To relieve vaginal dryness, estrogen can be administered locally using a vaginal tablet, ring or cream. This treatment releases just a small amount of estrogen, which is absorbed by the vaginal tissue. It can help relieve vaginal dryness, discomfort with intercourse and some urinary symptoms.

Before deciding on any form of treatment, talk with your doctor about your options and the risks and benefits involved with each.

Self-care

Fortunately, many of the signs and symptoms associated with menopause are temporary. Take these steps to help reduce or prevent their effects:

§  Cool hot flashes. Get regular exercise, dress in layers and try to pinpoint what triggers your hot flashes. For many women, triggers may include hot beverages, spicy foods, alcohol, hot weather and even a warm room.

§  Decrease vaginal discomforts. Use over-the-counter water-based vaginal lubricants (Astroglide, K-Y) or moisturizers (Replens, Vagisil). Staying sexually active also helps.

§  Optimize your sleep. Avoid caffeine and plan to exercise during the day, although not right before bedtime. Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, guided imagery and progressive muscle relaxation, can be very helpful. You can find a number of books and tapes on different relaxation exercises. If hot flashes disturb your sleep, you may need to find a way to manage them before you can get adequate rest.

§  Strengthen your pelvic floor. Pelvic floor muscle exercises, called Kegel exercises, can improve some forms of urinary incontinence.

§  Eat well. Eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains and that limits saturated fats, oils and sugars. Aim for 1,200 to 1,500 milligrams of calcium and 800 international units of vitamin D a day. Ask your doctor about supplements to help you meet these requirements, if necessary.

§  Don't smoke. Smoking increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, cancer and a range of other health problems. It may also increase hot flashes and bring on earlier menopause. It's never too late to benefit from stopping smoking.

§  Exercise regularly. Get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days to protect against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and other conditions associated with aging. More vigorous exercise for longer periods may provide further benefit and is particularly important if you are trying to lose weight. Exercise can also help reduce stress.

§  Schedule regular checkups. Talk with your doctor about how often you should have mammograms, Pap tests, lipid level (cholesterol and triglyceride) testing and other screening tests.

Menopause means the permanent ending of menstruation in a woman due to the ovaries' decreased production of hormones like estrogen and progesterone, which means the end of a woman’s natural ability to bear children. Menopause occurs anywhere between late forties and early fifties. Menopause before age 35 may occur as a result of a surgical procedure, treatment of a disease, or illness. In these cases it is referred to as induced or premature Menopause. Each woman experiences menopause differently. Menopause is an important time in a woman's life. Her body is going through changes that can have an effect on her social life, her feelings about herself, and her performance at work. Contrary to the old-fashioned view that life is all downhill after menopause, many women today find that the years after menopause offer new recognition and fresh beginnings. To have a positive attitude towards menopause as a natural, essential and healthy phase of womanhood is important.

Why treat Menopause with Homeopathy?

Growing number of women today are dissatisfied with the harmful side effects of Conventional Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and are on the lookout for safer, more Holistic ways of approaching the symptoms of menopause. Classical Homeopathic treatment can be used as an alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy, in the treatment of menopausal symptoms, as it is individually geared to each woman’s condition and constitution by treating her at the mental, emotional, and physical levels which makes it a popular alternative for menopausal discomforts. 

Natural therapy like Homeopathy is the safest and well recommended treatment before, during, and after menopause because it stimulates the natural hormonal balance without the use of harmful drugs. Homeopathic treatment along with healthy living and a sense of purpose in life can minimize the changes that happen during this period.

Homeopathy offers a wider range of options than Conventional medicine. Constitutional Homeopathic treatment with the management of an experienced and professional Homeopath is an excellent choice for menopausal symptoms. Below I have noted a very few basic Homeopathic remedies.

Their symptoms indicate the characteristic features of the woman’s individuality, to who this remedy might be suitable for Menopausal symptoms.

Homeopaths treat the menopausal symptoms by constitutional treatment. This is the process by which a homeopathic physician selects and administers a woman's own constitutional remedy based on the totality of her symptoms and her physical, mental and emotional state. This strengthen the body's vital defenses and restore a healthy balance and sense of well-being. Most of the major homeopathic remedies may be used for the symptoms of menopause.

Homeopaths generally avoid giving multiple remedies simultaneously. A second dose is not to be used until the first has ceased to act. Once the body begins to heal, no more remedies are given or should be taken.

Sepia: This remedy is best indicated for woman who has hot flashes with profuse perspiration all day and night, but with a chilly feeling. Her symptoms are worse for slightest exertion mental or physical. She has profuse perspiration at the genitals during menopause. Difficult or painful intercourse. Constantly has a dragging feeling in the pelvis. She feels worn out and weak. She is likely to be sad and indifferent to her job or family. 

Pulsatilla: This remedy is indicated for a woman who is usually soft and emotional, with changeable moods and a tendency toward tears, with irregular periods, uneasy and insecure feelings, alternating heat and chills, and lack of thirst. Her symptoms are mainly aggravated in stuffy rooms and she feels better in open air. 

Staphysagria: These women have severe vaginal dryness and thinning, with very painful soreness from sexual intercourse. She also complains of involuntary urination.


Sanguinaria: is indicated when the right side of the body is more troubled than the left. The woman suffers from itching all over her body, heavy vaginal discharge, sore breasts mainly right, and headaches on the right side of her head.

Lachesis Mutus: Is a good remedy for women who wake up from hot flashes. She feels hot all the time. This remedy bests suits woman who are talkative, jealous and suspicious. She prefers to be alone and may be especially depressed in the morning. Symptoms are better in the open air and after emotional outbursts, but worse during and after sleep, in warmth and in the sunlight.

Natrum Muriaticum: The woman complains of vaginal dryness and water retention with a marked desire for salt. Best suited to woman who are sensitive and introvert. She may have suffered from prolonged grief and suppressed feelings. 
Other measures along with a Homeopathic treatment that can significantly reduce the risk of Menopause and dramatically optimize health are as follows:

FOLLICULINUM  
Folliculinum is made from ovarian follicle, which is folliculin, the natural hormone secreted by the ovaries and also known as oestron.  
Folliculinum can be alternated daily with any other appropriate remedy. 

Folliculinum for hormonal symptoms during menopause of: 

  • Hot flashes: night sweats, feels hot and bothered, and facial flushing.

  • Vaginal dryness. Yellow or brownish vaginal discharge.

  • Menstrual cycle irregularities: either too short, too long, or none at all; flooding; pre-menstrual syndrome.

  • Fibroids.

  • Cystitis that recurs premenstrually, or chronic cystitis in menopause, chronic E. coli infections.

  • Candida, yeast infections.

  • Hair loss.

  • Cardio-vascular problems: angina, palpitations, tachycardia, and other heart irregularities.

  • Dizziness, air hunger, and faintness. Headaches and migraines.

  • Weight gain without over eating, both obesity and water retention; and can gain up to seven pounds before periods.

  • Abdominal swelling and heaviness; bloating; stomach rumblings. Chronic constipation, sometimes alternating with diarrhea. Heavy feeling in rectum. Swollen liver.

  • Cravings for sugar and wheat.

  • Allergies of all sorts, hay-fever, allergic reactions.

  • Skin rashes; itching; dry and chapping eczema; easy bruising.

  • Feels drained emotionally or psychologically; over estimates her energy reserves. Is full of self-denial. There can be panic attacks. Hyperactive worse for enopause, chronic E. coli infections.

  • Candida, yeast infections.

  • Hair loss.

  • Cardio-vascular problems: angina, palpitations, tachycardia, and other heart irregularities.

  • Dizziness, air hunger, and faintness. Headaches and migraines.

  • Weight gain without over eating, both obesity and water retention; and can gain up to seven pounds before periods.

  • Abdominal swelling and heaviness; bloating; stomach rumblings. Chronic constipation, sometimes alternating with diarrhea. Heavy feeling in rectum. Swollen liver.

  • Cravings for sugar and wheat.

  • Allergies of all sorts, hay-fever, allergic reactions.

  • Skin rashes; itching; dry and chapping eczema; easy bruising.

Feels drained emotionally or psychologically; over estimates her energy reserves. Is full of self-denial. There can be panic attacks. Hyperactive worse for resting.

Symptoms are:  
Better from: during menses except specific menstrual symptoms, after the 3rd day of menses, movement, fresh air, hard pressure.  
Worse from: before menses, from and during ovulation until to menses, heat, warmth, noise, touch, resting, motion. 

Homeopathy is the safest treatment before, during, and after menopause because it stimulates the natural hormonal balance without the use of harmful drugs. Constitutional homeopathic treatment is best during the transitional period of menopause in order to balance hormonal levels and cure the many accompanying symptoms.  You cannot address the complex of these symptoms as separate from the whole individual; for this reason true classical homeopathic prescribing is highly recommended for the treatment of menopause.  

Homeopathy is reassuring and helpful for both physical and emotional aspects of menopause, and most women, in addition to relief from their discomforts, experience an enhancement in self-awareness and well being after the treatment. Thus you can rely on Homeopathy to achieve optimal health during menopause and into the later years of your life. Hence, to conclude Homeopathy can present good health to women in all stages of their lives from infancy through old age. It is of assistance in all sorts of emotional, mental and physical problems that a woman is likely to experience, and can help her through the transitional and developmental milestones of her life.