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Friday, 6 September 2013

The Menopause and Homeopathy

The Menopause is not a disease, it is a natural life-transition, but it is a condition that many women suffer from quite seriously. It can produce irregular, heavy or painful periods, and problems such as host flushes, night sweats, insomnia, mood swings, concentration and memory problems, vaginal dryness, fatigue, depression, headaches, heart palpitations, loss of libido, weight gain - and much else.

Conventional medical treatment had, prior to 2007, been with Hormone Replacement Therapy drugs (HRT). Doctors had always told women how safe and effective this treatment was, but in 2002, the Women's Health Initiative began 'the largest and best designed federal studies of HRT'. These were stopped in 2007 when it was discovered that HRT significantly increased the risk of dying from cervical cancer, breast cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots. There were also increase risk of dementia.

Were these findings a devastating or terminal blow for HRT? It would appear not! The NHS Choices website, even now, states that the main treatment for the Menopause "if the symptoms are severe" is non-other than HRT!

So the main treatment used for Menopausal symptoms within the NHS is a drug that has been found to have deadly consequences!

In fairness, NHS Choices also describes some other treatments, but these raise other serious issues for the health of women. One is the drug Tibolone - described as a synthetic steroid hormone drug that “acts in the same way” as HRT - which given HRT's record is not really re-assuring! 

However, it should be noted with some trepidation that Tibolone is a treatment that the FDA (the USA drug regulator) has refused to approve. 

However, in the UK (according to NHS Choices) it is a safe treatment, and “carries some small risks, including a small increased risk of breast cancer, cancer of the womb, and stroke”. Is that okay then? Does that re-assure you that this drug is safe? Why is it that a drug used in one country can be considered dangerous whilst the same drug in another country is safe, and only carries 'small risks'?

Clonidine is another drug used for the menopause, although apparently it was originally designed to treat high blood pressure “but has been found to reduce hot flushes and night sweats in some menopausal women”. However, as NHS Choices continues:

    “Clonidine can cause unpleasant side effects including dry mouth, drowsiness, depression, constipation and fluid retention”.

I remain uncertain why the side-effects of Clonidine are described as ‘unpleasant’ whilst those for Tibolone are considered to be just ‘small risks’.

I discovered this when I was preparing an article on my website, "Why Homeopathy?". I started my research believing that the use of HRT had been practically terminated, and was surprised to find that it was still the main treatment in use for the menopause by the Conventional Medical Establishment.

So, how much safer, and more effective is homeopathic treatment? Well it could hardly be more dangerous - and, of course, like all homeopathic treatment, it is very safe. And homeopathy has a number of key remedies that are known to treat menopausal symptoms successfully, and have been doing so for over 200 years. 

What is more, these remedies relate to the woman's individual experience of the menopause. Homeopathy does not treat women, or the menopause, as a single condition, with a single 'off-the-shelf' remedy for all. Homeopaths are trained to discover the symptoms experienced by the individual, and then to find a remedy that best matches those symptoms.

It has to be the better option!