Article by Angela Haldane
Q. I am fast approaching menopause and I wish to tackle it as naturally as I can. What do you suggest?
A. The way a woman approaches menopause can have a huge impact on the degree of symptoms experienced. At first menopause can start as infrequent periods, until they cease all together.
Owing to the fluctuations in oestrogen levels, this is what gives rise to symptoms such as hot flushes, palpitations, headaches, insomnia. After a while the hormonal status stablilises, and the symptoms subside – the time frame is variable.
Whilst the ovaries no longer produce oestrogen, small amounts of oestrogen are made by the adrenal glands and there are stores of oestrogen in the subcutaneous fat. Therefore, stress management and adrenal tonic herbs and vitamin B complex including B5 support adrenal function.
Herbal medicine can be used to ease the transition and can help with symptoms such as difficulty sleeping, hot flushes and vaginal dryness.
For your specific needs, contact your registered medical herbalist such as Natural Ange Ltd or visit www.nzamh.org.nz to find a practitioner in your area. Online appointment or in person can be booked on the home page.
It is also a good idea to have a well woman checkup with your GP and have some blood tests to check for silent changes eg blood lipids, homocysteine and thyroid function. Bring these results to your appointment with Ange so she can bring this into consideration for your treatment programme.
Eat plenty of legumes such as organic soy bean products made from whole beans such as tofu, Vitasoy or Pure Harvest organic soy milk, hummus, bean salad or bean soup and 1 tablespoon of ground linseed on your cereal daily. These foods provide plant oestrogens as part of your daily diet. Research studies have shown that such foods reduce skin dryness and hot flushes.
Herbal medicine proves to be an effective alternative to the Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) in the treatment of menopause. It can provide plant oestrogens and support the nervous system for stress, insomnia or depression.