Saturday, June 03, 2006

Women’s Health: Managing Menopause

In Chinese Medicine, the symptoms of menopause – hot flashes, palpitations, emotionality, depression, vaginal dryness, change in libido, urinary problems and changes in skin texture are associated with Deficient Kidney Yin; Deficient Liver Xue ; Deficient Kidney Yang; and Deficient Yin and Yang of Kidney. But it is important to stress that menopause is not a disease or a disorder – it is part of the natural progress of life. Any physical or emotional discomfort associated with it can be eased or eliminated.

Managing Menopausal Symptoms

  • Pre-menopausal and menopausal women should be vigilant about having regular mammograms, annual Pap smears (even after the period has stopped) and cardiovascular check-ups. For women in high-risk groups such as whites, fair-haired women, those who are very thin, smokers, those with a family history, a bone density scan may be recommended.
  • The smartest approach to menopause is to try the least harsh, most natural treatments first: that means change your diet, increase supplements, particularly vitamin, reduce stress levels, increase aerobic exercise routine, avoid caffeine and stop smoking – this is the single worst trigger of symptoms – use acupuncture, herbs, massage and meditation first.
  • There are a growing number of physicians who are using Estrogen Replacement Therapy (ERT) or Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) as the last resort for menopausal symptoms. Evidence is mixed about the increased risk of breast cancer among women who use ERT, although evidence that the risk of osteoporosis and heart disease is decreased appears overwhelming. However, the lifestyle changes suggested in this comprehensive program and throughout the book may also diminish the risk of brittle bones and heart disease sufficiently to make it unnecessary to take ERT.
In order to relieve your symptoms, follow the guidelines in the general gynecologic program plus the suggestions that follow here.