Menstrual Problems

MENOPAUSE AND HORMONE REPLACEMENT

Replacement estrogen has been shown to slow bone loss and to reduce the occurrence of heart disease, but menopausal discomfort is frequently the immediate incentive for a woman to receive a prescription for estrogen. Many women are not at risk for osteoporosis or heart disease when they receive such a prescription.

Studies have shown replace-ment estrogen to increase the incidence of breast cancer. It may also cause side-effects such as headache, fluid retention, nausea, and irritability. It is therefore our position that estrogen should be used mainly for cases where heart disease or osteoporosis risk factors are present, and not for menopause discomfort alone.

Herbal and nutritional measures should be tried first. These are typically successful with meno-pause symptoms, and may also lower one's cancer risk.

Where hormone replacement is necessary, we prefer certaina natural mixtures which closely mimic the body's own hormone balance.

 

DISCOMFORTS OF MENOPAUSE

The symptoms which occur as female hormones decline are for some women very difficult.

With the baby-boom generation approaching middle-age, there has been great demand for natural op-tions to address this issue. Many worthwhile non-hormone products have been developed, containing concentrated natural ingredients such as herbal extracts and nutrients.

For a woman trying to use a natural approach, patience is sometimes required. What works very well for a friend may work poorly for you, but you can go on to try something else. A combination of products may be necessary.

 

SEVERE CRAMPS, PMS

These symptoms of excess estrogen usually respond to diet changes, such as reducing satur-ated fats. Excess estrogen may be buffered by plant phytosterols from herbs and foods.

But excess estrogen production is only part of the story - an equally common factor is inadequate dis-posal of estrogen by the liver.

Herbal and nutritional therapy is typically helpful in improving this aspect of liver function. Caffeine, alcohol, and smoking must be cut out.

Hormone-like substances known as prostaglandins are also involved in menstrual problems. Prostaglandins may be brought into favorable balance by nutritional supplements including magnesium and vitamin B6.

Someone in need of immediate symptom relief may benefit from acupuncture. While pharmaceutical drugs can temporarily relieve cramps and PMS, they may have harmful effects. They fail to address the functional imbalances which underlie these problems, as natural measures do. It is only with nutritional, dietary, and herbal approaches that these problems can truly be solved. At the same time, there may be positive long-term effects on related issues such as headaches and constipation.

 

ABSENCE OF PERIODS, INFERTILITY

The opposite imbalance involves inadequate hormones. Here also diet change may be needed. Acupuncture, herbs and glandular extracts can be effective in activating feedback