Complementary & Alternative
Treatment Approaches for Hot Flashes
and other Symptoms of Menopause
By Dr. Donald Liebell
Not all, but most women have hot flashes during menopause. Weight gain, loss of sex drive and other symptoms are also common. On average, menopause lasts seven years. Many women are given prescription hormones as a “replacement” for those not being produced by the body. Some physicians prescribe “bio-identical” hormones. These are compounds made from plants to imitate the molecular structure of human hormones. Still others who suffer hot flashes and other symptoms pursue various supplements, herbs and dietary approaches. Even fewer women are aware how beautifully homeopathy and acupuncture can help them through the transition… without any artificial hormone replacement. If you are not very familiar with homeopathic medicine, an entire article on the subject is recommended on this website.
Why do so many women seek alternatives to conventional medical treatment? In 2002, the National Institutes of Health reported significant dangers, including risk for heart disease, breast cancer, stroke and blood clots. Is that a good enough reason? There's no need for me to go to great lengths to describe the long list of other significant and serious potential side effects.
However women are now faced with what seems like and endless barrage of “alternative” treatments flooding the market, as a result of these well-publicized findings. You can be certain there are plenty of ineffective products being sold that are labeled “natural” and “safe.” Unfortunately many women haphazardly turn to herbal or soy products, not understanding that they can have side effects and dangerous drug interactions too. For example, St. John’s Wort, a commonly used herb, can have a negative interaction with prescription antidepressants. Many women don’t consult their doctors, (often correctly) assuming that they do not “believe” in herbs, nor have any education in such to provide good recommendations.
I can’t stress enough that “natural” doesn’t mean safe. There are however, some amazing approaches that have been well documented. Patients and practitioners of acupuncture and homeopathy can attest to this fact… with unparalleled safety. Herbal medicine is NOT regulated. It is not FDA approved. Homeopathic medicine, on the other hand has been strictly regulated and FDA approved since 1938.
Many women still struggle to decide what to do, despite the well-documented dangers of hormone replacement therapy. The medical community is naturally varied in opinion. Some physicians believe the risks outweigh the benefits. Therefore, it is my recommendation to do your own thorough research. I am not a gynecologist, nor do I claim to be an expert on hormone replacement. My first concern for the women I treat is safety. What I do offer is my opinion on the subject of hot flashes, while offering several time-tested complementary medicine treatments that are part of a whole health approach, which includes managing menopause.
Is menopause a medical condition? Do you require treatment as if it were a disease?
Menopause is as natural as menstruation… as natural as ovulation and pregnancy. But it's not "fun and games" either. Menopause is the result of a decreased production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone by the ovaries. This is all well and good if you’re not suffering from hot flashes, confusion, forgetfulness, fatigue, hair loss, headaches and many other symptoms!
Truly Natural Options: Homeopathy and Ear Acupuncture
Homeopathy and acupuncture are complementary methods that address underlying causes of many health problems. They have even been documented as such in "mainstream" medical journals. Both approaches have been successfully used long before the public even knew what a hormone was! The goal of these methods is to trigger regulation of hormones by your body itself—without any attempt to medically or “naturally” replace them from the outside.
Think of it as a jump-start to your body’s normal hormone production and balance. It is also a matter of addressing as many possible underlying causes of ill health, immune system depletion and any nutritional sources that contribute to hormone imbalances during menopause. It is not correct to assume that any and all menopause related symptoms are a matter of only hormonal changes. They can be the result of multiple underlying causes that are compounded by hormonal changes.
A study of 47 patients, conducted at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan revealed that acupuncture was equally effective for controlling hot flashes as the drug, Effexor. The difference of course, was were no side effects from acupuncture. The participants who only had acupuncture also reported having longer lasting relief from hot flashes, as well as improvements in their sex drive.
Hot flashes, mood swings, fatigue and other symptoms may be avoided, or significantly reduced by using a comprehensive health approach. Integrative health care is true health care... when all possible treatments, types of doctors are considered. If more physicians actually read their own professional journals, perhaps they would realize that the methods they refer to as “alternative” have helped patients long before their prescription medications ever existed, and will continue to, often after many of them have failed.
Donald K. Liebell, D.C., B.C.A.O.
477 Viking Drive Suite 170
Virginia Beach VA 23452
8:30AM - 6:30PM M,W,F
(and by Special Appointment)
The Liebell Clinic: Chronic Pain & Wellness Solutions
Natural & holistic, whole-person, wellness-based Healthcare - Drug-Free & Non-Surgical Pain Relief
The Liebell Clinic: 477 Viking Drive Virginia Beach, VA 23452 (757) 631-9799 www.LiebellClinic.com