People often ask me homeopathy can do anything for female hormonal problems, and I have to tell them, “Yes, indeed, it can.” In fact, more often than not, the health problems that women experience are related to hormonal imbalances, whether they are headaches that occur right around the time the period is start, to heightened emotional sensitivity, leading to
- Angry outbursts or crying spells premenstrual, to the
- Hot flashes of menopause.
- Joint pains,
- Gastrointestinal problems and
- Innumerable symptoms and states in between, may also be hormonal influenced.
These problems are all amenable to homeopathic treatment and the women who seek homeopathy as an alternative to alopathic treatment approaches have no regrets.
As a male homeopathic gynecologist doctor, it comes as no surprise that the majority of my “clientele” are female. I have always told any female homeopathic medical students who have come to sit in with me for training, that there is no point in being a homeopathic doctor if you do not like treating women!
As Homeopathic Physician I am a great advocate of equal opportunities and rights for women, Women are the weaker sex in terms of muscle strength women also have a complex system of hormones which causes a fluctuating environment, producing a monthly cycle. This creates a system which has the potential to cause “distress” both emotionally and physically, if the hormones are not in balance.
It goes without saying that women are the receptacles of new life, pregnancy is a whole area of complex emotional and physical changes and the symptoms experienced by pregnant women are particularly difficult to treat conventionally because of the potential for damage by drugs to the foetus. Here one can reassure the woman one hundred per cent that homeopathic medicines are completely harmless to the unborn child.
During and after the menopause, the hormonal imbalance again undergoes a huge upheaval, with some women faring better than others. Now that hormone replacement therapy is less popular, again homeopathic medicines can come to the rescue. There are also many other aspects of health peculiar to women – for example, breast problems, recurrent thrush, vaginal soreness and discharge and pain on intercourse. This article will attempt to address some of these problems.
HEALTHY LIFESTYLE FOR FEMALE:
There are a lot of common sense things a woman can do to remain healthy. It is obvious that all women need a healthy, well-balanced diet, and should not allow themselves to become overweight. As soon as young girls start to menstruate, more dietary iron is needed to replenish the stores lost each month. This is more difficult for vegetarians, as the most concentrated source is
- Dark green vegetables,
- Molasses, (the thick dark to light brown syrup that is separated from raw sugar in sugar manufacture.)
- Tomato paste,
- Bran flakes,
- Lobia beans,
- Dried apricots
- Oily fish.
Being overweight upsets the hormonal balance, as estrogen, one of the female hormones, is stored in fat cells. The body can become insulin-resistant and this triggers a complicated chain process of hormonal change leading to irregular periods. This is now thought to be the basic problem in poly-cystic ovarian syndrome and one of the simplest treatments for this condition is weight loss. I do realise this is easier said than done, but it is facilitated with the addition of a regular exercise program.
Talking of stress – this is a modern scourge which takes its toll on a woman’s health. With the high cost of living, it is virtually impossible these days to buy a house and support a mortgage on one person’s wages, which means that women are now forced into going back to work after having had a baby, even if they would rather choose to stay at home with their child. However much the partner takes a share in running the home, the woman tends to be the one who has to juggle childcare and a job. It is therefore vitally important that the woman does not take on too much, and recognises that pre-menstrual she will not cope as well as usual and puts in place, if possible, other support mechanisms. None of this is easy to achieve, but a healthy balance is important for a healthy mind and body.
FEMALE’S PRE-MENSTRUAL TENSION (PMT) AND HOMEOPATHY:
Often it is the woman’s partner who recognises the link between an impending period and a decrease in coping abilities or increased irritability. I have seen many patients who were sent by their partners, to “go and do something about it”.
Hormonally it is difficult to work out the basis for pre-menstrual tension, as studies have failed to show any difference in hormone levels pre-menstrually in women who suffer from pre-menstrual tension and those who do not. It seems to be the balance between oestrogen and progesterone (the two female hormones, secreted mainly by the ovaries) which causes the trouble. The pattern varies from woman to woman, with some showing increased anger and irritability, very quick to fly off the handle, and blaming everything on her partner, while others are weepy and pathetic, changing from hour to hour, and needing constant reassurance and cuddles. You may recognise two distinct homeopathic types in those descriptions – the former picture needing Sepia and the latter, Pulsatilla. These remedies are also useful for the menopause. Indeed these are just two of the remedies so useful for pre-menstrual tension, which have literally saved marriages.
MENOPAUSE IN WOMEN AND HOMEOPATHY:
The menopause is defined as the time when regular menstruation ceases and with it fertility. The average age now for the menopause is 51 years. There is a length of time called the pre-menopause, during which the periods become increasingly irregular (can be either more frequent or less frequent, heavier or scantier, there is no fixed pattern), when it is not always realised that the menopause is impending. The reason for the irregularity is that ovulation is by now not always occurring every month, because the ovaries are failing. This is accompanied by a massive increase in secretion of the pituitary hormone, follicular stimulating hormone (FSH) which is trying to force the ovaries into continuing to produce eggs. The raised FSH levels are probably responsible for the hot flushes experienced at this time.
Both the peri-menopause and menopause proper may be a time when the woman realises that she is not coping as well as she used to and finds herself unusually emotionally unstable. It is often a difficult time in a woman’s life, because the children may well have left home, causing the “empty nest syndrome”, and she may find herself having to define a new role for herself. She may have elderly dependent parents by this time and also may have reached the zenith of her career, with a demanding and competitive job. Just when she needs all her emotional strength, it may desert her. Her sleep may be disturbed by the hot flushes, adding to the feeling of tiredness. Also, especially if the menopause is occurring younger than usual (premature menopause) she may be grieving for her lost fertility.
Some women may find that they have become unusually suspicious, accusing their partner of infidelity, or being jealous if he is out with his work colleagues. The hot flushes are very uncomfortable, making her avoid wearing tight clothes, preferring open necks and loose waists. Such a woman would benefit from Lachesis. Other women will find they are becoming more reclusive, keeping themselves to themselves and not talking about their feelings, especially about past losses. They will prefer cool weather, and find that they are craving salt. This type of woman will need some Natrum mur.
Other very good hot flush remedies are Sepia and Pulsatilla (as above) and Belladonna, Sulphur, Glonoine or Amyl nitrite. These remedies are also very helpful for women who have had breast cancer and are taking drugs such as Tamoxifen, which causes hot flushes.
PAINFUL MENSES (PERIODS) AND HOMEOPATHY:
In General Practice I often saw girls with painful periods, which were causing difficulties at school, especially during examination times. In the last issue of Health & Homeopathy, Dr. Aamir Mustafa wrote a very interesting article on endometriosis, which can be a cause of painful periods at any age. However, the majority of girls with painful periods do not have to be referred to a gynecologist for investigation and many cope simply by taking pain-killers, which do not need a prescription.
However, homeopathy can offer more than just pain-relief. If the correct remedy is found, it will improve the periods dramatically. The pain is caused by the uterine muscle contracting in a cramp-like way. As always, when trying to find the simillimum for the patient, a full history must be taken, as the description of the type of pain is always different.
In the most extreme cases, the girl may be completely wiped out by the pain, with fainting, clamminess, diarrhea and vomiting. In this case, Veratrum album is magical.
In other cases the pain may be colicky, relieved by pressure and being curled up with a hot water bottle. The remedy here is Mag phos or Colocynth if the heat modality is less marked. Kali phos is useful if the pain is felt more in the back or radiates down the thighs. A magnesium supplement and omega oils are also very useful for preventing the uterine muscle from cramping.
HEAVY MENSES (PERIODS) AND HOMEOPATHY:
Some women experience heavy periods throughout their life, and others develop them when in their 40s. In this case a physical examination often reveals the presence of fibroids, which can be confirmed on a scan. Fibroids are an overgrowth of the muscle that forms the wall of the womb, that grow in “whorls” and can cause growths the size of an orange. These are entirely benign, but can produce symptoms by pressing on organs such as the bladder.
In the past, heavy periods were a common cause of hysterectomy, and many a “normal” womb was removed because nothing else could be done. These days, there are drugs which can reduce the bleeding, or a progesterone-bearing coil can be inserted which acts by thinning down the lining of the womb.
A coil cannot be inserted in the presence of fibroids, so management is more difficult, and although new techniques are being tried to remove the fibroids, these are not altogether successful and hysterectomy is often offered. After the menopause, the fibroids shrink and cease to be a problem. Homeopathic treatment can reduce the amount of blood flow, and help the woman avoid an operation. Some homeopaths claim to be able to shrink fibroids, but I’m afraid I was never that successful. However the text books contain mention of remedies said to reduce the size of them, such as Aurum muriaticum, Calcarea carbonica, Cacaria iodatum and Fraxinus americana. I found these remedies (and others) helped to reduce the bleeding and improve the quality of the patient’s life.
VULVA PROBLEMS AND HOMEOPATHY:
This was another reason that I was frequently consulted in General Practice. Vulva problems can occur at any age, and have several different causes.
The commonest cause is vaginal thrush and it can be very difficult to eradicate. The symptoms are commonly a whitish discharge, like curds, associated with intense itching and soreness of the vulva. However, the presentation can be misleading, as the only complaint may be soreness on intercourse or vulva swelling. Adding to the complication is that vaginal swabs for thrush can often be negative, so many a patient has been told that they do not have thrush and are left with miserable complaints, not knowing what the problem is, or what to do about it. I have always worked on the assumption that the problem is thrush, unless a different cause can be found. The fungal organism causing thrush, called Candida albicans, likes to live in warm, moist places, so the vagina is ideal. It does not survive well on a swab being transported to a laboratory, hence the frequency of negative tests. It also needs a substrate to live on, as do all fungi, so if the woman has a high sugar intake, it will thrive. This is why it is a common in women who suffer from diabetes.
The first line of attack, therefore, is dietary. I put my patients on a no-sugar diet, much to their dismay. I also stop fruit for the first two weeks in severe cases, but after that fruit can be reintroduced, as fructose, the sugar in fruit, is less harmful. Patients are reluctant to comply at first, but life is so miserable for a sufferer from recurrent thrush, that once they have proved for themselves the connection, they will never touch sugar (or chocolate) again! I could always guarantee a stream of patients suffering from thrush coming in to consult me after Easter every year, for obvious reasons! Sugar that is the culprit.
Women have often bought for themselves the usual anti-thrush treatments available, in the form of pessaries and cream, but they find that the thrush always comes back. Along with the dietary advice, I also give Candida 30c, three doses once a month to prevent attacks, with the advice to start taking it frequently, two-hourly, if they feel a bout coming on. This usually stops the attack in its tracks.
Other causes of vulva soreness are allergies, eg to perfumes in toiletries or even to the dye in toilet paper. Other infections can cause it, such as herpes genitalia. Post-menopausal, the cause can be estrogen lack and an estrogen pessary can safely be used, as it will not be absorbed sufficiently to cause any effects around the body.
In conclusion, following a healthy life-style will help to support a woman’s health, both mentally and physically, and the judicial use of homeopathy can alleviate many of the problems that beset the fairer sex!
Homeopathic Approach To Female Diseases:
Homeopathy treats the person as a whole. It means that homeopathic treatment focuses on the patient as a person, as well as his pathological condition. The homeopathic medicines are selected after a full individualizing examination and case-analysis, which includes the medical history of the patient, physical and mental constitution etc.
A miasmatic tendency (predisposition/susceptibility) is also often taken into account for the treatment of chronic conditions. The medicines given below indicate the therapeutic affinity but this is not a complete and definite guide to the treatment of this condition. The symptoms listed against each medicine may not be directly related to this disease because in homeopathy general symptoms and constitutional indications are also taken into account for selecting a remedy. To study any of the following remedies in more detail, please visit our Materia Medica section. None of these medicines should be taken without professional advice.
When other systems of medicine fail to work effectively, and if you want to live with natural, safe, gentle, non-toxic, effective and rapid acting medicines, to relieve the symptoms of sexual dysfunction, to experience substantial improvement in your outlook and quality of life consider Homeopathy.
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