Health Notes by Dr. Ellis

What Are the Symptoms of Menopause?

Menopause is a natural condition that occurs in all women beginning in their late 40s and into their 50s. Menopause is triggered when the body produces less estrogen and progesterone; subsequently, the ovaries stop producing eggs, and menstruation slows and eventually ceases altogether. Side effects of hormone loss include hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, irritability, disrupted sleep patterns, and memory loss. More severe symptoms include vaginal infections and urinary tract infections, osteoporosis, and increased risk of heart disease.

Naturopathic Medicine for Menopause

Naturopathic Medicine offers diet, herbs, and lifestyle changes to naturally relieve the symptoms of menopause. In the past 20 years, more and more women have been learning about and choosing naturopathic remedies for menopause. This is understandable, since conventional medicine’s standard treatment for menopause since 1942 has been hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in the form of Premarin, a concentration of estrogens derived from the urine of pregnant horses. Research has shown that HRT has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, stroke, and blood clots. Naturopathic Medicine is a safer form of treatment to manage menopause.

How Can Naturopathic Medicine Alleviate Symptoms of Menopause?

Whether a woman’s menopausal symptoms are mild or severe, Naturopathic Medicine provides a number of relief methods. Naturopathy aims to create balance in a woman’s body, specifically hormonal balance, which is the key disharmony during menopause. It can also relieve emotional imbalances and physical symptoms, and encourage the body to heal itself. A naturopathic approach to treating menopause is a non-toxic, natural, and effective alternative to prescription drugs, which may carry potentially dangerous side effects.

Naturopathy Reduces the Risk of Osteoporosis during Menopause

Osteoporosis (or porous bones) is a dangerous condition caused by the decrease in hormones during menopause. It can lead to a hunched back, loss of height, and frequent fractures, especially in the hips. This condition can be treated with a naturopathic treatment of calcium and magnesium supplements.

General nutritional guidelines are always advisable during and post menopause. Women are recommended to eat a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet, avoid caffeine and alcohol, and not smoke in order to maintain good health.

Naturopathic Exercise for Menopause

Exercise is good for everyone no matter what his or her stage in life. For menopausal women, naturopathic exercise releases hormones called endorphins to relieve stress and depression, improves cholesterol levels, and boosts energy. Aerobic exercise reduces belly fat and improves cardiovascular health; strength exercise builds bone mass and helps reduce fractures. Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and meditation, are also helpful.


What Is Naturopathic Medicine?

Naturopathic Medicine is the philosophy of treating illnesses of the body and mind through natural means, as a person takes control of his or her own self-healing. A holistic approach to healing, naturopathy strives to induce the body to activate its own healing properties by creating a balance among a person’s state of mind, emotional state, biochemical imbalances, hormonal level, and immune system.

While Western medicine’s dominant form of treating illness is through prescription drugs, naturopathy employs such techniques as diet and nutrition, herbs, exercise, meditation, detoxification, homeopathy, massage, and traditional Eastern medicine. Naturopathy also aims to reduce the factors that may cause illness or disease.

Naturopathic Medicine for Diabetes

Naturopathic medicine relies on gentle, nontoxic, and effective treatments to help patients utilize the body's natural ability to heal itself. Since prevention is always the best cure, a naturopath will want to determine whether you are at risk for diabetes and help guide you to adopt lifestyle changes to minimize that risk. If diabetes is already a health issue for you, your naturopath can use a variety of strategies to help your body use its inherent abilities to return to better health. Naturopathic medicine helps you strengthen the natural healing powers of your body with a focus on three main lifestyle factors: diet management, weight control, and stress relief.

Diet Management for Diabetes

The decisions you make in selecting different foods, preparing them, and eating them can make a significant difference in your health. We know that diabetes is a condition in which the body does not assimilate food as effectively as it should. When the sugar resulting from digested food is not able to enter the cells, it remains in the bloodstream. This can, over time, cause serious injury especially to the eyes and kidneys. It can slow the healing of sores and blisters, and in extreme cases can even lead eventually to amputation. With his or her training in nutrition, a naturopath can help you adjust your diet to prevent or treat diabetes without the use of heavy drugs.

Controlling Blood Sugar

The goal in preventing or treating diabetes is to reduce high levels of glucose in the bloodstream. Naturopaths, sometimes called „Doctors who listen,‰ will be interested in knowing what food choices you normally make. Then they can determine whether dietary changes are needed to bring your body back to health. Your naturopath will also guide you to avoid the foods that can cause a spike in blood sugar, because that spike puts an extra stress on the pancreas. Your naturopath may recommend adjusting the amounts of food taken at each meal. Usually patients are advised to eat small amounts at frequent intervals rather than a few large meals each day. In addition, the naturopathic doctor may suggest taking care in the way that you combine foods. For instance, you may be advised to eat protein-containing foods along with vegetables in order to slow the process of absorption.

Many, though not all, naturopathic doctors have a specialized knowledge of herbal medicine. Herbs often used in the treatment of diabetes are fenugreek, bitter melon, garlic, olive leaves, and ginseng. A naturopath can recommend which herbs are best for you and in what form they should be taken: as a tea, as a pill or tablet, or as a powder, mixed carefully with food.

Weight Control

Hand-in-hand with diet management is the subject of weight control. Selecting foods that help reduce blood sugar levels will usually also provide help in controlling weight. In addition to a change in diet, your naturopath will probably suggest physical exercise appropriate to your health condition. Regular exercise is a vital component in preventing or treating diabetes. Exercise not only lowers blood glucose level, it also promotes healthy metabolic functions and oxygenates tissues.

Stress Relief and Sleeping Patterns

We know that stress increases the body's production of adrenalin, and that raises the blood sugar level. Though stress seems to be almost built-in to today's living, we need to keep in mind that it can have a damaging effect on our bodies.