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Fortunately, there are other natural ways to ease menopausal problems

“My Wife Is Driving Me Crazy. She’s Menopausal”

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- Dr. Gifford Jones  Sunday, May 23, 2010
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A husband asks, “Can you provide advice on how to treat my wife’s problem? It’s now impossible to live with her due to menopause. Her doctor has suggested hormones, but she refuses to take them because her mother died of breast cancer. Do you have any suggestions?”     

Newspaper headlines linking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to cancer and heart disease have left an indelible mark on the minds of many women. Fortunately, there are other natural ways to ease menopausal problems.

Some women sail through menopause without trouble. For others, it means sleepless nights, embarrassing hot flushes, decreased sex drive, painful intercourse, urinary incontinence, headaches and an urge to kick the cat, or their husband, for trivial reasons.

One patient, a high school principal, routinely arrived for annual check-ups without complaint. But recently she burst out crying, saying, “I can’t handle my job. I’m out of control.” And she complained she was unable to take hormones since her mother had uterine cancer.

For women who fear hormones, a natural herbal product called “MenoSense” is available at health food stores across Canada without a prescription. It’s also been approved by Health Canada for its safety, effectiveness, quality and given an “NPN” designation. This approval is hard to obtain so always look for “NPN” printed on the product’s label.

MenoSense is a combination of natural herbs. One herb, black cohosh, has been used by Native Americans to prevent a variety of complaints. Now, it’s helping a generation of “boomer” women to stop the feeling that they’ve walked into an oven, have to turn up the air-conditioner, or change bed sheets due to nighttime sweats.

Black Cohosh works by blocking the pituitary gland from producing the luteinizing hormone responsible for hot flashes.  Other studies show it may have a positive effect on mood by effecting serotonin receptors. It’s also reassuring for women to know that research reported in the International Journal of Oncology showed that black cohosh has no estrogenic activity.

Don Quai, another herb in MenoSense, used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine, also helps to reduce hot flashes. Other herbs, such as Vitex and Hesperidin ease menopausal symptoms by increasing the production of progesterone and decreasing prolactin which increases during menopause. And Gamma-Oryzanol, produced from rice bran oil, is an antioxidant effective in relieving menopausal symptoms by lowering elevated blood levels of triglyceride and cholesterol. Results usually occur within 12 weeks.

During menopause women, often through a lack of knowledge, make several errors. The worst is failure to seek medical attention if they have emotional and physical problems affecting their quality of life. I cannot recall a single patient who had bone-fide menopausal problems that was not helped by treatment.

A second error is when doctors use the wrong medication. I recently saw a woman who had been prescribed Prozac by her doctor.  She was still suffering from night sweats and other menopausal symptoms. This patient had a hormonal imbalance and a ton of antidepressants would not cure her.

I often suggest a combination of treatment for some patients. For instance, the patient that requires MenoSense may also have senile vaginitis causing painful intercourse. That adds insult to injury. This patient, in addition to MenoSense, may also require a vaginal estrogen cream such as Premarin, or Vagifem vaginal tablets to increase the thickness of the vaginal lining. Patients can be reassured that no study in the world has implicated the use of local estrogen to a malignancy.

Menopause is also a time when menstrual irregularity occurs. The usual pattern is fewer periods or less bleeding. But if there’s bleeding between periods or bleeding after an absence of a few months, this should be quickly reported to the doctor to rule out a malignancy. Fortunately, most abnormal bleeding is due to benign reasons, but never assume this is the case.

And I hope that husbands now know that something can be done to stop wives from kicking them.

Premarin Cream and Vagifem require a doctor’s prescription. MenoSense, an over-the-counter item is available at health food stores in Canada and the U.S.

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W. Gifford-Jones M.D is the pen name of Dr. Ken Walker graduate of Harvard. Dr. Walker’s website is: docgiff.com.

Dr. Walker can be reached at: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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