Monday, March 01, 2010
Treatment of Menopausal Symptoms – Hormones or Homeopathy?
Christopher Johnson, ND
In the wake of recent studies illuminating the risks of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), many women are looking for alternate ways to address their menopausal symptoms. There is no better treatment for these issues than homeopathy.
I use homeopathy to address menopausal symptoms, and it works amazingly well. I prefer it to hormone use (including “bio-identical” hormones) because homeopathy stimulates the body to balance and heal itself – which it does a much better job of compared to when manipulated with hormones.
HRT can be successful. The problem is that introducing hormones into the body can have un-intended adverse effects, both short and long term. Some of the more common symptoms induced by HRT include weight gain, bloating, breast tenderness, and irregular bleeding. These effects cause between one and two-thirds of women to discontinue HRT within the first two years of treatment.
Even more concerning than these short term effects are the more serious potential long term consequences. It is well-documented that HRT can increase risk of coronary heart disease, dementia, and various types of cancers (including breast cancer). The human body is infinitely complex, so it should not be a surprise that tinkering with the delicate balance of hormones produces side effects (whether manifest immediately or years later).
Most of the data on the risks of HRT comes from studies looking at conventional (prescription) hormone products. Bio-identical hormones have been shown to be safer, but the data is limited in size and not long term.
So while the jury is still out on bio-identical hormones, homeopathy has been used safely for over 200 years. Why take the chance?
Homeopathy gently, yet powerfully stimulates the body to find its own balance. There are no side effects and absolutely no long term risks whatsoever. These facts have been proven over homeopathy’s 200 year history and use by several hundred million people worldwide.
Furthermore, studies show a greater degree of efficacy with homeopathic treatment of menopausal symptoms compared to hormonal therapy (either conventional or bio-identical).
Additionally, homeopathy heals people on a holistic level, beyond simple hormonal balance – thereby conferring broader health benefits.
Here are some of the numerous studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals which demonstrate the safety and efficacy of homeopathy in treating menopausal symptoms:
- A 2008 study published in the journal Homeopathy looked at homeopathic treatment of hot flushes in 438 women. It found, “…a significant reduction in the frequency of hot flushes by day and night and a significant reduction in the daily discomfort they caused…Ninety percent of the women reported disappearance or lessening of their symptoms, these changes mostly taking place within 15 days of starting homeopathic treatment.”
- A 2005 study published in The Journal of the British Menopause Society looked at the use of homeopathy for patients at a menopausal clinic which was part of the British National Health Service. It noted, “Patients reported significant benefit from the service. The greatest response was seen in those reporting headaches, vasomotor symptoms [hot flashes], emotional/psychological symptoms and tiredness/fatigue as their primary symptoms.”
- A 2004 study conducted at a state medical center in Poland, and published in the journal Science and Engineering Ethics found, “Substantial improvement in psychological and psychosomatic symptoms was observed…[Menopausal] complaints diminished or disappeared completely in the majority of women (95.7% by patient evaluation and 96.2% by physician evaluation). Compared to standard pharmaceuticals… [homeopathic] treatment was tolerated better and lower risk of side effects was observed.”
- A 2002 study published in The Journal of the British Menopause Society stated, “Data from case histories, observational studies and uncontrolled trials suggest that the homeopathic approach can offer a clinically relevant choice for women with menopausal symptoms and those with breast cancer whether they are taking tamoxifen or not.”
- A 2005 study conducted at the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine looked at homeopathic treatment of menopausal symptoms in breast cancer survivors. It found, “A statistically significant improvement in general health score in both homeopathy groups… results from this preliminary trial suggest that homeopathy may be of value in the treatment of menopausal symptoms and improving quality of life, especially in those women not on tamoxifen.”
- A 2003 study taking place at the Glascow Homeopathic Hospital in Scotland, and published in the journal Homeopathy looked at menopausal-type symptoms resulting from estrogen withdrawal in breast cancer patients. It noted, “Significant improvements in mean symptom scores were seen over the study period… Symptoms… such as fatigue and mood disturbance appear to be helped. Significant improvements in anxiety, depression and quality of life were demonstrated over the study period. The homeopathic approach appears to be clinically useful in the management of oestrogen withdrawal symptoms in women with breast cancer whether on or off Tamoxifen and improves mood disturbance.”
Christopher Johnson, ND is a naturopathic doctor specializing in the use of homeopathy and nutrition to address a broad range of conditions in both the adult and pediatric populations. He is owner of Thrive Naturopathic, a holistic health care facility located in Alexandria, Virginia. He speaks widely on how homeopathy is the answer to many of today's health challenges, and is available for phone consultations for those not in the area. Visit his website at: www.ThriveNaturopathic.com