Do we need to talk about the menopause?

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The BBC keeps telling me we do.  Is it a taboo?  I don’t think so.  I think we do talk about it, but I don’t always agree with the solutions presented.  I am prompted to write after listening to this piece on Radio 4.  Don’t bother with the start, just skip to the end when Dr Susan Bewley says that most “pioneering” ideas about holding off the menopause or replenishing egg stores have been mostly devised by male scientists.  Ignore the non-substantiated claims in the middle that the risks of HRT outweigh by the benefits (By whom?  For whom?  Everyone?) Just because the beeb is the beeb is doesn’t mean we should believe their blanket statements without question.

IMG_4216The good bit is where Dr Bewley frames the menopause in a more positive light saying that the menopause spares us the damage of conceiving when our body is not as ready as if used to be,  freeing space for the next generation, and for grand parenting.  I say it is more than this.

But do we need to talk about it more, or just consider it more?  For women, hormonal health affects us through all our life, not just in the unattractively named “climactic period” but our lives get so busy sometime that we stop noticing our ebb and flow.

I see lots of people raising awareness, I don’t think that’s a problem.  Here’s a lovely post by a champion of Women’s Health, Kate Codrington: the Truth About Menopause.  I couldn’t have put it better myself when she says this:

Menopause is a natural time of transition, a time of shedding masks and the compliance of childbearing years to finally live your purpose. A time to examine who you are, what you have done and who you want to be next. No wonder we get stroppy; there’s a lot to be stroppy about!

So people are talking, but I can’t help thinking that there should be some kind of introspective process at the same time?  It’s OK to acknowledge that this is what is going on for you, but perhaps you would rather keep some of the ensuing emotions to yourself?  Perhaps what needs curing will come from some kind of inner healing?

The WHOLE system works together.

The Endocrine system (your hormonal system) includes more of your body than you may think: your hypothalamus, pituitary gland and pineal gland in your brain, your thyroid and parathyroid, your heart, stomach, intestines, pancreas, adrenals, kidneys, fat cells AND your reproductive organs.  So we’re not just talking about fertility or even just about women, hormones encompass things like sleep, digestion, nutrition as well.  This is a much bigger picture.

It’s a feedback system so to keep you in homeostasis (balance) constant messages are sent around the body and constant updates are required.  In fact some of the symptoms associated with the onset of the menopause are in fact the pituitary gland trying to restart ovulation but getting the wrong feedback.  Natural hormones work a bit like the right key for the right lock. Modern medicine for hormones involves suppression, which send this feedback system into confusion: the key looks the same, seems to work but doesn’t do the whole job.  So by interfering with the natural feedback, medicating your hormones becomes like a game of whack a mole: bash one symptom down and another will appear.

Credit: Flikr Robert Dobalina
Credit: Flikr Robert Dobalina

Imagine a group of women are sitting in a room discussing their experience of the menopause.  Superficially their symptoms are similar.  They take comfort in that (and comfort is healing and good).  But the truth is that they are all experiencing a powerful shift in their own individual way.

The Holistic view considers the whole picture.  It considers a transition no different to that of menarche (first period) or into fertility and motherhood.  But the sum that makes up the part of our imbalance is entirely unique to us and our response should be individual to us too.  The following things might be considered:

Change.  Are you good at change in general?  It can be very unsettling at the best of times but very personal when it’s your body.  Is there something in particular about this change which is more distressing than other elements?

Children.  Whether you have them or not, the emotions associated with your childbearing years carry huge associations for us all.IMG_4191

Resources. Do you have enough petrol in your tank?  Are you in energy or nutritional deficit?

Minerals. Again, how are your stores?  On a cellular level we need our minerals to be in balance for any systemic change.

Elimination.  Women’s periods are the third line of elimination, after urine and bowels, but when we don’t bleed anymore does our eliminative process still hold up?  If our bowels don’t move so well or we don’t drink enough, the act of no longer bleeding can be like a road block.

Sleep.  Do you have enough restorative sleep?  Probably not.  We rarely do!

 This in combination, but by no means exclusively, all contribute to your unique components.  There’s no one solution to balancing, but awareness is the place to start.

Thinking about symptoms being “side effects” gives them permission to be there, thinking of them as “messages” give us opportunity to respond.

Somewhere through time, we have lost the ability to listen to our bodies, perhaps because of modern medicine providing a “pill for all ills” and consequently masking the messages.  Our bodies have not changed: we still bleed the same way; we still birth the same way; we still transition the same way.

So what to do?  You don’t need to see any kind of practitioner to tune in.  Consider the list above, keep a brief journal of observations, get some clarity then decide what to do next.

Can I help?  Of course I am always happy to help.  I offer 15 minute telephone conversations free of charge to see how we might work together. My tools are varied, but the commonality is that I treat the Endocrine system as a whole in whatever life stage you find yourself.

Homeopathy: find the feelings at the heart of the imbalance and gently dissipate them.

Blood sugar issues in this eye would influence energy levels.
Iridology: I see blood sugar issues here which would influence energy levels.

Iridology: find any hormone imbalance, organ strength, or functional deficiencies

Detox: any synthetic hormone or drug that might be acting as a block

Nutrition and Herbs: replenish and rebalance

So do let me know if you think we can work together to make your Menopause Marvellous… or at the very least a positive transformational experience.

Whatever you do beware the NICE guidelines due out at the end of the year on the management of the menopause, avoid the over medicalisation, acknowledge the lack of woman-ness and the attempt to “cure us of being human” (Bewley again – she’s on to something!).

All my recommendations are individual to you and free of any affiliate bias.

www.cellheal.co.uk

Post Natal Depletion – Helping Mums back on to their feet.

This year I am taking a special interest in Post Natal Depletion.  That is, the idea that, having had a baby, your resources are low and, however hard your try, you do not seem to fully recover.

Calendula the skin healer

In my patients, I have seen a number of reasons why this might be the case.  Many are emotional and

may well be associated with a difficult birth or unexplainable feelings that you experience as a new Mum.  This can include Post Natal Depression, but is not exclusively this.  I have found that every mother has down days and has a right to call them whatever she pleases.

 

Some causes are also physical.  It could be that a nutritional depletion is stopping your body from functioning at full capacity.  It could be a hormonal imbalance that needs gentle bringing back into line.  Often, the tolls of working while growing a tiny human leave us knackered before the baby even arrives and we give the best of ourselves to the children first, leaving us a little empty in our reserve tanks.

Perhaps you can’t shake a cold.   Perhaps you can’t sleep even when the baby is sleeping.  Perhaps you have feelings that you don’t really want to say aloud to your family and peers.  I am here to help.

There are many tools we can use
There are many tools we can use

My tools are varied and I draw from my training in all kinds of alternative and energy therapies.  I use Naturopathic Iridology to asses nutrition and body function.  I prescribe homeopathy, flower essences (think Rescue Remedy), supplements, food and re hydration!  There is an individual treatment plan for everyone who sees me which is gentle and responsive to your healing needs.

 

If you think I might be able to help, I offer 15 minute telephone consultations with no obligation.  Follow my Facebook page for upcoming articles on positive health choices focused in this area.

My son: a case study

What’s it like to treat a child with homeopathy?

One of my homemade remedy kits

I wrote this a while ago while I was sitting with my son who was sleeping off a fever.  I thought it might be interesting to see my thought process around treating an acute illness was and how I made my remedy selection. This was the first day of what turned out to be a three day illness with fever and coughing.   After he was well again, I treated him more broadly for some of the fears he expressed when he was poorly.  This is an individual prescription specific to his personality and usually prescribed after a homeopathic consultation so I have left that bit out.

Have a read and leave a comment if you have any questions.

 

My little one is poorly.

He’s nearly four and he’s usually a bundle of energy.  Yesterday he was playing loudly and happy and this morning he woke up distressed because his face was covered in snot!  Goodness knows what he has been doing in the night!

Anyway, PULSATILLA is a remedy that likes to discharge in the morning (try taking it at bedtime to unblock a stuffed up nose) and he was quite weepy – PULSATILLA  is a classic remedy for children who aren’t coping very well with feeling unwell.

So I gave it in a 200c, which I was always taught is the “do it now” potency.  I have found this to be true in my own practice too.

About half an hour later my husband said our son was a bit hot.  His cheeks were red, he didn’t like to be touched and did not want to get out of bed, his eyes were a bit glassy, so I gave BELLADONNA, again in 200c.  This does not lower the temperature, but it does support the body to fight the virus and may shorten the length of time that the temperature is high.

Skip forward an hour and he’s agreed to get out of bed.  He’s had some water and is bossing me about asking for the “poorly blanket” and the TV on.  He’s a bit raspy, from the phlegm and has a bit of a barking cough.  He’s thirsty, and he’s putting his water bottle to his temple and saying it feels nice.

I find it hard to be objective with my own children.  Despite being being a qualified homeopath and well equipped for any illness.  I thought that feeling would go with more knowledge but now I think it’s impossible to take your Mum hat off.

So I go back to my training and do it by the book.  With a decent book like Miranda Castro’s Homeopathy Handbook you can do this too and here’s how.

I identify the symptoms as a whole which are:

  • Fever (feeling hot not chilly)
  • Respiration labored
  • Barking cough
  • Better for cold things (water, ice etc)

The top remedies are ACONITE, DROSERA and SPONGIA.  I have all of these at home.   I have a quick read of their picture and decide that DROSERA is chilly so I rule it out. ACONITE has a sudden onset but SPONGIA is worse after sleep.  There both quite anxious pictures (now I think of it my son keeps asking if it’s because he didn’t wash his hands at nursery- bless him!) ACONITE has dry eyes, SPONGIA has watery eyes so I am going to go with that one.

(NB SPONGIA and DROSERA are not in the Basic Helios Kit, DROSERA is in the Ainsworths Kit.  If you just had ACONITE you could see how you got on with that, or stick to PULSATILLA and BELLADONNA).

Belladonna in the wild

So I gave him the PULSATILLA and BELLADONNA because I could see they would help, when he was settled I looked for the best remedy to suit his picture.  I have all sorts of potencies, but I am going to choose 30c and give it twice and see what happened.  (If you only had 200c that would be fine).

What I notice is that he thinks it’s something he has done wrong.  He asks about hand washing and eating sugar.  The idea that it’s somehow his fault is an interesting SRP* and something I am going to park for the next time I take him to a homeopath.  As well as the observation that he’s moving through the remedies quite quickly.  For now, my goal is to get him well enough for school photos tomorrow.

I practice homeopathy around the hours that my children are at school.  It was a deliberate career strategy for me.  But I can’t help but think about the patients I had to reschedule this morning to be at home.  I know I must put this aside.  My impatience to get him well again, or my irritation at the change in my schedule is not as important as stopping everything and sitting on the sofa with my son and the poorly blanket.  I should probably take a remedy for that myself….

Don’t forget, there’s a skill to picking the right remedy but it comes with practice.  You can’t go wrong: the “wrong” remedy won’t work, but if you can find a remedy that not 100& right, it might remove a symptom and make the next remedy more obvious.  Give it a go.  Trust your mothering instinct about the well being of your child.

From 7am to midnight you can use the homeopathy helpline for support. Calls are £1.58 per minute (you’re not on very long) and it helps if you have a first aid kit or you will need to order the remedies.  You can also call the pharmacies within working hours.

 

 

*SPR means strange rare and peculiar and is homeopathy speak for something unusual that might contribute to the patient’s imbalance.

 

Why I don’t prescribe at the school gates.

A few of the mums at the school gate know what I do, I even treat some of them discretely.  The ones who dabble in homeopathy often ask me questions about their ailments, or their children’s ailments.

In the early days of study, I loved it!  If I knew the answer I would proudly boast it and if I didn’t I would go away, add to my knowledge and return the next day with an answer.

I also felt compelled to help.  When the most sceptical of friends agreed to take some Pulsatilla for a cold that she had, her nose ran and ran and she thought I had broken her.  She never asked for anything else.  Another asked if I had anything for ring worm so I gave her a therepeutic combination and it didn’t work.  Serves me right, I didn’t take the case, so I was prescribing blind.

By cutting corners I am doing everyone a disservice.  Any ailment deserves to have the attention of a homeopath for enough time to establish the following:

  • Full catalogue of symptoms, across the whole body (there is always a connection!)
  • Why this ailment has come on? When?  Possible cause?
  • How does it hurt, where and when in the day?
  • What makes it better?

This is the full picture and this is how we prescribe.  Prescribing with the body means all the symptoms have to fit your individual case.  Working with the body cannot be successful with broad brush stroke prescribing, standing in the pharmacy being told that this cough mixture will probably help is not the same as matching symptoms to the right remedy.

I often get “have you got anything for PMT?”.   I do. Lots!  And highly effective it can be too.  It’s a hormone imbalance and your hormones are delicate things.  Not something to be discussed in a snatched conversation.  It takes time to unravel what has happened to your body.

But it’s really hard not to offer, especially if you can see the right remedy fit immediately, or they’re about to take an unnecessary round of antibiotics.  It’s also hard to say no.  So if you see me shifting uncomfortably then this explains why.  Feel free to use my acute service which is cost effective and free of my children swinging off my legs!