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HRT is a subject which often crops up in public lectures and is of great concern to many women. In general it seems that the attitude of many 50 year-old women is that they have little to lose and much to gain.
They believe that their skin and their sex lives will improve; there will be no more hot flushes and an added benefit is that it seems to protect against osteoporosis as well.
Unfortunately on several occasions I have seen patients who were possible victims of HRT and, as a naturopathic practitioner, this has been enough to make me extremely wary of condoning HRT. In naturopathy, we practise the philosophy of effecting only minimal changes in the body, especially if they could result in apparently unconnected problems later.
Who can honestly claim that HRT is without any long term and still unknown side effects, even for future generations?
There are too many unanswered questions. Does one prescribe HRT treatment for diabetics or for women with fibroid problems or a degenerative disease? Is HRT a body-builder or a body-breaker and will it benefit the immune system? As long as there is doubt about the eventual outcome I must agree with a cautious approach.
Certainly if the person concerned feels that she can no longer cope and the natural approach does not appear to be effective, it may have to be reconsidered. There is no doubt that HRT will bring relief for some symptoms, yet why not leave this method until alternative methods have been given a fair chance?
The most common problem encountered during the menopause is hot flushes – around 80% of women suffer from this symptom. Naturopaths and herbalists have long known that Sage is a simple, yet effective treatment for hot flushes. Now, clinical trials have proven this action scientifically. There is also the interesting ‘natural’ observation on Sage to help one remember its usefulness on menopausal hot flushes.
In the hot sun, you can see little spots of water on the leaves of Sage – just as if the leaves are perspiring. Just as women get hot and bothered during the menopause, so this plant gets hot and bothered in the full sun and the little specks of perspiration almost shout out the message that it is nature’s gift to enable us to counteract hot flushes.
For women who suffer from more symptoms than hot flushes, I have found Black Cohosh to be excellent. It is helpful for irritability and depression during the menopause, and physical symptoms such as headaches, low libido, tiredness and menstrual problems.
These are just two of the many natural remedies that can help during the menopause. It is only sensible that women give these a chance before resorting to the use of HRT.