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Homeopathic Help for the Menopause

by Dr Angela Jones(more info)

listed in homeopathy, originally published in issue 53 - June 2000

I have to admit that I was quite shocked and worried by Mary's account of her menopause when she first came to see me. Seven years previously, she had been a fit and active forty one year old woman, running a large house, garden and family happily and energetically.

Then, out of the blue, she haemorrhaged whilst on holiday and was whisked into hospital for a hysterectomy and removal of one ovary.

The surgery was complicated by a deep venous thrombosis, or clot, in the leg and further tests revealed that she had an inherited tendency to such clot formation. This meant that she would never be able to take hormone replacement therapy, as this would put her at unacceptable risk of further clots and possible death.

As is often the case after hysterectomy, the remaining ovary soon stopped functioning, and Mary began to experience menopausal symptoms in full force. Worst of all were the flushes, which left her running with sweat three or four times an hour and woke her from her sleep several times a night, drenched through. "I feel as if I am slowly dying," she said. The phrase brought me up short. I knew that these vasomotor episodes were embarrassing and a nuisance, but I had never before heard a patient describe such terrible exhaustion and enervation. What was going on here?

Well, Mary was certainly no drama queen. In fact, she was acutely embarrassed to have to come to the doctor with such seemingly trivial symptoms. As she said, she did not like to bother people with her problems. Her demeanour was that of a hard worker, someone who liked to get a job done, and enjoyed working hard. This was why she was at the end of her tether. She was fed up with feeling tired and lethargic, as if everything was an effort, with not enjoying life and with dragging her family down with her.

The flushes themselves tended to spread from below upwards. The back of her neck would become very hot and her hair would become wet at the back. She would sweat all over, from the waist upwards and sometimes the sweat would run down into her eyes.

Terrified of smelling, she would wash all over, several times a day. Little wonder that she was feeling totally exhausted. She had tried various other remedies, such as Dong Quai and evening primrose oil, but without much success.

Otherwise, Mary did not have many complaints. She had been diagnosed as suffering from raised blood pressure and an underactive thyroid gland, at a private health check performed about two years earlier. Both complaints were under good control and her blood was tested regularly to ensure that she had the correct dosages of her various medications. None of her drugs had flushes as a side effect and it seemed that Mary was going through a straightforward but very severe menopause.

Generally, she had always been an extremely chilly mortal, with hands and feet like ice. However, she hated stuffy rooms and loved the fresh air as long as she was well wrapped up. She had a very sweet tooth and also liked fatty foods and crisps. Her most favourite food, however, was soft boiled eggs, which she could eat at any time. Psychologically, she described herself as an emotional person but one who was not too keen to reveal her feelings, as she hated confrontations of any kind. She admitted to being a hard worker and also to being obstinate at times. She had always finished a job if she started one, and one of the great miseries of her present state was her inability to finish tasks, through sheer weariness. She could not help blaming herself and her own weakness for this predicament and was getting more and more depressed as a result.

My analysis of the situation was that Mary was a typical Calc carb individual. Calc carb is a homoeopathic medicine, made from the soft crumbly inner layer of the oyster shell. It is one of the medicines to which is attached a clear so-called 'constitutional type' (there are certain types of people who respond to Calc carb very well and who seem to fall ill in predictable patterns). In Mary's case, the important features were: her chilliness and cold extremities; the nature of her flushes; her slightly plump build; her hard-working nature and emotional sensitivity; her profuse perspiration and her love for eggs. A strange list of things on which to base a prescription, you may think, but it is surprising how often one comes upon this combination of features in a patient, when one begins to look for them!

I gave Mary three doses of Calc carb 30c, a month apart over the next three months. Her flushes gradually abated, initially to one per hour, then to one or two per day and finally to one a week. After the first month, she was already sleeping through to 5.30 or 6 am, untroubled by night sweats. However, despite this huge improvement in her physical symptoms, she was still very depressed. She had no energy, could not be bothered to do anything and cried very easily indeed. She had never felt like this before, and both she and I were worried about the level of her lassitude and despair. I felt that the Calc carb was unlikely to address this, if it had not had an effect so far, and decided on a prescription of Phosphoric Acid 30c in a single dose.

Six weeks later, Mary returned, I could see straight away that she was better. "I'm laughing again," she said with the old twinkle back in her eye. The depression and terrible sadness that had filled her was now gone, but the flushes were returning – back to four per week! This was soon sorted out with a further dose of Calc carb. Mary will probably have to continue to take this every month or two for some time in order to maintain her equilibrium. She does not mind this though. At least that terrible feeling that she was gradually being destroyed by her menopause has now gone – hopefully, never to return!

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About Dr Angela Jones

Dr Angela Jones works in NHS general practice and also privately, using homeopathy alongside conventional medicine. Dr Jones can be contacted via the Faculty of Homeopathy on Tel: 020-7566 7800.

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