Licensed acupuncturist and herbalist, women’s health specialist, founder of PAC Herbs, Chinese herbal medicine in PACkets.
June 28, 2011
“I didn’t sign up for this, I just want to feel normal again,” said Judy, my patient who aptly describes what the 21st century Western woman going through menopause feels. If you want to know how to turn down your body’s internal “thermostat” you are in the right place. Alternative medicine, including food therapy, is a viable option for managing menopause symptoms.
Menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, brain fog and other symptoms seem to be considered the norm for women over the age of 50. Researchers from the Department of Integrated Health at Westminster University polled 1,000 British women ages 45 to 55 and compared their answers to those of women from the U.S., Canada, Japan and China. The conclusion was that Japanese and Chinese women suffer the least amount of menopause symptoms. British women suffer the most and Americans are somewhere in between.1 For any woman sweating through this life change, you can stop the roller coaster and “get back to normal” using alternative medicine.
What causes this disparity between menopausal women in the East and West? In Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China women do not generally seek medical attention for menopause symptoms.9 The reasons for these cultural differences are complex. Certainly diet and lifestyle choices play a key role. The question is why don’t women in these cultures need Hormone Replacement Therapies (HRT) or medical treatments the way that the majority of Western women do?
The last year has been a confusing time with medical flip-flops on the benefits and dangers of artificial hormones. I see more and more women who are giving up on trusting research produced by the health care establishment and looking to alternative medicine for answers.
Not only is it difficult to stay keep up with the latest menopause drug treatment information, but much too often this advice is influenced by drug companies or doctors who fail to disclose their ties to study outcomes. One truth every doctor knows is that medicines have risks. Medicines should be prescribed only when the benefits outweighs the risks, including the risks of side effects which may not show up until years later. Healthy diet and lifestyle therapies have no risks. Cooking with Chinese herbs and incorporating food therapy have been done for centuries and have absolutely no known risks.