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Friday, 10 July 2015

How to treat menopause syndrome with Chinese herbal medicine?

Tiejun Tang

About 80% of women in the UK will experience menopausal symptoms in their lifetime. It might happen to women at the age of 45—55. In the UK, the average age for menopause is 52 years.

The main symptoms of menopause syndrome are: amenorrhea, hot flushesnight sweats, palpitations, depressionanxiety, headaches, insomnia, loss of libido, vaginal dryness and pain during the sex.

Western medicine treats menopause syndrome by symptoms management, usually sleeping pills were prescribed for insomnia and pain killers for headaches; it only can relieve some symptoms temporarily. Since 1950’ hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was applied to menopause treatment, external hormone was given by tablets, patches or implants. Although HRT can effectively release menopause symptoms, but there is evidence shown that it can increase the risk of cancer in the breast, womb and ovarian, it also leads to increased risk of blood clotting and stroke. Is there any medicine can release menopause symptoms without increasing these risks? The probability of Chinese herbal medicine is a good option.

Traditional Chinese medicine believes kidneys dominate the fertility and reproduction function of human body. Menopause is mainly due to kidney deficiency, hot flushes and night sweats which indicate kidney yin deficiency; palpitations and insomnia indicate disharmony between heart and kidney; depression and anxiety indicate liver qi stagnation; lower libido and vaginal dryness indicate kidney essence deficiency.

Each menopause case might have different clinical manifestations. Chinese medicine will select different herbs according to individual conditions. For Kidney yin deficiency Zhibai Dihuang Wan and Qinhao Biejia Tang will be applied; for heart and kidney disharmony Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan is a good choice; for liver qi stagnation Xiaoyao Wan is suitable. I only mentioned the name of these formulas, actually each formula contains many herbs, and each herb contained has many effective ingredients.   

All herbs come from natural plants, non- toxic, non- side effects, which are much safer than synthetic drugs. Pharmacology research showed many herbs contain isoflavones, lignans and coumarins. These ingredients have oestrogens like function, so they have been called phyto-oestrogens. That is why they show good effect on the menopause syndrome. I would like to recommend this natural HRT to all the menopausal ladies.

Reference:
Eden JA. Managing the menopause: phyto-oestrogens or hormone replacement therapy? Ann Med. 2001; 33(1):4-6.