Homeopathy better than conventional medicine for menopausal symptoms
In many countries the prescription of homeopathic medicines is restricted to medically qualified doctors. The therapy is often taught as part of core medical training and is integrated into a doctor’s general practice. In France 40% of doctors prescribe homeopathy and over 80% of the population has used homeopathy. As a consequence, research teams in France along with other pro-homeopathy countries such as Mexico, Germany, and Switzerland, lead the way in today’s most exciting clinical research on homeopathy.
One of the most interesting areas of research has been as a treatment for the symptoms of menopause. Although menopause is a perfectly natural part of a woman’s life, women often find it difficult dealing with the symptoms, both in the home and the workplace. Conventional medicine offers hormonal replacement therapy and medication specific to symptoms, but every woman is different and the symptoms and intensity of those symptoms can vary enormously. Many women are seeking a more natural, holistic way of dealing with the changes as no single conventional treatment appears to resolve all of the problems.
Symptoms of the menopause and peri-menopause
⇒ General symptoms such as difficulty controlling body temperature, leading to hot or cold flashes and night sweats.
⇒ Migraines, rapid heartbeats and changes to blood pressure
⇒ Changes to the urogenital tract caused by thinning of the genital membranes which leads to dryness and itching.
⇒ Urinary problems including increased urinary tract infections, inflammation, candida, needing to urinate more often and urinary incontinence.
⇒ Osteoporosis and problems with the bones and spine causing back, joint and muscle pain.
⇒ Skin and soft tissue problems due to thinning. This can lead to tenderness and itching, tingling, burning and dry skin.
⇒ Psychological problems include depression and anxiety, irritability, mood swings, insomnia, fatigue.
⇒ Sexual problems such as low libido and painful intercourse are also common.
How are menopausal symptoms measured?
The most commonly used system for measuring menopausal symptoms for research purposes is the Greene Climacteric Scale. The questionnaire was developed by Dr J. G. Greene at the Department of Clinical Psychology in the Gartnavel Royal Hospital in Glasgow. The scale measures three different symptom areas – psychological, somatic and vasodilatory. Other scales that are not specific to the menopause can be used to measure depression as an isolated symptom. The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale or the Beck Depression Inventory are the most commonly used.
An exciting new study published in the PLoS One medical journal, reports on a trial that compares the effect of individualised homeopathic treatment with conventional fluoxetine treatment for menopausal symptoms. One hundred and thirty three women with menopausal depression were included in the study. The depression was rated as either moderate or severe. Patients were given 6 weeks of homeopathic treatment, fluoxetine or a placebo. Results showed that after six weeks of treatment homeopathy and fluoxetine were both more effective than placebo on the Hamilton Depression Scale but that only homeopathy was more effective than placebo on the specific menopause scale, the Green Climacteric Scale. The research team concludes that both homeopathy and fluoxetine are effective treatments for menopausal depression but only homeopathy was effective for hot flashes.
Macias-Cortes et al. Individualized Homeopathic Treatment and Fluoxetine for Moderate to Severe Depression in Peri- and Postmenopausal Women (HOMDEP-MENOP Study): a randomized, Double-dummy, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. PLoS One Mar 2015.