Perimenopause (the lead up to menopause) and menopause (commonly known as 'the change of life') is a natural biological transition that all women go through. Despite being natural, these changes can represent a period of enormous difficulty and anguish in a women's life—symptoms can range from non-existent or mild to severe. In the past, when women had children earlier and working was not always essential, this transition may have been the only thing a woman had to cope with. Today, women going through menopause are often mothers to growing children while also holding down jobs—they need to be able to cope with a multitude of expectations on their time. This results in many women seeking treatment to deal with this change and avoid disruption to their busy lives. Integrative medicine offers the ideal therapy for menopause. Read on to find out how you might benefit from this holistic approach.
What Is Integrative Medicine?
It's easier to explain this if you first know that the WHO (World Health Organisation) considers health to be "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." Integrative medicine aims to return a patient to health and maintain the acquired well-being throughout a patient's lifetime. What makes this approach ideal is that it seeks to understand a patient's unique circumstances—addressing all the influences that can affect life such as physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental issues.
Why Take This Approach to Managing Your Menopause?
Menopause involves the shutting down of the ovaries, with the consequence of a reduction in oestrogen. The long-term effects of the decrease in oestrogen make post-menopausal women more likely to suffer from a number of complaints. The ideal way to counter many of these is by using a combination of treatment and lifestyle changes as well as with a more constructive attitude. Integrative medicine involves a partnership between patient and practitioner that aims to include a patient in their care. Making patients proactive in their care often results in a more considerable effort on the patient's part to follow the guidance given by a medical professional. Providers of integrative medicine will use all available sciences to initiate the body's innate healing ability. Wherever possible, a practitioner will use natural treatments that are the least invasive. A multi-faceted approach to treatment allows practitioners to offer personised care that is specific to the individual.
What May Be Suggested by a Practitioner of Integrated Medicine?
A practitioner may suggest a range of treatments that could include naturopathic medicine with guidance on diet, lifestyle, botanicals and supplements as well as hydrotherapy; mind-body medicine that aims to not only address the symptoms of menopause but that can also improve the general well-being of the individual. They may suggest using traditional Chinese medicine, including acupuncture and Tai Chi. Homeopathy and yoga therapy may also be recommended. For those concerned that HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) will not be available, many practitioners are willing to prescribe bio-identical hormones as part of a treatment plan.
As you can see, the bespoke, holistic approach of integrative medicine aims to provide proven treatments and life skills. This care and guidance ensure a patient's well-being is not just improved for the duration of the menopausal period but continues throughout their life.