Although Sandra’s periods have been regular, she has experienced hot flushes during the day and uncomfortable night sweats. Rather than take HRT, she has pursued alternative approaches, including acupuncture and herbal remedies, with mixed results.
Sandra first noticed changes about eighteen months ago when, despite having regular periods, she started to have uncomfortable night sweats. These interfered with her sleep, leaving her feeling tired during the day. The onset of symptoms at age 45 surprised Sandra as her mother had gone through the menopause in her fifties.
Deciding not to go on HRT because of her fear of cancer, Sandra consulted Chinese herbalists who prescribed acupuncture and herbal medication. While the acupuncture was expensive and failed to make any dramatic difference;, the herbal remedies, designed to take the heat of your body;, brought some relief. However, night sweats returned within months of stopping the treatment. Furthermore, the onset of hot flushes during the day made her feel embarrassed in front of clients surely they must have been able to see that I’d gone red;.
Sandra believes women should be proactive in finding ways of helping themselves through the menopause transition. Alongside alternative treatments, she has found regular exercise and a healthy diet important in managing her symptoms. Spraying her face with rose water has helped her feel fresher after a hot flush. Although she has found the internet useful in researching the menopause, she is concerned at the lack of information available in doctors; surgeries, where she has found everything else, drugs, sex, abuse, everything but nothing on the menopause;’ She recommends weekly meetings where women could share experiences as one way of supporting them through the menopause.
Sandra has recently returned to the Chinese herbalist and is again taking herbal medication along with little bottles of drink; to help her sleep. Relief from her symptoms, however, has been patchy. Although she is unsure what is in the herbal medication or what it is supposed to do, Sandra plans to continue the treatment for a further two months. Despite mixed results, she finds an alternative approach worthwhile and remains determined not to take HRT. She continues to have regular periods.
Sandra was interviewed for Healthtalkonline in February 2009.