Decades of suffering through monthly periods, endured by many women, may seem to finally abate during menopause, the time of life when menstruation ends. For some women, however, menopause is not a time of relief, but the ushering in of new problems, which can include weight gain, hot flashes, disease risks, and new pains and injuries. Medical treatments include various pills, both prescription and over-the-counter, which are not always effective. Medicines and surgeries can have side effects, but chiropractic care can be an option for helping to reduce bothersome menopausal issues.
What is Menopause?
While many women enter menopause naturally, on average at age 51, some have surgically-induced menopause through hysterectomy, especially if the ovaries are removed. Pre-menopausal symptoms (perimenopause) may occur earlier in life, and they can last several years, due to changing levels of estrogen and progesterone. Symptoms of menopause, according to the National Institute on Aging, include hot flashes (sudden feeling of heat), bladder and vaginal problems (urine leakage, urinary tract infections, and painful intercourse), sleep problems, mood changes, lack of sexual desire, and weight/body changes. Menopause can also increase bone problems (osteoporosis) and heart diseases. Doctors may recommend hormone replacement therapy (HRT), but these treatments have “risks”.1
Traditional Medical Ideas About Menopause
Traditional medicine can treat menstrual problems and menopause as a disease state. This can lead to many unnecessary treatments (drugs with side-effects) and surgeries, such as hysterectomy. As Stanley West, M.D. has written in The Hysterectomy Hoax: “More than 90 percent of all hysterectomies are unnecessary. Worse, the surgery can have long-lasting physical, emotional, and sexual consequences that may undermine your health and well-being.”2
Chiropractic Alternatives for Menopause
Menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, back pain, joint pain, irritability and depression, and fatigue can all be helped with proper chiropractic spinal care. According to Dr. J.E. Browning, DC, “Various disturbances in pelvic organ function have been successfully managed by chiropractic…symptoms (include) bladder, bowel, gynecologic, and sexual dysfunction…” Hysterectomy can also lead to additional pelvic widening and subluxations/misalignments. This can also be managed with chiropractic care. There is a misperception that chiropractors are just “backache doctors”, but proper alignment can help the entire body function properly.3 Some chiropractors may also suggest herbal and vitamin supplements, instead of prescription or over-the-counter medications. These may include chamomile tea,4 chasteberry, St. Johns’ wort, evening primrose oil, gingko biloba, dandelion leaf,5 magnesium, and B6.6 Black Kohosh and vitamin E may also be beneficial. In addition to recommending exercise (i.e., walking, Yoga, swimming, and weight-bearing exercises), a proper diet, and diagnosing of food allergies, chiropractors can also help their patients’ spines achieve the necessary alignment and resolve interferences with the nervous system.7