By Clare Badrick
Brenda came to me out of desperation, she felt awful. At 50 Brenda felt more like 80, and could barely hold down her part time job as a secretary. She felt very emotional and tearful much of the time and couldn’t concentrate well at work. She hadn’t been able to sleep well at night for years, often not getting to sleep till 3 or 4 in the morning, and then waking several times before morning. Her legs felt extremely cold and restless most of the time but this was particularly noticeable in bed at night and was part of the reason she couldn’t sleep. She needed to have on pyjamas, cover the duvet with blankets and use a hot water bottle just to get her legs to feel at all warm. Although on her upper body she would have hot sweats! She was also prone to getting cramp in her calves.
During the clinical examination I also found that Brenda had a high blood pressure. Brenda had been on HRT for about 2 years, and her symptoms had begun to develop slowly over that time – she was considering taking herself of it.
I explained to Brenda that many of the symptoms she was suffering from could be due to the fact that her hormonal system was not balanced; it also seemed likely that she was suffering from some nutritional deficiencies in particular magnesium. Magnesium is an important mineral for all cells of the body; it helps muscle to contract and relax and is vital for circulation. We also discussed her job and the fact that she was not happy there – which was a major stress to her.
By the end of the consultation Brenda realised she had some decisions to make. She phoned me a few days later to say that she had decided to come off HRT, I sent her a multi-vitamin and mineral and a product containing plant phyto sterols. Phytosterols are naturally occurring substances in plants that are similar to oestrogen in humans. They can dramatically help in certain hormonal conditions and can be useful when people want to come off HRT.
When I saw Brenda a few weeks later she was much happier. She had changed her job and was enjoying her new job much more. She had stopped HRT and was taking the two supplements. Her legs were already a lot better, she was also finding that she could get to sleep a lot easier and was also able to get back to sleep if she woke up. The cramp in her calves was less frequent. She felt a lot less emotional and tearful and generally much more in control of her life and happier. When I checked her blood pressure it was still raised.
We then did some tests to check her nutrient levels and her circulation. These confirmed that her magnesium levels were indeed very low, as were a few other nutrients. However, there were only very mild problems with her circulatory system that would not account for her symptoms. We added in some specific nutrients such as the magnesium that we knew she needed in more significant amounts than a multivitamin would supply. I also gave Brenda some herbs to take, these were to help her relax and sleep.
When I saw Brenda a few months later she felt good. She could sleep well at night without extra blankets and was only occasionally getting hot flushes. She no longer felt at all emotional or tearful and was quite happy in herself and was enjoying her new job. The only problems she still had left was occasionally waking up at night for a short time, her legs would sometimes feel a little restless and she still had a few hot flushes. At this point I decided to take Brenda off the phyto-oestrogen supplement and help her body to detoxify. Sometimes it is necessary to support the body through changes before doing a detoxification procedure. I felt Brenda was now ready. Detoxification helps the body because it clears out all types of toxins, in Brenda’s case we wanted to help her body to clear excess hormones. Detoxification is a very powerful tool in Naturopathy, but it must not be undertaken lightly. There needs to be the correct preparation, sometimes for months before hand, and there needs to be the correct supervision and monitoring during the detoxification period. The ‘detox’ itself can last anywhere from 1 day to several months and can take many different forms. They all involve some dietary changes, and some even require going without food for a short time. I tend to favour adjusting the diet to a more healthful one and then using herbs and complex homeopathy to help to draw the toxins out of the body and assist elimination of them.
Brenda cleaned up her diet so that she was only eating healthful foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, pulses and just a little meat. She cut down on her coffee and tea consumption and drank more water. We used some complex homeopathic products to assist her body to detoxify properly.
When I saw Brenda the following month – all her night sweats had stopped completely and she had had a period for the first time since coming off HRT. When I checked her blood pressure it was normal for the first time. She was now sleeping through the night and felt better than she had for years.
[boxibt style=”success”]About the Author
My interest in naturopathic medicine began as a teenager. I had extremely bad acne and no periods. I knew instinctively that the two were connected, although my G.P didn’t seem to agree. Dissatisfied I began reading about vitamins and minerals and started experimenting on myself. I studied Business and Marketing for my first degree, when I qualified I started working as a Marketing Manager for an Aromatherapy company where I learned all about the essential oils and also qualified in Reflexology. I started to use the oils for my hormonal problems and had a great deal of success. I decided I was really a lot more interested in natural medicine than in marketing and looked around for a course. Initially I thought of studying nutrition on it’s own but when I found Naturopathy, a combination of nutrition, hands on work, detoxification and hydrotherapy – I knew it was for me. I qualified with a first class degree in Osteopathy and Naturopathy in 1996. Since then my passion for Naturopathy has lead me to become Chairperson of the Education Standing Committee for the General Council and Register of Naturopaths (the GCRN is the governing body for Naturopathy). I have continued to study virtually every aspect of Naturopathic practice – currently including Medical Herbalism and Complex Homeopathy. Over the next few years I hope to see Naturopathy develop onto the central core of all alternative and complementary medical practice.
I practice at The Holistic Centre,
The Barn, Wiggins Yard,
Surrey. GU7 1HL.
Tel: 01483 418103.
The rest of my time is spent working for the GCRN, studying herbs and writing articles.[/boxibt]