NATURAL MENOPAUSE TREATMENT

Do Mother Nature’s Treatments Help Hot Flashes?

Black Cohosh

(Actaea racemosa, Cimicifuga racemosa) This herb has received quite a bit of scientific attention for its possible effects on hot flashes. Studies of its effectiveness in reducing hot flashes have produced mixed results. However, some women report that it has helped them. Recent research suggests that black cohosh does not act like estrogen, as once thought. This reduces concerns about its effect on hormone-sensitive tissue (eg, uterus, breast). Black cohosh has had a good safety record over a number of years. There have been reports linking black cohosh to liver problems, and this connection continues to be studied.

Red Clover

(Trifolium pratense) In five controlled studies, no consistent or conclusive evidence was found that red clover leaf extract reduces hot flashes. As with black cohosh, however, some women claim that red clover has helped them. Studies report few side effects and no serious health problems with use. But studies in animals have raised concerns that red clover might have harmful effects on hormone-sensitive tissue.

Dong Quai

(Angelica sinensis) Dong quai has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat gynecologic conditions for more than 1,200 years. Yet only one randomized clinical study of dong quai has been conducted to determine its effects on hot flashes, and this botanical therapy was not found to be useful in reducing them. Some experts on Chinese medicine point out that the preparation studied was not the same as they use in practice. Dong quai should never be used by women with fibroids or blood-clotting problems such as hemophilia, or by women taking drugs that affect clotting such as warfarin (Coumadin) as bleeding complications can result.

Ginseng

(Panax ginseng or Panax quinquefolius) Research has shown that ginseng may help with some menopausal symptoms, such as mood symptoms and sleep disturbances, and with one’s overall sense of well-being. However, it has not been found to be helpful for hot flashes.

Kava

(Piper methysticum) Kava may decrease anxiety, but there is no evidence that it decreases hot flashes. It is important to note that kava has been associated with liver disease. The FDA has issued a warning to patients and providers about kava because of its potential to damage the liver. Because of this concern, Health Canada does not allow kava to be sold in Canada.

Evening Primrose Oil

(Oenothera biennis) This botanical is also promoted to relieve hot flashes. However, the only randomized, placebo-controlled study (in only 56 women) found no benefit over placebo (mock medication). Reported side effects include inflammation, problems with blood clotting and the immune system, nausea, and diarrhea. It has been shown to induce seizures in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia who are taking antipsychotic medication. Evening primrose oil should not be used with anticoagulants or phenothiazines (a type of psychotherapeutic agent).

Use with Caution

Of course, as with all therapies, there are some risks involved. The public usually takes herbal therapies in the form of supplement pills, not as a preparation made directly from the herb by a trained herbalist. Keep in mind that herbal supplements are not as closely regulated as prescription drugs. The amount of herbal product, quality, safety, and purity may vary between brands or even between batches of the same brand. Herbal therapies may also interact with prescription dugs, resulting in dramatic changes in the effect of the botanical, the drug, or both. To be safe, tell your healthcare provider about all botanical therapies you are considering and always stop all herbal treatments at least 2 weeks before any planned surgery.

More information about herbal products can be found at HerbMed and the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

BREAST THERMOGRAPHY SCREENING

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BREAST THERMOGRAPHY SCREENING

Sadly incidence of breast cancer is rising, particularly in younger women. In fact 1 in 9 women can expect a diagnosis of breast cancer in their lifetime. Consequently, we recommend regular breast health screening checks using the pain-free, radiation-free safe Breast Thermography.

WHAT IS BREAST THERMOGRAPHY?

Breast Thermography uses state of the art technology which scans the breasts using an infrared camera to produce a “thermogram”. Thermocheck® system detects any abnormal heat patterns that can indicate infection, inflammation or a breast cancer. Breast tumours tend to have abnormal blood vessel patterns and increased metabolic activity that give off more heat than the surrounding tissue. These heat changes can occur between 6 and 10 years before a tumour is big enough to see on a mammogram. Therefore detecting this heat can enable earlier intervention. A persistently abnormal thermogram represents an increased risk. The blood vessel growth that accompanies cancer formation is termed neovascularization or angiogenesis. Neovascularization is the earliest sign of a rapidly growing tumour and can be detected with infrared technology.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BREAST THERMOGRAPHY WITH THERMOCHECK?®

    100% safe, radiation-free, non-contact and painless.
    Very early detection of cancer risk (up to 10 years earlier than mammography).
    It is unique in its capacity to visually record physiological changes and metabolic processes.
    Cancers are associated with increased temperature and abnormal blood vessel patterns; both detected by Thermocheck®.
    90% sensitivity (when properly conducted). This means that where there is an increased risk, thermography can correctly identify this in 90% of cases (one third of mammograms give false readings).
    Breast health Thermography Screening can be repeated as often as you like with no risk or radiation and are therefore is very suited for regular and frequent Breast health Screening including post-surgery or during treatment or in cases where a patient might be unwilling to proceed with surgery
    It is useful for young women for whom mammography is inappropriate due to 1) greater density of breast tissue and 2) greater sensitivity of their breast tissue to adverse effects of ionising radiation.

THERMOGRAPHY IS APPROVED TO BE USED ADJUNCTIVELY WITH MAMMOGRAPHY.

We do not promote Thermocheck® thermography as a replacement of mammography for the following reasons:

1. They are fundamentally different in what they uncover

    Mammography can detect an established physical mass in the breast (about the size of a small grape).
    Thermography detects metabolic and vascular thermal changes that occur sooner than a mass is established.
    A normal mammogram does not mean you have healthy breasts only that there is an absence of a structural lesion.
    A normal thermogram indicates that you have you have physiologically healthy breasts.

2. A mammogram may still be a necessary investigation where there are both physical and thermal changes in the breast.

WHERE CAN I HAVE A THERMOGRAPHY SCAN?

Breast thermography with Thermocheck® take place at our Harley Street Clinic in Central London in our private breast screening room.

ARE THERE ANY PREPARATIONS I NEED TO FOLLOW BEFORE MY SCAN?

In order to achieve the highest accuracy, it is compulsory to follow our standardised protocols. These are always emailed after booking your appointment.

HOW LONG WILL MY APPOINTMENT TAKE?

Your Thermocheck® appointment will take approximately 30 minutes with one of our female scan technicians. If you are concerned about your breast health and prefer to discuss your Thermocheck® results on the same day straight after your scan with a breast health specialist, we offer an option of booking a scan and consultation with Dr Eccles, the founder of Thermocheck® on the same day.

AT WHAT AGE SHOULD I START TO HAVE BREAST THERMOGRAPHY?

At The Natural Doctor®, given the incidence of breast cancer nowadays in younger women, we recommend a thermography screen for women of all ages from 20 onwards; especially so if there is a family history of breast cancer.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I HAVE A BREAST THERMOGRAPHY SCAN?

We recommend a regular annual Breast Thermogram much like a regular dental check-up. Patients with abnormal scans or with breast cancer history will be recommended more regular checkups.

READ DR ECCLES’ ARTICLES ABOUT BREAST THERMOGRAPHY AND BREAST HEALTH