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Madam Lee*, 50, has been enjoying life with her three daughters since taking early retirement. However, two years ago, she suddenly began having chills and hot flushes. The chills were so bad that she would tremble no matter how hot the weather was. Sometimes, it was the opposite: she would perspire profusely even in a room cooled down by air conditioning, her body would feel extremely warm, and she would also experience heavy night sweats. On top of this, she suffered other symptoms, including constipation, painful knees and locked fingers. Her periods have also been irregular for about a year.
These sudden physiological changes took Madam Lee by surprise, and had a serious impact on the quality of her sleep, which in turn affected her health. Normally a cheerful person, she started feeling very down and became emotionally unstable. One day, Madam Lee came across a health column and read about menopause. She noted that the symptoms described were similar to what she was going through and proceeded to seek medical treatment. Looking back on her menopause experience, when she suffered those various symptoms, Madam Lee has no complaints and chooses instead to face up to things with an active and positive attitude— something we could all learn.
Madam Lee, who has always had faith in TCM, took up a friend’s recommendation to seek treatment at the Eu Yan Sang Premier TCM Centre at Paragon. The attending doctor was Senior Physician Zhong Xi Ming, who diagnosed a weak Qi and blood, weaknesses in the Spleen and Stomach, deficiency of Yin in the Liver and Kidneys—all symptoms of menopausal syndrome. Zhong assessed that Madam Lee’s case was mild, and thus prescribed a treatment that focused on invigorating the Blood and Qi, strengthening the Spleen and Stomach, nourishing the Liver and Kidneys, and soothing the Heart.
Madam Lee complemented the TCM treatment with yoga and tai chi. She tried to walk whenever she could—sometimes chalking up a few kilometres at a go—and joked that doing household chores constituted a form of exercise as well. As a vegetarian, Madam Lee has always paid attention to maintaining a balanced and healthy diet, avoiding deep-fried, oily, and fatty foods. Half a month after her first visit to the clinic, her condition had improved. While she still experienced mild chills, the night sweats had stopped. Two months and three visits to the physician later, her ailment had abated. Madam Lee had already stopped menstruating without any problems when, about a year ago, her heels started to hurt. The chills and hot flushes also returned. Worse, she suffered night sweats and dry, itchy skin. So she decided to go back to the clinic. It took two weeks for the pain in her heels to reduce by half.
Currently, all of Madam Lee’s symptoms have subsided, and she can now continue to enjoy her golden years. “Going to a Chinese physician may mean a longer treatment period, but compared to Western medicine, TCM is less harsh on the body and contains fewer chemicals. I feel I made a correct choice in choosing to go to a Chinese physician. My three children also go to Chinese physicians whenever they fall ill; it’s a good way of maintaining health.”
*To protect the privacy of patients, pseudonyms have been used.
Premature ageing of the ovaries set off hormonal imbalances, which lead to lowered immunity and the decline of the various organs, including the urinary tract. All these physiological changes lead to imbalances in the nervous system and a decline in the endocrine system, causing various symptoms that are known collectively as the menopausal syndrome.
1. Neurosis and long-term insomnia
2. Disruptions to the nervous system
3. Irregular periods or suspension of menstruation
4. Decreased libido
5. Increase in gynaecological ailments
6. Ageing appearance
In TCM, medication can be administered to adjust the balance of the body. By reviving the ovaries’ function, hormone secretions are resumed, blood circulation is improved, thus helping the internal organs to regain proper function.
1. Keep a cheerful and happy disposition, exercise more, and avoid staying up late or lifting heavy objects.
2. Eat more green vegetables and fruit, foods high in calcium, and other nutritious foods. Cut down on animal fat, sugar and salt. Do not drink excessive amounts of coffee and tea, and make sure they are not brewed too strongly. Avoid spicy, raw and cold foods. Avoid smoking and alcohol.
3. Get regular medical check-ups and accept advice and suggestions from doctors.
4. Complement the therapy with activities such as swimming, yoga, tai chi, etc.
Photo courtesy of Thinkstock. This article first appeared in NATURA magazine issue No.1. Find NATURA at Eu Yan Sang retail outlets, newsstands and major bookstores in Singapore.
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