Alternative Treatments for Menopause
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Alternative Treatments for Menopause
I have recently had an alarming increase in the frequency
and severity of migraines, including some scary episodes of
''atypical migraine'' with stroke-like symptoms. This has
coincided with the recent irregularity of my menstrual cycle
as I turned 50. I am wondering if there could be a
relationship between the migraines and my hormones, and so
am looking for a doctor who specializes in the treatment of
perimenopause with bioidentical hormones. I am open to
either alternative or Western medicine.
I have already been to the emergency room several times, and
have undergone all the standard tests to rule out serious
conditions. Everything comes back negative, yet my symptoms
recur. It seems that I have reached the limit of what my
doctors can treat, so I am researching other possibilities.
I have looked on the website, but the practitioners listed
there are unavailable or their phone numbers have changed.
I had gripping migraines starting in my early 40's. They were entirely linked to
my hormone shifts and were predictable based on my cycle (which was still
regular). The only thing that really seems to help is a complete change of diet
and regular exercise and lots of water. I have tried a lot of other things which
would help for one or two cycles, but like a mutating virus, the migraines found
a way back. I cut out wheat, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, corn, soy, oranges,
peanuts... can't remember what else... lol. The sugar and wheat seem to be the
major contributors for me. I had help coming to this conclusion... Abigail
Surasky, a wonderful acupuncturist in Berkeley... 845 8017. She is really
Best wishes to you
I experienced all sorts of perimenopausal symptoms. You name it, that was
me. Then I began to see Lia Willebrand, an acupuncturist in Berkeley - (510)
Very quickly, my symptoms - hot flashes, headaches, mood swings (to put it
mildly), calmed way down. I lost the hot flashes and headaches altogether.
Now in menopause, I see Lia every once in a while as something else arises.
Truth is, perimenopause and menopause really prove to us that our bodies are
all about chemistry - and chemical balance.
I wholeheartedly recommend Lia. She is knowledegeable, thoughtful, skilled,
with great ''tableside'' manner.
I need help with pervasive perimenopause symptoms affecting
my daily life: migraines, depression, night sweats, cramps,
etc. Would like physician referrals for MD's open to both
western and eastern approaches. Also welcome referrals for
eastern practitioners who've helped you, and other remedies
you've found that work. Thanks.
Suffering 48 yr old
I have a long history of migraines, and was not enjoying
perimenopause one bit. About a year ago, I started working
with Leah Statman, who uses jin shin to balance meridian
flows. (Here's where you have to be open to Eastern
traditions to continue.) I have to say, she has helped me
to look at root causes of my symptoms, and with her help, I
have finally understood some of my favorite foods were
throwing off our best efforts to prevent my headaches. Long
story short: I've cut out chocolate, and almost all refined
carbs, and I feel much better. I now know flows that I can
practice myself. No headaches. Much relieved symptoms. If
you want to use an Eastern tradition, I recommend Leah.
510-525-5080 Best wishes!
feeling a whole lot better
Dr Jeannie Achoff at the Berkeley Naturopathic Medical group is a wonderful
resource. she can check your hormone levels and make recommendations that
can ease the effects. there's no need to suffer through menopause
Hi. It is hell. I will turn 47 in two weeks and have been dealing with this
since I was 42. The migraines, mood swings and joint pain have hit me the
hardest. I tried a lot of eastern things... mostly Chinese medicine. I'd get
some relief for one or two cycles and then it was like a mutating virus... the
stuff wouldn't work anymore. I'd switch formulae and that would be great for
another cycle or two. And so on and so on.
Finally, through my acupuncturist I had saliva hormone-level testings that
showed very interesting results seeming to line up with all the crap I was
going through. The blood draw hormone-level testings done at Kaiser
showed that I was ''normal''. The difference is that the saliva testing are every
other day for one cycle (up to 35 days) and the blood draw kind are only done
two times in one cycle.
Once I had the info on what my body was doing, we felt more able to devise a
truly effective battle-plan. This involved a whole eating regimen, regular
cardiovascular exercise, consciously getting more/better sleep and taking
some plant-based oral hormone supplements. What do you know? It
worked! Unbelievable! And WONDERFUL!
The first time I did this was 2 years ago. My hormones got so balanced that I
wound up pregnant. I felt so awesome that this shocker was just part of the
awesome-ness. So here we are ... one year postpartum ... the evil peri
started up again in November. Another set of the testings showed way
whacked stuff and here I am back ''on the wagon'' and feeling great.
My acupuncturist is Abigail Surasky. She is amazing 845 8017. In Berkeley
on Dwight Way near Milvia. If you want me to tell you more, feel free to
contact me through the moderator.
I feel your pain. I am basically in the same situation. However, I have found
miraculous help. Check out Sarah Gottfried at the Gottfried Center for
Integrative Medicine. She is located in Oakland and I really think she will help
you. I am so, so, much better since I started seeing her last fall. Good luck!
Feel Your Pain
I can highly recommend Lia Willebrand to get some help with
perimenopause. She is an acupuncturist in Berkeley on
Ashby Avenue and she has helped me tremendously resolving
my debilitating symptoms and to get back to an active
life. I was exhausted, fuzzy, sleep-deprived and had
such severe night sweats I had to sleep on towels. I did a
course of acupuncture with Lia and also took herbs that
she prescribed. It took a little while to feel the shift,
but I feel great now. I can't remember my last night sweat
and I'm back to being active. If I start to feel the
symptoms creep back, I see her for a few treatments and
start on the herbs again and it really works for me.
Lia is super sweet and low-key, takes her time with you and
is easy to talk to, especially if you're not familiar with
acupuncture or using herbs. I couldn't deal with the
traditional raw herbs on the stove but she gave me an
herbal remedy in capsules that's easy to take. I haven't
had to take any western medication and that was really my
goal. I saw my mother and older sister suffer for so many
years and I feel lucky to have a different experience,
and stay off meds. I can't say enough great things about
her. Her website is www.liawillebrand.com; 510-858-6463
Shoshana Uribe at Manzanita Wellness Clinic is a wonderful,
attentive, knowledgeable acupuncturist. She has helped me
and my family tremendously with many various issues. She is
warm, sincere, & a gentle, yet powerful, healer who is
extremely skilled in supporting the body to balance &heal.
One of her specialties is working with womens' issues. I
know she has experience in effectively treating the symptoms
Her phone # is 510.459.9320 & here is her website link:
a grateful patient
I just had my blood work done for my thyroid, and there is a note on it that
my hormones are post menopausal. I had them done 6 months ago and I was not
even pre menopausal, and yes, I have started to have hot flashes. I am
freaking out a bit. I am only 47, and figured this would not be happening
until I was at least 52. I have a 5 year old daughter, and a husband who is 11
years younger then I am. I want to start taking hormones and was wondering if
anyone know's of a good doctor in the east bay. I saw a good show on Operah
about this, and wished I'd paid more attention!
I would highly recommend Denise Daniel, owner, Healthly Family
Herbal Medicine, in Montclair. I came to her suffering from
symptoms of fatigue, massive irritation, and uncontrollable anger. She
very thorough medical history, and commenced with a series of
treatments that have ameliorated all of my symptoms. I feel great! She
is kind, a fine
listener, and wonderful with children (we now use her with our 6 year
old). Her fees are
reasonable as well.
Jenny in Albany
Since I started menopause, I have felt the need for some help or
advice beyond my gynecologist (who's in a hurry and follows the
protocols)about the various changes I'm experiencing----mental
fogs, indigestion, pain in joints, trouble sleeping, etc. None
of these symptoms is completely severe, but I would like to
consult with some kind of alternative health care person about
hormones, exercise (whether to keep jogging in the next decade),
flexibility, medications, diet---and try to come up with a
personal program that works well for me. I already have an
acupuncturist but am now looking for someone who is well read
and lots of experience with my segment of life. Thanks very
You've described Dr.
Sara Gottfried, M.D., OBG, complementary medicine
practitioner, yoga teacher. I took a yoga for menopause class with her, which
she co-taught. Really great and helpful. A close friend is a patient of Dr.
G's and has been been sharing with me the play-by-play of her work with with
Dr. Gottfired. She has experienced major improvements in all areas of health,
including overall energy, sexual energy, mood, digestion, etc.
Dr. Sara Gottfried, Oakland (510)601-7111
I recently referred a client who told me there is about a month wait for first
appt. Dr. S. is good about collaborating with other medical practitioners.
You can google her and learn more.
(Also, the book The Wisdom of Menopause, has lots of good info.)
I am looking for a Chinese herbalist that someone has had success
with coping with perimenopausal symptoms such as sleeplessness,
hot flashes and the usual emotional stress associated with the
decrease in hormones. While I understand there are over the
counter herbs, I would prefer to find a herbalist who perhaps
could make a mix of compounds specific to me. Many thanks for
your recommendation. anon
Charlene Leung is an herbalist and acupuncturist. I have seen
her for similar issues as yours, just for herbal consultations
and have found her treatment effective, and her very
professional, competent and caring. Her office is on Stannage,
near Solano in Albany, ph # 559-9038
I can recommend Sara Rankin. L.Ac. She is a Chinese Herbalist and an acupuncturist.
You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (510) 593-7514.
I can highly recommend Dennis VonElgg. He is an accupunturaist and chinese herbalist
who specializes in working with women. He's very comfortable and easy to be with,
and I found great results with him. His office is located at Telegraph & Woolsey his
contact info: (510) 883-1340 http://www.vonelgg.com/dennis/index.htm
I have been treated by Don Gates, a licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist, for years
now. He treated me when I went through menopause and the acupuncture as well as the
herbs really helped to control the symptoms and make the transition easier. He has
also treated a number of my friends for pregnancy related issues, injuries, and other
random diseases. In fact, he treats my 2 year old son quite frequently and has
excellent herbal remedies for children, including a great formula for ear infections.
I highly recommend him -- he works in Oakland, on 41st street near Broadway.
www.eastbaytcm.com is his website. 510 428 9430 is his phone.
I work with a wonderful herbalist/ accupuncturist. Her name is
Maureen Raytis and she is in Oakland, right near the Grand Lake
theater. She specializes in women's issues and infertility but
can help with the gamut of medical and emotional needs. She is
also very open to integrating Western medicine with Eastern, so
she will not immediately tell you to stop all of your
medications, etc to work with her. She has helped me greatly
with asthma and has helped my 16 year old daughter regulate her
period so that she did not have to be on birth control pills
forever ( the gynecologist's treatment recommendation for too
frequent periods ). I recommend her most highly.
I feel for you! There is a great herbalist in Alameda named John Nieters. He has
treated many women in your situation. You can call him at 510-814-6900 and his
address is 1201 Lincoln Ave, Alameda. Tracy
John Nieters, Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist has a clinic in Alameda and he is
wonderful with women's health. He is very compassionate and a strong listener. He
has taught herbal medicine at the Academy of Chinese Culture and Science for many
years and he has a weekly health radio talk show on KEST 1450 AM. You can find
more about him on www.johnnieters.com or call his office 510-814-6900 . I drink a
custom blended herbal tea that he made for me daily and I notice a huge difference
in my health and well-being when I drink it.
I seem to have hit perimenopause overnight and am wondering what folks
recommend for natural ways to handle the symptoms I'm having. Background is
I'm late 40s and as of a few months ago my periods just stopped and I started
having hot flashes. I have them during the day and night, but it doesn't keep
me awake at night. During the day I wear layers and just peel as needed. Being
someone who is always freezing, this is pretty strange for me to be hot!
Anyway, mostly this is new and different - it's not debilitating in any way, but I
would still like to explore options. I haven't talked to my doctor - doesn't seem
like there is much to say/do on that end. Is anyone familiar with ''The Fat Flush
Diet''? A friend of mine swears by this book for her perimenopausal symptoms.
Is it hot in here or is it just me?
Fat Flush is great, but you should also pick up Ann Louise
Gittleman's book ''Before the Change''. It saved me during my pre-
and perimenapausal stuff. She explains physiologically what's
happening in the body and how to deal with it using diet and
supplements. Hurry to Vitamin Express adn pick up a copy. You'll
be very happy you did.
I was very skeptical but tried black cohosh (an herb) which
works very well on those symptoms. It took about 3-4 weeks of
one capsule daily. Try it!
I was having hot flashes and night sweats and it WAS affecting
me a lot. I tried a combination of things, including
wheatgrass tablets (Pines brand, available at Whole Foods),
vitex (an herb, also known as chasteberry - it helps boost
progesterone levels), black cohosh, and also diet changes -
mainly less dairy, more soy, no caffeine or alcohol. The herbs
and soy are phytoestrogens, which help increase your declining
natural estrogen levels. The symptoms went away within a
month. Incidentally, I'd been told I was in menopause (at
38!!) but wanted to get pregnant and was hoping it was
perimenopause, which is not quite as ''final''. The above
regimen, combined with acupuncture, did the trick - 4 months
later I was pregnant.
I don't have any tips for herbs but I do have some tips for
cooling off fast during a hot flash. Get more fans! For your
purse get a silk folding fan from an Asian gift shop or
on eBay and look on Amazon for little
desk fans. I find these cool me off fast, and really the hot
flash really is a flash - under a minute of heat.
Of course, check with your doctor before trying this, but I
found that 1 gram of ginseng a day, taken with vitamin B complex
at lunch (supposedly ginseng works well taken with B,less so
with C), knocked out my incipient hot flashes within 72 hours,
and I never had another one. I still use it several times a week
to keep up my energy without relying on coffee.
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