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Homeopathy for the Hormonal Problems of Women
by Deborah Olenev C.C.H., RSHom (NA)
People often ask me if homeopathy can do anything for hormonal problems, and I have to tell them, “Yes, indeed, it can.” In fact, more often than not, the health problems that women experience are related to hormonal imbalances, whether they are headaches that occur right around the time the period is due, to heightened emotional sensitivity, leading to angry outbursts or crying spells premenstrually, to the hot flashes of menopause. Joint pains, gastrointestinal problems and innumerable symptoms and states in between, may also be hormonally influenced. These problems are all amenable to homeopathic treatment and the women who seek homeopathy as an alternative to western treatment approaches have no regrets.
Today I want to tell you briefly about one woman’s hormonal remedy that is very frequently needed, and that can produce very dramatic health changes in the women who take it. This remedy is called Sepia. It is a remedy from the animal kingdom, and it hales from the sea. It is the ink which is secreted by the little cuttlefish, an independent creature that prefers to swim alone and resembles a miniature octopus. When this little cuttlefish wants to avoid its predators or catch its prey, it secretes a black ink cloud to hide it from view. So it is said that women who need Sepia can also emit a black cloud with their moods and anger.
Homeopathically there are some features which make this remedy distinctive and not too difficult to spot. Rajan Sankaran, a great teacher of homeopathy, describes the person who needs Sepia as someone who is forced to do something against her will, out of a feeling of not being good enough. He says that Sepia women often do not feel attractive to the opposite sex, so to keep their spouses happy, they try to do what they want. This means the Sepia woman may have sex with her husband when she does not really want to, or she may try to please him by becoming the perfect wife who has a successful career, while running her household and caring for her children. The effort of all this can become too much for her, and she may become worn-out, tired, irritable sad, indifferent, and withdraw into herself (or wish that she could). Another author and teacher of homeopathy, Catherine Coulter, says in her book, Portraits of Homeopathic Medicines that “the classic picture is the woman seeking emancipation from her traditionally passive and too limited role as wife and mother in the home.”
Sepia can also be used for men, but I will speak of it in this article on how it relates to women’s health problems, because in my experience it is primarily a women’s hormonal remedy. The Sepia state often comes on after a hormonal shock to the system, such as menarche, pregnancy, menopause, long and difficult labors, miscarriage, hysterectomy, and the use of birth control pills. All of these can be an etiology, or underlying instigator of the Sepia state. This remedy can manifest its symptoms in all areas, but has a particularly strong affinity to the female pelvic organs. The remedy is known for bearing down sensations in the pelvis, and for “ball sensations” internally,” such as the sensation of a ball in the rectum. The tendency for prolapse of the pelvic organs is also present in Sepia. Sexual disfunction of one form or another dominates in this remedy. This can range from vaginal dryness, to painful sex, aversion to sex or low sex drive, and lack of orgasm.
Sepia is a remedy for hormonal imbalances, and is often indicated in women, who have a slightly more masculine build, such as straight rather than curved hips. Sepia women are also very often athletic, and even though, they generally may feel weak, they often feel much better from vigorous exercise. This is, in fact, one of the first remedies I think of for women who are actively involved in sports. The exercise they take may be in the form of dance rather than athletics, as this is one of the main remedies for passion to dance in homeopathy. Sepia and Carcinosin both share this love of dance and amelioration from exercise, as well as many other symptoms.
Sepia women are often career oriented, rather than oriented toward raising a family, though they may be engaged in both activities simultaneously, and having a rough time balancing the two. If they are raising a family, even though they love their family dearly, it can be a stress on them. Occasionally people who need Sepia have a difficult time showing affection, or they can be indifferent to the people they love, and have a lot of anger or aversion to their spouse. These feelings often come to the fore right before the period is due, in the form of PMS anger.
Sepias tend to suffer from weakness and low energy in general, and the worse time of day for them is often three to five in the afternoon. Other distinctive features of the Sepia profile are a love of watching thunderstorms, which Carcinosin and Lycopodium also share, aggravation from doing the laundry, a yellow- brown saddle or discoloration across the cheeks and nose, a desire for chocolate, vinegar, lemons and pickles.
There is much more to tell about Sepia, but to make it more interesting, I will let the following story of a woman who benefited from this remedy, speak of its marvels.
Jacqueline is a full-time career woman, raising two teenage sons. I would like to tell her story here because of the severity of her hormonally related symptoms, and the dramatic improvement she felt immediately upon taking Sepia. In relating her history, Jacqueline told me that all of her health problems revolved around her hormonal function, starting with her periods at age ten. Her periods would last for nine days, then she would be off for a week, and then start all over again. This pattern continued until she was eighteen years old. At eighteen she went on the pill, which evened out her periods and brought stability to the cycle.
Jacqueline looked forward to being pregnant with great enthusiasm, but it turned out to be the most miserable experience of her life. From a few weeks of being pregnant, continuing through the eighth month, she experienced morning sickness twenty-four hours a day. She also experienced joint pains, particularly in the fingers. Her mental state was very bad. She couldn’t remember anything, such as where she was driving to, or what she was doing, and she had constant depression. She also had a tendency to nightmares, which became more horrific when pregnant. In the eighth month of both pregnancies, things suddenly improved, and she went on to have easy labors. Her hormonal difficulties straightened out as soon as the babies were born.
At age forty, Jacqueline, and her husband divorced. Then she met a friend and started running with her. This was one of the happiest times in her life. She loved running, and she started to feel physically fit. She advanced greatly in her profession at this time and felt tremendously empowered. Then menopause came on early at age forty one, and all of her physical and emotional health problems hit with full force.
Soon she lost her ability to run, because of exertional asthma; she suffered from hot flashes day and night, and tremendous mood swings. Her body hurt, particularly her lower back, so much that she couldn’t even turn herself around in bed. She also suffered from stiffness at night and in the morning. She felt like she was in a fog of exhaustion, lost her ability to remember things, and the nightmares returned. She also gained sixty unwanted pounds.
All of these changes, and the fact that her friends did not understand what was happening to her, made her feel very angry. She liked the person she had been when she was running and at the top of her form, and could not accept the changes that menopause had wrought in her. Now if she tried to exercise, she would pay for it with two to three weeks of misery. One of her biggest worries was about money, and being dependent on someone else for her survival. Even though she had an excellent income this fear occupied her thoughts a great deal. Other symptoms she had were extremely sensitive teeth and gums, to the point that she could not tolerate any coldness in her mouth. She also had low energy, which was worse from four to six p.m., and she suffered from a congested chest at night, which resulted in coughing spells.
Jacqueline’s Response to the Treatment
The changes that took place in Jacqueline after taking the remedy were dramatic to say the least. All of a sudden she started to pay much more attention to her appearance, and to dress very femininely. She also suddenly felt attracted to men, which she had not been the case for many years.
Jacqueline’s physical health problems also improved very rapidly, starting with the joint pain, low back pain and morning and night stiffness. Consequently her sleep and overall energy were much better. Her partner had bought her a bicycle, and they now enjoyed going biking together, an activity that she had not been able to do for many years. The chest congestion and tooth and gum sensitivity also disappeared. The fear of poverty was a thing of the past, and the nightmares and memory problems were also much better. Interestingly she was not as driven at work as she had been before. Now she was more interested in spending time with her family, and other people, and encouraging them in their lives. She also developed a new symptom, which was a desire to sing for joy.
It has been three years since Jacqueline received her first dose of Sepia. She needed a second dose a few months ago. In between the two doses she had been in a bicycle accident and needed a dose of Arnica montana. The improvements she experienced were evident very soon after she took the remedy. By the forth month all her physical health complaints were much better, and she was feeling a greater sense of well-being and security than she had in many years.
Jacqueline’s case is a good example of what can happen to a woman when she meets the right remedy. This remedy can become a friend to her for life, one that she can turn to when she feels out of balance and needs a helping hand. I have many more Sepia cases that I can relate to you. This is a remedy that I truly love, because when given appropriately it can do wonders. Please as always, consult an experienced homeopath before taking homeopathic remedies on your own. These remedies are wonderful and also very powerful and need to be used with supervision. Please don’t hesitate to call me if you have health problems that you would like to ask me about, or to schedule a phone or office consultation.
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About the Author
Deborah Olenev CCH RSHom (NA) began her homeopathic education in 1983 when her daughter was a few months old. Unhappy with her daughter’s reaction to her first vaccination and frustrated with the ineffective treatment for the baby’s colic, Deborah was ripe and ready for an alternative. Over a dinner conversation, a friend told her about an interesting alternative therapy called homeopathy. What he said about matching the symptoms of the patient to those of the remedy made sense. Her curiosity was sparked.
Deborah, a graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University in New York City, had been working for a publishing company doing copyediting and proofreading work. The company gave her a free book on homeopathy they had published. The book stood unopen in Deborah’s bookshelf for over a year. Now she was ready to open it. While reading the book Deborah could not contain her excitement about the subject. Her passion was ignited. From then on Deborah devoted every spare moment of her life to studying materia medica and repertory. She enrolled in a three year homeopathic college in New York, and attended seminars taught by the greatest European, American, Indian and South American homeopaths of this century for the next eight years. She gained experience treating family, friends and a growing clientele.
A graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University, NY, Deborah also received board certification in homeopathy in 1993 from the Council on Homeopathic Certification. Deborah has a family-based practice in Mountain View, California where over 50% of her clients are children. She has developed her own unique style of practicing homeopathy where she incorporates life style and meditation counseling in her work. She believes that to be healthy all aspects of one’s life must come into harmony starting with having healthy mental processes and emotions to cultivating a healthy life style and relationships. She assists people with remedies and some guidance to bring joy, happiness and health back into their lives. Read more about her on her wonderful website.