Marilyn L., a 53 year old business consultant at IBM, arrived at her first appointment with me accompanied by her husband whom she had recently married. She was obviously distressed by her menopausal symptoms, but also clearly anxious about starting a new medical regimen, particularly one that was from an non-mainstream natural medical system.
I gave her plenty of time to tell her history, which was a saga of five agonizing years of severe hot flashes, sleep disorder, and depression. She had “worn out” two gynecologists, one after the other, both of whom had treated her with HRT, but became frustrated at her failure to respond with any symptom relief. Ultimately, they dealt with her continued complaints by increasing her estrogen dose until, by the time she appeared in my office, she was taking four times the usual dosage. Such a strong prescription was putting her at considerable risk for side-effects, and yet she was still suffering.
Marilyn’s health situation was complicated by the fact that she also had systemic lupus erythematosis, an auto-immune condition that in her case primarily caused fatigue and joint pains, and Sjogren’s syndrome, an auto-immune condition characterized by dry eyes and a dry mouth. (An auto-immune condition means your immune system is making antibodies to attack your body’s own tissues.) However, these symptoms were “bearable” according to Marilyn, while the lack of sleep due to hot flashes, and the depression that she believed resulted from the sleep deprivation , were not; neither was her steadily declining libido and inability to reach orgasm during sex with her husband. She felt she had exhausted what modern gynecology had to offer in the way of relief, and was seriously looking for another approach.
After conducting a physical examination including the traditional pulse assessment of MVM, and extensively reviewing details of her lifestyle and diet, it was clear to me that ama was playing a very large role in Marilyn’s stubborn hot flashes and other symptoms. I reported my findings to Marilyn and her husband, who was taking the whole visit in with interest, albeit perhaps a bit of skepticism. He found it hard to understand how anything natural and gentle could get rid of Marilyn’s symptoms when the “big guns” of HRT hadn’t been able to.
I explained to them both that accumulated wastes and toxins were blocking the channels in Marilyn’s tissues and preventing the hormones—both those she was taking by prescription as well as her body’s own hormones—from reaching their target. More than herbs and a diet change would be needed for Marilyn, who would likely benefit from a systematic series of internal cleansing procedures advised by MVM, traditionally referred to as panchakarma (puhn chuh kahr muh). Panchkarma would simultaneously act to remove deep seated impurities, balance the three doshas, and reduce mental and emotional stress, as has been verified by scientific research . Because her symptoms were so severe, and she needed the added benefits of deep rest and a carefully planned “anti-ama” diet, I recommended that Marilyn take one week of panchkarma treatment at a Maharishi Vedic Health Center (MVHC) in-residence program.
Marilyn decided to go for my recommendations 100 per cent. “I have come this far, and really want this to work,” she told me on the phone a few days after our meeting.
The week of treatment at the MVHC proved to be transforming. Within a few days of starting the panchakarma program and ridding her body of the harmful ama, Marilyn’s hot flashes and sleep problems began to improve. Over the following three months after returning home, Marilyn was able to gradually reduce her HRT dose to a low-normal range, with no increase in menopausal symptoms. In addition, a “side-benefit” of her MVM treatment has been the disappearance of her dry mouth, dry eyes and joint pains of her “lupus.” Her blood tests which measure the levels of auto-immune antibodies have become completely normalized.
Marilyn was thrilled. She was able to resume her ballet classes and got her libido back, no longer troubled by anorgasmia. Any occasional flare-up of either menopausal or lupus-like symptoms have been successfully handled by getting back to the “anti-ama diet” from her panchakarma program and being careful to follow other simple ama-reducing measures in her daily life.
“I feel like a woman again,” she told me. “And my husband is so happy, he’s completely supportive of my new diet and lifestyle.”
Marilyn’s story is a clear demonstration that it’s not raising estrogen levels alone that relieves symptoms, but cleaning out wastes and impurities that interfere with your body utilizing estrogen efficiently. Remove the ama, and your symptoms will improve, whether or not you are taking artificial hormones.
Marilyn’s story also shows that women on HRT can benefit from a cleansing approach, even if they don’t stop taking their physician-prescribed hormones. If you are on HRT, eliminating ama from your system may help you avoid taking medications for osteoporosis, if you are at risk for this bone disease so common at menopause. Even if you choose to continue with your HRT, an ama-elimination program can boost the symptom-relief of the drug, and possibly lead to a reduction in your hormone dosage.