CHANGE OF LIFE.-When the period of child-bearing comes to an end, the organism of women undergoes certain changes, principally manifested in the circulatory and nervous systems. The blood supply has to be adjusted to altered conditions, the heart and blood-vessels are affected, and the result is felt by the patient in flushes of heat, followed at times by perspiration and chills.
Along with these symptoms are heightened susceptibility of the nervous system to ordinary influences, and also the emotional balance is very unstable for the time. This condition lasts indefinitely. Some women are scarcely conscious of any difference, and others suffer for years. Dr. Burnett, who has written on this topic, regards the monthly courses as in a measure depurative; when they cease, this outlet being closed, any latent tendency that may have existed previously is likely to be brought to the surface. Thus “Change” is not a disease in itself, but is the occasion for constitutional diseases manifesting themselves. Men are not always exempt from climacteric sufferings, though in them they are the exception rather than the rule. Palpitation, giddiness, and rush of blood to the head are the chief symptoms they experience. These symptoms are apt to occur about the age of 60, which is a critical period in the life of men.
General Treatment.–Avoidance of excitement of all kinds; light unstimulating diet; no alcoholic drinks. The way in which this period is got through depends very much on the patient. She must make up her mind to endure a certain amount of inconvenience and unwonted nervous sensations, and must beware of flying to stimulants or narcotics for relief. These only make the condition worse, and often destroy the patient. The treatment is thus to some extent moral. At the same time much relief may be obtained from medicines. Moreover, it is very important that constitutional treatment should be followed during this time where there are any morbid tendencies present in the family history of a patient.
Medicines.–(Every two or three hours.)
Nervousness, numbness in various parts, sinking sensation, flushings, constipation, sensation as of a ball in the throat.
Actea rac. 3.–
Restlessness, sleeplessness, “sinking” sensation, unhappy state of mind.
Flushings excessive; symptoms worse on waking from sleep; external pressure intolerable; melancholic; irritable.
Sinking sensation at 11 a.m.; flushings, hot fainty spells, hot head and cold feet.