Acupuncture for Menopause
The Menopausal Transition
The average age of menopause onset is 50 years old, while the early changes associated with perimenopause can begin in a woman’s 30’s to 40’s. Because this is a time characterized by fluctuations in hormone levels, which can span several years before the cessation of menses, the entire process is known as the menopausal transition. A woman is considered to be post-menopausal when she has been without menstruation for at least 12 months.
Chinese Medicine and Menopause
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can be an indispensable ally for women as they navigate through the changes related to the menopausal transition. As the body prepares for the cessation of menses, hormones can fluctuate widely, sometimes leaving the woman feeling like her body is no longer her own. This can lead to mood swings, insomnia and high stress. Likewise, hormone fluctuations can create uncomfortable menopause symptoms such as joint pain, low libido, vaginal dryness, poor memory, hot flashes and night sweats, to name a few.
As the process continues and estrogen declines, the risk of osteoporosis and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is commonly used to reduce these symptoms. However, while HRT is a useful option for many women, there are inherent risks associated with its use. For those women who wish to lessen those risks, or those for whom HRT is not an option, such as in cases of uterine or breast cancer), Chinese medicine is a valuable alternative.
How Acupuncture Can Help with Symptoms of Menopause
Recent research has shown that Chinese medicine can have lasting effects on reducing the vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause (i.e. hot flashes, irritability, etc.), and can help increase bone mass and density associated with osteoporosis. It can also help to increase blood circulation, which further promotes bone and heart health. In fact, acupuncture and Chinese herbs are routinely used to help with all of the following:
- Anxiety / Depression
- Digestive Upset / Bloating
- Hair Loss
- Heavy / Irregular Bleeding
- Hot flashes / Night Sweats
- Irritability / Mood Swings
- Joint Pain
- Low Libido / Arousal Problems
- Loss of Strength / Loss of Muscle Tone
- Poor Memory / Concentration
- Urinary Tract Infection
- Vaginal Dryness / Painful Intercourse
- Weight Gain