Menopause

Menopause is a natural occurrence that marks the decline in a woman’s reproductive hormones and of the menstrual cycle. Menopause is defined as 12 months without menstruation and indicates that a woman can no longer become pregnant naturally. The average age for menopause is 51, however, many women begin to experience menopause sometime in their 40s and 50s.

While menopause is a natural progression in a woman’s life, there are some uncomfortable symptoms that may come with menopause. Most women experience menopausal symptoms a few years before the period ceases, this time is called peri-menopause. Peri-menopause is when a woman’s hormones begin to shift in preparation for menopause. During peri-menopause, the periods start to become irregular. To be considered menopause, there must be a lack of period for one year. Post-menopause is referred to as the time after menopause. Common symptoms of menopause are hot flashes, vaginal dryness, anxiety, depression, weight gain, and sleep disturbances. A common treatment for menopausal symptoms includes hormone therapy and lubricants and estrogens.

Why does menopause happen?

Menopause is a natural occurrence that happens as the ovaries age and produces less reproductive hormones. During menopause, there is a reduction in estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH). With the reduction in hormones, there is also a decrease in ovarian follicles. While menopause does happen naturally, menopause can also be induced due to injury or surgery to the ovaries or pelvic structure.

How can acupuncture help with the transition of menopause?

Acupuncture is a natural and effective way of helping to manage menopause symptoms. Acupuncture can help to regulate hormones, easing the transition into menopause. Acupuncture can also help to reduce hot flashes, improve sleep quality, and regulate mood. Chinese medicine views menopause as a natural decline in the yin energy of the body. Chinese medicine is based on the principles of yin and yang. These are two opposite, yet complementary forces that exist both in the natural world and within the body. Yin is the cooler and darker energy, while yang is the warmer and brighter energy. Both of these energies should be in balance within the body to maintain health. As women age, their yin energy becomes deficient, leading to common menopausal symptoms such as heat intolerance, irritability, dryness, and insomnia. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help to bring these two energies back into balance, and help support the yin energy of the body, and the transition into menopause.

How can Chinese herbal therapy help with the transition of menopause?

Chinese herbal therapy is a great way to naturally treat menopausal signs and symptoms. Chinese herbs are often prescribed with acupuncture to help further support the treatment. There are many studies published advocating for herbal therapy in the treatment of menopause. In a study published by The Shanghai Center for Modern Traditional Chinese Medicine Technology, 50 women aged 44-60, with symptoms of menopause were treated with a Chinese herbal formula. The women’s symptoms included: hot flashes, sweating, irritability, anxiety, headache, dizziness, depression, and palpitations. After taking the formula for 1-3 months, 30 women experienced a complete decline in symptoms, 13 women experienced great improvement in symptoms, and 3 had some improvement in symptoms. The patients that had complete relief in symptoms did not have a return in symptoms following 6 months after treatment.

While there are many herbal formulas that are successful in the treatment of menopause, Chinese herbal medicine is prescribed based on an individual’s presenting signs and symptoms. If you are interested in herbal medicine, talk to your Advanced Holistic Center herbalist so that a customized unique formula can be prescribed for you.

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