Greetings! We at the Traditional Chinese Medical Clinic are celebrating Women’s Health this month. Please enjoy the following blog on treating menopause with Chinese Medicine.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and Menopause
Menopause signals the end of a woman’s reproductive lifespan. It usually occurs between the ages of 35 and 55. As it approaches, hormones begin to change and eventually ovulation and menstruation end. Imbalances in the hormonal interplay between the hypothalamus, the pituitary and the ovaries cause various symptoms such as irregular cycles, missed periods, hot flashes, night sweats, palpitations, emotional fragility and depression, headaches, memory loss, insomnia, loss of libido, vaginal dryness and dry skin. These symptoms affect quality of life and overall physical health. Furthermore, these symptoms should not be ignored or dismissed as being “normal” because they are signals of deeper imbalances in the body.
During this transition, the ovaries lose their ability to produce estrogen and progesterone. The hypothalamus tries to adjust for this loss by temporarily increasing levels of follicle stimulating hormone [FSH] and luteinizing hormone [LH], hormones that stimulate estrogen production. Also, the adrenal glands and fat cells take over some level of estrogen production. Some women pass through this period of with few symptoms, while others suffer greatly. Menopausal syndrome has become an epidemic among American women due to a number of contributing factors that reinforce the imbalance in hormones such as stress from overwork, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, excessive intake of synthetic hormones from animal foods, excessive exposure to chemical pollutants, eating disorders including anorexia and bulimia and surgical removal of the uterus and ovaries.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is very effective for treating menopausal symptoms. Acupuncture, along with Chinese herbs offer a safe, gentle and effective solution.
Acupuncture for Menopause
Traditional Chinese Medicine views menopause as a natural occurrence. It is said to be caused by a deficiency of yin. Throughout our life we deplete our yin by work, stress, grief, giving birth, taking care of others, illness and just general day to day living. This means that our body is not as efficient at balancing our natural rhythms of cooling, calming and moistening, leaving us with hot, irritated and dry symptoms. Acupuncture nourishes the yin, balances hormones and any other imbalances in the body, to alleviate menopausal symptoms.
Chinese Herbal Support for Menopause
Chinese herbal formulas help alleviate many of the symptoms women experience when passing through menopause.
A number of studies have shown that Chinese herbal formulas can aid in improving the function of the glands and organs that control ovulation and menstruation, and enhance blood circulation.
In one study carried out at the Shanghai Center for Modern Traditional Chinese Medicine Technology, 50 women with menopausal syndrome were treated with an advanced herbal formula. Their ages ranged from: 44 – 60 years. Their symptoms included various levels of anxiety, emotional instability, headache and dizziness, tinnitus and blockage of hearing, oppressive sensations of the chest, palpitations, restlessness, anger, hot flashes, spontaneous sweating, aching of the legs and low back, uncontrollable crying, and depression.
After taking the formula (shortest administration period, 1 month; longest, 3 months), 30 patients experienced complete relief of symptoms, 13 experienced marked improvement, and three some improvement. Of the patients with complete relief of symptoms, none of the symptoms had returned six months after discontinuation of treatment.
Both acupuncture and Chinese herbs offer a gentle and effective way to make menopause a smooth and calm transition.
“Nature often holds up a mirror so we can see more clearly the ongoing processes of growth, renewal, and transformation in our lives.”
- Lao Tzu