Menopause: A New Beginning
The journey into Menopause shouldn’t be a time to be feared. Many women find a new vocation as a result of children leaving home or they may feel like they can finally have some time to spend on themselves as they get older. Some women choose to go back to school, others pick a class or two to learn something new.
Whether you pick up a brush to paint for the first time or decide to take longer vacations, this period in a woman's life should be met with excitement, not angst - with joy, not fear.
So, with that in mind, let’s talk a little about how we can make this part of life and easy and smooth transition.
First, Menopause is not a punishment or a disease; it is a completely natural biological process, and therefore not a problem to solve. Although it concludes the time in a woman’s life for fertility, you can stay healthy, vital and maintain a healthy weight in your 50's and well beyond. That being said, there is generally a hormonal shift that occurs in women during menopause that may lead to mood swings, hot flashes, insomnia and other common symptoms. The symptoms are the result of a decreased production of estrogen and progesterone in your ovaries as ovulation stops and menstruation ceases.
In Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) most Menopausal symptoms belong to functional disorders which are a result of disrupted hormones balance. As a result of ongoing changes and shifts happening throughout the body, there are many factors involved which give rise to many different symptoms. Intensity and frequency can vary from woman to woman and Chinese medicine views every case independently and treats accordingly to the individual. In this way, we can create a very targeted and individualized treatment plan using Acupuncture, herbs, nutrition and lifestyle changes.
Common symptoms treated with Acupuncture and herbs are:
Hot flashes and night sweats
Mood swings, irritability, anxiety or depressive symptoms
Vaginal dryness and decreased sex drive
Increased abdominal fat and weight gain
Insomnia and changes in sleep quality
Thinning hair and dryer skin
Going to the bathroom more often
Now, you may be thinking, What happened to a new beginning? Do I really have to go through all of this in order to start fresh?
Well, not quite. As mentioned earlier, every woman will experience Menopause differently. For some, it will be easier and for others, it may be a little more challenging, but that’s why we are here to support you through the process.
Firstly, don’t sweat the Hot flushes! A study of 209 menopausal women who had at least four hot flushes or night sweats per day, were put into two groups for acupuncture treatment. One group was treated for the first six months and then followed for another six months. The other group received treatment in the second six months instead of in the first six months. Each woman could receive 20 treatments within their 6-month slot, and they recorded the frequency and severity of their symptoms in a daily diary.
The outcome was that the frequency of hot flushes and night sweats decreased by more than 30% per day in both groups, which lasted for at least six months after the treatments stopped. The researchers noted that the effects were often seen after at least 8 treatments were received.
The benefits don’t stop there. Many women also have changes in mood whilst their body goes through an adjustment period. Many women report becoming anxious or depressed as they enter menopause and although Antidepressants are the common therapy for this, they do come with side effects and may not actually help for some women.
Acupuncture can be a great natural alternative and can also be used in conjunction with conventional treatment. Take a look at how acupuncture was effective for these women:
A study was done on 25 patients who had menopausal symptoms such as anxiety and depression for a year. Moxa (Chinese herb) was placed on needles were used to warm the points, with sessions lasting around 20 minutes. Patients were treated two times a week for four to six treatments, then once a week for another four to six weeks, and then once a month for maintaining results.
The outcome was that 10 patients experienced complete relief from symptoms and stopped taking their medication, while the other 15 experienced a noticeable reduction of symptoms and decreased their intake of antidepressants or sedatives.
There are plenty more effective ways to help you deal with some of the symptoms, some others include, nutritional changes, meditation/mindfulness, exercise and much more, all of which are incorporated into your treatment program to help suit your needs and get you back to doing what you love, living the next phase of your life.