Chinese Medicine and Menopause
Menopause is the natural end of a woman's periods. Acupuncture has been found to be around 90% effective in treating menopause symptoms. Menopause can happen naturally, or it can come about as the result of surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation. It is caused by damage to or removal of the ovaries.
During menopause, a woman has lower levels of estrogen and progestin in her system. From a TCM perspective, it comes about due to the decline in life energy, called Jing, and causes an imbalance between Yin and Yang. At this phase of her life, a woman's body begins to conserve blood and energy to sustain her vitality. Excess Yang can lead to hot flashes, restlessness, mood swings, heart palpitations, water retention, cold hands/feet, weight gain, and swelling.
Acupuncture can help the practitioner detect energetic changes and relieve symptoms. Its effect on endorphins may stabilize the body's temperature controls. Therefore, regular, ongoing treatment may reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes. Treatment is most effective when specific points are treated.
Menopause is treated as a collection of symptoms, rather than as an entire, single disorder. Every woman's symptoms are different, and every treatment regimen will vary, tailored to the individual woman. Acupuncture is equally effective in treating the root cause of the symptoms in all patients.
Some recommendations for relieving menopause symptoms yourself include losing excess weight, eating a diet high in raw foods and fresh fruits/vegetables, and learning and applying stress management techniques. Key foods to avoid are dairy, red meat, alcohol, sugars, spicy foods, and caffeine.