Acupuncture and Menopause

Acupuncture Offers Relief of Menopausal Symptoms

Acupuncture and menopause offers a welcome alternative to the serious risks of hormone replacement therapy.

Contact Us Now About Acupuncture for MenopauseMenopause (also called the change of life or climacteric) is an event common to all women, but each woman’s menopausal experience is unique. As they reach this transition in life, many women are looking for alternative approaches to their body’s changes. Acupuncture has been used to treat menopausal symptoms for more than two thousands years.

Menopause occurs when the ovaries stop producing eggs, menstrual activity decreases and eventually ceases, and the body decreases the production of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. This time of change may last a few months to several years. Symptoms vary from mild to severe, and may include hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, fatigue, mood swings, memory loss, vaginal dryness, headaches, joint pain, and weight gain.

In western medicine, the standard treatment for menopause and related conditions is hormone replacement therapy (HRT). However, the long-term effects of HTR are unclear and it is known that HRT is linked to increases in breast, ovarian and uterine cancers.

The American Cancer Society’s web site discusses these risks in detail in an article titled Menopausal Hormone Replacement Therapy and Cancer Risk. [1.] American Cancer Society concludes:

The decision to use hormone replacement therapy (ERT or HRT) after menopause should be made by each woman and her doctor after weighing the possible risks and benefits. Factors to consider include: the risk of breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancer; the risks of other serious conditions affected by ERT or HRT not discussed here, such as heart disease, stroke, and serious blood clots (DVT or deep vein trombosis); the availability of other medicines that may treat menopausal symptoms.

It is important that any woman taking ERT or HRT be checked yearly by her doctor for any signs of cancer.

It is easy to understand why women are anxious to find other effective methods to treat menopausal symptoms. Acupuncture provides women with a safe alternative, with no side effects.

The biggest difference between the western and eastern approaches to menopause is that Chinese medicine does not have one governing diagnosis of menopause. It does not exist as a disease category. Instead, each woman is treated according to her particular pattern of symptoms. Symptoms are a sign of the body’s imbalance and treatment is designed to restore this natural balance.

“Acupuncture is an effective way to bring the body back into balance. A significant portion of our patients are women who are going through menopause. Most patients experience significant relief from the painful symptoms of menopause.” Additionally, our patient Linda Chess said, “I had just about all of the symptoms of menopause after stopping hormones (7 years on hormones) and needless to say, was very uncomfortable. I was being treated with acupuncture for various pain issues (which are way better now) and one day the Acupuncture and Nutrition Clinic saw me have a hot flash. They stuck a needle near my elbow and the hot flash stopped almost instantaneously. Not only did it stop, I didn’t have another hot flash for more than 2 years! Most of the other symptoms disappeared as well.”

Placing very fine needles in strategic areas of the body to promote healing of its unhealthy parts, is the methodology of acupuncture. The flow of Qi (chee) and blood through established channels or meridians in the body is stimulated by placing a small needle in a specific area to bring more Qi and blood to the painful area. Qi is not definable in western medical terminology. It signifies movement or energy. The reason for most ailments is some kind of blockage in the body; the system is gridlocked. Stimulating the Qi and blood opens avenues to allow the body to heal itself.

Acupuncture relieves the most common symptoms of menopause primarily by regulating the yin and or yang levels which decrease during menopausal years. This leads to a significant decline in hot flashes and an increase in energy, appetite and sense of well-being without any of the potentially harsh side-effects of hormone replacement therapy.

According to Chinese Medical theory, menopause is the body’s very wise attempt to slow down the aging process, reflecting the change in life from mother to enlightened and wise being. With increases in life expectancy, almost 1/3 of a woman’s life will now occur in her post-menopausal years. Menopause doesn’t have to be a negative factor in aging or a struggle to cope with hot flashes and drastic hormonal mood swings. On the contrary, menopause often marks the beginning of a woman’s most sexually passionate, creatively inspired, and professionally productive phase of life.

Since the early seventies, studies around the globe have suggested that acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are effective treatments for hot flashes, anxiety, insomnia, vaginal dryness and other symptoms associated with menopause. Recent studies show extremely positive results. In one particular study, it was found that during the course of acupuncture treatments, hot flashes decreased by 35% and insomnia decreased by 50%. A follow-up study revealed hot flashes significantly decreased in those receiving acupuncture, compared to those receiving routine care.

While these results are promising and the United Nations World Health Organization has approved acupuncture as a treatment for symptoms associated with menopause, further clinical trials with larger samples are currently underway.

For more information on acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine or general nutritional health, please call 1-713-721-7755 or fill out our contact form below to arrange an appointment.

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