The term ‘menopause’ actually relates to the complete cessation of menstruation, though it is commonly used to describe the initial perimenopausal stage.
The age at which menopause occurs and the severity and duration of menopausal symptoms is linked to various factors including genetics, obesity, early puberty, lifestyle, work demands, diet, smoking, stress and overall health.
The first sign that you may be approaching the menopause (perimenopausal) is usually a change in the pattern of your monthly periods. You may have one every two or three weeks, or you may not have one for months at a time. These periods may be very light or very heavy (menorrhagia).
SYMPTOMS OF THE MENOPAUSE
Most women will suffer from vasomotor symptoms, hot flushes (‘flashes’) and night sweats. Typically these occur for 4-5 years, but some women may experience them for more than 10 years.
Other symptoms include:
- Tiredness, fatigue
- Anxiety and palpitations
- Inability to concentrate
- Vaginal dryness, pain or itching during sex
- Loss of libido (sex drive)
Conventional medical treatment typically includes hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and stress management.
Acupuncture for Menopausal Symptoms
Systematic reviews and randomised clinical trials suggest that acupuncture and/or moxibustion can help reduce hot flushes and increase health related quality of life in menopausal women.
Acupuncture may help reduce symptoms of the menopause and peri-menopause by:
- Regulating serum estradiol, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteotrophic hormone
- Calming sympathetic nervous activity, promoting relaxation and reducing tension
- Altering the brain’s mood chemistry to help combat negative affective states (feelings)
Treating Menopausal Symptoms
Hot flushes and night sweats are exhausting and deplete the body of important essences. By reducing flushes and promoting good quality sleep, regular acupuncture treatment can help improve energy levels and strengthen mind and body to help us cope with the pressures of everyday life”.
Judy Bowen-Jones Lic Ac BSc Hons Ac MBAcC
Maciocia, G. (2007). Obstetrics & Gynaecology in Chinese Medicine. Menopausal Syndrome. 741-763. Elsevier
Research Fact Sheets
For more information see the British Acupuncture Council Research Fact Sheet below.