Relieving Some Symptoms of Menopause
All women will go through menopause; it’s inescapable. Some women will breeze through it without any symptoms. For others, physically, emotionally, and mentally it may be one of the more trying periods in their lives, they look for relieving these symptoms of menopause.
When a women’s body transitions from having menstrual cycles to not having them, the body goes through changes, a result of decreased estrogen production. The changes can cause some uncomfortable symptoms.
Hot flashes, night sweats, disturbed sleep, emotional upheaval, and weight gain are just a few symptoms of menopause. Also, it can last up to seven years, so it’s no wonder many women seek ways to relieve the side effects.
While nothing can stop menopause, some remedies can help ease the symptoms. Conventional medicine typically uses hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to treat the side effects. However, HRT has risks attached to it. Heart disease, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer have been linked to HRT depending on the type of HRT and the women’s age at the time of treatment.
Not wanting to take the risks that may arise with HRT, many women seek natural remedies. Research shows that acupuncture is a natural remedy that can relieve some symptoms of menopause.
Acupuncture is an ancient practice and is one of the four pillars of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The four pillars are the four main courses of treatment in TCM. They include acupuncture, herbal medicine and diet, massage (tuina), and exercise, such as qigong.
The acupuncturist inserts very thin and sterilized needles into specific areas on the body. The areas are not random or determined by the whim of the acupuncturist at the time of the appointment. Early practitioners of TCM mapped meridian points (energetic channels) on the body. Placing needles in designated meridians can affect body processes.
Acupuncture for Menopause
Here are a few menopausal symptoms that acupuncture may help to alleviate:
Hot Flashes – A hot flash is an intense sensation of heat that can include profuse sweating, headaches, dizziness, and rapid heartbeat. They come on suddenly and can last for a few minutes. Hot flashes can come on at the most inconvenient time, such as in the middle of a work meeting. Research shows that acupuncture may limit episodes and severity in some women.
Metabolism – One of the side effects of menopause is weight gain due to hormonal changes. Also, fat increases in the body as it ages while muscle mass declines. Other factors, like genetics also may play a role. Some research shows that acupuncture along with dietary changes may help control weight.
Depression –The reduction in estrogen can cause a loss of the hormone serotonin which helps regulate mood and emotions. Anxiety is another symptom of menopause. Acupuncture may help with both depression and anxiety.
Sleep – Menopause can interfere with sleep: Hot flashes and changes in the body can lead to restless and sleepless nights. Researchers at Taipei Medical University in Taiwan showed that acupuncture helped with sleep. Also, the research showed that acupuncture also increased estrogen levels. Because estrogen fluctuation can interfere with sleep, increasing estrogen level naturally can help with sleep.
The side effects of menopause can be disruptive, challenging, and affect a woman’s quality of life. And the use of HRT is not a risk many women want to take. Acupuncture is a natural remedy that many women have found to be beneficial in tackling the side effects of menopause.
Acupuncture Decreases Insomnia Due To Menopause, Increases Estrogen (January 17, 2017). Retrieved from http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1707-acupuncture-decreases-insomnia-due-to-menopause-increases-estrogen.
Gupta, Sanjay, Dr. Acupuncture Eases Hot Flashes (August 07, 2014). Retrieved from https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/guide-to-managing-menopause/sanjay-gupta/acupuncture-hot-flashes-3904/.
Hormone therapy: Is it right for you? Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/in-depth/hormone-therapy/ART-20046372.
Lau, Brian, AP, DOM, C.SMA. The Four Pillars of Traditional Chinese Medicine (September 24, 2015). Retrieved from http://www.sinewchannels.com/2015/09/the-four-pillars-of-traditional-chinese.html
Watson, Kathryn. Acupuncture and Menopause (December 18, 2017). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/acupuncture-for-menopause