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  • Gathered Roots

Acupuncture in Menopause

Why is menopause treated like a problem, when in fact it is a naturally occurring process?

Menopause is defined as having no menstrual period for one year. It usually starts between the age of 46 and 55 years in developed countries, where the average age is 51 years.

Each person will experience menopause differently. Many have full, active lives throughout the transition and afterward, and some feel relieved by no longer having to deal with menstruation or birth control. However, Menopause can cause many changes in your body. The symptoms are the result of a decreased production of estrogen and progesterone in your ovaries.

Symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, fatigue, vaginal dryness, headache, weight gain can come about in varying degrees. About 75 percent of women experience hot flashes during menopause, making them the most common symptom experienced by menopausal women. Hot flashes can occur during the day or at night. Some women may also experience muscle and joint pain, known as arthralgia, or mood swings and memory loss. These symptoms may start before menstruation ends, and they can last for several years. The impact on a person’s quality of life can range from mild to severe.

Fortunately, there are ways to manage these symptoms:

Western Treatments

  1. Hormone therapy: Estrogen therapy, sometimes in combination with progestin, is the most effective treatment option for relieving menopausal hot flashes. Estrogen also helps prevent bone loss. Long-term use of hormone therapy may increase the risk of breast cancer and some cardiovascular events.

  2. Vaginal estrogen: To relieve vaginal symptoms, estrogen can be administered directly to the vagina using a vaginal cream, tablet or ring. This treatment releases just a small amount of estrogen, which is absorbed by the vaginal tissues. It can help relieve vaginal dryness, discomfort with intercourse and some urinary symptoms.

  3. Low-dose antidepressants: For women who cannot take estrogen for health reasons, these medications primarily address mood and cognitive symptoms of menopause.

  4. Other medications: Gabapentin is approved to treat seizures, but it has also been shown to help reduce hot flashes. Clonidine, a pill or patch typically used to treat high blood pressure, might provide some relief from hot flashes.

Natural Treatments

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine indicate that menopausal symptoms are merely signs of an imbalance deep within the body. Estrogen is similar to what acupuncturists call Jing Qi. When Jing Qi declines, the organ systems within our body become unbalanced. This leads to various symptoms and signs.

Another factor that can contribute to menopause is an imbalance in Yin and Yang energies. Slowing of the flow of Yin can be a possible cause of this imbalance. Yin can be thought of as the cooling system of the body. When this cooling system declines, heat symptoms will naturally arise, leading to night sweats, restlessness, hot flashes, mood swings, heart palpitations and insomnia. When Yang is unbalanced, symptoms may include water retention, weight gain, edema, hypertension, or raised cholesterol levels.

At Gathered Roots Community Acupuncture, we offer a safe, natural, drug-free and effective way to address the symptoms of menopause. One course of treatment typically involves a session every one to two weeks for a total of 10-12 sessions. Acupuncture treatment supports the healing energies of Jing Qi, Yin and Yang, providing the body with the building blocks it needs in order to nourish, heal and regain balance.

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