By Laurie Stone, L.Ac.
Although it might feel like it when you are beet red and dripping with sweat in the middle of a cool room, menopause is not a disease or a disorder.
This is a natural time of transition for women. The goal of acupuncture and herbal treatments during peri-menopause and menopause is to make the transition as comfortable as possible by reducing symptoms and easing into the stopping of the monthly cycle.
The most common symptoms my patients experience are hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, loss of focus, dryness, headaches, anxiety, irritability, or depression. Hot flashes, one of the hallmarks of menopause, is a target of clinic research trials. A recent pilot study (1) for postmenopausal hot flashes compared traditional acupuncture, sham acupuncture, herbal medicine, and placebo herbal medicine treatments over the course of 12 weeks.
At the follow-up visit 12 weeks after the last treatment, the group receiving traditional acupuncture treatments maintained the greatest reduction in symptoms.
Let’s take a look at night sweats for a specific example of what acupuncture can do… One of my recent patients had been waking with a night sweat every two hours each night and had to change pajamas at least once. After a series of treatments, she is now sleeping through most nights, waking at most only one time a couple of nights a week, and rarely has to change pajamas. With the benefits of treatment and the improved sleep, her focus is markedly better at work during the day and her mood at home in the evening has been a lot more up-beat.
When you come in for an acupuncture treatment, we will first talk over what your main symptoms and concerns are. Also, be prepared for me to ask about other areas that might seem unrelated at first. For example, how is your digestion? Do you have other aches and pains? How is your appetite and thirst? What are the current stressors in your life? All of this plays a role in your symptoms. Five women can walk into the clinic all with symptoms of menopause, but they will have five different treatments. Traditional Chinese medicine is customized to treat the whole unique person, not just the hot flashes.
If you or someone you know is suffering uncomfortably from symptoms of menopause, give me a call to set up a free consultation and I will let you know how I can best help.