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Menopause

 

Peri-menopause and Menopause
The average age for the onset of menopause is 50 years old in the United States, while the earlier changes associated with perimenopause can begin in a woman’s 30’s to 40’s (average age is 46 years old with 5 year duration). Because this is a time characterized by fluctuations in hormone levels and can span several years duration before the cessation of menses, the entire process is known as the "Menopausal Transition". A woman is considered to be "Post-menopausal" when she has been without menstruation for at least 12 months.

 

Menopause itself is not a disease. It is a normal physiological change, nature’s way of slowing down the aging process in women past child-bearing age. Unfortunately, many women do not traverse this cusp quickly and smoothly. When that happens they may experience any of a number of signs and symptoms. These include:

  • Hot Flashes

  • Night sweating

  • Menstrual Irregularity (heavy and/or irregular bleeding)

  • Uterine Spotting and Flooding

  • Depression

  • Anxiety/Irritability

  • Fatigue

  • Palpitations

  • Migraines

  • Insomnia

  • Vaginal Dryness & Atrophy/Painful Intercourse

  • Vaginal Itching

  • Urinary Tract Infections

  • Osteoporosis

  • Hair Loss

  • Joint pain
  • Low libido/arousal problems
  • Palpitations
  • Poor memory/concentration
  • Weight gain

 

Chinese Medicine for Menopause

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a 2,000 year plus old, professional medical system, and gynecology is one of its specialties. Within Chinese gynecology, menopausal syndrome is a recognized and treatable condition. In fact, it is one of the conditions that is most easily and satisfactorily treated by Chinese Medicine (as long as menopause is natural and not surgical).

 

Chinese medicine can be an indispensable ally for women as they navigate through the bodily changes associated with the menopausal transition. As the body prepares for the cessation of menses, hormones fluctuate widely, sometimes leaving the woman feeling like her body is no longer her own. This can lead to mood swings, insomnia, and high stress. Likewise, changing levels of reproductive hormones can create uncomfortable symptoms such as joint pain, low libido, vaginal dryness, poor memory, hot flashes and night sweats, to name a few. As the process continues and estrogen/estradiol levels declines, the risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease increases as well, altering a woman’s long-term health screening requirements from those of her reproductive years.

 

Recent Research
This age-old, traditional wisdom is not "folk Medicine" or superstition.  It is supported by clinical research coming out of the U.S., U.K., China and Japan.  Recent research has shown that Chinese medicine can have lasting effects on reducing the vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause (i.e. hot flashes, irritability, etc.), and can help increase bone mass and density associated with osteoporosis. It can also help to increase blood circulation, which further promotes bone and cardiovascular health. In fact, acupuncture and Chinese herbs are routinely used to help with all of the following:

 

  • Hot Flashes

  • Night sweating

  • Menstrual Irregularity (heavy and/or irregular bleeding)

  • Uterine Spotting and Flooding

  • Depression

  • Anxiety/Irritability

  • Fatigue

  • Palpitations

  • Migraines

  • Insomnia

  • Vaginal Dryness & Atrophy/Painful Intercourse

  • Vaginal Itching

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Osteoporosis

  • Hair Loss

  • Joint pain
  • Low libido/arousal problems
  • Palpitations
  • Poor memory/concentration
  • Weight gain

 

Reports in Both the Shandong Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, #6 1992 and Sichuan Traditional Chinese Medicine#61993, discuss the successful herbal treatment of a number of menopausal complaints, including hot flashes, anxiety, insomnia, night sweats, irritability, and heart palpitations. In the second study, 28 out of 30 women were either cured or markedly improved in 15 days to 2 months for a total amelioration of 93%.

 

In Yunnan Traditional Chinese Medicine#51993, the treatment of menopausal syndrome with ear acupuncture is presented. These women suffered from menopausal irregularity, hot flashes, night sweats, heart palpitations, dizziness, emotional depression, uterine bleeding, and agitation. Tiny intradermal needles were embedded in acupoints in their ears over a period of 1 month. Eighty-seven percent of the women in this study registered significant improvement from this inexpensive and easy therapy.

 

Likewise, research in Japan has shown that menopausal and post-menopausal women using Chinese herbal medicine had greater bone density than women in a comparison group not using Chinese herbal medicine (Traditional Sino-Japanese Medicine, 13 [1992]).

 

Chinese medical practitioners may use acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine or a combination of both to treat menopausal symptoms. With either or both methods, practitioners seek to regulate and balance hormone levels, control the vasomotor disturbances (hot flashes, night sweating, irritability, etc.), improve energy levels, and balance emotional state via nourishing and supplementing specific body systems, while concurrently clearing heat from the body and or warming the body, as well as, improving circulation systemically.  In Chinese Medical terms, treatment is aimed at "nourishing the liver and kidneys, boosting the qi, fortifying the spleen, nourishing the heart, quieting the spirit, clearing pathogenic heat and lower rising yang energy", thus, restoring balance to the woman’s entire organism.

 

According to Chinese medical theory, menopause occurs when, because of the natural aging process, a woman’s body no longer produces sufficient blood to sustain a monthly period.  Without this blood loss draining her body and particularly her kidneys (the organ Chinese medicine sees as the root of life and longevity) each month, women's bodies will instead use and maintain this blood to nourish her body during her post-reproductive years.  This is the body's natural and protective way of transitioning itself into its next phase or life cycle, so to speak.  Chinese Medicine views this transition as a reversal of energy: The energies or blood that once flowed to and developed in the uterus each month, reverse during peri-menopauase and menopause and instead, flow upwards to nourish the brain and what Chinese Medicine, refers to as "The spirit".  We can correlate the "Spirit" to emotional and psychological well being.

 

Thus, in Chinese medicine, menopause is seen as a true change in life from "mother of biological children" to "mother of community". This is why, in traditional cultures, post-menopausal women are regarded as "wise women" and the sages of their communities, since their heart spirit is now nourished and enlightened in a way that it was not before.

 

Western Chinese Medical practitioners not only use acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine to treat menopausal complaints but also typically advise patients on diet, exercise, and lifestyle, thus treating the whole person and bringing balance to every aspect of the patient’s life. These therapies are without side effects when administered properly by a licensed and professional Chinese Medical practitioner.

 

Hormone replacement therapy is commonly used to reduce these symptoms. However, while HRT is a viable and useful option for many women, there are inherent risks associated with its use. For those women who wish to lessen those risks, or those for whom HRT is not an option (such as in cases of uterine or breast cancer), Chinese medicine is a valuable alternative.

 

As an integrated health clinic, we work in conjunction with your physician and your Western medical diagnosis. Certain lab work may be requested and/or evaluated to more thoroughly inform us of your case. Your treatment is then tailored individually, based on your Chinese Medical diagnosis and underlying constitution and will consist of a combination of Acupuncture,  Chinese Herbal Therapy, and Diet and Nutritional Therapy for maximum efficacy. Any Western medical treatment that you are receiving, including pharmaceutical therapy, is supported and integrated into your Chinese Medical treatment.

 

 

*For additional information on any of the above or related conditions, please contact: info@healing-traditions.com

 

 

Research Studies Supporting the efficacy of Chinese Medicine's for Per-Menopause and Menopause Related issues:

 

 

References:

  • Blue Poppy press
  • Liang, L. Contemporary Gynecology, An Integrated Chinese-Western Approach, 2010
  • Maciocia G. Obstetrics and Gynecology in Chinese Medicine.  Edinburg: Churchill Livingston, 2011
  • Marchment R. Gynecology Revisted - Obstetrics and Gynecology for practitioners of Chinese Medicine.  Elsevier Australia: Churhill Livingston, 2007.
  • Martini, Timmons, McKinley, Human Anatomy, Third Edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 2000
  • Vander, Sherman, Luciano, Human Physiology - The Mechanisms of Body Function, 8th edition.  New York, NY: McGraw Hill, 2001
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Healing Traditions Integrated Wellness specializes in Chinese Medicine (Acupuncuture & Chinese Herbal Medicine) for Women's health issues.  Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine for Menopause and Peri-Menopausal issues are commonly treated in our clinic.  Our complete pharmacy of Chinese Herbs and medicinals, for use in Chinese Medicine, is a powerful complement to Acupuncture treatments.  

 

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If you are ready to take charge of your health and start living your Healthiest and Best life, Full of Vitality, Vigor and Wellbeing, please contact us at 844-739-HEAL(4325) or complete the Become a Patient Form.

 

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