Menopause normally affects women between the ages of 45 and 55, with the average age falling around 50 years old. In some instances, medical intervention for other conditions can cause the early onset of menopause, such as having certain types of radiation treatment for cancer.
The menopause occurs when the production of specific hormones by the ovaries begins to slow down and eventually ceases. Therefore to be post menopausal means the end of a woman's ability to reproduce. This can take several years and the menopause is said to have occurred when you have not had any menstrual bleeding/spotting for a full consecutive 12 month period. After this time ANY bleeding will require a medical check-up. As this change occurs, the hormone levels in a woman's body will tend to fluctuate, and this fluctuation gives rise to the symptoms commonly associated with the menopause. Eventually, hormone production levels fall to a point where menstruation stops altogether – this point is the menopause.
The menopause causes a range of different symptoms, but the most likely to occur include hot flushes, night sweats, aches and pains, irritability, tiredness and headaches. Some less common symptoms include forgetfulness, reduced libido or sex-drive, vaginal dryness and increased urinary frequency.
Acupuncture relieves the most common symptoms of menopause primarily by supporting a woman through the fluctuating changes in hormone levels which many women experience during menopause. This leads to a better tolerance of the symptoms and a corresponding increase in energy, appetite and sense of well-being.
The ending of regular periods is for many women the start of a very rich and fulfilling period in their lives. In the main menopausal women enjoy good health and have the accumulated wisdom and experience of lives lived. There is the energy and enthusiasm to take up new ventures, to travel and pass on their experience to an upcoming generation. The menopause may be the ending of one section of their lives but it is also the start of a new and exciting one! Please call me to discuss how I may be of help.
1. 102 post-menopausal women were recruited into a study comparing the effects of acupuncture and placebo treatments. The study showed that acupuncture significantly reduced hot flushes more than placebo.
2007 February; Effects of acupuncture, applied relaxation, estrogens and placebo on hot flushes in postmenopausal women: an analysis of two prospective, parallel, randomized studies.
2. A Stanford University study found that acupuncture not only decreased the frequency of hot flushes in post-menopausal women, but it also significantly decreased their intensity and improved sleep.
2006 September; A randomized controlled pilot study of acupuncture for post-menopausal hot flashes: effect on nocturnal hot flashes and sleep quality.
3. A further well-designed study that found that acupuncture is significantly more effective than placebo in treating hot flushes in post-menopausal women.
2004 June; A comparison of acupuncture and oral estradiol treatment of vasomotor symptoms in post-menopausal women.