Acupuncture & the natural treatment of Menopause Symptoms
Peri-menopausal women have declining estrogen levels, and it’s this change that affects the function of your body’s thermostat, the hypothalamus. This area at the base of your brain regulates body temperature and other basic processes. It is thought that the reduction of estrogen experienced during menopause may disrupt this regulating function, leading to hot flashes.
Symptoms of hot flashes include:
• A feeling of warmth spreading through your body and face
• A flushed face and blotchy skin
• Sweating and perspiration
• A rapid heart rate/pulse
Other symptoms that you may experience during peri-menopause include:
• Vaginal dryness
• Night sweats
• Thinning hair
• Dry skin
• Decreased sexual desire
• Weight gain with reduced metabolism
• Loss of fullness of breast
• Irregular period
• Memory and concentration loss
Many of the symptoms of menopause and peri-menopause can be relieved by acupuncture by treating both the underlying cause and symptoms. Acupuncture stimulates your body’s natural healing process by increasing endorphin levels, natural estrogen production, tranquility, and the flow of the electromagnetic forces in the cells and body.
In addition to acupuncture, nutrition and dietary changes can be beneficial for controlling your peri-menopausal symptoms. Phytoestrogens, also known as plant estrogens, can help increase the body’s natural estrogen levels.
Foods known to contain phytoestrogens include:
• Soybeans and soy products
• Linseed (flax)
• Sesame seeds
• Mung beans
• Wheat germ
• Rice bran
• Licorice root
There are many nutritional and herbal supplements that can be effective for reducing and managing the symptoms of peri-menopause and menopause. Herbs such as vitex, bupleurum, white peony, and black cohosh are used in Chinese herbal formulas to balance hormones.
The most common supplements are:
• Black Cohosh for hot flashes
• Flaxseed for night sweats
• Red Clover to increase natural estrogen
• Wild Yam for its hormone-like compounds
• Ginseng as a mood enhancer
• St. John’s Wort to control mood swings and mild depression
• DHEA for libido and hot flashes
• Dong Quai for hot flashes
• Soy foods (such as soy nuts and tofu) and phytoestrogen supplements to increase natural estrogen
It is important to remember to consult a qualified herbalist for an herbal medicine consultation before taking supplements, and always talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any supplements you take.
If you would like to discuss the management of your peri-menopause and menopause symptoms, contact us to schedule a free consultation to review your acupuncture and herbal options.